8.29.2013

Paralyzingly Awkward Yet Incredibly Hilarious Social Interactions Caused by Babies: TAKE 1

Little Mouse and I are best buddies! We like to be close to each other throughout the day and he loves being held. 
Little Mouse loving his Mommy cuddles after a long day of being out and about.
Unfortunately, though, sometimes I simply need to be a bit more mobile. So for us, babywearing is a natural part of our day; he likes the comfort of being "held" and I like having two hands to do whatever activity it is I need to be doing with both hands. Today, that activity was shopping.

When we wear our wrap in public, we get a lot of smiles and interested stares and usually end up having quite a few conversations simply because of Little Mouse's mode of transportation. Apparently, people around here aren't used to seeing babies being worn by their mothers - they're used to seeing young babies exclusively in carseats, strollers, or carts [Side note: I thought babywearing was rising in popularity, but perhaps not in Central Illinois.]. The reactions we receive are always positive and in the "Ohhh, isn't that so sweet!" vein, and we almost always wind up in conversations with people, answering questions about the wrap and/or babywearing. By now, we are very used to the attention.




That having been said, today was a red-letter day. Not just in quantity of conversations, but also in quality.

I spoke with two older ladies about how to make the homemade "Moby"; had to assure one gentleman several times that no, my baby was not going to, "slide right on outta there"; and had a very interesting conversation with a new Mommy who wasn't sure what sort of carrier to get and was afraid of being judged by the matriarchs of her family for holding her little one too much (which just broke my heart!).

By far the best conversation of the day, though, was with a very sweet, hipster, twenty-something in Kohl's.

The conversation started out innocently enough:

Girl: "Awww! What a precious baby! Is he yours?"
Me: "Yep, this is Little Mouse!"
Girl: "Awww! How old is he?"
Me: "He's 8 weeks."
Girl: "Wow! Big boy!"

Me: "Yeah, we don't miss a meal, do we, buddy?"

Aaaaaaand then this is where it got weird:

Girl: "Awww! So where is he from?"
Me: (confused) "Oh, I'm sorry...what's that?"
Girl: "Where's he...where's he from?"
Me: "I don't........I, uhhmmm...how's that now?"

Girl: "Where's he, you know, where's he "adopted" from?" (yes, she literally did "air quotes")
Me: ............"Myyyyyy uuuuuuterus?" 


That was an acceptable answer, right? I mean...I just didn't know how else to respond! Maybe I've been watching too much New Girl while Little Mouse naps on me, because that was honestly the first thing that popped into my head. Aaaand it came out of my mouth almost as soon as my brain thought it, so there was pretty much no stopping it. Like toothpaste out of a tube.

Girl: "Oh!"
Me: "..."
   ...but in my head: Oh my gosh did I just tell her that he was adopted from my uterus?! And is 'uterus' even an acceptable word in a conversation with a complete stranger?? No words. No words at all. Just death.

Girl: "..."
Me: Internal scream laughing.
Girl: "So he's...really? He's, like, biologically yours?"
Me: "Yeah! 12-hour labor and all!"
Girl: "Haha! Well, I...I guess I thought..."
Me: "Oh, really, it's no big..."

Girl: "You're just...you know, so "small" so I thought..."
Me: "It's okay, really..."
Girl: "...there's no way she just had a "baby"..."
Me: "Thank you?"
Girl: "...especially one that big!"
Me: "..." 
   ...but in my head: This is awkward this is so awkward oh my gosh can I hide behind that display of Lady Gaga being scaled like a mountain by little black men because she won't notice me there I don't think - I'll be hidden by weird. No, that won't work. AHHHH!!!! WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO?! CONFUSION MAKER! CONFUSION MAKER! NO!! NO!!! NO!!!!
Girl: "..."
Me: CLOSE IT ALREADY!! "Weeeeeell, thank you!" *awkward curtsey thing*
Girl: "Well, he's really cute, even though he's not adopted!"
Me: ..."Thank you so much!" (????????????)

