Baby Bop asleep for the win!

Today is a magnificent day. Baby Bop napped on her own for an hour. On her own, as in not attached to my body. No boob in her mouth, no boob on her cheek, no boob within smelling distance. And no one bouncing her. She might as well have told me that she just got accepted to college for the joy and relief I feel.

The rational part of my brain has understood all along that someday she’ll sleep on her own. The problem is the rational part of my brain hasn’t been around much these last 6 months.

While she slept, I made and ate a sandwich, had a coffee and started a blog. And it was only a minor meltdown when she awoke to the indignity of a missing boob.

It’s good that this coincides with her gaining weight, 16 pounds and counting. At physical therapy the other day, I mention I booked a ski trip. My physical therapist cheers for me and tells me to do squats. She asks,

“How much does your baby weigh?”

“16 pounds.”

She hands me a 17 pound weight with a handle and tells me,

“Do 4 sets of 10 squats holding this weight, it’s just like your baby.”

“If she grew a handle.”

I’m going to be in such great shape, I’ll be able to ski while I hold Baby Bop.

KIDDING! But it’s not the worst idea I’ve ever had.

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Who’s harder to photograph, a dog or a baby?

Happy New Year! I didn’t make any resolutions because I wasn’t awake at midnight. That’s how that works right? If I were to make one resolution, it would be to write more. I wouldn’t mind showering more too, but one thing at a time.

Did you know that JCPenney’s Portrait Studio takes photos of dogs? Did you know that JCPenney’s has a portrait studio? Now you do. And what’s better than a photo of a dog and a baby? I call to schedule an appointment. The lady tells me,

“Any photos with pets have to be the last appointment of the day.”

“What time is that?”

“5pm.”

“That’s a hard time for my baby.”

Silence.

There appears to be no negotiating. 5pm it is. I ask,

“What’s the cancellation policy?”

“Give us a call anytime, no problem.”

Perfect. I’m going with an 80% chance of cancelling and a 20% chance of showing up with Baby Bop in some stage of disintegration.

Day of the photo shoot, Baby Bop takes an epic 3 hour afternoon nap. And Booker, our chocolate lab, appears well rested.

My mom, Captain, Baby Bop, Booker and I head to the mall. Booker is thrilled. He’s never been to JCPenney’s before. Baby Bop has never been to JCPenney’s either, but she is not as thrilled. Although she does seem to be keeping it together.

We’re early and they’re running late. We stand near the studio in the curtain department. Should I nurse Baby Bop? How is she going to make it another half hour? These are the dilemmas of my life. And I never know what the right decision is.

Several people come up to Booker and say,

“I’m going to talk to you, because I’m sure everyone is talking to the baby.”

No one is talking to the baby and that’s just fine.

We head into the studio. The photographer tells us,

“You can let your dog free to explore so he’ll calm down.”

He’ll never calm down. He’s 12-years-old and it appears that the answer to old age is carrying your favorite rubber rattle around and never stop moving.

The photographer asks,

“Mom, will the baby sit on her own?”

I glance at my mom. Oh RIGHT. I’m “mom.” I ask the photographer,

“Maybe?”

I’m in charge of trying to have Baby Bop sit. My mom is charge of trying to get Booker to sit. We’re both in charge of trying to get them to sit near each other. The photographer tells us,

“Closer together.”

Booker starts to scramble away.

“Closer together.”

Baby Bop wobbles, but stays upright.

“Great!”

Now in an attempt to get Booker and Baby to look at her. The photographer makes a clicking sound. Booker dashes straight for her.

We try again. Baby seated. Dog seated. Photographer makes clicking sound. Dog jumps up.

She’s using the same sound we use when we want him to come to us. Booker hasn’t sat still for more than a second.

This seems to be a disaster, but the photographer keeps at it. We get some adorable shots. Booker is smiling in all of them. I know what you’re thinking: ‘there’s no way to tell whether a dog is smiling or not.’ Oh but there is. He never smiles in a “stay” at home. See home on the left and JCPenney’s on the right.

On the other hand, Baby Bop isn’t smiling in any of the photos, but she’s also not crying, so this is going down as a win.

We head out to the car for our drive home. Captain tells me,

“I think Baby Bop likes us.”

“Yup. I think we’re guaranteed that for at least 13 years.”

 

Even Baby Bop’s poop is in the holiday spirit

Baby Bop is enjoying Hanukkah and enjoyed Christmas more than I realized until this morning’s diaper change.

Everyone recommends getting babies on a schedule. Sounds wonderful to me, but someone needs to convince Baby Bop. Morning wake-up time tends to be 5am. If I’m unlucky it’s 4:30am. If I’m really lucky it’s 6am.

This morning Baby Bop slept until 6:30am. A Hanukkah miracle. I put her on the changing table and open her diaper. My heart stops.

There’s a large red blob in the middle of her poop. She’s dying. She’s hemorrhaging out of her butt. What do I do? I glance at her face. She’s smiling, babbling and chewing on a stuffed bunny. Maybe she’ll live.

I examine the red blob. I’m going to have to pick it out of the diaper. I go for it. This is love. Now I understand how not so long ago, when I was already an adult, my mom helped me get a stool sample that I was too squeamish to myself.

I hold the red poopy blob between my fingers. Wrapping paper! Merry Christmas to me.

Captain also wants to hold it. He agrees with me. Wrapping paper. He asks,

“When did she swallow that?”

Good question. Baby Bop?

She’s not owning up to anything. Maybe there will be blue blobs in her poop tomorrow.

