Monday, October 1, 2012

life with a 13.5-month-old

Life with a 13.5-month-old is crazy. The two things I say over and over these days: 1) what a difference a year makes...she's all grown up! and 2) how can she have! I probably say these things at least 4.6 times a day, on average.

Some of L's new developments:

1. She is starting to speak in full sentences. She used to say words like "this!" and "here!" but now it's more like, "what is this?" or "here it is!" I mean, wasn't she just a swaddled burrito blob a couple months ago? Boggles my mind that she understands us and responds back. When I ask her questions now she nods yes or shakes her head no. Her no's are...much more frequent. Her vocabulary is expanding daily, which is so fun to see. Sometimes we realize she knows words even though we never made it a point to teach them to her. She picks up so much just by listening...which is scary. Neither of us curse but I need to start laying off words like "damn" and "freaking" or soon she'll be saying "Give me my freaking bottle damnit" which isn't a good situation for anyone.

2. She is on the verge of running. The process of learning to walk is so strange. She was cruising for months, literally. Then one day, she took a step. Then the next day, a couple more. Then she was walking 5-8 steps for another week or two. One day (of course, the day I left for London), she got up and walked clear across the living room (maybe 20 steps?). After that, the amount of steps she could take without falling increased exponentially. Now it doesn't really make sense to count steps. I can tell you that she can walk from the living room to the kitchen and back. She is also picking up some speed, and it's hilarious to watch because when she wants to walk faster, she lowers her head like a bull (more aerodynamic?).

3. She is a monkey. She will not sit still. for. one. second. She climbs the slide. backwards. She climbs up the stairs and insists on walking down them. She climbs the outside of the staircase banister. She climbs the TV stand to touch the TV (MUCH to daddy's dismay as the TV is brand new). She climbs the couch. She tries to climb tables and fails. and tries again. and hits her head. and cries. then realizes no one cares. then tries again.

4. She is getting naughty. I'm realizing that I need to start disciplining her, which I'm not looking forward to, at all. But she is definitely starting to get defiant. This morning, she didn't want to eat so she started chucking cheerios on the floor. I told her to stop. She looked at me, put the cheerios down, then grabbed her sippy cup and held it hostage over the edge of her tray. I was ... speechless. It's like she was saying, "Fine! But you didn't tell me I couldn't drop my sippy cup...!" I told her to give it to me with a stern voice and she did right away. The stern voice works right now, but I can't overuse it because I know soon she will think nothing of it. Parents, I welcome any advice in this area. -___-

5. She is getting sweeter. This is pretty much the opposite of #4. But now I can ask for a hug and get one voluntarily, sometimes. Although she probably says no 8/10 times and then I have no choice but to get it forcibly. The best though is when she comes and gives me a hug and a kiss when I didn't even ask for it. This happens about once every two weeks and then I am SO HAPPY and then I rub it into daddy's face. Then she does the same thing to daddy and I'm like damnit. I mean goshdarnit. (For the record, even though she wants me to hold her most of the time, she gives daddy a lot more hugs and kisses. I'm not sure why this is but it is a source of mild annoyance for me.)

6. She is sleeping on a mattress on the floor. She hasn't slept in the crib in over 4 months, because she moves so much in her sleep that she kept knocking into the slats and waking up screaming. The past four months she slept on blankets on the floor, but this past weekend we bought a foam mattress from Ikea. The second we took it out she ran over and lied down and said "ahhhh." She loves it! The first night sleeping on it she slept over 10 hours straight (she's usually more like a 9-hours-a-night sleeper). Victory (I hope)!

7. She is (still) a great eater. The great thing about my mom watching her is that she eats so much good, healthy, homemade food. Her newfound favorites are plums, tomatoes, seaweed soup, cheerios (in milk, although that clearly was not the case this morning), green beans, and kale. I'm so lucky to have a good eater and I hope it stays this way. My mom is obviously so happy to have a good eater on her hands, but she makes it a point every so often to remind me that I was not like L and that my horrible eating habits as a kid (as in, I never ate) made life miserable for her. Maybe L's good eating makes up for her mother's horrible eating.

Life with a 13.5-month-old is crazy but so much fun but so tiring. And I'm sure it'll only get worse. This morning, as I was getting a cup of tea from the kitchen, Jimmy the project manager guy said to me, "you look tired." Yes Jimmy. I'm tired. But it's all worth it to get an unsolicited hug and kiss every two weeks. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

