After yesterday’s post… Maia slept in 2.5-3 hour long blocks through the night.
And now, she’s been pulling the 60-90 min long naps all through the day.
That’s cool though, I can totally deal with this.
Earlier today she woke up and screamed after only 10 minutes, so I picked her up and laid her against me like she was in the carrier (with her back to my front, one hand supporting her bum and the other holding under her arms), then bounced around the house. She was out like a light in literally two minutes. As I settled down into my glider rocker, the dogs ran over and started whining to go out, so I asked Chris to take them. He said he’d take the baby instead and I could take the dogs. Kind of a shit deal in my humble opinion, but, fresh air can’t hurt me… so as I handed her over to him, I teasingly said, “I hope she screams for you!”
As I headed out the front door, she screamed (I think she was gassy, since she’d woken up twice before that with a scream, not the slow sort of fussiness & whimpering as usual). SEVERAL minutes later when I came back in with the dogs, she was still screaming. Whoops. I didn’t actually mean that I wanted her to holler at her daddy the whole time…
Apparently, this is the time of day when Maia likes to sleep. Yesterday she slept for several hours from 4 until 7, and today she went to sleep at 2:30 and is still asleep at 5:45 (and I took the opportunity to nap with her today; lesson learned!)
She’s been fussy for the last two nights, and I’m not sure why. Last night alone, between 11:30pm and 7am when I finally gave up, she had three wet diapers and didn’t sleep more than 90 minutes at a time. I felt like I was just a pair of boobs to suck on and a pair of arms to fall asleep in. Georgia, my midwife, says that Maia is just going through a growth spurt (she’s up to 9lb 6oz, which means she’s put on 10oz in the past week alone) and so she’ll want to eat a lot — but it feels like she has been going through a growth spurt and feeding this much since the day she was born.
I really shouldn’t complain at all about the fact that I have a baby who feeds so well. I just wish I understood why she’ll only sleep in short periods at night, but she takes 3+ hour long naps during the day. I feel like I must be doing something wrong with trying to establish her sense of “dark is a good time for sleeping”.
When my mom was here, we noticed that Maia passes out for hours after a bath and so we should probably bathe her shortly before we want to go to bed, but Chris and I haven’t been following through on that (I know, what a surprise, right?). Still, I think we were both so frustrated with last night’s constant wakefulness that we really, really need to make the effort to soothe her to sleep with a bath.
Inspired by this post over at Crazy Town, USA, here’s a picture of me with my mommy:
This was at my first Easter, so I was about three months old… awwhh!
Sometimes when I’m trying to feed her, Maia gets this super angry face. I call it her “angry old man” face, and she just goes at my nipple with her mouth wide open, headbanging against my boob, not actually trying to drink. It cracks me up (until she does it when I’m exhausted and just want her to eat and go to bed!)
She also smiles once in awhile. Totally unpredictably, but when she does, she has a dimple on her right cheek and it makes me melt.
She gets hiccups at least three times a day, generally — although we’ve had one day where I don’t remember her having them at all, and of course then I decided that there must be something wrong with her!
Tonight we’re trying out her Baby Bjorn carrier for the first time. I’m not sure I have it fitted right but she totally loves it! I want to make dinner though, which I’m (obviously) not going to do with her little feet sticking out of this. We brought out her swing to give that a try, but it needs four D batteries… which we don’t have. Sigh!
So I can push. Finally. I’ve never been so happy to know that I was about to put myself through something so unfamiliar. I’d spent the last 45 minutes trying desperately not to push, although anytime that I fucked up and did, it was an awesome feeling, like this is what I am supposed to be doing. It lessened the pain.
As I felt the next contraction coming, I grabbed for Chris’ hand and Sarah started coaching me: “Push with your butt, like you’re trying to take a giant poo.” I leaned my head far back — I was so afraid I’d stop breathing if I put my head down — and screamed as I pushed. You know all those early concerns I had about the amount of noise I’d be making in labour, and whether it would inconvenience or annoy the people in my building? They were irrelevant. And apparently I didn’t make enough noise to disturb anyone, as we never heard anything about it all (in fact the landlady, who lives next door, said “wow, the hospital got Tatiana out fast, huh?” when Chris saw her Friday afternoon). Pushing felt … good. I mean, it was intense, and I felt like I was really working, but it was nice to know I was making progress.
