For anyone wondering, the complete absence of posts for two weeks was due to Jack being born and me losing the ability to use my hands for anything other than holding the baby. He won’t sleep in anything safe, like the crib or the bassinet. He’ll only sleep occasionally in the napper (unsafe: too cushy, inclined) or in our arms, and in our arms means WE don’t sleep.
We’ve gotten lots of advice, and we’re trying lots of different things, but we’re basically resigned to being completely exhausted for the first couple of months. And hello, we KNEW that – we’ve watched plenty of movies and TV and we have lots of friends and family who have gone through this – but there’s a difference between knowing about it and experiencing it. It’s a combination of “I would give anything for a decent few hours’ sleep” and “no, I can’t put this baby down, I HAVE to hold him so he knows I love him, and if that means I don’t sleep, then I don’t sleep.”
“How am I able to type this now?”, you ask, reasonably curious after what I just said. Well, I’ll tell you. Half an hour ago, he fell asleep in my arms while nursing. I swaddled him first, using the first blanket we got that was actually large enough for him, and I managed to get him from my arms into the pack and play bassinet without fuss. We’ve done that before, but he never lasts more than five minutes or so. As of right now, we’re going on 40 minutes napping in the bassinet, and even if he wakes up right now (he’s stirring, so he might), I’m going to count this as a win. We just need him to do it at night.
Also, it might have been smart of me to take that 40 minutes and nap myself, but…who said I was smart?
Baby John, henceforth to be known as Jack, was born on 9/26/18 at 8:36pm (Wednesday night, after we arrived at the hospital with labor in full swing about 2:15 Wednesday morning). He weighed 9 lbs even (John says it was actually 9 lbs and .2 oz) and was 21.5 inches long. (Apparently, I was also 21.5 inches long at birth, but I only weighed 6 lbs, 13oz.) He’s a giant. Also, babies typically lose a little weight after birth and it usually takes 10 days to 2 weeks to gain it back. When we left the hospital, he weighed just under 9 lbs (I don’t remember the exact weight). We left on Sunday. On Monday, at his first doctor’s appointment, he weighed 9 lbs, 1 oz. So….already gained it back. And then on Thursday, he weighed 9 lbs, 10.5 oz. Today, at 13 days old, he weights 10 lbs, 9.5 oz, gained an inch in length and half an inch around his head. This is a large baby.
He’s wonderful. Even if he does still look like a grumpy old man.
Damn it, I have to solve a picture size issue before I can upload anything. I PROMISE I will do that real soon.
D-Day +3. No change from my perspective, but I saw the doctor today, there’s some progress the details of which I will not go into because really, people, I’m sharing plenty already, and I have another appointment on Friday (assuming there’s no baby by Friday). If induction is in my future, the earliest would be Saturday, and we’ll make the decision at the appointment on Friday. There. Everyone’s up to date.
We saw my least favorite doctor, but thankfully I liked her much better today. I don’t know what’s different, but I’m glad something was.
It’s tired, and I’m rainy…and that’s my brain right now, so I should stop before I embarrass myself further.
D-Day + 2, no change, but I have more confirmation that we have pretty great neighbors. My next-door neighbor was coming home from the gym as I was coming back from my walk, and she, being a nurse, was pretty reassuring and offered (again) to help when/if we need it. I saw our other immediate neighbors around lunchtime (Kevin and one of the (grown-up) kids) when I stopped by to give them some of last night’s cookie batch, and they insisted on sending me away with apples they picked this past weekend and admonishments to wash my hands as soon as I get home because Kerry has a cold and they don’t want me to get sick.
We’re now at D-Day + 1, which is not a thing I thought would happen. I mean, I’m aware that only about 5% of babies are born on their due date, so I wasn’t expecting to actually give birth ON SATURDAY. Maybe I was, subconsciously. I guess I thought I’d be early, if anything, right up until we got to the last week and there were no signs of impending doom imminent labor.
40 weeks of pregnancy is a long time, guys. I still feel good – I haven’t reached get-this-baby-out-of-me levels of irritation, but now I’m playing a waiting game, and it’s not my favorite. Clearly this baby is a procrastinator, just like us.
