Well. I was kind of planning on using this blog as a way to track milestones, and of course continuing to do so after Jack's birth. Since he was born I have not tracked anything, so here's a quick recap:
-His first pediatrician appointment was last Wednesday, June 20th. He was still 22 inches long, but had gained weight(!) and was at an even 9lbs. Sheesh, no wonder my nipples were sore.
-His belly button fell off on Monday night (June 25th) and I haven't been able to find the stub. I figure it will be a nice, gruesome present someday when I'm not expecting it.
-He was circumsized yesterday (June 26th) after having to wait it out a little. (The pediatrician on call at the hospital wasn't comfortable doing it because he was a little "twisted", but has now straightened out.) This was decidedly harder on me than it was on him. The doctor said he barely made a peep. He was a little uncomfortable during the day yesterday and is as good as new today. I, however, may never be the same.
-He was weighed again yesterday and is up to 9lbs 9oz. He will apparently be 11 feet tall and weigh 600lbs by the time he enters 3rd grade.
-I am officially pumping and not breastfeeding for a few days. I gave birth to a baby barracuda who wants nothing more than the sweet, sweet meat of my nipples. So far, he's winning on that front and I'm no longer able to nurse without crying. Which makes both me and Jack feel awesome.
So, there you go.
I am fighting some post-partum depression these days, which is making it a little hard to post here. I don't have a whole lot to say and I've been just trying to stay busy and concentrate on my bundle of joy. I know it's hormonal, I know it will pass, but the last couple days have been really hard. There's nothing that makes you feel worse than being in the throws of a random crying jag and having your 2 week old son look at you in fear and confusion. It makes you feel very fit to be a mother.
I rented a hospital pump today, so hopefully I will heal soon and be back to nursing post haste. Keeping fingers crossed and lots of balm on the nipples.
Just because he's cute, here's a picture of the barracuda himself, back when he still had one boob to work with. Do not be fooled by the innocent sleeping.
I've sat down several times to write some kind of post that semi-describes what's been going on the last 10 days, but nothing really does the experience justice. I am not the English major in the family.
My entire life is different and sometimes I feel really good about it, excited and loving and confident. And sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. And sometimes I think, "What am I doing here?" It's a roller coaster.
Jack is an amazing little boy and just the sweetest baby. He's so alert, so calm, so interested and so damn hungry. I spend a disproportionate amount of time just staring at him, talking to him, showing him things. While I'm here, in the moment, in the groove, I can't picture doing anything else. When I've gone out to dinner or run an errand without him, I start to doubt myself and my new role. Is this really what I'm doing now?
Don't get me wrong, on the very few occasions that I've gone out without him, I miss him terribly and feel like I'm missing a limb; he has become an integral part of my life. Even now, he is sleeping in his crib, and I feel the need to check on him every 5 minutes just to make sure he's still there. To make sure this incredible little human isn't just a figment of my imagination.
But why is he crying? What can I do to make him feel better? What does he want? Why can't I fix it? Am I failing him?
Like I said, it's a roller coaster around here. There are so many adjustments that we're making, and so many things that we're figuring out about each other every day. Breastfeeding is still so hard. It's painful on one side and the other side is out of use except for pumping due to, uh, cracking. He's a hungry, growing boy and I struggle with not feeling despair when he wants to eat. I know that it will get better, I will heal and look back on this as just a couple of rough weeks, but, to quote Rushmore, right now I'm "in the shit."
There are times I feel great and times I feel lost and totally out of my league. I tell myself this is normal. Then I stare at my son and watch as he stares back in wonderment and I know that everything is going to be all right and we'll continue to figure it out.
Jack and I went for a walk this morning in an attempt to get out of the house before the heat settled in. By the time we made it back, at 8:00 a.m., it was 91 degrees. I guess since we're up every 2 hours to nurse anyways, we should start going at, like, 4:00 a.m. [aside: did you know that if you check the weather in Phoenix, such as on weather.com, it will say it's cooler than it actually is? A few years ago, some jackass decided to move the thermometer at the airport into the shade to make it look like it's not quite as hot as it is - you know, to raise tourism. I have a hard time believing that when it's 120, making it look like it's 116 is really going to have tourists stampeding into town.]
