Tag Archives: newborn

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.

Advertisements

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.

Memories of A Miscarriage While Caring For My Newborn

*Guestblogger Jess is a quick-witted, stay-at-home mother-writer-friend who periodically discusses the various lenses of her life on She’sWrite. Here’s her story:

Six weeks ago, I had a beautiful baby girl named Clara. So it might seem odd to write about a previous miscarriage, but the memory of that child has come to surface now more than any time since. I often think of her as I care for my new baby.

My first child, Henry, was 18 months old when we were surprised to find I was pregnant again. Though my husband and I wanted a second child, it wasn’t planned. But after initial hesitation, we embraced the pregnancy wholeheartedly. I felt strongly, in the way many moms do, that I was carrying a girl.

My 8-week appointment went well; then I got a call that they wanted me to come back in to check the placenta again on an ultrasound. There might have been something wrong — I can’t even remember now what it was — that would have caused me to have a pregnancy in which I’d have to be extra careful. So the thought of bed rest was on my mind as I lay on the table and looked at the little jellybean on the screen, the one I had seen days earlier and whose heart had been beating away rapidly. I saw no such flutter on the screen this time. At first I was confused, maybe in denial, and then I saw the look on the technician’s face. Several days of visceral sadness followed, the kind of emotion you do not have to think about or talk yourself into. It just was. The sadness gradually receded over the next several weeks.

I sometimes feel, and felt, apologetic over my sadness about that miscarriage. I mean, it happens all the time. There must have been something wrong, it was nature’s way. And after all, it was only nine weeks. Imagine the pain of miscarrying once you feel the baby inside you.

But nine weeks.  Since my husband and I found out as early as possible, at 2 weeks, that means I had seven long weeks of imagining my child playing with her older brother; imagining the softness of her cheeks and the cooing of her little voice. She was not a bunch of cells to me. She was my child. No, I never met her, not literally. But I carried her, and many mothers will tell you that is an experience unlike any other. The bond grows fiercer the longer the pregnancy, but it is strong from the beginning.

A friend of mine had a miscarriage, too, followed by the birth of her little girl. My friend feels that the miscarried baby was who eventually became her daughter, she just wasn’t ready to come at that time. For me it is a bit different. She is sort of my ghost child, an older sister, the one who came before. She never quite became a part of the family, but she will never leave it. I feel my ghost child in Clara; she is a part of her, but not the same.

My miscarriage has given me deeper gratitude watching my beautiful baby girl sleep and even delighting in her pouty cries for milk. In some strange way I don’t understand, I feel like Clara is an honor to her, my first girl.