pinterest review #1: banana pancakes

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yesterday i realized that i pin (and pin and pin and pin) to pinterest constantly and i have literally never tried a single recipe, used one organizational tip or been even a tenth as crafty as i appear to be on my boards. so, i thought, new year, right? so, here i go, starting my pinterest reviews.

i must say it’s fitting that i start these reviews with a recipe that has two ingredients. yes, that’s right. two ingredients.

recently, a friend of mine posted this recipe and since i love pancakes, i always have too ripe bananas on hand (which makes me wonder – do i like bananas?) and i’m sincerely attempting to eat healthy and lose that baby weight (which i think it’s safe to say at this point is just winter weight), i thought this recipe was perfect!

"banana pancakes", mango and tea - yum!

“banana pancakes”, mango and tea – yum!

ingredients

  • one banana (thoroughly mashed)
  • two eggs

seriously, that’s it. after making the first one, i added some cinnamon and nutmeg, because they always make things better, right?

the photo that i saw on pinterest made me think that these were seriously going to be fluffy, beautiful pancakes. mine don’t really look like that. and they were pretty difficult to flip in the pan, which made them look even less like pancakes. in fact, i was ready to be really disappointed, though i don’t know how i was expecting banana and eggs to seriously taste like floury pancakes.

because i was ready to be let down, i was pleasantly surprised. they are not bad. i think if i added some blueberries and made them a bit thicker (more banana?), they would be pretty darn good. though, they still sort of taste a bit too banana-ey, which again makes me question if i really like bananas… lucas loves them though, so there you go!

first pinterest recipe: success.

sleep regression

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yes, it’s been awhile since i’ve posted. or done anything, in fact. but you can’t possibly know that (as i haven’t posted). apparently, there’s this thing called a four month sleep regression. there’s also one at eight months. let’s just say i think that lucas is just gonna keep on going from one right on through the other. which is totally awesome.

no, that’s a lie. it isn’t awesome. it isn’t even close to awesome.

i thought that having a child here in germany would make it easier for me. you know, mommy & me groups and what not. i’d meet friends, i’d have a reason to walk and get out more and i’d have a purpose here. not so. i do get out a lot, that’s true and i have joined the american women’s club mommy & me group, so for two hours a week, it seems like i have friends. but the truth? i do not. and i spend most of my day sat on my sofa in my pajamas crying. sobbing actually. why? i’m exhausted.

lucas was never a great sleeper, but he was little and he was predictable and it was getting better. until it wasn’t. and it got worse. and it hasn’t stopped. he’s impossible to put to sleep, he usually won’t sleep longer than 2 hour stretches – maybe there will be one 3 hour stretch a night, if i’m lucky. and he fights it. it is so hard to get him to sleep.

what’s the worst part of all of this? i’m alone. completely and utterly alone.*** yes, all those mommies that i meet with are great and helpful and nice and there are people i have (had) coffee with that are “friends”, but no one that i would invite over to my house while still in my pajamas and the kitchen being a mess, which is when i need friends after all. no one that i could possibly call up and say, “come over, i need a nap”.

***i think my husband would take offense at this, or at the very least, it would make him really sad. i am not alone, really, he is the best and is extremely helpful and is right there with me getting annoyed at our son.

i have nothing else to say, really, which is why i haven’t posted. i’m too exhausted to be clever, to homesick to be interesting and feeling too sorry for myself to talk about anything else.

hopefully this too shall pass.

silly mommy (or daddy) take one

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so, being a new mom isn’t easy – it’s not supposed to be, right? but there are some mistakes we’ve made or some little things that have happened that i really want to remember (either to embarrass little one later, to keep in mind for the next one or to laugh about). i’ll keep posting more as they come up (hopefully not too often?).

