Saturday, October 11, 2014

Smooth Hair

I realized the other day that I've been journaling like I only have one child when in fact I have four children who may or may not all look alike (is it because Jim and I look similar?).   I think I'm also guilty of parenting like I only have one child, namely the one who is tiny and looks like a little old man or a baby chimpanzee...depending on the angle.  The one who takes life very very seriously despite his itty bitty size.   Sometimes I feel like he an I are locked in a battle of wits by ourselves with Jim and the boys flitting in the background like supporting characters in a play.   The doctor said that fourth borns often smile at 2-3 weeks because of the presence of older siblings, but William is a very contemplative little dude.  Jim says he smiles for him, but I don't believe it.  It's like the abominable snowman or the loch ness monster. 

Robbie burst into my bubble today talking.   It got through my sleep deprived zombie state because he doesn't actually know how to talk yet, so when my two year old came up and said "Mommy!" and then a few heartbeats later "eat"  and then a few heartbeats later (because finding words is hard work) "beeebee", you better believe I dropped my mouth open in shock and paid attention.   "Mommy eat baby" isn't exactly the kind of sentence that makes sense, but then he took a big pretend bite out of William's thighs and offered me a pretend piece as well, so I guess he meant it quite literally. "Eat!" he said.  And so I did.  We pretended to gobble up every delicious bite of William's slowly appearing fat rolls), while William solemnly judged us.

Charlie climbed up onto my lap and touched his two index fingers together (which is a secret code he developed for when he wants to whisper something in my ear).  "Mommy, I want to show you something" he said.  So I let him lead me down the hall to the dining room where he pointed to the big canvas family picture on the wall.  "I want that mommy back."  He said.   Ouch.   Then he told me he likes my hair better straight than "fuzzy".  All righty then.

   (photo credit to the awesome Hefners) 

I made the mistake of showing the boys a parkour video on youtube.  It's a gymnastics/extreme sport hybrid where you do crazy things like jump off buildings and run up walls.  Surely it's the sleeplessness that made me make such a poor decision because now the boys have turned my room into a parkour coarse.  While I sit in the recliner and try to feed William, they do stuff like flip off the dresser, over my head and onto the bed.  I found out our charter school pays for parkour classes, so now that's on my list of things to do once I re-emerge back to real life.   At least jumping on the bed is quieter than jumping on the floor?  I made the mistake of smiling and saying good morning to our downstairs neighbor the other day.  She gave me a nasty look and I belatedly remembered who she was and that she'd just threatened to call the police on us next time we were noisy.  Whoops.  I think we've finally faced the fact that we have to move out of this apartment.  Maybe cool people in New York City can raise four little boys in a small third story apartment, but the skill is lost on me.  If anyone has the scoop on a reasonable house with a backyard, I'm all ears.  We're officially looking. 

Jamie had a developmental growth spurt.  In the last few months he learned how to tie his shoes, swallow pills, clean the kitchen (well), read a chapter book silently and he got a watch.   The watch is a godsend for me, because I can tell him things like "don't get out of bed until 6:30", and he also gives me a running commentary on how many minutes we have.  "Mom,  you have five more minutes to find Charlie's shoes or we're going to be late.",  "Charlie, you have two minutes to finish breakfast and then it's violin.", "Mom, give me the garage keys, if you walk any slower we're going to be eight minutes late".   You'd think that would be annoying, but I truly love it.  It's normally me saying all of that... trying to prod everyone else along.  Now Jamie and I are a prodding team (mostly in regards to Charlie).   I despise being late (I'm looking at you Dad), and I'm very proud I seem to have inadvertently (hopefully?) passed this trait on to Jamie.