traveling with the pants

Motherhood tends to bring out my penchant for thorough research. And let's be honest, I don't really need an excuse at all to go on a good ol' google research mission, but being a new (and often clueless) mom definitely ramps up and feeds my need to turn to the web for answers. But! Even though any little thing can give me the itch to research ("ooh I wonder if Jeffrey Donovan is single!"), my current research project is actually a very worthy and important one: tips for flying/traveling with the Pants. I may quite possibly have read every blog entry/article that exists on the WWW that relates to some aspect of traveling with small children. The hubs and I are taking the Pants to LA in a week. Excited? Yup. Terrified? Utterly. Even adults can't sit still through a 6+ hour flight. How are we possibly going to manage taking an extremely active and curious 11-month-old on the flight to LA? Well, I don't know. And even if we do everything right, I'm aware of the possibility that if she wants to fuss and cry (and make everyone on the plane despise us), then that's what she'll do. But I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening and to keep her entertained, occupied, full and happy. So the below are the fruits of my research labor. They have not yet been tested, so I'll try to post again after the trip and give my thoughts on what worked and didn't work. Let me know if you find it helpful, or, even better, if based on experience you totally disagree! (Also, this is obviously tailored to a kid Pants' age and may or may not apply to younger/older kids, but one thing I concluded from my research is that it seems that this age might actually be the hardest for traveling. yay.)

1. Get to the airport way earlier than you need to. Extra time at the airport with a baby sounds miserable, but it's way worse to be rushing to catch a flight with a baby, a stroller and a carseat in tow, not to mention the luggage. Once you pass security, you'll have time to regroup, feed the baby, entertain her, put her to sleep if necessary, buy anything you might need, etc.

2. If you didn't buy the baby a seat, as soon as you get to the gate, ask the airline employee if the flight is full. If not, they may give you an empty seat for her. If you can't get a seat for the baby, make sure you sit near the window. If you're in the aisle seat and baby falls asleep, but then the person next to you needs to go to the bathroom, guess what? You're going to have to get up and risk waking up the baby.

3. Think carefully about what time to fly. Some parents find that flying redeye is awesome because the baby just sleeps the whole flight. Some parents have found the complete opposite, that the baby is super tired but uncomfortable and can't fall asleep so she basically screams the entire flight. Again, there's no way to predict, but think about this before you book the flight. It's probably safer to fly a day flight if you don't think your baby will sleep through the redeye.

4. Babies often don't need toys to be entertained. Be creative on the flight - sometimes two cups from the flight attendant is all you need to buy 20 minutes of peace.

5. If you're going somewhere in the U.S. that isn't an hour away from the closest supermarket, you don't have to pack baby food for the entire trip. Buy it when you get to your destination to save the effort packing (and your luggage will be lighter). A lot of hotels these days will accept packages for you in advance of your arrival (from places like or amazon).

6. Call the hotel ahead of time and request a crib and a fridge. Some hotels even have high-chairs, so ask them what they have.

7. Don't use the rental car company's carseat. Bring your own. You don't know how old they are, they're probably nasty, and you can bet that they didn't follow manufacturer instructions in the case of a recall. It's a pain, but it's probably best to just bring your own carseat.

8. Baby jetlag - well, apparently it's easier to go west. So that's good for us flying out to LA, but it'll suck when we come back. The advice is all over the place on this one - some say if it's not that much of a difference, just stick with your home time. Some say to try to keep baby up (in other words, if baby's bedtime is 7pm, keep baby up till 7pm LA time, which is 10pm at home) and that the baby might be sleepy the first morning but will eventually adjust. I'm still not sure what to do since we're only in LA for 4 days, but I'm sure in the end I won't have much say, because if the Pants falls asleep, you can be sure I'm not waking her up! The one thing they did agree on is that sunlight is the best way to reset your internal clock, so once you get to your destination, try to go outside to help baby (and you!) adjust.

Carry-on packing list

  • Stroller and carseat - gate check
  • Copy of birth certificate (if your baby is: 1. close to two yrs old or is ginormous and could be mistaken for two, 2. you didn't buy baby a seat, and 3. the airline wants to confirm)
  • Cash! Last thing you need is to really need something and be told, sorry, we only take cash
  • Toys, preferably light and quiet - bring the baby's favorites + some new ones that she hasn't seen before so it'll grab her attention for a while. Examples: balls, finger puppets, stacking cups, links, plush animals, blocks. Some blogs also suggest wrapping the toys in wrapping paper to add an extra minute or two of peace.
  • Books 
  • Sticker book and/or post-its - kids love anything sticky (side note: sometimes when the Pants wakes up at 5:30 and the hubs and I are not ready to start the day, we throw a pack of post-its at her and it buys us 20 minutes, even though we have to sleep with one eye open because she tries to eat them)
  • Small photo book with pictures of your family - babies love pictures!
  • WAY more diapers than you think you'll need, and pull-up diapers in case the plane's bathroom doesn't have a diaper changing area (you should test the pull-ups before the plane ride to make sure they fit baby - you don't want leaks happening on the plane)
  • Wipes (LOTS)
  • Diaper changing pad
  • Formula - if your baby drinks formula, the best way to bring it on-board is to use the Playtex nurser bottles with the plastic drop-in liners so you don't have to deal with bringing liquids on-board. While the TSA officially allows liquid formula, there are lots of stories of security people giving parents a hard time, so you might as well avoid the stress if you can. Measure the formula powder, put into the drop-in liners, roll the liners up, put in a zip-lock bag. Once you're on-board you just need to ask the flight attendants for water, and you're done.  Bring a lot more than you think you'll need, taking into account the possibility of delays
  • Playtex nurser bottles and extra liners (the Playtex bottles are good for vacation in general because there are less parts to wash)
  • Baby food
  • Spoons, forks, bowls
  • Lots of snacks. Examples: puffs, rice crackers, fruit (that isn't too liquidy like bananas or grapes)
  • Sippy cup
  • Straws
  • Scented diaper disposal bags, extra zip-lock bags
  • Hand sanitizer/anti-bacterial wipes (they definitely do not wipe down the trays after every flight)
  • Blankets (airlines rarely give out blankets for free now, and the cabin can get chilly)
  • Extra baby clothes, including sweatshirt, hat & socks for baby
  • Extra set of clothes for mommy and daddy (self-explanatory)
  • Baby's first aid kit - advil, thermometer, nosefrida, etc.
  • Carrier
  • A big flexible carry-on bag that you can easily shove things into and take things out of 
  • Last, but definitely not least, iPad ( me - this one is tried and true)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