1. feuchttücher versus feuchte toilettentücher (or why you should just buy stuff with a picture of a baby’s head on it)

okay, so i don’t speak or read german. as if i needed a reminder. before our very own little doofus arrived on the scene (and turned out to be a ginormous doofus – we like him), we (let’s be honest here: i) had planned on doing everything as ‘natural’ as possible: breast feeding, cloth diapers, water and washcloths instead of wipes, etc, etc. however, what i realized after the arrival of said doofus is that all of that stuff takes a lot of time and a lot of effort (well, except the breast feeding, but that just HURT!!).

i stuck with the breast feeding (and finally it doesn’t hurt all the time) and kept telling myself i was going to start exclusively using cloth diapers and washcloths instead of those horrible disposables (i know, i know, the cloth ones use more water and who knows what is worse for the environment…). but i didn’t (still haven’t). so, we used some store bought wipes, and of course, i made sure that they were sensitive and no this and no that so they were as natural as possible.

to my horror, little one started developing a really bad diaper rash. i had expected it to just be red, but his poor little bum was red all over and all around where the diaper sat, there were sores. i had failed. miserably. i tried cloth diapers, didn’t help. i tried water and washcloths. maybe that would have helped, except the water was always so cold. i couldn’t think of a way to have warm water always available in his room (stupid mommy – but that’s another story and i blame it on lack of sleep).

the midwife comes over and i show her his little tushy and she asks me if i’m using wipes or just cloths and water (oh the guilt!) and i show her what we’re using and she starts cracking up and tells me that what i’ve been using on my new sweet little baby boy is not baby wipes at all but in fact adult wipes (which i didn’t even know they made), so even though they are sensitive, they are made for adult skin and not babies.

fail.

when nodding and smiling don’t work…

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okay, so i live in germany and i don’t speak any german. fine. usually this is only annoying when i’m trying to accomplish something – post office, bank, phone company, etc. however, now that i have an adorable little baby, EVERYONE wants to talk to me.

look at that face!

usually if he’s in his stroller, they leave me alone (for whatever reason), but in his wrap, everyone is all about him. and i can’t blame them, really, he’s pretty damn cute. so, i get a lot of comments. everywhere.

my german is decent enough where i can manage when someone asks me if he’s a boy or a girl or even how old he is. but beyond that, i’ve got nothing. so, i smile and nod. and usually it gets me by. i have no idea what they are saying, but most of the time i can hear the word “süß” in there, which i know is “sweet”, so smiling and nodding seems appropriate enough.

yesterday, however, my husband and i were in the grocery store and the check out lady was talking and talking about how süß he was and everything and we were just smiling and nodding and looking at each other and stroking his face. i told her that he was an eight week old boy and that seemed like all i’d have to say.

then, it went beyond that. in fact, we’re pretty sure she started crying. and that’s where it got awkward. at this point, after she’s been babbling at us for ten minutes (even though we only had like five things – seriously lady, i know he’s cute, but let’s get to it here…), can i say that i don’t speak german? meaning, i haven’t understood a word that you’ve said to me and i’ve just been pretending? which is worse?

well, i’ll tell you what’s the worst, which is of course, what i did – ignoring her dabbing at her eyes with a kleenex and asking her for the point stickers that they give out with every 5€ purchase (in crappy enough german that probably let her know without having to say it that i don’t speak german).

she gave them to me, of course, but seriously. i need to figure out a better way to deal with ladies crying at me than nodding and smiling and continuing about my business. when did i get so rude??

 

 

from the past

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we finally got a bookshelf this week and a dining room table – now we’re eating like real adults instead of crouched over the coffee table watching tv (james is totally bummed). but beyond our eating habits, this means i can unpack and organize the last three boxes that have been sitting next to the futon in our “guest room” (can you really call it that if its only contents are a futon, a few boxes and the vacuum cleaner?).

in doing so, i found this letter and wanted to write it down here so i didn’t lose it:

                                                                       10th january, 2012

dearest one,

this morning i am the ‘invigilator’ (yes, i had to look up that word) at a university exam here in cologne, where you were born. this is quite commonplace. being a teacher, i’ve often sat at the head of a classroom for an hour and a half watching students write their exams and sometimes try to cheat, which i’m sure you’ll never do. it’s usually pretty boring. sometimes, i bring a book. often, i have other exams to mark (or grade? i don’t know where we’ll be living or what ‘language’ you’ll speak). however, there has always been one exam period, usually the first of the exam ‘season’ where i forget a book (or it’s my first time with those students, and it just wouldn’t be appropriate) and then i have nothing to do. at those times, i have always written a letter to my grandmother, your great-grandmother. 

