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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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I’ve realized lately that when it comes to babies and kids there is a theory – endorsed or espoused by an expert with many letters after his/her name – for EVERYTHING. Remember how I bragged on Lillian’s excellent sleep? Well that lasted until just after she turned five months old and then fell apart. This was not unexpected, it often happens around then, but we certainly hoped we had dodged that bullet. Not so much.

So now her sleep is totally erratic. Some nights we get the old school 7-9 hours straight. Some nights there’s one extra wake up for nursing. Some nights she goes down fairly easily and some she wakes up every 20 minutes until midnight. Some nights she wants to nurse every hour or two. Did I mention I hate unpredictability? It makes me crazy. But here we are, trying to adapt .

Some of my mama friends have had to contend with this all along, for others it’s more recent. But most of us are now having to take another look at the dreaded “sleep training” and making decisions about how to help our kids sleep. Some experts say that the only way to make sure your kid will have good sleep for the rest of his life (and do well in school, make money, and marry doctor) is if you let them cry it out. There’s a bunch of different names for this but they all amount to letting you kid scream alone in their room until they eventually put themselves to sleep. There are gentler and not so gentle versions of this.  The first book David and I read on sleep espoused a not so gentle version, and claimed the payoff would be a gloriously easy to sleep and nap child. David pretty much bought into it, I was on the fence. I spend a lot of time on the fence these days. I should check for splinters.

Anyway, there are also books out there that claim that letting your kid scream her head off in a dark room with no idea if you will ever show up might be a wee bit damaging psychologically, and some studies have shown it dumps a lot of chemicals into their bodies that can have bad effects on their emotional development. So basically you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

That pretty much sums up the parenting experience. There are so many experts out there who tell us what we should or shouldn’t do, and mostly contradict each other and expect us to ignore our own intuitions and judgment. It’s maddening. It makes me mad. It reminds me a lot of when I was an opera singer. My teacher would say one thing, my coach another, and if I pointed out that it was contradictory they would claim it wasn’t and try to blame me for not understanding. There’s a reason I’m not an opera singer any more…

Recently I’ve come to realize that we all cherry pick the research/experts that resonate with our own beliefs and values the most. At least I know I’m doing it. What I wish is that I wasn’t so insecure about my parenting abilities that I need an endorsement to take care of my kid the way I think is best.

David and I tried a bit of crying it out and concluded it was not what we wanted for Lillian. The “you’re ruining your child’s life” arguments on both sides are less concerning to us than what are we doing to her now? Is there a compelling reason to put her through that kind of emotional pain, other than it speeding up the amount of time it will take for her to learn to put herself to sleep? Not that we could find. She’s a happy kid and we don’t really want to fuck with that.  Now talk to us in a month and if she’s still waking up at all hours we may change our tune entirely. But seriously, why do I need an endorsement to figure out what is best for my kid? I know her better than anyone else in the world. I’m the goddamned expert.

And on to round 2 of poo. We took Lillian to see an expert on gastric issues. We think. This guy has a waiting list a mile long and works a lot with kids with food intolerance issues. But I didn’t do a lot of advanced research on him because I was going on a friend’s recommendation. Whoops.

He talked a lot of smack about “our society” and “basic science” to justify the test he’s having us do to find what Lillian is sensitive to. He gives this blood test called an IGGe4 thingy to David, because supposedly his food sensitivities dictate Lillian’s for the first part of her life. But then I did some research on this test, and it turns out that while one study showed some improvement for IBS patients who cut foods out according to the results, a more in-depth study showed no correlation between the test results and real food sensitivity. The doctor also used some phraseology I tend to get a little suspicious of, claiming that food sensitivity can cause brain fog and inflammation. Er, what? Very not sold. Possibly not even on the fence.

I made this appointment for Lillian after she had a week-long reaction to what I thought was one dose of dairy, but turned out to be a week  of exposure to soy. We know for damn sure that she has a problem with soy. Which is what we had trouble convincing our original pediatrician of in the beginning.

Anyway, we’ve decided that if the test results come back and are intuitive – if they at least confirm some of what we already know – then we’ll take them into consideration. But if they’re all over the map and the doc is really dogmatic about his interpretation I think we’re going to move the hell on. We have an appointment with Lillian’s new pediatrician next week, so I’ll be curious what she has to say.

