Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In the desert of my dreams I saw you there

Trllian Mira
OK, so I'll try not to turn this into a "mommy blog" because I know no one wants to read tons of posts about the mundane details about somebody else's kid, but of course I can't avoid the subject entirely, being completely taken over by this new person in our house.

So on Friday Sept 18, on a bright sunny afternoon in Bellevue, Trillian Mira made her debut to the outside world. I honestly *could not* have asked for a better experience.

We had a choice to make a few days before that, about whether we wanted to induce labor, or schedule a C section, since her fluid levels were fluctuating, and it was safer for her to be delivered than stay in. I was not at all attached to the idea of a natural childbirth, and in fact, spent a good deal of my pregnancy being terrified of what was going to happen at the end. I wanted quick, painless, and preferably to not have to be there at all :)

So when my fabulous doctor said she definitely saw medical reasons to do a scheduled C-section, I jumped on board right away. I'm a planner, and oftentimes the anticipation of something bad is worse than the actual event. So we set up our appointment for Friday and went on our merry way. Well, I did. TJ stressed out about it for the 2.5 days, enough for both of us.

We had to get to the hospital a couple of hours early and of course we were a bit late because I couldn't sleep much the night before. After getting shuffled around between buildings due to the various remodeling projects we ended up in the pre-op prep room. At about that time, I decided I didn't like it at the hospital, and wondered if we could just go home. Side note: I've never been in the hospital for *anything*, except to visit other people, so being the patient was weird. TJ, having injured himself many times, was a big help in keeping me calm.

So they did the usual stuff - got the IV hooked up (yuck), took lots of blood pressure readings and blood samples, and the anesthesiologist and my doc and the assisting doc all came by to talk to us before the procedure. Of course, at this point I was internally freaking out, but time has a way of moving along so it was time to go into the OR.

And let me say, that the OR was nothing like Grey's Anatomy. It was *very* brightly lit, unlike at Seattle Grace, where I'm amazed any of the surgeons can see enough to get things done. And there was a ton of stuff in there - coolers with meds, chairs, stools, tables with instruments. It almost looked like a very clean storage room for tons of medical stuff just lying around in random places. I'm sure there was an order to it, of course.

I won't go into the gory details here, mostly because I didn't have any idea what was going on myself. TJ and I specifically asked all of the doctors *not* to give us the play-by-play of what they were doing because we're both horribly squeamish. Oh, and I should back up, for those who don't know, they do a standard C-section delivery with a spinal block, meaning I was numb from about the chest down. Which means I was awake during the whole thing. I tried not to dwell on that before the surgery, hence our request to *not* have the play by play analysis.

The doctors were amazing. The anesthesiologist was about our age, and 36 weeks pregnant, and she was friendly, and gentle, and calm and patient even when I couldn't get relaxed enough for her to do her job easily. That was the roughest part - for her to get the anesthetic in the right spot.

During the procedure, TJ sat next to me and we talked. About what, I don't really remember, but it was a nice distraction. The doctors were working behind a curtain and talking amongst themselves about random stuff, which oddly, made me feel much better because it seemed like this was a normal, routine, procedure. I really did not feel anything, which was GREAT.

And then my doctor announced they were ready to get the baby out (woo hoo!) and we heard that first cry. You always see this moment on TV and everyone gets weepy, and I'm cynical and not particularly sentimental, so I figured it would be no big deal. But I took one look at TJ and got all weepy. In fact I'm a little weepy now just thinking about it (of course, that might be the hormones, too.) They did confirm she was a girl, and I gave silent thanks that we would not have to buy a whole new wardrobe or repaint her room.

At this point I need to give a shout out to the delivery nurses as well - it was brilliant to watch the efficient, practied, expert way they handled my baby, got her cleaned up, and made sure she was healthy in those first few minutes. One of them even took all the early pictures for us, for which we are really grateful.

And the cool thing is that they do all the baby prep (is it like dealer prep when you buy a new car??) so that TJ and I could watch it, which is a nice distraction again from the rest of the surgery. I think the second half was actually longer, but we barely noticed because we were just watching our baby get ready for the world.

My doctor informed me that I had "abs of steel", which I guess I should be pleased about if I can ever get that nice flabby cushion out of the way for anyone to see them ;)

Trillian's baby feet
We hung out in the recovery room for a while with our new baby while various people came in and checked on both her and me, and eventually were taken to our "real" room for the rest of the weekend. Again, I was really impressed and thankful for all of the amazing nurses who took care of us. Clearly they love babies, and were so patient with our dumb questions, and spent lots of time educating us on how to feed and take care of this new little person, and how I could speed up my recovery. I am sure that we would not have gotten such a good start without all of these amazing women around to help us out. It was very tiring to be woken up every hour or two for vital sign checks, pills, and feedings, but I definitely think it's the reason I feel so good now.

