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You know how I’m this stupid perfectionist and I feel like I never do enough/get enough done/accomplish enough? And how it’s ludicrous?

So sometimes when David gets home from work and I’m all like “Aaaaaah, I’m exhausted TAKE THE BABY!” and I then survey my messy house, unfolded laundry, dog-fur laden floors, and half-finished dinner I think I really just kind of suck at this homemaker thing.

So today I decided to count the number of things I was doing during a 10 minute interval:

  1. Wear the baby (because our house is not completely babyproofed and she doesn’t want to be put down right  for whatever reason).
  2. Cool the baked squash (for baby food).
  3. Bake sweet potatoes (for baby food).
  4. Vacuum the living room.
  5. Dry laundry.
  6. Fry bacon (for part of dinner).
  7. Prep acorn squash (for dinner).
  8. Write blog.

Dude. That’s a lot of stuff. How many tiny but not insignificant tasks do I do every day? Somehow the baby has clean clothes, and David and I usually do. She eats home made food. We eat home made food with almost no convenience food because of the whole soy/dairy free thing. I take walks. I go to yoga. I occasionally shower. I breast feed. I participate in at least 2 activities with my mamas’ group per week. I pay bills. I do all the grocery shopping and cooking (though David does some grilling). I take care of the baby full time. I take a million pictures, edit them and upload them. I go to therapy. I even sleep sometimes. And all the other crap that has to get done that you then forget about as soon as you’ve done it.

No, I haven’t written the Great American Novel yet. Nor have I run a 5k. Or met many other lofty ad not so lofty goals. But I’m getting by, I have a beautiful family, I’m happy a good portion of the time and not crazy most of it. My kid is happy and wonderful. I think I need to just chill the hell out, no?

So you know how before you have a kid you say, “oh, I’ll NEVER do that” and then after it’s all shot to shit? Well that happens after you have the baby too. Daily, sometimes. I swore up and down I wouldn’t cut bangs on Lillian because it would be so cute if she had long hair that was one length. Except then her hair was all in her face and any barrettes or clips I use run the risk of ending up lodged in her throat since everything ends up in her mouth sooner or later. So guess what?

Haircut!

Bangs!

I called in the professionals (Auntie Tracy) to trim her bangs so I didn’t botch it like I did her neck trim a couple of months ago. And it really is adorable and now she doesn’t have hair in her face all the time.

And then remember that whole sleep thing where I wasn’t going to let my kid cry? Er, well, what happens when they cry for three hours while you bounce, nurse, sing, cajole, and bargain with them, but only for about ten minutes if you leave them alone? We happened on option B kind of by accident. David was alone with her at bedtime a couple of weeks ago and NOTHING was working. So he took a breather and a few minutes later she was out. For nine hours. We had to keep checking that she was still breathing. So we kept at it for the next week or so and things improved incrementally. She hit a growth spurt right after that so she was up a lot during the night to nurse for a few days, but she was getting to sleep faster and easier.

Then we both got sick and that’s been all screwed for the last week. But she’s become an avid climber and scooter in the meantime and so we can’t leave her alone and awake in her co-sleeper which butts up against our bed, because she’ll crawl out of it and roll or lunge off the bed. So probably in the next few nights we’re going to make the big move – out of our bedroom and into the crib. There were a few days where I temporarily lost my mind and started to think that I wanted to co-sleep with her instead of moving her out of our room, but I got over it.

It basically came down to this: do I want a tired, cranky baby who doesn’t have to cry in her crib (even though she cries in the car and other times so who am I kidding?) or a well-rested baby who has a bit of a tantrum at night for a little while? Do I feel guilty? Well, yeah, but that’s pretty much a given. Like I said before this little reversal, there’s always someone to tell you you’re screwing your child up. But we tried all the Dr. Sears stuff and it just didn’t work. She needed to start learning how to put herself to sleep at night and nobody was going to get any sleep until we let her. Believe me, if what we were doing before was still working we would still be doing it. I’m a great believer in not fixing what isn’t broke, but this shit was broke.

Napping has been pretty much screwed since Lillian started her rapid approach on crawling. She’s just too busy and fired up to relax for very long. We get 2-3 half hour naps in if we’re luck now.

Enough about sleep. We’re also big on food right now. I’m still making most of Lillian’s food because I’m a big snob and I like to cook. Lillian likes butternut squash, peas, and avocado. She really hates apples so far, and is iffy on sweet potatoes and pears. I’ve got an acorn squash to cook this week, some carrots, and we might try chicken.