At some point earlier in the night, Chris crushed up some ice into chips for me. As he and Sarah rushed around the apartment setting things up for the birth — and called a second midwife to come help as well — I sucked down those ice chips. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and force myself to drink. Chris kept asking if I wanted a popsicle but really, I didn’t want to hold anything either.
I lost track of time as the contractions continued. I’d swear they were one on top of the other, but I really don’t remember them being excessively painful — just exhausting, and uncomfortable. The second midwife, Susie, showed up. I remember her and Chris and Sarah all talking, but I was either pushing or had my eyes closed and was focusing my strength and energy inwardly. Then I remember someone asking if I minded if Susie called her student to come join us — as if I gave a damn at that point! All I wanted was to have a baby.
My timeline is a bit confused as I try to look back on it all, over a week later. I remember labouring in the living room and screaming at Chris, “WHERE THE FUCK IS YOUR MOTHER?!” since it was after midnight, and we’d called her right after the midwife, a few minutes after 11. I think both of the midwives and the student were there, telling me what a phenomenal job I was doing, when one of them said, “I can see hair!” My response: “She has hair?!” I expected a bald, Polish-looking baby. “Lots of it!” was the answer.
At some point after my mother-in-law MJ arrived (and she arrived about 30 minutes before the baby), Sarah said I should go labour on the toilet because the gravity would help the baby to come faster. I did NOT want to move, but I knew we’d make good progress with my body in that position and so, after the next contraction, she helped me into the washroom.
I sat down on the toilet. She told me to tuck my head down into my chest — I was “pushing with my face” too much — and focus all my pushing into my rump. One contraction like this and I could already feel a difference; there was something more happening here than when I was sitting up. It must have shown on my face when I looked up at her after the contraction, because she smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I won’t let you have a waterbaby on the toilet.” I was so hot, rubbing ice chips over my face and chest; Sarah grabbed some wash cloths, wet them, and laid one on my back and one on my chest to try and help me cool down. We laboured there for awhile, with me closing my eyes and rocking back and forth between contractions. There was a long period between one set of contractions where I was able, blessedly, to relax a bit more and keep myself calm. Sarah says that happens sometimes during labour and it’s basically like the mother’s body is helping the mother’s mind. I was wearing a nursing bra when we went into the washroom, but by the time we left I had torn it off and thrown it into the bath tub, leaving me completely naked.
When we walked out into the living room, I could feel the baby’s head down low. I hobbled along bow-legged, with MJ and Chris sitting on one couch, the other midwife & her student on the dog’s loveseat, with all sorts of little stations set up around the apartment (weighing the baby, oxygen if she needed, an injection of some sort for me to help deliver the placenta, etc). I remember asking Chris to straighten up my pillows behind my back after every contraction, because I wanted to be sitting up more than lying back. I wish I could remember looking at him, but I honestly don’t; maybe we didn’t make eye contact. Maybe I was too distracted and he was too scared. Someone asked if I wanted a mirror so I could watch the baby being born, but I definitely didn’t want to see it at that time (now, I kind of wish I had, but I think it’s more because I love her so damned much that I regret missing out on those few extra seconds that I could have been looking at her).
I remember women’s voices: she’s down so low, she’s ready to come out, you’re doing so amazing, we can see her hair, every time you push she comes a little closer, push long and hard this time, just one more time… I remember Chris: you’re doing amazing baby, you’re amazing…
And then this strange stretching feeling, this burning sort of achiness. It was so incredibly fucking uncomfortable, but it was NOWHERE NEAR the pain that I thought I would be experiencing. “Stop pushing,” Sarah said. “Just relax. We need you to relax and let your body stretch for her, and then you’re going to push her out when I tell you to.”
Again, my body gave me a break between the contractions, but this time I couldn’t enjoy it: “GET HER OUT GET HER OUT GET HER OUT!” I screamed. All I could imagine was a squirmy little baby face sticking out. I felt a weight down there. I wanted my baby to be out already, because I was tired of being in labour, I was tired of pushing, I was tired of not holding her. But I didn’t push, because my midwife wasn’t telling me to.