this time, i sat down and for the first time since her death last month (or november, i suppose), i had no one to write my letter to. for a moment, i was sad, and i missed my grandmother. but i knew how happy she was at our wedding (your father’s and mine) and how much she would have loved you.

cologne is finally feeling more like home – especially as it gets closer and closer to the day (whatever day that will be) when you will be with us. we’ve just signed the lease on our new house, which will be your first house. and though the outside isn’t as charming as i’d want, i know it will be filled with so much love and happiness that you’ll never notice and you’ll make me forget entirely. i’m also starting to make friends. i don’t know if you’ll be more like me or your dad, but either way, you’ll understand some day how important that really is, especially to me. 

this winter has been extremely rainy and quite cold. again, i don’t know where we’ll be living. you might be used to the cold and laugh at me (like your dad), or maybe, you’ll be like me – a sun baby. this christmas, my parents came to visit and we drove to england to visit dad’s parents too. though it was a lot of fun, you have made me quite sensitive to motion sickness and so, in the car and on the ferry, i didn’t feel so good. 

my mother and father are selling their house and buying another, which will never bother you because you’ll probably love running around their land with rocky and getting all dirty and scratched up in the wood (well, i’m not sure if you can say ‘wood’ in the desert). you’ll also never know how close they used to live to the ocean, and though i’m sure i’ll annoy you by telling you all about my memories of the old house, they won’t mean as much to you because you’ll never get to see the beautiful garden your grandfather loved (though i’m sure he’ll have one in the new house) or really understand how cold it got in that house, even though it was san diego.

i suppose, maybe unfortunately, i don’t know, you’ll probably be like me and your dad. though he moved cities more (from cardiff to manchester to london – he’ll tell you all about it), we both moved around a lot as kids. i suppose you will have us beat, though. even wales to england isn’t quite the same thing as germany to wherever we move next. and i desperately hope that i stick to my guns and that you are at least bilingual, though i know it won’t be easy, unless we’re here in germany long enough. i want you to speak spanish, though i don’t even speak it enough to practice anymore. though you may not feel it or care (and i’ll try not to take it personally), both of these languages and cultures in many ways have contributed to your father and me being together, and therefore, to you and your development.

anyway, baby, for once you aren’t kicking me, though normally you’re a little quieter in the mornings – maybe you’ll take after me? i hope so. your mom likes to sleep!

i love you very much and can’t wait to see you on thursday for our twenty week scan.

                                                                                 ❤❤❤

                                                                                   mommy

german bureaucracy

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i still don’t have a birth certificate for my son. which means: no passport, no insurance, no kindergeld or elterngeld and no trip to london for the olympics (which is probably a blessing in disguise).

why? well. i’m still not entirely sure if i understand. mostly because our lovely german friend eva, who is six months pregnant, took james to the standesamt  (registry office) to help him register the birth of our little boy. like the little perfectionist that i am, i had researched exactly what we needed and had our birth certificates (james’s and mine), our passports (ditto), my visa, our marriage license and our tax id numbers already gathered in a folder on the sideboard in the front hall. once he was registered, i knew we’d receive both his german birth certificate as well as his international birth certificate and then i was ready with applications for his american and british passports, etc, etc. it was going to be a lot of paperwork, but relatively easy.

cue german bureaucracy. what you need to know before i continue is that my middle name, lakshmi, was given to me when i was about two years old by swami satchidananda (google him, i dare you. he’s kind of a big deal.). now, am i just name-dropping? no. though in certain circles he is quite famous, the point is that my middle name was given to me when i was two. as in, it does not appear on my birth certificate.

in the us, that isn’t really an issue. when my mother finally got around to getting me a social security card (i was five and she got mine and my brother’s at the same time, which is funny because we’re five years apart, but our social security cards are almost consecutive), she just wrote in my middle name. ever since, it’s been on everything: my drivers license, my credit cards and my passport.

common sense dictates that the “laura tenenberg” of my birth certificate is the same person as “laura lakshmi cope-morgan née tenenberg” of my passport, visa and marriage certificate, but though the woman working in the standesamt says that she does in fact believe that i am that person, her job is to make sure that the paperwork is filled in correctly and therefore, she can’t give us a birth certificate for our son until i turn in a change of name form proving that at some point between birth and now, i legally changed my name from “laura tenenberg” to “laura lakshmi tenenberg”, which unfortunately is impossible, since i never changed my name. i just added in the lakshmi and no one ever questioned it.

my husband, more cautious and less naturally arrogant about these things than i (he’s not american after all), was worried. i, however, thought that they can’t possibly not give us a birth certificate. i mean, he was born here, he requires a birth certificate and he certainly can’t get one from any other country. so… they had to, right? especially about such a silly thing…

however, our friend called again and was told that they were in face being very understanding because there were other things wrong with our request that they were graciously overlooking. for one thing, the “cope-morgan” was not hyphenated on our marriage certificate; it was just listed as “cope morgan” (the reason being that for whatever reason, california government cannot use any hyphens or punctuation of any kind in their system) and for another, our marriage license was in english (which they eventually made us translate into german anyway) and beyond that, they weren’t entirely sure what a “middle name” was anyway.

sigh.

finally, i contacted the american embassy here and asked if they could write a letter saying that i indeed am me and that “me” is the same, whether it’s “laura tenenberg”, “laura lakshmi tenenberg”, “laura cope-morgan” or “laura lakshmi cope-morgan”.

they did but they spelled my name wrong. and i still don’t have his birth certificate.

saga to be continued.

7 weeks and 12 pounds later…

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my name is lucas! woo-hoo! (six weeks old)

my little boy is HUGE! i don’t know exactly how much he weighs now, but about a week ago, we went to the doctor and he weighed 11 lbs 14 oz. he was six weeks old then. he’s since grown out of two or three different outfits and another barely fits over his big head. he’s huge.

every time i say that, my husband says, “but he’s not like a monster or anything” and i have to reassure him that no, i am not saying that our baby is some sort of monstrosity or so abnormal as to be scary and/or guiness book of world records worthy. but he is damn big.

and why? he eats nonstop. i mean literally. occasionally, he’ll fall asleep for a little bit and while he’s sleeping, he’ll start rooting around with his mouth, obviously wondering why he isn’t being fed while he’s sleeping. i secretly think he is a monster. though i call him piglet. my sweet little piglet.

today was the first time i left him alone with his daddy (for all of two hours) while i went to the doctor to see if everything was okay down there (and by that, i obviously mean to see if i could have sex again). i was worried about it because it was during his heavy feeding time (i should say one ofhis heavy feeding times) and i’d heard from many people that breast-fed babies tend to refuse the bottle. so this weekend, in preparation, i pumped for the first time.

baby’s (and daddy’s) first bottle

because he’s such a little piggie, i didn’t really anticipate a problem. i mean, this kid will spend every second it takes me to get my shirt off and unsnap my bra viciously trying to eat his hand, my neck, the nursing pillow or whatever is closest to his mouth… i didn’t think he’d turn up his nose at perfectly good milk coming in a slightly different form. in fact, i doubt if he even noticed the form it came in.

after that, i pumped two full bottles to be used during the two hours (at most) i would be gone this morning. i fed him before i left, so i wasn’t really expecting there to be any problems. i mean, two full bottles – that’s at least 8 ounces of milk. right? he should be fine?

well, he was fine. because he always is. because he’s an angel and it’s a damn good thing because i’ve discovered that i don’t have the temperament to be able to handle a temperamental kid. but, he ate both of the bottles and was hungry/starving when i came home.

don’t get me wrong, i’m in no way complaining about this – he’s a healthy, healthy boy and that makes me ecstatic. my nipples? not so much. but hey, it’s a small price to pay.