maternity stuff

I know some of the people who follow my blog are pregnant, so I thought I'd do a post (and hopefully more in the future) to help them navigate through the sometimes (often) puzzling world of maternity stuff. It's hard to know what's worth the money and what's not (esp. when things are overpriced and you feel like you're only using them for 9 months anyway). I'm not an expert by any means but I remember often thinking to myself while I was pregnant, "man I wish someone told me [blank]." So here are some products I used and my thoughts on them.

1. Dream Genii pregnancy pillow

At $70, this isn't a cheap pillow. But if you think about the fact that you'll use it every night for (hopefully) at least 7 hours a night, then it starts making more sense to invest in a good pregnancy pillow. The pillow's shape is strange but it fits a pregnant woman's body perfectly. Once you get big, you'll need to sleep on your side, and the belly starts sagging and pulling on your body which is really uncomfortable. This pillow gives you belly support as well as a between-the-leg support so that your body is correctly aligned while you sleep. The top part is supposed to go under your back and give you a cushion on the other side of your body to stop you from inadvertently rolling onto your back while you sleep but I found that it wasn't that comfortable. Instead, I kept that top part in front of me and hugged it while I slept, which was great - it gives you somewhere to rest your top arm while you sleep on your side. This pillow is also useful after pregnancy - I used it to support Lana's body while I breastfed.

2. Bella Band

The Bella Band has become a bit of an "it" thing for pregnant women. It's basically just a stretchy band that you put around your belly to help keep your pants up. It's supposed to allow you to wear your non-pregnant pants longer - just keep them unzipped/unbuttoned, then wear the Bella Band over them to keep them up. Or, it helps to keep up too-big maternity pants. It says the Bella Band smooths out the pants so that it doesn't seem like you're wearing pants that are undone or pants that are too big. I didn't really find this to be true. I tried wearing my normal jeans unbuttoned but they'd still stick out in front instead of laying flat against my body. However, the Bella Band is more useful for keeping up still-too-big maternity pants. My favorite use for the Bella Band was to keep work pants up that are side zip (my JCrew minnie pants). Since they're side zip, they lay flatter against the body and the Bella Band was perfect for keeping them up when I could no longer zip them. Of course, there was a point when even with the Bella Band, I got so big that I couldn't get the pants on at all. I think I stopped using the Bella Band at the beginning of the third trimester.

3. Gap Maternity

Gap might be hit or miss when it comes to regular women's fashion, but their maternity section is really clutch. Maternity clothes still have a long way to go - either they're super fuddy duddy and you wouldn't be caught dead wearing the clothes if you weren't pregnant, or they're pretty but ridiculously expensive (why does an extra stretchy panel all of a sudden make jeans 2x the price?). I think Gap strikes the best balance between fashion and price. My favorite items:

a. stretch cotton bikini

Once you get big, your regular underwear won't fit anymore. These undies sit comfortably below the belly but also provide enough coverage in the back. They go on sale often - I think right now it's buy 5 or more, get them for $5 each (reg price is $10.95, which is kind of ridonkulous).

b. demi panel skinny jeans

These skinny jeans are great. No one would ever know they were maternity pants unless you showed them the demi panel. The only thing is the demi panel is a little tight, so I couldn't wear these past 7 months. BUT - I wore these jeans for 3 months after I had the baby and before I returned to pre-pregnancy size, so you get a good amount of use out of them. I probably wore these jeans almost every non-work day before I hit 7 months.

4. Isabella Oliver easy leggings

Isabella Oliver is a British womenswear brand that also has maternity clothing. It's pretty expensive, but these leggings are decently priced at $59 (and you can catch them on sale - sign up for emails so you can get coupons). They are SO comfortable. Even without the full panel (which I really hated anyway), I was able to wear them straight till the day I had Lana because the waist can be worn under the belly. I still wear them now because they still fit even without the belly. Leggings + baggy/long tops is a very easy and comfortable way to dress when you're pregnant. That's how I got away with not buying a lot of maternity clothes. Which brings me to point 5...

