Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicago Triathlon RR

I’ve done a lot of things at races; knocked on someone’s door to ask if I could use their bathroom, stopped to fix someone’s flat, crashed into another competitor but on Sunday I did something that in over 10 years of racing I’ve never done before…

I breastfed at mile 1 of the Chicago Triathlon.

Today Max and I spectated our first Olympic distance triathlon. Let me start by saying that spectating a sprint triathlon a few weeks ago was hard enough. It might have been a 59 minute race but in terms of watching that race with an infant – it was an Ironman. We were up at 4:30 am, watching athletes exit the swim at 7 am, having an I won’t take a bottle of breastmilk from mommy meltdown at 7:08 am, watching the finish at 8 am and still waiting for awards with a very, very squirrely infant at 11 am.

All this for a SPRINT triathlon? How do people do this for half Ironmans? And, how much are they being paid!? I had new respect for spouses who watch races with their families. You might think that racing is hard. But try entertaining a child, meeting their needs, heck meeting your own needs (question: how do you use a porta potty when you are with an infant; answer: you don’t) all while trying to navigate a race course in the summer heat.

Racing is much, much easier!

This weekend was the Chicago Triathlon. For whatever reason – lack of sleep, temporary insanity, devout love for my husband, I decided to try spectating again. With the infant. 27 miles from home in Chicago. And a forecast of 90 degrees.

And, no, I was not being paid to do this.

The Chicago Triathlon is a classic. It’s one of the biggest pain in the ass races to do – an entry fee of over 100 dollars, transition closes (yes, closes) at 5:45 am, the run from the swim to the bike is over 400 meters long (making it a race with what feels like two runs), no swim warm ups, a bike along Lake Shore Drive with potholes large enough to swallow a baby and a run with not an ounce of shade that looks flat but feels uphill all the way. Yet you finish it thinking to yourself – I freakin’ love this race! Maybe it’s something about the feel of the lake, being out there with thousands of other triathletes or having it all set against the spectacular skyline of the city but this race gets under your skin. It’s kind of like how we feel about the city of Chicago itself. The government is corrupt, construction is a nightmare, the winters are ridiculous yet we often find ourselves in the middle of a sunny summer day thinking – I freakin’ love this place!

Chris and Patrick headed down to the race at 4:15 on Sunday morning. I got up, fed Max, got myself ready and drove down to the city. I’ve driven around town with Max but yet to drive alone for more than a few miles. While I understand the purpose of rear-facing seats, that doesn’t mean I like it. Because I spent all 27 miles on the highway wondering if he was ok/breathing/alive/choking/crying. When I did hear him coughing, I was convinced that he was choking and I would arrive in the city with an infant who stopped breathing 10 miles ago. OH MY GOD! I felt like psychoparentoftheyear. And, yes, I was reaching my arm back to shake the carseat just to get him to move around so I could hear him just to be sure he was still breathing.

We parked in the Grant Street garage which was a fine idea except for the fact that the only way out of there was by stairs. Lately I've learend how damn unstrolleraccessible the world is. When I finally did find an elevator (after circling the garage a few times, walking up a car ramp and cursing the city of Chicago), I got into it and pressed the button, door closed then…

Crickets.

NOTHING. I mean, nothing. I imagined myself and Max stuck in this ghetto elevator that smelled like piss. Which might have been from the hobos but more likely from the dozens of suburbanites who ventured into the city with their strollers only to get stuck in this elevator which scared the piss right out of them. But then I came to my senses, pressed the Open Door button and got out. Screw the broken elevator. I had to take the stairs. The small problem being – how do you get up the stairs with a stroller?

You don’t. Instead, you walk around looking for help while continuing to curse the city of Chicago. Until you find another woman with a stroller and hope that you are kindred spirits in how the hell do you get out of this garage. She carried my carseat up the stairs, I carried the stroller.

I booked it over to the race to park myself at mile 1 of the run. The day was already heating up and about 20 minutes into it, Max was too. Meaning that he was working up to a MUST BE FED NOW moment. And I did what any momma would do. I pulled out my I’m-not-bat-shit-crazy-I’m-just-breastfeeding cape and sat under a tree. I thought to myself, I’ve done a lot of crazy things at races. But this takes the cake. Or the milk. And if anyone is in need of milk, I was just a short distance from the aid station.

The race went on, I cheered, then I moved on to the last mile. Max needed to eat again so I fed him again. I’m glad SOMEONE is eating out here. Can someone feed me? I had time to throw down a nectarine and two eggs this morning. Not exactly a breakfast of specathlon champions and did anyone else notice I was missing COFFEE!?!

Next we moved on to the finish line. My athletes came through and then I waited while Chris and Pat went to retrieve their items from transition. Meanwhile, I sat in a chair in some shade. Rocked the stroller back and forth. Next to me, was (and I say this politely but then again who am I kidding) the white trash version of those two old Muppets that sit in the balcony. Sitting in lawn chairs, drinking some “tea” from a cooler, smoking. Didn’t exactly look like triathletes so I was curious why they were there. A little eavesdropping later, I heard them commenting as every woman that walked by….

She looks like Jennifer Love Hewitt (sadly, I realized they were not talking about me)

Did you see her right boob was bigger than her left one? (ok, now they very well could be talking about me)

This went on for about 30 minutes. Until they started talking to me.

It’s too damn hot for a newborn.

Parenting 101 from an unlikely source. Thanks. But, Bubba was right. Bubba was also missing a few teeth. Indeed, it was hot for a newborn. But if he lived for 39 weeks inside of me, surely he can exist for another hour in this heat. The man started talking more – telling me about his children, his wife’s post-partum depression and his morphine bag. No joke, he lifted up his shirt to reveal a fatty pouch under the skin of his stomach that he told me was filled with a bag of morphine that dripped into his spine after some accident.

Please put your shirt down.

I wasn’t sure if he was half crazy or he was just half baked (from the heat, from his tea) but told myself I will never scoff at my post-partum stomach again. I was just visually assaulted by something much, much worse (and makes me wonder if I should just explain the what feels permanent bloat in my stomach as a morphine bag).

After that intimate revelation (who lifts up their shirt to a stranger?), I felt comfortable enough asking him what he was doing at the race. Are you spectating? No. Are you people watching? No. He was watching the large balloon with a sponsor logo inflated behind him. Because someone might walk away with a 20 foot balloon. All I know is that he was making 10 bucks an hour to sit in front of an inflatable balloon and boobie watch. In fact, he came out to the city all the way from Joliet to do that.

Say no more. That explains EVERYTHING.

Just as the conversation was getting interesting, Max saved me by needing to feed again so I took him under a tree and donned the cape again. It felt like my superhero cape. My superhero power is the ability to lactate at the sound of small children talking baby talk to their dogs (true, it happened the other day at the dog park). After feeding, it was getting ridiculously hot so I laid Max on a blanket on the ground in the tiny bit of a breeze that blew by every 6 minutes for about 20 seconds. He looked perfectly content though. On the ground next to beer bottle caps and a short distance from the porta potties.

WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?!

A very hot one. Literally. I was baking in my black shirt so I took it off to sit there in a jog bra. I might have cared that my stomach still looks like I’m pregnant or that I still have that damn linea nigra but if anyone had commented about it – I would just ask Bubba to show them his morphine bag.

That really left me feeling violated.

