Thursday, August 14, 2014

Technical Difficulties


Our apologies.

We will return to our regularly scheduled blogging as soon as we can take our eyes off the baby for five seconds.

Eh, who am I kiddin'. This is our regularly scheduled programming now. 


 Um. 

I'll try to write about something that isn't my baby. Soon. I'll do that very soon. 


 I, uh... 

I promise.












(fingers crossed behind my back)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Were Going to Meet Her Eventually


This is our beautiful Audra Grace.

She made it into the light and the harsh and the constant, unending diapers Tuesday evening. This is not the place where I tell a "birth story" and share with you the gory details; I have never been one for the sharing of gory details, and it's not going to start now. Suffice to say, it was both easy and the hardest thing I've ever done, that I was both elated and injured and that I am excited and terrified.

I will tell you one thing about my daughter's birth; you have got to have someone who will fight for you, because you will be too exhausted and too done being pregnant and too scared of what could happen to fight for yourself. Jason was on top of every single thing they said to me, asking for clarification, offering to help the nurses and doctors, making them explain and not just do - we had some of the best nurses I've ever dealt with in my life, but especially when you're high-risk there's a level of brisk efficiency that can leave the patient feeling a little worried and run over.

Jason made sure we understood every single thing and befriended the nurses with his usefulness at lightning speed. There is nothing that earns a nurse's love so quickly as being a patient's support person who is totally willing to do whatever it takes to take some work off the nurse's hands whenever he can. I was too scared of the complications to have stood up for myself; to have Jason right next to me meant everything in the world for my ability to make it through.

I'll say one other thing; if you have a nurse who, less than three days into your baby's life, is trying to tell you that you won't be able to feed them or making it seem like every problem is the end of the world or who makes you feel even a little bit like you can't do this; get a new nurse. We had a ton of wonderful nurses (in our hospital, you get one nurse for you and one for the baby, every twelve hours there's a shift change, so we saw several nurses) and exactly one terrible nurse. Unfortunately, she was the last nurse we dealt with. Fortunately, too, I guess - if she had been the first nurse I spoke to, I would not have made it through the first night. She was absolutely terrible - panicked and worried and every single thing was a huge deal and a failure, and she made me feel terrible, and if that happens to you get a new nurse or ask to speak to someone about it. I didn't, because I had a good nurse coming in at the same time building me up, but you should. 

Don't let them tell you you can't do this, and they should never, ever vocalize any idea even remotely like the idea that you can't do this.

I hope her method of nursing did not discourage the other mothers in my floor - due to my complication issues I ended up in the "high risk" ward afterward, although I was the lowest-risk woman there. I can't imagine the effort and trauma some of these women had gone through just to bring a baby into the world, to be faced with sad puppydog scaredy eyes telling them something is just wrong with them, fundamentally, in their physical position as a mother. 

(Did I mention Jason has been my tireless champion through the whole thing? Even with Sadface Nurse. Especially with Sadface Nurse. He would gladly have punched her in the face for me, and that means everything in the world in situations like that.)


Audra came out weighing exactly one ounce more than I weighed at birth - and an ounce less than my sister's daughter weighed at hers, which I find really interesting. My medical issues that led to my bedrest are starting to fade a little each day. I have been running mostly on hormones and shockingly little sleep.

Last night we had our first set of cluster feedings and a bout with a painful tummy that had us all just about at wits' end. My parents drove into South Carolina for the birth and so I've had them here and it's been lovely; between them and my great in-laws who live nearby, there are so many people who want to see the new baby and it's so nice to just sit and be tired while someone else holds her and I can zonk out, mentally if not physically. My friend Sarah has come over with her 15-month-old Molly twice and been my constant source of "this is normal, this is normal, you are not crazy, here look at my cute kid to remind you why you're voluntarily giving up sleep for the rest of your life". Between her advice and her willingness to bring me coffee, that woman may end up with some kind of medal.

