Two Weeks

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Archer is two weeks old already! That hardly seems possible, but it’s true. It’s been a bit of a blur because, as I mentioned last week, life with a newborn is hard. Some days I don’t manage to leave the house, and those days pretty much suck. But I’m making an effort to take a walk or do something outside every day and that helps.

As far as the highlights of my last two weeks, here are a few. I was doing laundry yesterday and ran out of clothes, so I attempted to put on my pre-pregnancy pants. That was a miserable failure. Honestly though? I’m ok with that. Because let’s be honest: elastic waistbands are pretty much the best. So forgiving, so relaxed, so comfy. I’ll stick with my maternity pants a bit longer.

Last week Archer and I did the follow-up to my maternity photo session: photos together, both of us nude. In the course of an hour, he managed to spit up on me, pee on me twice, and poop on me. Add to that my leaky boobs and I was covered in almost every bodily fluid. So that was awesome. But the pictures are fantastic, so I’ll take it. All in the name of art, right?

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Adeline is adjusting to being a big sister. For the most part she seems to really like it. She puts little blankets on him and gives him big hugs and kisses and gushes that he’s just “soooo cuuuuute”. On the other hand, she’s been wearing the same dress, almost constantly, day and night, since he was born. (Alternated with her “big sister” shirt that a friend got her.) I guess it’s her version of a security blanket. We manage to wash it every few days and so far I haven’t had the energy to fight her on it much. But eventually she’s going to have to wear something else… right?

The dress.

The dress.

The shirt.

The shirt.

More about Archer. He has definitely “woken up,” but on the whole he’s still pretty chill. He sleeps a lot, but he still has his days and nights mixed up a bit, so he’s up a lot at night. During the day he mostly just eats and sleeps. I had forgotten how they’re pretty much completely uninteresting at first; there’s not really much to say about him. So I’ll just show you some pictures:

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One Thing A Day

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Life with a newborn. It’s not easy. Life with a newborn and a two-year-old? Chaos.

Between nursing all the time, feeding Addie, cleaning up Addie’s constant messes so that the house merely looks like it got hit by a tornado instead of a category 5 hurricane, changing Archer’s diapers, changing Addie’s diapers, nursing all the time, changing my clothes when giant milk leaks leave me with a sopping wet side, changing my clothes and Archer’s clothes when he has an epic spit-up, feeding myself, attempting to shower and brush my teeth, nursing all the time, changing diapers, and, oh, I guess I’m starting to repeat myself. Probably because my day is incredibly repetitive. Anyways, between all that I feel like I only have the time and energy to do one or two other things in a day.

Today, I had to take Archer to the pediatrician for a weight check. Because it involved my son’s health and because I had a pre-scheduled appointment, it got priority treatment. But it also meant that I couldn’t manage to do much else. I got ambitious and thought I would also do laundry. It’s been sitting wet in the washer for six hours. So there’s that.

We’re out of milk, but a trip to the grocery store just was not in the cards today. I don’t know what I’m going to say to Addie next time she asks me for milk. I suppose I could offer her a breast.

We need more garbage bags and we actually have some – down in the garage. I’ve been meaning to bring them up for days. But it’s not super urgent (unless you think garbage piling up is urgent… do you?) so it keeps getting shunted to the bottom of the to-do list.

Dirty dishes are piling up, but since I’m not cooking, it’s not like we need clean dishes for eating meals or anything like that. If I use a wine glass for my nightly glass of milk, I can wait until tomorrow to do the dishes. Oh shit. We don’t have any milk. Actually, this is a win! No need for clean glasses when we have nothing to drink out of them.

I need to pay the bills, but hey, we just bought a house and we have two relatively new cars. We’re not going to need good credit again for at least several years. The bills can wait.

I need more freaking maxi-pads for the seemingly never-ending post-birth bleeding. But I’ve done the calculations and it can wait until tomorrow if I ration them appropriately. I can combine that with getting milk and do it tomorrow, even if it means nothing else gets done.

I guess that wet laundry will just have to sit there a little longer.

It all leaves me feeling useless and a little hopeless. Why can’t I just get my shit together? I’m pretty sure everyone expects me to and they probably think I’m a failure. I wouldn’t dare have anyone over to the house right now for fear that they judge me worst mother of the year.