5. Forever 21 - I barely bought any maternity tops because of Forever 21. I bought a bunch of baggy tops and dresses and wore them with leggings for most of my pregnancy. This worked well because 1. it's cheap, and 2. you can wear them after you have the baby and not feel like you're still wearing maternity clothes.

6. Jolly Ranchers - You might be one of the lucky ones to not have morning sickness, but I definitely wasn't. I had major morning sickness in the form of extreme nausea, fatigue and complete lack of appetite (I basically ate ice cream and cereal for 2 months). Jolly Ranchers were a lifesaver for me during this time - sour candies help to battle the nausea. I also ate a lot of clementines and Sour Patch Kids. I took a bag of sour candies everywhere I went (as well as a big bottle of water - you go from ok to parched in about 3 seconds and if you don't have water on you, it's torture).

7. Slippers with cushioning - Once you start carrying a noticeable amount of weight in your belly, everything hurts, but your feet probably take the biggest hit. If you live in a carpeted home this might not be as big an issue, but hardwood floors are very unforgiving. I had to wear slippers with cushioning or else the bottoms of my feet would hurt so much. Mine are Dearfoams (see link), but obviously you could probably get any slippers that have cushioning in the bottom. I'll also note that when I hit the third trimester, even these weren't enough cushioning (and it was summer so my feet were unbearably sweaty). So once I entered the third trimester, I wore Crocs everywhere (inside the house and outside). They were a LIFESAVER. It's one of those instances where comfort really takes precedence over fashion.

Hope this helps! My next post, I'll write about some baby products that I really like since the fun is just beginning once the pregnancy's over! :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the mommy lens.

I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating - having a baby changes EVERYTHING. Just in case you're not a parent and you get sick of parents saying that, let me tell you - never a more true statement may have been uttered in the history of life.

One of the ways it changes you is that you start looking at everything through a mommy (or daddy) lens. Everything is now looked at from a parental perspective.

Some examples (of things I have thought recently):

1. Watching the news. Before, I'd see a news segment about a suspect getting arrested for some sort of violent crime and go, "ugh. What is this world coming to." Now, I think, "ugh. Imagine what his poor mother is going through."

2. Sports. Sort of as the flip side to #1 - before, I'd watch an awesome athlete (my new fave is Cruz) and go, "man, he/she is good." Now, I think of all those athletes' mommies and the countless hours they spent driving their kids to hockey/football/etc. practice.

3. Work. Before, when I saw women dressed in suits/work clothes, I wondered what job they had. Now, I wonder if they left behind children at home to go to work and whether that was a difficult decision/process for them.

4. Penn State Scandal. Most people's hearts break for kids who've been abused, whether you're a parent or not. But now, as a parent, I not only feel heartbreak and sadness but extreme anger because it hits closer to home. I seriously think I'd be capable of committing a violent crime against someone who hurt my child.

Maybe this is obvious, but it surprised me. I'm surprised by how everything is now perceived through the mommy lens. And since I'll always be a mom now, I wonder if this will be the case forever. And I wonder if my mom, in her mid-50s with three grown kids, still thinks of everything through the mommy lens. Or I wonder if she's recently been surprised by the way she sees everything through grandmommy lens? Just thinking out loud on this one. And then I'm reminded that this is part of growing up - becoming a parent and learning to live and think and see like a parent, which ultimately is about, for the first time in your life, living your life dedicated to someone other than yourself. It's awesome but scares the **** out of me at the same time, I guess like all things worth doing in life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

letting go.

Being a mom is a whole lot about letting go.

Even before Lana arrived, I was learning that lesson. The songs in my iPod playlist were carefully hand-selected for the occasion of birthing a baby. It was the perfect playlist, matching every possible mood and situation that could come up in the delivery room, with an appropriate tune - from the Amelie soundtrack (early labor, just getting warmed up) to MJ and Jamiroquai (getting a little harder) to Bon Jovi--specifically, Shot through the Heart--and Metallica (the real deal). After I made the playlist, I had this romanticized notion in my head of delivering Lana (in a mere 5 min. of pushing, obviously) with my beloved music playing in the background. And then I would be happy but tired but still look really good in my post-delivery picture and everyone would say omg you totally don't look like you just had a baby! Ok well, if you read my previous post, you know that this did not happen. (I looked bloated after the c-section and refused to take a picture for days.) It was hard letting go.

I am a control freak. And a perfectionist. Having a baby is completely at odds with these two styles. Life is not in our control, but before you have a baby, you at least feel like you have some control. For the most part, you sleep when you want, eat when you want, go out when you want, read when you want, make plans and then carry out those plans, etc. If you want to spend half a Saturday reorganizing your closet first by article of clothing and then by color (don't judge), you can. Then this little blob comes into your life and, well, frankly, it's a hot mess.

