Wednesday, December 31, 2003

er, I don't usually worry about the odd long visit. but isn't 163 minutes and a total of 40 page page views in a single day a bit, um, creepy, 148.87.1.#?

good: giving baby to dh for sleep procedures while I catch a nap.

bad: dh unwrapping baby, putting him on the floor and staring into his eyes while he screams, waking me ("I was trying to soothe him")

good: me wrapping baby, putting him on bed facing away from me and rocking him and getting him to sleep in 5 minutes flat.

bad: then being unable to go back to sleep, trashing plans for swim later and any semblance of a pleasant evening. (woke at 6 today...)

dh is keeping well clear of me right now...

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

bad: baby waking after half an hour of nap.

good: baby going back to sleep for 90 minutes!

queen of nap, me.

Monday, December 29, 2003

xmas has been keeping me busy - yesterday A was the centre of much aunty attention - after a horror drive in heavy traffic to the family gathering during which I had to stop to feed him because his crying was causing me such distress.

so had to save various bits to blog - and now having to rush anyway.

Nephew and tiny daughter and t.d.'s mother came to stay unexpectedly the night before the family do. it was kind of nice, getting up in the night to feed A and hearing tiny baby mewling noises from the other room too. and hanging about doing baby care with another couple, even if such an odd one. (he's only 20 after all, and I held him when he was just bigger than A. is now) it's so cute seeing him, all sinew and young male muscle in his work singlet, holding this tiny 8lb pink-dressed thing, feeding her and kissing her.

of course the thing ran all day, so no nap yesterday and dead-tired today. lucky A. is a relatively good sleeper - one wakeup a night is more than enough when I have to wake for the toilet once or twice as well.

being so tired, I sometimes get flashes of dreams. not current ones either - old ones from years ago. must be existing on a sub-conscious scale sometimes. other times, going to sleep, I feel kind of small and rounded, like I'm in touch with my baby self again. weird, but that's how it feels. I curl up and know what it's like to be tiny and helpless, weak-limbed and full of milk

and last night, dogtired and dealing with an unhappy little boy, it hit me how much responsibility I have now. his happiness, his future mental health, his feelings of confidence and security, rest on me. I know his personality and character are already there - my job is to let it come out in full flower - but it's still a huge thing, being prime custodian of another person's entire life, existence and future wellbeing.

speaking of dogs, ours is doing OK with A. but I hate our neighbours' dog, who barks in the afternoon, rouses me from naps and would rouse A. if I didn't lie with my arm over him, almost literally holding him under in sleep.

and this last is a sad, sad thing. a friend rang to apologise for not visiting when he'd said he would. they have a toddler and were ttc again. turns out his wife had a miscarriage, the whole ugly bad news at the ultrasound, d & c, other rellos announcing their pregnancy on Christmas day disaster. lucky I don't believe in God anyway, or I'd question what he's up to with all that. no fair, no fair.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

I thought I wanted a girl. it was one of those secret thoughts that you brush aside, because it's wrong and courting disaster to boot. but I secretly thought I'd be more pleased with a girl.

and he's a boy. and now I cannot imagine anything I want more than to have a boy child, a young man in the making. To look forward to seeing him grow big and strong, with my dh and my father and brothers and my male side all mixed up in him. and I can't quite get my head around what I'd do with a girl anyway - another female in the household. a boy will, of course, adore his mother, never pass judgement on her and certainly not spend his teenage years hating her or reminding her how old she's got. at least, that's my fond hope now.

I'm so glad I've got a boy. and if I get another, I'll be even happier. if I never have a daughter, that's OK now. you can't want things to be other than they are.