Being late has started a few conversations with strangers. We went for a walk on the beach Saturday night and this older guy stopped and asked when we’re due. “Today” is not the response people expect. “Yesterday” isn’t either, judging by the reactions I got from the women in the nail salon today. (I felt I was safe to take the car and leave John at home long enough to get a manicure and get some groceries.)
My back ached for a little bit this evening, but I’d just been bending over, putting groceries away and taking cookies out of the oven (I want to bring some to the neighbors as a thank you and I’m planning on bribing nurses. No, I’m not nesting.), so it could have been that. It wasn’t accompanied by contractions. We’ll see how tonight goes.
Another really NICE book, sequel to Mindtouch in the Dreamhealers series. More drama, but again, not a lot of action. More of the “Can Jahir survive in the career path he’s chosen? Will Vasiht’h be able to help?” kind of thing. Friends, found family, love but not sex.
It’s funny what mundane things we get excited about and which ones are just…mundane. We got two big boxes from Amazon the other day, both from ourselves, and neither of us could remember what we ordered. Starting mood: excited. Yay forgotten packages!
John opened the first one: a silverware drawer organizer and a salad spinner. Mood: still excited. Our silverware has been sliding around and getting all messed up in a drawer too small for the organizer we had, and we’re both tired of washing lettuce piece by piece.
John opened the second one: a little storage ottoman and rocking chair cushions. My mood: excited. We don’t have the rocking chair yet, but when it gets here (Monday?), I’ll have cushions to sit on and an ottoman to put my feet on. John’s mood: meh. I guess he’s too tough for cushions.
So for future reference, John’s happy about kitchen organization and super-bored by cushions. Noted.
Wednesday’s thought: I feel like a whale. A whale who never wants to leave the house because it’s too hard. I walked to the mailbox and back and regretted it. It takes me an hour to get up the stairs. I think I’ll just sit down.
Thursday’s thought: I got six hours of sleep IN A ROW. I feel great! Let’s go for a walk! Oh, look, the sun is shining! Have a chat with the neighbor! What a cute dog!
Oh, that reminds me. I dreamed about the dogs last night for the first time in a while. I woke up actually still able to feel the sensation of scratching behind Roxy’s ear. It’s sad (I miss them SO much) and not sad because I kind of got to visit them.
Friday morning: Middle ground. Six hours of sleep probably happened, but NOT in a row. Moving around isn’t as easy today as yesterday, but it’s possible (and easier once I’m upright). I went for a walk and it’s a beautiful morning, but today lacks yesterday’s exclamation points.
Tomorrow is D-Day. Supposed to be. I’m not counting on it.
What a pleasant surprise this was. I heard of it in a Tor.com article about books with ESP, and it’s certainly that, but it’s also just a really nice book. There’s no action, not a lot of drama. The characters are all aliens and engineered species, but it’s about people who are different finding each other and learning how to cope with new things and becoming friends. I was totally engrossed and happy to realize it’s the first in the Dreamhealers series.
There’s no question that I’m pretty big now. At my last appointment, the ultrasound tech estimated that the baby is over 8 lbs. This is not making me feel better about labor. Also not making me feel better? I can’t reach things. Last night, my eyelashes were trying to stab me in the eye again, so I tried to get close to a mirror to tweeze the offending bastards out, and I COULDN’T LEAN FAR ENOUGH OVER THE SINK. I washed some dishes today, and I had to stretch to reach the faucet because there’s this ENORMOUS WATERMELON in my way. And I can’t put it down.
On the brighter side, the itching is mostly gone (still somewhat present at night, but so much better). I don’t feel like I’m on the verge of amputating my feet anymore. I’m still not sleeping all that well, but I’m going to chalk that up to having to pee every 1-2 hours and general discomfort. And hey, let’s call it practice, since I won’t be sleeping more than an hour or two at a stretch for the foreseeable future anyway.
Saturday is the big day, although being this close without any signs doesn’t give me a lot of hope. Feels to me like I’m going to be late. (She says, leaning on all her experience.) I asked about how late they’d let me go without inducing, and they said we’ll talk about it if I reach 41 weeks. Yeah, well, I have an appointment at 40 weeks, 3 days – I’ll be asking about it then for sure.