There is no rhyme or reason to what they do sometimes. Before becoming a mom I remember other parents talking about baby's sleep ALL. THE. TIME. I never realized how much of a battle it is. I thought it was easy - you just put baby to sleep. I had to let go of that stupid idea. I had to let go of the stories in those stupid baby books that make it seem like it's easy to get baby to do [insert whatever it is you want baby to do] (whose babies are those anyway?). I had to accept that babies do what babies do, which often means it takes an hour to put them to sleep for a nap which lasts 30 minutes. When you are so new to this utterly bewildering role called parent, you are so desperate for anyone to tell you anything that might help. I talked to mom friends constantly, I bought a million baby books and read them all, I read every baby blog and website there is. But I realized that in the end, what I needed wasn't a how-to on raising a baby. What I needed to do was let go. Don't get me wrong - you should do your research. I learned so much talking to friends and reading. But by 'the end' I knew basically everything I needed to know - what I was really searching for was a quick fix, one that would fit nicely into my control freak and perfectionist scheme. That, I assure you, doesn't exist. Once baby starts sleeping well (for us, at 3 months) and you start enjoying 12 hours of sleep with only one interruption, baby turns 4 months and then goes through sleep regression. Then baby starts teething. And on and on and on.

I'm realizing that all these difficult aspects of parenting aren't really anomalies but the norm. This is what being a parent means. You spend forever trying to get them to sleep well. Then they regress, sleep well, regress, then finally they sleep well. Then they don't eat well. Then it's a battle to get them to eat some veggies and not just half a chicken nugget, two french fries and a go-gurt. And then they go to college. So I better let go and enjoy it all before Lana goes off to college.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

part 2.

[and we continue...]

So at 9pm, my OB left to go see some other patients and think about what to do. At 9:30 she came back and gave me a look of pity and frustration. It's weird to say that someone is frustrated with your cervix but that was exactly the case. She said to me, "why aren't you dilating young lady??" then said she's sorry but it has to be c-section. I knew it was a hard decision for her, but she said Lana's head seemed to be stuck and it was best to just get her out. I was pretty upset but tried to remember that the end goal is getting Lana out safe and sound. After my OB made the decision, things happened so quickly. Within a couple minutes the anesthesiologist came by to increase the drugs to c-section level (you still have feeling in your legs/torso with the regular epidural but obviously that shouldn't be so for the c-section) and explain the procedure. I was wheeled into the OR and SH was taken to put on scrubs. As I was wheeled away I said bye to my mom (bc only one person is allowed in the OR). I could see the worry in her face so I put on a brave/"I'm cool" face and told her she would be seeing Lana soon.

The OR was so cold. I was transferred to the operating table. I felt like I was in a movie. I'd seen the OR countless times in movies but, thankfully, never in real life. Before I could really develop that thought there was a whole flurry of activity. Lots of people started coming in and doing lots of things. Maybe 4 or so nurses, my OB, another OB, the anesthesiologist and SH. SH stayed to the left of my head and the anesthesiologist to the right. He was like the coach through the operation, telling me how I was going to feel (or, not feel), what to expect, etc. It helped to ease my worries. The curtain went up at my waist so we'd be spared the show of blood and guts. Then the side effects kicked in - uncontrollable shaking and clenched teeth. So not pleasant. The docs and nurses gathered around me and for a few minutes things were quiet so I asked the anesthesiologist when they'd be starting. He responded, "uh, they did." Ok well good to know you did your job doc because I don't feel a thing! I was wheeled into the OR at 9:40pm and 14 minutes later, at 9:54, Lana was born! The first time you hear that is absolutely surreal. no. Unreal. Surreal implies a mix of reality and fantasy. It was UNreal - nothing real about it. For months you carry around this...strange thing in your belly that you love but are also a little freaked out by, but no matter how much you try to imagine it, you can't. You can't see it becoming a real live baby. Then, all of a sudden, There she is. Once she was out, the nurse called SH over to see her. She wrapped Lana up and handed her to him. He brought her over to me so I could see her. I heard SH sniffling behind the mask. (I totally knew he'd cry.) And there she was. I can't really explain how I felt at that moment. I thought it'd be a rush of love and joy. And don't get me wrong. It was. But honestly, it was also a good dose of shock. I smiled so big (well, as big as you can with your teeth clenched shut) but I was also just staring in disbelief at the same time. She was really a person! Imagine that. A person that belongs to us. Holy crap.

So, I don't really remember clearly what happened after that. I guess they finished up whatever they had to do with Lana (weigh her? clean her up some more?) and I was in the OR a little longer while they finished up with me. I was then wheeled to the recovery room. I think Lana followed shortly thereafter, and then the nurse called my mom to see Lana. I was so excited for my mom to see her. I can't explain why other than it sort of felt like the greatest show and tell ever. :) After grandma and granddaughter had a chance to meet, the nurse brought Lana to me to breastfeed. She latched on right away, like a champ. It was craziness! She breastfed for a little while but newborns are so sleepy so they often doze in the middle of eating. Once we got her to eat for a little while, she just hung out in my arms sleeping, skin-to-skin. If you don't know about kangaroo care, here's a link describing it. The human body is so amazing.