Friday, December 26, 2003

a little pregnant is making good wishes for Christmas. add your prayers to Santa to hers; it's all true.

at a bbq on Christmas Eve I was talking to another mother and took her over to see A, whom dh was holding.

the woman sitting next to dh, a friend's neighbour, then told the other mother that her overseas adoption had been approved; they've been allocated a baby who is six months, and will get her six months from now, from India (her husband is Indian, which will help). so of course I offered warm congratulations and did my level best not to say anything stupid. I think I did OK. but it confirmed my gut feeling, when talking to her and another childless woman earlier, that smugness about having a baby is just plain wrong. I did decide it would be dumb to mention IVF at that point, too. when we went to see the IVF dr last week (she wasnt' in, try again later), I sent dh in to the office while I lurked outside, because there was a couple sitting in the waiting area; and I feel so guilty being so lucky, when I know that clinic is still crawling with people ttc.

quick post b/c he won't let me sit still: have made a "books read while feeding" section down on the left.

am interested in the Montessori Method, despite the vagueness of the book I've just read on it.

and A. is getting more and more interactive, both with toys and people; much more eye contact and recognizable gaping toothless smiles.

very tired: inlaws xmas last night went to 11:30 pm. got to sleep at 1.30. up again at 5.30. yawn. naps not enough. but still swam today. would really like another swimming mother to play with so we could share the care: felt guilty and rushed the whole time I was out, despite coming home to a sleeping happy baby.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

there's an old song by Spike Milligan: I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas ( to get the effect you have to hold your nose, sing in a highpitched voice and draw out the word "chreeestmasss" like that).

today to get A. to the car to go out for a breakfast with friends, I walked backwards along the path to shade his eyes from the sun, and sang him his Christmas song...

we've yet to do the big present-opening, but I've already decided to start a Christmas album, with photos just of Christmases for him. maybe one day it'll have 80 years of pix in it.

Monday, December 22, 2003

a post on my bulletin board has reminded me: exactly a year ago I did my second beta test on my biochemical pg. which means tomorrow is the anniversary of the miscarriage - and that's what is was, early as it was.

the inhabitant of Chez Miscarriage says it all, and more. but I'm lucky, because although I wonder sometimes about that first "grade one emby", if that had succeeded, I wouldn't have had Alexander - or he would have still been in the freezer, awaiting the outcome of our eventual second attempt, if we get one.

second attempts...when dh and I fight I also think that I can't leave him b/c then I'd lose access to that second chance. and yes, I'd like another one. they're a bit like Tim Tams, hey?

the annoying man who came to fit the blinds said lots of dumb things, like "we never worried about that" (in reference to getting babies to sleep) and called me "mum" to boot.

but he did say one thing that stuck with me: the more grief the baby gives one, the more one loves it, or words to that effect. a dumb comment in one sense, but in another very true; a sick baby, or an unhappy one, can draw you in more forcefully than one who is merely placid and happy.

tried, and failed, to show him off to our IVF dr this morning. try again in January, I guess. he had a pointless visit to the paediatrician, where he was pronounced to be a "good healthy one".

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I call him beetle a lot.

last night I dreamt that he started to crawl. I called my Mum in from the next room to see. suddenly he turned into a beetle and flew around the room. I kept asking Mum to get a jar so I could catch him but she wouldn't. then I lost track of him and was wondering how to explain to people where the baby had gone - and how I'd feed him if he was a beetle.

later I found him on the sideboard. he had lovely long yellow shellacky wings and was munching on a piece of cheese. I was pleased to see he was eating and fed him some of the bready thing I was eating. dream over.

maybe I should call him Gregor instead.

Friday, December 19, 2003

while bf-ing I managed to finish Will Self's Great Apes, which I started before A. came.

two passages keep recurring to me: one, where the protaganist, who is a human who has become a chimpanzee, or maybe a chimpanzee who thinks he's a human in a chimp body, is crying out for his children: "I want my infant's bodies". he misses the shape, feel and smoothness of tiny humans.
and another, where a character is musing on potential motherhood, and though revolted by the idea of the dependence and bf-ing, thinks something like "once you have children, you can't wish that your life had been otherwise".