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Cause Captain wanted to take a photo and I know you were curious.

 

My post-baby brain needs as much as help as my post-baby body

I’m not sure which has killed more brain cells: all the drinking I’ve done or having a baby.

The writing corner of my brain is either dead or hibernating. It used to be that someone could say something funny or absurd and my blog brain cells would click on, record and regurgitate when I turned on my computer.

Now when something funny happens, my brain cells light up for a moment and then go back to sleep. Getting the information from them later is not guaranteed. And if it’s backed up somewhere, I don’t know where to find it.

After my previous post, I was on the phone with a dear friend talking about our pelvic floor physical therapy. Shoot! I forgot one of the best parts of my blog post. It was one of those quotes that the moment I heard it, I said to myself, “gotta blog this.” And I didn’t.

Not only did I not blog it, but I wrote the whole post it inspired and didn’t even realize it was missing. The good news for you is that I remember now.

So back to my pelvic floor. I know you missed it.

I went to a trampoline park with my Little Sister a few weekends ago. Which I recommend if your bladder muscles are in good shape. I report back to my physical therapist. She asks,

“How’d it go?”

“I leaked.”

“So I guess we know where the line is. Sneezing isn’t a problem, but an hour on a trampoline is too much.”

“Also this may sound crazy, but my vagina felt like it was falling out.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, think of your vagina like a roll of toilet paper. Since you’ve had your baby, your vagina isn’t holding its integrity anymore. Now it’s like a soggy roll of toilet paper.”

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Pelvic floor massages covered by my health insurance. Not as fun as it sounds

I dedicate this post to my pelvic floor. I didn’t know I had one until half way through my pregnancy. It’s what keeps my bladder and uterus from falling out of my body. Baby Bop stretched the muscles to their limits and now they’re not sure what to do.

Around the same time I learned I have a pelvic floor, I learned there are pelvic floor physical therapists. I thought maybe I’d go one day, in the same way I thought maybe I’ll have a baby someday.

Now I have a baby and now I’m going to physical therapy. Three months postpartum I arrive at the PT center. It’s full of people doing all sorts of exercises. I wonder what I’ll be doing. Squats I bet.

I meet my physical therapist. She’s very nice. She escorts me to a private room with an exam table and closes the door. Maybe I’m not going to be doing squats. She tells me, and I’m paraphrasing, that she’s going to poke around my vagina.

She starts off very shallow and asks,

“Is this painful?”

“Uncomfortable.” If childbirth is painful, then one finger has to be something less than that.

She pokes around for awhile,

“How about here?”

“Uncomfortable.”

“I thought so, it feels tight. Bring a couple breaths here. Did you do anything fun over the weekend?”

Wait, what? I’m supposed to bring breaths to my pelvic floor and chat about my weekend, while a very nice stranger has her finger in my vagina? She continues,

“Now I’m just going to let my finger float while you do a kegel and hold it for as long as you can.”

I do.

“Not bad! Ok now do 5 quick ones and fully relax in between.”

I try.

“Mmm. So that’s something to work on. Could you feel that you were tensing your whole body? Your neck muscles shouldn’t be involved in doing a kegel.”

That’s reasonable.

As I’m leaving, I see a guy gabbing away while he gets his calf massaged. This is a million times less awkward.

Two months of weekly appointments later, my physical therapist pops her finger in and we’re chatting about skiing, Thanksgiving, trampolines, the election, weddings, babies and occasionally my vagina.

“Bring a few breaths here. That’s better. Can you tell?”

“Yes.” It’s not as uncomfortable.

Now we’re ready for squats.

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When I told Captain about this blog, he said I needed to use a photo of a turkey getting stuffed. And since he so rarely makes blog requests, here it is.

"I think you need to work on your pelvic floor exercises, dear!"

The election and flying with a baby. Flying with a baby was better

Dear Country, What have we done?!?

This is not what Baby Bop expected for her first year. She said she’d like to go back inside me and come out again when it’s safe. I told her she’s out of luck and we both cried.

Now Baby Bop is reassessing her path to the White House. She had her eye on a senate seat and a cabinet position, but may need a reality show instead. She told me to get her a Twitter account ASAP. I told her to work on rolling over and we’ll see.

In other news, we survived our flights to San Diego! Months ago when Baby Bop was a few weeks old, I used frequent flyer miles for tickets to my friend in California. I got early evening flights with a connection. At the time I thought to myself,

‘Baby Bop will be so old by then, it’ll be much easier than it is now.’

Baby Bop is four months old. It’s somewhat easier. One week before the trip I say to myself,

‘Jessica Burday, what the heck were you thinking booking a connection??’ I use my maiden name when I really want to take myself seriously.

People reassure me,

“With a connection you get part of the way there and then you get a break. Could be a good thing!”

“Our connection is in Atlanta.”

“Oh.”

I’ve waited to board so many flights and always hear the announcement,

“People who need extra time or anyone with small children are welcome to board now.”

I’m excited this is me. We need all of our carry ons to fit on the plane. One bag with toys, one bag with diapers and one bag with extra clothes if everything else fails. Also one bag has my book in it. I’m not sure when I thought I was going to read, but I was so sure I was, that I even packed a second book in case I finished the first. This did not turn out to be a problem.

The gate attendants make the early boarding announcement. Half the waiting area gets in line. I’m not feeling so special anymore. Aside from having gray hair, I’m not sure why all these people need extra time. Captain points out one woman is on oxygen. Fine.