I guess the point of all this is that as an insecure and at least mildly terrified new parent, you have to sort through all this fucking information when it really makes the most sense to get to know and trust your intuition. I have far more information on my child than anyone else possibly could. Sorting through that information and looking for patterns and correlations is my job. Unless something an expert is espousing really jives with what I already know, it’s probably bunk, or at least inapplicable.

It’s been really hard to get to the point where I can see myself as the expert instead of anyone and everyone else, but I think it’s the only way I can take the best care of Lillian. I have a big brain, a lot of strong instincts, and I love my child profoundly. Pair that with David’s intelligence, love, and protectiveness of  Lillian and we make a pretty good team. I wish I trusted that more and wasted a lot less time on feeling insecure and fearful.

Things change so freaking quickly when you have a baby. The baby changes weekly or daily, and you have no time to look back and think about everything you’ve learned and adjusted to and integrated because you’re scrambling to figure out what the hell you’re doing with the baby you have today. The Lillian of this week has little in common with the Lillian of last week. What upsets her, how she sleeps, how much she eats, and a bunch of other stuff  changes all the time.

We had no idea we were doing with sleep when we got home from the hospital. I read a bunch of things (babycenter.com, books, the stupid pamphlet that came with our stupid baby care class) that said newborns naturally fall asleep for the night around 10 or 11pm. So I didn’t put her down for final sleep until then, at which point I was losing my mind, she was screaming her head off, and David would have to step in and rescue us. Sometimes that meant he was up all night with a screaming baby, while I felt like I was drowning in guilt and remorse for burdening him. This went on for about six weeks. It was not fun.

My friend Tiffany said in her blog (which is awesome, by the way) that the biggest piece of advice she would give pregnant women is burn all your baby books. And while we’ve gotten some good info from a few books, I agree with her. If I had paid closer attention to my own observations, I would have noticed that Lillian seemed a wee bit overstimulated if she was up past 9pm. Agitated, hiccuping, kind of crazed. We observed this, but we kept trying other things because those goddamned books and internet and whatever said that we shouldn’t put our kid down early. Even worse, some people, including the triage nurse at our pediatrician’s office said to keep the baby awake all day. (He also said to give her Pedialite before bed instead of nursing. WTF?!)

But David had read case studies in a book on sleep a friend got us and one couple had succeeded by putting their newborn down at 6pm. We tried it. It worked. It turns out the more sleep Lillian gets, the more she sleeps. This may not be true for all kids. Maybe a laid back baby needs a little more awake time during the day to sleep well at night, but I can tell you without reservation that my kid is not laid back. She is all up in everything and that means that after a while she gets frazzled and overstimulated and without our help she gets very, very unhappy.

So now we have a bedtime routine that starts around 7pm, and almost always ends with her happily asleep by 8 or 9. She sleeps a minimum of 5 hours, usually 6-8. This is because we stopped listening to other people and started listening to ourselves. Since we started our self-designed routine, we all get a reasonable amount of sleep most nights. Yay!

Of course we’re still struggling with all the directives from our pediatrician (who told us to stop swaddling her at 8 weeks – again WTF!), people who say use a pacifier, don’t use a pacifier, don’t nurse her to sleep, don’t rock her to sleep, let her cry it out, let her sleep in your bed, put her in her own room, AAAAAAGGGGHHH!

Basically, any time you screw with what’s working before it stops working, you’re asking for trouble. Sometimes my kid needs to nurse to go to sleep. Sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she needs the swaddle to calm down and sleep, sometimes she doesn’t. She likes sucking her thumb and hand, she doesn’t like the pacifier. Why on earth would I ignore all these things she’s communicated to me very clearly because someone who doesn’t spend 24 hours a day with her 7 days a week told me to?

Good. Freaking. Question.

I’ve been debating how frank I want to be on this blog about some of the crazy postpartum stuff I’ve been going through. I tend to keep my tone some kind of combination of chirpy and sardonic, and a lot of what I’ve been through over the past few months really doesn’t fit with that. Nor can I write about these experiences and make light of them with a clear conscience. This is some serious shit.

The postpartum period is no freaking joke. Sleep deprivation is used as torture by the military. All new parents are subject to it for weeks or possibly months, and everyone just laughs it off. Or they say asinine things to you like “Why don’t you sleep when the baby sleeps?”

Add on to that something nobody really talks about which is this crazy hormonal shift your body goes through for God knows how long. I still have night sweats and I’m almost three months out. For the first several weeks I broke out into a cold sweat, had heart palpitations, and generally felt wretched. The mood swings that come with them are epic.