I love Whitney Houston. I’ve loved her since my first grade teacher sang “The Greatest Love Of All” at the end of the year. I can’t say exactly when I got her first album and learned all the words to all of the songs, but I finished first grade in 1986, so let’s go with that summer. (The album came out in 1985, so that’s probably pretty close.)
Anyway, I still know all the words to every song on that album, and if I hear them on the radio, I will always sing along. The thing is, I don’t hear most of those songs very much anymore, and I’ve known them so long, I don’t really put much thought into them. The words just come out, like muscle memory.
That’s how I had an epiphany, in real time, while singing along to “Saving All My Love For You” in the car with John this past Sunday.
The song starts.
“A few stolen moments is all that we share”. My brain pricks up a bit. Why stolen? Why can’t they be together?
“You’ve got your family and they need you there.” Hang on a sec. Maybe she just means he has kids.
“Though I’ve tried to resist being last on your list” Could still be that he has kids…
“But no other man’s gonna do
So I’m saving all my love for you.” Inconclusive. But now I’m suspicious. Let’s see what happens next.
“It’s not very easy living all alone
My friends try and tell me find a man of my own.” Huh. He’s not hers. She’s having an affair with a married man!
Skip ahead to the third verse, and any question in my mind was answered:
“You used to tell me we’d run away together
Love gives you the right to be free
You said be patient just wait a little longer
But that’s just an old fantasy.”
How did I not know this? I can understand not getting it when I was 7, but I’ve known every word and note of this song for 32 years, and it NEVER OCCURRED TO ME to think about what it was about. Except to giggle inwardly when I got to “we’ll be making love the whole night through”.
I mean, it’s a fantastic song, and I still love her. (Heh. I will always love her.)
But what else have I been missing about my favorite songs?
The other day I posted about how no one has touched me without permission (except family) through this entire pregnancy.
I spoke too soon. THE VERY NEXT DAY someone did exactly that. It wasn’t a stranger, thank goodness, but not yet a friend. An acquaintance, someone who could become a friend. She’ll have to learn some boundaries first, though.
And what am I learning? I’m learning that I should keep things to myself. Stop tempting fate!
Okay, everyone, take a deep breath. You know who you are (and there are plenty of you). I love that you’re so excited, really I do, but I’m trying to stay calm. A day or two or three without blogging does not mean I’m in the hospital screaming bloody murder and wishing I’d never met John. Although it could mean that. And since you won’t know for sure, why get all worked up? Let’s be good to ourselves and practice our centering exercises and be all zen and shit. It’ll be healthier for you and it’ll help me, too.
I’m both ready (I don’t want to drag this labor thing out too long, you know?) and very NOT ready (labor and the few weeks after sound AWFUL, physically, and I REALLY don’t want to go through it), so the less I stress about it, the better.
Know what else I’ve been lucky about? No one – I mean NO ONE – outside of immediate family (they’re allowed) has tried to touch me during this pregnancy. I haven’t had to fend off ANY unwanted belly-rubbing. I’d been led to believe this was a problem I’d have to fight constantly. Maybe I’m giving off a stay-away-from-me-I-bite vibe. Or maybe Rhode Islanders understand personal space. Whatever the reason, I am NOT complaining.
You know what I don’t want to talk about? Itching. Because I’m still itching. And it’s kind of all I can think about. Even though I think it might be getting a tiny bit better.
So that means…well. Um.
We finally finished the online childbirth class. It was…underwhelming. And repetitive. But I’m super glad we took it online, at home, so we could make fun of the videos on our own. Much more entertaining that way.
My hospital bag is packed (mostly), the baby laundry has been re-washed using not-Dreft (which is under suspicion for possibly causing my itching), and we’ll probably install the car seat tomorrow.
I don’t think there’s anything left to do…but I’m not in a rush.
With a new house comes new stuff, even when we’re trying to avoid buying stuff. I mean, we’ve been buying (and receiving) PLENTY of baby stuff, but most of that is kind of necessary. But then we bought a new stove because the existing one was a fire hazard (our new one is so pretty!), and then – THEN – I may have gone a little overboard.
I knew I didn’t need it. I almost bought one months ago, but talked myself out of it. Too frivolous. I’ve lived without it for 39 years – I can live without it now.