So here we are, new parents for 5 days. We're pretty lucky because Trillian sleeps for 2-3 hours at a stretch, and has only had a few loooong crying episodes, both of which were fabulously handled by her daddy who seems to have the secret baby juju. He's also a much better baby burrito-maker than I am.

So there it is. More later once Princess SnuffleFlower has eaten and gone back to sleep. Everything gets done in tiny blocks of time around here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hey baby hey baby hey

An & TJ July 2009I figured I'd post my thoughts on being pregnant, given that if all goes well, I won't be anymore at this time tomorrow and BabyX will have made her jailbreak. Freaky!!

I really, truly thought I'd hate it. The idea of this foreign invader in my body, all the restrictions, and of course becoming as huge as a planet was *not* appealing to me in the least. Throw that in with pretty low tolerance for lots of noisy children and I figured I'd never do this. Except for the fact that I *love* babies. I don't know why. Maybe it's the same gene or chemical reaction that makes me love all dogs.

After having some conversations with friends who are also not "kid people" they made me realize that you will actually really like your own kid, but it's ok not to like all kids, and that probably won't change.

That and the fact that there are some kids that I know that I really do like and the twinge of I-don't-know what when I saw a coworker dropping off his kid at preschool - a tiny little guy with a huge backpack. "I want one" flashed across my mind like a bright shining billboard at that moment. And then I nearly fell over because I had never once felt that way in my 30+ years before that. So I guess for some people the dormant clock just wakes up randomly. Heh.

So here we are. I've been pregnant for pretty much all of 2009, though I didn't know it for the first couple of weeks. I was lucky enough not to have a lot of nausea, though it did rear its ugly head a few times when I didn't eat often enough. I quickly figured out that skipping breakfast was NOT an option (even without the 'helpful' admonishment from the What to Expect While You're Expecting author about how I should feel like a horrible person for "starving my baby").

For a week or so at 5 months I had a horrible backache that was only resolved by waiting it out, and sleeping on the not-so-comfy couch in our living room. And right around that time, the grotesque foot swelling started, and I've been wearing the same pair of $8 JCPenney flip-flops for literally 4 months while staring longingly at my other cute shoes every morning. On the bright side, besides those flip-flops I have not bought a single pair of new shoes this year. TJ's happy about that.

And of course there was the occasional heartburn that's made me give up Thai and Indian food for the past couple of months, and the sheer hugeness of my belly that gets in the way of pretty much everything and makes most things awkward.

But before I complain too much, let me say that really, it was not that bad. Minor annoyances, all of them, and most had some kind of solution. It also gave me an excuse to buy ridiculous T-shirts and wear them late in my pregnancy, with slogans like "I Think I Might Be Pregnant" and "Bowling balls are really hard to swallow". Because really, if I can't have fun with it, what's the point?

One of the things I LOVE about being pregnant - not stressing over every calorie that I eat. Admittedly I've had more than my fair share of apple pie, and traded artificially sweetened drinks for ones with real sugar, and not turned down dessert very often. The beauty is that I have no idea how much actual weight I gained due to all the water retention. I guess I'll find out in a few weeks once the water goes away.

I know I'll have some hard work to do to get back into shape. But that's cool. I bet it'll be good for the baby after a while for us to get out and walk. And I know the pups will enjoy it. But I'm living the guilt-free lifestyle and loving it. If I'm hungry, I eat something. If not, I don't. Last night we went to dinner at Canlis (YUM) for the last time in what will probably be a while. And we didn't get dessert. And that was fine because I was full. Amazing how that works.

Oh and the other thing I love - the niceness from total strangers. They hold the door, they let me get off the elevator first, they actually slow down in the work parking garage when I'm waddling to my car. (Believe me, normally, these things don't usually happen where I work). And my favorite "We are the World" story - I was unloading groceries into my car. Next to me, unloading her groceries was a Muslim woman in a hijab. She insisted on returning my cart for me. So nice!

Some people really enjoyed feeling the baby move. I'm not really one of those folks, though I am glad she does move so that I know she's ok. But I'm kind of "eh" about the movement itself. It's not so intense that it hurts, which is good, but it still creeps me out, because really, stuff inside my stomach is supposed to stay put.