The awkwardness continued awhile until we finally parted ways, but I honestly couldn't tell you what was said because my brain was cry-laughing too loudly for me to properly think. Luckily, I've had so many baby-related conversations, I was able to be on autopilot for the rest of the paralyzing social interaction. 

Seriously, you guys. My life. Is. A sitcom.

Until Little Mouse lets me write again...







P.S. I ALMOST FORGOT! I also got asked to go to some game (soccer? lacrosse? croquet? who knows...) by a random high-schooler who thought I was a fellow high-schooler while I was in the parking lot of the school my husband teaches at. Exhibit B of my life being a sitcom. See also: I've stiiiill got it. ;)

P.P.S. FYI: I will be updating this blog post to include photos of Little Mouse being worn in his wrap once I get a few good pictures. This story was simply too funny to wait until I had all the photos to share, though!

8.24.2013

It's the Little Things... (10 things I took for granted before I became a Mommy)

A short list of things I took for granted before becoming "Mommy":

1) Showers that last longer than two minutes. Really I cannot put it any better than Ilana did over at her blog, Mommy Shorts, so I won't even try. (Really, though, go read that blog entry because it is GOLD!)

2) Nipples. Not that I don't have nipples now - I mean, I still have that part of my anatomy. Just not..."intact," as it were. Breastfeeding a tongue-tied baby means your nipples will basically be two crusty points of burnt toast. And let's be real here: no amount of crazy amazing nipple cream is gonna touch that.

3) "Running errands" meant more than just sprinting into the store for a gallon of milk...and it didn't used to take all day. Between lugging around Little Mouse's suitcase (a.k.a. "the diaper bag"), feeding him every two minutes (okay, not really, but it feels that way sometimes), and panicking when he starts crying in the queue at the grocery store, inciting a death glare from the snarling lady ahead of us, it's a wonder we haven't gone hungry at our house. Which brings me to my next point...

4) Not having to eat at lightning speed. Seriously. I could enter a hot dog eating contest and win hands down.

5) Pooping. Not just pooping in peace, but also literally pooping. Making milk takes a lot of fluids, so staying hydrated is key. I discovered this quite painfully during Little Mouse's recent 6-week growth spurt. TMI? Maybe. But if my openness spares just one Mommy this trauma, it is worth sharing.

6) Alone time. I LOVE to be with my little buddy. LOVE it. But every once in awhile, I'd like to be able to do something as simple as taking a shower or sitting on the toilet without wondering how long I have before Little Mouse's next hookup or "I NEEEEED MOMMY NOOOOW!" meltdown. But, such is the way of the Mommy, especially when you're breastfeeding and you've basically got a baby attached to your boob 24/7.

7) Uninterrupted sleep. This one is a given, and I was completely expecting it, but still.

8) Not having to plan my wardrobe around how easy it is to get to the girls without being completely bare-chested. My outfit choices are EXTREMELY limited these days, and usually consist of a tank top and baggy-ish t-shirt; that way, I can lift up the tee and yank down the tank and breastfeed discreetly in public. Little Mouse hates the nursing cover (I would, too - I mean, really, it gets to be like 150° under those things!), plus they're so unweildy, so I've given up the idea of nursing with a cover. And actually, where the cover is like a spotlight on you - LOOK! LOOK! I'M LACTATING! - I've actually had people come up and talk to me not knowing I'm feeding him until he makes his routine "click-SLURP-click" unlatching sounds. I've been really tempted by the AWESOME nursing clothes over at BOOB (Literally that's the name of the company. They're Swedish.), but they're just SO DARNED EXPENSIVE (Again...Swedish.).

9) Sleeping in bed. I never in a million years would have dreamed that hubby and I would be sleeping on the couch and recliner for the first few months of Little Mouse's life, but that's where we are until his reflux is under control. Hubby and I are his mattresses, and you know what? That's okay. We get extra cuddle times with our boy and he feels secure and comfortable and can sleep safely on his stomach.

