One Year

One year ago today I was laying in the hospital, drifting in and out of sleep, still not completely understanding that I was being induced and was therefore, having a baby.

One year ago today my sister and Matt stood by my sides and guided me through my labor as I pushed what felt like the biggest, most burning crap of my life.

Of course it wasn’t crap, but Little Miss Ivy.

She has a single tooth now. She is so happy all the time that I call her Smiles. In the course of three days she grew too tall to fit under the table without bonking her head on it. (Not that that keeps her from trying.)

She’s not quite walking by herself yet. She can travel about 3-5 linear feet before she falls on her butt and she would much rather hold someone’s hand or a piece of furniture to walk.

She loves soft toys and has discovered a love for dolls. For her birthday my sister gave Ivy her old Cabbage Patch doll from her own childhood: Martha. Ivy and Martha look like twins.

One year ago today my life changed in ways I could have never imagined.

Happy Birthday Ivy. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Family Portrait

A Scene Of Failure

10:04 pm- So you’ve gotten the baby to sleep and you’re finally tired yourself. Now comes time to get into bed.

10:05 pm- On second thought, you want to listen to some music as you go to sleep. You should find your headphones. It shouldn’t be too hard, you used them last night so they should be on your night stand.

10:06 pm- They’re not on your night stand.

10:07 pm- Okay think. You know you used them last night so they have to be somewhere nearby. You could have sworn that you put them on your night stand so they obviously had to have fallen down onto the very messy and cluttery floor.

10:08 pm- Attempt to locate the headphones in the dark so as to not disturb the sleeping baby with light. Swear a lot every time you make a lot of noise crinkling paper or knocking something precarious over. Wonder how you became such a slob in the first place.

10:14 pm- Belatedly realize you could have been using the flashlight on your cell phone this whole time without disturbing the baby at all. Attempt to locate phone on bed.

10:15pm- Phone is not on bed.

10:16 pm- See corner of phone peeking out from under your baby’s rear. Realize that in haste to set baby down to sleep you inadvertently placed her directly on top of your phone. Be thankful that no one called or texted you while she slept on your phone.

10:17 pm- Mission Impossible style stealth as you carefully extract your phone from under the baby; holding your breath as she stirs ever so slightly when you pull the phone out entirely. Deep exhale as she stays asleep.

10:18 pm- Phone in hand, it’s time to search for real. You pull up the menu and turn on your flashlight- OH GOD THE LIGHT, IT BURRRRNS!

10:19 pm- Point flashlight away from your eyes and blink rapidly, desperately trying to see something other than those green dots that always float around in your vision after getting blinded by a bright light.

10:21 pm- Begin your search in earnest. Sift through the crap on your floor like an archeologist on a dig. Oh, hey! A Chipotle gift card! SCORE!

10:30 pm- It’s not on the floor next to your night stand. There’s just no way. You decide that maybe the crap pushed them under the bed. You want to lean down to look under the bed to check.

10:31 pm- Has the area next to your bed always been this narrow or are you getting wider? You can’t manage to wiggle yourself down enough to crane your head to look under the bed.

10:32 pm- You consider flipping orientation to try to squeeze under the bed but realize this would put your long, curly hair right next to the spinning box fan. Images of utter disaster fill your head and you move to the foot of the bed instead.

10:35 pm- Welp they’re not under the bed. You marvel at how there is no junk under your husband’s side of the bed but a plethora of forgotten treasures under yours. You wonder how he manages to put up with all your clutter and muse on the irony that while he hates clutter in your room he couldn’t care less about the clutter in the kitchen.

10:37 pm- You all but want to give up now but can’t because you’ve got your heart set on listening to music as you sleep tonight. You wrack your brain even more, desperate to figure out where in the hell you put your headphones.

10:40 pm- Text husband to ask him to bring you your headphones that you left on the kitchen table.