Today I was at a birthday party for my niece and I overheard a mom complaining to another that someone she’d seen feeding a baby at a McDonald’s should have given it french fries. Yeah, I kid you not. MCDONALD’S  FRENCH FRIES. More salt than anyone should be exposed to, let alone a baby, and God knows what else. Oh wait, I do:

French Fries:
Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid
pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt.  Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to
preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).

Bleargh. And note they don’t list soy as an allergen even though it has soybean oil in it.

I’ve been a food snob for a long time, but since I’ve had to be really careful not to eat any dairy or soy it’s been impossible not to recognize how much crap is in most of our food. And I love junk food, I’m just finding I like local junk food with less actual junk in it a lot more. I like purity in my artery-clogging deep-fried food, thanks very much!

So that’s the latest. Lillian is crazy busy and active these days and keeps me on my toes. I’ll post video soon! Yay iPhone4!

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DSC_0001Note: I’m publishing two stories at once, so scroll down if you want to read them in order.

Lillian’s pediatrician is so fired. I’m making an appointment with a new doctor this week. Lillian had slipped slightly on the weight chart. I pointed out that not only is she very active and strong, she is also good and chunky – she’s just small. The pediatrician admitted she looked great, but kept referring back to the chart. Then she told us to start giving her rice cereal once a day – she’s barely four months old – and that would increase her caloric intake. Apparently I’m supposed to make my kid chunkier than she needs to be so that she fits a number.

I have a friend who takes her baby to another doctor in the same practice. Her kid was born four days before mine and weighs 4 lbs more than Lillian, yet her doctor also suggested rice cereal at four months. So if my baby is underweight and her baby is not, why are we getting the same advice? This sounds like a blanket policy they created that is enforced however the particular pediatrician feels like, and has nothing to do with the needs of the individual child.

A sidebar to this conversation – I suspect that Lillian may be small boned, which means she could weigh less and have more body fat. Which means she’ll never look quite right on a chart. I had the same problem the other direction. When I was 17 I decided to basically stop eating partly so I could meet the maximum weight for my height on Weight Watchers – 113 lbs. I didn’t start eating like a normal person again until I hit 117 lbs, started getting dizzy a lot, and saw a doctor told me I had no body fat and needed better nutrition. Did I mention I hate charts (and most doctors)?

Anyway, I told her everything I’d read said that the AAP recommends breastmilk exclusively till 6 months, and that cereal doesn’t increase calories, it decreases them (it’s far more filling and less nutritious). She told me my information was outdated and insisted we start solids or we’d have to come back in for a weighing. For the record, I was right about the AAP. I’m not sure why pediatricians are pushing solids at four months when the research shows otherwise.

I want a pediatrician who 1) Can give me valid scientific data on why I’m supposed to do something that is widely recommended against and 2) Who values my opinion and common sense over a freaking chart that by the way, was created in the 50s based on formula-fed babies. I called my lactation consultant after Lillian’s appointment to check out some of this stuff and she said as long as Lillian had gained a pound a month (she’s gained more) she didn’t have an issue. Have I mentioned I love my lactation consultant?

I was proud of myself for arguing with the doctor instead of just taking everything she said as writ. She’s dogmatic and rigid, and I’ve decided that does not work for my family. I’ve also decided that we blew the digestive issues WAY out of proportion, partly due to her approach. I’m going to start adding soy and dairy back into my diet in moderation. That’s a story for another time. All about poop!

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Hospital beds: not as comfy as they look

The 48 hours ish we spent in post-partum at the hospital were not great fun. People come in and wake you up all the freaking time. Nurses, doctors, other random people. They just knock and walk in. Even if I had wanted to sleep I was so wired up from the birth that I only slept about an hour at a time, even with drugs. I had a couple of nice nurses, and several annoying, incompetent, or belittling nurses. Sometimes all in one!

I’m not sure where some of these ladies got their make-you-feel-like-a-stupid-asshole skillz, but they must have learned from the best. I had one night nurse both nights who did everything she could to show me how little I knew about anything baby. She’d spout of statistics or numbers after a checkup with exactly no explanation of what they meant, and smile at me ingratiatingly. Her nursing technique sucked and involved squeezing my breast painfully without authorization. That was a recurring theme. Nothing in there yet ladies, thanks. Our final nurse who checked us out was totally lame. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to cover it. She forgot to stop at the pharmacy for my meds, didn’t feel like answering questions, and would disappear for long periods when we were trying to get out of the room and get home.

