Friday, August 27, 2010

friday photos

To keep Genghis's growing fan base satisfied, I will attempt to post a few photos every Friday. If I miss a week, it's probably because Genghis didn't sleep very well Thursday night, couldn't get to sleep for his morning nap, or slept fitfully in the afternoon (all likely scenarios).

He loves walks in his stroller.

And baths.

It's hard to see him in this one because he's in camouflage.

Sometimes we get a quiet moment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

doing strange things

Abe and I have found ourselves engaged in strange behaviors since Genghis came into the world.

I composed this blog post entirely in my head at 3:30 am while nursing. At the time, I thought it was good practice in the event that I am ever kidnapped. While nursing earlier the day before, I listened to a "This American Life" episode about hostages, during which a kidnapping survival expert offered the following advice to victims:

1) bring along or ask for a book so you have something to stave off boredom - if in Central or South America, request a Bible because they'll sympathize with your religious fervor
2) don't try to bargain for yourself because it only increases expectations for the eventual payout later on
3) find ways to exercise your mind and body rather than falling into a lethargic daytime routine

Memorizing this blog post while nursing was practice in #3. Although, now that I think about it, all three tips seem applicable to surviving nursing a baby. I've kept Jeff Shaara's Gods & Generals propped up on the zebra next to the rocking chair (on page 300-something). Genghis is thus far unresponsive to my incentive structures for him to stay awake through his feeding or sleeping longer in between. And lethargic doesn't begin to describe how I spend my waking moments.

But Genghis holds Abe and I hostage not just in body but also in mind.

Three scenarios from the past 2 weeks.

First, Genghis wakes in the middle of the night. He is performing his "freak out" cry, as we have called it, in the other room. Abe sits bolt upright in bed, eyes closed, completely asleep, and loudly goes "Shhhhhuuuuuushhhh!" I gently pat Abe's arm and tell him that Mom is already tending to Genghis and that his well-meaning shush-ing probably isn't doing much good anyway.

Second, I wake up in the early morning hours groping my pillow, convinced that I can feel Genghis's chubby legs in there. He is trapped, and I have been sleeping on him for the last 2 hours. I scare myself into consciousness and do the only reasonable thing, which is to stick my arm down my pillow case and feel around in all the corners just to make sure there isn't really a baby hidden inside.

Third, Genghis starts crying again in the middle of the night. Abe and I both start to stir. Abe slides one hand under my neck and lays the other across my stomach and starts rocking me gently back and forth. I'm pretty sure he is also shush-ing. I turn to him and say, "I'm not the baby", to which he responds, "Oh, well, where's the baby?" I tell him to go back to sleep and I go console Genghis in the other room.

After reflecting on these events, I'm not sure if cosleeping would be a better or worse option for our family life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

baby tai chi

I've been trying to get back into doing my yoga routines with Chaz. But Genghis is more of a Tai Chi guy...

Monday, August 9, 2010

if looks could kill

I may have given birth last Sunday, but on Saturday I officially became a mother.

I woke up at 6:30 for our morning feeding (after our 3:15 snack) and sat in the lamplight of the nursery for 1 hour while we worked through nursing. At 7:30 I realized we needed to leave in 10 minutes to get to our appointment with the pediatrician on time. With Genghis slung over one arm, I packed our diaper bag, readied the car seat with blanket cushioning around the head area, and ate a bowl of cereal. I must have put him down to pull on some pants and a shirt, and then we were out the door.

As we drove down the road I realized I hadn't even looked at myself in the mirror. And, what truly makes me a mom, I really didn't care.

Some random photos from the last few days...

Abe thinks our stroller/car seat travel system looks like an armored vehicle.

On a walk Saturday morning, after I had time to put a headband in, before I actually showered. Abe & I may look fresh and smiley, but Genghis reflects what we are both feeling inside.

Grandma fixes everything.

My favorite candid grandma shot.

Genghis gets a bath.

Not really a fan.

Calm, clean baby.

Monday, August 2, 2010

an unexpectant mother

(written on Monday night at 8:00pm)

On Saturday morning, over a blueberry waffle breakfast, I commented to Abe that it may be the last Saturday of our lives. With our due date 8 days away, it was within the realm of possibility that things would be different the next week.

Or the next day.