~Fin

When All Is Quiet On The Breathing Front

So I was sitting down, trying to figure out what I wanted to say to start this post when Red came up to inform me that Ivy was fitting perfectly in the 12 month pajama onesies he had bought for her. WHAT THE WHAT. It’s so weird to realize this baby has already gotten so big. In my head it still feels like she was born maybe… two, three weeks ago tops. But nope! Here we are, being all gigantic and fitting into clothes as if she were already a year old as opposed to the seven month little upstart that she is.

I had wanted to get on here to share a “fun” fact that I happened to learn in the most terrifying of ways. See, we do co-sleeping, something I never really anticipated doing or loving but here we are. My body has adjusted well and when I need to shift about in my sleep into a new position I automatically wake up and arrange the two of us carefully.

I have a small habit of checking Ivy’s breathing when I do this. It’s not like, a real paranoia or anything but it’s a nice reassurance to put my hand on her little belly and feel the soft rhythmic movement of her breathing. So a few nights ago when I woke up to shift, I instinctively put my hand on her tummy without giving it much thought. But instead of the soft rise and fall of her chest I felt nothing.

Nothing. at. all.

I sort of told myself that it was probably fine, I had just caught her as she finished exhaling. I kept my hand on her tummy and waited to feel for her inevitable intake of a new breath.

And waited.

And waited.

I felt panic and bile rise in my throat as all pretense of calm motherly instinct flew out the window and I grabbed Ivy squarely by the shoulders and shook her as gently as a panicking mother can when she doesn’t feel her child breathing.

Ivy woke up almost instantly and regarded me as only a grumpy, sleepy baby can. She casually turned to me and latched back onto my breast to go back to sleep. I was shaking and breathing hard for a while. Noticing Matt was still asleep I pulled out my phone and dialed the nurse advice-line at our pediatrician’s. I needed to know if Ivy was okay.

The nurse I spoke to was very kind and understanding. She had me check Ivy’s color and asked me a few general questions about how we were sleeping and potential hazards. Blanket or pillow over her face? No. Blue in her lips, fingers or toes? No. Breathing fine and acting normal? Yes.

Finally the nurse told me that sometimes when babies are in the deepest part of their sleep cycle they can just not breathe for a little while. Apparently some newborns can go up to 15 seconds between breaths.* As long as Ivy didn’t have blue in her lips or extremities then she was fine. Or, she added, if I tried waking her up and couldn’t get her to stir, that was also a bad sign. Slapping the bottoms of her feet is apparently the most effective way to wake a rousing baby and if she didn’t wake up from that, call an ambulance. But everything sounded fine and would probably be okay though I was more than welcome to schedule an appointment with her pediatrician come morning.

Otherwise, she said, try to get some sleep and do your best not to worry.

Ivy slept just fine though I spent at least three hours attempting to fall back asleep and failing miserably. I knew she was probably fine but that moment of horror at feeling her not breathe was seared into my brain and I couldn’t shake it. I read comics on my tablet and checked Ivy’s breathing every few seconds or so.

We did end up taking her in just to make sure nothing was up and our pediatrician said she was in ship shape. So I guess the whole incident was just an unfortunate timing moment on my part and nothing more. I still keep thinking about what would have happened if she hadn’t woken up, if we’d have had to call an ambulance, if, if, if.

It can be hard to shut those horrible little possibilities up. It’s so frustrating, as you get older, to learn about how little control you have over so many things in life. You take the steps you can take, make the best decisions possible and pray you’re not one of the unlucky ones. It’s a hard thing to accept and I continue to feel blessed by the luck I’ve had so far.

*This is just what she told me. Please don’t take anything written here as medical advice; if you have any questions or problems with anything to do with your baby, call a medical professional. My situation could be completely different than yours so it’s always better to check with someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

Solidifying

I mentioned that Ivy is starting solid foods now. It’s kind of crazy because on the one hand I’m relieved to not be her only source of food anymore but on the other hand it gives me this sort of, “What the fuck, since when do you eat real food like a real person?!” feeling. It’s a mixed bag, you know?

