Post Partum Part the First: The Hospital


Hospital beds: not as comfy as they look

The 48 hours ish we spent in post-partum at the hospital were not great fun. People come in and wake you up all the freaking time. Nurses, doctors, other random people. They just knock and walk in. Even if I had wanted to sleep I was so wired up from the birth that I only slept about an hour at a time, even with drugs. I had a couple of nice nurses, and several annoying, incompetent, or belittling nurses. Sometimes all in one!

I’m not sure where some of these ladies got their make-you-feel-like-a-stupid-asshole skillz, but they must have learned from the best. I had one night nurse both nights who did everything she could to show me how little I knew about anything baby. She’d spout of statistics or numbers after a checkup with exactly no explanation of what they meant, and smile at me ingratiatingly. Her nursing technique sucked and involved squeezing my breast painfully without authorization. That was a recurring theme. Nothing in there yet ladies, thanks. Our final nurse who checked us out was totally lame. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to cover it. She forgot to stop at the pharmacy for my meds, didn’t feel like answering questions, and would disappear for long periods when we were trying to get out of the room and get home.

I still had a port in my hand for the first 24 hours, and I had to get 4 more doses of antibiotic through it. This was supposed to take about 20 minutes, but sometimes it stretched out to 1.5 hours, because apparently nobody had taught the nurses how to administer a fucking IV. They’d flush out the port with saline, which hurt like hell, and then start the drug. And invariably fuck it up – it wouldn’t pump, or the line would be jammed. The bitch nurse fucked the last one up really badly at like 1am and acted as if I was just being whiny. It took like 2 hours to finish it. Did I mention how much that shit hurt? I did however talk to the charge nurse about it. Go me. I also called the charge nurse to ask for feedback forms on all my nurses and guess what? She never showed. The OD consultant in me was not impressed.

Trying to learn to breast feed, which is wicked hard anyway, was impossible with the awful hospital pillows. Plus I didn’t seem to be producing anything which was stressful. I had one day nurse who was great and I at least got an idea of what a good latch felt like. Lillian was all about the boob, but she chewed with her surprisingly strong gums and it hurt like hell. I guess I lucked out with the latch, but OW.

David was in a world of pain from the horrible bed in L&D, and the one in the recovery room was far worse. Fortunately, that nice nurse got him a cot which was a bit better. It royally sucks that you can’t sleep with your husband when you need snuggles incredibly badly.

The food was really pretty good. Who knew? They had a killer veggie burger, and decent breakfast tacos. Of course, I would have eaten a tire happily at that point, but it really wasn’t bad.

Yeah, so I couldn’t wind down. This did not bode well for when we got home. There was serious boding. We wanted to get home so badly, but at the same time, how were we going to take care of this tiny being without anyone qualified around to help? How are we allowed to take her home without a medical degree? Does not compute.


Biological Imperative Win

The other thing that happened while we were there was we both fell madly in love. People don’t always bond with babies right away. For us, it was like one of those cartoon 10 ton weights dropped on our heads. It helps that she’s so dang cute.

Not much of a narrative, I know, but hold on to your hats. Next up, postpartum depression/anxiety/craziness and extra extra sleep deprivation!

Unnecessary Stress

So the last couple of weeks have been filled with lots of stupidly stressful events. Our internet went down for two days. Our refrigerator died right before our trip to California. Our flight from Santa Barbara to LA was canceled (American stuck us in a cab which got us there just in time). And my (tooth) crown didn’t fit on Weds. and had to be broken up and pulled off. Like I said, stupid stressors. Nothing catastrophic, but inconvenient and annoying. Maybe the universe is preparing me for parenting. Let’s see – unexpected delays, unplanned for expenses, yep. Sounds like parenting.

We got back to Austin just in time for some really chilly weather. We even had a little bit of snow today! I know I’m supposed to be warm all the time right now, but I don’t think it’s kicked in yet. I still get cold a lot.

I’m hoping we can make some progress on the nursery this weekend. I need to put a final coat of paint on the dresser and start figuring out what kind of decorative painting I want to do on it. David is going to (hopefully) do a second coat on the walls, and then up comes the carpet. We got our carpet tiles last week right before we left. Another good reason to get the room done is we’ve started getting gifts for the baby and they’re piling up! We now have some of the essentials, which is really nice.

I’m due three months from today, but I’m not officially in my third trimester until next Thursday. I guess that means more frequent poking and prodding from my doctor. And getting bigger. And bigger. I’m fine with the size of my stomach right now. Can it stay this size until I give birth? Probably not so much.

Second Trimester: Head Cold Edition

chicken_soupDespite my best efforts to avoid all the viruses making the rounds in Austin right now, I finally succumbed to a nasty head cold. While certainly better than the flu for many reasons, it’s wicked uncomfortable and lame. I’m going to the doctor to get checked out just in case, mostly because any virus tends to kick up my asthma which is no fun. I seriously wish I had avoided this, but at least it’s not an ass-kicking flu, which I continue to hope to avoid. Luckily, I’ve been on a soup kick, so I have some good leftovers. I’m headed to the doc this afternoon just to be on the safe side. Any cold or flu tends to wreak havoc on my asthma.

