Tag Archives: baby

Reveling In My Land Of Nod

Greetings and salutations from my own little Land of Nod. I arrived here on Jan. 4 and it’s the best place I’ve been in about five years. I believe you would refer to this dreamy locale as “maternity leave.”

Image by Erica Lynn Photography

I’m one of the lucky few Americans who has a job waiting for her after taking a maternity leave that’s longer than the 12 weeks granted under the Family Medical Leave Act. I recognize and am soaking up this blessing (and it’s so sad that my situation isn’t more common, but I digress…)

When Logan was born, I took off seven months and it was needed. He was colicky, I had breastfeeding woes the first three months and despite all of my reading to try to prepare myself, I felt completely inadequate and lost. In short, it was a mindfcuk.

This time, it’s been loads easier because Ethan is an easy-going kid and I’ve got second-time-around-mommy-know-how. Plus Logan is still going to daycare, so many days it’s just me and my smiley infant. And it’s perfect.

I spend my days chatting it up with the little guy (he’s a great listener,) lying on the floor watching him play and listening to him coo. When he first grabbed a toy, or rolled over or sat on the floor without tipping over, I whooped it up so much you would have thought Publisher’s Clearinghouse knocked on the door.

Where’s that ballsy journalist who sharpened her elbows tussling in the Chicago media scrums? Or the one who would push, push and push reporters to get the right context in a story? She’s still here, she’s just sleeping. I wake her up if something goes awry at my daycare or if a parent pisses me off, but for now, she’s sleeping.

And a more chill, happier me is in the driver’s seat. I’ve had time to catch up with my friends, toting my little guy to lunches, hanging out at friends’ homes or gabbing on the phone to my BFF every day. That hasn’t happened since college.

I have been hesitant to blog about how great it’s been, I mean, it seems like no one wants to hear about how happy people are… And aren’t working moms supposed to hate staying at home? You know, since poopy diapers aren’t as scintillating as Powerpoint.

My days aren’t sunshine and lollipops 24/7, but they’re pretty damn good. Though I love it at home, I’m returning to the ranks of the working. A couple of working moms I’ve talked to said they felt the same way with their second maternity leave. And maybe we love it so much because we know it’s temporary, so we’re milking the stay-at-home experience for all that it’s worth.

I’m not sure, I can analyze it later. Right now, I’m still enjoying the ride.

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Rx for Mommy Sanity: Getting Help After Baby’s Born

My last week has been filled with feedings every two hours, diapers, tiny cries, lots of snuggles, diapers, tantrums from the 3 year old, diapers and more diapers. It can be hard work, but it’s easily manageable largely because I’ve got great help.

As I’ve said before, my mother-in-law is in town from Norway to help us with life after baby. She’s here for a glorious three weeks, then my parents come for a week and my sister says she’ll stay for a few days after that. That means for at least the first month, I’ve got extra hands around the house.

When Logan was born, we also had help. My mom was there for his birth and stayed for a couple weeks, my dad also came for a few days and then my mother-in-law was here for a couple weeks.

Before Logan, everyone told me to make sure that when someone came over after the baby, take advantage and put them to work. I was advised to set up clear expectations before my guests arrived that people were not to be catered to, they were to help me. After having a baby, the last thing you feel like is being a hostess with the mostess.

For me that help meant doing our laundry, planning and preparing dinner, general pickup around the house and looking after the newborn so I could catch up on sleep lost the night before. The hard part was setting up those boundaries because it can be an uncomfortable conversation, but I figured I owed it to myself and my newly growing family to look out for what’s best for us.

That being said, I knew I couldn’t be my usual picky and particular self. I no longer care what’s for dinner as long as I didn’t have to think about it. I also don’t care how the laundry is done or where it’s put away, as long as I don’t have to think about it.

The first time around, I was grateful for all of the assistance I received and this time is no different. However, this time Hubby and I are really trying to milk this for all that it’s worth. We’re not used to having family around, so now that she’s here we’re getting all kinds of things done. And she understands. On her first day here, she stated in her charming Norwegian accent: “I am not here for a vacation, I am here to work.”

Three days after Ethan was born, I snuck away for an hour to get a manicure. It felt so gooood to treat myself. When he was a week old, Hubby and I made a fast break for the movies one afternoon. We saw Tron in IMAX 3D. (Not usually my first choice when it comes to movies, but I wanted an escape, nothing too heavy and Hubby has been dying to see it. It was very entertaining.)

Right now Hubby’s out of town on business, but again, it’s totally manageable because I’ve got someone here who is helping me meet my family’s needs. Feedings, diapers, snuggles and all.

Introducing Ethan Matthew

It’s official: I’m a mom of two. I’m actually still in the hospital as I type, but it’s just me and the little one and he’s passed out while I’m too wired to sleep.  I’d forgotten how much they snooze at this age.

