Monday, May 31, 2004

I'm still getting up 3-4 times a nights, making for very fuzzy days. I have plenty of time during those feedings to read, but as my arms are full, not much to write; if you've noticed that my blogging has been very light, that's why.

However, I've passed a psychological hurdle today and got out the breast pump. If I can keep it up daily, Tech Support can take over the midnight feeding, since he's generally up then anyway, and I can get maybe five hours of sleep at a stretch. It will change my life!

What did women do before breast pumps?

My post on our 2002 Mazda Tribute got a few responses and outed a few other people on their SUV/P-U dreams. We like the Tribute so far. It's not nearly as smooth as the Millenia, and it's louder. The big test for those annoyances will be when we drive to South Texas for the Fourth of July. It's a plucky little truck and responds well to my quick reflexes at a stop light. (I can still pass the guy in the lane next to me.)

Snort calls! More later--I hope.
Posted MAY 31 2004, 2:52 PM CDT (link here)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ford is coming out with a hybrid SUV in late summer this year--the Escape. After looking at the price, we realized it would not be economical for us. That is, it will probably cost about $5000 more than the regular Escape and we won't make up that difference in the gas money we save. Plus, it will be such a novelty that it will be popular enough for dealers to order them fully loaded, adding more to the price.

When I lived in New York, I worked for WNBC. A cameraman there told me he had been on assignment in Dallas and that all the women were blonde and all the women drove SUV's. I recoiled in distaste. Now, all I have to do is find the right shade of platinum to make my transformation complete!

It's because of the kids. The pain of childbirth fades from the memory, but not the back pain from hoisting your kid in and out of his carseat--depending on how many errands you have to run--two to eight times a day. That was the reason foremost on my mind.

The second biggest reason was that I knew we could do better on our monthly payment, and we are, thanks to Tech Support's work; we've reduced it greatly.

Speaking of Tech Support, that's the third reason for changing from a sedan to an SUV: he kept using the Millenia as a truck. I just thought we could do better.

So there you are, Father. That's why we bought the 2002 Mazda Tribute. I'll take my penance in high gas prices and disdain from New York journalists.
Posted MAY 25 2004, 8:37 AM CDT (link here)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Resistence is futile...

...you will be assimilated! Or, if you can't beat 'em, join em! More later.
Posted MAY 23 2004, 6:53 PM CDT (link here)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Good heavens! My childbirth wound started hurting yesterday, a week after I'd thought it had gone away for good. I'll put a phone call into my doctor's office tomorrow for reassurance. Otherwise, I'm extremely sleepy. There's no napping in this house, for me at least, who wakes up to a breeze blowing by, before Big Sis goes to bed; and with Snort doing what he is so aptly named for next to me all night, plus getting up at midnight, three-ish and six-ish, I make for a bit of a grump by day's end.

At pediatrician's strong suggestion we're hanging inside the house until Snort is four weeks, but I may have to cut that short as both Big Sis and I are suffering cabin fever. We've skipped our usual weekly haunts--three to four trips to the grocery store; Story Time at the library, and three trips to the gym. The gym actually does not allow infants under six weeks; so that will have to wait a bit longer.

On a personal note, I lost twenty pounds in the seven days following Snort's birth. Of course, that includes his eight pounds, seven ounces. He is a good eater, better than his sister was (or perhaps I'm a better feeder). At his two week check up he was up to 9 pounds, 4 ounces, a healthy gain. About a pound I think, after his initial loss.

In the two weeks since, I've lost three and a half more pounds, despite a ravenous appetite and a taste for ice cream. That puts me at about five pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I don't remember precisely, but at this point after Big Sis's birth, I think I was twenty pounds from my pre- pregnancy weight and didn't hit my goal for well over a year.

Here's a break-down of weight gain from American Pregnancy:

Weight Distribution: * 7 1/2pounds is about how much the baby will weigh by the end of pregnancy * 1 1/2pounds is how much the placenta weighs * 4 pounds is attributed to increased fluid volume * 2 pounds is the weight of the uterus * 2 pounds is the weight of breast tissue * 4 pounds is because of increased blood volume * 7 pounds is attributed to maternal stores of nutrients and muscle development * 2 pounds for the amniotic fluid * Total: 30 pounds
I wouldn't begrudge any woman her weight gain during her first pregnancy. Every twinge, every movement can feel like a crisis due to inexperience and eating can take the stress off, especially for those of us who hit the Haagen Dazs in periods of uncertainty, but the second (healthy) pregnancy is a calmer one, and there's more work to be done with the product of the first. On the other hand, each pregnancy, as each child, is like a snowflake. No two are alike. I actually don't begrudge anyone for their weight gain, pregnancy or no.

I've got an hour or so to myself and Snort. I'm going to try to use it wisely. Posting has been light lately, but so has my head. Not sure when I'll be back.
Posted MAY 20 2004, 7:36 PM CDT (link here)

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It's gray and unseasonably chilly outside, but warm and cozy inside. Tech Support is rocking the new man of the family and playing dolls with Big Sis.

