Mama Duck
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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Good thing I didn't get too excited over it

Yes, night before last he slept through the night. Then last night he was terrifically fussy before finally going to sleep around 10, he woke at 1:30 a.m. and again at 5. Plus he was quite fussy at both feedings. I don't think he appreciated last night's kale, white bean and sausage soup.

posted by Mama Duck7:48 AM


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Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Guess who slept through the night last night?

I thought it would never happen. My good nights were ones in which he only woke me once, anywhere from 2 to 4 a.m. Then last night he ate at 9:20. I played with him and read him several bed time books, after which he looked not one jot more sleepy. I handed him off to his dad and went to bed. I woke sometime around 3:45, boobs bursting and thought, wow, he's slept a long time. Of course, at this point I had to lean over and make sure he was still breathing. He was. And at 6:22 a.m. he gave the most minimal of fusses, so I got him up, at which point he became Fussimus Maximus until he got a nine-hour boob in his mouth, after which he was pretty happy. He's just waking from his morning nap.

One week ago, he woke me three times in one night: midnight, two and five a.m. Two days ago I sobbed to my husband that it was too hard, I couldn't do it, I'd made a mistake in thinking I could be a parent.

Then yesterday and last night and today I'm shaking my head in wonder, going "Wow, I think I may have a tenuous grasp on this after all."

I knew going into this that I'd be experiencing new lows of difficulty, but I also hoped I'd have compensating highs. The latter feel fleeting and the former feel endless and dire, but it's true that parenthood has so far pushed the limits at both ends of the spectrum.

Sadly, or ironically, or probably just: in normal fashion, I feel like I might be getting the hang of this and able to enjoy it just as I'm about to return to work.


posted by Mama Duck7:15 AM


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Monday, November 17, 2003

What we learned by reading Babar books

1. A child can forget the violent death of his mother by running off to the city and buying some fine clothes.
2. Naked elephants are not OK.
3. Fine clothing justifies making someone king.
4. Fathers need not be present at the birth of their children.
5. Mothers can't make enough milk for their children and must supplement.
6. Babar and Celeste are absent and lame-ass parents:
a. Flora swallows a rattle left in her crib
b. Cousin Arthur lets the stroller escape down a hill
c. Alexander steals a hat and floats on a pond and almost gets eaten by an alligator, until finally absent, lame-ass Babar intercedes.

I will be taking our Babar collection to Half Price Books directly.

posted by Mama Duck1:03 PM


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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Birth Story, part three of three

At 4 a.m. the nurse woke me to check how I'd progressed. She grinned at me.

"You're nine with a little lip--you're almost there! I'll be back around 5 and we'll get moving."

I shook my head, amazed. It took me 22 hours and lots of Pitocin to dilate to 4 centimeters, then I'd advanced almost to 10 within 5 hours and had slept for most of it.

At 5 a.m., the nurse and the midwife arrived and said it was time to push. They dialed down the epidural so I'd have more feeling in my legs, and we began. They recommended that I inhale, then hold my breath for 10 counts while bearing down, in sets of three. My husband stood by my head, and they cheered me on from the foot of the bed, discreetly cleaning up when I pooped on the table. After an hour, they could see baby's head, but said he was stuck under my pubic bone. His heartbeat was still strong, but I had developed a fever. They weren't sure if it was from the epidural or from infection since my water had broken so long before, but they added antibiotics to my i.v. and they coached me in trying to get the baby to shift. We tried this for another hour, but to no avail. The baby's head wasn't moving, my tempurature was still rising and now the baby's heartbeat was starting to increase. The midwife told me she recommended calling the doctor for a vacuum assist and I agreed.

When the doctor arrived and introduced himself, I asked if I'd need an episiotomy. He hesitated, but the midwife did not. "Yes," she said firmly, "he'll need it to use the vacuum. We wouldn't do it if it weren't necessary."

I sighed, and let go of yet another hope that I'd had for this birth. So much for the birth plan. Additionally, they had to turn up the lights so that the doctor could see, and a barrage of several additional nurses were in the room--one from the nursery, another to assist the doctor, and one more random nurse who kept popping in anxiously--all in addition to my nurse and the midwife. Also, as we approached 7:30 a.m. my nurse told me regretfully that she had to go--she had a court date that she couldn't miss. My husband and I were sad--she'd been a huge help for the last 12 hours. But our new nurse came in and I geared up for the final pushing. I'd felt re-energized after the five hours of sleep and the i.v. fluids, but the two hours of pushing and fever had left me exhausted once more.

The doctor inserted the vacuum tool and I prepared to push. He said that it would take five or six pushes; instead it took only three. I was pushing, just as I had been for nearly three hours, and I felt a shift, then the baby was out, crying loudly.

