Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adventures In Sleep Deprivation

It's 11:30am on a Tuesday morning and I'm sitting on my couch when I'm supposed to be at work. I'm currently 2.5 hours late and counting. Babykins is teething and had a really rough night. From 3:30am on he wasn't able to rest longer than 45 minutes. His Daddy and I tried to go through his usual routine this morning so I could get us both out the door and off to work (I get to bring him with me every day) but he was. not. having. it.

This basically sums up how the entire household is feeling lately.

He is just so miserable and it breaks my heart while destroying my nerves all at once. I just FB whined all over the place and got some really great (I hope) suggestions to try for him so there's hope.

He's finally FINALLY asleep right now in his swing and I'm sitting here. Not at work. But on my stupid couch with tears streaming down my face. I'm exhausted and stressed out and worried about my job.

I had to take a day off last week because after an especially busy day at work running errands and lifting 18lb baby and car seat in and out of my vehicle 15 times (yes, I actually counted) I was in so much pain the next day I couldn't go in.

And now this. How do people work full time with a baby and not get themselves fired? He's more important to me than a job and he will always come first, even if it gets me terminated; it doesn't mean I'm not ridiculously strained and worn out from trying to come up with a solution though.

Well, the tears have stopped. Mine, anyway. Fingers crossed Rowan feels better after his nap. Wish us luck!

See? It's not so bad. It's not so bad. It's not so bad.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bring Your Baby To Work Day...EVERY Day!

My little Peanut turned 5 months old yesterday. It's been the most difficult 5 months of my life and I wouldn't change a second of it. Not even when he's being really difficult because it makes me appreciate him even more when he's being perfect.

I don't talk about my job much because 90% of it has to do with personal matters of the family I work for and I'm sure they'd like them to remain private. I was originally hired as the executive assistant to the Director of 7 charter schools. This position has since morphed into being the personal assistant for her family and herself. I work out of her home office and amazingly, she allows me to bring my babe to work with me every day. An absolutely priceless blessing that means everything to me.

Often, it's hard. Really hard. Every morning I try to remember to pack everything he'll possibly need for the day into the giant diaper bag and sling it over one shoulder. Grab my laptop bag and throw that over the other shoulder. Baby and car seat in one hand, coffee mug in the other. I'm a regular pack mule with an extra bag under each eye.

I balance him on my lap to feed him while trying to respond to an e-mail.

Baby Ro has a blowout and poo is making it's way towards his neck. My back is killing me so I put the changing pad on my boss's desk to change him. During my attempt to get the massive amounts of fecal matter under control, a perfect arc of yellow makes it's way over babies head and onto boss's desk. The. Hell. Ten minutes of disinfecting later I thank the stars he didn't pee on any paperwork. 

I'm asked to watch her Grand baby who is 8 months old for an hour or so. I need to nurse my teeny so I take him upstairs first (I can't carry them both) and leave him on the bed. Run back down and grab Baby D who is mobile. The bedrooms are being re-done so there are no doors on the rooms. Which is awkward but what do you do? I whip off my shirt and commence nursing. Baby D is bored and refuses to stay sequestered. He keeps trying to make a break for the hallway so he can tumble to his doom down the stairs of death. He's whining and trying to escape. I'm trying to convince him the rug on the floor is the best toy in the world while holding Ro to my breast and wishing he'd drink 5000 times faster. I'm chasing this defiant baby around the room while topless, dragging a rug with one foot and trying to feed the hungry baby. I'm positive if Baby D had had the motor skills at the time, he would have given me and that stupid rug the middle finger while scooting out of the room.

Baby D NOT giving me the finger. Which I appreciate.

I bundle Rowan up and shuffle him around the courthouse downtown, talking to three different people in three different offices before they send me to the right person. All the while, baby vomit is drying in a sour streak from my shoulder down to my waist.

Sometimes, it's ridiculous. And really really hard. But man do I love spending the day with my baby.

I'm not sure how long it will last or how long my boss will put up with it, but until then, I'm going to appreciate every day that I have him as my coworker.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Just Another Birth Story; Only This One Is Mine

With my little overnight bag in hand and Erik beside me, I practically skipped up to the reception desk at the Women's Center and announced, "Hi! I'm here to have a baby".
After growing this little guy for what seemed like an eternity, I felt like I couldn't wait one more day to meet him. 

Had I known my stay was going to be longer than a simple over-nighter, I would have packed a few extra niceties. Like a roll of duct tape to quell the screaming. Or a cute little baggy of some sodium hydroxide pellets to absorb the never-ending tears.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. Mostly.

It's the evening of November 17th, one day before my original due date of the 18th. Because of my "advanced age" my doctor wanted to induce me a week early. Initially I was excited at the thought of being done with the misery that comes with the last trimester and even more so at getting to meet little Mister even sooner. However, it just didn't feel right. I really wanted him to come when he was ready so I decided to wait one more week. He steadfastly refused to make his debut on his own and I didn't want to possibly jeopardize his health by waiting any longer and risking antepartum stillbirth.

