Sunday, July 20, 2014

Camera Clean Out; State of Affairs (Sad & Lonely)

DSCN1847One of the first photos post-birth   

The (big) boys just left to go boating for the day with my cousin.  I opened up my most recent order of makeup (really, I ordered moisturizer and added in a lip gloss to replace the one I lost awhile back) and realized that I ordered the wrong lip gloss.  I can’t fit into pants and I am going back to work tomorrow.  Shoot, I can’t fit into almost anything – I don’t recall this stage, but maybe it has been lost in the foggy newborn non-memories from Charles’s and Jamie’s infant days.  I really thought I was wearing real pants or shorts by the time Jamie was a week old, because we went to the Independence Day Parade and I didn’t have super large yoga pants at the time…  This is depressing, because it means that at two weeks post-partum, I am MUCH further away from my pre-pregnancy body than I was with the other two.  If I could hide out at home for another few weeks, all would be well, but I have meetings piled upon meetings in the next few months and then an extremely busy autumn at work, so I have to embrace these gigantic hips somehow and find something to wear.

 

DSCN1852

 

It’s tough when you really don’t want to leave the house to go shopping.

 

DSCN1859

 

I have to admit that I am really hesitant to go to church, even.  Not only because at 13 days old I don’t think Freddie needs to be subjected to the unwashed hands and summer colds of the congregation, but also because I know several women in church who have had babies in the past few months and they were all wearing pre-pregnancy jeans (and bragging about it!) and running two or three miles (and telling me!) within two weeks of giving birth.  This is not just a projection of my terrible self-image and crazy post-partum hormones – they really have been telling me about their fitness routine immediately post-birth.  Tony says that they’re freaks of nature, but since I don’t want to be seen with me, I can’t imagine why anyone else would, either.  “Yes, hello friends, here’s our new baby, and here’s Amelia, who obviously could not control herself while pregnant and gained a shit-ton of weight.  No, no need to tell me that I ‘look great’ in a syrupy-sweet voice – I’m totally embarrassed about my body enough as it is.”  Recognizing that I suffer the sins of envy and pride does not make it any easier to choke down the tears and face the judging masses.

 

DSCN1855

 

I’m not helped this lovely morning by the fact that Freddie appears to be trying to grow ten pounds in two days by eating A LOT every hour-and-a-half since yesterday evening.  I’m tired and my nipples are sore and I am going to be all alone with the baby and the dog all day long.  Neither of them are big on stimulating conversation.

 

photo 3 (10)

I’m spending too much time on FaceBook.

photo 1 (12) Whuuuut?  My grunts are BRILLIANT conversation.

Also, I’d like to go on a walk, but I am afraid.  Yes, scared to walk.  On Friday (I think it was Friday), I put on my shoes (I haven’t worn those in awhile!), strapped Freddie into the Ergo carrier, grabbed the dog, and set off for what I hoped would be an easy walk around the block.  Nothing too ambitious, you know?  But then, disaster: I stepped off the curb not twenty yards from my house, stumbled, rolled to protect the baby (who slept through the whole thing), and scraped up half of my body and jammed my thumb.  Not just klutzy, but potentially harmful to my precious boy.  I immediately turned back home and have been couch-bound ever since.  Not a good way to start working off these thighs.

 

photo 1 (11)

Post-fall; he was still asleep.

 

How about I lighten things up, hmm?  This is becoming a downright dreary post and I want to assure you that we are doing well and are mostly happy and the big boys, at least, have had many fine adventures in the past several days.

 

photo 2 (10)

 

Charles got to go to a sleepover/campout on Friday night.  I almost cried when he left.  Almost.  I admire my own self-restraint.

 

photo 3 (11)

 

Then, on Saturday, cousins Jack, Claire, and Juliet came for a visit (and their parents, of course) on their way home from Vancouver.  Not before Charles and Jamie spent a few hours at the Children’s Art Festival (leaving me home alone with the baby, again), however; thus, the face paint.