Chris and Pat picked up their awards and then I headed back to the suburbs. I was – again – exhausted. We got home 6 hours after we left. I was covered in milk, sweat and hadn’t eaten since 7 am. Max had gone through 3 feedings, 3 diapers and had spent a lot of time laying on the ground (YES ON A BLANKET!) in Grant Park on top of god only knows what (and let's keep it a secret, ok?). But all that matters is for the ride home he did not say a peep (which kind of made me wonder – is he still breathing?). And then we walked into the house right on cue he started wailing.

It’s easy when you have an infant to sit trapped inside your house, staying away from doing what you love to do because it’s too hot, inconvenient, time consuming, etc….but I told myself we won’t be that way. Yes, it’s true what everyone says – when you have a baby, life changes. But life also goes on. We continue to do what we like to do, and the only change is that Max becomes a part of it.

And I think he likes it! He made all sorts of happy baby sounds on the ground. I think I’m also starting to see a future champion emerge. My little man survived spectating the world’s largest triathlon on what felt like the world’s hottest and most humid day in the big city.


And this just in: you took first place in the infant spectathlete division!

(there was another infant there who was the same age as Max and though he had significantly more hair we felt our baby was much, MUCH cuter giving Max the natural advantage to slide in for the division win)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One Day At A Time

There is no “me” in baby.

Trust me, I’ve looked – again and again.

Remember the days when you could walk into the house, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, get something to eat, sit down, relax….

Gone. Because now – it’s all about baby. Not like all life-consuming about baby but if you are nursing that baby chances are you now walk in the house with a screaming baby who is ready to eat like 10 minutes ago and your boobs were ready to feed like 10 minutes ago which means they are squirting everywhere like lawn sprinklers that set off unexpectedly right as you walk by and even though you need to wash your hands or go to the bathroom it’s… gonna have to wait.

Until – you feed the baby, burp the baby, feed the baby, change the baby then soothe the baby again.

Repeat, as needed.

Which reminds me – I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten poop at some time during the last 4 weeks. Who has time to wash their hands after changing the baby? Even if you did, where would you put the baby? And, what is it about changing a diaper that makes a kid go from milk coma to ALL SIRENS BLAZING in less than the peel of a Velcro diaper tab? Putting a clean diaper on hardly calms them down. It’s not until they are back in your arms (likely wanting to feed again) that they stop crying. At this point you are crying too because you realized that you haven’t washed your hands. At all. All day. Maybe not for the past month.

Nursing is draining. I know I’ve said that it’s hard but I want to just reiterate for my own mental health – it’s really, really hard. Being pregnant is uncomfortable. Nursing is downright painful. Today my boobs just ache. Maybe they are filling with milk, maybe they are just tired. I don’t know. They don’t talk to me anymore. Expectedly, some days I just need a break. I need to go through a few hours where something is not latched on to my chest. I just want my body to be my own again.

And I know that sounds selfish. Of course it does! Who isn’t from time to time. Sometimes I just want to take care of me before I take care of baby. That means, go to the bathroom when I have to – not when I finally have time (good news is that my bladder made it through pregnancy 100% in tact). I want to eat when I wake up – not an hour later. I want to drink a glass of water when I’m thirsty, not when I have a free hand. What I want, though, doesn’t really matter anymore. I knew that getting into this. Living it every day, though, is the hard part.

All of this explains why for the better part of this afternoon I’ve been walking around in a jog bra and underwear. Oh I started the day in a dress. And then, the baby shat all over that dress. Then I realized – why not just take the dress completely out of the loop. Who needs more laundry? Besides, I’m pulling down the jog bra every 2 hours to feed the little meat sack. Why not go completely tribal and half naked?

It would be safe to say that you should never just drop by my house – in case you were in the neighborhood.

As long as we are talking about things on my body, let's talk about two things I made it through pregnancy without:

Stretch marks and hemorrhoids. I know – miraculous. Hate me and my ass. Go ahead. But I credit it to one thing (actually two): two tablespoons of ground flax seed in my oatmeal every day. You and your ass can thank me later for that piece of advice.

However, stretch marks are finally making an appearance. On, you got it – my chest. Just when you thought childbirth couldn’t possibly leave one more mark on your body (as if the 6 inch scar wasn’t enough?), you wake up and see red squiggly lines all over your chest. I suppose this is what happens when you go from nothing to a whole lotta something. But I think I finally understand why you would pay money for new boobs. I told my husband I have permission to buy myself a new set. He just nods his head now. Really, don’t argue with a woman post-partum. She can pull cards, mister, that will never EVER be in your deck.

I thought about buying a fancy cream to make the stretch marks go away but did some research and found out – gasp – fancy creams are bullshit. So is just about any other old wives tale on how to get rid of them. The only thing that works is…let’s see – don’t get pregnant? Scratch that off the options list.

By the time Chris came home, I had put on a new dress. We were sitting on the couch, I was feeding a particularly fussy Max. I’m so sick of seeing my naked chest. As much as you are sick of hearing about it. I bet even my husband is sick of seeing it too. If he kept pulling his meat whistle out I think at a certain point I would just beg him to put it away. But the baby must be fed so the chest must be revealed. Max was doing a move I call “the hen peck”. Imagine a hen pecking all over your chest. It’s not that the boobs are small. How can he NOT see them? A few minutes into it I feel something warm. I touch Max’s clothes and they seem dry. Strange. Then a few minutes later I stand up to realize that warm wet feeling was poopy running all down my dress.

I’ve been shizzled. Again. Second time in one day.

Sigh.

The next day I didn’t even bother getting dressed (so to speak). I walked around in workout clothes. I decided to do another solo trip (after Monday – really, why!?) to three stores. Ambitious, I know. But I always said – dream big. We made it through BuyBuyBaby without a peep. Drove across town to get me a new swimsuit from Keifer (almost as good as swimming is buying a new swimsuit in preparation for my return to swimming – YAY!). Back in the car, a mere 40 minutes since we left home, it happens. The eruption of Mt. Max. Why – I don’t know. But he’s bright red, screaming and inconsolable. No amount of shushing, pacifying or asking him politely to PIPE DOWN ALREADY seems to soothe him.

So, I decide to sit in the backseat and feed him. Good solution except that the car is sitting smack in the sun. The car keeps getting hotter and for some reason the feeding is not calming Max down. He keeps pulling on and off of me, exposing the better half of my chest to the parking lot. I must have been having a fierce letdown because after one pull off, I realize I am literally hosing my child down in milk. He is dripping with milk – in his eyes, all over his face. So much for the bath this morning. I am covered in milk. I have nothing to wipe it up with except his onesie that I took off of him because he felt hot. So much for dressing the child.

He was still crying after feeding but I decided to keep going. I can’t quit. I said we were going to 3 stores and dammit WE ARE GOING TO THREE STORES. The last store was Lululemon. He quiets down on the way there but as soon as I park he starts crying again. So we had a talk.

Listen, kid, I am not going to be one of those crazy women trapped inside my house for fear that every time we leave you’ll scream so you might as well pull up your big boy pants, buck up and deal with the fact that you are going to be an on the go outdoor baby LIKE IT OR NOT.

He quieted down. And we went to Lululemon. Where he started to cry again. But at this point, I considered the trip a victory because we made it to all three stores.

I went home exhausted. It was only 11:30 am. We had been up since 4:17 am which Max feels is an appropriate time to start the day (I disagree). I couldn’t sleep last night because I couldn’t sleep. No idea why. You’d think I could fall asleep standing up at this point but for some reason – I’m wired. I have no idea what is going on with my body at this point and even less idea what I’m doing with this kid. I’m walking through all of this with my eyes closed. The only way I learn is to walk into a wall. Which seems to me like a good metaphor for parenting.

