Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Doesn't Your Mom Feed You

Jacob found the perfect halloween costume! After searching millions of websites and store shelves for a costume that actually fits him, we scored big time at Value Village. For just $4.99 my baby gets a bone-chilling, glowing emaciation body suit. If only I could don a skinny suit to lose those last 5 pregnancy pounds...



Now I just have to decide if he is cute or simply creepy. And will my mom think that I am taking up witchcraft and death and devil worship?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Whole Point of Staying Home

I know that when you nurse your baby, you and the baby are supposed to share this wonderful moment of quality bonding time. But sometimes (after the initial five minutes of staring at his beautiful face, his big round eyes and his tiny ears) I get tremendously and painfully bored. Jacob eats about every three hours. Feeding him can take up to 40 minutes if you include burp time. That's a lot of time spent sitting on the couch thinking and worrying about all the things I need to clean, cook and pick up from the store as soon as we're finished.

Ok so what I'm really trying to do is justify a new bad habit solution that I've come up with. I've started to (gasp) catch up on tv shows while I nurse Jacob. I know. I know. I'm not going to win any awards with this one. I'm basically choosing to stare at a flashy screen instead of at my child. And I'm exposing Jacob to a habit of tv watching as a cure for boredom- not to mention exposing him to scenes of crude language and risque material. I'm no monster though, I cover his ears/eyes during really raunchy scenes...

So what exactly has stolen my attention from my son? Just the best shows ever.

- Desperate Housewives. I'm still catching up on Season 2 (the only season I haven't finished). So excited for the season premier (We don't get channel 4 so I have to wait until ABC posts the epidose on its website)!

- Dirty Sexy Money. I just recently stumbled upon this show and either I was super bored, it's rottingly addicting, or it's actually a good show because I watched all of Season One in a matter of days. Can I just say that I have the hugest crush ever on attorney Nick George? Anyway who doesn't like a show about the endless problems of the rich and snooty?

- Californication. This has to be the most clever shows I've ever been addicted to. The writing is great and the material is hilarious. It's slightly dark, very sexy and 100% funny. David Duchovny is hot in this show and his character is charming, rough, hilarious and unforgettable. I'm kicking myself that I have to wait to see the season premier because we don't get Showtime. ARG!

I'm running out of things to watch now though. I'll have to dabble in something new this week. Any suggestions (nothing scary, gorey or medical)? TV...it's like one of the main reasons I decided to stay home.

No Sleep, No Worries...Yet

I can't believe I haven't found the time to blog at all this week. But I guess that's how it goes when you're constantly walking around in a sleepless, spit-up covered daze.

You know that sound bit of advise that suggests that you sleep when your baby sleeps? That little tid bit of knowledge is for people who don't have insomnia, who can easily nap during daylight hours when so many other exciting things are going on in the world (why nap when I can take a trip to WalMart to count the number of people wearing sweat pants?) and people without family.

Jacob and I either HAD visitors or WERE visitors for every day this week. And of course, Jacob only wanted to sleep when we were visiting. I don't think it would have been very polite for me to have excused myself for a nap while visiting people I only see twice a year. I don't get how Jacob can sleep so soundly while he is being passed from person to person and yet, the second I get home and lay him down in his cozy bassinet, he is startled awake.

I think this week I will shut myself off from the world of well-wishing family and friends and just chill with Jacob. He meets so many new people each day who want to hold him and pass him around, I feel like we need to just get settled into a normal routine.

Also this week, I had my first "I'm such a bad mom" scare. I was trying to cook tandoori chicken while Jacob was in his swing. He got fussy right when I was putting the spices together for the chicken. I picked him up and tried to multi-task. The second I was trying to measure out 1 teaspoon of chili powder, Jacob jiggles his arm and sent powder flying all over the kitchen AND his face! I was so lucky that it missed his eyes and his mouth. I managed to carefully wipe him off without any problems, but seriously, can you imagine how awful things could have turned out?!?!
My Guys: I love spending the weekend with these two :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Creative Ways to Keep It Hot

Our awesome 1910 house (no, that's not the address, that's the year it was built!) has little to no insulation. Obviously, this is a problem in the winter (and summer and fall and spring). But the biggest problem is not the house, it's my husband. He pays the bills right now and he has me on strict thermostat control. Though the inside temperature may be nearing 15 degrees F, I cannot turn on the thermostat until October 1st and even then, the thermostat is not to exceed 65 degrees. If I were to break my husband's precious rule, I would probably risk having to do my own laundry for the rest of my life.

