Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012


So I'm about to go all OCD on our food cabinets. We're standardizing all our grains, cereals, flours, ends of chip bags, etc, into square nesting containers (POP brand).

I ordered a few samples which arrived a week or so ago and I LOVE THEM. They are very high quality and make a satisfying sealing noise. They are easy to open, close, pour out of, etc.

When we get them, we should be able to better see all of our food options at a glance, without things going bad, stale, getting pushed to the back of the cabinet, lost, etc. Furthermore, since we buy a lot in bulk, we can put the empty containers right into our shopping bag.

I think it will be a good thing. The idea of opening my food cabinets and seeing all the containers stacked like that just makes me so freaking excited I can hardly deal.

It was an investment, but it is like a few others we have been making recently to try to organize our life, saving money and time. I will post pics--I am picking them up on Friday so maybe I'll do a silent Saturday about them on Saturday. But who knows, the transfer process might take more than one day, though, I can be efficient when motivated!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Benefits to Toddler Nursing

James is still nursing. In fact, he's nursing more now than he has in many months.

He now nurses around 12 am, 5am, 7am
Nurses to sleep for one nap @12 or two naps--@10 and 2 ish
Nurses around 5pm if we are home/alone
Nurses to sleep around 6pm (if it's a one nap day) or 8pm (for a two nap day)

The 7am and 5pm sessions are new--though I have often given a bottle at 5pm to use up my milk stash, I could never get him to focus on nursing then before, but now he is re-interested.

Anyway, I am appreciating some definite benefits:

1. The 7am session means he's hungry for breakfast a little later, giving me time to get up/dressed.
2. The 5pm session is the PERFECT solution to what my Mom calls "The ugly Hour" The ungodly time when tiredness of the day meets pre-dinner hunger and Dad isn't home yet to help out--baby clings whiny to Moms while she attempts to cook dinner . . . A little milk improves the mood of the ugly hour to manageable levels!
3. Smart baby. Breast milk is perfect nutrition. There are tons of fats and proteins that make up neurons and neural pathways in the brain and body. As I sit there and watch james' comprehensive vocabulary and his signing ability start to take off already at 14 months . . . well, who know if it is even related, but the Mylar sheaths coating and protecting his neurons are made exclusively of human (or maybe veggie, hehe) fats. I love that. He is my body delightfully re-purposed.
4. Magic relaxation comes with letdown. I might be about to pull my hair out at the end, or even the beginning, of the day. But if this frustration coincides with nursing, those love hormones just melt away all my bad mood/feelings.
5. No need to worry about nutrition. Many tots are picky eaters. And even though mine is not, he is vegan. Of course I worry about his nutrition, despite the fact that he seemingly eats a wider variety of fresh, healthy, and organic foods than most kids his age . . . but, as long as I am nursing him on demand, I can be assured that he is getting everything he needs nutritionally.
6. Wolverine Style healing ability for the very frequent bruises, cuts, rug burn, etc. James is pretty active and probably falls and seriously hits his head . . . at least a couple times a week. He also scratches himself on wood, paper, concrete, furniture, cats (ahem), etc. But he heals so fast . . . a minor cut will be scabbed one day and the scab will fall off on day two. A huge bang to the head will go from an egg one day to a bruise the next, and completely disappeared within a few days or a week . . .
7. Emergency snack for any situation. Though, james would have to be REALLY hungry to nurse in a non-home and non-quiet environment, but if we were really in a pinch (or even like a flood or dangerous situation) I know I always have clean, sterile, perfect nutrition for him whereever we are!

I'm sure there are more but those a just a few benefits of Toddler Nursing that I can think of! Some are nursing benefits at any age, I suppose, hehe.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birth Revelations!

So, Jamesy and I visited our cousin Emily and little cousin Ava, who is already 7 1/2 months old!

My cousin had never seen my birth video, so we watched it. I've seen it sooo many times before, but never before have I noticed . . .

an arm? Not a hand. An arm. Wow. That is really a whole arm!

Emily and I saw it together, our simultaneous gasp summing up the previous paragraph . . .

My baby crowned not only a head. He crowned an entire arm and shoulder, too. Like, when he was crowning his elbow was coming out with his head, and when the head was out the whole arm was out.

All of a sudden, all of the following things make sense.

-Why I was having shooting pains down one leg for the last month of pregnancy.