But I must be doing something right. On Wednesday we went to Max’s 4-week check up. As much as I don’t necessarily enjoy nursing, it seems to be working. Max weighed in at 9 pounds, 8 ounces. He’s gained almost 3 pounds since he left the hospital!

(you’d think for every pound he gains I might lose a pound…right….RIGHT!?!?! – no.)

He is meeting his “milestones” – holding eye contract, grasping my finger when I put it by his hand, smiling and making lots of poopy diapers each day. I had a lot of questions for the doctor and got a lot of good answers. I told him Max was feeding every 2 hours – the doctor asked me how I was surviving (on small but consistent nighttime naps thank you). I asked why he got so fussy while pooping (it’s unreal – it looks like he’s trying to squeeze and elephant out of his ass and then you see what’s in the diaper and think – all that drama for THIS!?!). It’s totally normal for an infant to get red and fussy when pooping. Then again, it’s totally normal for some adults too. The doctor then warned me that in 4 weeks the appointment won’t be nearly as pleasant because Max will get a bunch of shots.

Remind me to self-medicate with LOTS of coffee before that appointment.

Life with Max marches on. Each day sometimes feels like eternity but everyone is right – it is going by very fast. The other day he mastered holding his head up for short periods of time and before you know it he’ll be running crazy laps in the field with Boss. Sometimes I imagine him older and can’t wait until he can interact with me and talk. But then again – kids can get pretty loud and sassy so I’m just going to enjoy him this small and quiet, one day at a time, while I can.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Now You Tell Me

There should be special traffic laws for anyone driving with an infant. Maybe even a separate traffic lane. A lane with no stoplights, no school zones, no waiting for left turns, no slow drivers, no trucks, no trains and permission to drive 15 mph over the speed limit when you have a screaming infant in the backseat.

Yes, on Monday I took my first solo trip to the grocery store. With infant.

First we made a trip to Wal-Mart. I know – I have professed my hatred of that store before (click here) but I figured I had under 60 minutes to get everything I needed before Max exploded in a mess of FEED ME NOW wails and tears. Target was not going to happen. Good thing the trip went well. I credit this to giant shopping carts that were the perfect size for the Chicco carseat and everything we needed. The store was empty. The clerk was coherent (not always the case at the mart of the walls). The baby slept.

Success!

I pressed my luck. Nowhammynowhammynowhammy. Trader Joe’s was next. I parked the car and then it hit me – how do you grocery shop with an infant? Where do they go? I thought about bringing the stroller in but…how do you wheel a shopping cart and a stroller? Especially in Trader Joe’s where the aisles are as big as a needle hole

I walked up to the shopping carts and knew I was in for trouble. The car seat took up the entire cart. THE ENTIRE CART. The only way I was going to get food into this cart was to pile it on top of Max or shove it in the small corners between the cart and the carseat. I should have just abandoned the trip right there, cried uncle and went home. The endurance athlete in me decides to press on…I can do this. I will not be beat by the Trader Joe’s.

(foreshadowing: I got my ass handed to me)

Before I knew it, the cart was a mess of fruit, vegetables, yogurt – all piled up on top of, under and around the carseat. It looked ridiculous. I felt like a total rookie. Max was squiggling and letting out loud rebel yells (STOP THROWING THIS FOOD SHIT AT ME WOMAN! – you could see it in his eyes). Every item I add to the cart leads to another squiggle, that face that signals I AM ABOUT TO BLOW!

This can’t be the way women with infants shop, I thought to myself. But then again, I looked around. Do you even see any other women with infants shopping? Oh yeah – there’s ONE who is with her two other kids (true Ironmom, WHO is mad enough to attempt this?) with the infant crying loud bloody tears the entire time. And the rest? They’re probably all at home in pajamas, with a cup of coffee and bedhead trying to prop open their weary eyes with toothpicks let alone make a trip to the store.

About halfway through the store I realize that there is no way to cram any more groceries around the baby. And, he was getting more vocal, more restless. Close your eyes, I tell him by the eggs. A clerk looks at me like…are you talking to the eggs? Maybe. I throw a few containers of yogurt on top of the carseat. I don’t even know what I’m grabbing at this point – just grab food. We can eat food. Who cares what it is.

I get up to the register and realize the next problem – getting the groceries out of the cart all jammed around Max. Removing one item might bury my child in an avalanche of groceries. The clerk looks at me with pity. Max is for some reason finally quiet. I consider asking the clerk if he can just charge a flat fee for everything in the cart. Let’s not interrupt the quiet baby. Heck, how much for the cart, I’ll buy that too. I just need to wheel this thing all the way home to keep this kid quiet.

No such luck. He pulls every item out of the cart. The clerk assures me you’re doing a great job as he pulls a bottle of Kefir out of the carseat. Right. My kid is nestled up against a bag of spinach – THIS is a great job? I consider it a big FAIL! Max gets more restless, I get more antsy to get the hell out of there. I’m embarrassed…what was I thinking? What kind of mother does this?

More importantly, why the hell don’t we use Peapod?

Finally we’re in the car, and then it begins…the cries. The high-pitched I AM REALLY PISSED cries that always seem to be perfectly timed when I am driving the car in no position to go back there to soothe him. The other night was the perfect example. Foolishly, we went to the local criterium to watch Chris race. All was going well until my mom and I shouted GO CHRIS on the first lap. The kid can sleep through the hair dryer, the vacuum, a cement truck and a freight train (we’re keeping a list of everything he has slept through) but shout two words near him and all bets are off. Unfortunately the crit was 50 minutes plus 5 laps. When your kid blows up on lap 1 – you’re screwed. Ten minutes later I found myself in some stranger’s side yard nursing a very unhappy and hot baby. When we finally got into the car to head home, he was still crying. My mom questioned why I chose to take the highway home and I told her we could either risk sitting at every stoplight or drive at 70 mph with a small glimmer of hope that it will quiet him down.

He cried the entire way.

Trader Joe’s is about a 15 minute drive from my house. Unless you catch every red light. Unless you are driving through school zones. Unless you have a crying infant in the backseat – then 15 minutes feels like 15 hours. I try turning on music to cover up the crying but wouldn’t you know that for 4 minutes straight not one radio station on the settings was actually playing music!? Is it that freakin’ hard to play music these days!?

I’m trying not to get frustrated but at times like this – your mothering instinct kicks in. I’m ignoring my child. I’m not meeting his needs. What is wrong with me. Which then leads to the I’m a terrible mother thoughts. Which then makes me want to cry. Which then reminds me that I am still all hormonal from being pregnant. Which reminds me that I still look 4 months pregnant. And that really makes me want to cry.

I find myself talking to him to calm him down (note: does not help) when I realize I’m going 40 in a 30 and….awesome, there’s a cop. Since I got a ticket at 8 months pregnant (how could he ignore my big belly?), I’m guessing this cop would have no sympathy on me either. I start thinking up the story in my head – please, have pity on me, this was my first solo trip to the store and he won't crying, there’s no music on the radio and and…look at me. My chest REALLY hurts, I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time last night, my back hurts from carrying the damn carseat, all I want to do is run but I have to wait another 2 weeks and….my stomach went from flat six pack to THIS, at that point I would reveal the mess of my stomach and hope he would either be so horrified or pity me out of a ticket.

I did not get pulled over. Thankfully.