The first flight is very smooth. The second flight is a little fussy, but there’s another baby way out screaming Baby Bop. The seatbelt sign is my demise. As long as it’s off and I can stand and bounce, life will be ok. I bounce so much, that even when I’m not bouncing I feel like I’m bouncing.

Aside from the doomsday of an election, it was a wonderful week. As I bounced Baby Bop my friend was worried I’d be sorry we came. I’m going to be bouncing wherever I am, I might as well bounce in 80 degrees, by the beach, with a good friend and a drink. It made me realize I can recreate part of it, the bouncing with a drink, anytime.

The trip also made me realize that I still exist and can have fun unrelated to Baby Bop, even if she’s attached to my boob while it’s all happening.

We gear up for the flights home. Two down, two to go. I buy the biggest taco bowl I’ve ever seen in my life. One of us may scream because we’re hungry and too distracted to eat. It won’t be me.

We get on our second flight. It’s bedtime, but also seatbelt time. Baby Bop is not thrilled. Between fussing stints she makes sure to smile at everyone around us. She is winning people onto her side, except for the guy next to me. Baby Bop smiles, he glares straight ahead. He’s deploying the I’m-going-to-pretend-there-isn’t-a-baby-next-to-me-and-maybe-then-I-can’t-hear-her-screaming tactic.

Halfway through the flight Baby Bop is asleep in her carrier. I’m standing with her in the aisle. I’ll sit when the seatbelt sign comes back on or when my legs give out. An older woman approaches. I slip into my row to allow her to pass. She asks,

“Is there a baby in there?”

“Yes.”

“May I see?”

I lift the cloth of the carrier that’s hiding Baby Bop’s sleeping face. The woman smiles,

“Aw, she’s sleeping! I just left my grandchildren.”

“Oh nice.” At which point the woman reaches out, puts both her hands on the carrier and shakes Baby Bop.

“She’s so cute!”

Baby Bop’s eyes pop open. The insane woman exclaims,

“Oh no! I woke her up!”

Yes. Yes you did. This must be the type of person who voted for our next president.

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My first flight!

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7-year-old me flying to Disney World and pissed I didn’t get a window seat. Yes I’m wearing a matching outfit with my brother. That way if my parents lost one kid they could point at the other and say, “looks like this one.”

What’s happening at 3am? Don’t worry, Baby Bop is on the case

Sleep. It’s all I can think about. I want it. It’s the number one thing on my Hanukkah/Christmas list. I’d love to blog about something else, but I’m so sleepy.

Last night I put Baby Bop to bed. I popped my head out to Captain,

“I’m going to bed.”

He glances at the clock.

“It’s 7pm!”

“Yup.” The thought of doing anything else besides sleeping makes me feel very tired.

Baby Bop gets up four times a night to eat: 11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am. The 5am one may or may not be up for the day. Sometimes I squeak out another hour until 6. On a rare occasion she’ll sleep till 7 or later. In which case I feel like a new woman. Most days I feel like a sleepy sack of boobies.

Also all the times are very approximate. I never have a clear recollection of what happens at night. Some of the night Baby Bop is in her bassinet and some of the night she’s on my boob. Whatever happens, it’s messing with my sleep.

Before Baby Bop, I’d write my blog first thing in the morning, 11am, while I was fresh. Now  11am is the middle of my day and first thing in the morning I do not feel fresh. I do not feel like writing a blog at 5am, but then it doesn’t get any easier at 7am and then by the time 10am rolls around I decide I’ll do it another day.

That’s what happens to other things like cleaning and laundry, but I’ve never felt like I really wanted to do those in the first place.

I’d be resigned to this being what life is like with a baby, but I feel like we’re so close to a solution. Baby Bop eats from one boob per feeding. This happens all day long as well as at night, but I don’t care at 10am when I’m not writing a blog.

If I could get her to eat both boobs, she’d sleep for double the time. Or at least that’s my dream. During the day I offer her the second boob and she arches her back, throws her head to the side and will resort to screaming if I force the issue. At night she feigns deep deep sleep. Which will only last 2 hours.

This morning at 5 am Captain and I lie with a babbling Baby Bop between us. Neither of us is sleeping and neither of us can face the idea of getting out of bed. Captain asks,

“Can she stay here and play in bed?”

Baby Bop screeches. That’s her new skill. I tell Captain,

“Then no one will sleep.”

“Yes, but we’ll still be in bed.”

I am now out of bed and flying to San Diego tomorrow. We’ll see how Baby Bop likes a little jet lag.

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Hello 5am and soft filter. Don’t worry, I just got a hair cut.

What’s green, wobbly and so cute I could eat it?

Happy Halloween!

In the near future I will be able to go door to door collecting free candy under the guise that it’s for my child. I’d go this year, but Baby Bop doesn’t have any teeth yet.

I’m the proud mother of a baby dinosaur. I’m Mommysaurus and Captain is moonlighting as Daddysaurus. The good news is that all of our costumes should fit us next year. Which means Baby Bop’s costume is huge and Mommy and Daddy are hoping to stay the same size-ish.

And by costume I mean I wore a t-shirt and jeans. I tell you this because there are many sexy dinosaur costumes and my days of wearing sexy costumes in public are behind me. Even if this is the one year I need fast access to my boobs.

The other day I was in a room with a chicken, a lobster, a flower, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, a member of Run DMC, a strawberry, a lion and two pumpkins. All under the age of one. Captain looks around at the guardians of this cast of characters and says,

“Five years ago I wonder if any of these people thought this is where they’d be today.”

