Two months or so ago, I stumbled across The Belly Project. I visit it weekly (along with PostSecret!), and it’s such a beautiful, reaffirming, and positive website. Women often have self-esteem issues, and particularly after a pregnancy, we can end up with funky bellies that make us feel negatively. The Belly Project is trying to fix that — and show that many women don’t have “perfect” stomaches; some have stretch marks, extra chub, scars, or have lost tone in other ways. I always feel more positive about myself after going there, even though I don’t comment on the pictures; it’s comforting to know that we are all unique and none of us are perfect.
This won’t be a chronological retelling of what happened after the birth, but I just wanted to type out a few other random things that I don’t want to forget:
I was apparently very polite during my labour. I remember apologizing to Chris for freaking him out (“I’m sorry, I know this is scary honey”), saying “no thank you” when offered a popsicle, saying “yes please” when asked if I would like some ice chips, etc. But I did lose my cool once: during all of my contractions, Chris was saying breathe, breathe, remember to breathe, and finally after forty minutes of pushing I screamed at him, “SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!” I remember everyone laughing, and the shocked look on his face — and then I apologized for yelling at him.
My legs were trembling — from exhaustion, anxiety, and god knows what else, after Maia was born. At some point as she laid on my chest, I felt a jabbing pain in my left thigh, and yelped. The midwife had jabbed me with a needle to inject some sort of hormone (I could look it up, but I’m lazy — pitocin?) to help ensure contractions would bring out the placenta quickly, but she hadn’t given me warning that she was about to do it right then. We’d discussed beforehand that she’d do it, I just hadn’t expected it at that moment. I was kind of caught up in my baby.
I have no memory of delivering the placenta at all, but I do remember the umbilical cord stretching down my stomach and into my body. It was hot and pulsing, and unexpectedly grayish and translucent looking. Chris did not want to cut it, so once it stopped pulsing, the midwife did. I don’t think any of us even paid attention to the placenta coming out or what happened to it afterwards, so when I found it in a tupperware in the freezer the next day, well… I was pretty surprised, to say the least. Our initial plan had been to give it to our primary midwife, Georgia, who couldn’t be at the delivery, and she could take it to the hospital and burn it — but our plan has been revamped, and my mom has it in her freezer in Connecticut. When we go down to visit this summer, we are going to bury it and plant a tree over it. It will be awesome!
We all chuckled about her being born on Friday the 13th, but at one point the midwives all gasped, and one said: “She’s a very lucky girl indeed” and held up the umbilical cord. It was knotted. One good yank and my baby would have been in distress. The thought still haunts me.
I dealt with the discomfort of stretch & sweeps just fine, as well as, obviously, labour — but when, after the birth and some skin-to-skin time, Sarah took me into the bedroom to check out my tearing and see if she could stitch it, I had a hard time. She and the other midwife poked at my coochie, running their fingers along my tears to check their depth and length, which really fucking stung. I said, “Sarah, that’s REALLY uncomfortable,” and it was — like what I imagine being jabbed with searing, red-hot needles in your most sensitive, battered area would feel like.
What hurt more was when I got to the hospital to be stitched, and the doctor sprayed saline over the tears to clean them. I honestly thought I was going to jump through the ceiling and need to be sedated.
I was separated from Maia because I was at the hospital from 2:30am (she was born at 1:07) until 5am. It felt like an eternity. A midwife stayed at home with Chris and the baby until 4, but he was alone with her for the next 90 minutes. That must have been so crazy for him. As for me, I started to get pretty grouchy with my doctor and her student (the student was doing the stitching) because I really wanted to get home to my family.
That’s all I can think of, for now.
Sometimes I look at my daughter but all I see is my husband.
And it makes me so happy, because I love him so much. These days, I feel like I’m being unfair to him, like I’m not giving him enough attention. I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed, and I need to give him more credit for being as strong and as steady as he is.
Hopefully my lemon meringue pie turns out well… I know he loves his mother’s!
Click above to send your name on a microchip to Mars. I’m not doing it! I’ll keep my name here on Earth, thanks.
Ohhh geez, guess who joined?
That’s right, me!
I must admit though, I feel confused by it… I think there are #channels that you can join? But how? Hmph!
Took this yesterday just before we headed out to run some errands. I wasn’t sure if it was cooler outside than it looked, so she ended up getting this hat! Sooo cute…
It’s all supposed to get easier after 6 weeks, right? I’m pretty sure that’s because after 6 weeks, your life has been so utterly consumed by the here-and-now of having a new baby that you’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to live any other way, and it only seems “easier” because of that. My mom laughed at the concept of 6 weeks and said “It gets easier after two years!”