After my last post, I was admitted into the hospital. No doctor in their right mind would let me leave with blood pressures of 177/115. They decided to induce me and around 4:30 a.m. started my pitocin, a medication that makes you have contractions.

The contractions were pretty light at first and I started practicing some hypnobirthing techniques that I finally had time to research a week ago since I was no longer working. I’m not against having epidurals, I had one with Logan, but I have scoliosis, making it very difficult to give an epidural and getting it in was the worst part of Logan’s birth. So I thought I’d try the unmedicated route if I could.

I made it fairly far, especially considering I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours when the labor really started rolling. (I had a long day on Monday, left for the hospital shortly after midnight that night.) So was I exhausted, had lost my focus and couldn’t get it back.

There was even a time where Hubby was frantically searching for songs that could help me through and the next thing I know Eminem is playing in my delivery room… At first I was like, what in the hell is he doing? But I was game for anything and it turns out spitting rapid-fire lyrics *can* help you through a few rough contractions. Thankfully the nurse never came in while I was dropping rhymes.

In the end I got the epidural, the anesthesiologist said it was one of the more difficult ones she’s ever given, but she did a great job and I felt loads better.

I had my mother-in-law in the delivery room because we’re very, very close and I felt I’d need her support. Also, though she has three grandchildren, she hasn’t seen one come into the world and I thought that’d be a wonderful gift. When the doctor announced that in a few minutes the baby would be there, tears welled up in her eyes. “Hey, there’s no crying until the baby’s here.” I said teasingly. Then I looked at Hubby and he too was teary-eyed. I smiled. I love that they wear their big hearts on their sleeves.

Two minutes later there was this exquisite moment where at first there were five people in the room and bing! Then there were six. The newest person was the smallest one, but had the biggest presence.

At 6-pounds, 7 ounces he has dark eyes, a head full of dark hair and big hands and feet for his 19-inch frame. His name is Ethan, a name Hubby and I have loved for years, and the middle name is Matthew after my nephew Theodore Matthew who died of SIDS.

Whenever I look at Ethan, I’m amazed at this little being. I’ve waited months to meet him and have worried week after week about his health considering my blood pressure. And he’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.

So here I am, a mom of two and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

Team Pink? Team Blue? Not Us, We’re Team Green

I can tell you that the baby in my belly weighs about 4 pounds, has an average heart rate of 139 and gets the hiccups every night around 11 o’clock. But I can’t tell you if Bean is a boy or a girl. We’ve decided not to find out the gender and it’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions to us being not on Team Pink or Team Blue, but proud members of Team Green.

I’m such a planner and like to have my Is dotted and Ts crossed, so it surprises many that this Type A doesn’t want to know the gender. It’s because my love of control is outweighed only by my love of surprises. I know, I know. I’m an oxymoron, deal with it. But I do love happy surprises, and I can’t think of a bigger surprise than the gender of your baby. (Well, other than the surprising fact that you’re having a baby, but that’s another story.)

We already know so much. We’ve been in the Information Age for years, I’m in an industry founded on informing the masses, we frequent blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the usual social-networking suspects, we’re all about knowing more, more, more, more. So why not have the gender as a surprise? After Bean is born, everyone will know, but for these months, a little mystery is fun. And as far as planning, there’s plenty of cute hues of greens and yellows and other gender-neutral colors to get us through.

When people find out that we don’t know Bean’s gender, their reactions vary. Most think it’s fun, though many say they couldn’t stand not knowing. A few of friends have tried to bribe me to find out and at least one pool was started to collect money on whether I was having a boy or a girl.

Then they start trotting out the old wives tales, which are always entertaining. If you’re carrying high it’s a boy, carrying low, it’s a girl. Bad acne? Girl. Great skin? Boy.

Some couples have shared their stories about how they were split, and somehow managed to have one parent know the gender and keep it secret from the other parent. That’d never fly in our house. There have also been one or two interestingly negative reactions, where it genuinely frustrates people, but I have to dismiss them, it’s our child, our choice, the world will know soon enough.

Though for a friend of mine, her hand was forced. She wanted so passionately to be on Team Green and at an early second trimester ultrasound, she told the technician they wanted to be surprised at the birth. After the ultrasound, the tech said: “Well, it’s a little early to tell, but if you want my opinion, I think it’s a boy.” … My friend was livid. The stenographer was right though, she had a boy.

The same woman is pregnant now and tried again for Team Green and again, told that to the tech. This time at the end of the ultrasound, the tech held the thingymabob on the spot on her belly so that it showed her baby, in 4D, spread eagle. The tech kept the “viewfinder” there and stared at my friend. It apparently was quite the awkward moment, but it’s unmistakable what she’s having.

At least she’s not freaking out over it, which is good, we, like all moms, really just want a healthy baby, and the rest whether your pink, blue or green is simply having a little fun.