(I've also started and finished a long biography of Spike Milligan - didn't really do it for me, it shows that he didn't have great access to people close to Spike, and am now tossing up between Goon Show scripts and Patrick White's Eye of the Storm. as you do. the scripts are winning, so now my head is fully of silly voices.)

but on the body of the child: though my head is foggy and my eyes want to close, one of the best moments with A. is at 3 or 4 am when he wakes up from a deep sleep and half-awake, tosses his head about and waves his arms and legs like an overturned beetle, searching for food. I get up and lean over his crib, tell him "I'm going to feed you now", unwrap him and collect him in my arms, still lying down. his head is against my left breast and his bare chest (it's very hot at night now) exudes that fabulous new-baby warm scent. he waves his arms and legs even faster and head-butts the nipple through my bra while I carry him to the change table. and sometimes, when I'm lucky, I collapse into the feeding chair and he locks on in one go and I can doze through 30 minutes while he gets on with his work.

that few seconds between picking him up and landing in the chair does something to me; it's the vulnerability, the warmth, the blind wriggling in faith that food will make its way to his mouth soon. and the sheer - erotic? - fact of his beautiful smooth flesh.

(this morning his improved nipple-homing and head control allowed me to just feed in bed before breakfast, and I think I even slept for a few seconds while he did it!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

more linky love. no time to read now. later.

good things about having a baby later than most of your friends/siblings:

they have lots of spare stuff to give you; not only money-saving on clothes etc, but also useful things you might not have thought of, like the floor rocker that is my latest weapon in the Sleep Wars

they are sympathetic to your baby issues

they are pleased, not horrified, when they hear you're pg

they (especially the women) think new babies are the bees' knees

you've already spent ages visiting/sitting/indulging their kids, so you can take/ask for help and visits without feeling guilty.

ah, now I know how to get him to go down for a (checks clock) 3 1/2 hour nap in the morning. plan to go out.
I didn't really want to go to the 11 am crybaby session of Mystic River anyway. well, I did, but not enough to wake him for. maybe I'll see a movie next year.
probably be lucky if it's one.
it's increasingly clear that getting him to sleep well is dependent on a good tight wrapping. dh is better at it than I am, but I think I'll just have to learn. dh's wraps do tend to ride up to mouth level, if not higher, in A's sleep, so we're working on that too.
last night he slept from 7.30 pm to 3.15 am. bliss. is this turning into a sleep blog? well, it's all that matters, isn't it?

(and to get him to wake up? settle into a nice quick cruise on the Internet. sigh.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

10 pm: dh gets baby to sleep after 40 minutes (20 each) of crying and rocking.
11 pm: I go to sleep
0.48 am: wake up to sound of baby thrashing about, half-awake and working up to a feed.
1.15 am: wake up properly. change baby, feed for total of 25 minutes in small blocks. A. doesn't seem to want to settle down to the job.
2.15 am: stealthily wrap baby, place in bassinet beside bed, turn on monitor and go back to kitchen for a snackeroony.
2.18: small noise from monitor. check. baby moving but not screaming.
2:30 back in bed.
4:45: baby awake and complaining.
4:50: cancel nappy change and place baby back in bassinet on cloth nappy. listen to baby squeeze out huge noisy poos for 10 minutes or so.
5:05: change incredibly full and runny nappy.
5:15-6:45: more halfhearted feeding, insterspersed with screaming.
6:00: crawl back into bed with still-awake baby. baby screams, dh gets up for work. eventually rock A. to sleep on my chest, and find it surprisingly comfortable to sleep with 4.5 kg of human on my chest and a small elbow dug into my throat.
6:40: dh's alarm goes off. pull annoying radio cord out of wall, dislodging baby. resettle him on his back on the bed, but I know it won't last while his arms are free and he can startle easily.
7:00: baby wakes again, demand more food. stagger to lounge, gently remind dh about turning off his alarm, collapse into the feeding chair.
7:25: change nappy
7:30: grocery delivery comes half an hour before the allotted time slot. whinge to delivery person. if I'd been asleep, it would have been more than a whinge.
7:45: feed baby some more.
8:45: after 1 hr of complaining and rocking by dh and myself, dh walks out the door as I put baby in the chest carrier. silence!
9:00: attempt to ever so gently move sleeping baby out of carrier onto bed to be wrapped for sleep. as his right leg comes free of the carrier, his mouth opens and a huge scream comes out. 0-100 decibels in .3 of a second, what a champion!
9:20: repeat attempt at removing baby. same thing happens.
9:30: begin days' chores fully resigned to spending the rest of my life with A. exactly wherever the hell A. wants.
9:35: discover that it's not so hard to go to the loo while wearing a baby. wonder about showers, though...

and so forth.