I felt a contraction coming. “Incoming,” I whispered, then started to push. I made up my mind that I was NOT going to stop until the baby came out, and I don’t even remember hearing anyone talking to me; I just remember pushing, putting every ounce of my energy and heart into bringing my baby into this world. Then this rushing sensation down low, the weight in my pelvis disappearing, and a chorus of cheering as a hot, slimy little body was laid on my chest.
The first time I saw my daughter’s face, I was in shock. I expected that I’d have an ‘ugly’ little baby, and I had steeled myself for the possibility that she would be slimy and bloody and gross, but I hadn’t prepared myself for looking at someone so damned beautiful. I wasn’t ready to be instantly enamoured of her. And apparently I immediately said, “Oh. My. God.” but I don’t remember it, I remember looking at her for what felt like forever, not knowing what to say, feeling like I should say something amazing and important, and then settling on a rather unsatisfying “Oh. My. God.” Chris was talking too, and I can’t remember what he said, but I remember him and his mom both laughing when I spoke. Maia wasn’t screaming at me. She seemed so calm, so accepting of the fact that here she was, here I was, and here we were as a family together now.
Who put the hat and the blanket on her, and when? I don’t remember. I know Chris moved off the couch and came to kneel at our side with the camera. I know he touched her hand and she gripped her fingers around him. And I know that I was — and am — so damned proud of us and our baby.
Yesterday evening my father-in-law, brother-in-law & his girlfriend showed up to come spend some time with us. We were all hungry, and everyone had driven by the “All you can eat Sushi” place up the road, so we decided to go there for dinner. I was a bit antsy about bringing Maia — she had been sleeping for a few hours, and had only fed for about 20 minutes, so I expected her to be antsy.
She slept through the entire meal. Just as we were leaving she woke up and started to scream (but hey, we had her in the car at that point). She is so impressive!
Sometime after my last update on the Early Labour? post, I remembered that my mother had asked me to take a belly picture when we talked on Thursday morning. So, between contractions, I had Chris take this picture:
Shortly after this, I returned to the couch to continue labouring on my side. However, it’s possible the movement stirred something up; I puked after my next two contractions. Chris asked me to move off my side, at which point I think I lost my shit and told him there was no way I was moving because it was too comfortable here, but then I realized I really didn’t want to throw up again and so moved to sit on the floor with my back to the couch.
Hours went by. The contractions grew a bit stronger, but they were still short, and we watched television together while continuing to track things. Chris brought out the air mattress, put our clean shower curtain down on it, our least favourite bedsheet over that, and I returned to sitting on the couch.
Around 10:45pm, I hit a point where I had to start really focusing on my breathing during the contractions, and had started some vocalization (and had debated with Chris whether “mmm” “ohhh” “ommmm” or “shhhhhhhhiiiiiiiittttttt” would be the best sound to make, a debate that lacks resolution); at 11pm, as the DVR switched to Comedy Central to record The Daily Show, I finally accepted this was real labour and said, “I think you should call your mother.”
“Nah,” he answered, “let’s let her sleep a little bit more.” My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, but still only 30-45 seconds long, and it’d been an hour like this, but we were waiting for the contractions to hit 1 minute long before we called the midwife.
11:02, it feels like a bubble pops inside of me, and a GUSH of water (I’m talking like Niagara Falls) comes surging out. Onto the couch. It didn’t hurt, but it was strange, and I screamed: “MY WATER JUST BROKE!”
He stared at me. “What?”
“CALL THE MIDWIFE, MY FUCKING WATER JUST BROKE!”
“You can feel your water break?” (Clearly, at this point we were both in shock)
“Like a fucking waterfall, call the midwife.”
“Okay, was it clear? Get up, go take care of it.”
So I stand up, amniotic fluid dribbling down my leg, my shorts totally soaked, knowing MAIA IS COMING OUT TONIGHT. I look at the couch and don’t see anything dark or bloody looking. “Take care of it? I think it’s clear. What am I supposed to do?” And off I go to the washroom, tottering back and forth, to sit on the toilet. I hear him on the phone and yell, “It’s clear!”