That transition was truly awesome; I have no words for how it felt to push one moment and see the baby the next.

I was jarred out of awe, however, by the big mushroom lump on his head from the vacuum. "That's from the vacuum," both my husband and the doctor said quickly in answer to the look of horror on my face. "It will go away quickly."

"There's some meconium," said the midwife in a calm voice, and the nurses whisked the baby away to clean him up and make sure he hadn't inhaled any.

I craned my head, trying to see him, sad that they weren't able to put him on my tummy immediately. "Meconium wasn't part of the birth plan" I said sadly, while one of the nurses smiled at me sympathetically. My husband followed another nurse, talking to the baby, and quite soon the little guy was snuggled on my chest, wrapped in a heated flannel blanket with a little knit cap on his head.

The doctor and midwife stayed to stitch me up. In addition to the episiotomy, I'd suffered a level three tear--back to the rectum but not into the anus. Yet another thing I'd hoped to avoid, but I consoled myself that it was not a level four. Additionally, it took some time for me to deliver the placenta, but I was still falling in love with the baby, so I didn't notice much else.

It had been 32 long hours since my water had broken and my birth experience was a laundry list of the things I'd hoped to avoid: water break at onset, no dilation, inability to keep water or food down, Pitocin, epidural, fever, antibiotics, lengthy pushing resulting in hemorrhoids, stuck baby, vacuum assist, episiotomy, tear and meconium. Yet in the end, given the circumstances I had to work with, the only thing I might have done differently would be to take the Pitocin sooner. As it was, I gave it my best shot and felt that the interventions were what I needed so that things could progress.

It wasn't the birth I'd hoped for, but I found I was well prepared for it from my classes, my midwife checkups and the reading I had done. I knew what the choices were as I went along as well as their risks and benefits. Given the circumstances, I'm not sure it could have been better, and I know it could have been worse.

The end result: a healthy baby boy, 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 21 inches long, with an 8 on the apgar test at birth and a 9 at five minutes, showing no ill effects of the long birth or meconium. And for all that, in spite of interventions, I was and am grateful.

posted by Mama Duck1:33 PM


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Baby development

The Boy is now 12 weeks old. At around 10 weeks, he started to reach out for things. His coordination still needs work, but he's no longer flailing with wild abandon.

He's flailing with direction.

Also, during one recent walk/jiggle in preparation for sleep, instead if resting against my chest as normal, he leaned out and looked up at me. I mean, really looked up at me, with quiet intent eyes, as if searching my soul.

What was my soul saying?

"Please, baby, go to sleep."

posted by Mama Duck12:49 PM


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What if we told the truth in thank you cards?

Dear friend,

Thank you for the charming but inappropriate baby gift that states "ages 8 and up" in big, bold letters on the front of the package. Rather than waiting seven years and 9 months, we will donate the gift to a holiday toy drive. We are grateful that you thought of us, even if we can't fathom what you were thinking.

posted by Mama Duck12:45 PM


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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Brief Update

I'm not sure if I would be able to update this blog more regularly even if I had recovered in a normal time frame from the birth, which I have not. But that's a story for another time. In any case, I'm painfully aware that I'd like to post more often than I do.

Today for the first time in 11 weeks, I went back to yoga class for an hour. It was tough, but not impossible, and I felt pretty good about what I was able to do, and not too frustrated by what I wasn't. My husband was watching the duck while I did that. I then came home, fed myself, fed the duck then was out the door to a massage. My shoulders are doing better now that I'm using the sling less often, so while it's not what attachment parenting recommends, my body is doing much better. I'm seeing a chiropractor tomorrow for help with the carpal tunnel syndrome. Having a kid is hard, I mean HARD, physically. Not just before, during and the few weeks after birth, but on an ongoing basis.

This morning I put in five active rock/metal cd's, so here's what the boy is listening to: Audioslave, Evanescence, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Quarashi. In spite of throbbing bass lines and thrashing vocals, he was sound asleep on his play mat when I walked out the door.

He's not yet sleeping through the night, and I don't look kindly on those people who ask if he is. A much better question is "Are you getting enough sleep?" or "How is he sleeping at night?" He had one stretch of almost six hours and the next of almost five, so he's doing much better. I do want to clarify, though, that this doesn't mean I"m getting 11 hours. I went to sleep about an hour after he did, then there were two feeding sessions, of about 45 minutes apiece, plus 2 diaper changes, and one extensive walking/cajoling to sleep, so that I might have gotten a total of almost seven, which, by the way, is no way the same qualitatively as seven from start to finish. And for me, this is a huge improvement.

In so many ways, I have new standards by which to gauge my life.

posted by Mama Duck3:03 PM


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