Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas was delightful.

Depending on the day and my schedule, Hannah will sleep in the morning if we let her. Christmas Day was the first day off since returning to work, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to go down schedule-wise, but it worked out reeeeeeeally well. My alarm went off at 6 but didn’t wake her so I let us sleep. She started stirring around 7:30 so I went ahead and pulled her into the bed with me for breakfast after which she nodded off so I let her stay in the crook of my arm where Bella used to sleep. We stayed that way until about 9. “Christmas Cuddles” is now officially a part of our Christmas routine. Totally approved by the husband and everything.

We got her dressed and headed downstairs where her grandparents had been waiting patiently for almost 5 hours. We elected to have breakfast first so that we wouldn’t get hangry (hungry + angry) mid gift opening. A full breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, and bacon later, we gathered around the tree for the main event. Hannah slept some more.

We got a lot of nice things. The babe got some cool new gear as well. Though she is completely set at this point, her daddy just couldn’t let her first Christmas go by without getting her a little something so he bought a plush Grover and a Teddy Bear that are about the same size as her. I made Grover wave to her and she smiled. Adorbs.

We did little else on Christmas Day. It was hot. Like, dripping sweat kinda hot. And the recent rain did not help with the humidity. We almost broke down and turned on the AC but my MIL was walking around in a blanket so we made do with fans.

Saturday and Sunday were much more active. Our new stove, sink, over the range microwave, and garbage disposal arrived. Over both days, our handy-man friend came over and installed them all for us. (All that’s left are a few cosmetic touches.) I took Hannah my MIL to the outlets to get a new purse. Holy crow was that place packed! My sister drove up for a whirlwind visit and got some good snuggles in.

And now I am back at work. With some actual assignments. That I had better go and do.


Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house

the cockroaches were stirring

frightening my spouse

It is stupid warm outside. It is supposed to hit 80 today. It is also stupid rainy. We had a flash flood warning yesterday. I don’t want to say we had a cockroach problem when we moved in. We definitely saw a few, but they were mostly dead (or at least on their backs flailing their legs) by the time we saw them. But in the last two days, I have seen an uptick in the unwanted buggers just freely roaming about the place.

We live in a heavily treed neighborhood. We have all of the leaves in our yard. Every time we went out to blow and suck and mulch or burn the leaves, it would start to rain or it would be dark or it will be reeeeeeeeeally late at night (having a baby really screwed up our daytime/nighttime reality for a while). I’m thinking leaves + rain = roaches unhappy outside and desirous of dry indoor time. Me no likey.

It doesn’t help that these roaches are fully grown and seemingly enormous. It also doesn’t help that Shelby is legit terrified of cockroaches. Insomniac husband, nursing newborn, cockroach rodeo; I am one tired momma up all night either rescuing my husband and/or his belongings or trying to ignore that roach I just saw duck into the closet while I feed Hannah. Merry freakin Christmas.

In other not so merry news, we’ve had very little movement on the townhouse. I recognize that it is the worst time of year to be listing a home, but I had hoped for a little more activity. We decided to take a stab at renting the house out in the hopes that we can sell it for more in the future, or we can keep it as a property investment that will one day benefit us financially. We’ve had one person view it but she was apparently looking for something bigger. There have been a few more inquiries, but nothing that has lead to an appointment. We had the carpet replaced, attempted to have it professionally cleaned (but ended up having my mother do most of it cuz the cleaning service was AWFUL) and had the entire inside repainted. It’s a nice place. Come live in my house!

Grinchiness aside, I am looking forward to Christmas tomorrow. Since Hannah is too little to know what’s going on, the pressure to take a hard line on traditions is off. We can just hang out and do whatever and fight about toys and Christmas stockings and sweet rolls next year.

Merry Christmas to all!


Day 3

It’s my third day back to work. It’s getting harder, not easier like everyone said it would. Perhaps because I’m more tired? Perhaps because it’s becoming more real?

Hannah is 7 weeks old. We’ve sorta kinda settled on a morning routine. I mean, as much as you can with a 7 week old in 3 days. I try to keep her to a feeding schedule at night; 10:30p “full meal” with an 11:30p “snack”. Then place a droopy baby into her bassinet and rock for a few minutes, then leave her to fall asleep on her own (cuz the sooner she figures out how to do that, the better). And then we all knock wood that the overnight timing lines up and we can get some sleep.

