My Sweet Baby James

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

My Sweet Baby James 0

Labor.

People say you forget about the pain of labor, or else you wouldn’t ever have more than one child.

BS.

I certainly didn’t forget.  Maybe I didn’t remember the exact type of pain, but I sure remembered that it hurt. A lot. And not just during labor, but after. For some reason, none of the books or blogs or classes I read or took during my first pregnancy mentioned anything about postpartum recovery. Perhaps they reasoned ignorance is bliss.  Expectant mothers: You’re in for a surprise! But I won’t ruin it for you…

Anyway, armed with the knowledge of just how much pain was coming my way, I started to freak out a bit.  Especially because I know many women who are really into natural childbirth, and therefore I felt like I should be really into natural childbirth. Hey – I’m just as badass as they are! If they can do childbirth without pain medication, so can I!  But the prospect was still scary.

As I approached my due date, my doctor insisted I would deliver early.*  She was wrong, but at the time her predictions forced me to face reality. Labor was coming. Pain was coming. So I psyched myself up.  I’m active! I’m strong! I do yoga and know how to breathe! I can do this! (Plus, I have no choice.)  I even got kind of zen about the whole thing. Childbirth has nothing on me!

And then labor actually happened.  If you read my last blog post, you know that I spent the 36 hours before labor running around Orange County visiting various doctors, and went into labor late Thursday night. It was a restless two days, followed by a restless night of contractions.  Point is, when I did go into labor I was tired.  And a little stressed out.  All of a sudden I wasn’t so badass.

At first, I just kept moving through the contractions.   Hey, this isn’t so bad! I thought to myself.  I can totally handle this.  And then the contractions started coming faster.  Like, a lot faster. Wait, hold up. I was not ready for that. I mean, I knew I wanted labor to be quick (Elisabeth was 21 hours) but not too quick.  I wanted there to be enough time to get the epidural should I choose to go that route.

It was not long before I chose to go that route.

After about an hour of contractions I couldn’t ignore how close together they were coming, or how much stronger they were.  I went into my mom’s room. “Mom, just so you know I’m in labor and we’ll need to leave soon.”  I was really hoping to get in a shower, blow-dry my hair, and put some make-up on.** But I soon returned to her room.  “Actually, we need to leave now.”  And actually, I wanted that epidural, like, immediately.  Forget breathing.  Breathing is for the birds. I wanted drugs.

After the longest drive in the history of man (about 15 minutes) we arrived at the hospital around 2:30 AM.   There were a lot of babies being born that night, so I had to wait an eternity (about 20 minutes) before I could go to triage.  I was in a race against time – I knew that baby was coming soon, and I worried I wouldn’t have enough time to get the epidural. I am not woman enough for natural childbirth S***!

The nurse that examined me announced that I was already 8 cm.  “You’re not going to need the epidural,” she stated.

What does she know?! Is she the one in labor?! I had some very unpleasant words for her, but kept them to myself.

“Um, can I still have it?” I asked meekly.  “I mean, if it’s not too late or anything…”

“Yes, of course!” another nurse said cheerily. I liked that nurse a lot better.

They wheeled me up to my labor and delivery room while I tried to control my body’s uncontrollable shaking.  Shaking? I don’t remember the shaking. Must stop the shaking.

“Your breathing is great!” the nurse complemented, once I was in my room.

ENOUGH WITH THE BREATHING! WHERE’S THE DAMN ANESTHESIOLOGIST?

Eventually (about 10 minutes later) the anesthesiologist showed up and injected that blessed needled into my back. Oh sweet relief! I dozed for a bit, woke up, pushed for a few minutes, and had a baby.  Done and done.  It was 5:something AM. (Yes, I’ve already forgotten. I’m just that tired, okay? I have it written down somewhere, I promise…)  The baby was 8lbs 3oz and perfect.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, Damon was able to Skype in to the delivery. (Damon did fly to CA for a few days in hopes of making the birth, but unfortunately the baby didn’t arrive before Damon had to return to Japan for his deployment.) I’m not going to pretend that having an iPad with a floating head passed around the room while you’re trying to have a baby isn’t kind of awkward, but it was great that Damon could be there in some capacity.

Our super awkward (but endearing, no?) first family photo.

Our super awkward (but endearing, no?) first family photo.

We hemmed and hawed all day over what to name the kid.  It’s family tradition to use “Damon” as the first name, but we could just not decide on the middle name, by which the baby would be called.  Eventually we settled on James.