On the feeding front (the thing that consumes all my waking energy...and that's quite a bit considering most nights I never even lay down in bed).   We discovered that William had a posterior tongue tie and an upper lip tie (which is a whole nother blog entry).  It's a fairly common conundrum in infants and they check for it in the hospital, but Will's was hard to diagnose and easy to miss.  The good news is we got it lasered by a super awesome Dr. who I wanted to give flowers to and kiss.   The bad news is, Will's tongue spent so much time in utero in the wrong place, it made a deep nook in the top front section of his palate.  He really likes to mash my nipple up there instead of sucking and swallowing properly.   He managed to gain weight at the beginning thanks to the Niagra Falls that was my incoming milk supply, but now that I've had what...five bouts of mastitis so far?... my milk supply has gone down to normal proportions and he isn't gaining weight at all (I pump now and try to finish his feedings with bottled hind milk).   So he and I are locked in a will power battle where I expertly try to maneuver my nipple into the correct place, and he more expertly maneuvers it back into the nook and glares at me.  We do this for 20- 40 minutes until one of us gives up and falls asleep.  He is capable of nursing correctly now.  Occasionally he nurses like a ninja and I think we're making progress and then five seconds later he's back to beating my nipple to a bloody pulp.  I know you're not supposed to let your children win willpower battles, but the jury is out on this one.  I'm not sure how much more I have in me.

                                   , I have those aforementioned other children who need a mommy too.  You know, the happy kind with non fuzzy hair.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A month old + birth story

Will is a month old today!

  I keep thinking of Charles Dickens "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.".  It seems like some cruel act of fate that newborns are soooo yummy and cuddly and amazing while moms are struggling so hard to pull themselves back together.  It's one of the most fleetingly amazing times of your life and you have to spend it simultaneously with one of the worst times in your life: being post partum.  Ugh. 

One of the worst things about being post partum is the baby brain fog.  I think I read it's an actual chemical thing so you forget how horrible childbirth was?  Or maybe it's so you focus on your baby's survival to the detriment of everything else?  I don't remember (har har).  I do know though, that if I don't write down Will's birth story, I won't remember the details and goodness knows every child needs the embarrassing blow-by-blow saga of how he was born.  

This was my fourth c-section and it's hard not to compare them all.  Jamie's c-section was so easy.  My 21 year old body bounced back after a few days like nothing happened (probably spurred forward by a baby in the NICU...both because I didn't have to take care of him full time, and I didn't want to miss anything).  Charlie was a little harder, but still pretty smooth sailing...partly because I only had one child to dodge and protect myself from whenever he came barreling toward me with three year old exuberance.   Robbie's c-section was a definite turn for the worse.  I caught a virus in the hospital, had recurrent mastitis (much like this time, except antibiotics actually did their job last time), had an allergic reaction from a spider bite, and was innocently sitting on the couch when Charlie did a cannonball dive off the back and into my incision.   In retrospect I did a lot of damage to myself internally with Robbie's recovery, but I didn't know that and wouldn't have cared anyway because he was our last kid.  (ha!)

Which takes us to Will's birth story.  Picking your child's birthday and knowing their gender and name is so the opposite of how childbearing happened historically, that it's still jarring to me to do it this way.  Not that I'd prefer birthing in a four poster bed in a Victorian nightgown while my husband paced the hall...but still, it seems a little suspiciously manufactured to walk in perfectly healthy and say "oh doctor, please do count those sponges and grab that scalpel, I'm scheduled to be sliced like filet mignon in thirty minutes".   But the fates didn't consult me in the whole child producing dept (obviously), so planned c-section it was.  This was my first c-section scheduled in the morning which was awesome.  The worst part of all my other c-sections was the starving and dehydration section of the day, and then the continued starvation the next day.  Jello is a poor food substitute when you haven't eaten in two days.   We got there early and I talked over a few things with the anesthesiologist.  This was also the first c-section where I had a woman anesthesiologist which was funny (not really) because I'd just been joking they were a rare species.   I had very specific opinions about what drugs I wanted and didn't want.  I hate how c-sections are such a one-size-fits-all.  I get why emergency c-sections are done the way they are, but why can't scheduled c-sections be a completely customizable thing?  I asked to do skin to skin right away in the operating room (versus waiting for the recovery room) and I really wanted music to sort of take away the clinical feel of the place  (and you know...  distract me from the very real awareness I was buck naked on a table under bright lights with a room full of people).  They were very obliging and honored all my requests, but they didn't know I really wanted to ask them to skip the whole drape thing.   I also wanted to pull the baby out myself directly on my chest, do delayed chord clamping, and no scrubbing the vernix off the baby...oh and please save the placenta. ;-)   ...Jim is thankful I kept all those requests to myself.  Cough cough. 