My sister is a phone call away and I've spoken to her and she's been my other sanity lifeline. There is so much that seems like it should just happen, and it just doesn't, and no one really tells you that it won't. You're just supposed to figure it out by flailing around wildly, and it's nice to have someone who knows me as well as my sister does on the other end saying, "Nope, you're okay, this is okay, this is going to be okay."


We did just about hit our point of people-saturation Thursday night; I've joked that I want to put a sign on the door telling everyone that they must call first to schedule an appointment. Then they offer to bring me Starbucks and all my resistance just melts right away. I love people! But there is just this level of exhaustion I was both prepared and not prepared for; I knew it was coming but was just entirely unaware of how deep in my bones the tired would go. You just can't know it, really. So there would be this point where I would just be staring at people wall-eyed, trying to figure out if I had actually heard what they just said or maybe had just dreamed it so I didn't dare respond just in case it turned out I was replying to thin air.

It's kind of funny; I've been preparing to do this, to have this baby, since I was 22 years old and Jason and I got married. Six years later (almost to the day), and here she is. She is clearly my baby; she loves to sleep with her little fists curled under her chin and one foot out from under her blanket, exactly the way I do. Jason is the ideal; he is better at diaper changes than I am (in my defense, I was trapped in bed for the first day and a half of her life in the hospital and couldn't do them), he can swaddle in ten seconds or less. I spend a lot of time just watching what he does.

Sometimes "what he does" is insist I take a nap while he takes care of the baby for a couple of hours and refuse to take 'eh, I'm okay I promise' for an answer. 

As such, I am rediscovering the ability to take a nap.

We learn many many things as new parents; I've decided the most important thing I will learn is how to drop off in thirty seconds or less literally any place in the house I'm in.

Now if I can just figure out how to get the baby to do that...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse


As of today, Jason and I have been married for six years. It's funny because we've been together as a couple for a decade come January, so I have trouble keeping track of how long we've been married, exactly, and have to keep counting back to 2008 so I don't forget. Otherwise, I'm liable to just shrug and mumble something about "basically my entire adult life".

Preeeeeeeetty much the best decision I ever made. Or... he made. It depends on which one of us you ask for the "when did we start dating" story, because we have very different answers.

Last night I had decided, bedrest or no bedrest, that we were not going to waste our one last day of us-time before we check into a hospital and then have a baby on Monday (uh, hopefully) with me on the couch or whining endlessly about being bored.

I usually do both at the same time, in my defense. It's a time-saver.

I thought... why not go out for breakfast? A nice, early breakfast would give me plenty of time to go back to living on the couch for the rest of the day.

There's a new creperie that opened up in downtown Travelers Rest which I've been watching with more than a little interest. They ended up running a kickstarter to finish funding, and I was excited to see that they had  opened up!


So we went.

We walked in just a few minutes after they opened to see two really, really good signs: a full staff on hand despite the early morning time and a table full of like nine people having breakfast together (there were also several groups eating outside). About half the people eating were in scrubs, so we figure the local hospital had some third-shift staff go out for breakfast together after work let out. Nonetheless, a full parking lot on what I believe is only your first Saturday open? I like to see that.

It suggests good things are about to happen.

The guy at the register was super friendly, and we knew what we wanted pretty quickly. The menu isn't huge - they're working on a changing-things-up-seasonally-idea, which I am actually excited to see. They had about four options for savory, four or five options for sweet, a salad option, and a line of coffee drinks down one side as well. And waffles!

Next time I'll probably do waffles.

Beeeeeeeecause waffles.


I ordered the "fiesta" crepe; a southwestern chicken crepe with corn, black beans, and salsa. It came with a sour cream drizzle on top. This close-up shot doesn't really show you how huge the crepe was, but trust me, just the crepe by itself was a meal.

It was really good!

I would have liked the option to make it spicy, but prego-Katie has been dumping hot sauce and cayenne on everything for the past four months or so, so that may actually be the prego talking more than anything else. It was nonetheless super flavorful, and I would happily order it again and again and again.