Five years ago I was bartending, dating like my blog depended on it and sleeping until 11am. Even now when I look at all the people with their babies I still find it hard to believe that I’m one of these people. Although at 3am it’s a little less hard to believe.

How did we end up being a dinosaur family? The internet vortex of adorable baby costumes could’ve sucked me in and never spit me out, but I asked Captain, who usually doesn’t have strong apparel opinions,

“Do you care what we dress Baby Bop up as?”

“A dinosaur.”

“A dinosaur?”

“Yeah, something with a tail.”

Done.

The car is trying to kill my baby

If one more person says,

“But babies love cars!”

I’m going to scream louder than Baby Bop screams when she’s in the car. That’s right.  Nothing pisses her off more than going for a car ride.

And for once Google is on my side. There is evidence that many babies despise the car.

Baby Bop used to have numerous dislikes: diaper changes, vitamin D drops, 5:00 pm. But every day she gets happier. Some days she doesn’t even realize 5 pm has come and gone.

The one dislike that has remained constant is the car. Much to Captain’s dismay. He loves cars. I appreciate the function of a car and enjoyed it more before it sounded like my child was dying.

I appreciate everyone’s helpful suggestions. In no particular order we have:

  • Removed the infant padding
  • Removed the mirror
  • Added toys
  • Played lullabies
  • Played nursery rhymes
  • Played classical music
  • Played white noise
  • Sang to her
  • Reverted back to absolute silence (plus screaming)
  • Played with her
  • Changed the toys
  • Made silly faces at her
  • Tried to get her to suck a pacifier
  • Tried to get her to suck my finger
  • Jangled my keys
  • I cried
  • We stopped the car for a break (this works)

And we have narrowed it down to the car. The car seat itself is not an issue. Baby Bop is very happy to sit her car seat on the stroller for a leisurely stroll. It’s also not the seat belt because we left her buckled up tight while she sat in the seat at the lunch table. Happy as could be. She even enjoys sitting in her car seat, in a parking lot, next to the car.

Part of me never wants to drive anywhere ever again and another part of me says, screw it, I need to live my life. Then I’m in the car and part of me wants to blast the music, not nursery rhymes, to drown out the crying and the other part of me is concerned that this crying is doing permanent damage to Baby Bop’s brain.

Am I ruining her life? Will she end up in therapy 20 years from now trying to figure out why she always cries in the car?

I’m ready to compromise. I told Baby Bop that I will drive as little as possible. But now she needs to hold up her end of the bargain and assume we’re not trying to kill her.

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Maybe she would prefer this.

Baby Bop doesn’t care if I’m naked, but never stop bouncing

There are so many days that I’d love to write a blog and then I remember how exhausted I am. The good news is my IUD is back in place.

The day of the appointment Captain asks me,

“Do you want to reschedule it so I can take care of Baby Bop?”

I call and they tell me that the next available appointment is in a month. The IUD is not super urgent, but it’s nice to think I might need it once in the next month.

I put Baby Bop in the front pack, which has a 99% chance of inducing a nap. I have a theory that she’ll nap on the way to the doctor’s office, then she’ll be content for a few minutes while they pop the IUD in and then we’ll all live happily ever after.

Baby Bop’s little, adorable eyes peer up at me the entire 30 minute walk to the office. We arrive for my appointment and she’s ready for a nap.

The nurse tells me,

“Undress from the waist down and sit on the table. There’s a sheet there to cover you.”

I know this drill. I’ve done it a million times before. I can’t see my vagina, but the doctor can. Whatever. I usually go along with this. But today I have a baby who will not.

I’m in the exam room in a shirt and socks. Do you have a good mental image of this? I’m in a shirt, socks and my bare butt is jiggling up and down as I bounce a deteriorating Baby Bop.

The doctor comes in,

“Oh! Oh my! Let me get you a gown.”

“It’s ok. I’m fine. I just need to bounce my baby.”

“Here’s a gown.”

I really don’t understand. I’ve seen my vagina. The doctor has seen and will see my vagina and Baby Bop has definitely seen my vagina. We could all just relax and keep bouncing.

The doctor is practically putting the gown on for me. She asks,

“Would you like a nurse to hold your baby while we put in the IUD?”

“YES! Thank you.” First helpful suggestion. The doctor walks off with Baby Bop. The doctor comes back without Baby Bop. My mom adrenaline starts to pump,

“Please have the nurse come in here with my baby.” Don’t make me go running down the hall with my butt hanging out.

The nurse and Baby Bop enter. The doctor declares,

“Your pregnancy test was negative.”

“Great news.”

“Do you like being a mom?”

“Oh yes.” But that is a far cry from liking it so much that I want to make another baby right now.

The IUD goes in. My pants go back on and Baby Bop returns to me having done almost zero fussing. She’s fast asleep for the walk home and I’m fast asleep minutes after Captain gets home. My IUD does not need to be tested right away.

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Bouncing at home.  I don’t really have time to wash my hair AND put it in rollers, this was a one time event for family photos. And the good news about the family photos is you can’t hear Baby Bop crying.

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Now I understand why moms think it’s okay to lick their finger and wipe something off of their kid’s face

Bodily fluids. There are a lot and Baby Bop and I are sharing them all.

She gives me saliva. I give her milk. She gives me spit up and dirty diapers. I give her a bath. Sometimes I take a shower.

When I was pregnant, I figured I’d be so grossed out by spit up that I’d be changing my shirt on the reg. Not only do I not change it on the reg, I probably wear it longer than I would a clean shirt. Why put on a clean shirt when it’s going to get more spit up on it in 5 minutes?