So now that we have a baby, we have to figure out how to keep him warm at night. I've been putting together a list of creative, thrifty ideas...

1. Wrap baby in an aluminum emergency blanket.

2. Duct tape a cat on each side of baby to help generate more body heat (good thing we have two cats!)

3. Stick heat patches on his abdomen, legs and arms and replace every 4-6 hours.

4. Buy a reptile heat lamp to assemble above baby's bassinet.

5. Invest in a space heater.

I think we'll go with number 5.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Diaper Rash

Never in my entire life had I imagined I would be lathering large quantities of lube to any guy's butt.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fussy


Jacob has been fussy all day. This is really the first time he has been fussy since we brought him home. He's usually so content and happy. When he's awake he'll happily take in his surroundings. While it can take a while to get him to fall asleep- he rarely cries. While I rock him, he stares at me with his big grey/blue eyes until they slowly droop into peaceful slumber.

But yesterday he was circumsized and he hasn't been his normal peaceful self since. I'm not 100% sure why we decided to have him circumsized. It's just something both of our families do. It's in the Bible and while I know it might be silly to base medical procedures on old traditions, there is something comforting about that. My husband (who had to go through it all when he was a baby) jokes that he doesn't want his son to have bigger "boy parts" than him. Anyway, there was never really a question whether or not we would do it- it was just something we both assumed.

At the doctor's office, I think I cried as much as he did. I was so scared all day about the procedure. At home I held him and got him dressed and felt so bad knowing that he had to go through it all. I almost called the office and cancelled the procedure. I just couldn't handle putting him through it.

When we got to the doctor's office, they took his stats. He is now 9lbs 4oz and 21 inches long! He gained 11 oz in one week! He still has incredibly long thin legs and arms but his tummy is getting a little bulginess- it's so adorable to see his little milk gut. Then the doctor started explaining to me about the procedure. Right when she got to the part about havivng to strap down his arms and legs, I started tearing up. I tried to be brave, but the tears rolled uncontrollably down my face. I was ok again, until they took his naked little body out of my arms and walked out the door. I felt so helpless. All I wanted to do was wrap him in warm clothes and protect him. It was gut-wrenching.

It turned out alright but his little boy parts are swollen and are giving him some grief today. So during all his awake time today, he has been completely fussy. His face scrunches up and he starts to wail for no apparent reason (other than the fact that his wee wee got the chop chop and is now red and swollen). It's been difficult to get him to take any naps. He won't just sit in his chair and watch me do chores/make dinner like he usually does. He wants to be held all the time.

I've had my fair share of experience with fussy babies during my babysitting years...but what I learned today is that it's totally different hearing your own baby's piercing wails. It's simply heart breaking. All I can do is rock him and wait it out until he heals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Night Sweats

Woah. Woah. Woah.

No one ever told me I'd sweat like an Eskimo in Death Valley after my baby was born. I vaguely remember reading online that women lose water weight by sweating post partum. But I do not recall any book/website/unsolicited advisor telling me that I would sweat buckets while I slept at night.

I feel so gross! I'm fine during the day- even walking around outside in hot weather. But each time I wake up at night to feed Jacob, I find myself covered in a thick sticky layer of blubbery water weight sweat. My hair will be drenched. A pool of sweat would have collected between my massive Astroboobs- is that a flea doing the backstroke in my boob pool? When I sleep on my side the layers of clothing between my legs are sopping wet. In desperation, I used the edge of my bedsheet to try to wipe the warm, smelly sweat drops off my forehead. Hours later, that part of my sheet is still pretty damp.

