Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter blahs

Yesterday I experienced my first little taste of what it must be like to have postpartum depression. I woke up feeling pretty crappy for no reason I could think of and it lasted all day. The main issue is this freezing cold weather, which is keeping Sam and I trapped inside all day! On Tuesday I spent an hour getting ready to go for a walk with Sam, bundled him up, strapped on the Baby Bjorn and headed out for a walk that only lasted an hour. So a lot of work for not a lot of pay off. Yesterday it was 26 degrees outside and I just didn't feel like making all that effort to get Sam wrapped up in 60 layers to go out for a walk, so I sat around and moped instead.

And to think I thought I'd be happy staying home with Sam for his first year instead of going back to work - yeah right! I can't even handle my fourth week of being at home and being inactive outside of housewife type work. I was feeling like I wasn't accomplishing anything, and I can't stand being inactive! Don't get me wrong, I did three loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, changed 12 diapers, nursed Sam 8 times, and on and on, but I'm not doing anything creative or that requires higher level thinking, and it really got me down.

Thankfully I'm in a much better mood today, because this F'ING snow means I had to cancel today's lunch date with Michelle and we clearly aren't going out for a walk with the possibility of losing Sam in a snow pile the second we walk out the door! If this had happened yesterday I'm pretty sure I would have been in tears all day. Instead I've accepted our lot and I'm prepared to watch a lot of TV. I'm afraid I didn't invest in any new books because I thought that I'd be too busy at home to have time to read. Law & Order it is!

I'm going to do a little dance, kind of like the opposite of a rain dance, to help spring get here sooner, like tomorrow.

*On an unrelated note, a quick question, is Whoopi Goldberg a lesbian? Does anyone have any insight on this? I'm really curious.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Notes from the Mommy Underground

So, I've realized there are a few things that most people under-emphasize about new parenthood. The main issue that is skirted around is the lack of sleep. I know most people will tell you to say goodbye to a decent night's sleep for several months/years, but I mean, you REALLY don't get to sleep.

Last night Sam managed to sleep for about an hour, in four 15 minute increments spread out over several hours. AWESOME! But the really strange thing is my brain seems to have adapted to my new ridiculous sleep schedule. When I wake up from the last brief sleep period and the sun is up I'm pretty cranky, but after being awake for maybe an hour or so I snap out of it and feel relatively normal. Who knows though, maybe after another week or two I'll just collapse from exhaustion?

And Sam likes to sleep on his own schedule, thank you very much. Once he falls asleep for one of his naps he can sleep for hours, but of course, only during the middle of the day! Never, ever, at night. He's stubborn. I don't think he gets that from Tripp. And trying to wake this boy up is nearly impossible, I unwrap his blankets, take off all his clothes so he's only in a diaper, run a wet wash cloth over his head, and still this kid won't wake up. This leads to under-emphasized issue number 2 - breastfeeding.

If Sam won't wake up and the ladies are ready to be relieved, oh there can be problems. I'm talking 36DD size problems. Luckily we invested in a pump ahead of time, and it happens to be a pretty good one. Otherwise I might have given up on boob feedings after day 3. The first time one of my breasts was engorged I was pretty sure I was going to die, it hurt, when I pumped nothing would come out and I had no idea how to fix it. In the end I took some ibuprofen, put an ice pack on the broken boob, and fell asleep. When I woke up I nursed Sam and it went away. So all in all it wasn't too catastrophic, mostly just frightening. There is also the issue of having to be at the beck and call of a constantly, constantly, constantly hungry newborn. I spend more time with my shirt off then with it on. Sam pretty much eats every hour. But he also has the tendency to fall asleep as he's breastfeeding so instead of eating for the recommened 20-40 minutes at each feeding, he eats for about 10 minutes then passes out and rolls off my chest with his mouth open, and milk dripping down his fat neck rolls like a drunken sailor. So somedays it seems like he isn't really getting any food at all. On those days I feed him breast milk from a bottle so I can see how many ounces he's eating. Formula would definitely be easier. I'm not sure if it's guilt, knowledge, instinct or what but despite all the difficulties I still don't want to give up on breastfeeding just yet. I'm pretty fortunate in that Sam was able to latch on like a champ right after he was born. He knows what he wants, that's for sure.

OK aside from the above mentioned issues I would take 98 more little Sam's. All he has to do is burp when I burp him and I'm the proudest, happiest mom ever. He also happens to have extremely cute neck rolls and chubby baby thighs that I want to eat. The lack of sleep and sore bosoms are totally worth it. I mean, if you saw his feet you'd totally want a Sam of your own.

*Totally unrelated to motherhood - I'm so super, uber completely bummed and can't believe that our two options for the next president of the United States are either McCain or Clinton. Ugh! McCain after 8 years of Bush is the WORST possible thing that could happen to the world. I don't think that what we need is an even more pro-military president. And I just don't love Clinton. I don't really love Obama all that much, but he is the least like the others which is a good thing. Poor Kucinich never had a chance, which is a real shame because HE would have definitely been an advocate for change. Plus, he has the same birthday as me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The story of Sam

Here are the down and dirty details...