The other day the pediatrician looks at Baby Bop’s bottom and declares,

“Her diaper rash is a yeast infection.”

She prescribes butt cream and sends us on our way. I tell Captain. He jokes,

“Baby Bop has jock itch.”

Yup. And it turns out that Mommy has jock itch on her nipples. Which means Baby Bop may have jock itch in her mouth. Yes I’m referring to myself as mommy. I talk to Baby Bop about myself in the third person all the time,

“Who loves the baby? Mommy loves the baby.”

I have no idea why. It just happens. Maybe this is how she learns my name.

The nurse offers advice for saving my nipples,

“If you can, get some sun on them.”

I would love to relax at a topless beach right now. How do I make that happen?

As I continue to care for Baby Bop’s bottom better than I’ve ever cared for mine, I bend close to examine the rash. This is a terrible idea. Captain tells me,

“I never get that close.”

Yes. That’s sensible. So I’m down there, with my nose inches away from the cutest little butt I’ve ever seen, and SPURT. Projectile poop shoots straight up my nose. Not on my cheek. Up my nose.

What surprised me the most was that I wasn’t grossed out. I was just annoyed that I had another mess to clean up.

And some messes do require a clean shirt:

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I want to eat my baby

Baby Bop is 2 months old and everyone is getting the hang of things. Captain is getting the hang of being back at work. I’m getting the hang of having Captain back at work and Baby Bop is getting the hang of being a baby.

She is good at eating, crying, pooping and smiling. She’s also very good at sleeping for short stints of time. Nothing exciting happens at 3am, but she keeps waking up to check.

Someday soon she’ll realize she has hands, which will be nice for her because they keep whacking her in the face.

I’ve had a few evenings with time to myself in the bathroom, nice quality reading time. One parenting book has a section on baby talk and how to do it if you’re not a natural. It states,

“If you can carry on a conversation with a dog, you should have no problem with baby talk.”

Check.

I’m loving how adorable she is. I understand I am the most biased person in the world. The other day I’m deep in the baby talk. I tell her,

“I could just eat you up.” I proceed to munch on her cheeks. “I could just eat you right up.” More munching. “Look at these legs! I’m going to eat them.”

Captain comes in the room and tells Baby Bop,

“I’m here to rescue you before Mommy swallows you whole.”

I would NEVER! I just want lots of little nibbles.

My blog has come down to this. Eating babies.

As Baby Bop fusses less, I’m able to try on more adorable outfits. Lots of pink and ruffles, bonnets and bows.

I understand that the diaper bag needs to have extra outfits for her, but I’m reluctant to put anything really cute in there, because I want all the cutest stuff out for her to wear.

So then comes a diaper explosion the other day. Poop through multiple layers of her clothes. Out comes the diaper bag outfit: white onesie and gray pants with ruffles. We continue on our way. Someone stops me,

“Oh cute little baby, is it a boy?”

An hour later someone else stops to look,

“Aw, is it a boy?”

We make it home to our building. A neighbor remarks,

“Is it a boy?”

What’s more gender neutral than white and gray? Also do ruffles mean nothing anymore? It’s time for her giraffe costume. Boy? Girl? NOPE. Giraffe.

Baby giraffe photo coming soon.

 

Everybody loves a good bonnet:

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Got good food? I’ll make milk

It’s hard to keep track of all the different parts of my body that have changed. Never mind what’s changed back. Who am I?

The changes I want to keep, clear skin and slow-growing leg hair, are both no more. I’m a mom with a head of straight and curly hair. My leg hair is out of control. When I manage to have a shower and there’s time to wash my hair OR shave my legs, I prioritize my hair.

My feet have gone from a size 10 to a size 11. Looks-wise they’re the same. So no vanity issues. Size-wise I have a problem. I’ve never been a crazy shoe-shopper person, but I like them and I wear them. I’ve been a size 10 for 20 years. That’s a lot of time to amass a reasonable shoe collection. Now all I can do is look at it. Don’t get me started on my two-year-old ski boots.

My boobs are another story. They’re huge compared to pre-pregnancy, but not that big compared to other milk-filled boobs. They used to just hang out and keep to themselves. Now they’re acting like they’re running the show. They’re colluding with my subconscious mind.

The other night Captain and I pick up takeout. We get home and I take my shirt off. Our place is officially a topless joint. If I’m not nursing, then I’m letting them air out.

I chow down on my salad with spicy peanut dressing. It’s so good! I hear something drip on the floor, did I spill salad dressing? I look down. Nothing. I continue to devour my salad. More dripping. What’s happening? I look down again. Milk is spurting out of both boobs.

My oxytocin is flowing.

Captain rushes to get me a burp cloth. He tells me,

“I definitely don’t enjoy my food as much as you do.”

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Numb the whole area and then bring on the intercourse

Baby Bop is 6 weeks old! And I’m 6 weeks postpartum. Yesterday was my doctor’s appointment that was hopefully going to give me the all clear, open for business, hello Captain. It did not.

Captain, Baby Bop and I all head to the doctor. The doctor comes into the exam room. She asks,

“How’s it going?”

“Good, but I’m still bleeding.”

“Ok we’ll check it out.” She turns to Captain and Baby Bop. “Will you step outside for a minute?”

Both of them have seen every part of my body very intimately, so what’s one more vaginal exam?

The doctor gets her exam on. She declares,

“You are still bleeding.”

That’s right. I’m not making it up. She continues to poke around.