Monday, December 15, 2003

oh, and my friend had her baby at last; another little boy.

she ended up going to 43 weeks, then into labour, then finding the head was too big. so after all the hippy birth class stuff, we both had caesarians. but of course she's in love with the new baby. I guess I've got to visit her, her baby being younger than mine...

well, we did it: we drove a 250 k return trip to visit my parents and see my nephew's baby girl. and nothing exploded, including me. sure, there were some hairy moments, and A. was pretty grumpy by the time we got home. but for most of the way he slept, he didn't carry on too much at the folks' place, he got handed around his cousins (and I got to hold his second cousin, who is amazingly light, yet the same weight A. was when he was born).

so it can be done. today I'm half-ready to go out to a toyshop to complete the Christmas shopping (bar dh's present - who knows what I'll get him). but meanwhile, A. is sleeping beautifully and I'm not waking him to put him in the car. getting the shopping done AND giving him his bath AND hanging out/bringing in the washing will be too much to ask of one day, though. the only way I'd do that is to skip my pm nap, and things get ugly if I do that.

his eyes are a bit irritated. so I'm expressing milk to drop into them; the nurse said "just squirt it in", but more ends up on his hair than his eyes that way. if that doesn't work, it's off to the dr. don't like the idea of medication for him, poor little sweetie.

Friday, December 12, 2003

boy, am I getting good at multitasking: listening to see if A has settled while running water to rinse washing, while logging on...

not very conducive to deep thought and not flooding the laundry, but it gets stuff done.

I've discovered the Rock. it's a particular pace and position on my shoulder that almost always works, eventually. I think it came about by accident when I was on the couch with him, talking on the phone and he fell asleep. I remembered this later and tried it - and it worked! now I do it all the time to get him to sleep. of course then I have to get him into bed w/out waking him, and he has to stay asleep, which requires a special supertight wrap. if anyone knows where to buy baby straitjackets, let me know; if not, maybe I'll make one with Velcro on the arms, and perhaps even go into business selling them. also need to teach dh the Rock, I guess.
the sleep campaign is having mixed results. he's sleeping more, but still only 12-13 hours all up, which is on the low side for a newborn. grumpiness is under control, but, so it's worthwhile.

mil update: she's fine, really, but yesterday when she was holding him and he started to chuck, I just had to grab him because I can't stand to watch all that milk thrown up, not that she was doing anything wrong specifically. she then kind of hovered and then at one point said "you do what you want with him", being a reference to me reclaiming him. to which I kind of blurted "oh, I am". as if I wouldn't do what I wanted, or need permission. maybe I was being a tad apologetic, but still, it was an odd thing to say at all.

and today he was weighed: now 4.3 kg, longer and head bigger. what a good pumpkin. nurse also assured me that he was smiling at me. I still have my doubts, but that's what she said.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

hah! nap! hah!

darling A. has got himself overtired and screamed pretty much continuously (when I wasn't trying to shove a nipple in his mouth) right through 2 hours of my tiredest time yesterday. so I did the obvious thing: rang dh and left several incoherent messages begging him to come home early. finally got 1/2 an hour about 4.30pm and emerged to find he'd come straight home, and spent the rest of the evening pretty much ignoring A. except for feeds while dh did all the baby-wrangling. (and feeds aren't insignificant - 4 1/2 hours of solid nipple-chewing yesterday)

like someone once said: you don't ask, you don't get. and I needed that help. what a sweetie.

now my only goal is to get A. to sleep heaps until he's back on track again. thankfully, he did sleep for 5 1/2 straight hours last night - followed up by a 5 am shouting session, but I'll take what I can get.

took him to the shops this morning just to get out of the house and once again he was admired muchly by other mothers. that'll be me one day soon: "new baby? lemme at 'im!!"

Sunday, December 07, 2003

my caffeine moratorium is going well. sure, in the afternoons when I wake from a nap I have to eat about a kilo of refined sugar (Turkish Delights and organic jelly snakes, mostly) to get the same effect as chocolate. but I'm sleeping better.

