Wednesday, April 29, 2009

post pile-up

I've done that thing where you wait too long to post and then what you meant to say isn't even applicable anymore. In my defense, every time I sit down to write something, I'm interrupted by a needy baby. And I thought I had trouble finding time to blog before he arrived! Then, Elliot and I hopped on a plane and spent 10 days visiting family and friends up and down the west coast. Somehow we managed to stay with the half a dozen relatives that have no internet. (I say this as if I'd have had time to blog anyway - ha!) Fortunately, I've saved several partial posts during my hiatus so the sentiments are belated, but not lost altogether:

The cold, hard truth (4/6/09)

I've been agonizing over if and how to write this post. It feels wrong to think these things, let alone record them somewhere, but... that's kind of the point, oddly enough.

Life with a newborn is hard - unbelievably, ridiculously crazy-hard. I don't know if no one told me this before he came (I mean really told me), or if they did and I didn't listen, or if I had some crazy notion that how long and how badly we wanted him would insulate us during the rough patches. I suspect the latter. However it came to pass, I was unprepared for how this experience has unfolded.

Please don't think for a minute that I don't know how lucky I am. I'm living the dream, or at least I'm supposed to be. I have the one thing I've been working for for the past three years. Knowing all of this makes me feel even worse when the negative thoughts creep in. It's a strange dichotomy: Loving him so much it hurts and being deeply grateful that he's here and he's ours, and at the same time feeling terrified that I'm just not cut out for parenthood. I know it will get easier, but right now we're all feeling the strain. 

Co.lic: The-only-child-maker (4/11/09)

It's been a rough week. We've been playing the "is it or isn't it" game for a while now, trying to determine if E's reflux had evolved into col.ic or we were just wimps. Well a few days ago, our question was answered: No, we hadn't experienced true co.lic just yet, but boy did it come to town the other night. And at that point, the difficulties we'd experienced thus far were a blissful memory.

On Wednesday night, Elliot screamed inconsolably for five straight hours with no breaks. I kid you not. I think he only stopped because he physically couldn't stay awake anymore. It was one of the worst nights of my life. M and I were doing everything in our power to soothe him and it wasn't even scratching the surface. We pulled out the secret weapon we'd been saving for a night like that (the final OTC remedy our pediatrician recommended) and I swear it made it worse. He was in agony and there was nothing we could do to help him. It reached a point where it seemed like us simply touching him made it worse. I'm pretty sure there are few things worse than watching your child suffer. The next day, we obtained and started a prescription treatment and - knock on wood - things seem to have improved. He's still uncomfortable, but M and I are able to calm him a bit and help him through it. We've been advised never to count our chickens - apparently the palliative effects of this treatment can be outgrown in a week or two so we may be adjusting dosages and so forth before too long.

On the same day that E started his medication, I started one of my own. It turns out the misery I've been chalking up to normal c-sec.tion recovery has actually been the result of a side effect from the drugs they gave me for my infection. I'm only a couple of days into my antibiotics but I feel better already. It had gotten to a point where I was terribly dehydrated and had no energy - I could make it through a shower, but I'd have to sit down to brush my hair and teeth because I was too wiped out to stand any longer. Peeling myself off the couch to tend to the crying baby felt impossible. I didn't realize how much my physical limitations were impacting my mood until they lifted. I feel like a different person already and I'd say I'm only 40-50% recovered.

I'm a fan of month #2 (4/16/09)

We're only a couple of days in but E's transformation during that brief period has been amazing. He's started smiling in earnest (and often!) in response to our voices and faces, tracking us with his eyes, spending more consecutive time sleeping and awake, and all sorts of other fun stuff. I feel like the person he is going to be is starting to unfold in place of the brand new baby we couldn't relate to or communicate with. His refl.ux continues to improve and our quality of life is being pulled up along with it. I hope this trend continues


And now, today...

I have tons to say about our trip (super plane traveler, long stretches of sleep somewhere other than my arms, and laughing - oh my god, the laughing is the best freaking thing ever) but M's headed out for the evening which means I have to go back on baby duty and he's not going for the swing at the moment. I also have a birth story to share, or I will soon, at least. I'm feeling rather ashamed of myself now that vee has part 1 of hers posted (good for you, vee!!) and I've got to get with the program before it's gone from my memory altogether. Maybe this weekend...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not dead...

...just wrapping up a 10 day trip with no Internet access. I'm only able to post this because this lucky girl is the proud owner of a new

I'll be back in front of a computer on Tuesday, at which point much blog updating, reading and commenting shall commence!

Friday, April 3, 2009

long story about a long night

Last night was a rough one, and it had very little to do with the kiddo.

M and I went out on a date last night, leaving the E man alone for the first time since the special care nursery. My parents are only in town for a few more days and we decided to take advantage of the availability of trustworthy babysitters to have a warm, uninterrupted dinner somewhere other than our couch. It was awesome.