“You look great. The doctor did a great job with your stitches.”

“Thanks.”

“It looks really nice.”

That’s a relief. I am curious about what a good job versus a bad job looks like, but I’m very glad I got the good job.

The doctor finishes my internal exam and tells me,

“You’re stitched up nice and tight. You might be tighter than before, but it’ll stretch out. If it doesn’t stretch out, we can always cut it open a little and restitch it.”

WHAT?!

“We need to schedule you for an ultrasound to see why you’re still bleeding, so no intercourse for now.”

She hands me several packets of lube.

“When you do have intercourse, you’ll need these. Also because you’re tight you might want to take a Motrin ahead of time and use some topical anesthetic.”

Numb the whole area? I’ll be defeating the entire purpose of why I’d want to have intercourse in the first place. Aside from that one time when I wanted to make a baby and I am NOT ready to make another one of those.

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Mom fight #1: small children are no match for me

Baby Bop is 5 weeks old and I’ve been a mom for 5 weeks. I was overdue for my first mom fight.

Getting out of the house is an Olympic hurdle. I’m waiting for my gold medal for walking around the block.

I head out to meet family for lunch. It’s hot and Baby Bop is fussy. We survive. On our way home I swing through South Station and stop at the water fountain. I lean over for a drink while Baby Bop is asleep in her stroller next to me.

Out of the corner of my eye I see something flying towards my baby. I swing around. I throw my arm out to stop the projectile object reaching for her. It’s a 3-year-old child.

The mom of the runaway child shouts at me,

“Don’t push her.”

Adrenaline is pulsing through my body. All I know is that I didn’t have an eye on my baby for one second while I took a drink of water from the local watering hole and a small animal tried to come eat my baby. I swung around and my animal brain saved my baby.

Yes, I may have pushed a small child. Not hard. She’s fine. So is Baby Bop.

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Second blog since Baby Bop was born, the struggle is real

Baby Bop is 3 weeks old! Or she was when I started writing this post almost a week ago.

I told her she’s carrying it very well and doesn’t look a day over 2 weeks. She groaned. Mom jokes. Either that or she was pushing a poop out. That takes real effort. For both of us. I’m on stool softeners for 6 weeks and if I forget to take them, my butt reminds me very quickly.

Postpartum recovery is no joke. I know gazillions of people do this, have done this and will repeatedly do this, but at 3 am with spit up drying on my chest and poop pieces everywhere, it’s hard to imagine surviving until daylight.

I’m still bleeding. That’s normal. I used to sleep naked. Now I sleep in underwear with a giant pad and then shorts so I can look in the mirror and pretend I’m not wearing a diaper. I also sleep with a bra or nursing tank top because my girls are heavy, tender and leaking if I even look at Baby Bop.

Baby Bop is doing well. As far as I can tell. She eats, sleeps, poops, farts, spits up and cries to make it clear she doesn’t like getting her diaper changed, sometimes. She also doesn’t like to get dressed, which is hard because I’m a big fan of trying on multiple outfits a day. It’s her fault she’s cute.

We got home from the hospital when Baby Bop was 2 days old. When she was 6 days old, her umbilical stump was looking weird and her belly button was really red. We call the pediatrician. The nurse asks us,

“Is she acting normal?”

“What’s normal? I’ve known this person for 6 days.”

Now I’ve known her for 26 days. I have a better idea of what’s normal, but she’s still surprising me. Will she wake up at 3 am, 4 am and 5 am? Probably. Is there a chance she’ll also wake up at 4:30am? Definitely, but not every night.

My mom asks me,

“Is she a gift every morning?”

I’m not sure what hour of the morning Baby Bop becomes a gift. I do fall more in love with her everyday, so that’s in her favor.

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As soon as she can hold her head up…

 

Baby Bop is Born!

She’s out! And I’m back. Baby Bop is 11 days old.

I’ve been thinking about you. I know it’s been too long, but at 3:00 am when I’m trying to get Baby Bop to relinquish my nipple so I can go back to sleep, blogging seems like an unattainable goal.

Here’s Baby Bop’s birth story with all the gory details. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Baby Bop came hard and fast and I was in a state of denial right up until I met her. I knew I would have a baby eventually at some point, but I was convinced labor would take days, not hours.

Tuesday night July 5th, still pregnant, Captain and I drive back from the Cape. We pull over for my millionth bathroom stop. I peer into my underwear. It’s my mucus plug! It’s out! I know that’s a sign that I’ll be having a baby soon. In case the fact that I’m almost 40 weeks pregnant wasn’t enough for me.

I’m tempted to save the gelatinous plug and show Captain, but decide he’ll probably appreciate me describing it instead.

Wednesday July 6th I go about my daily life. Everyone is texting,

“Still pregnant?”

“Still pregnant.”

Wednesday evening I confirm details for a walk with some mom friends the next morning, Thursday, July 7th.

Thursday July 7th, 4:00 am: I wake up with a cramp that feels like I really need to poop. I do that and go back to bed. 4:30 am, same cramp again. I try to go to the bathroom, no major success. I go back to bed. 5:00 am, cramp again. Are these contractions?

5:30 am: another cramp. I can’t stay in bed for it. They seem short, irregular and not that bad. Maybe this is false labor. I drink a ton of water. This is what my doula said to do if I was having pre-term contractions. Yes I realize I’m full term.

I relax on the couch. 7:00 am: I decide that just in case this isn’t false labor, I should stay home and skip the walk with my mom friends.