I think this will be the hardest part about living here this summer. It's just so damn hot. You can't exactly take an infant out in 115 degree heat. I'm no professional here, but that's just my guess.
I don't want to feel like a prisoner in my own house, so we're going to have to find things to do in air conditioned, baby-friendly places. I'm not really sure what that means, but I'm hoping Google will help me. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
I did really like taking a walk this morning, though. I felt like I got a little exercise (just a little, but still it counts) and we got a change of scenery. I'd like to make it a habit to do this in the mornings, even if we are walking at absurd hours of the day.
My stomach is shrinking every day, but it's leaving this weird flap of skin behind. It's not what I would call sexy, but chances are that I'm not going to be parading around in a bikini anytime soon. It is nice to see some of my original shape coming back.
Last night my husband and I went to dinner by ourselves, taking advantage of the fact that my mom is with us and we have a 2 hour window between feedings. I fed Jack and then my mom took him and we scampered out the front door like teenagers. Apparently, 5 minutes after we left Jack woke up and was awake the entire time we were gone (90 minutes, which is like an eternity to a newborn), acted starving, and then nursed for a total of 7 minutes when I got home and was out like a light. It's like he could smell that we were gone.
Finally, what's with the timers on the vibrating bouncy seats and swings? Can't there just be an ON button to save frantic mothers from checking every 5 goddamn minutes that the vibration hasn't stopped and resetting the chair and OH MY GOD DO NOT WAKE THE BABY.
And...to sum up, here's a picture of what my son will look like when he's 70:
You know what's harder than I ever expected? Breastfeeding.
In everything I've read, people talk about how you might have sore nipples for a few days, but that it's nothing when measured in respect to the rewards and convenience and healthfulness of breastfeeding. Nowhere have I read that your nipples will be bruised and look like raw hamburger meat and that regardless of this, there will be a small, screaming human who will want to suck on them with the might of a hurricane. For 10-12 hours a day.
My milk has come in and that's making it easier, and I know that in a few days it will start to get better. But right now the thought of him waking up from this nap makes me a little weepy because the first thing he will want is to eat. And the eating, it is so painful.
And yet. And yet I will keep doing it because of all the health benefits and the things we read about and also because it is a better bonding experience than I ever expected it to be. I love having him that close to me, the contact of so much skin. His eyesight is getting a smidge better and he stares at me, taking in his surroundings and his mother as only someone who has never seen them can.
After he's done, he will want to be walked and bounced as he's snuggled into me, his cheek pressed into my chest. He does this move where he puts both his hands under his head, with his elbows out to either side. It kills me.
Sometimes he suddenly looks at one of us like, "Where the hell did you come from?" and he raises one eyebrow and looks skeptical of our smiles.
It's such a cliche to say that parenthood is the hardest and best job, but I guess the reason for the cliches is because they are true so much of the time. I am enjoying myself immensely. How could I not with a face like this starting at me?
Ahem. Sorry for the long delay, it's been an eventful 5 days. I'll write a birth story soon, I promise, but in the meantime I'd like to introduce the newest member of our family.
Jack Emerson was born at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 14th via c-section. He weighed 8 lbs 10 oz and was 22 inches long. He looks exactly like his dad, right down to his beautiful blue eyes and eyelashes a mile long.
He views the ooo-ing and ah-ing with a healthy dose of skepticism.
We get the distinct impression he's planning something big, so we're getting as much rest as we can.
I'll write more when I don't have to type with one hand. Needless to say, we're head over heels for this kid.
After some cervical stretching and a liberal application of gel, I am having small contractions and feeling progressively more uncomfortable.
Now we wait for either the hospital call or for the labor to progress to the point when I can check myself in. There is a good chance that they will call in the middle of the night (though no guarantees), so I will update when possible. Which will be tomorrow morning when I'm whining because they haven't called yet.
They have Internet access in the rooms of this fancy-ass hospital, so prepare for frequent and boring updates. I have a stack of trashy magazines, web access and a phone so the possibilities are endless.