I can't stop quoting this woman. look, just go there.
"One of these days, I'm going to walk into CNN with a dozen infertile women armed with Medieval weaponry (flails, maces, helms, and so forth) and take over their entire operation. Then, for 24 hours, I will broadcast real information regarding infertility. I'll call my program, "Infertility: We're Not All STD-Riddled Whores and Career-Obsessed Investment Bankers. It's True!"

The media portrayal of infertility is intolerably offensive. Invariably, infertility is depicted as being a female problem - despite the fact that 40% of infertility is due to male factors. (40% is due to female factors, of which age is only a subset, and 20% is due to unexplained or unknown factors). But infertility is not merely portrayed as being a female problem - no, it's portrayed as being a female problem of a particular and familiar type: selfishness. So selfish that we all waited until we were 47 and rich with stock options before trying to conceive..."

and, dare I venture it, she's funny too. in an I-can't-believe-I'm-laughing-at-this painful, wrenching way. anyone who references Strunk and White and Jackson Pollack in one post on infertility is definitely worth reading.

"On a personal level, many women do not get pregnant because in their heart they really do not want to..."

And how can you fucking live with yourself, you revolting ort, knowing that you've lied in print to vulnerable women about "studies" you know full well to be severely flawed, long outdated, methodologically inaccurate, and worthy of little more than being used to start a cozy winter fire, simply to support your very own cash cow?

I don't know what an ort is, but this lady is not only angry but highly articulate with it. anyone who calls her infertility blog "chez miscarriage" is really facing down the issues, hey?

via An Unsealed Room, which has linked to me via someone else, and so in a daisy chain of links...

Friday, December 05, 2003

and before I have a whinge, more on those thoughts from last night - that for most of my life I've been at some level avoiding fully experiencing things - when you let everything in, it can be overwhelming or even threatening. there have been exceptions, things I've revelled in, but often I've ended up being exhausted by them, having to draw back.

now - though I suppose drawing back is an option - I don't want to. I am so completely here, so willing to grasp every second and every feeling and take it into myself. partly because I know I will never be here again, quite like this. partly because I know I nearly wasn't this lucky. and partly just because that's what babies do to you, I guess.

(whinge: after a fabulous sleep - only 1 1/2 hours for the night feed! - at 6.10 this morning dh got up early and let the bedroom door squeak really loudly. this of course woke A. and my sleep-in was history. I felt like I could almost have been normal today, given that extra hour. dh is now SO bringing home some WD-40 or similar for the squeaking door...)

they talk about postnatal depression, and I can see where that comes from - the repitition, the sleeplessness, the mundanity - but what about postnatal joy?. what about being about to turn off the light at night and catching sight of your 22-day-old son's sleeping face and spending the next 15 minutes transfixed, staring at his squashed-up little features (admittedly designed to set off protective feelings in adult humans!). what about looking down at the whorl on the back of his head as he sleeps on your chest? what about staring into his eyes, tickling his feet, settling back into the chair as he locks onto your breast and begins to drawn nourishment from you?

and as Nick Cave sings, I don't believe in an interventionist God. but if I did, I'd ask him not to intervene when it comes to you, not to touch a hair on your head. and if the world takes everything else from me, I just want to be left this: my child.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

eeergh. blaah. yes, last night his Beetleness decided to be awake from midnight to 3am. whether it was a plus or a minus that this meant I got to witness one of the heaviest and most dramatic electrical/rain/hailstorms in living memory is debatable. and no, I don't think it was the weather keeping him awake. it was 3 nappy changes, a crying jag and a big vomit. what a great time to be giving up caffeine. so I'm feeling doubly blah today - but lack of a morning cup of tea did seem to allow me to sleep for 15 minutes at 11am, when I'd normally be wide awake. strangely, I think sleepiness this is good, not bad.

more perspective: a work friend rang to chew over with me (syntax? huh? wassthat? too sleepy to remember I used to write for a living!) the pressure she's under to be induced. she did the same hippy birth class as me, and is now 41 weeks and a bit, in the public system. there are no signs at all of natural labour commencing. she's starting to be very scared and disappointed - she was so counting on going naturally, and now a caesar is looking more likely than that. so I made all the right "it's not so bad" noises and encouraged her to still hope it would be OK - and thought that hey, at least I went into labour and had a go at it. it would be so weird for just nothing to have happened.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

(blogger refused to post, but hooray, I'd saved this!)