Apparently we'd had a GREAT Valentines Day.

After getting settled into my room and meeting my nurse, I was ready to get the show on the road. Pitocin was administered and Erik and I settled back to wait. And wait. Then wait some more. I was hooked up to a monitor that showed my contractions. I could see they were happening but I wasn't feeling much. We flipped on some cooking show and waited some more. Things were getting a little uncomfortable at this point but I wasn't dilating to anything worth mentioning. I eventually sent Erik home for the night feeling mildly disappointed things weren't progressing as quickly as I had hoped.

The very first time I got to see my little Peanut.

My nurse came in to check on me, every 30 minutes, ALL. NIGHT. LONG. She told me I should try to get some sleep but at this point, I was in enough pain to make sleep impossible.
After learning how to poach an egg and make edible fruitcake, among other  delights I'll never attempt, the sun finally came up and I anxiously awaited Erik's return.

Exhausted and hurting, I was sure things were finally happening down under. My doctor arrived and checked me out. Elbow deep she looks up at me and declares I'm at a 3. My heart sinks and I can't help but feel discouraged.
She states it's time to break my water in the hopes that will speed things up. I consent and she produces the crochet hook of destruction.

Now, I've peed my pants on more than one occasion as an adult. I have this tendency to hold it for too long and then laugh too hard. However, it is NOTHING like the gushing tsunami that erupted from my nethers. I had this odd vision of my little baby boy riding the amniotic waves on the teeniest surf board, Point Break style, while throwing the hang loose sign and high-fiving the nurse on his way by.

 That didn't happen. What did happen is I sat up and vomited all the liquid I had consumed throughout the night. So that was cool.

At this point I called Erik to ask if he could come back now. My voice had taken on this quivering, piteous quality that I didn't recognize and I could feel I was close to tears. He said he'd be there in 15 minutes.

The day dragged on in a never-ending blur of pain and monitoring. At one point my nurse came in and sweetly brushed my hair back away from my face commenting on the tears that had soaked my locks. She reminded me that it was okay to have an open mind about the medication and to let her know if I changed my mind. 

I changed my mind. 

With my head turned toward Erik, gripping the side of the bed and eyes squeezed tight in pain while enduring another contraction, I listened to Erik remind me to breathe and tell me I'm doing great.

I was not doing great. Drugs. I wanted the drugs. I wanted ALL the drugs.

They gave me the drugs and I smiled. I didn't even mind that my leg had to be lifted back up onto the bed for me when it managed to slip off.

Evening rolls around again and I send Erik home to check on my dog and eat some dinner. I haven't had anything to eat since the day before but food felt about as important as reading yet another inane and inappropriate Trump tweet. Hard pass thanks very much.

My parents and youngest Sister arrive despite the fact I'd told them nothing was happening. My Mom was incredulous that they'd given me an epidural, and I got mad. My Dad took pictures of me while I was having a contraction and I did not like it. Mom told him to knock it off. I threatened to have the nurse kick them both out even though I was monumentally glad they were there.

A few more hours go by, but time and I are no longer on speaking terms. It's lost all meaning and relevancy to me.

That is, until my Doctor came in to check on me again and gave me a deadline. She was giving Babykins until 3:00am to arrive and then he was out of time. She was worried he would become distressed and worried that too much time had gone by since breaking my water, leaving me susceptible to infection.

Around 1:00am, having been in labor for 31 hours, I gave up. My nurse brought the paperwork and I signed my consent to have the c-section. I felt like a complete failure and was so disappointed that after all this work, I would still have to be cut open.

My doctor came in and checked me one last time. She said she could feel his hair and although my body wasn't acting ready, asked if I wanted to give one last ditch effort and try pushing.

No. No I did not. I went into the hospital Wednesday and it was now early Friday morning. I was emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted and I didn't want to do it anymore.

I tried anyway. I pushed when I was told and said it felt like I was trying to poop out an aneurysm. My nurse told me I was using the wrong muscles and explained I needed to use the same muscles I use when doing kegels. That helped and there was some progress. Doc could feel him moving.
They brought a mirror in so I could see exactly what I was doing and that's when it started making sense for me. Doc would tell me when to push and I'd push.

I saw him crowning and it was madness.

She told me to push and out came his head. Insanity. Doc looks up at me from between my legs with a giant grin and says while gesturing over her shoulder to the mirror, "Looks like it should hurt, doesn't it?".

Drugs. So so thankful for drugs. 

One more big push I'm told, and then I finally get to meet my baby!

I push and he slides out. Doc immediately passes him off to the nurses who rush him to the corner of the room and it takes me a couple of seconds to realize I don't hear the cries of a new baby who has just entered the world.  He wasn't breathing.

Any second now.

Seconds go by. The seconds turn to minutes. More and more people in green scrubs come running into the room. I didn't know it at the time but while my Sister was waiting outside, an alarm was sounding and nurse after nurse ran past her into my room.