8:00 am: the cramps that I’m not convinced are real contractions are still short and irregular. Captain wakes up for work. He wants to stay home. I convince him to go to work. He insists on packing his bag for the hospital. I don’t think he needs to do this, but I don’t argue.

We agree he’ll leave work at noon, head to CVS for more hemorrhoid wipes and the grocery store for watermelon. I’m dying for watermelon. Then we’ll go to my previously scheduled pre-natal appointment at 2:00pm.

In birth class we talked a lot about having a plan of things to do to keep busy during early labor. I decide to clean the bathroom, shower and then have a coffee and write a blog. It’ll be great material to blog between contractions. If these are even real contractions.

11:00 am: I get out of the shower. I’m starting to have to really focus, breath and moan to get through each contraction. Blogging seems like it might not happen. I pack my hospital bag, just in case.

It seems like I should start tracking what’s happening. It looks like I’m having a contraction every 4 minutes for about a minute. I’ll see how the next hour goes. I’m not convinced it’s regular yet.

Noon: Captain texts that he’s leaving work and headed for CVS and the grocery store. I’m stuck in the bathroom, leaning over the counter, moaning through contractions. I’m tempted to tell him to come home, but I really want watermelon.

I call the doctor’s office. I don’t think I can go to my pre-natal appointment. I’m coping well at home, but can’t imagine walking to the office. Somehow I manage to talk through a contraction and the nurse tells me,

“We don’t want to send first time moms to the hospital too soon. It would be great to see you here first. We’ll move your appointment to 1:00pm.”

No need to argue with this lady. I don’t have to go. Captain gets home at 12:45pm. He’s surprised to find me moaning away in the bathroom. He sees that I’m tracking the contractions. He asks,

“How frequent are they?”

“Looks like every 3 minutes for a minute.”

His eyes go wide,

“Isn’t this when we’re supposed to go to the hospital?”

“They wanted me to come in for my pre-natal appointment. I’ll call them again.”

This time on the phone with the office I do not manage to talk through my contraction. The nurse says,

“You should go to the hospital now.”

We call our doula. She says,

“You should go to the hospital now.”

Captain says,

“I’m going to get the car.”

I guess I’m going to the hospital now.

Having contractions in the car is HARD. We pull up into a line of 6 cars waiting for valet parking. I jump out. I’m standing for the next contraction whether or not I scare the old man on the bench.

At 1:50pm Captain and I head into the hospital. I’m moaning as we go. The woman at the front desk says,

“In a couple of days, when you leave, come see me about parking.”

I tell her,

“Oh we don’t know if we’re getting admitted.”

“You’re getting admitted.”

We fill out our hospital paperwork and the nurses and midwives meet us in the hallway of the maternity floor. The head midwife tells me,

“We’re going to skip the triage room and go straight to your labor and delivery room.”

I guess that means I’m getting admitted.

One of the main reasons I chose the hospital we’re at is so that I can relax and labor in the tub. I ask,

“Can I get in the tub?”

“We’ll start filling it.”

I ask again,

“Can I get in the tub now?

“Oh we turned it off, but we’ll turn it back on.”

Unbeknownst to me they tell Captain,

“The baby is coming at any moment, she’s not getting in the tub.”

I asked for no or few vaginal exams, so we don’t know for sure how far along I am. I feel the urge to push and agree to a vaginal check. The midwife announces,

“You’re fully dilated!”

I guess I am having a baby.

I feel something bulging out like a balloon between my legs. It’s Baby Bop’s amniotic sac! I had told our doula I only wanted photos after the birth. She tells me,

“This is really rare, may I take a photo?”

I have the photo and I’ll show you in person if you ask, but I’m not posting it on here. I knew I’d stopped any hair maintenance down there, but before the photo, it was easier to be in denial about how hairy my butt is.

The excitement in the room seems to have given way to a nervous vibe. I keep having very painful pushing contractions, but nothing is happening. They have me change positions several times. My eyes are closed and I’m holding Captain’s hand. I drop it and shout,

“Where are you?!”

“I’m right here.”

Everyone is encouraging me to push Baby Bop out. I’m concerned about not tearing my lady bits. Someone says,

“I wonder if she’ll have curly hair like her momma.”

As another pushing contraction sweeps over me, I mutter,

“I can’t even get into that right now.”

Baby Bop’s heart rate is decelerating. She’s turned around and is now posterior. Or what they call sunny side up. Her head is stuck. The midwife tells me,

“You need to push your baby out on the next contraction or we’re going to have to do an episiotomy and a vacuum extraction.”

Perineum be damned. I push with everything I have and some that I didn’t know I have. At 3:49 pm, 2 hours after we got to the hospital, Baby Bop comes flying out!

 

Thank goodness it’s over and who is this person? The two hours of stitches begins.

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Blogging with a baby. That’s what those boppy nursing pillows are for right?

Motorcycle = 95 decibels. Baby’s cry = 115 decibels

38 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Baby Bop seems very comfortable hanging out with my intestines. I told her there’s better scenery to be had, but so far no interest.

The number of activities I’m interested in doing is declining. Will there be a bathroom? A place to sit where I can man-spread? A place to stand? A place to lie down? Food? Air conditioning? Did I mention a bathroom? If I can check most of these off, I may go.

At my Little Sister’s junior high graduation the other day a mom of her friend tells me,

“You’re brave.”

“Brave?”

“To be out and about when you’re due so soon.”

I’m in Somerville. The hospital is almost as close as if I were in Boston. The only brave thing about me being here is I don’t know where the bathroom is. Yet.