(Speaking of mixed bag, the change in diaper changing is pretty dang gross and pretty surprising but I think bowel talk is not something I, nor any of you, want. So needless to say, *gag*)

Ivy loves eating food though. Drinking water is still something of a challenge though. She gets the water in her mouth and then just sort of opens her mouth to let it all run out because this isn’t stuff to swallow right? It’s just nothing-wetness. So my boobs are still her only real source of hydration right now (I still consistently try to give her water because the switch will be made at some point, right?) so I’m not exactly free as a lark.

Something that’s always been weird to me is the figuring out the amount of food to give her. When I was exclusively breastfeeding it wasn’t like I could measure or figure out how much food she was getting; everyone just kept saying just feed her when she’s hungry. So I did. I know other mothers who have done the same but Ivy must have mine and Matt’s giant-genes because she is a huge freaking baby. (Matt and I are both fairly tall but we’re not outrageously huge or anything.)

There’s always this part of my brain that thinks about how tiny and adorable she is and she’s just. so. LITTLE! And then I see other babies her age (or younger) and suddenly Ivy is the Godzilla baby letting loose a mighty roar as she stomps a metropolis to dust under her pudgy, wobbly, feet.

I met a woman with a baby that was easily half Ivy’s size and at least 3 inches shorter and Ivy was two months younger than the tiny thing. Our pediatrician says there’s nothing wrong with Ivy’s weight or how much we’re feeding her, she’s just a chunky baby. (So far she has been 98th percentile and 90th percentile for her weight and only 50-70th percentile for height. Compact and chunky, that’s just the way I make them apparently.)

As for the food and feedings themselves it’s been a fun time. Ivy is far more interested in the food we’re eating than anything we could offer her from her baby food jars so eating dinner with her has turned into the Please Quit Trying to Steal My Food Game. Some things I don’t mind letting her try (the pickle was the funniest because the sour gave her the best facial expressions but she kept wanting more) but other things are from the list of the Five Most Forbidden Foods For Babies and so Ivy gets upset that I won’t share.

I’ve dabbled in making food for Ivy to eat too because some of it is surprisingly easy. Roast veggies, puree with some water (or breast milk or chicken broth or whatever) and there ya go. So far Ivy’s preferences for the homemade vs. store bought is pretty 50/50. For things like bananas, apples and the like Ivy prefers the homemade versions because unlike the store bought, we don’t put lemon juice concentrate in it. I know it’s just there for preservation purposes and I certainly can’t taste it but so far every bite of jarred banana or apple has made Ivy make the most comical upside down U face as she stares at me, eyes full of betrayal and confusion.

Matt is still getting used to this whole solid food thing since he is still in the mode of “Ivy is hungry, pass her to Katie for feeding.” I keep having to remind him that he is more than capable and welcome to slap a bib on the baby, crack open a jar and spoon away. I am no longer The Keeper of The Noms and I am more than ready to relinquish the mantle.

It’s also nice because my supply has ramped down since I’m no longer Ivy’s soul source of calories. So now being away from her for more than two hours no longer makes my breasts as hard as rocks as all the excess milk leaks all over everywhere seriously spoiling anything at all I might be doing. So there’s an enormous benefit for me.

So that’s an update on the feeding front and hopefully as time goes on Ivy will open up her palate a bit more for different flavors and will finally take some water. It’s hard to believe she’s growing up so fast but it’s so much fun to see her develop and change.

Who cares about titles? BABY PICTURES

Happy Holidays/New Years/Appropriate Seasonal Greeting/Whatever you do or don’t celebrate!

God it’s been a while, huh? It feels like I’m always doing a post apologizing for being too busy to write and saying I’m going to try better only to do the whole song and dance again four months or so later. (This probably is like, the second or third time I’ve made this same observation; I’m honestly too scared to check.)