This is seriously insane. It's HAS to be wrong for a human to sweat this much. This isn't a mild symptom to be casually included among a list of post partum discomforts...this is the kind of thing that deserves a whole page-worth of mentioning in a baby book.

I've been trying to beat the night sweats by sleeping in as little clothing as possible. The only outcome is that the sweat that would have drenched my clothing just pools all over my skin. Good thing Jacob doesn't care what his mommy smells like at 3:00am in the morning. I sure wouldn't want to suckle off a hot sweaty boob for my breakfast.



Saturday, September 13, 2008

A New Mother's Perspective

There's nothing like a fresh life to remind you of the temporal quality of everything.

In the barely two weeks since Jacob's birth, I've already watched him transform. He seems to change a little every day and it reminds me that he will not be a baby forever. Isn't it too early for me to have to worry about this?

I'm so amazingly happy in this twenty-something, newly married, baby making phase of my life and that also makes me terribly sad. I can't escape from the stinging realization that this won't last forever. This phase of my life will end and I will move on to the next. I'll watch my kids grow, become their own persons, and then move on. The next phase might be equally great, but it won't be the same.

This became even more apparent when my mom left after her one week stay at our house. The night before she left she craddle Jacob in her arms and started to cry. She said that taking care of him had brought back so many happy memories of when we were babies. She had bonded with him the past week and had to remind herself that Jacob was not hers. It nearly killed me to see her cry like that. As she walked out the door and said goodbye to Jacob, all I could think about was how hard it must have been for her to leave Jacob and to have nothing but memories to hold onto. I realized then that gradually I will also have to say goodbye to Jacob the baby. And eventually, when he grew up, I'd have to let him go.

I can't imagine how sad it will be to not hear Jacob's sweet sleeping baby sounds and grunts. To not feel him curl up when I hold him against my chest. Jacob is like a little ticking clock reminding me that no day is the same and that you can't stop time from passing.

I'm trying to use this unavoidable perspective on time and life to make the most of each second that I have. If all we have are a finite number of seconds left on this planet, I want to make sure that I'm appreciating each one and taking everything in.

Either I've achieved a new awareness on life or... it's a mixture of the hormones and the drugs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Astroboobs

"Giving birth" (seems weird to use that phrase when the doctors sliced me open and pulled the baby out) not only brought me a baby. It brought me my own precious pair of Astroboobs.

I had no idea boobs could inflate so much overnight. It's like the boob fairy popped by one night after Jacob was born and sprinkled me with boob dust. Hey I'm not going to complain. Oh wait. Yes I am. While my pre-pregnancy, boob-envious, AA self would never have fathomed complaining of D sized Hooters-worthy knockers, this is not entirely what I had imagined.

I mean, they serve an actual purpose. A very unsexual purpose. While Jacob surely appreciates them, they really do me no good right now. (TMI ALERT) I have no sex drive. Even if I did, there's nothing I could do about it for the next couple weeks- doctor's orders. I can't even show them off to my husband because everytime I expose one, I put the population in jeopardy of a world wide milk flood. And um, they're HARD, not the soft and squishy brand of boob that I'm particularly fond of.

The one plus about Postpartum Astroboobs: I look great in any shirt. And for once in my life, I have a larger rack than my sister. And seriously, in the world of sister rivalry, what else matters?

And just because I'm obsessed with posting pictures of Jacob (a.k.a. Stinky, Tooter, Mr. Poops, and Binky Man)...




Thursday, September 11, 2008

Restless

I'm ready to be independent again.

Since I got home from the hospital last Saturday my mom has been staying with us. While it's been great having her here, especially at night, I'm so ready to have my house and my family to myself again.

I'm excited and ready for the three of us to spend alone time together. I'm ready to start getting into a new routine taking care of Jacob on my own during the day. I'm ready for some down time- I'm not used to having someone with me twenty four hourse a day. As much as I value her advice and experience, I need breathing room and a chance to try things out on my own. And if I have to tell her one more time that "no, I don't want to take a nap," I think I will scream.