I jumped right back into the coffee mug immediately following Snort's birth and am high on caffeine's buzz. Things look and feel rosey at home.

Life was a bit comical and complex before I left the hospital though. The neo-natal staff waged a battle for my soul against the gynecology staff, and I can't really tell who won. It all goes back to vicadin. In my haze and pain from the delivery and episiotomy, my answer was "yes, please" to the question of vicadin, but the staff pediatrician mentioned that vicadin could be the reason Snort was so sleepy during feedings. Gasp! I didn't even think of that. Okay, I'm off the pain relief. But hours later a maternity nurse mentions it doesn't pass through the colostrum (what the breasts lactate before the milk comes in).

Then I'll take two, with a vodka chaser, please.

I actually narrowed it down to one, as it was making me fuzzy-headed and our friend from Boston (see post below) had juiced me hard enough that my left leg did not function properly for 24 hours, making it difficult to get up for bathroom breaks.

The first night in the hospital was a parade of people passing in and out--the daytime nurse coming in around 11 to tell me her shift was over soon; the night nurse coming in around midnight to take my vitals just in case the day nurse got it wrong. The neo-natal nurse came in every four hours for a feeding, the lab tech came in at 5 to take blood samples. That's a little much, isn't it? Leaving that day was looking better all the time. Then there were paperwork people, more nurses, the continuing promise of a lactation consultant, and the only people I really wanted to see--the ones with the food tray! The food tray came with a variety of different-colored foods, but oddly enough each had the same bland taste. I devoured all of it.

All of the above is why I entertained leaving the hospital a day early, but as the day progressed with more hospital staff on parade and visitors with good wishes, I increasingly felt the need to spend a few more hours on my own with Snort.

Love hurts: The lactation consultant finally showed up late in the day, or was it early in the evening? I think she returned specifically to see me, and--while fielding two cell-phone calls from her thirteen-year-old daughter--lectured me on breast-feeding. How did it go with my last baby, she asked? Not bad, just a little cracking and bleeding.

This comment from me got the neo-natal nurse in trouble. After the consultant admonished me for letting myself crack, bruise and bleed, the neo-natal nurse rushed in to demand--in her broken English, which I had been having difficulty with--why I hadn't told her that my breasts were in such pain. I thought love was supposed to hurt. She handed me two plastic dome-shaped cups with holes to wear under my bra to create ventilation. I was the anti-Madonna. But it was too late: the bruising had started and gave way to cracking. The domes helped, and a week later I was pretty much back to normal. But honestly, if your baby won't open his mouth wide enough to prevent the injuries, there's nothing to do but suffer through them. That's my take anyway.

Tech Support arrived later that evening with Big Sis and I showed off my new curves to him. Grandma came an hour later to fetch Big Sis, so T.S. and I could share an evening alone with Snort, who true to his nickname, made a lot of funny noises in between gulps of colostrum. Almost as tired as I, T.S. left around 11 and my second evening as mother of two was only interrupted a few times to feed the new kid in town.

It was a good decision, to stay two nights. I did sleep better the second night. Because the pediatric staff had been alerted to my possible early departure, they had filled out the discharge papers the night before, so there was none of the usual hold-up from their department that the gyenecology nurses had warned about.

It was a blustery, windy late morning when we left. A balloon my neighbor had brought us escaped somewhere to the east. Snort slept the fifteen-minute ride home and we returned to the welcome of family who had travelled great distances to meet him. New babies bring family together. Almost makes me want to have more.

I said almost.
Posted MAY 15 2004, 12:11 PM CDT (link here)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Fernando dining. Bystander doing the feeding. F hasn't fussed much. Lot of black hair. Tech Support and the Toddler are enjoying some purse and robo game time. Very odd how an entire new life form can settle in so comfortably. For the record, Bystander's bitter older sis writing. Hoping this guest appearance springboards into something, ala, panel member on Fox News Sunday, guest host on Letterman or at least an episode of Survivor. Brow pencil would be my luxury item.

Gullywasher in Southeast Texas today. Was touch-and-go getting out of the hollow where Bystander's parental units reside in their retirement. Fernando is infant's web name only until we come up with something. [Grand]Parental units to return in a.m.

Went to New Orleans for Jazzfest last weekend. Stayed in fancy hotel where gynechiatrist seminar was being held. They look different from a standing position. Signing off.
Posted MAY 1 2004, 7:38 PM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Attention: This site will be going down within a week or so for about a week or so, as we switch from Verizon to SBC. I'm not sure exactly when it'll happen, but thanks for your patience.
Posted MAY 12 2004, 8:09 AM CDT (link here)

Monday, May 10, 2004

NO EXCUSE: I have no excuse for not sleeping right now, except that I can't. Tech Support and Big Sis are out running errands. I have an hour and a half before Snort should be fed again and he's sleeping fairly peacefully right now. But as I couldn't sleep I thought I'd share some observations of the birth and the newborn.