Life has been rough for a while now. I’ve had some serious personal losses that I haven’t wanted to talk about here. But since these events were so big and are things I’m still dealing with this ended up making me want to write less and less. I don’t know if I will write about what’s been going on lately (I don’t think anyone wants another influx of negativity and sadness) but I will try harder to find a way to get writing back. I might write up a whole account of the bull shit that’s been going on and just like, not do anything with it. Just try to get the whole shebang out and see if that’ll help me move past it to write about some of the better things that have been happening.

Ivy is almost seven months old now (!!!) and has been an absolute joy. She’s eating solid foods now with her milk and has been enjoying tasting new fruits and veggies when she can. I’m going to have to start giving her meat soon for the iron but I’m going to look into crafting my own foodstuffs for her in that department since I have yet to find a commercial baby meat product (that’s meat product for babies, not meat product made out of babies) that doesn’t look, smell and (I assume) taste like cat food/vomit. Seriously, corporate America, get your shit together on this. The first one of you to make a baby meat food that doesn’t taste like total dog-ass will probably earn ALL of the money as desperate parents flock to your products in droves.

BUT ENOUGH BLABBITY BLAB. LET’S SEE SOME ADORABLE FREAKING PHOTOS OF MY DAUGHTER ALREADY! I’m only gonna post one up front and the rest will be after the jump.

ivy-hat

More after the jump!

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Just Ramblin’ Along

Holy crap. I don’t really have a super cohesive topic for today but that seems like an appropriate first sentence anyway. I tend to not have super cohesive topics most days but I’ll pretend this is different somehow.

I’ve been wanting to write more on here but I’ve been using all my words for National Novel Writing Month which, if you didn’t know, is where you try to write a 50,000 word novel within the confines of November. I’ve never tried anything like this before so I decided to go for it. My word count as of yesterday is 25,006. (For comparison’s sake, not including this post I have written about 85,000 words on my blog.)  So yeah, after getting in my daily word count on that thing my brain is usually too fried to come over here and offer words but I figured today I would try.

Ivy turns five months old today. It’s crazy to me that she’s already almost half a year old. It feels like some sort of cheat of the calendar or something but it’s true. She likes sitting up now and loves it when we hold her up so she can stand. She’s not a fan of tummy time, doesn’t seem interested in rolling over but she’s gotten the hang of grabbing things now and can almost sort of shove them in the direction of her mouth.

She’s also discovered her feet now and loves the cats so much it’s hilarious. She doesn’t know how to pet them yet but her smile is enormous when we take her hands and run them along their soft fur.

Still no interest in solid foods though my boobs are more than up to the challenge of keeping my behemoth baby well fed. I’m looking forward to the day when I won’t be the sole provider of food for her.

Yesterday a friend of mine gave me a gel manicure (a first for me but it came out really well). When I got home I was holding Ivy and she grabbed my thumb in one hand and with her other she very deliberately poked at the colored nail with a face full of confusion and Trying To Figure It Out.

Teething is a bitch. Our pediatrician’s appointment last month revealed three incoming teeth but none of the sons of bitches have cut yet. So we’ve been holding a lot of cold teething rings up to Ivy’s very drooly mouth while she chews and wails. When the pain gets really bad for her we give her Tylenol (following the directions our pediatrician gave us). I’ve gotten really good at holding a wailing baby while coaxing it to swallow the icky icky medicine.

I’ve been working on a knitting design that I’m making up myself but I hit a part in the work where it’s just a long patch of nothing and since I am the knitter with ADD I have put the thing down in an attempt to work on more interesting projects. Except I haven’t been doing that either so really I’ve just been sitting on my butt doing nothing.

I want to try writing more for this blog soon (but god I feel like I’ve said that like 40 times and followed through like, twice) but with NaNoWriMo going on, that is my official priority. I want to write some stuff before Thanksgiving but no hard feelings if it doesn’t work out.