After the waffles.
 

Jason ordered the Tandem Club, which came with ham, turkey, bacon, and two kinds of cheese. When we walked in he said something about wanting a crepe with ham, and a crepe with ham he got.

We traded bites, and I can definitely say his was equally delicious. It came with greens, but was a meal in and of itself.

That's actually one thing I really liked about the crepes; they weren't so overfilling you felt completely stuffed, but we were both very much full at the end of our meal. I was even able to hobble around on a walk to the TR Farmer's Market for a little while, although my current "two days from baby" physical situation means that 'hobble' is really the best description I can give you.

I told Jason last night I feel like every time I walk around some Oompa Loompas are going to jump out and start singing at me.



Jason ordered a chai latte (not pictured), which was amazing. It was not super-sweet syrup at all, but tasted more like an actual infusion of chai with milk. Spicy, and ginger-y, and did I mention not overly syrup-y sweet?

The above photo is my vanilla latte and its pretty, pretty latte art.

The layer of foam was great; it was just enough but didn't detract from the latte itself. I told Jason it was one of the smoothest lattes I've ever had; there was no bitterness to the espresso whatsoever, which tells me whoever is pulling the espresso shots knows what he or she is doing. I sort of regret not going up to them and just giving them their own "oh thank you god" tip.

As a last-minute anniversary outing before our two-person outings rapidly turn into three?

Fantastic.

I plan to drag at least half of my friends back there just as soon as I am willing to leave the house again.

Although...

I'll have to leave the house with a tiny baby all the time now, won't I?

Hm.

My friends all like the idea of holding the baby while I stuff my face, right?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Countdown


Apparently, I am going to have a baby on Monday.

It's very exciting.

My dryer broke Wednesday afternoon (of course it did), so we called an appliance repairman out. He fixed it up Thursday morning, which is good since I had two wet loads full of baby blankets, baby sheets, baby clothes and tiny baby socks and hats just sort of lounging around my house at that point. 

I made gumbo for dinner last night. Heavily pregnant or not, I continue my streak of being the Queen of Soups. I based it off of this recipe, although I made a real roux with butter instead of using vegetable oil, and my sausage was pre-cooked because authenticity is for people who didn't just really crave gumbo. It is pretty cool to use okra from our front garden, though.

Tomorrow is Jason and I's last day to just be by ourselves, to just be us. Sunday we'll be spending most of the day dropping our dog off with a friend and then with his family before we head into the hospital. 

So tomorrow we're going to go get breakfast somewhere, and then we're going to just be with each other, while little fists pummel my sciatic nerve and tiny feet kick me in the lungs and I will think, give me a couple of days, kiddo, and I can hold those little fists and those tiny feet. I will be relieved to have my organs back, albeit tenderized. We'll try to get some more useful things done. Well, Jason will try to get some useful things done while I relax because that's what I'm supposed to be doing.


Car seat is installed. The stroller is set up. My bags are mostly packed; I'm mostly ready to go. 

Of course, I'm not ready at all.

I'm under no illusions; even if I had the nursery completely put together, even if every toy was assembled and everything was exactly in its place, there isn't any such thing as 'ready' when it comes to this.

So... I'm not ready.

In three days I still won't be ready, but it'll be too late to push for ready, because she'll be here. There won't be any "three days from now", there won't be any "soon", there will just be now.

We are about to be so very, very broke.

Eh, we're already broke.

We're about to be drowned by a baby and all her resultant noises and bodily fluids and stuff.

It's gonna be awesome.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Because What's a Blog Without Navel-Gazing, Right?

So I had an exciting, mopey afternoon on the couch yesterday!

It started with the following thought:

Someone else is probably going to hear my baby say her first words.

I won't be able to stay home with her and neither can Jason; we have an agreement that if we ever do have one of us hit the income level necessary, the other will stay home. We don't really mind which one is able to, just that one of us will.