You would think after crying for 5 minutes straight the baby would just give up. Not the case. They don’t give up. They keep escalating. They slow down but then they ramp it back up with even more intensity. His cries are like a group ride. You coast a little then you’re putting out big watts as some jumps at the front of the pack. I think about pulling over to feed him but then think – how ridiculous. Like I’m going to pull over every time he cries in the car? I’ll never get any place!

15 minutes later, we pull into the driveway and right at that moment…he stops. The world might have stopped. The proverbial pin drops and I hear it – LOUD AND CLEAR. There is quiet in the car.

It was like nothing ever happened.

Chris comes upstairs. I am holding Max. Who now looks like the perfect angel of a baby. I grumble.

How do people go grocery shopping with an infant?

They don’t.

NOW YOU TELL ME!?

Max finally gets fed (the way he cries, you think I’m starving the kid), I take a break and eat some lunch while writing this. But as soon as I’m done, you bet I’m researching Peapod. Whatever the fee, I’m thinking it’s worth it. Consider it the cost of sanity.


(not surprisingly, I walked out to the store with no meat, no milk but two bags of trail mix; looks like it's trail mix for dinner the next few nights)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quiet Times

Right now my child is laying on a rug in the living room. He could lay in a crib, a swing, a vibrating chair, a bouncy chair, a bassinet and he’s on a … rug.

This is how it is with a newborn – totally unpredictable. Makes no sense. No pattern, no formula. I believe it is completely baffling my engineer husband. He keeps asking about the plan, what does the baby need, what does this mean. My answer:

I don’t know what he needs, he didn’t tell me.

Sure, there are cries, peeps and wails. There’s wiggles, rooting and crazy arm reflexes. But what any of it means – to put it politely – hell if I know. It usually means one of a few things: change me, feed me, hold me, soothe me. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Today Max is 4 weeks old. He’s becoming a little person. His eyes are growing wider, he is starting to smile. He seems to recognize my voice. He loves being held. He loves laying on his daddy’s chest. He likes music. The louder the better. When he’s particularly fussy, I can crank up some popular music to quiet him down. All that BS you hear about babies recognizing what they heard in utero? I’m sold. Black Eyed Peas was like a lullaby. I also downloaded Pandora on my iPhone. Here’s a tip: look up baby or children to find kids music – no buying songs, it’s all free. Even though I think the Baby Einstein stuff is complete bullshit, the Baby Eintsein radio station rocks! I know, I’ve gone totally mad but they were playing a bunch of songs from the Rockabye Baby series which is all of your favorite rock tunes put to lullaby music. I am convinced these CDs were made so parents didn’t lose their mind listening to yet another rendition of You Are My Sunshine. I’d rather sing along to Welcome to the Jungle (which sounds great when played by a marimba).

Another thing Max likes to do is hit the stuffed banana on his activity mat. Speaking of the activity mat – check this thing out:



(banana - left - gets hit, again)

When I saw this thing at the store I thought to myself – what a gimmick. But someone told me that babies love these things. It’s true. He loves this thing. He looks at the animals every time like it’s the first time. He loves to hit the banana. If you are having a baby, get one of these things. And then get all of the attachments (all of this is made by Infantino).

We were having some trouble with getting Max to sleep – he sleeps and sleeps well but he fights it every step of the way. Someone suggested a swing. So, we bought a Fisher Price swing (it’s small and portable). Combined with being swaddled (Aden & Anais makes the best swaddling blankets), the swing is like baby crack. Can’t resist it.


(baby on crack)

Max is not on any predictable schedule yet. Which means my life is on no schedule yet (as a “schedule” person, this is HARD). Some nights he sleeps for 3 ½ hours at a time. Other nights he wakes up to eat every 2 hours. There were a few nights like that when finally yesterday I woke up ragged. Have you any idea what it feels like to be woken up every 2 hours to go and feed/change/soothe a baby for 30 minutes, take another 30 minutes to fall asleep only to be woken up again an hour later?

It feels like sleep torture. I don’t even think I could call it sleep. It was like two days where I took nothing but short naps. NAP TORTURE!

Finally I told Chris he was taking the 12:30 – 1 am feeding with a bottle and I was sleeping. Great plan except the hard thing about nursing is that if you don’t get up to pump or feed you wake up with massive boobs (which are bigger than giant jugs) which don’t lend to an easy feeding.

One last thing we bought this week that I wish I had picked up sooner – waterproof liner for the Boppy. In the past 4 weeks it has been spit up on, drooled upon, shat upon (really). And, the dog seems to think that any time it is on the floor it is the perfect nest for him. Get the liner. And, get two covers for it in case one is the victim of a late night blow out (happened the other night…oy).


(I love my new bed, guys!)

So enough about my kid – and I don’t mean to yap about my kid but I know there are a lot of expectant moms reading this and in case you weren’t sold yet, my kid is so freakin’ adorable!


I got on the scale the other day, out of (morbid) curiosity. Just to find out when do I get to go back to being me, you know? I realize it took 39 weeks to gain the weight and might just take 39 weeks to come off (but let’s hope not, ok?). But I know that there are other women out there wondering – really, just how long does it take to lose the weight. Before I got pregnant I always wondered that myself. I should preface this by saying I don’t think it matters what you do (to a point), there is no way to control what you gain during pregnancy (unless you are like one of my friends who gained 75 pounds by an impressive steady diet of Cinnabons and Oreo McFlurries). I’m convinced that a lot of it has to do with genetics and just the way your body decides to carry baby. I read that Olympic volleyball player Kerri Walsh gained 36 pounds during pregnancy. I’m sure she wasn’t eating hot fudge sundaes every day. Then you read about other active women who gain less than 20 pounds. I have very little faith that in either case it was because of what they ate or how much they exercised. I exercised up to 90 minutes a day nearly every day through pregnancy and gained 36 pounds. I also did not bury my face in hot fudge sundaes (I wish!).

You’d think with a little person sucking out of me every 2 hours every day and walking about 6 miles a day that the scale would humor me. Just a little. So the other morning I stepped on to the scale and discovered that in the last 2 weeks I have lost….

(drumroll please)

One pound.

Let’s try that again. I stepped on the scale and discovered that in 14 days I lost….

(again, drumroll, fanfare….)

ONE FREAKIN’ POUND.

And that is all I have to say about that.

I lied. Of course I have more to say. I’ve done a lot of reading and questioning other athletic moms and found there are likely two things that will happen when you are breastfeeding: you will either drop all of the weight plus more immediately OR you will retain weight until you stop breastfeeding (you retain fat stores and water). I will likely be the latter.

And will curse any woman who falls into the other category.

Can we talk about another crazy thing with nursing? I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS HUNGRY IN MY LIFE. Not even during Ironman taper. I’ve read that nursing can make you incredibly hungry and thirsty. It does! The other night I woke up with what felt like my stomach eating itself – know that feeling? Which is strange considering that the last 4 weeks of pregnancy you can barely eat at all because your stomach gets so compressed and you never feel hungry.

I’ve kept up with my walking and yes I did a very bad thing. I sat on my bike. On the trainer. And have done so 3 times. I listened to my body and it was ok. I’ve also done a lot of talking to athletic women who’ve had c-sections. There’s not a lot to read about it because not many women have recorded their experience. So after a lot of listening, thinking and walking, I sat on my bike the other day for 30 minutes. I let pain and bleeding be my guide. While it didn’t feel perfect, it didn’t hurt or make me bleed. The hardest thing, though, was having to bend over! I have ridden so upright the past few months that leaning to reach the bars on my road bike was almost not possible – I had to keep my hands pressed on the fingers. But each time I ride I feel better. And, nothing is better than the sound of dropping a gear. The flick of the right shifter to drop a gear always signals – it’s time, it’s on, bring it. Of course I was bringing it was 12 mph in my basement but you get the point. The only sound that could have been better is wheels on pavement. I’m sticking on the trainer for another few weeks but I am salivating to get outside. I don’t care if I ride circles around the neighborhood, that first ride back on a real bike (not the monstrosity I was riding late in pregnancy – that was a mountain bike gone very very wrong) will be heaven.