 

photo 2 (11)

 

And like I said, today they’re going boating on Lake Washington.  This is also different for us – when Jamie was born, Charles was young and Tony worked a ton and we didn’t go lots of places.  Now, Freddie and I are going to miss out on a summer of fun.  Oh, it’s worth it, of course.  I want to be with my baby and cocoon, but I also feel pulled to go with the rest of my family on hikes and to fairs and on trips.  There’s even to be a four-day-weekend trip to the beach in August that we will miss.  Those are long days with no one to hand the baby to, no one to help change diapers at night, no one to refill my water glass or get me a sandwich when I am nursing.

 

Thank God for small rewards like this:

 

photo 4 (3)

 

This kid is adorable.  Time to hitch up these yoga pants, change a diaper, and settle in for some more couch time with my lovebug.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 10

I can’t find my Ergo carrier this morning, and it’s the first day since Freddie was born that the weather isn’t EXCRUCIATING and keeping us sprawled on the couch in front of the fans like so:

 

photo (11)

Belly, book, baby.

 

Tony doesn’t know where it is, I already texted him.  And, because of hormones probably, I’m inordinately upset about this.  I could cry or scream or maybe both, but I won’t because Freddie is asleep on my chest right now.

 

photo 3 (8)

He prefers being on someone to any other sleeping position.

Tony has been taking the first “sleep with baby” shift every night, giving me the opportunity to sleep in my own bed, flat on my back, for at least a couple of hours every night.  Of course, without the baby there (and I have no idea why this isn’t the case when the baby is there), I sleep the sweaty, overheated sleep of the newly postpartum, but whatever, it’s in my own bed.  After a couple of hours of sleeping with Freddie in the recliner, Tony changes the baby’s diaper and then hands him off to me for the rest of the night.  I sleep on the couch in the basement with the little guy, and so far it’s working out pretty well.  Tony gets about seven hours of sleep each night (not uninterrupted, but seven hours nonetheless), and I get about five (totally interrupted for diaper changes and feedings every two hours).  Plus, I get a nap or two during the day.

 photo 1 (10)

 

I can’t help but wonder what our lives would have been like if we’d had a recliner when Charles was a newborn.  Or if we’d just given in a little bit more and bent to what he wanted rather than what we wanted (we wanted him to sleep in his crib or between us in our bed).  Freddie gets the benefit of our experience: he gets to sleep in our arms just like he wants and for as long as he wants.

 

photo (10)

 

Some might say this is crazy.  Some, like my mother, would say I am spoiling my child.  But I know better.  Kids this age are tyrants.  Take a look at this face:

 

photo 2 (9)   

Appease the baby or suffer the consequences (including severe sleep deprivation, cursing God, marital stress, and an over-reliance on coffee, alcohol, and chocolate).  Also, I know, I truly know, that it won’t last forever.  All I have to do is look at my long-legged big boys sleeping sprawled in their bunk beds to know that this stage of cuddles and sweet, milky breath passes all too quickly.

 

Really, by holding him all the time, I’m spoiling myself.

Monday, July 14, 2014

One Week

I am so in love with my little Freddie.  But also, I am so hormonal.  Here is what I have cried about in the past week:

 

  • My baby is going to grow up and he’ll never look like this again and he’s already getting bigger and he’s my LAST BABY.

 

photo 2 (8)

 

  • There are all sorts of baby girl clothes on a shelf in the nursery that I will NEVER USE.
  • I break down crying every night when I pray to God that these children, all my children, will have long, healthy, fruitful lives.  It’s one thing to trust in God, it’s apparently another to worry about your heart breaking into a million pieces because life is so fragile.  Having children means being vulnerable, I guess.
  • A load of baby laundry was ruined by a red beach towel – among the losses were some of the very cute onesies that (I know, I know) will only fit Freddie for another week or two.  I cried because Charles and Jamie had lots of yellow and green clothing as newborns (we didn’t know their sex ahead of time), which looked terrible against their dark skin, and now Freddie has pink clothes.

 

photo 1 (9)

One of the onesies that was lost to the laundry disaster.