10) Traveling unencumbered by Little Mouse's "suitcase." They call them "diaper bags," but let's be honest: they're not. They're anything but. Sure, they carry diapers and other diaper-changing necessities, but they also carry a change of clothes for Mom, Dad AND baby (sometimes 3 different outfits, depending on the length of the trip), pacifiers, toys, burp cloths, water bottles, enough snacks to feed a small village (because breastfeeding Mommas gotta eat)....and so on. And heaven forbid you forget that extra whatever that you know you're not going to use but think you might just maybe need. Basically, in the event of a zombie uprising, find the nearest Mommy or Daddy with a diaper bag and you're set for at least a week. Maybe a month.

BUT, as funny as it is to look at all of the sacrifices that hubby and I have had to make since becoming parents, I wouldn't trade a minute of my crazy, 12-second-shower-taking, 1200-pound-suitcase-toting life with Little Mouse. I am SO in love with this little boy, and he is worth every second of my day!

And so, until Little Mouse lets me write again...

It's a Boy!!

It all started at 11:51pm on Friday, July 5th, 2013. But you need to know a little more about what happened before that to fully appreciate the journey that lay ahead...
 
Lucas and I had spent a very long, very enjoyable day together celebrating his last birthday with just he and I. We took a 2-hour, 4-mile walk in the heat and humidity of the mid-morning, made homemade barbeque pizza with made-from-scratch crust for lunch, and I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking and preparing for his birthday cookout dinner. I cooked and cleaned for hours on end so the kitchen was just as spotless as before the Martha Stewart-esque undertaking had begun.

That right there should have tipped us off.


At the cookout, I had a few contractions, but no more and no stronger than I had been having since Monday of that week. I kept busy making sure people had cake, empty drinks were tossed, and refrigerated items went back in the fridge. Back and forth I walked – house to bonfire, bonfire to firefly field, firefly field to bonfire, bonfire to house – again and again. Still no change in contractions.

We got home, and I unceremoniously washed off my makeup and got ready for bed as I bemoaned the fact that all the activity didn't seem to make a lick of difference in hastening the arrival of our little baby. Mild-to-moderate contractions for a whole week can get very old when they don't progress! I climbed into bed, weary from the long day, and curled up next to Lucas to read the last of the book on the prophet Elijah we were enjoying together. Lucas fell asleep, I finished the chapter, and decided to make one more trip to the bathroom before turning in for the night.

I plopped down, lights off and house quiet. The evening seemed a much-needed gentle end to a long day, and I was finally feeling tired. And then, *POP*! It sounded like a water balloon had popped and I felt a strange pressure in my stomach at the same time. Then, a trickle. But wait...I wasn't peeing. Was I? ...No, definitely not.

“Lucas?” I quietly yelled down the hallway. Silence. “Lucas?!” I whisper-yelled a little bit louder, not wanting to wake the neighborhood with the news that I thought my water had broken. Still silence. “LUCAS!!!!” I yelled, filling the house with both panic and excitement, and was finally met with a groggy response.
 “What is it?”
“I think...um...I think my water broke?” I heard the bed creak from down the hallway and tired footsteps approach the bathroom. He stepped in and turned on the light. “I think my water broke,” I repeated hesitantly.

“Okay, well...are you sure? Should we go to the hospital?”
“Um...hold on. Let me put on a pad and try to walk around awhile.” I stood up, crouching over the toilet a little to reach the pads from the bottom cabinet and was met with another forceful *GUSH!* I sat back down, eyes wide, and looked up at Lucas. He returned my gaze knowingly. There was no denying it had begun.

I put on my “not messing around” pad, and got dressed as Lucas packed up the car to head to the hospital. I called Tom, our OB, with whom we were supposed to enjoy Jimmy John's and swimming that Saturday afternoon. Tom's very obviously tired response was, “Oh, okay. Go to the hospital and they'll call me when they need me.” Thankfully he was much more awake when we saw him 9 hours later when I was almost ready to start pushing!

We arrived at the hospital with contractions 3 to 5 minutes apart and 45 seconds to 1 minute long; they were getting stronger, too. I could tell this was going to be a “speedster” labor and girded my loins for the work ahead.