My belly keeps going down but it looks forever bloated. It’s not mushy (amen) it’s just hard and round. Sometimes I look at my reflection in a window as I walk by and think to myself - THAT IS NOT ME! It is like you spend a year living as someone else. And can’t wait to get back to recognizing yourself again. Or at least wearing your old clothes. Speaking of which – I can finally wear some of my old workout clothes! But I know better than to try on my old pants.

Give it time.

The house is quiet, the little man is sleeping. The dog is somewhere upstairs (probably hiding under a bed – if you’re wondering how Boss is doing with the baby, he spends most of his time sitting by the front door waiting to escape or hiding under a bed). And husband is out. If you asked any other mother, she’d tell me I should be sleeping right now. But spending some quiet time lost in thought just feels better right now. Sleep is overrated anyways. You can survive on 1 hour naps. For a few days, at least!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sweet Freedom

I finally know why women tend to be lousy drivers.

Because they have a small window of opportunity to escape the house, the children, both which at times feel like a prison of domesticity, in exchange for 2 hours of freedom…

FREEDOM!

When they finally do escape, they disregard speed limits, safety and pedestrians not because they don’t care only because they are so overtaken by their feeling of FREEDOM and mobility that they can’t help but get a little wily out there.

FREEDOM!

On Friday, Chris demanded I leave the house.

You need to leave the house.

Not really a demand, more like a plea – please, woman, leave the house before I question why I ever reproduced with you

I agree. It’s not that all of this is very hard. I mean, it’s a baby. He cries, he poops, he eats. He sometimes sleeps. But day in, day out, ALL HOURS OF THE DAY…it adds up. And let me tell you – at 2 in the morning, I don’t care how patient you are or how much you love your child, you find yourself thinking OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHAT DO YOU NEED ALREADY!

Do you need to be fed, changed, swaddled, soothed, held, comforted, sung to, rocked, swayed, shushed, bounced, boppied, burped, stimulated, told to that if only you would stop putting your hand in front of your mouth you might be able to get something into your mouth!


And so you get tired, a little frustrated, a little overwhelmed. You need a release. You call up your mom to just come over to the house to be there with you, to listen to your bitching about how every time you need to take a crap the baby is nursing or would you please just hold him for 10 minutes so I can do anything that requires two hands. You ignore the baby at 6 am because at that point, after being up with him at 9 pm, 11:30 pm, 1:30 am and 4 am you consider yourself off the clock. Enough is enough. Let the husband take him.

So on Friday, when Chris told me to leave the house, to go do something, anything, I listened.

And, Elizabeth, I want you gone for at least 2 hours.

(when he calls me Elizabeth I know I am in trouble)

Make it 4 hours.

At first I wasn’t too sure. What am I going to do anyways? Of course I have a growing list of things I need to do but most are not inviting. I need to buy new sports bras, new clothes, I need to spend more money on stuff I’ll probably only use for a few months. Can pregnancy get ANY more expensive?


(it can – we just got the bill from the hospital, having a baby cost over 20K – and that’s just the hospital!)

But once I got into the car, turned on adult music at an adult volume I found myself on the highway heading to an adult store to buy adult things. NOTHING that involved baby.

Two hours later, I was back at home. What a difference two hours made. I fed the baby, played with the baby and wanted to be around him. Yes, I love him but sometimes I think to myself I don’t know what you need. I don’t know what to do with you. I don’t know anything so obviously I’m doing a bad job at being a mother. I think this is all very, very normal. But you feel bad about thinking it – or feeling it. Hey, it’s not all cupcakes, cuteness and lemonade. Sometimes you’re sitting in the rocking chair with a wailing baby thinking – what….WHAT! How do teenagers do this and I’m sitting here with a crying kid and no idea how to console him?

That is how you get overwhelmed. The cure – leave the house. Chris was right. Get out, change the scenery, go eat sushi and Swedish fish for lunch just because you can. And eat with both hands because you have them free. No baby.

About an hour later, Chris demanded that I leave again.

Why?

Because you can, Elizabeth. Because I’m here to watch the baby. Get out of the house.

So I went to the gym. I wanted to go for another walk and it was 94 blazing degrees outside. The idea of walking on the indoor track sounded like torture. But then again, so did another walk around the neighborhood in the heat.

Forgive me for I have sinned. It has been 3 weeks since I last stepped into the gym. I love the gym. I am, admittingly, a gym rat and always will be. I know there are others like me out there. We unite, sweaty, love the smell of the gym, the sounds of the gym. It makes us feel at home.

The woman at the front desk greeted me. Did you have your baby?

God, I hope so! If not, for my next magic trick I’ll show you how to suck an entire baby into your pooper and hold it there. Along with 36 excess pounds.

Well, you look great!

THANKS! And this time, unlike the 10000 other times in pregnancy when someone said that to me when I was huge, swollen and sweaty, I am going to believe it. No questions asked.

I went up to the indoor track and started walking. Ho hum. But I brought some good tunes and soon found myself in a rhythm of laps. A mile goes by and then I started thinking. Maybe I should time myself? All I know is that late in pregnancy I was walking over 18 minute miles on the treadmill and occasionally running at a 15-minute per mile pace for a minute or so. YIKES!

I timed my first mile in 14:45. And then I got to thinking…..could I break 14? The bar has been raised. A challenge has been set. I play games like this all the time with myself. And I know, once I set the challenge, I’m going all the way. It will get done.

It’s on.

I’m walking. Fast. Timing each lap. I see another man walking, and set him as my goal within the goal. I will lap him. I’m coming after you. Each lap I challenge myself to walk faster. Quicken the step. At lap number 6 I see the man down the straightaway. Eyes on the prize eyes on the prize. I’m gaining on him but it’s going to take a little more. Focus, Fedofsky, FOCUS! I’m coming after you. I get right behind him and feel the overwhelming urge to shout ON YER LEFT and finally when I pass him want to turnaround and shout…OVERTAKEN! DROP BACK! DROP BACK! Two laps to go and I’m stuck at 1:14 per lap. I think to myself – can I break 1:14…the next lap I go 1:13. FINAL LAP! The bell rings. I’m picking up the pace now and know it will be close but come in at…

13:44!!!

OH MY GOD I WIN I WIN I WIN!

I was like a gerbil on a wheel. And had no idea. Or didn’t care. Because for 13 minutes and 44 seconds…I felt like an athlete again.

Soon after, I left the gym. It was time to go home and feed the little man. When I do, I’m finally relaxed, I love looking at him and feel a little more able to meet his needs. Time away is all it takes. If not, my mom warned me I will lose my mind. You feel a lot of things as a new mother….one of them is guilt. Guilt for being away from them or wanting to do other things. Shouldn’t I just want to take care of him, smother him in love and meet his needs? Isn’t there something I should be doing with him? Questions like this fill your head all day long. Yes, you should be doing a lot of things but first taking care of yourself. Accepting that it’s ok to meet your own needs before you try to meet someone else’s. We all know this but you need a few (daily) reminders when you’re new at being a mommy.