On the other hand, I'm still not completely recovered. I'm still reliant on vicodin and monstrous doses of IB Profen. I still can't lift Jacob when he's in his car seat/carrier and I'm still pretty slow about getting in and out of bed and chairs. I hate being so helpless! I'm a very independent person and having to ask people to do things for me makes me feel so claustrophobic.

In other news, Jacob has been spending more time awake. This means more play time! He's so much fun to watch and I love when he just stares at me as if he were intently studying my every feature. It's amazing how well he already knows my voice and how he can distinguish it from the voices of other people. It's truly awesome to have such an important and distinguished role in his life.


Sorry but I'm obsessed with taking picture of Baby Jacob- what a fun model :)



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm A Happy Mess

Lately I've been suffering from some sort of emotional postpartum high. I'm constantly on the verge of tears...but not the sad, depressed kind. Every little thing reminds me how much I love my little baby and my husband.

I'm already sad that he's going to grow too fast. The newborn stage has always been my favorite. I love how Jacob still curls up into a little ball, so small and unimposing. I love Jacob's rythmic heavy breathing against my neck and his quiet peaceful slumber. Right now he needs me for everything and I'm so happy to give it all to him.

I'm so happy, it's indescribable. The only way I can express it is through quiet gentle tears.

*Just reading this post for editing made me cry to the point of near dehydration*

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can't Get Enough Of You Baby


This baby is SO GOOD. So far he only wakes up once during the middle of the night to eat and then waits until 7am for his breakfast. I'm totally being spoiled.

I've heard a lot of pregnant women say that they are already completely in love with their unborn babies. I've heard them comment about how they are amazed they could fully love someone they have never even met.

I really wanted to feel that way when I was pregnant. I wanted to feel that sense of total enamoration and fall in love with the baby growing inside me. But the truth is, I just couldn't. It was amazing seeing pictures of him, listening to his heart beat and feel him moving around. But he just didn't seem real. At least not like a real person. I kept thinking that if I had to chose between saving my husband or the baby- I would chose my husband in a heartbeat. I felt like an awful person for thinking that way but I just didn't feel the maternal love.

The second I held him in my arms, everything changed. While it still seems surreal that the two of us actually created another human, the connection and love is there now and stronger than I ever imagined. Everything I sacrificed for nine months and everything I went through during his birth to bring Jacob into the world has culminated into the bond I feel now. The bond just wasn't complete until he actually arrived. Now when I look at him and see parts of me and parts of my husband in his features, I fully realize how he is both a physical part of us and his own unique person.





The ability to create life is the most amazing gift given to us by whatever Greater Power is out there. It's breathtaking that we can participate in the process of creation. Nothing I ever do in my life will be able to top this experience. I'm totally overwhelmed.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Healing

(Daddy and Jacob- more pictures to come tomorrow)

They took the staples out of my incision today. It's good knowing that I am a staple-free person now. It also feels good to wear regular (non-mesh) panties for the first time in a week. It's still hard to get dressed each morning because basically the ony thing stretchy enough to not rub against my incision is sweat pants. So I'm stuck with my grandfather's wardrobe of choice. At least I don't wear flannel.

To tell this like a real war story I have to brag that I had 19 staples holding my guts together. Pleasant.

Then Jacob had his doctor's appointment. He's amazing. He isn't fussy at all- I feel so lucky. The only time he ever cries is when I negect to feed him in a timely manner because I'm doing super important things like blogging and checking Facebook or staring jealously at the fully stocked wine cupboard (almost off my meds and then I can partake!).

Jacob weighed 8lb 8oz when he was born. He dipped down to 7lb 14oz in two days but when we left the hospital he was back up to 8lb 6oz. That was two days ago. Today he weighed a whopping 8lb 11oz! He's got an appetite! My doctor said most babies take a couple weeks to get back to their birth weight and Jakie has already surpassed his.