On the good news front, I didn’t get sick until Saturday night, so David and I had a great Saturday walking around the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center taking pictures. Best. Light. Ever. Cloudy days rock for the photography. David got some particularly nice shots – he kept stealing the big camera from me.

Tiny Miss Quimby is definitely kicking up a storm now. As we speak. At first it seemed like only when I was sitting up and had something elastic-y on my lower abdomen, now it’s pretty much whenever. And I can feel it in several points in the same general area, rather than just one spot like at first. I’m looking forward to looking in on her on Thursday at the anatomy ultrasound. I guess I could be paranoid about that too, but since we made it through all the genetic mishigas I’m feeling a bit more pragmatic. I’ll post more pictures after the appointment!

* Update: after two frustrating and painful  hours Рa big swab stuck way up the nose and twisted around when you have swollen sinuses is NOT FUN РI do not have the flu. Just an annoying cold.

More Stuff and Gadgets

elephantI’ve been asking around and it seems like all parents have one particular gadget that made their lives with newborn easier. So far I’ve heard about the papasan chair, a voice activated white noise and vibration gadget, the ergobaby carrier, and the drop in stroller. My goal is to stay as compact as possible, since babies are always developmentally cycling through everything and then needing new stuff. For example, in the interest of compacting, we’re going to ditch the traditional stroller and just get the drop in and the aforementioned Bob all-terrain. But seriously, if it lets me sleep or function, I want it. Tell me what it is.

When it comes to decorating, I’m allergic to pastels. This poses quite a challenge when designing a baby room. I’m not registering for many decor items because I’m hoping to refurbish or make many of them myself (with a little help from friends and family). The room “theme” (I hate themes) is eclectic with a little modern and some East Indian influence. And elephants. Can’t visualize it? Don’t worry, there will be lots of pictures when it’s finished.

On the pregnancy front I’m doing pretty well. The nausea and general squeamishness are mostly gone, except for isolated incidents. My appetite is better, but I’m still not gaining weight. I’m having intermittent round ligament pain and general lower back soreness, but am still able to walk a good distance so that helps. I have way more energy. I’m sleeping okay, though not nearly as heavily as the first trimester, but I’m having lots of vivid, creepy dreams. I could do without those. I had to ditch yoga this last week because of a conflict, so we’ll see if it kicks my ass this week.

So what gadgets could you have not survived early parenthood without? Leave me some ideas in the comments section!

Trundling onward.

Nothing particularly funny or sad to report. My belly is kind of funny feeling, especially my lower abdominal muscles. I assume this is because of stretching. I finally ventured back to yoga yesterday with my favorite teacher and it was good. She gave me modifications for my injury and did a special stretch for it. Very nice.

I’ve had a lot of headaches, I think mostly from eye strain. I’m having to be religious about wearing my glasses and about trying not to squint. Pregnancy can apparently cause temporary vision changes. The nausea still comes and goes, but as long as I eat pretty frequently it’s only really annoying in the evenings. Eating is no joke. I start to feel a little sick, and then I start to feel, well, just freaky. This is the sign that I need to eat NOW or suffer unspeakable yuck. So my purse is a repository of granola bars, breakfast bars, and other easily packaged snacks. I’m still not hot on cooking. I’m sick to death of food as it is, the idea of preparing it, eating it, and then cleaning it up is singularly unappealing. But if anyone would like to come over and cook for me….

I’ve been thinking about why I have an aversion to the hysteria that is pregnancy and birth “culture”, such as it is. There’s so much dogma about how to be, how to feel and how to prepare for every aspect of the process. The amount of stuff you’re supposed to accumulate is insane. All of this seems to leave out one essential fact. From the doll-like clothing and decorations, to the cultish schools of breastfeeding and child-rearing, where is there room for the fact that this being you’re bringing into the world is an actual individual person? Not a doll, and not living play-doh to be molded and shaped into something that fulfills your own needs. It’s a person. And my awesome and intimidating responsibility is to get to know this person as fully as possible (while bringing as little of my own baggage into it as I can), so I can help them figure out who they are and who they want to be. I’m pretty sure this process starts at birth, and I need to be prepared to jettison any expectations I have as things unfold.

I’m not saying I don’t love cute kid clothes, or I’m not going to show off or brag on my child (or take TWELVE THOUSAND photos with my fancy camera). But the big message here is IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. And that’s why it’s so scary, and so intimidating, and so important that I don’t start putting my own expectations on this child before he or she is ever born. And all the crazy ideas and stuff that go with this process in our culture seem to be about helping us ignore the scary and intimidating bits and focus on the stuff we think we can control. And it’s not about the stuff.

I’m not a fan of ambiguity, but it seems insane to expect anything less when I haven’t actually met this kid yet. So I’m all about not knowing how birth and feeding and sleeping and development is going to go. I’m reading some stuff, and learning about child mental and physical development so I have a general idea –¬† not a course of action that doesn’t allow for deviation. Is not knowing what is going to happen stressful? Yes. Is it realistic? Very yes. Because there’s no way to know if this kid is going to like to be swaddled, or is going to take to breastfeeding, or is going to sleep easily or not. We’re just going to try to take it as it comes, and try and maintain our sanity as much as we can.