I woke up on Sunday morning around 7am feeling contractions that I timed to 8-10 minutes apart. About an hour later, as Abe was waking up, I rolled over and told him not to be alarmed, but things might be moving forward.

We brainstormed everything we hadn't done yet that we needed to do before the baby came: put together a contact list for announcing the birth, finding the off-hours number for our midwives, packing a hospital bag, doing the dishes from the night before, hanging pictures in the baby room, washing crib sheets, installing the car seat, throwing out a pile of cardboard boxes cluttering up our bedroom.

And then we spent the morning checking things off the list. We finished the baby room around 11 am and then wrote a blog post about it. The last photo in that post was taken just as I was starting a contraction. You can tell because my shoulders have tensed up compared to the photo before.

We were trying not to focus on contractions too much, so I don't know exact timing. I believe they were about 5-7 minutes apart starting at noon. I was starving and wussie foods like popsicles and ice chips weren't going to do it, so I had a bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala leftover from the night before (just the curry part, no chicken). Abe & I played some board games on the floor, and every time he took his turn I would get up on my hands and knees and work through a contraction. I actually won one of the games, too.

We went for a short walk and tidied up some more. Abe was wonderful about being near me (or giving me space when I needed it) and always telling me how great I was doing. being near Around 3pm the contractions were strong enough that I mostly just paced the house until it was time and then I'd stake out the table or couch back to lean on. I asked Abe to figure out car seat installation, and when he was done we timed the contractions again. It was 4pm and I happened to have a particularly long and intense contraction that time. Abe & I both looked at each other and said, "it's time". He called the midwives and timed another set of contractions (under 3

Let me just pause to explain what we were both thinking. We planned for a natural labor and delivery, and wanted to spend as much time as we could at home. We thought we'd make it to the hospital on the upswing of things becoming pretty intense.

Which basically happened.

Except that once things became intense they also progressed very quickly. I'd been holding steady at the 5-minute contractions for much of the day, so I just figured the next phase would take awhile too.

I got into triage at 4:45pm and they started doing all the things hospitals do. About halfway through that process I felt the labor pains change pretty clearly. I used vocalization as one of my coping techniques and let's just say that most people in the birthing center halls knew I was there. I measured in at 8 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced (translation: baby is coming soon).

They took me to my birthing room where I eagerly anticipated a bath tub where I could progress through more of the contractions. Two things prevented this. First, the baby's heart rate was somewhat irregular so they had to use continuous monitoring. Second, by the time the tub filled up it was basically too late. I was up on the bed and a few contractions later started pushing.

At 6:29, a beautiful little baby was screaming on my chest.

I still can't believe that so much in life can change in 12 hours (not counting the 9 months it took to grow this guy). I also can't believe that I was lucky enough to have such an agreeable and uncomplicated delivery.

And now, 24 hours, 7 feedings, 3 hospital meals, and 2 hours of sleep later, I'm beginning to think that no matter what my labor and delivery may have looked like, things are just starting to get intense.

But he's also the cutest Genghis* I've ever seen.

*I decided to keep calling him Genghis on this blog. If you know his real name please still use Genghis in the comments. If you don't know his real name and want to, just email or comment and I'll let you know.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

project baby room: complete

This morning we mostly finished getting the baby room together. I still have 3 canvases to paint and hang, but I'm waiting for artistic inspiration.

Here's the safari side of the room. We didn't mean to go with an animal kingdom theme, but it's sort of inevitable with a 4-ft giraffe and zebra in the room.

And here's the utilitarian side of the room. The canvases will go on this wall to brighten things up (I'm thinking they'll be primarily orange).

To get the "lived in" effect. I also look very pregnant in these pictures.

Our goal was colorful, fun and frugal. Here's the approximate price breakdown:
Changing table: $15
Changing table baskets (6): $30
Changing pad: free
Pack n play: $35
Sheets (2): $20
Giraffe and zebra, other assorted animals: free/gifts
Glider rocking chair: $35
Fabric to recover rocking chair: $10
Curtains: $20
Curtain rods: $3
Nightstand: $5
Spray paint for changing table and nightstand: $12
Swing: free
Yellow wall paint: $25
Orange frame paint: $10
Big frame: $10
Small box frames: $2
Fabric and felt for frames: $8
Diaper pail: free

Total: $240