The c-section itself went great.  Normally my blood pressure bottoms out once or twice and I struggle with nausea.  My arms weren't tied down this time, and I felt a lot more relaxed (and I thought I felt relaxed with the other three).   I don't mind getting the spinal at all, and it always shocks me how fast everything moves in the operating room.  Before I knew it I heard William take his first breath and start to cry...scratch was more of a furious screaming.   That was another new thing.  With my others they always said something like "and here he is!"  or "It's a boy!" and then silence.  Time always slowed down as I waited and waited for that first breath or cry or something that let me know my child was ok.  You feel kinda of sensory deprived behind that curtain and it's hard to get your bearings on what's happening or not happening.    With William though, he was crying before they even got him out.  I thought, oh dear Lord have mercy on me, I don't think I can handle a super spitfire and then they put him on my chest and he looked at me and I remembered I already knew this person.  He'd been mine for nine months and in that second I felt like I'd known him forever.  He chose that kodak moment to clamp down his tiny non-fangs on my collar bone in a desperate attempt to feed on something....anything.   He was utterly convinced he was starving to death (something he is still convinced of a month later).   I couldn't get him down far enough to breastfeed because of the surgery going on just south of there, so I had to settle on stroking his head and promising him he would get to eat soon (again, something that still happens on an almost hourly basis lol).

The rest of the surgery was uneventful.  I went to recovery, Will nursed like a champ.  I got up to my room and settled in with the awesome Foley catheter and happy pills.   It wasn't until that night when I was walking around that I felt like the medical tape on my left leg was bothering me.   I ignored it (there are a lot of things that bother you after a surgery...including but not limited to people coming in at 4 am to take your blood pressure and temperature).   The next day my left leg felt like it had blisters on it, the adhesive tape was burning it so bad.  I thought maybe I was having an allergic reaction to the tape, and since I couldn't exactly bend down to check it out myself, I asked my wonderful nurse to check it for me.   She obliged and to her confusion (and mine), there was nothing there.  Just perfectly healthy looking skin.  Huh.  Ok.   Meanwhile the blistering feeling was turning into a full on "why-are-you-holding-a-frying-pan-on-my-leg" and no one could figure it out.  My nurse was so concerned she called anesthesiology immediately for a consult.  They couldn't figure it out either so she scheduled a consult with a surgeon.    That second night I was sleeping (or trying to sleep) when the new nurse came in and (not knowing about the leg thing), she tried to move my left leg for some reason.   I came off the bed.   This is where I felt at a serious disadvantage never having done bradley classes, or hypno birthing or whatever women are doing these days, because I couldn't get on top of the pain and I had no idea what it was or how to deal with it.   Jim didn't expect to have to actually do the whole labor coach thing...except this was super-psychotic-phantom-leg-problem versus actual beautiful childbirth.   My nurse was fluttering around trying to figure out what the heck she'd done while William of course slept through the whole thing.  Figures.  

I ended up staying an extra day which was two days longer than I normally stay considering I usually break out a day early, and when they did discharge me, it was with a walker.  I went in a healthy 30 year old and came out an 80 year old.  It was an odd complication to have...normally you don't injure your leg in a csection.  The neurologist jokingly asked if they'd dropped me off the table or something, but I think I would have remembered that.   I am thankful though that everything seems to be resolving itself.  It was only a few weeks ago I was worried I'd not be able to walk for months, and now my biggest problems are my traitorous Benedict Arnold boobs.

But that aside, my baby is perfect (or rather he smells perfect).   Granted, he's a very awake and alert little dragon baby who gets rather cantankerous when the boob is taken away from him.  He would much prefer to eat without ceasing, unless of course he's sleeping which he likes to do for big 5-7 hour chunks at a time.    I've always been a non-scheduler attachment parenter, but I'm having to enact some sort of schedule otherwise the whole mastitis thing gets out of hand.   William weighs 9lbs even now (he was 6lb 4oz when we left the hospital), so clearly he's not going to go all failure to thrive on me if I make him wait three hours between feedings.

We all love him so much. If anything I have to protect the poor child from the deluge of kisses he gets from his older brothers.

Hopefully he doesn't mind that despite the kisses, he's currently sleeping in the closet like the poor fourth born he is.  :-P