Friday, February 19, 2016

Postpartum Party

Eloise and I partied so hard last night. She was binge drinking and crying; I was trashing our room, throwing nursing pads, pacifiers and swaddle blankets around like I didn't even care where they landed. This morning after we'd slept it off a bit I was like, "E, that was great. I haven't raged like that since college." I kept thinking how bad I feel for housekeeping particularly considering that housekeeping is primarily me.

There was a reason for her complete insanity and, not surprisingly, I was complicit. During the pediatrics rounds at the hospital, the doctor noted that Eloise had a tongue tie. She recommended that we have it snipped to prevent potential breastfeeding and speech issues in the future. Reasoning that since we'd circumcised Henry that we should do something to similarly torture our daughter - female circumcision being fairly uniformly frowned upon in these parts - we decided to go for it. The ENT performing the procedure told us that some babies are unphased and others a bit fussy. We fell into Category C: hell hath no fury like a baby with her frenulum clipped. In her solid week of life, Eloise has been easy peasy with the exception of yesterday and last night. This morning she seems to be resting comfortably and as such, my guilt is subsiding.

Moving onto observations and witticisms...
1. You can love 2 children at the same time. A few of you may have mentioned something to this effect. It is ridiculously true. I fawn over her the way I gush over Henry. Crazy true love all over again. Plus, watching my husband cradle a newborn makes me just about die a sudden hormonal death each time so I'm triple in love.

2. It is not possible for a 22 month old to grasp the arrival of a new sibling, no matter how obese you might get. Thus, his world will be rocked. Henry splits his emotional time between adoring Eloise - asking to snuggle and hold her, showing us her nose, asking her to come play in his "tunnel" (play teepee) - and having complete nervous breakdowns over unspecified tragedies. The good news is that every day, the ratio of loving, playful Henry to clinically insane Henry slides to the former's favor. We are also gradually getting better at focusing solely on him rather than feeling like we're constantly in a game of kid triage. Newborns are pretty low maintenance. Typically they can stare at a ceiling fan while they wait for attention.

3. There is no easy way to extract a fully grown baby from one's body. Day 1 post c-section I was asking if the hospital had a post-natal kickboxing class I could join. Adrenaline for the win! Day 2, I was moaning and begging for illegal drugs. Subsequent days are better and better but I can say, equivocally, that recovering from a c-section is a motherfucker. But then I remember recovering from vaginal birth and that was a total bitch as well. Suffering is a woman's lot in life, or something like that. I would like there to be a c-section recovery forum somewhere where I can post things like "is this shit normal?" But I think I'll have to suck it up and discuss with the many women in my life who have been sliced and diced.

Photos were requested and so photos you shall have. Our hospital has a contract with a professional photography company that busts into your room and sells you charming photos of your new baby. Last time, they came the morning after I'd labored for 30 hours, pushed for 4 hours, and had a kid vacuumed out of me. Henry and I looked rough. No photos purchased. This time we had an extra day. There were showers involved and small amounts of sleep. We suckered up and bought those pics. Here are a few.

Friday, February 12, 2016

She's Here!

My beautiful Eloise arrived last night via c-section. She is a peanut, born at 37 weeks and 1 day, she weighed 5 lbs 9 oz and was 19.5" long. She has lots of dark blond hair and the sweetest little nose I've ever seen on a newborn baby.

Since it's 4 in the morning and I can't sleep, why not write out her birth story? 

Wednesday was the date of my cancelled scheduled c-section. Since my OB, Dr. L, had detected some movement of my placenta at 34 weeks, he wanted to repeat an ultrasound at 38 weeks in the off chance that there had been enough movement away from my cervix and I could deliver vaginally. I had mistakenly thought that my placenta previa was marginal at that ultrasound; in fact, it was still complete but had still made some movement. So Wednessay came and went without any fuss. I felt annoyed that I was still at work but glad that Miss E was still cooking, growing bigger and stronger. Thursday morning I got up and had coffee and snuggles with Henry and J as usual and then headed into work. Around noon, following a long meeting, I noticed that my back pain (a constant pal in this pregnancy) had migrated south and felt different. It radiated and was followed by mild contractions. I got up, made myself a sandwich, walked around, but it continued. I advised J and my mom to keep their phones on but that it was likely the pre-labor symptoms that many women have on and off for days or weeks. I went off to another meeting thinking the sensations would subside but they didn't. Still, the pain was very mild and left me more uncomfortable than anything. I called my OB's office and they advised me to hydrate and call back in an hour to report if there were any changes. An hour and lots of water later, the back pain and mild contractions remained. At 5, they advised me to come in to be monitored and checked out. I told Joel I expected to be sent home in an hour or so. The hospital is a whopping block and a half from my office. I walked over, got hooked up to monitors and read my kindle. Then got an ultrasound and they confirmed my previa was still complete. As I had had no bleeding, I still expected them to send me home and advise me to take it easy. Nope. The resident walked in and said that as my contractions were very regular and my previa was complete, my OB didn't want to risk a massive bleed at home and would be delivering my baby that night. I believe she asked me to "get my person here as soon as possible." In total shock, I called my mom and J and arranged for them to hand over Henry and our dogs at the hospital. The docs waited for J to arrive and once he did, everything happened pretty quickly. 