 

  • I don’t have clothing that fits me, so I’m living in maternity yoga pants and nursing tank tops that show off my postpartum belly.  Thank God I don’t have to go anywhere alone in the foreseeable future – I would run the risk of being asked “when are you due?” if I didn’t have the baby with me.  Despite the fact that I exercised throughout my pregnancy and ate very well, I am huge.  I am afraid I will never lose this weight and that makes me cry.  I’m considering covering all the mirrors in the house with blankets.
  • The house hasn’t been vacuumed in over a week.  There are dishes in the sink, laundry in the dryer, dog poop in the yard, and when I’m not pinned to the couch by my eight-pound bundle (who smells so good, I just want to keep taking looong sniffs of his head, but when I do he squirms and threatens to wake up), I frantically try to complete chores and it feels like nothing is okay.  My lady parts hurt, my back hurts, my belly hurts, and someone else should be doing all of this for me but there is NO ONE ELSE.
  • My friends are so amazing, what did I do to deserve them?  I haven’t had to cook a meal in a week and I have meals coming to me this week from more friends and I have meals from friends in the freezer.  Of course this makes me cry; am I this good of a friend to them? 
  • I’m so tired.  So very tired.  Crying because I’m tired seems absurd, and it is, but it’s sometimes the only thing left to do.

 

photo 3 (7)   Smile and move on, right?

 

So I’m going to try not to cry today because I know it’s not real – it’s the hormones crying.  Instead, I’m going to read and take a nap and snuggle my guy because next week, I go back to work (with Freddie).  And I will try so hard NOT to cry about that.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Happened

What happened?  Where did I go?

 

photo 3 (3)      

Please excuse my absence, I’ve been a bit busy.

 

photo 1 (7)

 

His name is Freddie.  Frederick Roger Cook.  And he’s perfect.

 

photo 4 (2)

 

Eight pounds, eleven ounces, twenty-one inches long, Freddie entered the world at 9:30 am on Monday, July 7.  7/7/14.

 

10409506_10100951049885460_4920794230145487334_n  

I awoke to a contraction at about 5:50 am.  I had been having contractions off and on for several days, but this one hurt just a little bit.  Like my pelvis was ever so slightly trying to separate from itself.  I stayed in bed and had a few more over the next thirty minutes, so I got up, told Tony, “I think we’re going to have a baby today,” and got in the shower.  We called my brother to come take care of the kids, got the kids out of bed and started on their breakfast, and then went to the hospital.

 

 photo 2 (7)

 

They got me into triage and checked my progress at about 7:45 am.  I was four centimeters dilated.  At 8:45, when the doctor got there and checked me, I was only about six centimeters dilated.  Contractions were starting to really hurt, but I breathed through them. 

 

photo 1 (6)

I should have known that we were getting close when I started to feel dizzy in between contractions.  I would sit down, but then the contractions got so close together that I would have to stand back up almost immediately.  I moaned and focus through the contractions, clawing my fingers into Tony’s shoulders, my head pushing into his chest.

 

photo 2 (5)

 

Tony said something like, “That was the third contraction like that, I’m calling the nurse!” because, of course, everyone had left the room just before things got interesting.  By the time the nurse came back, I was moaning, “I have to push!”  She rushed to get the doctor and another nurse.

 

photo 3 (4)

 

The team broke the bed down and I scarcely got on it when my water broke and I began pushing.  I also began screaming and shouting and probably cursing.  Having a baby HURTS.

 

photo 3 (6)

 

It felt like forever, but I only pushed for five minutes to birth my baby boy.

 

photo 1 (5)

 

He was immediately placed on my belly and then he immediately showed his relief at being born by pooping all over me.  The nurses wiped us both off and then, not two minutes later, he did it again.  Stinker.

 

photo 4 (1)

 

He’s wonderful.  He looks like his brothers, who love him desperately and shower him with (probably too much) affection.  He smells amazing.  As tired as I am, I am loving every minute of this.  My Freddie.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Wear a Skirt in 90 Degrees at 38 Weeks Pregnant (Alternatively: Later Pregnancy Woes)

Perhaps you are among the many who complimented me on my outfit after I posted this photo on FaceBook, and if so, I thank you.  You did my ego good.