-then I go over to the bulletin boards and there's an update from a woman whose baby was so premmie it barely made it. 5 months on they're still living in hospital. his vision is "diminished" and she's delighted he has hearing in one ear. and for the second time today I burst into tears (the first was when I started thinking again about what happened during labour). nothing like perspective, is there?

after a sooky/chucky morning in which I got nothing done but his bath, total nap time so far: 2 1/2 hours.
my time in bed beside him: 1 hr 45
my actual sleep time: 15 minutes.

this will drive me crazy. I used to be able to nap for anything from 30 to 90 minutes if I caught the right time of the afternoon. today it was the neighbours' annoying dog barking at thunder that woke me, but it's a pattern of overall sleeping difficulty that I don't like. I never have slept well, but when I'm lucky to get 5 hours a night, naps are not an optional extra...

this site has some advice, but I need to get serious about it. Valerian isn't really OK or not OK, it seems, so I'll have to skip that. I guess I need to start by giving up tea and chocolate altogether. I also need to make sure I eat more in the evenings, I think. a few years back I did hypnotherapy and took some serious herbal concoctions mixed up for me by a naturopath, but time and bf rule both those out now.

getting quite ratty with dh. asked him this morning if he could possibly get that video we've been talking about for months in the next couple of days. he said he'd need a half day to go shopping for it! like we have time for that now. so I said I'd just go buy one myself, which of course made him go all thingy on me. I mean, I asked nicely. and he has had MONTHS to do this. notice he's had lots of time to "research" big TV screens and still cameras. my folks took their video back 8 days ago and I want to get more tape of A's newborn reflexes - that cute throw-the-arms-up startle and his little stepping motions - before they go. dh just isn't good at fast decisions, and this is not something I can wait for. so my choices are: nag him and get the cold shoulder. or just buy one online and get told off. double sigh.

Monday, December 01, 2003

I can't figure out how the date of Thanksgiving is calculated (we don't do that here), but I'm there in spirit.

Especially when I see the heartbreaking honesty in blogs like this IVF one: having been there, I sometimes want (when pregnant and now) to put a label on my belly/the pram saying "I'm not taking this for granted: if you're doing it hard ttc, I've been there and I wish with all my heart you get this too." So send her sticky thoughts so that next Thanksgiving, she can make all those annoying relatives travel to her (God knows I've done enough going-to all my parent friends over the years and I'm happily sitting here in my baby temple letting them come and worship us for a change).

(via Dawn)

today's news: made it to the baby health centre all by myself in the new car, on time even. he's put on more than 500grams in ten days, has grown 4cm in length since birth and is otherwise doing very well. then I wandered around the local shops being doted on by older mothers (as well as the baby-love secret mothers keep until you're one of them, I think there's a deeper, darker one: what we really love is BABIES. kids are OK and we adore them, of course, as I do my favourite nephew, but new babies are a drug unparalled with special powers over the female psyche).

so anyway, he's big enough for the Baby Bjorn carrier now: and he's instantly addicted to nodding off on my chest. I'm just so glad to have my left hand back. I'm sure it will help with the old shoulder injury/associated headaches that feeding and one-arm carrying has also renewed.

the bad news is that I stupidly, idiotically, hefted the 12 kg pram into the boot of the car for the outing - in twice and out once, it's still in there - and when I got home I discovered the pink lochia (bleeding) that is normal for weeks after birth was heavier and bright red: not a good sign at all. and a nasty piece on the news about the dangers of caesars for subsequent pregnancies has made me realise how important it is that I let my uterus recover properly - the skin scar is the least of my worries. So I've taken the rest of the day off any housework and let dh know that I'd kind of like him home a bit earlier today - he's back on 7pm get-homes, which is probably half an hour later than I really need. read somewhere that after a son is born, men work longer hours than after a daughter. plus marriages with sons are less likely to end in divorce - weird, probably sexist, but there it is.

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