But you know what. It’s worth it. Look at this face and tell me it’s not worth it:

Archer

Archer’s Birth Story

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Saturday, August 3.

Only one day past my due date, but I was getting antsy. I really wanted to have the baby soon, for many reasons: I was sick of being pregnant, I wanted to meet my son, and I wanted to give birth before my close friend, Margaret, went back to Denver. That was happening on Monday evening, so we were coming up on the deadline. Besides, I figured the weekend was the ideal time to have the baby so that my parents would be able to come down as well.

I was feeling a bit mopey and sorry for myself on Saturday morning, imagining how sad I would be if I stayed pregnant for another week. I didn’t want to indulge that mood any longer, so I strapped Addie into the stroller and took a two-mile walk, figuring that the sunshine and fresh air would lift my mood and hoping that the walk might start labor.

It definitely did lift my mood. We met up with David and had a nice family lunch.  Afterwards we came home and he went to get a haircut. Addie and I were playing in the boy’s room – she loved going in there and pretending to be a baby – and just waiting for David to come home. I looked around my son’s room and watched my lovely daughter and meditated a bit. I envisioned going into labor that day, imagining what it would be like, how I would call my parents and Margaret, how I would have David already home with me. And I spoke out loud to the baby, telling him that I trusted him and would wait as long as he needed, but asked that – if he thought he was ready – could he please come today?

And then, suddenly, a contraction. Stronger than the Braxton Hicks I’d been having regularly for the last week. Not painful, not even intense, but definitely strong. It was 2:00 P.M. Continue reading

Archer: Newborn Photos

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Archer is five days old! He’s pretty chill, but he currently has his days and nights mixed up, so he sleeps all day and is awake a lot at night. But hopefully that will sort itself out soon. He’s definitely a boob man – as soon as my milk came in he just couldn’t get enough. I’m remembering what it feels like to have a little being latched onto my boobs all day. Pretty amazing, for the most part, but also exhausting.

I promise a post with his birth story is coming, but I just haven’t been able to get it done yet. In the meantime, here are some photos I took of him yesterday. Damn, I’m in love! Continue reading

Introducing My Son

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He’s here!

Less than an hour after hitting publish on my last post – lamenting the fact that I was still pregnant – I went into labor. I’ll tell the whole story soon, but for now I’ll just say that everything went really well. I delivered him at home, in the birth tub, and caught him myself. It was amazing!

But enough about all that, here’s what you care about. Pictures of the boy. Continue reading

Belly Series

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Still pregnant. While I wait, I figured a post on my growing belly was in order. See, in addition to all the pictures I’ve taken with Addie and our week-by-week sign, I’ve also been taking pictures of my growing belly. When I looked back to do this post, I kind of couldn’t believe how much it’s grown!

18 Weeks

18_weeks_pregnantI was already in maternity pants at this point because my regular pants wouldn’t button, but holy cats! Looking back… Yeah, this was nothing. Continue reading

Pregnancy Photos: 40 Weeks

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Well, I’m still pregnant.

40 Weeks Pregnant

I’m still measuring two weeks behind, so I guess this baby is small and needs a little more time to cook. Hopefully not as long as Addie needed to cook… The midwives assure me that most moms don’t go as late with subsequent pregnancies as they did with their first, so I’m trying to stay positive.

At the same time, though, I’m begging this baby to come already, both because I really don’t want to be pregnant anymore (and I want to meet him) and because Margaret is leaving on Monday and I really want her here for the birth.

I’ve been walking as much as possible and spending a lot of time rocking on the birth ball, in hopes that it will get something started. But I’m face to face with the simple fact that you can’t hurry labor.

I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over it during the last week, and I think that – as much as it pisses me off – it’s one of the things that makes birth so magical. Because birth is one of the few things in our modern world that we can’t control.

We schedule our days, our weeks, our months and our years. We have clocks everywhere, calendars with our meetings and appointments and vacations lined up. We know when we’re waking up, when we’re eating, when we’re hanging out with friends. We know when school starts and when it ends, when we’ll be up for a promotion at work, when we need to go see the doctor.