Once I got feeling back in my legs they wheeled me up to the postpartum room. By this point I hadn't eaten or drank anything in 24 hours except ice chips. My kingdom for a glass of water! When the nurse came by and asked me what I wanted to drink I almost kissed her. If you've never been to a hospital, you are lucky. And also you wouldn't know that they give you these tiny little juice cups. I asked her for apple juice. She brought over 2 of them and let me tell you. It was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted in my life. The nurse said there was a fridge with more juice if I wanted so as soon as I finished the 2 cups I made my mom get 4 more and I drank all those too.

I honestly don't remember all the details about what happened at the hospital after this point - it's all a blur of recovering from the c-section + intense sleep deprivation. But here is the general summary:

1. Lana was a great baby at the hospital. She never really cried unless she was hungry. I kept her with me for two days straight (I stayed 4 days because I had a c-section) but after that I was so sleepy that I had her stay in the nursery for a couple of the night feedings, which helped immensely. I originally wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but seeing as how Lana was still hungry after breastfeeding, I decided that supplementing with a little formula would be ok. At 2 days old she downed the 2 oz. bottle like it was nothing! Now I have the opposite problem - she WON'T take anything but the boob. It's fine now since I'm not working, but I'm a little worried about when I do start working.

2. The nurses were AMAZING. Between the nurses and SH and my mom, I think I changed one diaper in 4 days at the hospital. They were so helpful, so nice, so accommodating.

3. I didn't have much of an appetite my entire pregnancy. I waited my entire pregnancy for that "eat like a pregnant woman" phase and it never came...until I had the baby. My appetite RAGED the second I had Lana. Well, lucky for me, Hackensack has great food. I ate. so. much.

4. By day 3, my nipples were in so much pain. Stick your finger in a baby's mouth and see how hard they suck. It's seriously insane. It made me realize how hard it is to be a mom. My mom told me so many times about how she cried and cried trying to breastfeed me because it hurt so much. I now understood what she meant.

5. The hospital is like this dream world where everything's taken care of for you. The reality of baby doesn't hit you while you're in the hospital because of the adjustable bed (so key when you've had a c-section), the nurses who do everything for you, the fact that you don't have to move or go anywhere or do anything other than breastfeed and go to the bathroom. Other than losing the adjustable bed, I am so lucky in that nothing much changed when I went home. I stayed in our bedroom with Lana, and all my food was cooked and brought up to me by my mom or aunt. I don't think I went downstairs for days! I really think that I don't know how hard having a baby really is, because I was so spoiled after I had Lana. Before my mom left for China (when Lana was 3 weeks old), she even took Lana and slept with her a couple nights here and there so I could get a full night's sleep.

6. Postpartum blues - oh man. Before I had Lana I didn't think I'd get the blues. I'm a pretty level-headed not overly emotional person so I thought, oh, that won't affect me. I also wondered how you could cry when you have a precious new little baby. I have never been more wrong. It hit around week 3. I was SO hormonal and emotional. It's not constant blues. There are highs (staring in awe at your baby) but then there are lows. Low lows. I was crying over such random little things. I bawled when my mom left for China. I thought I was going to fail as a mom and that Lana would be ruined forever. Dramatic, much? But this is real stuff. For any moms-to-be out there reading this, know that it's a hormonal thing and that it will pass. If your lows are really low talk to your husband and ask him for comfort. SH was so amazing, reassuring me that it wasn't me, it was the hormones, things would get better, I'm a good mom, I can do it without my mom helping, etc. You just need a lot of warm and loving words and it'll pass. After about two weeks I felt much better and almost back to my normal self.

Lana turns 5 months tomorrow. The time FLIES! It flies so fast that I kind of wish I wrote this story down earlier because I feel like I'm forgetting a lot of things. Moms-to-be, write it down earlier if you can! I mean, the first two months are just a mess of sleep deprivation and poop but if you can muster up some energy to do it, you will thank yourself later.

Being a mom has completely turned my life upside down. Sometimes you wistfully remember the olden days ("honey, want to go out to eat? sure! let's go! and let's invite our friends! and let's get drinks afterwards!") but you realize those kinds of things are small pittance of sacrifices compared to what you have (going out to dinner at 5pm to a restaurant 5 min. away and shoving the food down in 20 minutes so you can get home in time to put the baby to bed before The Meltdown). Hopefully I can write regularly here to chronicle mommy life - the highs, the lows, the funny, the not-so-funny (usually deals with poop) and everything else.

Monday, January 9, 2012

interruption to regularly-scheduled programming.

We interrupt the regularly-scheduled programming (namely, the riveting ending to the l&d story, which will be posted soon) to bring you new year's resolutions. Yes. Resolutions. And maybe I've already lost your attention because you're probably thinking "I don't have time to read about yet another person's aspirations in 2012 of a tighter [insert body part]." And you're probably right... in that I don't have anything novel on my list of resolutions. But I think it's something worth saying if only to memorialize what motherhood is doing to me (changing my perspective, and making me super efficient - I wrote almost this entire entry from my iPhone while breastfeeding).