And here he is, sweet baby James, a few hours after birth.

IMG_4437

And he really is very sweet, my little cuddle bug.  He requires that someone hold him at all times (another reason why I am not blogging frequently – I have no free hands), but when he nuzzles his little head into my chest I know it’s just because he loves me.  Five weeks old and already a mama’s boy.  Yes! (Although, I wouldn’t mind if he let me put him down every now and then, you know, so I can sleep and pee and stuff.)

Cutie

Cutie

At the risk of sounding cliché, the past five weeks have flown by. James is growing crazy fast (he gained over four pounds in his first month), and he no longer looks or feels like a newborn.  Makes me a little sad, really.  But exciting things are ahead for our family as he continues to grow – and I continue to master parenting two kids instead of one***- and I look forward to sharing it with you!

 

*Note to doctors: Please don’t ever make predictions about your patient’s due date. Once you do so, your patient (or rather, her baby) will inevitably be late.  You will have instilled false hope into a tired, anxious, hormonal woman who wants nothing more than to not be pregnant anymore.  Spare her the disappointment of going to 40+ weeks. Please keep your professional opinion to yourself.

**This may sound vain, but I totally believe in doing your hair and makeup before labor.  Those pictures are going to be put up on Facebook by your husband without your knowledge, so you might as well attempt to look decent. Plus, you’re not going to have the chance to blow-dry your hair (or even wash it) for a very long time once the baby is born.  Just thinking ahead, folks!

***”Master.” Ha. More like, “Try to not completely screw up.”

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The Full-Term Fall

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

The Full-Term Fall 1

Hello! I’m back! (For today at least.) Why the blogging hiatus? I had a baby.  And get this – newborns are tiring.  My newborn pretty much eats all the time, and when he’s not eating, I have a toddler that I need to pay attention to so she remembers that I love her, too.  Anyway, here’s the cutie at 5 days old:     And of course, with his adoring sister:   Now, I know a lot of pregnant women right now.  Seriously, a lot.  This blog post is for them.  I want to offer my personal experience as a guide for what not to do when you’re pregnant. Particularly at the very end of your pregnancy.  Say, the day before your due date.  Pretend you are due on a Thursday.  This guide begins Wednesday morning.  Read and learn and watch your step. 1)  Wednesday morning:  Roll your ankle and fall – hard – on your butt while you’re carrying your 34-lb toddler. 2)   Wednesday afternoon: Go to the hospital for an ultrasound and fetal monitoring.  (Note: Besides a throbbing ankle, I felt totally fine. I wasn’t even going to call my doctor and tell her about the fall, but then I got scared she would scold me the next day at my 40-week check up for not calling.  Just be aware, if you are super pregnant and you fall down, they will always make you go to the hospital for testing.) 3)   Three hours later (yup, 3 hours for me!) you will be released from the hospital.  Everything is fine.  (But hey, in that 3 hours you might get to grab a nap! Upside!) 4)   Thursday morning (the due date): Go to one of your doctor’s office locations for MORE testing. Just in case.  Everything is still fine. 5)   Thursday afternoon: Go to your doctor’s second office location for your 40-week check up. Pretend not to be bitter when the doctor says pleasantly, “I’m surprised to see you here!” This doctor will, after all, have been predicting your early delivery for the past five weeks.  LIAR! I mean…...

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Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To

Posted on May 8, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To 4

Spring break season is over. As Elisabeth is not yet school-aged, I don’t think in terms of break schedules.  So when Damon visited last March and we decided to take Elisabeth to Disneyland, we didn’t consider that half the state of California (and the entire U.S.) would be on spring break and visiting Disneyland with us. While we lived in Japan, Damon routinely brought up the idea of visiting Tokyo Disney.  I routinely shot down that idea.  It was too crowded, too expensive, and Elisabeth was too young to enjoy or remember it.  I am a cold, heartless woman, I know. But things were different now.*  Despite my efforts at shielding Elisabeth from the more annoying of Disney characters, she is enamored of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She’s old enough to have fun on rides.  Though she would not remember the trip, she’d enjoy it in the moment.  Plus, this was going to be our last time together as a family of three.  Why not do something special?  Disneyland is magical! It’s the Happiest Place on Earth! What could be more special than that? Well, unless you think “special” entails pushing your way through hoards of tourists and waiting in endless lines while trying to keep your impatient child (or children) entertained, DON’T go to Disneyland during spring break.  Just don’t. Because this is what your visit will be like: -Take 30 minutes to find parking. -Wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to the park, or walk the 20 minutes to the entrance. -Wait another 30 minutes in line for exorbitantly priced tickets. (Note to military spouses – Disneyland does not offer military discounts for single day passes. You have to waste three days of your life there if you want a discount.) -Decide to take your daughter out of line and let her run around the courtyard that separates Disneyland and California Adventure. Marvel at her excitement at recognizing the characters that decorate the flagpoles.  “Hot dog!” she will squeal with glee, because for some inexplicable reason she will think Goofy’s name is “Hot Dog.”  Wonder why you...