But birth isn’t on a schedule. It’s considered totally normal to go into labor any time between 37 weeks and 42 weeks. That’s a FIVE-WEEK window people. In what other circumstance in life do we sit around waiting for something (especially something life-changing) for five weeks with absolutely no idea when it’s coming?

Maybe it’s no wonder that so many women want to schedule an induction or a c-section: just waiting around goes against everything we’re used to. It doesn’t jibe with our modern sensibilities. It doesn’t feel right.

But I trust my body. I know that labor will start when both the baby and I are ready to go, and that to force it to go any earlier wouldn’t be healthy. And so I wait, hoping that trusting my body won’t keep me pregnant for another two weeks.

Seriously, body. I do trust you, but I’m not so sure I could handle that.

Pregnancy Photos: 39 Weeks

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First of all, yes, I have basically given in and wear yoga pants whenever possible.

39 Weeks Pregnant

But in my defense, I had just gotten back from physical therapy when this photo was taken, so I really had to be in yoga pants.

Symptoms haven’t changed much. Still having heartburn/reflux ALL the time. Still exhausted. Still having intense braxton hicks. And in fact, they’re getting more and more intense all the time. So hopefully that’s a good sign.

A bonus new symptom is that baby boy has definitely dropped. Continue reading

Flashback: Adeline’s Birth Story

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Every birth story has an abbreviated version. Not even a story, really, it’s just the two or three most dramatic moments chosen to make the listener laugh or gasp. One of my moments is always the start of the story: I went into labor at Costco.

Like every dramatic moment, of course, it’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I did, indeed, have my first real contraction while standing in line at Costco. The kind that made me go, “Damn, I need to sit down.” The kind that made me realize, “Oh, these Braxton Hicks I’ve been having haven’t been shit.” The kind that made me think, “This could be it.”

It was 11:00 A.M. on Sunday, November 14, and Adeline was 8 days late. Continue reading

Literary Sexism: It’s a Man’s Book

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Picture this: A female author writes a novel about a middle-aged woman struggling through something of a mid-life crisis. She’s been divorced for several years, but she’s still reeling with the aftermath, coasting along in something she calls “The Existence Period”. She’s dated some, but she has recently suffered a crisis in her current romantic relationship and she ponders whether she’ll ever be able to love again. She’s ambivalent about her career and spends much of the book pondering what she should do with her life. She spends a weekend with her troubled teenager, wondering whether she failed as a parent and what she can do now to make things better. The experience awakens her, and she ends the book determined to make things better with her children and her current lover.

What would happen to this book? I have a pretty good idea: it would be labelled “women’s fiction”, it would be given a soft, pastel cover, and it would be dismissed by the critics.

But in reality, this book had a better life. Because it was written by a male author about a male protagonist (with everything else being equal) it was hailed as “a major American novel” (Washington Times) and given the Pulitzer (1996). Continue reading

Three Things I Love about Being Pregnant

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I know I haven’t exactly been a beacon of optimism during this pregnancy. I don’t try to pretend to be one of those women who just loves the experience of being pregnant. It’s not really my thing. But now that I’m nearing the end (and possibly the end forever) I’m feeling a little more forgiving. I’m even thinking of things that I actually do love about it.

Well, three things to be precise. And only three things. Continue reading

Progress Report

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The other day when I picked Addie up from school there was an envelope in her cubby: her end-of-year Progress Report. It’s not even preschool yet, so there’s not much to report, just things like whether she can use scissors, hop on one leg, and put on her own jacket. But even though I knew what it would say, I still opened it as soon as we got home.

As Addie played with her trains (James hiding from Rosie, like usual), I opened the envelope and started reading. It was mostly the expected things, but then I got to a sentence that took me by surprise: Continue reading

Pregnancy Photos: 37 Weeks

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Well it’s official: I could have the baby any day now and he wouldn’t be considered premature anymore. Of course, the normal range is from now to 42 weeks, so “any day” is a bit of a stretch.

Oh god, don’t mention stretching. There’s already too much of that going on around here.