 

photo 1 (53)

 

The thing is, you can’t see my ankles in this photo.  I can’t see my ankles, either, but that’s because they are swollen to three times their normal size.

 

On Tuesday, the day of the night I dressed up in my nine-months-pregnant best to go to a Rotary banquet with Tony, we experienced the hottest July 1st on record.  I saw a thermometer reading of 89 degrees, which is about ten degrees past Too Damn Hot, if you ask me.  Definitely too damn hot for pants, which means I needed to wear a skirt or dress.  And God help me if I wear a leg-baring skirt – people already look at me sideways, as if I’m going to go into labor and deliver right where I am at any given point of the day (we were seated with the fire chief at dinner, and he assured me that he had delivered nine babies in his career, so I was in good hands), and the unsolicited comment on my appearance I hate the most right now is “Oh, you’re so swollen!”  Really?  I couldn’t tell.

 

I went to the All-Comers Track Meet in a knee-length skirt last night and ten strangers must’ve said exactly that.  Thankfully, my dear friends all lied through their teeth and told me I looked great.  Because that’s what friends are for.

 

So here’s a glimpse into my protocol for a day of skirt-wearing:

 

Wake up, take a cool shower, then put on compression socks as soon as I’m dry.  Before work, switch out compression socks for compression shorts.  Come home from work in the early afternoon (I’m on half-time currently) and take off the compression shorts and put on the compression socks.  Wake up from an overheated nap, take off compression socks, put on compression shorts, go pick up the boys from preschool.  Come home, put on compression socks at the same time as compression shorts, drink my seventh gallon of water that day, and put feet up.  When Tony gets home, take off compression socks and just baaaarely fit swollen feet into honest-to-goodness shoes for the evening out.

 

photo 2 (54)

Sexy socks

 

Now take that schedule of events and picture me hunched over socks, struggling mightily, huffing and puffing, red in the face, and sitting down on the bed or couch every three seconds for a break.  Every time I scrunch up or bend over these days, the baby kicks me in the ribs and stretches his arms into my pelvis, making the donning of compression socks and shorts even more uncomfortable.  It’s a really great thing there’s not a video recording of me getting dressed every morning, because it’s truly pathetic.

 

*****

 

Am I an closer to delivering now than I was yesterday?  Well, yes, of course, but I can’t tell.  I am swollen, yes, and tired, and I can’t eat much without feeling sick to my stomach.  I take long naps and sleep long hours at night (with the requisite potty break every two hours).  The baby has dropped, certainly, so my belly is more torpedo-shaped than before.  I’m skipping Independence Day festivities tomorrow in favor of napping on the couch and keeping my dog subdued.

 

The big concern at the moment?  My doctor is headed out of town tonight and tomorrow night… I really don’t want to deliver without him, so if you’re the praying kind, please pray that this baby stays put until Sunday.

 

Until next week, Happy Independence Day, everyone!  Have some potato chips and onion dip for me (I really don’t feel up to it)!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Round and Round

Conversations in the car last night:

 

Jamie: Mom!  Where’s my new fire truck train?

 

Me: Honey, it’s either at home or here in the car.

 

Jamie: Oh.  It’s at home.  But I wanted to take it to Baby Boot Camp!

 

Me: Well, we don’t take toys like that to Baby Boot Camp because they might get lost.

 

Charles: What got lost at Baby Boot Camp???!!!

 

Me: Nothing.  Jamie was talking about his fire truck.

 

Charles: What fire truck?

 

Me: His new Flynn the Fire Engine toy that he got as a gift for his birthday from Maria.

 

Jamie: What fire engine?

 

Me: Flynn the Fire Engine.

 

Charles: It’s lost already?!

 

Jamie:  Who’s Flynn?

 

Me: No, it’s not lost.  It’s at home.

 

Jamie: Oh.  But I wanted to take it to Baby Boot Camp!

 

Jamie: Who’s Flynn?

 

Jamie: What fire engine?

 

*******

 

Me: Charles, would you be interested in having a campout at Maria’s house this summer with some other big kids?