I get back to the living room and lay down on the air mattress just in time for a contraction to seize me. Now, maybe this is my memory moreso than reality, but while it hurt and was uncomfortable, it was NOT agonizing. It was intense though, and I had an overwhelming desire to push. Chris grabbed my hot, sweaty hand and talked me through it.
We had stacked up something like six pillows behind me, to keep me propped up. I knew I didn’t want to lie down, and in all actuality I had every intention of labouring in any position OTHER than one that put my weight on my pelvis like sitting, but once I got settled there I Was. Not. Moving.
And then began the most terrifying part of the labour. He and I, alone, the baby coming, the contractions growing more intense, me wanting to push so badly, his mother on the way, the midwife on the way, my mother not on her way. It felt like this part lasted forever; we were both so scared. With the start of every contraction I would grab his hand — I didn’t actually want to, because someone touching my skin felt horrible, but I knew he was terrified and just trying to comfort me.
Stephen Colbert was on the television, so it had been over half an hour since we called the midwife and my water broke, when I told Chris to turn off the fucking TV (I’m so nice) and he said, “Well, I’ll change the channel.” NO YOU WILL NOT, TURN IT OFF. “But I want the TV on.” AND I FUCKING DON’T! “What about turning on some music?” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Poor dude.
We were sitting there in silence. Between every contraction I would close my eyes and slip into some zen semi-meditative state, then during them we’d scream at each other: “DON’TPUSH DON’TPUSH DON’TPUSH! *pantpantpant* DON’TPUSH!” Finally, at one point he said, “Oh my God, I need to breathe, I’m going to faint.”
Finally, at 11:40 or so, we paged the midwife again. Except — get this — the paging service put us on hold. I honestly thought Chris was going to lose his shit as he waited and I sat there screaming “DON’TPUSH!” through another contraction. When we were finally answered and put through our page, Sarah called back within two minutes; she was right outside of the building. Chris decided he was going to help her carry her things up, although I was just about in tears at the thought of being left alone, but he didn’t want me waiting any longer than necessary for her to get up here.
So I went through two contractions on my own.
The door flew open and in rushed Chris and Sarah. She said something — some sort of joke about how fast this had gone so far — then threw on a pair of gloves. I have to tell you that nothing in my entire life had ever sounded as unappealing as having someone check my cervix at this point in time, but then she said the magic words:
“You’re fully dilated. Push when you feel like pushing!”
As I type this, Maia’s lying in my arms, awake but resting. Her eyes are open wide and she is just looking at everything, absorbing it; when I look down (between every word), I wonder what she’s thinking about. Her little face is so expressive — her lips purse in comtemplation, curve into a proto-smile, and open into a little O of wonderment. She is especially interested in the contrast of my black bra against my (disturbingly) white skin. She’s so peaceful.
In one week, she’s changed so much. We all have. She’s more aware, and is losing all the funny misshapen characteristics of a brand-new baby. Her face is softer, more oval now and less of a block. I love to stroke her cheeks with the back of my finger. Her eyebrows have darkened and her eyelashes are more prominent. I have always loved Chris’ lashes, and hope she ends up with them.
Babcia left about 30 minutes ago, and it was difficult to say goodbye. I know we’ll be seeing her in a few months, but it’s still difficult to watch my mom leave.
What was I even doing two weeks ago, without Maia here?
My milk came in a few days ago, and that whole ‘engorgement’ thing is not a joke. Also not a joke is that MY BOOBS LEAK. I am forever having to wear those little nursing pads under my nursing bra (and btw I prefer bras with flaps that open in the front as opposed to the ones that you just tug aside for convenience, but, the tug ones are more comfortable).
The other night I fell asleep in bed without a bra on and made such a mess that Chris had wash the sheets the next morning. I’ve squirted Maia across the face, made a mess of her hair, and filled her mouth to overflowing so she coughs milk back all over me. I’ve soaked through nipple pads and left a sad little nipple teardrop dampening my shirt.
At least now I know to pack the nipple pads and a spare nursing bra in my diaper bag when we leave the house!