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

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?

Where Is My Line?

Hoo boy I have been absolute shit at posting on here, haven’t I? Not that I’ve ever been super good at posting on here before, I’ve always had an incredibly wonky posting schedule. But man, lemme tell you, having a baby didn’t help me in that regard one little bit.

Case in point: I wrote the above sentences two days ago. It’s harder to keep up with my writing because it’s harder to do if I get trapped breastfeeding or under a sleeping baby. I’m still able to pick up my knitting and maybe get in a few rows but it is much harder to get up and make my way to the computer. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing on my tablet but I don’t have a keyboard for it so I’d have to use the infuriating touch screen and I’m not super excited about that prospect.

I’ve also been wondering about what I do and don’t want to write about here in terms of Ivy. Now I know there are already dozens and dozens of well written think pieces on the subject of mommy-over sharing and they’re all more coherent and well thought out than anything I could fart out here but still. It’s interesting to me. What is and isn’t my story to tell?

And please keep in mind I’m not trying to shit all over anyone who chooses to share a lot of stories about their children. Some of my favorite writers are parents who spin charming tales about their offspring and their own misadventures in parenting. I’m in no way trying to shame or boo anyone who chooses to talk at length about their children. This is just me trying to figure out what I want to do with my own situation.

I have no problems sharing stories about myself. Granted I don’t share EVERYTHING because some stories are sad or mortifyingly embarrassing or so dorky that I’m pretty sure no one would actually be interested in reading them. But most of the time if something weird or funny or odd happens to me I have zero qualms with sitting at the keyboard, hammering out a few hundred words about it, and posting it for anyone to see.

When I want to write a story about Red or Matt (or anyone else I know), I always be sure to ask them first. I’ve learned that I never really know what someone is comfortable with me sharing and many times I’ve been like, “That was hilarious! Too bad they wouldn’t want me to share it.” Only to have Red (or Matt or whoever) go, “I don’t care. Post away.” My only point is that I am not a good judge at what other people find appropriate or inappropriate to share with the internet so I always try to ask before sharing anything. In direct opposition of the old saying, I would much rather ask permission than beg forgiveness.

But what about stories about Ivy? It’s not like I can just plop her down and say, “Hey Ivy, can I tell the internet that hilarious story about you from earlier this week?” Well, okay technically I can ask her that but all I’ll get as an answer right now is some smiles and maybe some burbles and coos. She literally has no idea what I’m saying, let alone what the internet is or what sharing stories about her on it might mean in the future.

I know there are parents out there who feel that when their children get older and/or embarrassed about the stories that Mom or Dad have posted about them they’ll just bring them all down. But to me that shows a level of naiveté about the internet that really makes me sad. Internet caches exist and you never know what people have saved, shared, copied, pasted or reposted elsewhere. Yes your site will be gone or will at least no longer contain those posts but like glitter or a particularly nasty STD they never really go away.

I personally don’t feel comfortable writing a lot of things that are directly about Ivy when I can’t ask her permission. Especially if the stories are particularly embarrassing or revealing. I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable asking if I can share stories with her until she is at least a teenager. Any younger than that and I would feel like she isn’t mature enough to really understand what I am asking. Again, this isn’t to say anything negative about the people who do write these sorts of things. There are so many parenting blogs that I absolutely love and I admire their writing and their bravery in sharing stories that I don’t feel comfortable sharing.

It’s the same sort of envy I feel when I see a woman wearing an absolutely stunning outfit that I would never wear because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in it. The outfit looks amazing on them and they rock it so well that I toy with the idea of imitating them. But then I realize that I would never actually be able to wear it without feeling that skin crawly itchy feeling that I get when I feel uncomfortable. I don’t think they should have to take off the outfit just because I don’t want to wear it. It’s different choices. To take a page from Amy Poehler, “Good for you, not for me.”

So that makes writing on here a little more tricky but not the end of the world. I have lots of other things I can share that don’t involve compromising Ivy’s privacy. Stories about me exclusively as a mother and a new parent are something that I feel completely okay with sharing since those aren’t going to be so much about Ivy as they are about me and the actions I take and the things I feel. I have actually been knitting more and as soon as I find the time and space to block some finished pieces (est. time: December 2017) I will post some photos of those.

I might look into investing in an attachable keyboard for my tablet as well. If I can find a good one that works well, that would allow me to write in bed while feeding Ivy which would give me a lot more opportunities to post. I’m not quite sure what my schedule is gonna be like but I’m going to do my best to keep up because I like writing on here and I want to continue. Now if you’ll excuse me, Matt is looking at me pathetically from the bedroom, holding a crying baby so I think I’m out of time here.

TTFN

Little Moments

I know people say that you should sleep when the baby sleeps. But for me, it was always hard to. More often than not Ivy falls asleep on me and I find myself motionless, just enjoying the time spent cuddling with her. I know she’s getting bigger all the time (she’s already over 12 lbs!) and I want to enjoy all the time with her that I can.

It was during one of these little cuddle times when I noticed Ivy was dreaming. Her little eyelids were fluttering and you could see her eyes moving behind them. I’ve always wondered what a baby’s dream looks like. At this age they can hardly see anything around them clearly; the majority of the world looks like grey blobs of varying sharpness. My sister told me she thinks babies dream in smells and touch. An interesting idea.

But this time while she dreamt I noticed that her little eyebrows kept knitting themselves together in an expression of pain or sadness. Her chin quivered and her mouth opened ever so slightly as she moved in a silent sob. I don’t know if it was just gas pains or if she was having a nightmare but I slowly stroked the little monk’s ring of hair she has on the back of her head and softly shooshed her, doing what I do when I comfort her when she’s awake.

Ever so slowly her eyebrows relaxed and returned to their proper places as her mouth softly closed and her entire body unwound. Her breathing slowed down once again and her tiny fist which had been so tightly curled around my finger gradually loosened its grip. She went back into a regular sleep and I just stayed there, softly petting her ultra soft, downy hair.

These are the sorts of moments that made me want to become a parent.