Monthly Archives: January 2008

On the road again

So finally we are on the way home. Decided to split the drive into 2 days since we have to stop every 3 hours for Samuel to eat for an hour. I had pumped in hopes that we could speed things up by bottle feeding him in the car but he has apparently decided a bottle is utterly unacceptable in my presence – even if Josh is feeding it to him. I thought that as Samuel has reached 6 weeks it might be nice to pump and let Josh bottle feed him once a day or so, perhaps for one night feeding or during the 4 hours I plan to write, to give them that “intimacy,” but Josh says honestly he doesn’t enjoy feeding Samuel since he hates the bottle so much. He’ll take it begrudgingly if I’m not around. I guess I should be flattered, huh?

We’re hoping to get back to work/writing on Wednesday. Any guesses on how well that will work out?

“Home”

We’re back at Josh’s mom’s house. Samuel’s much better, still coughing a bit, but hopefully improving every hour/day. I don’t have to tell you all how much it sucked being in the hospital, and no one would be surprised to know we spent most of the day ready to be discharged but had to wait hours and hours and hours waiting for a take-home apnea monitor. Or that the representative from Apria was clueless and less than helpful – not to mention showing up late TWICE since when she first arrived she’d brought the wrong cord.

The apnea monitor sucks as well. Going off constantly because Samuel moves while sleeping, or because it thinks it is not attached to him.

About halfway through the day another baby came in with RSV. As she talked with the nurse, a difference between normal parents and us became very apparent. My emergency monitor is obviously set very low. She said her son had begun coughing a few days before, and that the night his coughing and breathing had become very scary so she called her doctor in the morning. She endured a night of scary breathing, Josh and I rushed to urgent care after one episode. I know everyone tells me that all parents worry, that all parents get scared when their little ones are sick, but I’m sure we still worry and get scared more than most.

So far my monitor has been correct, but I hope I don’t become like Samuel’s apnea monitor, disrupting and annoying him for no reason at all.

Another New Experience

Speaking of never ending stories. Josh, Samuel and I were preparing for our return home Wednesday when Samuel’s cold suddenly seemed a bit worse. We took him to an urgent care center. They sent us to an emergency room, slowly, took hours to be released, to get blood work. On the way to the hospital he suddenly got a lot worse, began to have trouble breathing. Thankfully, the ER responded immediately when he arrived and got him on oxygen and gave him a breathing treatment. He has RSV. We are now in a hospital in St. Louis. Fortunately, although we were told he would probably get worse before he got better, he hasn’t and we haven’t had another episode like in the car.

When I read the Wikipedia article, it seems to be describing symptoms a lot worse than he ever had. He never had a fever, got listless, or had a reduced appetite. I’m hopeful that means this will be a short-lived infection without long-lasting effects. Sort of hopeful, anyway. I’m more just trying to convince myself that Samuel at least can end up on the good side of the odds.

It’s just never enough

Since I was a teenager words not usually thought of as polite have fairly easy crossed my tongue. When I became an adult they declined – because they weren’t appropriate in a classroom or among colleagues, mostly I guess. Plus I moved from a place that often competed for a position as “America’s worst place to live and raise children” to a pristine east coast college. I wanted to play the part. Still at times I lapsed. Never so often as I have this past year, however. Even if I’m not saying it aloud, it’s not a rarity for me to sit silently while my mind shouts phrases like, “F* F* F*!” or “Je*** F***** Ch***!” at no one in particular.

Samuel is doing well. Wonderfully. He’s so huge – probably around or above 13 pounds and 23 inches. I didn’t realize really how much so until we went to a friend’s house last night and saw how tiny her healthy-sized baby looked next to ours. I was a nervous wreck before we left for her house. I knew she’d want to talk babies a lot and I still feel strange doing that. I handled it remarkably well, I think. Didn’t even feel bad once talking about nursing shirts and Samuel’s eating and sleeping habits.

From the outside I look like I’ve joined a new group. No longer just a mother of a dead baby.

Those of us who have recently or will soon reach the year mark might wonder when exactly it will start to get better. The first few months were a living hell. Then I reached this point where life became more bearable. I could show my face in public, even converse. Now with Samuel here, I could even call myself happy. I guess what I’m wanting though, is what Tash described earlier today. The old me. For the sadness to just go away, forever. I’m not stupid enough to think that will ever happen completely. I can’t keep myself from wishing it would though.

Because the sadness sucks so much from my life. It brings old demons back to the surface. It makes old interests dull. I feel like in addition to everything else, I actually need to dedicate time to forcing myself to remember why I used to love certain things.

Josh and I have a plan. He has to finish by April. I need to finish by December. We’re splitting the work day into sections, with him getting the first half and the evening. I get the afternoon.

Hopefully Samuel will cooperate most days and at some point in the spring (I imagine around the time Josh picks up the final bound volume of his dissertation) I’ll stop and look back from a point of a little less sadness and lot more accomplished.

Maybe my mind will quiet down and start working with a less offensive vocabulary as well.

Distance

In a funny twist on yesterday’s post – I went back and read the comments and noticed that Kate stated that Northrup had Oprah-style thinking. Well guess who was on Oprah last week? And is her lauded on her favorite ob/gyn. He he. Sometimes Oprah does good things. Not that time.

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Awhile back, and I’m not going to provide links, bloggers I read ran their sites through this engine that gave them a rating for reading level, based I guess on the bigness of their words. I did mine but never bothered to post. This blog was judged to be at a middle-school reading level. I was slightly offended by that. I decided to check out my old blog’s reading level, to see if it was different. My old blog, for those of you have been around long enough to remember it, received a post-college reading level score. I am apparently a living, breathing example of declensionism.