I still had a port in my hand for the first 24 hours, and I had to get 4 more doses of antibiotic through it. This was supposed to take about 20 minutes, but sometimes it stretched out to 1.5 hours, because apparently nobody had taught the nurses how to administer a fucking IV. They’d flush out the port with saline, which hurt like hell, and then start the drug. And invariably fuck it up – it wouldn’t pump, or the line would be jammed. The bitch nurse fucked the last one up really badly at like 1am and acted as if I was just being whiny. It took like 2 hours to finish it. Did I mention how much that shit hurt? I did however talk to the charge nurse about it. Go me. I also called the charge nurse to ask for feedback forms on all my nurses and guess what? She never showed. The OD consultant in me was not impressed.

Trying to learn to breast feed, which is wicked hard anyway, was impossible with the awful hospital pillows. Plus I didn’t seem to be producing anything which was stressful. I had one day nurse who was great and I at least got an idea of what a good latch felt like. Lillian was all about the boob, but she chewed with her surprisingly strong gums and it hurt like hell. I guess I lucked out with the latch, but OW.

David was in a world of pain from the horrible bed in L&D, and the one in the recovery room was far worse. Fortunately, that nice nurse got him a cot which was a bit better. It royally sucks that you can’t sleep with your husband when you need snuggles incredibly badly.

The food was really pretty good. Who knew? They had a killer veggie burger, and decent breakfast tacos. Of course, I would have eaten a tire happily at that point, but it really wasn’t bad.

Yeah, so I couldn’t wind down. This did not bode well for when we got home. There was serious boding. We wanted to get home so badly, but at the same time, how were we going to take care of this tiny being without anyone qualified around to help? How are we allowed to take her home without a medical degree? Does not compute.

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Biological Imperative Win

The other thing that happened while we were there was we both fell madly in love. People don’t always bond with babies right away. For us, it was like one of those cartoon 10 ton weights dropped on our heads. It helps that she’s so dang cute.

Not much of a narrative, I know, but hold on to your hats. Next up, postpartum depression/anxiety/craziness and extra extra sleep deprivation!

So 37 weeks is considered full term. I saw my OB today and everything is pretty much the same as it was last time. Belly is a little bigger, I may be about 1cm dialated, and 60% or so effaced. I’m officially in the “could happen any time” zone and the doc is still predicting I won’t go the full 40 weeks. Collective fingers crossed on that one, please.

I’m still having the same list of complaints, but everything is marginally worse. My fingers are more numb, hands are more swollen (feet are a little better), sleeping is getting more and more difficult, more hip pain at night, more heartburn, and mostly more exhaustion. I wear out fast. Being awake makes me tired. Some days are better than others, though, and I have some latent nesting instinct that’s making me organize my closet. So that’s good, I guess. Also, most nights I have some Braxton-Hicks contractions and let me just say, do not eat a large meal if you’re having those. Not. Good.

The glider arrived this weekend so the nursery is pretty much complete. I also got a cool floor lamp. Pictures when it’s all cleaned up and pretty. David’s work threw us a shower on Monday and they got us this wicked cool baby food maker that I’m excited to try out as soon as she’s able to start on solids.

The other thing I’ve been dealing with is having high blood pressure at the doctor’s office. But since my doc asked me to take my BP at home every other day and it’s been pretty much normal, she’s refrained from diagnosing me with preeclampsia. This is a good thing. I tried drinking tea and meditating before my appointment today but to no avail, it was still a good bit higher than at home. But I think I’ve found the cure for all stress-related problems. Let me know if it works for you.

The nursery is as close to finished as it’s going to get for the next few weeks. We’re still waiting on the awesome glider the grandmas got us, a floor lamp, and some stuff for the dress/changing table. Oh yeah, and a baby. But I think it’s ready for the early debut. The Design Guru will probably add some additional style magic when she photographs it for her porfolio, so I’ll be sure to share those pics.

These are from a quick grab of photos, and my flash was acting up so stay tuned for the really pretty pictures in a few weeks.

Left side of the room: painted book case, Indian wall hanging, some photos, and a placeholder for the glider.

Here's the crib (IKEA) and some decorations.

Check this puppy out: It's a toddler-sized duvet that was decorated with iron on images from David's and my photo portfolio. Brilliant!

The right side of the room: a hand me down dresser painted and then decorated for use as a changing table and storage. More iron on art above!

Decorative detail on the dresser, done by moi.

I wish I’d thought to take some before pictures on the room and the furniture we re-finished, but alas no.