Our appointment for inducing was set for 7:15 A.M. Thursday before last. Grandma arrived the night before. I made a check list of things to do and pack that night and got everything marked off. Eleven o'clock bedtime and I thought I'd never fall asleep. But sleep I did until at 5, the phone rang; it was a nurse from the labor and delivery department telling me not to come in, that they'd had a busy night and to call her at 8. "Great," I was completely deflated. Then she called back at 7, and said space had opened up, please come in. We were there by 7:30. That's a record for only-child Tech Support, who had not showered the night before.

I was about 2 1/2 inches dilated and 50 per cent effaced. They hook me up to the fetal monitor, and an IV. Round about 8:30, my doctor comes in, decides that Snort is not responsive enough to use Cytotec and opts for a Pitocin drip through the IV, which gives her more control of my contractions. Huh, think I. Tech Support notes that Big Sis was not very responsive just prior to her delivery either. But I think it's because Snort was jolted awake by the 5 A.M. phone call and stayed awake until 7 when we got up. Not his usual routine.

The contractions start mildly and I dutifully begin panting six gasps with each and then blowing. The focus I'd practiced in yoga helped immensely as the pain progressed. I sent my husband off to get breakfast and coffee for himself, as it was likely to be a long day for him. I kept thinking I should be thinking about the little bundle soon to be in my arms, but not having eaten since 6 the night before, I kept fantasizing about cheeseburgers.

A nurse anesthetist came in to have me fill out paperwork. Life was in slow motion and I was in a haze, but by about 12:30, when my pain was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10, she doped me up with the epidural. I asked her to tell me her title again. "Why?" she wanted to know. Well, said I, I don't go to hospitals very often, and I'm curious. She explained the difference between an anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist--money, and the great battle for monetary equality.

Really? Gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp, gasp; blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow. That's fascinating. She was a goodlooking woman, whom I decided was from Boston, not for her accent, but for her small-bonedness, pretty eyes, and defensiveness about her position, the I'm-a-very-smart-woman-and-could-have-been-a-doctor way she carried herself. I don't know why I associate those qualities with Boston--seems unfair to Bostonites--but there you are.

As was last time, Tech Support spent way too much time playing with the fetal monitor, making me nervous, like they'd kick us out if he touched too many of the knobs.

I had questions for my nurse Meghan almost every time she came in. I tried to ask them nonchalantly, but like our friend from Boston, she gave me the why-do-you-want-to-know look once or twice and said it aloud at least once.

Which brings me to a broader subject: if the doctor wants to know, then so do I. Why for instance, do the nurses take my blood pressure on every pre-natal visit? If they want to know what it is, then so do I. If during this pitocin drip, she wants to keep records of my blood pressure, then why is it so surprising that the patient also wants to know what it is?

But I digress. I was not progressing at a convenient rate, though my contractions were harder after each examination, so at each examination, they stretched me out a bit to help me along. Finally, they broke my water. Having been given the epidural, things went a bit more rapidly, and oddly enough, painfully.

The contractions were hurting more and more, at first just above the belly button. Well, the epidural is mostly for everything below the belly button, said the nurse. This, I did not know, as my first baby came after such a long wait for an epidural that I was in the help!-somebody-help-me! stage when the anesthesiologist--late, no doubt because he was plotting ways to keep his wages high above nurse anethetists--finally arrived at the hospital, about two hours before my delivery, four hours after I'd arrived, and after 24 hours of labor.

But I digress again. The pain started ratcheting up the one-to-ten scale to about a 5.5, and moving down below my belly button and spreading to my lower back, while our friend from Boston was helping with a C-section across the hall. She arrived soon and gave me a jumpstart, which seemed not to help. At this point I was in tears, but still not crying out when Meghan came out of the c-section to give another pelvic exam, and called for the doctor immediately. She put me in position to push, which I then started doing. "No, no! Keep panting, but don't push." She repeated that a couple of times before I cooperated.

Here's where I'm a bit foggy. Somehow I got another dose from our lady of Boston just before the doctor arrived. The doctor, Meghan had told me eariler,after I asked, was sure to give me an episiotomy. I said, if I need one that's fine. So when she arrived, Meghan told her I didn't want an episiotomy, unless absolutely necessary. Doctor tells me to push, then says it's absolutely necessary. I say fine, she puts the sharp objects to task, I push about two more times, really hard. Really. I even make those pushing noises made famous on television, and out comes Snort!

He is the funniest looking little man I have ever seen. Blue, like his sister was a birth, he pinked up quickly. His ears are smashed, his mouth and lips are clown-like big, and according to the nurses, he is a candidate for clown shoes. They hand him to me, and he immediately falls asleep. The love affair begins.

He's pretty much been asleep ever since, though I haven't. Maybe I'll try now and write more later. Thanks for checking in on us.
Posted MAY 10 2004, 1:32 PM CDT (link here)

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Posted MAY 6 2004, 2:37 PM CDT (link here)

Saturday, May 01, 2004