She’s a pretty champion sleeper actually. I can usually get 4 or 5 hours at a stretch at night. I also want to make sure she is good and fed before I leave in the morning so that the minimal supply I’ve been able to store at home will get her through the day. That said, if she’s not awake, I wake her up at 6am so we can get a full feed in and back to sleep before I shower, dress, and accomplish all the other necessaries to get myself out of the house and at work between 8 and 9.

The last two nights, though, she has woken up at 4 which makes all of my pre-planned timing awkward. (I know this is simply ASTOUNDING information that you can’t wait to read and re-read, but whatever…) I get up with her, get her changed if she’s wet, spend about an hour feeding a drifting baby who inevitably poops and needs another change about halfway through. Then I spend about 30 minutes listening to her grunt and coo herself to sleep before I can finally settle in, only to have the alarm wake us a mere 30 minutes later. Bummer for me, Hannah doesn’t seem to care.

She still sleeps in our room but I don’t think that will be the case for much longer. I try pushing her sounds to the back of my mind. With each grunt I think to myself, if she were in her crib, would I hear this? If I heard this, would I get out of bed to check on her? If the answer to either of those questions is “no”, I try not to interfere with her then. I might still look, try to catch a glimpse of her face to make sure she’s not choking on spit-up or suffocating on her blanket (she never is) but I don’t rock her and I don’t touch her (omg SO HARD!). And each time I look at her, I get a little more confident that we can put her in the crib soon. And then I get a little sad and wish they had adult size bassinets I could sleep in next to her crib. But I want her to learn that it’s ok to be alone. Heck, I need to learn that it’s ok for her to be alone. That she can grunt and snort and suck her whole hand and listen to the white noise and fall asleep and someone will still be there to get her when she wakes up hungry.

She’s already and only 7 weeks old. I don’t want to miss anymore babyhood. I want to sit up all night and watch her face move and her eyes flutter and her legs jerk around. I want to be alone with her when I am already awake and not feeling grumpy about the time. I want her to sleep on my chest, something she has already grown out of. But I also don’t want to get fired. And I don’t want to be an overprotective hovering mother. And she’s plenty cuddly; loves to be held just not face to chest. Good god, how am I ever going to send her off to college if I can’t even send her across the hall?

Back to Work

I have mixed feelings about being back to work. I am glad for the excuse to remain busy. I was pretty useless around the house. Shelby kept trying to reassure me that feeding Hannah was my only job but I always felt like I should be doing more. I could have put a load in the washer. I could have emptied a box while she slept. But I wanted to soak in every sleeping second with her since I knew I’d be coming back to work all too soon. Without her distracting coos, delicious smiles, and devastating cries, I can pound out tasks, pay some damn bills for crying out loud, and feel useful again.

I hate leaving my daughter all day. Not because I don’t think she will be well taken care of; she is smothered with love and attention. She took the bottle the first time it was offered but still had no trouble nursing later. She is alert and happy and “reads” books and “sings” and cries (note the lack of quotes). She will carry right along without me. And that is what makes me saddest.

There is nothing I can do that can’t be done by someone else. We can argue the semantics of who does it better, what is more natural, who is right and who is wrong until the cows come home but the fact remains, she can survive without me. At six weeks old, she’ll barely notice if I’m not there so long as she is fed, changed, or held when she cries.

I find myself a bit more blue than I expected. I think about the Hannah 3 years from now and wonder which parent she’ll run to for comfort, which one of us can soothe her and which one will struggle repeating “_____  will be home soon.” I get teary eyed at commercials where daddys and daughters have a close relationship. I think about my husband’s divorced brothers and their daughters.

And then our friend’s 13 year old daughter makes me think of our 13 year old Hannah and I wonder who she will turn to to talk about love and bodies and homework.

And then I think about 33 year old me and reflect on my relationship with my parents. And that  makes me think of 33 year old Hannah.

And then I remember that she is 6 weeks old. That she is sleeping more hours of the day than not. And though she can barely see, she  knows my voice and knows my smell. She grunts when I leave the room, she can tell when she’s alone. She can tell when she’s being held and she can tell if the holder is standing or sitting and expresses her personal preferences. She smiles. And not just gassy smiles but legitimate causal smiles. She shows fear.