The worst part of the c-section was honestly the prep. The anesthesiologist had to try a couple locations before he administered the spinal block. I found the numbness really disconcerting. I was nervous and couldn't banter with the docs and nurses. I felt much better when J came in. Once he came in, things started immediately and within a few minutes, Eloise was out! After grinning and breathing a sigh of relief, my totally candid thought was "that was so much easier than a vaginal birth!" Obvious thoughts by yours truly. Wait til recovery, genius. 

She was immediately pink and wailing and sounded like an angry bird. Eloise scored a 9/9 on her apgar despite her tiny, though gestationally appropriate, size. She was brought to my cheek so I could kiss and marvel at her. J held her next to me while they put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And then we were wheeled out and it was over.

She's a champion breastfeeder and is impossibly tiny. That's all I know about her so far. I can't wait for the sun to come up and to spend the day staring and getting to know my daughter. Henry will meet her today as well. I can't wait. 

My daughter and my son. Two after nothing at all and so much struggle. And somehow it feels nothing but right and destined to be. I wish I could send my 2012-13 self a note reassuring that all would be so much more than ok. What tremendous luck, love, and miracles of modern medicine.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

36 Weeks - A Love Letter

Dear Henry,

As I know you've noticed, something is up in our house. We are on the brink of change. You ask to see and touch my giant belly frequently and last night pointed to it and said your little sister's name. We say that name all the time in reference to my belly so I'm not sure what you understand and what you're simply repeating. I don't think that at 22 months you could possibly comprehend that I'm growing a whole other person inside of me. At 33 years, I can't quite wrap my head around it and I've done it before. The past 8 months have been kind of a non-event for you though you have keenly observed my ballooning midsection and hilariously referred to my protruding bellybutton as a "mama penis." You are far more aware of babies both out in the wild and at daycare. This week you started telling us that babies say "ga-ga-ga." At daycare, babies are mysterious, free-floating entities that belong to other grownups. I doubt you anticipate one moving into our house in the next few weeks. You are uninterested in the "big brother, new baby" genre of literature in which I've invested. I don't understand why Richard Scarry never wrote and illustrated a definitive guide to siblings and banana-mobiles. As much as I've tried, I can't possibly prepare you.

At your age, I don't know that you really need that much preparation. If we brought home a new puppy, you'd be simply delighted. No prep necessary. Can I continue make the dog-baby analogy? Will that work? Your Abu tells me that when your Titi came home from the hospital, I just loved her to bits right away. I did, however, announce that my legs had stopped working and that I would need to be carried like her. I hope that your legs continue working and that you adore your sister from the get go.

I'm glad that at 22 months, you can't read, don't check my blog, and therefor don't know my anxiety over building our little family. Of all people, I should have the least anxiety. I am ridiculously close to my sister and, while we had our ups and downs, I know just how insanely fun it is to have a built-in partner in crime. I want nothing more than that for you. My memories of growing up with my sister includes countless episodes of breathlessly laughing, tears streaming down our faces, utter nonsense. It doesn't get any better than that. I'm trying to give you that. You're welcome.

When I hold you at night and kiss your cheeks too many times, I'm trying to impress upon you just how much I love you, that your sister can never replace you. As the clock ticks down I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to love your sister even a fraction as much as I love you (though I've been told a thousand times that I will). You were the dream that almost didn't come true. I stare at you and can't believe how beautiful, smart and funny you are. Your dad and I are the luckiest people on earth all because of you. You made us a family. Your sister will add to that, build upon that luck and love in ways that will undoubtedly astound me in the very near future.

You will always be my first baby, my love, my magical boy. I can't wait to see you rise to the occasion of being a magnificent big brother. Don't forget that my arms are always open to scoop you up and snuggle you. Nothing can ever change that. I will not always be this emotional and sappy, but I will always love you fiercely, wildly, completely.

Your lucky, hormonal Mama