My water broke on Friday, the 25th around 8 in the morning. Tripp is usually already on the train to work by 8 but he had worked till 2:30am the night before so luckily, was going in a little later. I was laying in bed while Tripp showered and I kind of sort of thought maybe my water had broken, but I didn't want to get my hopes up so I just laid there for a while. When I finally got out of bed there was absolutely no confusing the ensuing waterfall for anything but my water breaking. So exciting! So I went in the bathroom and told Tripp he couldn't go to work that day.

Now something they don't tell you about your water breaking is that once it breaks it isn't just one gush and you're done. It doesn't stop until you're pushing the baby out! Once your water breaks there's pretty much a constant flow of some kind or another. Seeing as I hadn't had my period for about 10 months there were of course, no pads in the apartment, and we were both so excited and frantic that neither of us thought to go pick up some pads. So I spent a good deal of time on the toilet Friday morning, directing Tripp on what to pack/clean/do before we had to go to the hospital.

We spoke to my midwife around 9 and she told us to stop by the office at noon so she could see how much progress I was making. At our visit I was 2cm dilated (out of 10 total) and my contractions weren't very regular so she sent us home for a while with instructions to time the contractions and call her in a few hours. Despite what you might see on those shows like Baby Story, the hours did not go by slowly at all, they fleeeeew by. We stopped at Starbucks and Wholefoods and got a bunch of junk food and then put on a movie and Tripp took a nap (it was a chick flick). At 3:30 the midwife called wondering why we hadn't called her yet, I guess she expected us to be nervous and in a rush since it was our first time being in labor. We made a date to meet the midwife at the hospital at 5 and got ready to go.

On the car ride to the hospital the contractions finally started to get a little more regular, every 7 minutes, and more painful. Once we stepped foot in the hospital though, it was full on labor like a slap in the face! Seriously! I guess the baby knew it was safe to arrive at that point. We got the room where I would deliver and I had to get on my knees, for some reason that was the most comfortable position for me to be in when the contractions came. The midwife didn't get there till 6 and by that point I was in full-on labor and my contractions were way intense. Poor Tripp and my mom were trying to talk to me to give me encouragement and I demanded that no one speak to me, so they had to whisper to the nurse. Tripp would try to massage my back like we practiced in our birthing class and I of course demanded that no one touch me. So my poor husband and mom had to stand around staring silently at me since that was all I could stand. I pretty much could have gone off into the woods to give birth by myself.

When the midwife got there and checked me she may have mentioned the birthing tub since this had been my plan, but I had to concentrate so hard on surviving the contractions that I didn't hear or comprehend much of what anyone said. I tried a few different birthing positions I learned about but they all seemed to make the pain worse so I laid on my side the entire time, arms clenched around the rail on the side of the bed, thank god they attached those things really well cause I damn near ripped it off. By the time I got to 7cm dilated I couldn't take it anymore and asked for an epidural. They normally try to do the epidural in between contractions if possible, but mine were coming one minute apart so it was impossible. The anesthesiologist tried asking me on a scale of 1-10 what the pain was like and I shooshed him as well. My contractions were insane, you can see them on a computer screen and they were going off the charts, less than a minute apart, and lasting almost two minutes each. So not fun. Once the epidural was in I was completely transformed back to my normal self, I could hear, see, and speak again, and people in the room were once again allowed to talk and come near me.

Let me just say, "labor" with an epidural is SO not labor at all. It was a walk in the freaking park once that thing kicked in. I could deliver babies all day if I had an epidural in the whole time. Really. I was ready to push 30 minutes after the pain meds and pushing didn't even hurt! So at 9:30 we could see the baby's head and we knew that he/she had hair, big surprise to me! And the midwife said we'd meet the baby any minute. Well, nearly four hours later we still hadn't met the baby! I pushed like a mother, I mean, I'm impatient, I wanted to meet the damn kid already! But to no avail. Once we were nearing the four hour mark the midwife decided to call a doctor for assistance cause I was running out of energy after being in labor for so long and not eating. The doctor arrived and as soon as he looked at my lady parts which were displayed for all the world to see the first thing he said was, "Oh you poor thing, you've been pushing for a long time." Apparently that whole area looked about as haggard as my face.

It came down to trying to get the baby out with forceps and if that didn't work they were going to have to do a c-section. I immediately became hysterical and 10 more nurses poured into the room with tools and instruments of torture and extra lights. After inserting the largest speculum ever created and using the forceps, which I happily never saw, and three more pushes Samuel Oliver McCarty FINALLY entered the world at 1am on Saturday January 26th. The doctor said his head was in the right position so he wasn't sure why Sam wouldn't come out. Then a nurse yelled "8lbs. 2oz." and the doctor said, "Oh, well that's why." They all estimated he'd weigh 7lbs, but they didn't take into consideration how much ice cream mommy fed him while in the womb.

So my big, fat, pudgy man is finally here safe and sound and none the worse for wear despite being pulled out by giant salad tongs. I think I would have freaked if we had to go the c-section route. My days since arriving home consist of nursing, then pumping, then changing diapers, then feeding, pumping, some rocking, more feeding, more pumping, and almost no sleep. There are also many occasions for spontaneously bursting into tears. A side effect of hormonal fluctuations and a lack of sleep.

Today I blow dried my hair and shaved for the first time in ages, and so feel a little less like a beast, well, I still feel kind of like a cow with all the nursing and pumping, but I don't think that's going to change for a while. A well groomed cow, at least.