Archive for the ‘Friends/Community’ Category
This week Darius’s family came to visit from MA and meet the Little Prince. With the exception of my MIL, none of them had ever been to Austin before.
SIL2 was really great at helping with stuff around the house. Niece fell in love with LP and was really good at helping SIL2. She and SIL2 put together the swing that MIL and SIL1 bought for LP. I tried to show them on Monday how great LP is in the bath…but half way through he started crying . MIL and SIL1 were also great with LP and were very generous, because in addition to the swing, they also bought him a very cool playmat.
The advantage of having family in town was that we finally got to get out of the house during the day. On Sunday SIL2, Darius, LP, and I ate a Freebirds (well, LP was asleep) and started looking into mattresses for LP. The idea is that we’ll drop our queen to the floor and get a twin to put next to it so that we have more co-sleeping space and LP already has his mattress for when he gets older and moves into his own bed.
On Tuesday night we all went to Chuy’s for dinner, where Darius and I learned what a “sling” is — two crossed pieces of wood connected by straps that lets you put your baby carrier in it. Our LP decided to be awake for most of dinner, but SIL2 spent time walking him around letting him look at things after she ate, so Darius and I could eat. On Wednesday I took LP, SIL1, SIL2, and Niece to Central Market to go shopping and show them how cool it was. LP slept most of the time, but woke up near the end for a diaper change and a nurse. I’m so glad that Austin is awesome when it comes to breastfeeding in public.
Family left on Thursday, but that didn’t stop us from going out again. The group of May moms we met through the classes at the Birthing Center often get together on either Thursdays or Fridays and one of them was kind enough to pick LP and I up and bring us down to Central Market (again). It was great to see everyone and their babies and just hang out with other moms of infants.
After having several good nights, where all we had to do was side nurse and he’d fall asleep for 3-4 hours then half wake up, nurse and go back to sleep for another 2, Thursday night was a screaming, overtired baby from about 10:30 until about 1:30am. But last night was good again. Sometimes when LP half wakes up at night he makes gurgling noises and he’s become great at spitting up some milk post-feeding, but everyone says this is normal, so I’m trying not to be worried about it.
Lastly I have to say that I’m loving my Moby wrap. It let me play WoW for a while on Monday, read Jacqueline Carey’s new book for hours on Tuesday, put LP to sleep while walking around CM on Thursday and keep him asleep for most of the time while I ate and talked, and put an overtired LP to sleep and then let me photo & video edit and write most of this post today, all while holding him close and being hands-free.
Week two was really hard for me. My postpartum anemia was worse than we were all prepared to deal with or aware of. I think that if we’d known just how bad it was, my mother probably would have stayed an extra week. But we made it through the week. There were really rough times, like Tuesday afternoon and Thursday night, when I almost called my mother and begged her to come back. But there were also great moments, like holding him and watching him sleep. And getting to start to know his myriad expressions. And we’ve been really lucky, most nights we can get at least one 4-5 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep.
My days mostly look like this: Wake up for a nurse when Darius leaves for work. Go back to sleep. Either wake up before or with/after the LP. If before, get a chance to eat breakfast first (hopefully…before he wakes up), then morning diaper change and nurse. If with/after, morning diaper change and nurse and then hopefully be able to put baby down long enough to get food myself. Hold the little prince while he sleeps for a few hours. Watch a movie or something on the DVR or On Demand. Midday diaper change and feed. Try to get lunch into my body (hopefully baby is asleep…otherwise use bouncing chair). Hold baby more. Watch more random stuff on tv or try to play with computer and/or phone. Afternoon diaper change. Side nurse turn into afternoon nap. Then Darius is hopefully home and the little prince can get some daddy time while mommy showers or gets some time to herself.
Nursing has been going well. For week two, we were mostly on the nipple shields the whole time. But after reading some articles written by other mothers who had to use them on the La Leche League site, I felt better about doing so myself. Also, he started taking to the left breast often without the shield. And in the cradle hold almost didn’t need it ever. This Tuesday evening, he started not wanting to use it with the right breast either and hasn’t wanted it since. But we’re still figuring out how to get a good latch on the right (the football hold seems to work somewhat), so it’s a work in progress, but a positive one.
Over the weekend we had our first trip to the grocery store and he slept through the entire thing!
We’re definitely into the “I’m in my 3rd week of life and I’ve learned how to cry loudly when I want things” stage. We had two nights earlier this week where it took me 2 hours of nursing and diaper changes and rocking before he finally fell asleep. Also, yesterday we had friends over for a bit and after they left I tried to nurse him a bit, but he started screaming. I put him down for a moment and he fell right asleep. It was amazing. Of course today we had some random screaming, but it didn’t last long. He has been staying awake in between some feedings. I’m not totally sure what to do with him in those cases, but we’re both learning.
Week three has also been about learning to ask friends for help. I think we’ve had someone over either at lunch or around/after dinner time almost every day. Just having someone else to talk to/help out around the house/hold the baby for a little bit has been great.