Chris told me for the next 3 weeks I need to leave the house as much as possible. And he’s right. Because in another 3 weeks, I realize that leaving the house will become a nightmare of the stroller, the carseat, the diaper bag – doing it all by myself. It will take me an hour just to get out the door! But I can do it. I’m going to do it. And, if I work really hard at it and focus, I bet you I can get that out of the door time down to 52:12.

Watch me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Things

If you’re wondering when this blog will return to its regular programming, trust me, so am I. I am longing to speak in terms of workouts, intervals and miles. I want to talk about digging deep within myself to find that next breakthrough. I want to write about PRs. But alas I have another 3 weeks of waiting and walking. So until then, I am going to continue to interrupt the broadcasting to talk about…

BABY!

But I promise one day I will blahblahblah again about triathlon and write race reports in 10 installments all the way from my pre-race poo to the number of salt tabs I took on the run.

Anyhow.

Give me 60 minutes out of the house, away from the baby and I’ll show you how to go through over 100 dollars and wash it all down with a latte.

Max has been a little pill lately. Apparently when you cross breed a half-Asian powerhouse and a small feisty Italian you get a child who does not sleep. I read somewhere that newborns could be up for 2 hours maximum at a time. I’m calling bullshit. Actually I’m calling a diaper load of bullshit every 15 minutes for an hour straight. Just when you think he’s cleaned out – here it comes, a giant load of gas, gurgles and poo. Thanks, kid.

So, Max has been up since 7 am. It’s now 2 pm. He slept for approximately 1 hour during this time. That would be the one hour I left Chris at home to watch him (use caution when asking the husband to watch the child: the other day when I sent Chris to the basement to watch Max, I found him napping with Max and Boss – napping is NOT watching!).

When Chris gave me the green light to leave the house (I’ve driven a car to leave the house 2 times in the past 3 weeks), I took off like crazybathshit out of hell. Of course within reason given that just a few weeks ago I made an appearance at the courthouse pleading my guilt for speeding and donating $375 to the state of Illinois, and though you didn’t say thank you Springfield, YOU ARE VERY WELCOME.

I headed out to the dress store to buy more let’s pretend I look FABULOUS dresses. I found one. Turns out that being small with giant boobs is not a good fit for most clothing. And speaking of the boobs – it was time. Finally time to rein these puppies in and get them into a bra that actually fits.

Good thing Victoria’s Secret was a few doors down.

I walk in and don’t even know where to begin. Honestly because I never walk into this store. 32A isn’t welcome here. 32A feels more at home in the girls department at Kohl’s looking at training bras amidst the rack of High School Musical t-shirts. 32A walking into Victoria’s Secret doesn’t get any attention.

However.

Me and my new rack walk into the store and immediately two clerks descend upon me. One asks if I need help. A dangerous question at this point. I need help. LOTS of help. I need someone to put away laundry, I need to lose another 14 pounds, I need to sleep more…should I go on, or is that enough to stop right there? Oh, and I need to contain THESE.

I’m nursing right now and I need new bras.

Do you know what size you are?

Big.

Let’s measure you.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been walking around mostly in jog bras because they stretch and nursing its messy. I so much as look at my kid some days and my boobs cry tears of milk all over the place. The other night I woke up at 2:21 am in a pool of my own breast milk. I missed a feeding when Chris bottle-fed Max at 1 am so I could sleep. Perfect plan except for one thing – ENGORGED! Which is apparently a precursor to…EXPLODE! And that is how I found myself double pumping for relief on the bedroom floor until 2:45 am. So much for sleeping.

The clerk pulls the tape measure around me.

You’re a 34D

I’m sorry, can you say that again.

34D

I feel the need to call my husband.

Who, coincidentally, can thank the recent 5K run off the bike PR to all the extra miles he’s putting in chasing the 34Ds around the house. The other day he looked at me quite seriously and said…

I’ve given it some thought, and decided that you would look ok with fake boobs.

In other words, he just gave me permission to stay this way forever.

Gee…THANKS.


34D – are you kidding me? HOLY CRAP! I didn’t have to pay money for these but I did have to lose a lot of sleep, suffer through some bad scabs, purchase a $70 homemade compound to apply to prevent future scabs and have a small human plucked out of me but all in all very little price compared to the fact that I just scored a set of legitimate jugs!

To celebrate, I didn’t just buy one bra, I bought two. Which is how I blew through nearly all of that money I spent in the hour. But it was worth it! I’ve waited since my teenage years to make a purchase like this!

The high wore off quickly when I got home. And after being going exactly one hour, I found my husband bottle feeding the child. He’s been sleeping for ONE hour. And he’s up again looking for food? Why doesn’t this child need sleep?

There’s a lot of reasons. Maybe he’s hot, he’s cold, he’s wet, he’s poopy, he’s hungry, he’s gassy, he’s growing, he’s distracted, he’s overstimulated, he’s overtired, he’s too alert or maybe just because he’s only 3 weeks old and what the hell do they know about sleeping anyways!?

The only time he sleeps is when we go for a walk. THIS is what I get for exercising so much through pregnancy. A kid that won’t sleep until we move. I remember the only time I didn’t feel him squiggling around was when I was swimming or running or walking. So now, the stroller is like his lullaby. My mom went for a walk with us the other night and I had to laugh as she pussyfooted the stroller over every bump in the sidewalk.

Mom, I rode my mountain bike with this kid. He can handle a few bumps.

I swam fly until the end of pregnancy. I hiked hills. I flip turned half the pregnancy away. He can handle it – all of it – and probably feels like bumpy and moving is his normal. Know what? I’m so screwed when winter comes. I’m going to be wheeling the stroller in circles through the kitchen.

Which makes me realize – we need a bigger house.

Of course when Max was done with the bottle after I got home from my 60 minutes of blissful freedom (20 of which were spent driving), he was hungry – again. I gave in, surrendered my chest. I might as well just walk around the house naked like some tribal woman for all the time I spend with my shirt off. As I fed him, I laid on the couch watching the Cooking Channel. I need a distraction because he has been spending the first 10 minutes of ever feeding hitting the boob, pulling on and off, crying. It takes him a good 10 minutes to commit. Commit to the boob already. COMMIIT! In the meantime, it is painful. Someone tugging at you on and off does not feel good! And if I read one more thing about how breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt I’m going to knock on the author’s door at 2:21 am and hose them down with milk. From my engorged left boob.

Enough about the chest (34D!), let’s talk about…walking! I’m like the Forrest Gump of walking. Last night I set a new PR – for number of mosquito bites accumulated while walking along the river. This afternoon when Max finally napped, I went for a solo walk around the neighborhood. I was hauling ass! And as I covered the hills with ease and moved along at a pace that felt fast, I started thinking about running, and swimming, and biking and competing. I got really fired up. I might have even started walking faster. I might have thought of races I wanted to do or how it feels to bridge a gap in a group ride or hitting intervals in the pool. I might have felt my heart rate rise.

I’m ready to turn the channel back to the tri station, can you tell?

In the meantime, it’s diaper changing time! And, EMERGENCY! I just pulled the last wipe from the package. This is like being in the portapotty before the race and all that’s left is…the paper roll.

Like you’ve never had to use it.

Liar.


Now, you didn't think I'd leave you without a baby picture, did you?



Ironically, most pictures I have of him are while he is sleeping. Here he is sleeping with his new favorite giraffe (thanks, Molly!).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Notes From Motherhood

My day began at 3 am. That would be when Max decided it was time to wake up – for real – and start feeding every hour on the hour. Because he’s growing or something like that. Because he wants to see how little I can sleep and still function? Or how long I will go without touching caffeine (I’m still on the decaf). I’m not giving in kid, I WILL NOT GIVE IN!