Captain mentions the monthly neighborhood meeting coming up: Free food, free drinks, which are irrelevant, but still sound great, and on the roof top of a neighboring condo building. Did I mention I have a weakness for roof-top decks? I’m on board for the meeting.

My expectations are low. The massive Indie car race that was coming to our neighborhood was canceled. Captain may be the only resident who is disappointed. Without the race to complain about, people are going to have to stretch for things. I shouldn’t have doubted them.

The police always open the monthly meeting with a recital of the recent criminal activity in the area. This time there are 4 officers, including the police chief. I have a hard time because these guys are from the district that arrested my dog 3 years ago. His record has been cleared.

One officer tells us,

“I really had to search for something this time, but someone broke into a locker at a gym and stole an iPhone.”

That was not worth however much tax money is paying 4 police officers to tell us this. The officer adds,

“Any questions?”

A woman almost jumps off her seat,

“I’ve noticed an increase in deafening motorcycles.”

The officers stare at her and adopt their impression of a sympathetic expression. She continues,

“Have you noticed that?”

Is this the same lady who complained about the increase in airplanes? She should be counting her blessings that hundreds of race cars aren’t descending upon her. An officer asks her,

“Is it more than usual?”

“Oh yes, they’re deafening and especially at night.”

I’m baffled by the noise complaints from people who have chosen to live downtown in a major city. Never mind that there’s a proposal for a public helipad to go in a few streets away. Sound-wise that should drown out the motorcycles.

And while we’re complaining, I’d like to report an increase in obnoxious comments to very pregnant women.* One guy yelled across the street at me, it was loud.

*I cannot take credit for that joke. Thank you to a recently pregnant friend.

So if anyone hears a screaming pregnant lady, followed by the deafening roar of a Toyota Highlander, we’ll soon be back with a screaming baby. You’re welcome.

Version 2

I have no reasonable explanation for this photo. I wanted photos to document my belly. After numerous generic poses, I asked Captain, “Are there any poses you’d like me to do?” He gets a big smile on his face and declares, “A Captain pose!” Then he demonstrates. So here it is.

 

 

At any moment I may no longer be pregnant

37 weeks and 3 days pregnant. At this point, the additional days feel important. In theory Baby Bop could decide to emerge anytime in the next four weeks. I can’t think of any other momentous life event that requires such a wide window of availability.

I head to the grocery store to stock up for the end of the world. I understand that we can order groceries online, but that’s expensive and I find descriptions like 6 ounces of blueberries versus 18 ounces of blueberries unhelpful. Both photos look the same, but then my blueberries arrive and I realize I just paid four dollars for the tiniest package of blueberries I’ve ever seen.

I go to Market Basket. I check out twice. First I buy enough dry goods for the rest of the summer. I take those to the car. I head back in and start on the food. The only good thing about shopping for Armageddon is that no one else is. I’m the only crazy person with 12 chicken breasts sliding off of my stack of 6 boxes of Cheerios, stacked on 8 cans of baked beans.

Yes I live in a tiny living space and yes I’m not sure where all this is going to go, but for whatever reason my pregnant brain needs to do this. A random stranger remarks,

“Looks like you’re pregnant.”

Is he referring to my belly or my cart?

I push on. The store is crowded, but there’s a general give and take between people as we get in each other’s way, except for people pushing carts while talking on cell phones. They’re dangerous. One young guy is chatting away on his phone and on a collision course for my Jenga game of groceries.

An older guy runs up behind him shouting,

“Hey! Hey! Hey!”

The guy on the phone turns with an eye roll. The older guy says,

“That’s my cart!”

The young guy glances down, acknowledges that yes the cart he’s pushing with 3 items in it is not his and walks 10 feet away to a cart that’s half full. He offers,

“I thought the cart felt light.”

Hours later I’m finished. Checkout turns my grocery cart into two grocery carts. I make a valiant effort to push both. An employee rushes to help me. He even insists on loading my car. The pregnant belly has its pros and cons.

I get home much later than I anticipated, with only enough time to make our condo look like a grocery store before Captain and I have to leave for our birth class. We return at 10pm. I look at the food everywhere. I go to bed. I’m feeling concerned. I tell Captain,

“I’m having a lot of feelings.”

“Like what?”

“Baby Bop could come at anytime. She could come tomorrow before I have a chance to put all the groceries away.”

Captain reassures me,

“I can put groceries away.”

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Someday I can just sit in the cart.

 

What’s Baby Bop’s favorite color? Who knows, but mine is pink

36 weeks pregnant. The finish line is in sight. I can almost see it just beyond my giant belly.

People keep exclaiming,

“You’re even bigger!”

I know. And I was guilty of saying this to my very pregnant friends 20 weeks ago.

With another wonderful baby shower checked off the list, I’m very close to filling every square inch of the condo with baby accessories.

Since I moved in a year and a half ago, Captain has been donating his clothes or taking them to his parents’. First to make room for me and now to make room for Baby Bop’s very impressive wardrobe for someone who doesn’t wear clothes yet.

If everything goes well and there’s another kid and it’s a boy, he’s out of luck. Unless he loves dresses.

I understand that Baby Bop may hate the color pink and never want to wear a dress for the rest of her life, but until she can articulate those feelings, or take her clothes off, she’s out of luck. And if she’s in the market for a security blanket that’s not pink, she’s also out of luck. Although after 34 years, my pink security blanket is not so pink anymore. Yes I wash it. Every other year.

gendered clothing

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Blankety circa 2008, after traveling around the world for 2 years.

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Washed!