Monday, October 26, 2009

He's a charmer

So, I know our cutie is not supposed to be able to smile just yet, but doesn't he look like he is?

Here he is on our daily walk. A nice walk is one of the more reliable ways to keep him from crying. Today it rained a lot, but we took the opportunity of a break in the rain to walk to the local cafe (what Seattlites we are!). He seems to like looking at the passing scenery.

Finally, the other night as I was feeding him at 3:00 am, I realized something.

My son has hair like Linus van Pelt's.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The scale

I know I am not supposed to be obsessing about it, and I really am not, but yesterday, just out of curiosity, I got on the scale. To my complete astonishment, I have lost at least 35 pounds by having a nearly 10-pound baby. I say "at least" 35 pounds, because I don't actually know what my final pre-birth weight was, since I decided in the last weeks that it was best to live in ignorance.

I'm pretty happy about this, though I want to know why I still can't fit into any of my normal pants. That includes the size 12's I bought way back at the beginning before I gave in and got maternity pants. Heck, even some of the maternity pants I bought early on and eventually had to give up as I got huger are still uncomfortable. My only explanation is that, while I am only about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, my body shape has changed considerably. That is: all 15 pounds are in my belly. SIGH. I've got to start going to Pilates again. I never thought I'd say it (because who knew I'd ever have them to miss), but I miss my abs!

Our cutie continues to be cute, which is a good thing because I'm about ready to defenestrate him (hey, I wanted to use the word :-). I thought I was prepared for the sleep deprivation, but I didn't fully appreciate the mental exhaustion involved in listening to constant crying and being unable to stop it. I am newly impressed with stay-at-home moms; I don't know that I will be able to do it. I know working moms are typically called supermoms, but they're total pansies, if this is what they're leaving at home with the nanny.

We did go for a nice walk today, in the lovely autumnal sunshine. He seemed to like that, at least :-).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maternal myopia

Here's a picture of our cutie in one of his matching outfits:

OK, I admit it's totally a cheat since it's a one piece, but hey, he's a Houdini when it comes to getting out of socks, so I love the footed one-pieces :-).

This pic does show his current greatest trick: being awake without crying. This is new in the last three days, and we love it. He is also not wearing mitts because I finally got up the courage to cut his fingernails, which were like little needles. No, I did not nick any of his fingers, so I was very proud of myself.

I haven't taken a huge number of pictures of our cutie, because the pictures I've taken have kind of disappointed me. They do not show how cute he is :-). I realized yesterday, though, that part of the problem is that they do not show him the way I see him: that is, at a distance of about 8-10 inches (and through a maternal hormonal fog, but that's another story). When I'm feeding him, or he's lying on my chest or my lap, that's when I think he is about as cute as it is possible to be, and you really can't take that picture. The camera can't get that close and still show his whole face or body. I will have to start experimenting to see what I can do about this. In the meantime, here's a first attempt, a shot of him sleeping on my lap (he does not like to nap in a crib):

Sigh. He's just too cute!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Control freak

So, since the birth of our cutie, we've had family in town. First, my mom was here, from before he was born, until about five days after, when my sweetie's parents came. They are leaving tomorrow, and my mom will then be back for another week. All in all, we will have had guests/help for the first three weeks of the baby's life.

For the most part, it's been great. I have been recovering pretty well, but like all new parents, we're still pretty sleep-deprived, so having help on hand is really nice. And my mom and mother-in-law cook dinner every night, which is about as great as you might imagine. Both women also vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, and generally kept the place looking presentable and not like a baby bomb hit it. All much appreciated.

But I have surprised myself in one area, and that is laundry. Mind you, I hate doing laundry. When I lived by myself, I would build up a truly shocking amount of laundry--a good three or four weeks' worth, then haul it down to my building's laundry room, take up five machines, and wash it all at once, just to get it over with as quickly as possible. In our house, where we have only one machine, I do a load here, a load there, but typically only when absolutely forced to by my husband's lack of underwear (I never run out of underwear since, after all, I have three or four weeks' worth :-). Heck, as often as not, my sweetie will do the laundry in order to have clean underwear.

With a baby, there is a lot of laundry to be done. He is 12 days old today, and I'd say we've already done at least three loads of purely baby laundry. Plus plenty of parental spit/pooed/peed-on laundry.

Laundry is something I am not allowed to do--the machines are downstairs, and I am forbidden to use the stairs, both by my mother, who says Chinese tradition dictates I am not use stairs or do anything for a month, and by my doctor, who says I can climb stairs but not while carrying anything. I hate doing laundry, and my mom and mother-in-law have been doing it for me. And what do you know? I've completely surprised myself by hating allowing other people to do my laundry. Of all things, this would not be the one I would have expected. I am somewhat territorial about my kitchen, and so I would have thought I wouldn't like to be cooked for, but in fact every meal that appears before me with no effort on my part is a thing of beauty, and if things get put back in the wrong place, I don't care. I usually don't like people cleaning my house and moving stuff around, but I don't even bat an eye.