So, well, sometime tomorrow we'll finally get to meet BabyX. It seems pretty unreal. Because even though I'm enormous and round, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that there is a PERSON inside of my belly. That's just too weird.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't tell me what to do

So here I am, a few weeks before BabyX arrives, and feeling pretty good that we have all the stuff we *need* to get us through the first few weeks.

Especially since my brand new 64GB iPod Touch is on its way!! That's the essential stuff, right? I actually bought it to use as our baby webcam receiver, plus the App Store has some great programs for tracking feeding/sleeping/poo etc. Yes, we apparently need to track diaper changes. I'm so glad we got dogs first to get me over some of the ick factor, though I suspect babies are FAR worse.

One of the other things I've been doing since I've been spending a lot of time with my feet up to combat the hideous swelling, is reading various baby care/parenting books. Or at least skimming them until I get so frustrated I'm ready to throttle the authors.

Apparently it is VERY difficult to write a baby book without having a sanctimonious tone about how YOUR WAY is best, or without a lot of YOU SHOULD DO THIS OR YOUR BABY WILL BE MESSED UP FOREVER statements. Even better is the infighting where one author disses the others right in the book. It's like watching those icky political commercials around election time.

So most people who know me well are aware that I HATE being told what to do, or given unsolicited advice. I'm independent, I like to research and figure things out for myself. Unless I ask you for help. Then, for the love of god, please help me :)

This doesn't help when I'm reading these books. I got about a chapter into Dr Sears' Baby Book before I was ready to shove him, his saintly wife Martha and their 8 perfect children off the top of a very tall building. (Mostly just him, though, for his self-righteous writing style.) His clear disdain for working mothers, and his fanatical devotion to breastfeeding AT ALL COST drove me nuts (among other things).

Prior to that What to Expect When You're Expecting got the Wrath of An. Because they advised me that every now and then, I should enjoy a bagel as a treat. And if I go on vacation, I might be able to have dessert. Once. Oh, and I should stop going to rock concerts because we don't know if the music is too loud for the unborn child, for which I am just a vessel.

I had high hopes for Baby 411, written by the same folks who wrote Baby Bargains, which helped me navigate the mountains of BabyStuff that we needed (or didn't need) to buy. But alas, the doctor they chose for that book is also another judgmental one. Slightly less fanatical than Dr Sears, but the kind of guy to criticize all the others out there. And a little snotty about his medical degree, I must say, when sniping about the baby care books written by (quel horreur!) people without an M.D. Because apparently, having an M.D. makes you an expert at getting babies to sleep and how best to discipline a child. I didn't realize they taught those things in med school. I wonder where they get the kids to practice on.

I'm really glad that I'm not 18 and bewildered about the path ahead because the conflicting advice in these books would make your head spin. From pacifiers to feeding to diapering to "sleep training", everyone has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions...

So I'm done reading. I've got books as reference, for questions like "what is this weird rash?" or "do I need to call the doctor", but other than that, we're going to figure out our own path as we go along. But the minute I hear "you should do..." my brain shuts off. Unless of course, the preceding statement from me was "hey, what do you think?"

On the bright side, I've found a couple of good places for advice. The (mostly quiet) Facebook group I started for Caltech alumni parents, and just reaching out to those folks individually. Can I just take a moment to proclaim my love for Facebook? <3

The other one, more for parenting advice than baby care, is Ask Moxie. I love that it's not at all judgmental and you learn as much from the posts as from all of the various people around the world who leave comments about *what works for them*. Not WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

Mostly about pregnancy but has a little bit about newborn care - The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is AWESOME. That guy has learned how to write in a non-judgmental way, so clearly it can be done. They have these 'Decision Guides' on all sorts of things like feeding, delivery options, etc that clearly lay out the pros and cons, without the sidebar of THIS IS THE BEST CHOICE. Some people might argue that it leaves too much up to the reader to decide, but hello? this is your own life and your own kid so you SHOULD be the one weighing the info and deciding. I love this book and will give this Dr a big hug if I ever meet him.

BabyX almost-38-week update: According to this week's ultrasound she weighs a little over 7 lbs. I'm hoping she's not going to get much bigger... You can't see much on the ultrasound with everything all squished in there. She gets the hiccups very often - at least once a day, poor thing.

And we saw her practice breathing. Apparently babies practice moving their diaphragm around so they can breathe when they're not underwater anymore. How crazy is that? So hopefully she's healthy and strong. I'm still a bit in denial that we're going to have an ACTUAL BABY in less than a month. Yikes.

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