Nonetheless - I was thinking about that today, the idea that it will most likely be a daycare provider she speaks to first. This led to excessive moping, as pregnant women are wont to do. Especially pregnant women trapped on couches watching just an insane amount of Frasier.

If I'm very very lucky, the people who hear those words first won't tell me and they'll let Jason and I think we were the first that night when she talks for the first time in front of us. If I'm less lucky, they'll tell us when we go to pick her up and let us know that someone else saw it.

Of course, that just leads to other mopey thoughts, doesn't it?

Such as the aforementioned someone else may hear her first discernible word.

Someone else may be the first to watch her really GET that A stands for the 'ah' sound in apple.

Someone else may even hear her first determined mumbles as she attempts to babble.

Someone else will see those first stumbling steps.

Someone else may see her dance first.

It may very well be in front of a daycare provider that she first stands up for herself, tells another little kid off, dispenses whatever her own toddler brand of justice is at that time. I won't lie; I really want to be the one to see this.

So I sat here being all sad about that for a while.

I'm still sad about it.

It's incredible, that working-mom guilt can start to seep in before you're even actually a working mom, right? Hormones are incredible things.

Awful, hideous, incredible things.

It's still a huge gaping section of my daughter's day, every day, five days a week, that I will not be able to see what she's up to, what she's learning, who she meets, what silly new faces she discovers she can make. I have to count myself lucky to get just a few weeks.

 But then I think; my mother went back to work when I was very young. We joke that I was six days old - or my mother CLAIMS I tell people that, although I don't know that I ever actually have - but really, I was eight weeks old. I grew up, out of infancy and into babyhood, to toddlerhood and then into being a little kid, staying with either in-home daycares in town or at a daycare center in the city my mother worked in.

Here is what I remember about daycare:

My Little Pony day at my favorite of daycares, at the house of a woman named Pam, who did 'theme' days in the playroom we mostly stayed in. (I also liked Ninja Turtle day)

Playing with tons of other little kids, outside and inside.

The day the daycare center had a "bicycle parade" where the kids decorated their bikes and then rode them up and down the sidewalk.

That summer with the professional daycare center, riding in with my mother each morning, and how much fun I had in that precious half-hour of alone-time with her, singing along with "Queen of Denial", which was a huge hit that year. Bopping along in the seat next to her, front-seat privilege that was incredibly rare when I had an older sister who always claimed that right. (By the way, don't think this was a fight - it really didn't occur to me that I could argue with her on that for a shocking amount of time.)

One day, the daycare center took us to visit a different daycare center in another part of town and we played kickball and hung out all afternoon. There were like fifty kids in one place. It was awesome.

Running back out to hop in Mom's van for the ride home so I could tell her about what we did that day.

Talking to my mom, chattering for a half-hour straight right up until we walked in the door and then for a while after that, probably making her wish daycare was hearing more of what I had to say and she would be able to hear less.

Making friends.


Learning what it meant to make enemies.

It's funny, and hormone-y at the same time, to realize I can sit here and tell you quite honestly that daycare was probably one of the best things for me; that I don't have more than a few bad memories of my time going to the houses of women in town or to that daycare center. Even those bad memories are transient; a kid bit me. I had a fight with someone that I got in trouble for. That sort of thing.

I can tell you about how awesome daycare was and at the same time, I can sit here and mope about having to do the same thing to my own daughter, in order to give her half the life she deserves to have. There is nothing about my time in daycare I regret in the slightest, or wish hadn't happened.

On the other hand, it'd be pretty cool to get to be the one who sees her do something first, and to know that I will be that person.

Of course, there's the other side to the getting-to-stay-home thing; one of us still has to most likely miss the moments. I can sit here and mope about not being able to stay home all I want, but if I was able to stay home it would have been due to Jason having to make a sacrifice to ensure it could happen... and that sacrifice would almost certainly be his own time with his daughter.

We're in this together, sink or swim. Although hopefully not sink.

And, y'know, we did get into this habit of being able to afford food a few years back and we'd kind of like to keep it that way. We're spoiled like that.