-Why the crowning/pushing stage took a relatively long time compared to the overall course of the labor. From the beginning of labor until full dilation was about 2 hours. And then from full dilation until crowing was another hour and a half. His head/arm/shoulder were out a full three contractions before I was able to push him the rest of the way out.

-Why the crowning/pushing stage were so painful for me. Now, I did have an easy birth, and the pain of crowning and pushing was actually about what I had expected it would be. But . . . now seeing what was actually happening in my vagina when I birthed this baby, it kinda makes me wonder if the next one will be a totally crazy pain-free birth or something. I can't imagine how much easier it would be to push out only a head. A head is already shaped to fit through the opening provided for the baby. An arm/shoulder/head is not smooth and round.

-Why I had a 5th degree tear.

-Potentially why james took a long time to breathe/clear his lungs. That birth presentation/posture would have put extra/incorrect/not enough pressure on his body. The vagina is meant to clamp down on the chest of the baby to expel fluids after the head is born, but maybe his presentation prevented this clamping from happening correctly. They say the first breath is the hardest to take so having extra fluid to clear or feeling an extra weight must have made it harder.

Now, someone could read this list and say these things happen to babies born in a textbook position all the time. Or maybe wonder why it even matters to me.

I like to understand. And I know myself well. Things happen for a reason. I like to understand the reasons behind things. When I saw that arm, it was like I put in the final piece of my birth experience puzzle and can see the entire picture clearly now.

I guess time will only tell. If I have another baby, in a textbook position, I would guess my labor will be closer to 3 hours than 5, and that I will not tear at all except minorly (or along the old tear), and that crowning/pushing will be a comparative breeze and my post-partum recovery will be practically non-existent. But like I said, time will tell!

Along with this realization also came some crazy birth power. Now I really feel like I could handle anything. 11 lbs baby, natural vaginal breech birth--whatever! I am woman I roar out baby.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

At least it's not the 50's...

Sometimes I wear an apron, and stand in my kitchen with a wooden spoon. What if it was the 50's? What if I was home, not by choice, but by non-choice. What if I didn't feel like I should . . . use birth control . . . or get a college degree, or write in detail about my mental health.

And all I can say is . . . well, things would be a lot worse. But my reflective moment is more to realize that our parents and grandparents . . . our mothers and grandmothers . . . that WAS their life. Now we understand that not everyone is meant to stay at home--now much fewer women are silenced and repressed (at least in our country) . . . but back then?

I think the guilt is there for the taking--inherited from our mothers, grandmothers, from old books and ads and movies . . . for some reason, women have always been made to feel as if the role of Mom and Wife should be ENOUGH for them. But why?

It's so interesting that in our 50's world, a Man would be scorned for staying at home raising his kids--why? Because he's not earning an income--he's not WORKING. And yet--let's be honest, few jobs leave you more exhausted at 5pm than staying at home.

So ...why the double standard? Why are men made to feel guilty for wanting to stay at home and why were/are women made to feel guilty when . . . being a MomWife isn't fulfilling all your aspirations?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Postpartum Depression (For Me)

So here's a run-down. I feel like this is all so obvious but maybe not.

Post-partum depression . . . an interesting animal. It sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Later than you think, usually.

I didn't get the baby blues, I had an awesome immediate post-partum experience. My hubby was home for a whole month, my baby was easy, my birth was great, breastfeeding . . . . honestly was painful for a long time but since everything else was so good it was not an issue to get through that first painful month (which in retrospect was a combination of oversupply, minor tongue tie, and lip tie, all unidentified until much later).

And yet I didn't love my baby. I mean I did in one way. Of course I loved him very much. But my heart was like a vice. I admired his cuteness, felt peaceful and loving when breastfeeding . . . but when I looked at him my heart did not move. Do you know when you look at someone you love, esp after a long time? Your heart swoops out before you to meet them, and then holding them, or seeing them, or being with them, is like reembracing your own heart again . . . ? Your heart moves when you love people--swoops, plunges, chokes you sometimes . . .

My heart just did not move for him and intellectually I know I loved him and I felt it on some level but . . . my heart was a vice. I protected myself seriously and, to some extent, consciously, against connecting with him until he was over the worst time period for SIDS . . . I was afraid, after taking 3 years to conceive him, having multiple miscarriages . . . I just didn't want to love him too much until I was sure this was really it for us . . . Really, now in retrospect, without emotion but with logic, SIDS is SO rare and usually affected by so many risk factors that we don't have . . . but that was my fear at the time and I owned it shamelessly.