Add in the reality that you’re now responsible for the survival of a helpless human being and you have no training and no experience. This is not a recipe for confidence. What you do have is a whole lot of dogmatic, vastly contradictory advice from friends, family, health practitioners, and the dreaded internet. It’s enough to make anyone, no matter how well adjusted, good and crazy. I’m a worrier and a rule-follower, so wading through all this crap while trying to figure out what makes the most sense for Lillian and us is wicked stressful.

Another problem is how the medical community and our society treats this period. Nobody wants to be stigmatized and diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. But in reality every new mom I know, myself included, manifest at least a few of the “symptoms” associated with it. But what if you don’t want to think of yourself that way, or you don’t want other people to think you’re sick? You hide how you’re feeling or repress it. This is obviously not good for your kid, and seriously not good for you.

I wrote about how I lost my shit during the first couple of weeks. I didn’t write about how much more I lost my shit after that, and how I still can’t hold my shit together for more than a day or two at a time. I have a lot of experience dealing with emotional turmoil. I’ve been treated for anxiety and panic attacks in the past, and I have a bunch of good, healthy coping mechanisms that keep me on the right track. But when I had the baby most of those things were derailed. Meditation is hard to come by when you’re caring for a newborn, as is exercise, sleep, good eating habits, and socializing. Medication is not my favorite way to cope, and it is no substitute for an emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle.

The hormonal stuff just sucks. It SUUUUUUCKS. Right at the point in my life when I need to be able to use all my wisdom, experience, and maturity I seem to have reverted to teenagerhood. Most of the time I’m rational and even tempered, but I unpredictably become enraged or despondent and I often don’t see it coming. Once it sets in I’m barely functional. My self-esteem takes a nose dive and I spend a lot of time crying and feeling helpless. The last time I remember feeling like this I WAS a teenager and one brief period in my life when I was on the pill. Yay hormones!

While it’s interesting that much of this emotional bedlam is probably hormonal in origin, it doesn’t help much with the “What the fuck do I do right now?” aspect. How do I build a whole new set of coping mechanisms while learning how to be a parent and under the 24 hour pressure and stress that it entails?

Do I take medication? Well, yeah. I went back on a low dose of Prozac. It’s enough to keep my anxiety from turning into panic, but not enough to stop the unfamilliar waves of depression. But I really don’t want to have to deal with weaning off a larger dose when the hormonal component of this shit is likely to pass in the next couple of months or so. I also have been taking Ambien to sleep, but I’m starting to wean off of it. I don’t sleep as deeply when I take it and I think it makes my insomnia worse when it wears off in the middle of the night. It was useful for a while but I’m kind of over it.

Do I exercise more? Yes, when I can. I’d love to do a yoga class every day but since I don’t have a live-in nanny that’s not on the menu. Postnatal yoga can be frustrating,  I’m lucky if I get half an hour of vinyasa in before Lillian needs changing or feeding or soothing. Not a lot of bang for the buck, though it is nice to socialize with other moms and babies. I’ve been taking walks while wearing Lillian in the Bjorn. For weight-bearing exercise it’s great, but it’s hell on my back and shoulders. She’ll eventually grow into the Ergo and that will be an improvement. We’re also getting a fancy stroller that I may eventually jog with, so we’ll see how that goes. Luckily exercise is something that helps with anxiety AND depression so the more I get, the better. It’s just that any activity is now about four times more complicated than it was before. Many activities are just plain impossible.

Do I reach out for support? As much as I can. I see my therapist and go to group therapy, both of which have been invaluable. But it’s not enough. I don’t have time to call or see my friends like I used to, and many of them don’t have time for me. I also can’t meet people out for lunch right now because anything I don’t cook myself may make my kid have bloody diapers and let me tell you, that is not a good thing when I’m struggling with anxiety and depression.

To add to the fun my therapist is moving away at the end of July. This totally sucks, and I’m experiencing a lot of dread over it. She’s been especially helpful during this period when I need support – not advice, judgment, or obligation. I’ve always had a hard time accepting support, and she’s really helped me so her leaving is not a fun thing.

I have a group of new mamas I meet with and chat with over email. They’ve all been great, and we’ve really helped each other out a lot, I think. Our play dates are a bright spot in my week.

My husband has been amazing. He’s been present, supportive, and incredibly loving. He’s an amazing dad, and we learn from each other all the time. I am so incredibly grateful that in our relationship we choose to see our differences in temperament and perspective as an opportunity to learn rather than as a threat. Every day one of us learns something new about the baby and teaches the other one, and we get collectively smarter. This is awesome.