Lastly, I want to report that we had our two week check-up on Monday. DJ weighed in at 7lbs, 12.5oz. He’s up almost a whole pound from his birth weight, which is amazingly good progress. The midwife said that he was “perfect.” Also, she said that I look to be healing well. We took my blood and my iron count came back at 10.1 (up from 7.5!). I knew I was feeling somewhat better, and it was nice to have confirmation of it. So I’m still anemic and I still get tired a lot and have to take it slow, but I’m recovering.
On Thursday evening my mother and sister came into town. On Saturday we had my baby shower. It was really fantastic and made both Darius and I feel loved and cherished by our friends, family, and community.
The shower was dinosaur themed. So mom and I made dinosaur egg shaped cake pops by using a plastic Easter egg and dying melted white chocolate (and also using milk chocolate). Once they were dry, we set up the nest display made out of floral foam and fake moss. Then Darius did a great job artistically arraigning them. Darius’s mother surprised us with a lovely Edible Arrangement that showed up a few hours before the party. It was so thoughtful of her (and very delicious!).
The party itself went very well. We probably had about 15-20 people show up. We had social time for about an hour and then my sister broke out the games. It started with giving everyone a candle and asking them to inscribe a wish for us. The idea is that whenever they think about Darius, me, and the little one they light the candle and send us good wishes. We’re also asking that people light them as soon as they find out I’m in labor to send the good wishes our way. Yes, sometimes I’m a total hippie pagan. We went around and everyone introduced themselves and told us their wish for us, which was really sweet.
Then my sister had everyone put a note card on their head and draw what the baby would look like. Darius and I picked our two favorite and our two least favorite. Then we had a “name the baby” contest and a “guess these random facts about Darius and Athene’s childhoods” while people cut a length of yarn that they thought would be the size of my belly.
Once and Future
I Dna (read the middle and first name backwards)
Don’t Gender Identify Me Frederick (ok…this is from my sister and is a total family in-joke).
What’s really interesting is that Joseph made a few people’s lists. While we wouldn’t do Joseph as a first name for several reasons, the name actually runs in both families and we’ve been thinking about using it as a middle name.
As for the string around the belly, we played it with Price Is Right rules. I guess I must look bigger than I am because almost everyone totally overestimated. There were two people who got it dead on.
Then it was time for cake pops (yum!) and presents, especially as it was already getting late and some people had to leave. We got lots and lots of great things, some from our registries and some not, but everything we got was definitely stuff that we need. One of the gifts that touched me the most were toys and books and things from a friend’s children because they didn’t need them anymore. I know how hard it can be to give up those sorts of things, so it was really sweet. We also got some presents from my mother’s group of “lady friends” who had thrown her a surprise shower the other week. Lots of great New Orleans stuff so the baby will know his roots. However, the absolute BEST.PRESENT.EVER. was the baby sized Jayne hat. You can see from our faces just how excited we were by it. Yes, we are nerds and Browncoats and we will have the world’s biggest nerd baby (until he grows up and becomes a jock or something).
Lots more pictures from our shower, some from our camera and some from my mother’s:
My sister also took pictures. Here are the ones from her camera:
Now to actually set up the baby’s room, organize all the stuff that we got, and figure out what we still need.
From Thursday night through this morning Darius and I were at a retreat at a local state park. As it has been every year we’ve gone, it was a mostly wonderful experience. I was smart this year and insisted that we sleep in the cabin close to the bathroom and also that we get a eggshell mattress topper for the bed that we were going to be constructing out of two mattresses on the floor. The latter helped me sleep and the former was great for when I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Most of the nights I actually slept through the night with almost no getting up. Last night was the exception. I went to bed “early” (around 11pm). Half woke up when Darius came into bed. Then around 1am I shot straight upright into a sitting position. I had a lot of gas in my chest and needed to burp like crazy. After getting a few burps out, I realized that of course I had to go to the bathroom. I pulled on my pj bottoms and my wrap sweater and went out into the night. After going to the bathroom I realized that I wasn’t ready to go back to bed yet. I still had the “I have to burp” feeling and so I hoped that walking around would help with that. Ambled a bit around the camp site and talked to a few people who were still up and about.
I ended up on the beginning of the ramp leading up to the cabin door, looking up at the one-night-away-from-full moon. I opened up my sweater at the bottoms so that the moonlight was hitting my belly (but it was hard to tell because of all the other light). Then I just started talking, first to the moon and then to my baby, all the while stroking or holding my belly. I asked him if he would wait until another cycle of the moon. I asked him if when the times comes for him to enter the world, if we could work together. I told him I loved him. I told him a great deal of other things, many of which I can’t remember now.
Before last night I was physically getting tired of being pregnant, as I am pretty sure I have Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, however I was not mentally ready to have the baby. After last night, I know that I am ready (as ready as one can ever be) to have a child.
Unfortunately for the rest of the night I was somewhat restless and woke up in the morning in a great deal of pubic pain.
The other thing I really valued this weekend was the sense of community, not just from my friends who were there but from other parents who were there with their children. The parents, even those I’d never met before, let me sit and talk with them and answered my questions and just generally made me feel welcome.