Right?

Motherhood Mode: Solo Dolo

So I’m a little bit nervous for Monday. Why, what happens on Monday, you ask? Matt finally starts training on his new job! *Kermit flailing arms* YAAAAAY!!

Yeah, that’s correct, it took almost six months before he got employed again. Curse this economy and its surplus of unemployed people looking for work! It didn’t help that we needed something that pays a lot more than minimum wage and those jobs can afford to be extra picky in who they pick. Thank god for hefty safety accounts, unemployment checks and family that can be supportive. Otherwise this past six months would have been even MORE stressful!

Now I am pleased as punch for Matt to be employed again. We won’t have to worry about budgeting everything quite so tightly and we may even be able to afford some fun things again. But I am afraid at the same time.

You see, Matt has been great to have around with Ivy. This is both of our first baby and neither of us really knew what we were doing before. Swaddling, comforting, diaper changing, bathing, dressing a baby… All of these were things that we learned to do together. It’s been fun and wonderful to have his help and support when Ivy gets hard to handle.

But now he’s going back to work.

Normally Red would be here too; able and more than willing to lend a helping hand every now and again as needed. But he’s actually back in school this semester to take the last class he needs for his animation degree and he’s working the days he’s not at school which means….

It’s gonna be just me and Ivy, 8+ hours a day, Monday through Friday.

It wasn’t until Matt got the job offer that my brain realized just what that meant for me and my days. No Matt or Red to take Ivy when I want to shower. No Matt or Red to help me with Ivy when she’s wailing at the top of her lungs and nothing I do is working. No Matt or Red to watch Ivy so I can cook and eat something. Just me. And Ivy. (And technically the animals but they’re not really much help at all.)

I got a miniature taste of what this will be like when Matt had to go in to do fun new job things like Filling Out Paperwork and Submitting a Back Ground Check and Peeing in a Cup So We Can Check for Drugs. Red was in school and all of this stuff took Matt a while so for about a five hour chunk it was just me and Ivy; the longest chunk of just me and her up to that point.

(This space is reserved to give all parents who do this every day with multiple kids of various ages and single mothers and single fathers time to roll their eyes at me, the poor little spoiled girl who is having her luxury of help taken from her for the first time ever. Boo-hoo, I know, poor me. But seriously, you guys all rock and I can only hope that I’ll get as badass as you guys someday.)

But you know what? I did okay! Even when Ivy was having a bad time and crying a lot I didn’t lose my cool and managed to calm her down ALL BY MYSELF EVEN WHEN I GOT REALLY TIRED AND FLUSTERED. I managed to shower, cook food, even put on makeup (!!!) with no one else to help me out with Ivy.

It was hard and felt way more exhausting than usual but I DID IT. I can do this. I will learn how to take care of Ivy alone in more efficient and fun ways and it might not always be fun or fantastic, but I can do it and we’ll both do better than survive. We’ll thrive. I am still nervous and even a little scared. But I know over all I’ll get through this.

I dunno what being on my own like this will mean for my (already spotty as hell) writing. I hope I’ll be able to post more frequently still. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up using the voice to text function to make some wonky as hell posts. (Talking to write is so much harder than writing to write. Try it sometime! And if it’s easy for you then maybe you’re just more awesome than me.)

I actually managed to block two finished pieces yesterday and Matt, Ivy and I are planning on going to the Taos Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday so I should hopefully have some new posts up on these things soon.*

*Disclaimer: Soon can mean any period of time from three days from now to 400 days from now. No promises, contracts, litigations, responsibilities, or wishes are implied by use of the word, “soon.” Do not ingest This Post and contact poison control if experiencing any symptoms such as vomiting, hallucinations, Sudden Hand Shrinking Syndrome, or Random Out Of Control Flatulence. Ask your doctor today if This Post is right for you. Stop being bored and start being confused with This Post.