Except, apparently, I can’t. There’s a coffee shop nearby that makes a chai latte that is the closest I’ve tasted to the BEST one I’ve ever had (from Shoe’s Cup and Cork in Leesburg). They specialize in coffee, not chai, so I asked them what mix they use for the chai and promptly ordered it. But that’s not all. Boiling water into a powdered chai mix doesn’t recreate the latte experience.
I ordered a milk frother.
I KNOW. I’ve become one of THEM. It makes my chai so good and frothy! I’ve gone off the deep end.
But that’s not all. You know what came yesterday? THIS!
I can hardly contain my glee, I love it so much. What’s next? Well, I’m eyeing these super-cute rocket and robot nightlights from Uncommon Goods for the baby’s room, but NO. THIS HAS TO STOP. They’re expensive and fall exactly in the category of things a baby doesn’t need (certainly not for that much money), especially when my salary is about to be cut in half, and we’ve been trying so hard not to accumulate things after three years of living light and damn it, I’m not going to ruin our streak because of night lights!
Maybe I shouldn’t say this (because of the possibility of jinxing – again – I swear I’m not ACTUALLY superstitious), but I’ve been pretty lucky this pregnancy. All of the classic symptoms and irritations, if I’ve had them at all, have been pretty mild. My version of morning sickness in the first trimester was just a terrible taste in my mouth for weeks on end. And sure, I complained plenty (it was disgusting), but it didn’t keep me from doing anything and it was WAY better than constant nausea or vomiting. I’ve been dealing with pregnancy brain (John just referred to it as my inability to function) when I need to eat, but I haven’t had ANY food cravings or aversions, I haven’t been terribly uncomfortable physically (even now, at 38 weeks), I’ve barely had any hot flashes, I’m not super tired, and any swelling has largely confined itself to my feet and mostly only happens on really hot days. That has changed a bit in the last week – my feet are almost constantly swollen now – but if that’s the worst, I can hardly complain.
The worst thing that has happened during this pregnancy isn’t pregnancy-related at all. We (me, John, the doctor) think I had a brush with poison ivy about a week ago. It’s mostly on my feet, maybe a little bit on my ankles and my fingers, and IT’S AWFUL AND I HATE IT AND WHEN WILL IT GO AWAY?
It’s a constant burning/itching that gets worse at night and nothing seems to help except soaking in cold water, but I can’t live my life with my feet in a tub and my hands in a bowl and JESUS CHRIST IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY. Also, I can’t sleep through it, and for the last week or so (since Saturday, maybe?) I haven’t slept more than an hour at a time until around 2am, when I get up to soak my feet for an hour or two, and then I’m able to sleep for 2-3 hours until I can’t anymore and I just get up. I have to fall asleep quickly, while my feet are still numb-ish, and if I accidentally rub them on something, it’s game over.
Weirdly, I’m not napping during the day and I don’t feel as exhausted as I should. Maybe I’m adapting early to the (lack of) sleep schedule I’m anticipating when the baby comes.
On the bright side, I’m getting a lot of reading done in those hours with my feet in the tub.
I have been really lucky in the mosquito bite department this summer. You all know how irresistible I am to those bastards, and from everything I’ve read, the increased blood flow from pregnancy is supposed to amp that up, but I’ve only been bitten two or three times the entire summer and that’s without using bug spray (mostly – I’ve used it here and there).
I realize it’s still summer and I’m totally jinxing myself, but I’ve been thinking it for months and how different is thinking it to myself versus writing it down when you get down to it? If I were going to be jinxed, it would have happened already is what I’m saying.
Although maybe my jinx has occurred, but in a sneakier form. More on that in a bit. Maybe tomorrow.
One of my tiny handful of mosquito bites was about six inches above my belly button. That bloodsucking jerk was trying to get at the delicious innocent goodness percolating in there! I found it one morning and also found that I took my revenge and killed the perpetrator by rolling over on it in my sleep. I don’t particularly like waking up to smushed mosquitoes in my bed level with my midsection, but at least it won’t strike again.
(Note the lengths to which I’m going to avoid saying “baby bump”. Not my favorite term. Too cutesy. But distended abdomen is a bit too clinical…)