Something that makes me sad is the fact that if I were in the US, my maternity leave would be ending. I can’t imagine leaving Maia with a sitter right now — hell, I miss her when she’s just in the other room with her daddy.
Chris talked to MJ, his mother, the other day about how Maia is sleeping in the bed, and now is on a mission to get her back in the bassinet. I told him I’m willing to compromise — we’ll put her down in the bassinet at the beginning of the night, but if she wakes up at some ungodly hour and refuses to sleep again in the bassinet, I’m putting her in the bed. He said she needed to stay in the bassinet. I said “Then you get to take care of her if she won’t lie down, and I’m going to sleep.”
So that night, we lay her in the bassinet for the night and she sleeps, then she’s up at 2:30 for a feeding. I feed her, she falls asleep easily, I put her in the bassinet and she sleeps. She’s up at 4:30, but after nursing and changing, she’s wide awake and doesn’t want to go back to sleep. For an hour, I stay up with her in the dark and calm her down; she starts settling, closes her eyes, and her limbs go limp against me. I try to set her down in the bassinet — she cries. Another ten minutes of soothing, she sleeps; I put her down, she fusses. Another ten minutes. Same thing. So I wake Chris up and say “Guess what, it’s your turn, she won’t sleep in the bassinet for me.”
Now, I could easily have solved this by putting her in the bed with us and letting her sleep there, but the point of this was to make him understand that when it comes to Maia, right now, I KNOW BETTER THAN HE DOES. “She’s not crying,” he says. “She will,” I say, “and so you should grab her and calm her now before she upsets herself too much.” “No, she’ll soothe herself back to sleep,” he says.
A few minutes of fussing later, she starts crying (and I smile). Chris takes her and walks out of the bedroom, and I see a light go on. Whatever, I fall back asleep. I wake up when I hear her cry again, and I decide to go check on them. Chris has all the lights on and is watching television. When I ask him what he’s doing, he gets pissed off and says he’s obviously taking care of her. I said he should obviously be trying to soothe her back into sleep instead of stimulating her with all these lights and sounds. He replies something very nasty that I won’t type here, but it makes me decide that he deserves whatever the fuck he’s doing to himself, and I go back to bed.
Two hours later (I’m impressed at this length of time) he comes into the bedroom and wakes me up. “She’s been awake the whole time,” he says, “you need to feed her, I’m done.”
So I laid her down between us in the bed and nursed her. It was 7:45am at that time. When we woke up, it was 11:30am.
And when she woke up in the middle of the night last night to feed, I took her out of the bassinet, laid her between us, nursed her, and we slept like that. He hasn’t said a word about it.
Because, yes, I know best.
Mommy Melee just started this weekly event, and I really love the thought, so here it goes: my first Girl Talk Thursday post, on the topic “Twilight, Love it or Hate it?”
I haven’t read it. And I really don’t want to. It’s not that I’m anti-popular culture or whatnot, but it’s that I’ve read enough vampire novels. I had a friend in high school who was really into vampires — like to the point where she fantasized openly about Anne Rice’s creation, Lestat, coming to sweep her off her feet. She had a beautiful singing voice, and she’d create songs for him; her bedroom window faced a graveyard, and she’d stand there and sing to him every night (since, you know, vampires hang out in graveyards). She’d write fanfic stories about him and whatnot, and it was always an aspect of her personality that I despised. An incident between us connected to her love of Lestat is the primary reason our friendship ended.
So, Twilight… I don’t want to touch it. I’ve read enough about the series to know the vampires sparkle, and I know a whole new generation of girls are in love with them, including a cousin of mine. Just like Harry Potter, I appreciate that these novels are connecting with young adults and encouraging them to read.
Would I read the series if it had nothing to do with vampires? Maybe! I’m not against some light reading material that sucks me into another world for awhile. I dislike that it’s a teenage romance involving a vampire, but I like teenage romances in general, because most girls like to daydream about their knight in shining armour and those types of books provide an example of that. At the same time, I wonder if there is a “love hurts” type theme in the novels — vampires tend to have a darker side — and if that’s romanticized. If so, then I worry.
I guess this makes me neutral, then!
I am forever leaving my drink just out of arm’s reach while feeding Maia, and as I sit there dying of thirst and debating whether or not I should ask my husband to bring me the glass of water that’s literally five inches away from my outstretched fingertips, I wish I had one of these.
Maia is almost always the most wonderful baby in the mornings. She is responsive and loving, super aware of everything around her, and although I’m definitely not a morning person, she makes it worth waking up every day. Here is a little video of her daddy taking advantage of her good mood: