January 28, 2011

Crockpot Cooking for 2.5

Husband and I have agreed that if I'm working part-time and caring for Baby the rest of the time, I will attempt to be the Good Little Indian Wife he thought he married. For those of you who know me, you know that's an insane request. I am Good, I am Little, I am Indian and I am his Wife...but that combination of words does not usually come up when anyone is describing me.  My father asked him if he knew what he was getting himself into when he asked for my hand in marriage, therefore he made an informed decision.

Now that Baby is sleeping for longer stretches and sometimes even at night, I have more time to tend to other things like vacuuming, picking up around the house, cooking and regular showers! We're trying to plan a weekly menu and divvy up the cooking duties. Tonight was my night to make a Vegetarian Crock Pot Curry. I got the recipe from Stephanie O'Dea's blog - A Year of Slow Cooking. It seemed easy enough to adapt to whatever's on hand. Somehow it turned out a little too tomato-ey, but still yummy. I added more yogurt than indicated and used V8 Hot and Spicy which could have accounted for the too much tomato sensation in my mouth. Overall, not so bad for my second attempt at crock pot cooking.

While searching for easy dinner recipes, I learned that I can make desserts like walnut brownies or even some kind of apple/pear thingy.  I'm all over that this weekend while Husband is on a No Girls Allowed Ski Trip.

January 26, 2011

Surprise C-Section

Doc T1 and Doc T2 (yup, same first names) had alternated examining me for the weeks leading up to my due date. Doc T2 said that Baby's head was down at least a month in advance. My due date came and went with no sign of Baby. I was HUGE, I might add. Doc T1 examined me the following Monday and at my instance, checked the position of Baby for good measure. He looked up at me and said,

"You know the baby's breech, right?"

"WHAT??!? Does this mean I need a C-Section?"

A combination of anger, fear, anxiety and even a (tiny) bit of relief washed over me. First of all, how the heck couldn't Doc T2 tell the difference between her bottom and her increasingly off the charts head? Isn't he in the business of babies? I had spent my pregnancy wrapping my head around the idea of hee-hee-hoo breathing, pushing and chomping on ice while my husband said the nicest things he'd ever read off a handout from our childbirth class. Now I had to think about someone cutting my tummy AND uterus open to pull out my child.

Would Husband be present (still saying those nice things from class)? Would my future babies have to be born this way? Would it hurt? Where would they make the incision? How long will it take? Did this make me less of a woman?

As the Doc T1 answered my questions, I started to calm down a bit. We didn't talk about my 'womanhood' as much as the technical details - I'd be in somewhat of a twilight state and Husband could be right next to me while a curtain would separate us from my lower half.  It would take about 15 minutes for them to take Baby out and a little while longer for me to regain sensation while the pain meds would kick in. In the event my water broke before surgery, I would most likely wait it out or have an emergency c-section depending on how my contractions were going.

This all sounded reasonable. I can do this. This won't be that bad.

Off I went to clean, pack, inform family, etc. I had passed the point of sleeping comfortably in bed and found the most tolerable position was propped up on the couch in the living room...which is where I was settling into around 1 am just as I felt a gush of a sweet smelling fluid. I yelled repeatedly for Husband. When I told him my water broke, he asked me to make sure I hadn't just peed in my pants. REALLY? This is when normal people would grab their bags and jump in the car and go. Husband decided to spend 30 minutes getting ready. It felt like an hour. I have no idea what he needed to do, but I was 3 minutes from taking the car and driving myself to the hospital. There were words exchanged, but I won't bore you with those details. Since Baby's head wasn't down, there was nothing plugging the dam, so to speak. I was like a leaky faucet. I had started having contractions and was still walking, talking, breathing but I couldn't feel Baby moving.

Once we arrived at the hospital, I waddled my way into the Labor and Delivery Unit. At this point, things are starting to hurt. I have to answer a lot of questions. Nurse took a blood sample. A lot of people seemed to want to look 'down there' to make sure my water had really broken. Nurse returns with blood test results and says, "Interesting," and waits for Doc T2 (he was on call) and Anesthesiologist to discuss. More questions. hee-hee-hoo More pain. Anesthesiologist informs me that my platelet count has dropped below what they would consider safe for an epidural. hee-hee-hooooooo Essentially, I was at risk for bleeding out by not clotting fast enough. heeeeee-heeeee-hooooooo My other option was to be 'put under' general anesthesia. Given my increasing state of panic and that it was the lesser of two evils, I agreed to being put under. Husband and I barely had any time to process what was happening. Neither one of us knew where they were taking me or that this was it. In what seemed like 10 minutes, the population of my triage room had tripled and they started wheeling me out of the room.  He kissed me 'goodbye' and said he'd see me when I woke up.

If I believed in alien abductions, this is what it would feel like. Everyone had a mask on, I only saw silhouettes with lights behind them. I was wheeled into an even brighter, super sterile operating room. Unfortunately Husband was not allowed in the OR since the situation had escalated to an emergency. I was fighting back tears. This is no time to cry. I'm about to be a mom. There's no crying in baseball. The over-sized digital clock said 3:59 am. Someone said something about a catheter and Anesthesiologist told me to relax and just breathe in some oxygen. This might be an only child household. Just like that, I was out.

I woke up and saw Husband was sitting in the corner snuggling a small, kind of bald (by Indian standards) doll. As I marveled at Baby, I registered excruciating pain. There is a small window of time between anesthesia wearing off and whatever super-duper pain med kicking in. As Nurse connected the drip, she said to push the little button to release the meds. I was all over that button like a gamer playing Halo. If it didn't suck already, Nurse pushed down on my uterus to ensure it was shrinking and going back to it's proper place.    

Couldn't this wait until the pain meds actually entered my system? Are you really sorry? I don't think so.

The rest of a day is a hazy blur of semi consciousness and lots of visitors. I've not posted any pictures of myself in the hospital for a reason. A woman after a C-Section isn't pretty. I was a hot, puffy mess. My incision was actually the only 'pretty' thing on me. Doctor T2 was a perfectionist and had put me back together with a virtually seamless reminder of my first baby. Now, three months later, I have 10 lbs to lose and 1/2 of my incision is invisible. I'm sad Husband and I will never experience delivery the ol' fashioned way, but if it means that we're better able to care for baby afterwards, it's all good. 

January 23, 2011

Crying it Out

I've read a lot about child rearing dos and don'ts. DO encourage tummy time to promote muscle development. Do spend time talking with Baby so she learns language. Do spend time encouraging Baby to explore the world around her, etc.  DON'T over dress Baby to avoid heat rash. DON'T feed baby solids until 6 months. DON'T put Baby on her tummy to sleep. It's getting the Baby to sleep and more importantly stay asleep that is tricky. Baby B is great at dozing off in my arms or snuggled on my chest.  She's even done a great job transferring to the crib. Every once in a while she gets her nights and days switched which is to be expected. I mean, if you lived floating in mostly darkness, would you have any idea which way was up let alone night and day?

In an effort to develop positive sleep habits, we've encouraged Baby to soothe herself. (I read it in a book somewhere). She's successfully put herself back to sleep when she wakes herself up during naps and she hears my voice. There are no tears, no sounds of pain or extreme distress. It's like she just wants to make sure I'm still close by.

Tonight, my husband and I are attempting to let Baby 'Cry it Out'. Literally, right now, she's upstairs crying in her crib. She went to bed about an hour ago woke up about 20 minutes ago. It started out as a whimper then some fun chatting with her giraffe blankie and then onto her bear and even the nice dolly that sits in the corner of the crib (a very safe distance away since she doesn't move enough to warrant taking all that stuff out, yet).

Then it got louder.

Then there were tears.

Now it's an all out screeching but not quite a tea kettle blowing.

Ten minutes passed. I went upstairs and my heart ached when I picked her up. She was crying with her whole body. That gasping-for-air-between-wails-kind of crying. I don't feel as bad as I thought I would...probably because I was able to soothe her. Her eyes were puffy and red and she looked like she'd been through a battle. We discovered that she's inherited her dad's skin (her broken capillaries show through) and my scratchy voice. (It will get worse when she's overtired or goes to church camp - allergies mostly!).

When I picked her up from the crib, I had a flash forward of a day when nothing I say or do will soothe her. Or worse yet, I'm the one who makes her cry like that because I've denied her the latest craze or discourage dating before she's ready. Yikes! She's 3 months old, I have a while before I need to worry about boys, right? Although where did the last three months go? So soon enough, but not today. Time to put Baby back to bed.

January 21, 2011

From Sweats to Suits

Baby B is now 3 months old (and adorable, I might add). She's cooing, holding her head up, clasping her hands and drooling. A lot. She seems to recognize me and laughs when I sing her the alphabet song. It's pretty amazing that this little peanut lived in my body for over 9 months. While she still looks like my husband, we're hopeful her hair will fill in and she'll look more like me soon.

Now that she's not nursing every two minutes, I have started looking for a full time job. I LOVE spending my days and nights ensuring my daughter (still feels strange to use that word) is entertained, clean and has a full belly, but it's time to contribute to the household expenses. I am considering opportunities non profit development/fundraising, retail, and consulting. I've put off shopping for 'big girl clothes' as long as possible since I keep telling myself I'll lose the weight. The nursing every two minutes did allow me to lose over 20 lbs since coming home from the hospital, but it still leaves me one size larger than any of my suits. My mom friends tell me it takes nine months to put it on and it will take nine months to take it off. Since I don't have nine months before interviewing and such, I went shopping. Correction, I went nuts shopping. Well, not Confessions-of-a-Shopoholic-nuts, but a little beyond my normal coupon-and-promotional-sale-combining ways. I ended up with some good finds - a suit, a few shirts, an adorable orange hooded cable knit sweater, two dresses and lounge wear a.k.a. - sweats!

My husband HATES frumpy sweats. He apparently associates them with laziness or lack of attention for one's looks. I would like to stress that he doesn't think of me this way, just a generalization based on his previous experiences with those who wear sweat pants excessively. I argue that they are a quick, easy to clean and comfy option for a mom who barely has time to shower. Since marriage is about compromise, we agreed 'cute' sweats are okay for home and errands, just not social outings. I digress.

So this whole business of suit wearing or rather buttoning is quite disheartening. Why can't everything be forgiving as elastic? Clearly suit makers are not concerned with postpartum moms returning to the workplace or even civilized society, for that matter. I miss the days of walking into my favorite store and knowing exactly what style and fit suited me best. In all my searches for clothes that fit, only elastic or maternity pants worked for six weeks after Baby B arrived. I have spent many of Baby B's naps trying things on, getting frustrated, buying, returning, exchanging and even crying a few times. I know it will take time and I should be patient, and I really don't look that bad....but trousers don't lie. These hips will never be the same.

I really wish there were more options for postpartum clothing. They make clothes that grow with you, why can't they make clothes that shrink with you as well? Maybe that's my million dollar idea.

In the meantime, one size up suit, here I come.