I actually just have one resolution. And I think it's funny (read: telling) because it's the first time ever that this is a resolution for me. In the past it was always about DOING something for self-betterment. A fitter, happier (I couldn't resist), wiser, better-read, richer, more philanthropic, more patient me. And all those things are good. But it's different this year because, well, a baby flips your life upside down and inside out. Thus, my perspective has changed, and it made me realize that this is all I really need in terms of resolutions. 

The resolution is this: enjoy and be content with NOW. Don't wish for the future. 

I've been doing this (as in, the opposite) my entire life. And now, I think this needs to be parsed out a little. I think this is actually made up of two parts: first, it's pessimism. I really think I'm a born pessimist. I'm always wishing for something better. In 3rd grade I distinctly remember walking through the halls of my elementary school unhappy with my middle-of-the-school-hierarchy situation and wishing I were a big cool 5th grader. Second, it's an overly results-oriented point of view...the journey/destination distinction. I hate being in-process. I want to be THERE. My wonderful hubs (an "I'm-enjoying-the-ride" optimist - it sometimes seems like a miracle that we wound up together) reminds me often that I do this, but shouldn't. But always gently. He reminds me how blessed I am, now. How I can't keep wishing for the next phase of life to happen. And of course I know all this but it was always a struggle to believe it. BUT. Having a baby has finally driven the point home for me. I enjoy every day I spend with her. I don't wish for the future. In fact for the first time in my life I feel like I'm wishing for the opposite, for life to stand still where it presently is. It is amazing to see Lana grow leaps and bounds daily. One day she's curiously examining her feet. The next day she's grabbing them. Tomorrow they'll be in her mouth. We all know that having a baby changes your life. Before actually becoming a mom, I thought I knew what those changes would be, that they were obvious - your time, energy and money all go to the baby, you have new feelings and emotions as a parent, you appreciate your parents more, raising a baby makes you feel completely clueless all of a sudden, etc. But now I'm realizing that it's so much more. Every nook and cranny of my life is changed. And, in a surprising turn of events (for me - not for all the parents out there who are reading this going, mmmmhm), parenthood has helped me confront and address one of my worst sins. At the root, pessimism and a destination-oriented mentality are lack of contentment. And lack of contentment is ungratefulness. Ungratefulness is believing that you deserve more. And I don't. I certainly don't deserve Lana. or my husband. or anything else. And thinking I do sets me down that path of entitlement which is so dangerous.

1 Timothy 6-7: "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." 

I guess these two verses will be my motto this year. If I follow it, I think I'm in for a great 2012.

Monday, January 2, 2012

and...we're back!

i guess now is as good a time as any to revive my blog! i've actually been writing this entry for a while now (on and off for the past 2 mths) but haven't had the time to finish it. it's not done but i wanted to start getting into the habit of blogging again so this is installment #1 of my labor & delivery story. installment #2 will come soon after that (i hope). happy new year everyone! i hope and pray that it is a healthy, joyful, blessed year for everyone.


hi everyone! i'm finally back, thanks to some nudging from my friend kyu. :D i've been meaning to write but it's just so hard with a new baby. just when you think you might have an inkling as to what's going on, babies switch things up, just to keep you on your toes. i've learned to never make any generalizations about lana (at least not yet) because as soon as i utter them, they are no longer true. anyway, with that said, since she's no longer a newborn waking every 2 hours (the time FLIES!) i thought now's a good time to change this blog from a pregnancy blog to a baby blog. the benefits for me are twofold - one, it's fun to write about (and get feedback from other moms about the extremely bewildering adventures of mommyhood) and two, it'll be a good way to record how things went with lana.

as fraulein maria sang, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. the below is my labor & delivery story, so if you're willing to read this, might you take my suggestion to brew up a nice little spot of tea and curl up in a comfy position on the couch with your laptop bc it's gonna be long. o_O

my due date was aug 23, but bc lana was already pretty big, my OB decided to bring me in 6 days early to be induced. so on aug 17, my OB told me to come to the hospital at 7pm, but not before confirming with the hospital that they had room for me. so i called a little before 7pm, and sure enough, they didn't have room for me. (i'm telling you, it's the cold winter months that make august a very popular month for having babies.) anyway i digress. so i tried to take my mind off my impatience by watching airbender. that boy is so cute. after two hours, i couldn't take it anymore so i called back. still no room. i called again and again, but the delivery rooms were still packed. so by 11pm, we decided that it might not be happening that night and went to bed. of course, you know what happens next - i fell asleep at 11:15pm and got a call at 11:30pm to come to the hospital by 12:30am. so we got right back up and headed out. let me tell you - that was a very strange car ride. i mean, we looked at each other as we drove to the hospital and said, "so...this is the last car ride for us before we become parents. whoa." the craziness of those words rang in my ears the rest of the way there. it was such an anticlimactic drive leading up to a very climactic event.