While the last few months have been probably the hardest in our marriage, in some ways they have also been the best. I trust him more now than I ever did before, he’s stuck by me no matter how unhinged or miserable I’ve become.  The hardest part has been letting him take care of me, letting him bear some of the burden without drowning in guilt and remorse. When I get depressed I feel like I can never do enough for Lillian and for him and that all my efforts come up short (this is a habitual thought pattern I’ve had for much of my life). Allowing him to take care of me when I feel this way is a struggle, but it’s been an amazing lesson, too. I think I’m beginning to realize for the first time in my life that I’m worth taking care of, and that I deserve help when I need it, and that it’s okay to ask for and receive it.

My inlaws have been incredibly helpful, especially during the first few weeks when I just couldn’t get my shit together. They still will babysit at the drop of a hat and love spending time with the baby. I also just interviewed a doula/nanny who will be helping me out on an as-needed basis. I’m really looking forward to having a little free time to do stupid shit that has no other object than making me feel good for a little while. I’ve been struggling with guilt over not spending every moment as productively as possible. Things get pretty chaotic when there’s a new human being in the house who can’t talk or walk and stuff like dishes and laundry and grocery shopping get a wee bit backed up. So the idea of getting a massage or going to yoga by myself seems alarmingly decadent and unwarranted. Except that I desperately need some me time to recharge my depleted batteries.

On the flip side, I’ve also come to realize that people really aren’t offering help unless they genuinely care about what I need and want. Sometimes I’m offered things that I don’t need or want, and then made to feel like I’m unreasonable or ungrateful if I don’t accept them entirely on the other person’s terms. For example, one person I know loves to offer advice that isn’t useful or interesting to me, and then argues compulsively when I respectfully decline to take it. I seriously don’t have the energy for this shit right now.

Drawing healthy boundaries is never easy, and is more stressful and draining when my energy and self-esteem are on the low side. Sacrificing my peace of mind in order to take care of the feelings of someone else is something I do reflexively, but it’s just not possible right now.

To sum up, postpartum depression or anxiety or whatever you want to call it is some serious crap that I’m going to bet most new moms experience far more than anyone wants to admit. The cocktail of massive life change, horrible sleep deprivation, and huge hormonal shifts constitutes a shitstorm no one can imagine before it happens, and no one has the innate capacity to deal with when it does. Our society sucks at this stuff and either stigmatizes or minimizes what most new moms are going through every day. I’m still struggling to find the right balance and the right kind of support to just get by. I love my kid like crazy, but I haven’t grown all the mental muscles I need yet to deal with the new responsibility and pressure. I know I’m a strong, resilient, healthy person, but this has tested me in ways I never imagined.

If you or someone you know is struggling after having a baby please encourage them to ask for whatever help they need without shame. The expectations we have of ourselves when we enter into parenthood are often unattainable and unreasonable, and we need all the considerate, meaningful help we can get.

Lillian on Mother's Day

Don't play innocent with me, kid.

My first Mother’s Day started off with a bang! At 4 am cleaning poopsplosion off the nursery walls. Yes, motherhood is full of serene, peaceful fulfillment and joy. Well, it is, in between screaming, pooping, nursing till you fall over, and hormone surges that turn you into a psycho.

So I’m helping David change the baby during her 4am feeding (that’s bottle time) and he lifts her legs up to get a wipe under her butt and kaplow! Green poop everywhere. We laughed our asses off. David claims I shrieked loudly but I have no such recollection. I think he’s making it up.

We’re still dealing with the gastric issues. Our baby is cute, funny, happy, and sleeps like a champ. But she definitely can’t process either dairy, soy or both. Last weekend we went to dinner at Odd Duck Trailer – it’s gourmet locally sourced tapas place – and ate some great food. Unfortunately, something either contained dairy, soy or both and we started the whole poop thing over on Monday, and we still don’t know what the mystery ingredient(s) is/are.

On Sunday we went to the in-laws’ for Mother’s Day bbq from Rudy’s. Which I could eat none of since they marinate it in milk and rub it with soy oil. Joy. So I got to nurse in the other room while everyone was eating, and then eat some pork loin I brought and overcooked the crap out of. It wasn’t my best day ever. But David got me a nice card and we’re getting the Bob stroller next week. It’s the ultimate running/walking stroller and it makes mama very happy.