And what work it was! We checked into our room and got hooked up on monitors briefly to confirm the contractions. We told the nurses our plan for a labor that was “as natural as possible, barring any unforeseen circumstances” and that I did not ever want to be asked my pain scale; I wanted to think of this labor as hard work, not as pain. I walked around and tried some different things (laying, exercise ball, “slow dancing”) for two hours to find out what worked for me to manage the contractions. But of course, nothing ever goes to plan.

Two hours into labor, baby spun into position for delivery while they were monitoring contractions and heartbeats (we were doing intermittent monitoring up until this point), and they lost baby's heartbeat. Immediately three nurses were in the room and I was flipping and flopping all over the bed as they tried to find it.

“Roll over. Now the other way. Okay, hun, we need you on your side now. (hushed) We still can't find it.”
“I can still feel baby moving. It's okay, he or she just shifted. It's okay,” I tried to tell them, but they seemed to think the situation was dire. They asked for permission to monitor baby internally to assure he or she was safe, and we agreed to the intervention. They screwed the tiny internal monitor into his scalp and, what do you know? Baby was absolutely fine, he had just shifted!

After that, I was on constant monitoring and basically chained down to the bed. It was then that I found that the ONLY – literally the O-N-L-Y – comfortable position was on all fours on the inclined bed, rocking forward and backward to remind myself to breathe deeply through each flexing of that big old bag of muscles that was working to rocket our baby into the world.

And so I stayed in that position. FOR EIGHT HOURS.

My knees were weak. My arms and hands were falling asleep. I was only getting between 10 and 20 seconds of rest between each contraction. I was exhausted and at my lowest reserve emotionally. At 6 centimeters and 7 hours into labor (5 hours in the hands-and-knees position), I started doubting my ability to bring this little miracle into the world.

“I can't do this. I can't do it for five or 6 or 7 or 8 more hours, Lucas, I can't,” I heard myself saying. “I am too tired. I am just too tired.” I don't know if I really meant it or just wanted encouragement. Either way, Lucas heard the call and stepped up to the plate.

“Sarah, you were serious as soon as we got to the hospital. You can do it Honey, I love you. You can surely make it. We're so close now. You don't need those drugs. You can do it Honey.” He was my rock. My cheerleader. My comforter. He continued standing at my bedside for the next 3 hours, putting on and taking off a heating pad on my lower back, giving me my “smells” (essential oil blends I had made for myself in advance for each stage of labor), and lightly fingertipping and rubbing my back. 

As labor progressed and the contractions got more intense, I was no longer happy to have his calm, soft voice helping me relax. Instead, I wanted him to “MATCH MY INTENSITY!!!!!”, as I put it so lovingly. It was then that the “Pagan chanting” began, as Lucas called it. After he told me I was almost there, I was determined to work with my body to make this part of labor as efficient as possible. So, with each contraction, I made lots of noise on the exhale. It went a little something like this: 
Rear back – Inhale – Propel forward – Exhale on “Haaaaaaaaaa!”

Rear back – Inhale – Propel forward – Exhale on “Hooooooooo!”

After awhile, even that wasn't enough, so I started using words instead of just sounds...

Rear back – Inhale – Propel forward – Exhale on “OPEEEEEEEEN!”

Rear back – Inhale – Propel forward – Exhale on “BOOOOOOOOY!”

Rear back – Inhale – Propel forward – Exhale on “GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL!” 

Also uttered were “God,” “God help me,” “Baby,” “God be with me,” and “Love.” It must have been quite a scene!

Finally, I felt like I needed to push. When Tom arrived to check things out, I was stuck at 8 centimeters but every contraction felt like a pushing contraction. A few of them I couldn't hold back and my body pushed for me as I shook uncontrollably. I literally could not stop shaking through those strong ones, but honestly, it felt good to let my body take over like that and not try to hold it back. So, when I felt contractions like those coming on, I just rode them like a wave. 