Shelby and I both comfort her in the ways we know how, in the ways that work for us. And they are just as different now at 6 weeks old as they will be at 3 and 13 and 33. And just because they are different doesn’t mean they are right or wrong or will lead to an entire decade of soothing from one parent. And it makes me proud that I can go back to work and offer my husband the opportunity to continue working for the theatre he loves and that makes him happier which makes our house happier which makes a good place for our daughter to grow and that makes me happy.

And then I think about her growing in our house without me and I get sad again.

Damn hormones.kisses

Part 3

I asked for the Epidural at about 11:30pm (very rough estimate, I was a little busy and not really paying attention to the clock) and the nurse ran out to notify the team. I felt disappointed that I hadn’t been able to stick it out, that I gave up so quickly. It had only been two hours and I was already throwing in the towel. But I also felt a tiny bit of relief. Shelby was definitely relieved that I was going to be getting medical assistance with pain and that reset the tone of the room at a notch or two lower. In any case, once I had made the decision, the Epidural guy couldn’t get there fast enough.

They sat me up all hunched over at the side of the bed. The guy started explaining what he was doing, showing me what he was using and then asking me a bunch of questions, inquiring about my sciatica. In regular life, I have sciatica on my left side. It was pretty regular and intrusive until I started Yoga, but then it started up again when I got deep into pregnancy. Then at some point, it switched sides. I had no symptoms on the left side but had pretty significant problems on the right side. I tried explaining this but found it difficult to concentrate on the words and make anything but moans and shrieks come out as I was contracting just about the whole time my back was being prepped.

It took about 20 minutes for the guy to arrive, administer the Epidural and get me lying on my left side. Then everyone but Shelby left the room and my left hip started burning. It scared me. I could still feel contractions in my belly though they weren’t as strong. I freaked out. I started thrashing and screaming that something was wrong with my hip. I was terrified that something went wrong with the epidural, that I had screwed up the explanation about my sciatica and something got nicked. Shelby was trying to calm me, trying to catch everything I was thrashing off the bed, and trying to get the nurses to figure out what went wrong.

Turns out nothing was wrong. In the 20-30 minutes between asking for the epidural and the unspeakable hip pain, I progressed the last 4 cm. I was fully dilated and ready to push. I won’t know if my body did it on it’s own or if the epidural helped me relax enough. Knowing that it could possibly have only been those last 20 minutes and not 4-6 hours makes me feel like an even bigger wuss. I made the best decision I could with the information I had and I try to hold on to that, but I still regret it.

I started pushing at Midnight. Luckily, despite being fully epiduralized I was able to deliver my baby without any other medical intervention. No forceps, no vacuum, no emergency C-Section or medications. I pushed for 1 hour and 24 minutes and delivered Hannah Beatrice (honey bee) at 1:24am.

Shelby followed the baby to the small room in our delivery suite to watch as she was cleaned and weighed. I was stuck in the bed because of the lack of control over my legs. The next few minutes went by so much faster than anything I’ve ever experienced. They collected my cord blood for donation. I had several people talking to me at once, asking me to push the placenta, giving me instructions for skin to skin, providing statistics on the baby, giving me text updates from the family. Those few minutes were more stressful than the whole pregnancy and delivery combined. But then they put my baby in my arms and everything else disappeared.

She just was. She just is. Life has always been this way. Though we are still figuring each other out, still piecing together how our new family works, still learning what cries mean and wondering when the routine will settle in, it just seemed immediately that she has always been a part of us. Adding her to my preparations, to my checklist when leaving the delivery room to head to recovery room, to my thoughts and considerations was seamless.

She drives me bonkers. Our current sleep/feeding schedule is incompatible with returning to work, but I’m trying not to think about that now. I feel useless most of the time. I am usually feeding her on the couch in the living room, holding her sleeping body on my chest after she feeds, gently placing her in her bassinet only to startle her and have her wake either crying or being so ludicrously cute I can’t leave her. Aside from the few short hours each night I spend in the bed or rocker upstairs, I live in this room. It is so against my nature. I am not stay at home material.