So this started to lift around 5 months . . . and still I was okay, honestly, just, hard in my heart, but softening.

But then teething started at 6 months. Crawling started at 7.5 months. And it was almost like I went from being afraid I would lose him to suddenly losing myself. Losing my life.

I like writing. (Blogs, Message Boards, Facebook, etc). It helps me. But I couldn't do it with him crawling. I had to watch him at every second. I had to spend every moment trying to transform my world into a baby-safe place, so that I COULD have more than a second alone or to eat, or to shower, or . . .

And writing isn't the only thing I like to do--but suddenly it's like the hard-won independence of adulthood--which I had so longed for and wished for as a child--the ability to control my own life--which I ran at, like a horse out of the gate, as a teenager . . . this independence was suddenly, once again, gone. No one explained to me that 18 until when you have kids is the only time that you are actually independent and making decisions for your own best interests (and when your kids are grown, I suppose).

I didn't realize I was in like this "special freedom zone" but now in retrospect, other parents did attempt to tell me with things like: "Wait until they are crawling" "It all changes after you have kids" "Enjoy your sleep now", etc. You just don't realize that all of these things will get into your PSYCHOLOGY. That you will feel GUILT about the resentment of your lost freedom, you will feel CONFLICTED about your child, to feel such strong love for one who simultaneously demands SO much ALL THE TIME. It's emotionally and psychologically extremely challenging. I don't know if it's not something you can explain to someone, or if people just haven't done it well enough . . .

Anyway, things started to go downhill for me around 7.5-8 months, though honestly my whole "detached-out-of-fear" thing probably didn't set me up really nicely there, either . . . and the very worst was from like 7.5-11.5 months--for him, and honestly so much of it was related to teething. He became such a different child when his first 7 were in and we had a long break there for awhile. For me the stress continued through a haze of 1st birthday party (Nov 19th), Thanksgiving and related travel (20th-26th), and Christmas, and cleaning up from Christmas.

But in spite of this, I had really started to enjoy this independent, communicative toddler, down to nursing 6ish times a day . . . I LOVED not having to constantly manage meds and homeopathic teething solutions . . . I LOVED having a predictable 2-nap day and a baby who was easy peasy to put to sleep! I LOVED IT.

And stupidly I thought it was all related to him getting older. NOPE. TURNS OUT IT WAS ALL RELATED TO A BREAK FROM F'ING TEETHING. Now his molars are coming in and I feel like I've been dropped right back into hell. I'm such a freaking "put the bad stuff out of my mind" sort of person that I forget within a week how awful it was with him teething. But now it's back and . . . I don't know, I'd just started feeling normal and like I was feeling better. Now the idea of having to deal with this teething/clingyness/constant nursing/refusing to eat/refusing to nap/needing to constantly medicate/etc sort of baby for possibly another YEAR??! It's honestly panic-inducing.

I think I might need to step up my pharmacology. Taking adderall every day DOES help me manage my life. But I think it's . . . missing the major issue at this point.

And like I have the F'ing energy to sort through like 15 crappy psychiatrists to find one who will actually listen to and respect me and the fact that my system is SUPER sensitive and I will want to try a VERY VERY low dose, and communicate in more detail about what my options are and what diagnos(es?) I fit, etc . . . like I really have the energy to do that.

James the Hubby is home with me today because . . . I needed a mental health sick day from being a Mommy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Has She Won, Folks?

There are many possible symptoms of postpartum depression, including the following:

Inability to sleep or sleeping a lot.
Change in appetite.
Extreme concern and worry about the baby or a lack of interest or feelings for the baby.
Feeling unable to love the baby or your family.
Anger toward the baby, your partner, or other family members.
Anxiety or panic attacks.
Fear of harming your baby. These thoughts may be obsessive, and you may be afraid to be left alone in the house with your baby.
Sadness or excessive crying.
Difficulty concentrating or remembering.
Feelings of doubt, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or restlessness.
Lethargy or extreme fatigue.
Loss of interest in hobbies or other usual activities.
Mood swings marked by exaggerated highs and lows.
Feeling emotionally numb.
Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.
Frequent calls to the pediatrician with an inability to be reassured.
Recurrent thoughts of death, which may include thinking about or even planning suicide.
Obsessive-compulsive features, including intrusive, repetitive thoughts and anxiety

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