Now that Samuel is here, I am delightfully banal. My biggest concerns revolve around the color of a baby’s snot, trying to read a bit, and whether I’ll ever fit back into my old pants. Children, work, and weight. So typically adult, so stereotypically female. It’s a facade, I suppose. Not a false front, but one that is done up to look a bit more pleasant than its interior.

Even still I’m struggling with some very normal stuff right now. We’re coming up on 6 weeks since Samuel’s birth. I expect that on Friday Dr. K will release me for more intense exercise and sex. I gained from my first pregnancy through Samuel’s birth, 55 pounds. I’ve lost 30. I need to lose 25 more, without plunging myself into sadness over the amount of time that might take. As for sex, I haven’t discussed it here yet but I had a 4th degree tear. I’m scared.

Samuel’s 6th week also marks the end of my “vacation.” If I am going to finish my dissertation by December, or even a year from April, I need to get back to work. I’m hoping to muster up the ability to care by next Sunday.

And so you can see why I’m worried about this blog’s future. There are so many mommy bloggers out there. Academics and dieters are plentiful as well. They all do it so well. I am not so sure I have much more to say.

Protected: On the Other Side

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Gleanings

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Emily took the above photo, the only photo I am aware of taken of my during my pregnancy with Natan. I found it this morning while cleaning my car, among other objects which make it apparent I haven’t cleaned the car since well before his birth, like a pencil from a trip to IKEA over 18 months ago and a book I purchased for Josh right after he returned from abroad. I am just about 3.5 months along in the shot, and we hadn’t told anyone yet. I wondered then if Emily and her now-husband noticed how often I needed to use the restroom during that trip to the apple orchard – far more frequently than most people would choose to use a portable toilet, I’m sure. [Before we lament the lack of photographs, I don’t mind at all. The written record of this last one is more than abundant enough, and even though as an historian I am following trends and am now concerned with the visual, I’m not particularly concerned with amassing my personal visual archive.]

Among the objects from our old life, I was surprised to find tiny shards of glass in the car. In early April 2003, we had a freak snowstorm. I had an appointment, and parked my car on the street. After my appointment, as I was walking back to my car, I noticed that a bunch of the cars parked behind mine had their mirrors sheared off, a few had broken windows. The confusion and unease grew as I approached. My car looked especially strange – when I got close enough I could see that it was full of snow. The rear and side windows were shattered. When the police showed up, the officer said, “well only one thing could have done that.” A city snow plow had rammed a pile of snow into my car, after smashing it along the sides of the others. And then driven off. The city manager who came to handle the situation only made it worse by explaining, “well it was the driver’s first time in the new big plow” and “he didn’t realize he’d hit anything.”

My car has been vacuumed many many times since that event, both through professional detailing right afterwards and numerous times by me since. Over and over though, the glass comes back, like the infinitely refilling pot of spaghetti in that children’s song.

As for the photo itself, after being scanned in, it resembles a technicolor dream. The green leaves and blue sky a bit too bright and my hair is overly shiny in contrast to my skin and shirt that have been drained of their color. The scene is discordant – Josh seems especially pleased with his find, while I seem disgusted. Perhaps I’d spotted a bug in the apple.

Pregnancy Weight

The weekend without Josh was both hard and good. I am exhausted from having held Samuel pretty much all day every day but also happy for having held Samuel pretty much all day every day. Such I guess is the character of my life right now.

On January 1 I went shopping briefly, to buy baby wipes and an outfit to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks. While driving I reflected on the end of 2007, an arbitrary boundary but one I wanted to think about nonetheless. Bookended by both the most awful and most wonderful events, those 12 months bear a significance that left me still reeling. And yet the year was full of non-events. I  spent most of my time between the four walls of this room, on the couch now to my right. First, I sat there in sadness and devastation for most of January 2007, and then, from July to December, I mostly lay there in fear and anticipation. Even if our years weren’t bounded by January and December, this year would have been for me.

I am slowly becoming more active, shedding the figurative weight of my three pregnancies since the spring of 2006. Given how much I struggled to maintain it, perhaps I shouldn’t admit that at the moment I am thrilled to no longer be pregnant. I walked up the hill today to spend an hour at the coffee shop while Samuel slept and I marveled at the ease of my steps. I love how easily I can turn myself in bed, or get up and down from the couch, and I’m even happy to do laundry – something I couldn’t do for months because it is down two flights of stairs, one of them quite steep and uneven.

I’m curious about where this blog will go in the coming weeks and months. Initially I intended to write only for a year – a year of consolation. But the blogging community has become important to me and I am loathe to think of just leaving it behind. I hope that as I adjust to life as a mom of a living baby I’ll find more time to write, and the energy to write more interesting posts. We shall see.

Timelessness

I have so much I want to say about yesterday, but will have to leave it at thank you for the moment. As has been the pattern with anniversaries, the days leading up to it were more difficult than the actual day. My temper was short, my patience thin. The night before followed precedent as well, with my short spurts of sleep filled by nightmares.
More will have to wait. Josh is out of town this weekend, for a conference and job interview. I’m managing well – have never been so happy to have so little time to myself. But I think my internet time until Monday will be even thinner than before. Samuel disapproves of it as a competitor for my attention, apparently.

Through it all though, Natan is never far from my mind.  I hope that stays the same. The sadness, though, well, I could do with a good bit less of that.

Natan January 3, 2007

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