In other news, Lillian sleeps like a champ now. We started a ritual a few weeks ago – eat-bath-eat-sleep by 8:00, and we do as much sensory deprivation as possible in the bedroom so she doesn’t get overstimulated. This kid likes to look at stuff, wiggle, pump her legs, coo, and generally spazz out. But after the cuteness comes the babypocalypse. Harbingers include:

  1. Pumping of the legs and giggling
  2. Hiccups
  3. Wide adorable eyes

One minute it’s all cuteness fun and the next it’s screaming and misery. The trick is to get her on the boob or into the bath or bed or something soothing before she gets so wound up she can’t calm down. We’re doing a lot better at it. David is also really good about letting her self-soothe when she can, I tend to overdo the rocking and shushing. Between the two of us she’s getting better naps and better sleep at night (and so are we praise be the Jesus).

Lillian was eleven weeks old this past Thursday. It’s hard to believe she’s coming up on three months. Her personality gets more developed every day, and she’s much more vocal than she was. She’s got a whole new vocabulary of coos and squeaks, and has great head control and legs. She’s going to be unstoppable when she figures out how to roll, which looks to be very soon.

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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.

Today was my 35/36 week checkup. It looks like things are progressing, possibly a little faster than expected. I’m 60-70% effaced and my doctor thinks I may deliver in 3 weeks or so (at 38 weeks). Also, the baby has grown a bit since last time, my doctor thought she’d be over 7 lbs if I delivered in  three weeks or so, where at my ultrasound they though she’d be under 7 lbs. I’m getting big, I’m gaining a bit of weight now (though it’s probably mostly baby and water from swelling) but damn is my belly big.

This is all exciting, and also a little scary. I certainly am on board with being a couple of weeks early, if she’s ready to go.  But damn, that’s soon! Still, I’m less and less mobile every day. I have to adapt stuff more in yoga class, and I sleep a lot during the day (but not as much as I want to at night, I’m usually up by 4am). The blood flow issues seem to come and go – some days are really hard, others are almost normal. Generally my feet and ankles are really swollen, and the fingers in my right hand are numb a lot. I’m having trouble gripping with my right hand too. She’s kicking and moving a lot, and since she seems to have dropped a bit it can be way uncomfortable. All of this is well within the norm, but it’s not a lot of fun. Still, I seem to have gotten an extra dose of mellowing pregnancy hormones so I’m not stressing out too much.

The weather in Austin is turning coldish again, not my favorite, but it will probably help a bit with the swelling.

David and I are taking our childcare class on Saturday. Not a moment too soon. Our childbirth class isn’t for a couple weeks, hopefully it won’t be too late!

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.

Tiny Miss Quimby at 32 Weeks - that's a profile!

Today Tiny Miss Quimby is 32 weeks and 1 day old (though we reset the counter when she decides to come out). We went for our final ultrasound yesterday and everything seems to be good. She’s on the smaller side of average, which makes her mama very happy. The Quimbys make big babies, and luckily it looks like she’s taking after Oster babies which are smaller. Her heartbeat and all other indicators were good. It was fun to see her wiggling around, though it’s pretty hard not to notice her presence these days – she’s very active.

I’m continuing to be a yoga junkie. I go to at least 4 classes a week. It’s nice to be with other pregnant ladies and share some of the discomforts and fears that it seems like everyday people don’t want to know about. Or want to exaggerate, depending.

Remember when I blogged about a terrible song one of my favorite yoga teachers played during final meditation? So she’s back from maternity leave and I’ve been going to her classes. But she still plays that godawful thing at the end of class. And now that I’m in my 3rd trimester, as predicted, it makes me want to cry. Except I still hate it so I end up fighting back the tears while thinking evil thoughts about the artist and her lack of musical and verbal talent. It’s interesting to be me.

While I’m getting more of some of the annoying 3rd trimester symptoms (swollen hands and feet, occasional heartburn, difficulty sleeping) I actually feel better than I have in a while. The round ligament pain gave me hell last week, but seems to be lessening this week. I think I have some pubic symphesis pain (look it up, it’s fun!) but it’s not that bad right now. I ordered yet another belly support apparatus and when the weather stops being truly horrible I should be able to take some walks.

Work on the baby’s room is progressing well. I’m going to wait until it’s doneish to post more pictures. I still have to do a bunch of decorative work on that dresser that took me forever to paint, but it’s going to look really cool when it’s finished. The only bummer is the glider that the grandmas ordered probably won’t get here till mid February, which kind of blows. Apparently Dutalier shuts down operations for half of December. Oh, to be an employee in France. I want my chair!

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