Really I think we have created the ultimate endurance athlete here who can go on very little sleep, requires a shot of 100 calories every hour and does not seem to tire no matter what we do with him. Yes, I plan on shipping him off to the Springs as soon as he’s old enough to travel alone. With a note attached to his foot to check his V02max and start training him for the 2028 Olympics.


If you plan on ever having a baby, like ever as in maybe some time in the next 20 years, start buying diapers now. Stock pile them under your bed, in your closets. Because no matter how many you have, it will not be enough.

Saturday was a record-setting day at the Waterstraat house. Before 9 am, we went through…

5 diapers
3 onesies
1 bed sheet
1 mattress pad
2 towels
2 loads of laundry

I won’t even mention the damage in baby wipes.

By the end of the day, the vibrating chair was barfed upon and the car seat exploded in breast milk. Each day is an endless cycle of feed – poop – feed – poop. My child actually has an entire choreographed dance of squirms, grimaces and movements that precede the poop.

I suspect he got this from Chris?

God bless Diapers.com. Let me praise them: I ordered 100 diapers at 1 pm on Monday. By 10 am on Tuesday, with 2 day free shipping, THEY ARRIVED. I used to get giddy when a new piece of triathlon equipment showed up on my doorstep. I almost cried tears of joy when the diapers arrived.

We don’t have to leave the house to go buy more!

Max feeds about 12 times a day. Each time for up to 20 minutes. Do the math with me. That’s nearly 4 hours of my day spent feeding this little man. It’s totally unpredictable. Sometimes he feeds every 3 hours, sometimes every hour for several hours straight. Of course breastfeeding is a good thing but can I be honest with you? It is damn boring! A few suggestions for expectant moms: have a few places in your house where you can nurse; a comfy chair, a towel, a Boppy. It helps if there is a television nearby (and trust me, I am NOT a television watcher but the alternative is staring at my baby for the 10000th time that day…really, a little distraction is ok). For late night feedings, may I suggest the iPhone. I get oodles of work done in responding to emails, reading articles online. Sometimes though I’m so tired that I can only keep one eye open which makes typing with one finger even more fun.

This is my day, every day. But I’ll admit it – I like being a mom. It’s busy, it’s hard work but in a good way. I have this little person who needs me, who loves me, who each day looks more like me and who one day will possibly wipe my own elderly butt in return.

Which is more than my dog will ever do for me.

In other baby news, my stomach is going down. Every day it looks smaller. Either that or I’m so sleep deprived that I’m seeing things. Unfortunately my weight loss has plateaued around 22 pounds. When I told Chris this frustrated me, he kindly pointed out that I just had a baby 2 ½ weeks ago and that at least 10 pounds is trapped in my boobs. He’s right – they are huge - but still…you get this crazy sort of impatience about regaining your old body back. I don’t want to buy any more clothes – I just want to wear my old ones and look like me again.

In an effort to shrink myself back to real elf size, I’ve been walking 4 to 6 miles a day. Sometimes all at once, sometimes in a few shorter walks. Yes, I’m the crazy woman pushing the baby stroller at a sub 15-minute mile pace (amen for finally being able to walk faster than 20-minute miles!). I’m officially sick of seeing myself walk around the neighborhood but it’s all I can do right now. I tried walking on my treadmill but found that it tugged at my incision and didn’t feel right. So I walk laps around any paved trail or street I can find. Chris told me that if I don’t slow down I’m going to blow out a wheel on the stroller.

Yesterday, the wheels started squeaking. Bad.

I’ve talked to a lot of women who had c-sections, all athletes. I’ve heard everything from I ran 10-days post c-section to I was on the elliptical after 4 weeks to I waited the entire 6 weeks. I’m still planning on waiting the entire 6 weeks…I think. It’s much easier to say that than to do that. The thought of walking as my only form of exercise for the next 3 weeks is about as enticing as walking across hot coals. Don’t get me wrong - I love to walk – but it’s been 90 degrees here with high humidity and the mosquitoes are out for blood. Mentally I'm ready to swim-bike-run. I just don’t want to tear anything and have a setback. I got all freaked out on Friday that my internal stitches were infected because under the incision feels puffy and hard. After waiting 45 minutes to see the doctor (one thing you realize when you travel with a child is how important – and rare – punctuality is…waiting an unexpected 45 minutes with a ticking baby bomb is bound to end badly), the doctor informed me that everything was healing fine and that it will take many months for the internal to soften.

I got a little jealous on Saturday when Chris came home from masters. It was 9 am and I had been up for several hours feeding, changing, washing dirty clothes while he got to escape to the pool for 90 minutes. And you know how the 90-minute swim goes. You leave the house at 7 am, swim from 7:30 to 9 am and then get back by 9:30 am. When it’s all said and done, it’s 2 ½ hours. I wondered: will I ever have time to do that again? He told me they swam 5000 yards and I got even more jealous. I love long swims. I’m not even sure it’s jealously. It’s more resentment that he can continue to pursue what he wants to while I’m still waiting. It’s all worth it, of course, but I’m just being honest here. Sometimes you can’t help but feel like…when is it my turn? Will it ever be my turn again? And when it is my turn, will I really want to take 2 ½ hours of my day to go swimming? There’s got to be a more time efficient way!

I might not be able to exercise like I want to but you know what I can do? Drink wine. AMEN! Last week I declared Friday night as wine night. I pumped up 3 bottles of milk, brought in my mom to baby sit and we went to sample at the wine store. I was highly disappointed because after 7 sample-sized glasses, my husband was bright red and I was not even borderline drunk. Not that I’m advocating getting drunk but work with me here – I’ve been off the sauce for 40 weeks. It was time. As I sat up at midnight pumping – and then dumping – I thought about drinking it instead of dumping it to see if it would get me any drunker.

Motherhood is challenging, in many ways. People talk about how hard it is – I’m not finding the sleep deprivation hard, or balancing it with working very hard or taking care of this little person very hard. It’s that you are hit with the fact that suddenly life is no longer just about yourself. I’ve spent 35 years coming and going as I please, taking my time, following my own schedule and wasting my time in any way I want. It was a pretty cushy, easy life. Sometimes I think to myself I want to go back to that life. It was so easy! I didn’t have to worry about squeezing in my own activities in between feeding and napping. I didn’t have to prioritize. But at some point you have to get over yourself or risk becoming trapped by your own myopia of self-obsessiveness about your needs, your schedule, your life. Life goes on if your schedule gets out of whack, if you can’t eat breakfast until 9 am, if you have to miss a workout because someone decided to take a glorious 4 hour nap. And if you feel like it won’t go on, I’m convinced a glass of wine is all it takes to make that feeling go away.

Is it too early in the week to declare this Friday night wine night?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Settling In

It’s been over a week now and I’m settling into my new life with the new little man. Sometimes I look over at the pack n’ play, see him sleeping and think to myself that is my baby! He is still perfect, already developing the specific noises, gazes and movements that signal hunger, poopy, just hold me. It’s funny how quick they start to take shape.

No matter how ready you are or how cute the baby is, the entrance of another human into your household is sure to shake things up and leave you wondering…

WHAT HAVE I DONE!?

What have I done to my quiet, carefree, happy go lucky, come as I please, leave as I wish, no excess baggage, low key, low maintenance lifestyle. Since when did leaving the house require 10 minutes of packing? Or is it just me or once you have a kid does it seem like the rest of the world is just moving too slow and is in your way? I’ve got a ticking baby bomb here that will go off in exactly 1 hour – get moving!