I vaguely remember Lucas, Tom, and my nurse Monica talking about juggling at one point. As another contraction came on, I was quiet because I was focusing on the conversation until the end of the contraction, at which point I let out a sound that I can only equate to a cow lowing. It surprised me even! Three nurses came in, one of them saying, “Boy, does that sound like a woman at 10 centimeters or what?!” I remember asking to see Tom juggle while they helped me roll over to check me again (rolling over during a contraction sucks). I was checked and it was discovered that I was FINALLY 10 centimeters and ready to push.

I pushed on my back for awhile, until I came *thisclose* to passing out. They gave me oxygen and fluids, but the room kept closing in. FINALLY they realized that I needed to be moved to my side because I had been putting too much pressure on my vena cava if I was on my back at this point (woops). Pushing was a bit of a learning curve, but I have to admit it was by far the easiest part of the whole labor process. It wasn't nearly as mentally exhausting as trying to relax through strong contractions, and it felt great to finally be able to work with my body. I did get a little frustrated toward the end because each contraction got three pushes, but only one really moves baby forward, and I was so ready to meet him or her! This part of natural labor was literally three steps forward, two steps back! 

All told, I ended up pushing for two hours before we finally got to meet our little man. I got to feel his little hairy head as he crowned, and got a last-minute conservative pressure episiotomy to avoid a tear. After the episiotomy, he was born in two easy pushes. It was AMAZING to see his little wriggly body emerge just after his head and not feel a thing because such strong, loving, wonderful emotions took over! 

It's a little boy!” Lucas announced with tears in his eyes. “It's a boy, honey!” 
Oh, Lucas, we have our little Baby Boy! Oh, Baby Boy! It's (name)!!” Baby Boy started crying as soon as he was born and Lucas got to (very unceremoniously, as he recalls) cut the umbilical cord. Baby Boy got a very high APGAR score, and was immediately given to me for skin-to-skin contact and nursing (after he was done crying, lifting his head up, and looking around).

He was (and still is!) PERFECT. All of the uncertainty from abnormal sonogram measurements was entirely unnecessary! I began singing “'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” as Lucas stood by the bed crying, stars in our eyes as we gazed down at our little wonder.

Our sweet baby boy was officially brought into the world at 12:15pm on Saturday, July 6th, 2013. He was 6lbs, 15oz with light brown hair and adorable webbed second and third toes on his left foot. Look out, WCHS swim team – you have a future champion over here!

 
Now, two months later, we're finally getting into the swing of things. Baby Boy hates not being held (so as you can imagine, it's really hard to go to the bathroom throughout the day...), loves napping on our chests, enjoys listening to Daddy play guitar, and LOVES talking/singing. He's really discovered his voice these past few days and it is so cute! He is a pretty gassy baby and was very "colicky" those first few weeks, but we're over the 6 week hump now and hopefully getting better now that we've got a few things figured out: 

1) Mommy's milk supply is starting to finally get under control. Well, either that or Baby Boy is just learning how to handle a major abundance of milk. I have an oversupply (seriously I could feed an army of babies), which was causing extreme gassiness in the beginning. Block feeding has done wonders to make sure he gets an equal balance of foremilk and hindmilk, but it still has done nothing to adequately reduce my supply. If this oversupply persists past 3 months, it just means my body is super stoked to make milk, and I'll be pumping and freezing for him or donating to a local milk bank. 

2) We've finally been referred to a pediatric dentist to take a look at his tongue tie. A tongue tie just means that the baby's frenulum is too tight and is causing poor sucking patterns. This makes the little one take in a lot of air when they feed, causing lots of gas pains and reflux issues. 

3) Little Tummies Gas Relief Drops and Colic Calm used in conjunction with each other have been lifesavers for our little man, and help his little belly feel tons better.

The past two months have been such a whirlwind, but I feel like he's always been in our lives. Maybe it's because my life revolves around him and his around me, but it really is difficult to imagine what life was before him.
Baby Boy
I am so happy to be a stay-at-home Mom with my little buddy and so, SO blessed and thankful I get to spend every day with him – even the bad ones. But honestly, even the bad ones have their shining moments! 
Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with blogging the way I had hoped to as he grows, but for now, I'm lucky to get a shower in!

Until Baby Boy lets me write again...