 

Jamie: I’m a big kid!

 

Me: I know, sweetie, but you’re not quite big enough to camp out away from home.  How about a campout with Daddy in our backyard?

 

Jamie: But I’m a big kid!  I’m three!

 

Charles: With Maria and David and Christian?

 

Me: I think it would be with Gabey and Heidi and some of their cousins.

 

Charles: Who are their cousins?

 

Me: Well, they would be other kids your age, like the boy Christian who came to Jamie’s birthday party with Gabey and Heidi.

 

Charles: Who?

 

Me: You remember, Gabey and Heidi and their cousin Christian came after everyone else and you guys bounced on the bouncy house for an hour together.

 

Charles: Gabey came to Jamie’s party?

 

Me: Yes!  With Heidi and Christian!

 

Charles: Who’s Christian?

 

Me: The five-or-six-year-old boy who was with Gabey and Heidi at our house on Saturday evening, jumping with you in the bouncy house!

 

Charles: Who?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Three Years!

Jamie, my happy little jumper, turned three years old on Saturday:

 

He jumps, with chicken wings, ALL THE TIME.

 

He is constant movement, this Tasmanian Devil of a child.  He doesn’t lack focus, but he doesn’t have any downtime in his days, either.  Much like Charles, he is an on-or-off kid.  The difference is that focus.  Charles, at age three, craved our interaction with him, couldn’t be alone, and couldn’t focus on a single task.  About half the time, Jamie is content to ride his tricycle alone or play with his cars solo.  He’ll listen to me read stories for hours or he’ll play with his paints or playdough.  The only thing he won’t focus on is the television (honestly, I’m so glad).

 

He’s such an amazing child.  He stands and sings at the dinner table, dancing with his reflection in the mirrors on the wall.  He makes up stories and scenarios for his toys, he battles dragons with his sword and shield, and he cuddles up just so nicely in the crook of my arm on the couch.

 

So, what sort of birthday celebrations did we have for the incredible child?  We started with a party at school for which I made a Thomas the Tank Engine Rice Krispies Treat Cake:

 

photo 1 (50)

 

First, I sketched an outline of Thomas on parchment paper, then I put on latex gloves and covered them in Crisco, and finally, I shaped the train out of burning hot cereal-and-marshmallow mess.

 

photo 2 (51) 

Then I frosted Thomas.  Not too shabby, eh?  As I’ve noted before, Rice Krispies Treats cakes are great for little kids because they don’t require forks, there are no allergens, they are infinitely customizable, and they taste delicious.

 

The cake was accompanied by singing and a piƱata at school, much to the delight of twenty or so little kids.

 

photo 3 (40)photo 1 (51)

Charles got to visit from the school-agers class for the party.

 

photo 2 (52)  

Tony was out of town on Friday, but my parents were there and took good care of all of us.

 

photo 4 (10) photo 3 (42)

 

And thank God they did; my mom did so much work to keep us all in clean dishes and fed.  She vacuumed for me and she and Loris did ALL of the party prep for Saturday (Tony didn’t get home until 8 am Saturday morning – the first text I had from him was to let me know he made it to Corvallis okay, the second was to check if I was in labor yet).  And my dad?  He read stories until he was hoarse.

 

I’m particularly proud of my party idea for Jamie.  How to keep a jumping kid happy while doing a minimum of work?  Rent a bouncy house.

 

With all the party invitations and party prep, I managed to keep the bouncy house a secret from my children.  We went to Baby Boot Camp on Saturday morning and returned to a fully inflated bouncy house in the back yard.  I don’t think they could have been more shocked.  The only disappointing thing was when they understood that we would not get to keep it forever.

 

photo 2 (53)photo 1 (52)photo 3 (43)Even Grandma Loris got in on some jumping action.  

 

I prayed for the weather to behave and, indeed, we only had a few quick showers.  Perfect jumping weather.  We had a million people come through to give Jamie their best wishes and a lot of kids who went home exhausted.

 

Three years.  I couldn’t love him more.

 

photo 2 (40)