Then there's his head. His wonderful head with it's world record breaking circumference. The doctor told me that average newborn have 34-35 cm heads. Jacob Palmer has a 38 cm head. OMG. No wonder I needed a c-section.

And I can't complete this post without mentioning that this kid has the worst case of flatulence. He'd be a good contender in an adult gas-passing competition. And he poops like crazy. I guess that's what babies do though right- eat, sleep, poop and use their large heads to plan gas attacks on the non-baby universe.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Still Can't Believe He's Mine











Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Husband, My Hero: An Incredibly Long Birth Story

So maybe I did all the work in this "birth" story but it's my husband who is the real hero.

Tuesday September 2nd, 2008 was the most traumatic day (and night) of my life, hands down- hands so far down that I'm actually stepping on them. I wish I could say it was the most miraculous, amazing day but none of those miraculous moments happened until hours past day's end.

As I was calmly awaiting my induction date, I started having contractions on Sunday night. Despite being quite uncomfortable, they were pretty random. I even stopped timing them and tried (key word) getting some sleep. I woke up with stronger contractions but they kept coming and going- they had absolutely no pattern at all. I suffered through them all day waiting for 9:00- the time I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital. As 9:00 approached, I remember feeling nervous, anxious, excited and terrified. It was an emotional day.

When we got to the hospital, it was oddly calm and organized. The nurses were prepped and ready, my room was set up and the front desk lady even announced "you must be Ms. Palmer" as I approached. I got tucked into the hospital bed and began the most horrifying experience of my life.

First came the IV. That hurt like a b*tch! I writhed in pain as they stuck that thing deep under my skin. The nurses put monitors around my belly and confirmed that I was indeed having contractins on my own but that, despite the intense pain, they were exteremly random in length, intensity and frequency. They offered me some morphine for the pain and, duh, I JUMPED at the offer- until they informed me that it was administered via needle. Into The Butt. OMG. The shot was seriously more painful than the contractions. But, at least, with the morphine, I was able to get some sleep.

When the morphine wore out a couple hours later, my contractions became completely unbearable. Like I thought my abdomen was going to explode with each one. Oddly enough, they were still coming on randomly. The first morphine shot hurt so much that I put off the second one for 45 minutes, choosing instead to suffer through the contractions. When they finally gave it to me (my poor butt) it did nothing! They checked me and noticed that I hadn't dialated AT ALL. WHAT?! After all that?! As awful as it was to go through the pain, I felt just as bad for my husband who stayed by my side for a lot of the night watching me writhe all over the hospital bed. He held my hand and told me it was going to be ok. I knew it was hurting him to watch me.

In addition to the IV sticking into me, I had two monitors on my belly, a catheder, and an internal monitor that was attached to the baby's head. This was BEFORE the epidural was placed in my back. I was a mess and so uncomfortable.

I got an epidural before they started the labor inducing drugs (and even though I was not dialated). I LOVE EPIDURALS. The numbing shot felt like a pin prick - the IV and morphine shots were 100 times worse. Then I felt great. No pain at all all. This began my love affair with the epidural. I could just barely feel my belly tighten with the most intense contractions but beside that, I was the most comfortable I had been in months! Things were starting to go well and the nurses kept commenting that I would have a baby by noon on Tuesday- just six hours away!

Then things went horribly wrong. I dialated all morning but then stopped at six centimeters. I was still having random contractions. Two together in a row and then a third five to ten minutes later. In hours I had made no progress. I started getting the chills with a fever of 101. Because of the fever, they had to keep giving me antibiotics through the IV. Then I had a large contraction and the baby's heart rate dipped from the 140s to 50 then back to normal again. The nurses started to fuss all over me and then gently explained that I might need a c-section. I did NOT take this well. I bawled all over the place and panicked. My poor husband kept trying to calm me down and reassure me. Looking back, I'm amazed at how strong he stayed for my sake. He held my hand and kissed my cheek. I would have realized again how much I loved him if the possibility of major surgery hadn't been dangling in my future.