It’s true what they say. The minute you have a child you find yourself wondering how you ever didn’t have time to do something in your life without a child. Or find yourself wondering at those who don’t have children and say I didn’t have time. You have no idea how much time you really have! It’s not that Chris and I have been running out of time. It’s that every minute of your time becomes that much more streamlined and efficient. Give me 60 minutes and I’ll give you vacuumed floors, a bathed baby/dog/self, a breakfast eaten, two feedings with the baby and a load of laundry started.

Aside from settling into life as mommy and milk machine, I’m also settling into life with a new body. I do believe that one day I will recover my old body but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it I’m not sure I would recognize it now! You hear a lot about how your body changes during pregnancy but very little is said about how it changes after pregnancy. It’s almost like a taboo topic, don’t talk about what you see/feel/think. Just deal with it.

The days after giving birth I was pretty mortified. I remember looking down and seeing what looked like a 6-month pregnant belly. That alone wasn’t frightening it was the fact that every time I moved, that same belly shook like jelly. Disgusting! I remember telling myself not to worry or look too far ahead. Give it time – it will go away! In the meantime, the doctor gave me a “belly binder”. I highly suggest this. It helps to hold everything in and made me feel much better about looking down. After being overstretched for 40 weeks your uterus and abdominal muscles can use the support. Plus it was a lot less painful to walk around wearing the binder than without it.

When I left the hospital I had full blown thankles. Even my grandmother in law who is 90 years old asked me what was wrong with my legs. I just had 10 IVs pumped into them – that’s what! It took about 5 days before I lost all that water weight. When I did, my legs looked totally normal again. I’m not sure if I peed it all out or sweated it out in the series of night sweats that now signal the hormones are dropping. I’m just glad to see my legs again.

I gained 36 or more pounds in pregnancy. I stopped keeping track. By one week later, 20 pounds were gone. I never did eat a lot of crap when pregnant and didn’t work for only 6 days throughout the entire thing. Yes, I gained a lot of weight but maybe it was mostly water retention and baby stuff – not loads of junk food cravings (the only unusual cravings I had were diet pop and bacon). I suspect the last 10 pounds will be the most difficult to get rid of but I’ve got time. And, with all the time I spend feeding the baby, I can barely get food into my own mouth so that should help!

I had 20 staples for my incision but they were removed the day I left the hospital. I’ve got paper staples now which should fall off in a few days. The incision is still puffy but healing nicely. Because they cut two major nerves during the surgery, I have a very little sensation in that part of my belly. The doctor told me the nerves would heal but I might lose some feeling there for awhile.

Since a c-section is major surgery, I was told not to workout for 6 weeks. It’s funny because before birth when I thought about that it sounded horrible. I couldn’t imagine 6 weeks of doing nothing. Up until birth, I was still riding my bike up to 20 miles, walking up to 6 miles and swimming up to 4000 meters. I wasn’t unfit, I was just huge! To go from that to doing nothing for 6 weeks sounded like a death sentence. But now I see that it’s not long in the big picture. What’s another 6 weeks when I’ve waited over 39? Life goes on. I’m not willing to risk a hernia or infection of the incision so I don’t want to rush back into things. I have been walking every day. By 3 days post-surgery I was walking 30 minutes, now I’m up to an hour. Not fast, not purposeful, just walking with the stroller.

The thing that I am enjoying the most post pregnancy is not the boobs, it is having my sense of thermoregulation back! About 2 days after birth, I remember telling Chris that I felt cold in the hospital room. He looked at me with shock in his eyes. Did you say you were cold? It had been so long since I felt cold! I now can sweat again and don’t feel suffocated in my own body heat. Though the night sweats are pretty uncomfortable.

Oh, and the uncontrollable urge to pee every 20 minutes goes completely away. Gone. Amen. I will also say that all those late night wakings to take a pee – only serve as practice for getting up with baby. It’s true. I can feel totally refreshed right now on 5 hours of sleep considering I’ve been woken up every 3 hours since last November!

As for sleeping, I’ve been sleeping 6 to 8 hours (collectively) every night. We’re pretty lucky because the little man likes to sleep in blocks of 2 to 3 hours at a time. Except the occasional cluster feeding attack where he feeds every 40 minutes for 2 to 3 hours straight. I go to bed early and get up with him through the night then fall back to sleep. He gets up for good around 6 am which is when I like my day to begin too. It’s still too early for him to have any set routines, which makes planning anything very difficult, but I do see a morning nap from 9 to 11:30 am happening every day so that’s reassuring.


There are already a few things I cannot live without. So, all the expectant moms, here’s my list….

1 – Graco Pack n’ Play; we love this thing. It is set up by our kitchen table. Max naps in it during the day because I wanted him to get used to the sounds of daily life. It also has a changing table on it which makes life a lot easier. You do not want to be walking up and down stairs every time you change a diaper – they poop a lot!

2 – Chicco Key Fit Stroller & Car Seat; this stroller ROCKS. It is lightweight and maneuverable. Max falls asleep in it within minutes.

3 – Halo Sleep Sack. Swaddling with blankets is not always effective because the little arms flail so much and then break free. When the arms break free, you get tears and a baby who wakes up. At bedtime, you can put the baby in the sleep sack or swaddle them into it with a Velcro piece. Get the cotton one – newborns sweat like grown men and anything fleece will overcook them.

4 – Soother. We have a giraffe. It makes a sound like being in the womb. Combined with the sleep sack, this is very powerful cannot fight sleep weaponry.

5 – Diapers. LOTS. Copious, ridiculous amounts. I bought the Earth’s Best newborn diapers. They work well. The Swaddlers fit better but I read a lot of not so good things about them causing allergic reactions on the baby’s skin. Earth’s Best are a little more expensive but don’t contain all the dyes and junk.

6 – Boppy. The Boppy is like hands-free calling. You put the baby on the Boppy, the boob into the baby and you have two free hands to do whatever else you can manage while breastfeeding.

7 – Skip Hop diaper bag. Forget those froo froo diaper bags. Your husband will never carry it. I got a messenger style bag that doesn’t shout I HOLD DIAPERS and it actually looks cool on Chris. Which then makes him more inclined to carry it.

8 – Carter’s blankets. If you do have to swaddle outside of bedtime, these blankets are the right size and tightness.

9 – Dresses. FOR YOU! You will get a lot of advice to just let yourself and your hygiene go to pot after baby because you won’t have time for it anyways. I BEG TO DIFFER. First, Max loves being in the bathroom with the sound of the vent or hairdryer (sounds like the womb). He falls asleep to it which gives plenty of time to shower. Second, the last thing you want to do after spending weeks in frumpy clothes is to spend another year in frumpy clothes with added bedhead! Get yourself some cute clothes, take a shower and at least play the part of looking sexy for a few weeks. You’ve got the boobs for it – might as well.

10 - Pacifiers. Screw nipple confusion, it doesn’t exist. This kid will hen peck any chest to try to latch on to anything that is even close to nipple territory. Aveno pacifiers have prevented a few meltdowns when feeding time gets close or when he just needs to fall asleep already.




In case you weren’t already convinced, here is a picture of my kid to show you just how adorable he is! This is his poopy face. He has a whole series of arm and eye movements that he makes before dropping anchor. Yeah, I might also become one of those people who puts this picture as my laptop screen saver. Call me "one of them" or just call me amazed that over a week ago, that little human was living in my belly. I'm so glad he's out!