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Frozen is Crushing My Soul

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Confession: I don’t get the hype around Frozen. *Winces at instant backlash from Frozenphiles everywhere* I’ve only seen the movie once.  I don’t own the DVD, I have not bought Elisabeth an Elsa costume (not that I could find one if I wanted to), and I have not made a cutesy YouTube video of me lip-synching to the soundtrack.  I am clearly a failure as a parent. But don’t hate me just yet.  Hear me out: Damon visited a few weeks ago.  We decided to take Elisabeth to her first movie.  (Frozen, in case that wasn’t obvious.)  I was hesitant at first – she seemed a little young to sit through a full-length movie.  Plus any Disney animated film would surely feature some traumatic incident LIKE PARENTS DYING or something.* But since the whole world was in love with this movie, and I knew plenty of parents who had taken their toddlers to see it without incident, I decided to go for it.  Also, I had seen some Adele Dazeem perform a song from the film at the Oscars, and the music seemed pretty good.  That was enough for me. Now, I hadn’t seen a Disney animated movie since maybe… The Lion King?  Which came out in 1994, by the way.  (I Googled it, I know.)  So yeah, that’s 20 years without Disney in my life.  I didn’t know what to expect.  (Except catchy songs and traumatic deaths, obvi.) The movie started and Elisabeth was immediately enthralled.  But also kind of terrified, I think.  It was insanely loud.  Why are the theaters trying to deafen our children?  Elisabeth sat on my lap, clutching my shirt, the entire movie.  At one point she had tears streaming down her face.  I was shocked at the emotional maturity of my daughter! Who knew a two-year could connect so intensely with an on-screen character? Could feel such empathy and emotion? Or maybe she just hadn’t blinked for an hour.  I can’t be sure. I whisked her out of the theater.  “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” I inquired.  She seemed eager to get back...

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Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came: 1)   Potty Train 2)   Transition to Toddler Bed 3)   Wean from Pacifier Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation. And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!* As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning. Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW. I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her...

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Can’t Hack It

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Can’t Hack It 1

I spent last weekend in San Francisco visiting friends.  Non-mom friends.  For the first time, the distinction between “mom” friends and “non-mom” friends became important; for the first time, I realized that though I like to think I can hang out with my non-mom friends just like I used to, I’m severely disillusioned.  Nope.  As a 33 weeks pregnant mom of a two-year-old, I just can’t hack it anymore. *** The week after moving back to southern California, a few non-mom friends happened to be in town.  After exchanging emails to make dinner plans, one friend suggested a place and time. 8:30. I balked. 8:30!? As in, PM!?  But that’s jammy time!  I hastily wrote my friends back, and after claiming jet-lag, asked if we could push dinner up to 8:00.  I really meant 5:30, but figured that might be pushing it for my friends whose lives don’t currently revolve around potty-training and early morning prenatal yoga.  So 8:00 it was.  The evening of our dinner arrived, and after chugging boatloads of coffee I made my way to the restaurant, praying I wouldn’t fall asleep face-first into my mocktail.* I managed to rally, but I got lucky that time.  So let’s examine last weekend, when a silly pregnant woman attempted to recapture her pre-children days. Friday night my girlfriends and I got together at a charming little Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then lingered over wine.  (Well, everyone else lingered over wine.  I lingered over water.)  I love these girls.  I love catching up with them.  I love lingering over wine when I am actually allowed to drink wine.  But how does a sleep-deprived, third-trimester pregnant woman stay awake past 9:00 in a dim restaurant after eating copious amounts of carbs and cured meat?  It’s damn near impossible, I tell you. Everyone seemed a little spent after a long week, and decided to disperse after dinner rather than heading out somewhere else.  Thank the good Lord – I could go to bed!  Except I couldn’t.  My friend’s neighbor fell asleep with her television blasting.  My über-sensitivity...

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