Late Tuesday afternoon, my OB decided that we should wait things out if the baby's heart stayed strong. She increased the pitocin and said that if I made any progress in two hours, we could do a vaginal delivery. PHEW. I calmed down and prayed for more dialation with each contraction. Two hours later I had progressed to 8 centimeters! I was so relieved! An hour later, I was close enough to a ten that they let me start pushing.

I started pushing at 7:30pm. It would be an understatement to say that that was a lot of work! My husband bravely helped push one of my legs towards my abs with each push as the nurse pushed the other. Halfway through- in addition to the strong contractions, I felt a tremendous pain in the side of my pelvis with each contraction. The pain brought me to tears and I was miserable. The nurse had no idea what it was. My husband kept telling me I was doing a great job and that I was so strong. The truth is I was worn out and broken down. It was amazing to hear the nurse say she could see almost see his head. But two hours had passed and baby was not coming out. He was coming out sideways, was stuck and unable to get through my pelvis.

My doctor came in and tried to help him out with the vacuum. The thing made an awful sucking noise against the baby's head as she plunged and I pushed. I kept imagining her ripping the baby's head right off his body. At this point I was hurt and tired (having slept three out of twenty four hours and enduring two days of contractions) and definately scared. When the vacuum failed, my OB broke the news to me- I was heading in for a c-section, immediately.

My worst fears materialized. I'd never had surgery before and now I had no choice. I hyperventaled and couldn't breath. I sobbed until I thought I would explode. I wished to be anywhere but where I was. I felt helpless and scared. Although my husband was right there experiencing his own fear and pain, I felt so alone. He bravely and calmly took my hand, told me it would be ok. He had tears in his eyes but he was trying to soothe me as much as he could. I just kept thinking of what was ahead of me and completely broke down.

I cried helplessly as they cut off my monitors and the anesthesiologist inserted more drugs through my epidural. They rolled me onto a moveable bed, put the oxygen mask over my mouth and wheeled me into a completely different, foreign room with bright lights and white walls and tools everywhere. My husband bravely followed alongside with his own gown and surgical mask on.

The doctors kept pricking the lower half of my body to see if I felt the pain. I finally fell numb and became completely immobile. They placed a curtain in front of my face. I began to shake incontrollably in my arms and hands. My neck was cramped and sore from pushing for two hours and the pain was shooting down my spine as I lay on the operating table. Tears kept flowing but I just kept looking into my husband's eyes and tried to carry on a distracting conversation with the doctor. He told me the entire process lasted an hour. OMG. How could I lay still and let them cut me up for an entire hour?! I felt tugging and pulling in my abdomen. I could hear squishing and slurping noises. I was trying to control my shaking and my tears.

Then I heard someone say "it's a boy!" My husband left my side for one minute to just take a peek at the baby. I will never forget how when he returned the tears welled up in his eyes and had dampened his surgical mask. I will never forget that he told me "He's so beautiful. He's so beautiful." as he held back more tears. Then he grabbed my hand and said "He's definately a Jacob."

That was the one precious moment amongst twenty five hours of pain, fear an uncertainty. It only lasted twenty seconds, but my memory of those seconds makes the other memories of the night seem pale and distant. At that time I had no idea that I would not be able to see my son for the first time until three hours later or that I wouldn't be able to hold him for even longer. I had no idea that I would stay in the hospital four more days experiencing hot flashes, mandatory additional fasting, intense incisonal burning, multiple needle sticks in the arm, pain from laughing, coughing, breathing too deeply. I still had no idea I would be leaving with a staple-covered incision and fully dependant on pain medication. But despite the chaos and uncertainty, I found twenty seconds of pure happiness.

So after 25 hours of hard labor including 2 full hours of pushing, my son finally entered the world via c-section on Tuesday September 2, 2008 at 10:50pm.

Jacob Jessie Palmer entered the world weighing 8lbs 8oz with a soft head of dark brown hair and the most enchanting newborn face. I'm so incredibly happy and our lives have been turned so completely upside down that I have to pinch myself to be assured that it's all real.