ok, so moving on. i got to the hospital, got checked in, and the nurses set me up in the delivery room. i gotta say, the nurses at hackensack are awesome. they really helped me feel at ease through the entire crazy and sometimes scary process of bringing a baby into this world. ok, so first step was IV. i've never ever been admitted to a hospital, just been to the ER a couple of times. so this was my first time getting an IV. how come no one ever told me how much it freakin' hurts?? it didn't help that the first time the nurse tried, the IV needle thingamajig was defective so she had to pull it out and then try again on my other hand. the resulting bruise from that first attempt lasted two weeks. it really really hurt. second step was monitors - one for baby heartbeat and another for my contractions. turns out, i was having contractions already but i just didn't really notice bc they were pretty mild. third step was cervidil, this thing they put in your birth canal to help induction. the resident on-call put it in, and she also checked my dilation at that point - still 2cm, same as when i had seen my OB a few days earlier. (i predict that only people who have already had babies will read this, but in case i am wrong, i don't want to assume that you know the appropriate measurements, since i definitely did not until i was pregnant. you - or more precisely, your cervix - needs to reach 10cm of dilation to be able to push out a baby. i was at 2cm.) after that, i basically slept on and off till 7am. well, i would've slept better except the damn blood pressure cuff went off every 30 min. and as soon as it started constricting my arm i'd wake up.

at 7am, my OB came by. she checked my dilation - not much change. maybe 2.5cm. so she took out the cervidil, started me on pitocin and broke my water. that was a very weird feeling. all of a sudden this warm liquid gushes out of you...and keeps gushing out...and then you change positions, and more gushes out. once my water broke, the contractions started coming pretty quickly. by 8am, my mom came to the hospital. as soon as she walked in, i remembered something - all those times that i got into trouble as a kid and my mom would say "do you know how hard it was to give birth to you? i passed out afterwards for 24 hours! you'll get it when you're a mom." and i'd respond always with "yeah yeah whatever." man. at that moment those times came back to bite me in the butt and i felt immensely sorry and grateful towards my mom. but you know what? once your mom's kid always your mom's kid. the poignant thought lasted about 30 seconds (until my next contraction hit) and then i was whining for her to come massage my back. the contractions were quickly getting stronger and stronger. each time they came, sh or my mom would massage my lower back, which seemed to be the best thing to help me cope. i would also imagine really happy things like our honeymoon in hawaii or going snowboarding. i'm telling you, the mind is seriously amazing. the imagery really helped me cope with the pain.

at noon my OB came by, i was maybe 3cm dilated. still not much progress. she said she'd come back in a few hours to check again. at 12:30pm i asked for the epidural so my nurse called for the anesthesiologist. she came by and said, "he's coming soon. btw, he's the best anesthesiologist here. he can epiduralize me anytime." that, was weird...but i gotta say, slightly creepy and sexually charged comment aside, i did feel better knowing that he had my nurse's vote of confidence. so by 1pm the anesthesiologist came. he was my savior. seriously, the whole procedure was done in 8 min. and after about 10-15 min., i had complete relief from the pain. i was scared of the epidural needle bc i've heard that it can really hurt. and it did hurt but it was bearable, a small price to pay to have relief from the contractions. after that, it was mostly an uneventful day. as in, no events happened that should've happened. as in, i did not dilate as i should have.

my OB came back around 5pm - i was about 4cm dilated. a far cry from the average dilation rate of 1cm/hour since i had been on the pitocin for 10 hours at this point. -_- she looked concerned by now - she said that she'd give me another 2 hours to see how things were going, but that based on her exam, it seemed that lana's head was not as far down as it should be. so for two hours, i literally prayed nonstop. i visualized my cervix opening and dilating (though i have no idea what my cervix looks like so i just pictured a hole getting bigger). at 7pm, my OB came and said i was maybe almost 5cm dilated. since i had made the most progress in the hours from 5-7, she said she'd give it a little more time. so then it was another two hours of praying and visualizing. but when the 9pm hour of reckoning came, it was disappointing news. i had not dilated much at all since 7pm. my OB said it was pretty abnormal for me to dilate this slowly, and she attributed it to lana's big head and her inability to come down into the pelvic cavity. she said she didn't want to resort to a c-section but that we might have no choice. she said she would think about it for a bit and come back. i was pretty upset at this point. i really never even fathomed that i'd have a c-section. my pregnancy had been very smooth, lana was super healthy, and everything had been textbook till this point. plus, i was looking forward to giving birth naturally (as in vaginally, not sans drugs, of course). it really felt to me like a rite of passage that i wanted to go through in becoming a mom. my mom and sh were there to assure me that whatever happened, it was for lana's best interest, and that everything would be fine. and i knew that. but it's still hard to deal with a change in course when for months and months you had thought the delivery would go a certain (non c-section) way.