37 Weeks PregnantDespite the fact that I’m really sick of being pregnant, I’m actually hoping the baby doesn’t come for a little while. That’s because a dear friend of mine is hoping to be here for the birth. She lives in Denver, so she’ll be in the Midwest for about 9 days right around my due date and we’re both crossing our fingers that he comes in that window. Continue reading

A home. A birth.

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I open the box that UPS delivered and start pulling out what’s inside: mesh underwear, Chux pads, a bulb syringe, a pericare squirt bottle. I add the supplies to what I’ve already bought: extra towels, a plastic shower curtain, straws, a plastic bin, and more.

I sit back and study it, imagining how we’ll use all of it, wondering if we’ll need everything. I start to visualize the day, wondering when it will finally come. It could be in just a couple weeks, or maybe longer.

My midwives told me to have everything gathered by today: 36 weeks. Just in case.

I have the supplies, but I still don’t feel totally ready: I want the house to be all set up, everything in it’s place. I would want that, I think, in any circumstances in which I were having a baby. But I feel especially strongly about it now. I really want this house to feel like a home.

You see, we’re planning to have this baby at home. Continue reading

Dear Comcast: It’s not me, it’s you

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Listen Comcast, I don’t mean to be harsh, but I don’t think this is working out.

I had my suspicions that things might not go so well on our first date, when a technician came out to set things up. He was a really nice guy, but the fact that he couldn’t actually figure out how to hook up the cable box to the TV was mildly concerning. When we had to gently suggest that he put the HDMI cable in the “HDMI Out” hole, I worried a bit. But I decided to cut him some slack. It’s only part . . . or most . . . or basically his entire job . . .

Of course, he also did our phone and internet. Or not really. He couldn’t figure out the phone bit. “Just call and they’ll send someone else out,” he assured us, as though it was perfectly reasonable. Again I thought to myself, I’m not sure if this relationship is going anywhere. But I bit my tongue. We’d at least try for the second date.

And oh, what a second date we had.

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When, after a 20 minute wait, we managed to get in touch with someone and schedule an appointment to have a tech come out and fix our phone, I thought the 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM window that you gave me seemed pretty reasonable. Things are looking up, I thought. He’ll come, he’ll fix the phone, and we’ll be done in time for lunch and an afternoon out.

But you didn’t come.

When I finally lost my patience and called at 1:00, you told me there’d been a mistake: the window was actually 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Okay, I thought, through gritted teeth. Every relationship has some bumps. Miscommunications are common. He’ll be here within the hour and we can pretend that everything is fine.

But you still didn’t come.

Like a spurned lover I dialed your phone number, ready to hear your heartfelt apologies. If you could have just apologized, maybe things might have worked out. But I was in for a rude awakening: you informed me that the window was actually 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Listen, Comcast. Let’s get real for a second here: you expect your paying customers to wait on you for 12 hours? In what world is that acceptable? How can that possibly be a real policy? Do your other girlfriends routinely take this abuse??

I held the phone in my shaking hand and watched my 2.5 year-old run around the living room with a cardboard box on her head, losing her mind from being stuck in the house all day, and I started to let myself think that this might be the end of our relationship. I tried to reason with you, but all you could say was that you couldn’t do anything about it. You couldn’t explain the multiple miscommunications. You couldn’t get anyone out any earlier. You couldn’t tell me when the tech might come. You couldn’t, in short, do a damn thing.

Still, I held out a glimmer of hope. Like every abused woman before me, I thought that maybe, just maybe, if you came through on this, if you just fixed the phone and apologized, we could work things out. You’d be here by 8:00 PM. There was still hope.

But again. you. didn’t. come.

You just never showed up. I waited twelve hours for you, stuck in the house with my insane toddler, and you never came. I’m willing to give my all to this relationship, Comcast, but if you’re not even going to show up, what can I do?

This needs to end.

I know what you’re going to say: “You have to stay with me – there’s no one else out there for you! Besides, do you really think any other provider is going to treat you any better?”

Don’t be the abusive boyfriend, Comcast. You could be right. Maybe I never will find true, TV provider love. But I deserve better than you. And nothing you say to me will make me stay. Maybe all the TV providers out there will be abusive jerks too. But how will I know unless I try? I have to open my heart to love again. I have to give another provider a chance.

Because honestly Comcast? You had your chance. And you blew it.