In pregnancy news, the third trimester is a pain in the ass. Literally, if you’re me. I get hip/thigh/butt cramps at night that make it impossible to sleep more than about 5 hours. I usually get up around 4 and go back for an hour or so around 7. Waking up every hour to pee goes without saying at this point. My fun swollen hands and carpal tunnel are progressing well, and the latest fun is bouts of wooziness and nausea if I lean back. My doctor’s prescription: “Don’t lean back.” Yep. On the plus side my blood pressure has been good, so less worry there. Still dragging my ass to yoga, but I’m less able to power through the vinyasa stuff. Still it’s worth it just to hang out with other disgruntled third trimester women.

This is the beginning of the decoration on the dresser we painted. I used to do mehndi (henna) style painting on stuff and sell it, so this is a fun project for me. Painting furniture is a huge pain in the ass, it turns out. And there is many ways to eff it up. This puppy took 4 coats, and probably could have used another. Also, when you’re painting in a dusty garage, stuff gets stuck in the paint. Which makes decorative painting all the more useful! Now it just has character. We’re putting the mostly finishing touches on the room next Weds, and hopefully I’ll have some pictures that day. Unfortunately, my glider won’t be arriving till mid February so it won’t really be finished until then. I just hope the glider gets here before the kid does!

Last week’s ultrasound was followed by my regular prenatal visit this week. Everything was fine except my blood pressure, which was a little higher than normal. So I didn’t stress. NOT. Preeclampsia is some ugly shit, and I Do Not Want. And you know what’s good for high blood pressure? Stressing out! Also who likes to get weighed after lunch? Me me! My weight was up a bit, but today it’s the same as last week. But I guess my doctor would have been worried if it hadn’t gone up some. My OB told me to take my blood pressure every two days and keep track of it if it got to 140/90 or higher. So this morning David took it and it was 128/70. Seems I’m back in the normal range. Phew. I think maybe I was just more stressed out than usual. I had my doula with me at the appointment instead of David, and David is kind of a human form of Xanax for me. He’s so coming with next time. (He’s also hiding the blood pressure cuff so I don’t take it obsessively every 2 hours.)

TMQ has been seriously wiggly the last few days. Not sure what is going on in there, but she’s really rocking out. I’m still dealing with some swelling in my hands and feet, but it varies. The biggest pain about it is some carpal tunnel in my right hand. If I sleep with wrist braces on it’s way better, but man are they ugly. The lower back gets more tired more easily, but as long as I’m dragging myself to yoga everything seems to be manageable. That support rig thingy I got is good for walking around, but as usual Miss Q doesn’t like any compression and kicks the crap out of me if I wear it for very long. I have serious doubts that this kid is going to take to swaddling.

So here’s my 33 week girth:

Miss Persephone looks on. Sorry for the blurry.

I remember when this shirt hung to my knees.

I know I’ve been lax posting this last week or so. I have a couple I need to write, hopefully I’ll get more in later today. In the meantime, here’s my big damn belly:

Quick update: round ligament pain – better! Yay. Weight – gaining less than 1/2 lb per week, so yay there too. Baby – really really wiggly. Tooth – still no crown. It’s a whole story unto itself. Seriously. Yoga – 4 days a week. Saves. My. Bacon. Emotions – you really don’t want to know. Just send David lots of calm, patient energy is all.

More later, I have a progress report on the room but I need to vacuum it so I can take pictures.

So the last couple of weeks have been filled with lots of stupidly stressful events. Our internet went down for two days. Our refrigerator died right before our trip to California. Our flight from Santa Barbara to LA was canceled (American stuck us in a cab which got us there just in time). And my (tooth) crown didn’t fit on Weds. and had to be broken up and pulled off. Like I said, stupid stressors. Nothing catastrophic, but inconvenient and annoying. Maybe the universe is preparing me for parenting. Let’s see – unexpected delays, unplanned for expenses, yep. Sounds like parenting.

We got back to Austin just in time for some really chilly weather. We even had a little bit of snow today! I know I’m supposed to be warm all the time right now, but I don’t think it’s kicked in yet. I still get cold a lot.

I’m hoping we can make some progress on the nursery this weekend. I need to put a final coat of paint on the dresser and start figuring out what kind of decorative painting I want to do on it. David is going to (hopefully) do a second coat on the walls, and then up comes the carpet. We got our carpet tiles last week right before we left. Another good reason to get the room done is we’ve started getting gifts for the baby and they’re piling up! We now have some of the essentials, which is really nice.

I’m due three months from today, but I’m not officially in my third trimester until next Thursday. I guess that means more frequent poking and prodding from my doctor. And getting bigger. And bigger. I’m fine with the size of my stomach right now. Can it stay this size until I give birth? Probably not so much.

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