Saturday, August 23, 2014

5 Things: Postpartum Daydreams Edition

1. My baby is two weeks old as of Tuesday.

We had our second appointment with the doctor, and were told that things are clearly going well; she's put on a pound from where she was when we left the hospital, which means we hit the Gain Back To Birth Weight Or More by Two Weeks Milestone, which may be a real milestone but may also be something I made up inside my head to stress myself out about.

While I would love to use this space to brag about all the new things she's doing, I'm afraid it runs us into a bit of a wall, because she is still new and most of what she does is eat, sleep, and need a change of diaper. She is spending longer and longer awake during her alert times, either watching us with intense fascination or flailing her limbs around trying to figure out just what is controlling them.

We are still mostly tied to the house - any trip longer than about an hour, hour and a half has to be meticulously planned for and we end up cutting things short, or just one of us runs the errands while the other stays home.

In her welcome-to-the-world post, you can see how small Audra was the day she came home from the hospital, and compare it to now.

2. This tunic/dress from Boden is basically my drooling thing-I-want-most for fall. Their entire fall line appears, at this point, to have been designed expressly for me. It's like some kind of terrible temptation from an exceptionally British devil or something, just dangling in front of my eyes.

I mean, look at this sweater. And this shirt. Or this tunic, which seems kind of perfect for new-mom-can't-be-bothered-to-dress-up. Or these gorgeous shoes.



I received Boden's Autumn catalog Tuesday, and that blue dress above immediately caught my eye. They had it styled with a yellow cardigan, which I already have a yellow cardigan so clearly this is fate, right?

Look at it! It's the perfect shade of blue, and it's covered in little birds, and I can wear it over jeans or leggings with my fall boots and and and and and

... and I am currently combing through our budget, baby or not, to see if I can afford it.

I am nothing if not a dreamer.

3. I had to make a run to the bank (and, uh, Starbucks) this morning and in the process heard an interview with singer-songwriter Jessica Hernandez, who performs with her band the Deltas, on NPR.

The song I've linked here is "Sorry I Stole Your Man", but I suggest you also look up "Cry, Cry, Cry" as well, for a sense of her abilities. She has an insanely gorgeous voice - it sounds to me like a mix of Amy Winehouse and Adele, whiskey-soaked and on fire. Her band is very retro, with trumpet and saxophone and a really nice old-school sixties sound. I loved just listening to the interview. Hernandez was actually pretty funny.

Here's the NPR interview. 

Give it a listen!

Then go buy her album upon its release. The EP is available now, though.

4. Because I have decided to be that mom, I knew I wanted a personalized necklace for after Audra was born. I didn't really like all the ones I was finding that looked like everybody else's personalized necklaces - you know, the ones with nests and birds or things. Some of those are really pretty, but they just weren't really working for me.

Then, for a baby shower gift, one of our friends gave me a gift card to etsy.

And I bought this necklace.

It's perfect for how I dress - the colors compliment most things I own. The little charms are a green j, a yellow-gold a, and a turquoise k (you can't see the k so much because of how the charms are placed, but it's there!)

I know that dangly necklaces are sort of a ridiculous proposition when you are mother to a small baby, but I will be at work for eight hours a day, so I figure I'll still get plenty of wear out of my giant collection of dangly pendant necklaces.

Until I forget to take it off one day and Audra and her prodigious Herculean baby-strength tear it off my neck.

Seriously. Babies are way stronger than they should be for how small they are...

5. First off, that photo is not mine, but comes from the site I'm about to link to. We have a jalapeno plant this year, and it has been ridiculously prolific. We love jalapenos, so that's mostly worked out for us, but it continued to be prolific while we were in the hospital and then in the days after we came home, and we had built up something like seventeen jalapenos we needed to use.

So Jason and I declared teamwork time and made these baked jalapeno poppers and ate them for lunch one day.

 I put a little ranch dressing on a plate, loaded myself up with the poppers, and we just demolished a whole baking tray full of them.

They were delicious.

We did change things up a bit; we used some low-sodium breadcrumbs that we bought while I was on bedrest towards the end of my pregnancy (and on a doctor-ordered low-sodium diet). I think next time instead of mixing with cheddar cheese I'll mix the cream cheese with pimiento cheese.

Or... just use pimiento cheese.


Now I'm impatiently waiting for more jalapenos to be ready...

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. 


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?


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


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


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

Friday, August 1, 2014


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.