I decided to take the first shift of baby duty and had him tucked in a little after 11pm. I woke up around 1am to tend to a situation of my own. (There have been some particularly unglamorous aspects of my recovery. I'll spare you the details, except to say that one of them wakes me during the night with some regularity and... um, urgency, as if I need anything else waking me up at night these days.) It was too early to wake Elliot up and too close to his next feeding for me to go back to sleep, so I kept myself up for a half hour or so, checking my email and remembering my former life where 1am and my conscious self rarely crossed paths. While I was stalling, the dog asked to go out so I let her, but on the way back in, our (indoor) cat slipped past me and disappeared into the darkness. Damn it.

I woke Elliot up and settled in for a marathon nursing session*. We finished up around 2:45am and I dozed off in the chair I was sitting in. Around 3:30am, I woke up to the dog whimpering at the door - her standard signal that the bad cat has returned and would like to be let in. With glasses and lights off and baby in arms, I opened the door for the cat who scurried by both the dog and I and down the basement stairs, then locked up and tucked everyone in to sleep for a little while. A few minutes later, I heard a terrible squealing sound coming from the basement. In my dazed, sleep-deprived state, I convinced myself I'd dreamed it... until I heard it again. Each time our dog would jump up off the couch (where she and I were sleeping) and run around to find the source, but she returned baffled each time. I finally realized that our cat had brought some kind of critter in and was presently torturing it in our basement, but a combination of exhaustion and fear prevented me from going down to check it out. I'd hear a squeal every 5-10 minutes and after each one I'd think, "Thank god. At least now he's killed it." I would - obviously - prefer that our cat not catch small prey animals to start with, but once caught, I feel the kindest thing would be for him to put them out of their misery as quickly as possible. I guess I was being overly optimistic because each time I thought that, I'd hear the sound a few minutes later. Cats suck.

At 4am, when it became apparent our stupid cat intended to keep this up all night, I went in to wake up my braver better half so she could deal with the situation. I apologized for waking her up with quite possibly the most awful task there is, but explained that I couldn't cope with this situation with all of my wits about me, let alone having been awake for the last three hours. I heard the sound once right after I woke her up and it sounded closer. She asked if I was sure it was in the basement and I said that's where the cat had gone. Then the sound came again and I swear it sounded as if it was in the freaking room with us. M jumped up at that point and turned the light on. Just outside our bedroom door was our bastard cat... and the baby bunny he was carrying through the dark house.

M managed to get the cat away, scooped the bunny up in a towel and gave him a once over. (I told you she was brave.) She declared his injuries "not that bad" and took him outside where she tucked him into a protected area of our yard to give him the best shot possible. I never saw him myself but apparently he wasn't even that little. It's amazing our stupid cat could even pick him up, and need I remind you he brought him into the house past me and our dog? I was mortified and apologized over and over to M who declared that she could easily have made the same mistake. This cat is 6 years old and has never brought anything into our house before and either one of us would have bet money his hunting skills weren't up to it anyway. I didn't even think to check for cargo when I let him in, but I certainly will from this point forward.

I headed back to the couch and found that our dog had settled herself squarely atop the blanket I'd abandoned in a pile when I went to get M earlier. I elbowed her and told her to move at which point our comically-submissive-wouldn't-hurt-a-fly dog growled at me. Like, a real growl! I nearly died of shock, and then I got really mad. I stood up and demanded that she get off the couch, which she wouldn't. She stared back at me with her ears pressed against her head and her tail tapping nervously but she wouldn't budge. I yelled (well, whisper-yelled on accounta the sleeping baby) at her that she was out of her mind and if she didn't come to me right that second I'd kill her and blah, blah, blah. Eventually, she slipped off the couch and sulked down the hall to our bedroom. At this point, I started to worry about how atypical her behavior was. Was she guarding something? Had the cat brought in something else that she'd buried in my blanket?! Stupid, I know, but I was tired and on edge and the last thing I wanted was to flop back down on the couch and feel something furry at my feet. So I pulled all the pillows and blankets off the couch and shook them out in the middle of the room - nothing, of course. I remade my "bed" and settled back into it, albeit shakily. I think I drifted back to sleep around 5am. Aaaaand, Elliot woke up around 5:30am to start the next (marathon) feed.

I am sooo tired today.

I have more interesting things to report on but I'm tired. Did I mention that already? I'll be back soon, I promise.

*Did I mention he has reflux? He has reflux. This blows. The poor kid spent two nights writhing in agony before we figured out what was up. It's pretty well-managed at the moment (knock on wood) but his comfort requires that I pull him off the boob every 5 minutes for burping, and hold him fully upright for 30-60 minutes after each feeding. The feedings that used to take us 20 minutes now take 40-50 and must be followed by at least a half hour of sitting in a chair. It's not so bad during the day, but it really sucks during the wee hours of the morning.