About a dozen people in green were surrounding my baby, who wasn't making a peep, while my doctor continued to work on getting me stitched up.

I alternated between craning my neck to try to see my silent baby, to staring at Erik with tears streaming down both sides of my face. I was squeezing my Mom's hand in desperation. Was my baby even alive?

Yet another nurse rolls in a portable monitor where an on-call doctor was contacted for emergency consultation via Skype.

Until this point in my life, I have never known what true hysteria felt like. I was breathing in choking gasps trying to contain the wails that were wrestling to escape my throat. I could not believe that this was happening. Erik was supposed to cut the cord. I was supposed to have immediate skin to skin contact. My baby boy was supposed to spend his first minutes of life in the arms of one of the people who will love him the most throughout his entire existence.

And now, his entire life consisted of a few minutes surrounded by strangers?

A strange mewling sound escapes from my mouth. My poor baby. My sweet little boy. The frenzied panic rises up and I'm losing the will to control it as I strain to catch a glimpse of my child in between the gaps of green scrubs.

Erik grabs my hand and says, "Dawn. Look at me. LOOK at me". I turn and face him through blurry eyes filled with tears and he says, "He's going to be okay. I can see him. He's moving. I can see his little arm moving. His eyes are open and he's just looking around at his new world."

He never did cry.

I finally got to hold my baby and I laughed with maniacal relief while the tears soaked my face. His big bright eyes scanned his surroundings while he quietly snuggled into my chest.

From the moment I saw him at my first ultrasound, I fell in love. All these months later, finally getting to meet him, I wonder how it is my heart hasn't imploded from the overwhelming feeling of love. It's unlike anything I've felt in my life and it scares the hell out of me. My heart and soul have been exposed and I'll never be the same. As a friend of mine put it, "At some point the story changes, the plot thickens and we eventually fall in love in ways we can't find words for."

Watery attempt at a smile.

My heart.

My Peanut. Rowan Ian Harrison

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Had A Baby. And Still Haven't Written About It

Since February of this year, I've had a plethora of opportunities to write about my pregnancy. A lot of things have happened since then. I'm not sure why but I've had an utter lack of desire to write...about much of anything. I finally sat down last week and wrote about what my recovery has been like. Then found a site that would actually pay me to publish it. I signed some paperwork so I can't publish what I wrote on my blog but I can share the link. You know, in case you feel like reading about my vagina. 

Six Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Postpartum Recovery.

OH! And there are pictures!  I like pictures.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Degradation is just another word for I Love You.

At what age are your babies old enough to know the truth about the cruel harshness of the real world?  How young is too young?  And how old is too late?  There are certain things I don't want him to learn from his friends at the park.  He already trusts me so unconditionally, I wouldn't be able to stand it if that bond were broken by any feelings of betrayal.

Which is why I decided that this was the year I told him.  My best little bud, the love of my life, turned 3 in July and I realized he and his Sister deserve to finally know the truth.

After the initial and understandable shock wore off, I think they took it quite well.

These sweet puppies have brought me, E1 (Stella's Dad)  and E2 so much love and happiness it's unreal.  Little Mr. Milo makes me laugh on a daily basis and snuggles me extra good when I'm sitting in the dark crying for no other reason than the fact that it's Tuesday.  Pregnancy hormones are fun!

The other night after work, Milo and I were on our daily hike when I was overcome with an incredibly bizarre feeling.  It took me a moment to process what, exactly, it was I was feeling.  And then it hit me.  I felt happy.  There I was, sweating along a trail in the woods with my favorite little fuzzy love in the world, 6 months pregnant and on the verge of waddling, with a boyfriend at home who is in love with me and adores Milo and is positively ecstatic that he's going to be a Father and it hit me.  I am so incredibly lucky. Then my heart did this weird swelly thing, my throat constricted, my face became flushed and I smiled.

Immediately followed by a deluge of salty tears.  Naturally.

Milo immediately stopped his hunt for squirrels and trotted over to make sure I was alright.  I ruffled his fur and kissed his soggy nose and told him how much I loved him, even though he's adopted and not my real baby and not even human for that matter.

He took it all in stride, as he does with everything in his fuzzy little life.  Including the humiliation of birthday dress-up.

 Don't feel too badly for him.  He and Stella were both bribed with new toys as a reward for the indignity of it all.  They recovered within seconds.  A brand new Jolly Ball has that effect.

Happy 3rd birthday to Milo and Stella.  The twins of the litter and my personal source of entertainment and amusement. Adopting little Milo, despite some of the most important people in my life strongly advising me otherwise, was one of the top three best decisions I've ever made.  I should really learn to trust myself more.

Happy Birthday little Stella spitfire.  I'm so glad E1 decided to adopt you so you can keep Mr. Milo in line.

Happy Birthday to my bestest little bud and the fuzzy love of my life. Thank you for bringing so much happiness and laughter into my sometimes dead and decaying soul.  I absolutely adore you.