But laundry? I can't stand it. They don't do it right! They use the wrong detergent, or they don't sort it the way I would, or they don't put it back where it belongs, or they lose socks or mitts, or who knows what. It drives me completely crazy. Who'd'a thunk it? I'm a laundry control freak. I actually went downstairs, risking wrath of mom and doctor and sweetie, and did a load today because I didn't want anyone else to do it and it needed to be done.

No one is more surprised by this than me. When I was in college, I used to wonder why all mothers seemed to be clean-obsessed, when not all women are. I thought maybe some weird hormonal thing kicks in, and you just become clean. If I'm scrubbing floors in a month, you'll know: I've gone over the deep end.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

True Birth Story

So, those of you who guessed that blog silence = baby were correct: our adorable son was born on Thursday, October 1, surprising the heck out of me that he didn't wait to be ejected by force, though he still required medical intervention to make his way out.

Here is his True Birth Story:

Somewhere around midnight on Wednesday, I started feeling contractions. I had felt "false" contractions before, but there was something about these that felt different--they were more painful, I guess--so I got up. Around 2:00 I started timing them, and by 4:45 they were coming every 4-5 minutes, lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to 1:20, and had been doing so since about 4:00. They tell you to call once your contractions are 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in duration, and have been so for one hour. So, I jumped the gun a little, and called my doctor's office.

The doctor on call said I could either go to the hospital and have them check me out, and if I wasn't very far along they might send me home or have me walk around a bit before checking me in, or I could wait until the contractions got "more intense" and regular, then come in. By about 5:00, I thought, "Well, gee, they feel pretty intense to me, and I'd rather know what's going on than not" so I woke up my sweetie. He was mighty annoyed I had let him sleep all night! I told him he had time to take a shower and have some breakfast--I even made the coffee (which is my sweetie's favorite part of the story). Then we woke my mom and got on our way to the hospital.

We got there about 6:30 am, and by that time the contractions were really starting to hurt. We got to labor triage, they checked me in, then examined me, and what do you know? I was already dilated to 7-8 cm. The nurse later told my sweetie they were amazed I had walked in under my own power. She asked me if I wanted an epidural and I screamed, "Yes!"

It took maybe another 45 minutes before I got the epidural, and they were not the proudest minutes of my life, even if they were maybe the longest. I can only say, wow, those contractions hurt. I really started to panic a little, thinking there was no way I could do this, it was way too painful. But they finally got the needle in, and let me tell you, the difference was amazing. I couldn't feel the contractions at all, yet I could still feel my body. It's some kind of weird voodoo. Creepy.

Since I was already at 7-8 cm, everyone thought the delivery would be quick, but we pretty much just stalled after that. The baby was in the wrong position (sunny-side up), and the usual things they do to try to get him to turn were not working because every time I changed position his heart rate decelerated. They gave me some pitocin to try to make the contractions more productive, but they could only increase the dose so much before his heart rate objected. He was a very particular baby!

Finally about 5:00 pm or so, they decided I needed a c-section, so off we went. Our son was born at 5:23 pm, weighed 9 pounds, 6.5 ounces, and measured 21 inches. It turns out when they opened me up, they saw that in addition to being the wrong way up, he was trying to come out the wrong way (over my pubic bone instead of under), so there was no way I could have pushed him out on my own. As my sweetie said, "You can tell he's my kid: always going the wrong way."

The weirdest thing about the whole experience for me was that I was incredibly sleepy all day--maybe because I had been up all night the night before, maybe because of the drugs they gave me, but during labor, I would doze off between contractions, and during the c-section I could not stay awake to save my life. I was dimly aware of things going on, I could feel them doing things to my body (no pain, but I could definitely feel pressure and movement), and I heard the baby's first cries and heard everyone saying how big he was and how cute he was, but I could not wake up. For this picture, I forced my eyes open, but I cannot say I really saw him:

I feel a little sad that I essentially slept through my son's birth, but the days since have been sufficiently intense that I don't feel I missed too much :-).

Here he is in the bassinet in our hospital room the next day (they no longer take the baby from you unless you specifically ask them to--more on that in a later post, maybe).

And at home:

I am SO HAPPY to not be pregnant any more! And I love having my cutie in my life, even though he has been quite a handful so far. But he is amazingly cute, even though, whatever anyone says, he doesn't look like either my sweetie or me. Recovery from the c-section has so far been painful but not problematic, and since I never got to push since he never descended that far, recovery "down there" has been pretty much unnecessary. We've already had our first pediatrician appointment and have been told that we are successfully not killing him, so we feel pretty proud. Only a couple decades to go!