Monday, February 8, 2010

Who needs Ambien when you've got an infant?

I decided maybe it'd be a good idea to keep this blog alive so I'd have a place to write about mommy/baby types of things without boring people who read my other blog (all two of them) who don't care about that sort of stuff. I used to like to write about more anecdotal humor types of things, you know, stuff that happened to me as I went about my life, and now nothing happens to me that doesn't relate to the baby. Which I guess is just the way it goes. I used to have random encounters with actors and homeless people and alcohol and now I have random encounters with urine and drool and ass ointments.

So we had our baby November 25th, his name is Tobias Chandler Fidalgo. We call him Toby. He is perfect and completely healthy and he is a veritable chunk of boy, weighing in at over 13 pounds at his two month appointment. One of these days I'll do a post about the actual birth experience, which was quite something, but suffice it to say it was not pain-free and I'm glad it didn't last any longer than 12 hours or I might have given up on the whole idea entirely. I'm supposed to be returning to work in two days, which is really hard to believe. On the one hand, I'd rather not have to work so I could be the one to take care of my son. But on the other hand, I've decided that I wouldn't make the ideal stay at home mom. Part of it probably has to do with giving birth in the winter; winter has always made me a little stir crazy and being stuck inside with no adults has sort of compounded that problem. I have trouble compartmentalizing when I'm home all day with the baby. I look around and the house is a disaster and I think, "I'm home, I should clean up." But cleaning up never ends. There is always a stack of clothes to either be washed or put away. The rug always needs to be vacuumed, the dishwasher always needs to be run, the recycling always needs to be taken out. If I didn't have a baby to look after I could really keep this place looking good but then, if I didn't have a baby that wouldn't take much effort at all. And I'm not even that anal-retentive; think how rough it would be on someone who is, you know, actually neat.

So back to work I go. At least I'll be able to eat lunch with both hands. I'll be working Fridays from home and we'll have to see how that goes. Toby's not quite as high-needs as he was those first few weeks. For the first few weeks of his life I'd look up at the clock and it would suddenly be 11 pm and I'd still be in pajamas with a half-drunk cup of coffee next to me going, "Jesus, it's 11 o'clock already!!?"

The sleep thing is the major obstacle to full-on parental bliss, which I knew it would be. I was more phobic about that than I was about the pain of labor, and I was right to be. Labor lasted one day but the sleep deprivation marches on and on....and on. I remember going to Target when the T. was about 2 weeks old and standing in the middle of an aisle trying to remember what I had gone there for and almost falling sleep on my feet. It's gotten a little better than that but not much. I'm still getting up several times a night of course, and I have to confess that I do not do so cheerfully. I do so with varying degrees of resentment and agitation.

Lately it usually goes something like this: Toby will go to sleep way later than he should, like between 10 and 11. I go to sleep as soon as I possibly can thereafter. He wakes up anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours later and he cries. Paul may or may not have come to bed by this time, but if he has and he's asleep, he doesn't hear anything so I usually take this first one myself. I go in to feed him and try to get him to go back to sleep, with some kind of combination of rocking and jiggling him about. He falls back to sleep so I wait a few minutes to make sure he's really good and out before I try to put him back in his crib. I try to make my movements in doing so as smooth and noiseless as possible, like a cat burglar or someone in Cirque du Soleil. I've gotten so that I even know where all the creaks in the floor are in there and can avoid them completely. I make my way over to the crib and bodily lower myself until the top half of me is inside the crib with the baby, then I slowly try to let his head and body down to the mattress. At this point several things might go wrong. He might sort of startle and flail his arms around which is usually deadly; it wakes him back up. Helicopter arms = Mommy not getting back to bed for another 20, 30 minutes. He might open his eyes back up and then you're toast. Or the worst by far - he might fart explosively. Wakes him every time. And if I do manage to make it back to bed, I lie there like a war vet with PTSD - every little creak and sound makes me think he's about to wake up again.

We'll get there. Eventually he'll sleep through the night and so will I. In the meantime, there's always MAC Studio Finish Concealer for the samsonite-sized bags under my eyes. At least Paul has a matching set.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Kid Stays in the Picture

The kid had her first photo shoot last week and everything looked great. At the last minute I got so nervous that they would put the little magic wand on me and there would be nothing there, or there would be no heartbeat. Then I thought, "What if there're two?" I would seriously have wet my pants, which I was about to anyway, because you're not supposed to pee beforehand. Which I found out via the internet, because no one in my doctor's office bothered to tell me that.

I'm really on the fence about my doctor's office. On the one hand, I like the doctor and he's very pleasant and seems very thorough and knowledgeable. But there are definitely some cons. I don't like dealing with his staff very much. This is a trend in DC that I've noticed in all doctor's offices, or I should say 90% of the ones I've dealt with. The office staff are rude, dismissive, and disorganized. We dealt with this a lot last year when Paul was (we thought) dealing with something potentially very serious and we had to deal with the asscaps at our primary care doctor's office. They were terrible, and they made everything more difficult than it had to be. I always assumed that if one was dealing with something really really bad that medical staff would kind of step up and just be that much more helpful and kind but....not so much.

The other thing is that he's alone in his practice; there's just him. He has a team of doctors backing him up but you wouldn't meet them unless you happened to go into labor when he wasn't available. And it seems like there would be a decent chance that he might not be available, and then you'd be with someone you didn't know. Then there's the hospital where he delivers (the only one in town, apparently, because every single woman I've met in Washington DC is going to this hospital). It's often very crowded, from what I can gather, and the nursing staff has some less than stellar reviews online, too. There's very little chance of getting a private room, which - meh. That's the kind of think that might really bother me or might bother me not at all, I have no idea. Also the Caesarean rate at this hopsital is almost 50%. That's not really super unusual for a big urban hospital but it's not very encouraging for someone who wants to do things the old-fashioned (read: painful) way.

I'm feeling pretty good for the most part, but the last few days I've just been utterly exhausted. It's like being hungover without having had any fun. I'm spaced out and no matter how much sleep I get, it's not enough. Today I got off at the wrong metro stop and when I got above ground I stood there blinking for ten minutes, having no earthly clue how to actually get to the office from where I was. I tried to do the dishes with hand soap this morning too. I tend to do things like stand at the elevator bank and have to realllllly concentrate to figure out which button to push - up or down? This is the so-called 'baby brain' that I've heard so much about, but really, I probably acted this way all the time and now just have a convenient excuse for being a space cadet.

What was I saying?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week 7

We finally got to break the big news to my side of the family this weekend. Since we live so far away from ALL our family, my only chance to get to tell someone in person was to drive 90 miles to see my mother and I was determined to do that. We had plans to have lunch together in Charlottesville last Thursday and then the inevitable happened - I got picked to serve on a jury for a murder trial. Isn't that always the way when you have big plans?

So Paul and I drove down late Friday night and presented her with what she thought was an early mother's day gift but was actually a positive pregnancy test gift-wrapped in a jewelry box. She cried. It was worth driving 90 miles for.

The next morning we got on the phone and started calling everyone else. We're obviously trying to keep it pretty close until after the first trimester but I'm sure half the eastern seaboard knows at this point, including a large contingent of neighbors and retail employees who couldn't care less. Good news travels fast!

All week I've been feeling fairly oogey but it's nothing unbearable. Certain foods are clearly out of the question now, burritos chief among them. I'll spare you more details about that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hair of the dog doesn't work in this situation.

I think I finally feel like a woman in the first trimester - like I'm going to barf. I've noticed that smells seem a little stronger lately. For instance this morning on the way to work, the train station had that burning hair Metro smell. I don't know what this smell is, but I notice it every once in a while when I'm taking the train - it's just this very strong smell of something that is not at all nice. It's like one of the commuters is burning a pile of hair, or barbecuing squirrels or something. On my best days, I smell this smell and make a face. Today I smelled the smell and I thought, "I am going to yak all over this platform if I don't get the hell out of here pronto."

This smell is actually worse than the burning nuts smell you get in New York sometimes from the street vendors, and I thought that was bad. On the random disgusting urban smell-o-meter, the Metro station burning hair smell trumps all.

And I'm tired. I could go to sleep right now and not wake up until noon, no problem. Yesterday after lunch I actually took a nap in the media library at the office. I've literally never seen anyone go in there so I thought I was safe. I guess I'd been there maybe 20 minutes when I scared the life out of some random intern who walked in to discover me in the dark with my head on the table. Maybe, given his age, he'll assume I was hungover.

Actually this falling asleep in the middle of the day thing does remind me of my early twenties. I was living in Chicago, going out dancing and drinking all the time. The concept of having to get to bed at a decent hour meant nothing to me, plus I had friends who all worked as waitresses and bartenders, so they were total night owls and even though I worked days I tried to keep up with them, getting my groove on till way past midnight on nights before I had to work. Then the next day I'd be so out of it I'd try to snag a quick nap in the file room or the stall in the ladies room. You haven't had sleep until you've slept with your head on a toilet paper dispenser, people! So restful.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Do what now?

A few months ago I decided to go off birth control because Paul and I were in the pre-pre-pregnancy planning stages. We weren't quite ready to start officially trying, but I had had some issues in the past that I thought would present problems for getting the seed planted, as it were. I figured the first thing to do was to go off the pill and see how well my system was able to get itself regulated all on its own.

For two months everything worked like clockwork and I was thrilled with how it all seemed to be going. Then all of a sudden, my lady time was a week or so late, and I was totally dejected. I had thought my au naturel plan was going so well and here I was already going off the rails.

I flirted with the idea of taking a pregnancy test, just so I could rule that out as possibly having anything to do with anything. Finally last Tuesday at lunch I found myself at the CVS downstairs from my office buying makeup and cigarettes (I kid) and I wandered over to the "Family Planning" aisle. "I'll just see how much they cost," I thought. I started perusing the various tests and they had one brand on sale that came with two in the box, which seemed like a decent bargain. (Not that I had anything to compare it to.) I decided to go ahead with that brand, but as of course as I was standing there comparison shopping I noticed a woman from work observing my pregnancy test Price-is-Right exercise and then hurrying away as though she hadn't noticed. Great. This is how rumors get started.

I bought the test and forgot all about it until I got home later that night. Paul had cooked dinner and was in a foul mood, possibly because he is no Galloping Gourmet, or possibly because he finished grad school in December and no real job prospects have presented themselves, at least not any that don't require polyester uniforms or working knowledge of Amway products. Just for lack of anything better to do, I went in to do the test. I didn't even tell him I was doing it, I just left the little stick on top of the cabinet and went about my evening. After a half hour or so I remembered that it was in there and went to check it and, I thought, throw it away. (I wasn't sure but it didn't seem like the kind of thing you could recycle, especially since I'd already peed on it.)

In the little window where there was supposed to be nothing were two distinct pink lines. Two distinct pink lines means pregnant. "What a piece of crap," I thought. I'd just taken it out of the package and already it was broken!

I came out of the bathroom brandishing the stick and showed it to Paulie.

"What is that?" he said.
"It's a pregnancy test," I told him.
"What are you doing with it?" he asked me.
"I peed on it and it says I'm pregnant," I said. "It's broken!"
"Are you fucking with me?" he asked me.
"I know I'm an evil genius, honey, but I don't know how to fake a pregnancy test."
"You didn't put a sticker or something on there?"
"No. I have no stickers."

We stared at each other for a while with the kinds of facial expressions I imagine tourists wear when they're trying to ask for directions in the remotest parts of China.

"I have another one," I said. "I could take that one."
"Yes, take the other one. You should take the other one."
"I don't have to pee again though."
"Okay, drink something and then go take the second one."

Whereupon I reached for the beer I had been drinking with dinner.


Paul pumped me full of (plain, uncaffeinated, alcohol-free) water and in the meantime we googled "home pregnancy test false positives". We basically discovered that they don't do that.

Finally I had to go again. Before I even had my pants up the two bright pink lines appeared.

"We're having a baby," I said.

Oh, baby.