 

baby, baby (part two)

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i’m sitting here listening to “womb noises” by dr. harvey karp (author of the happiest baby on the block – seriously, read it) and while it’s wonderful because it makes my baby fall asleep in about 2.2 seconds, it is not really conducive to me doing much of anything while he sleeps. and at least for the first fifteen minutes or so of his nap, i’m scared to turn it off in case he wakes up and starts crying.

i’m not very good when he cries in general. in fact, i am pretty sure i’m overfeeding him because the instant he starts fussing, my natural reaction is to fling my shirt off and stick my boob in his face. my husband is starting to make fun of me, saying that i just like getting my boobs out. at least i don’t cry anymore when he cries, so i guess i’m getting better.

anyway, back to the birth. so, friday night i stayed in the hospital alone, which was scary, but i dealt with it. though my husband was loathe to leave me, he was also kind of excited because his mother and sister had arrived that morning. they had intended to come out two weeks or so after we had had the baby, but again, he was late so that didn’t work out as planned either. leaving his family lounging in our living room (and watching the entire first season of game of thrones), he came back bright and early saturday morning – so early that i’m pretty sure i wasn’t out of bed yet when he and my mother walked into my room. being morning people (of which i am not), they are both pretty used to that by now.

they came so early, though, because i was scheduled to be induced. induction is a little different here than it is in the us, or at least, as far as i understand it to be performed in the us. to my knowledge, there they go straight for the pitocin, which is a synthetic hormone. here as well as in the uk, they use a gel hormone called prostaglandin first. pitocin is an iv and the prostaglandin is a gel suppository – which i suppose is better, you don’t have to be attached to an iv drip for hours. but at the same time, there’s already a lot (and going to be a lot) going on down there, sticking something else up there isn’t really pleasant… but i think that the general opinion is that the prostaglandin is more “natural” than the pitocin and incurs less invasive interventions on average throughout the birth.

how did it go for me? well, the first dose, which is a minimal amount because they don’t want to bring on massive contractions, did nothing. or well, i didn’t go into labor at least. who knows exactly what it did. so, we spent saturday monitoring the baby’s heart rate about five thousand times (six, to be exact) and walking around the hospital – which was on top of a hill where you could see all of cologne (when it wasn’t raining, which was never) and had a small wood in back, a rose garden on the side and a lovely grassy area complete with walking paths. for a hospital, it was pretty nice. of course, like i’ve already said, i had never really been to another hospital, so i have nothing to compare it to.

so saturday came and went, as did my husband and i was left to spend another night alone in the hospital.

as a side note, the european football championships were going on and germany played on saturday night, which was pretty exciting for the other ladies in my room and for james, as his brother had arrived saturday morning, meaning he had a buddy with whom he could watch. but in an odd way, it was slightly reassuring for me as well, which is something i never expected myself to say. but after over five years of being with my husband, i now find football to be so normal and familiar that it is comforting (just don’t tell him i said so).

germany having won the match, i went to my last late night heartrate monitoring session and it was the first one that i’d had alone. i brought my ipod and listened to krishna das and talked to the baby. i was alone in the room and the whole birthing section of the hospital was absolutely quiet. it was a nice moment, as i felt like i’d forgotten a bit why i was there in the midst of all the fear of the hospital and the worry about being induced and the lack of fluid for the baby. i remembered that i was having my baby and that no matter how or where it happened, he and i were in it together and we were going to do just fine. it was extremely peaceful and i left feeling much calmer than i had before.

so much so that i woke up early and took a shower before james and my mom showed up sunday morning. i love surprising them like that: look at me, i’m a real adult – i can get up on my own before my mom comes to wake me up!

the hospital and especially the birthing area retained some of its calm from the night before, which was such a stark contrast to the day before. on saturday, they had had ten babies be born and the birthing area was a whirlwind of activity all day long. it made me laugh, thinking that all the babies must know that it’s a catholic hospital and are, like good little boys and girls, avoiding being born on the sabbath. except for my little heathen, of course.

freshly showered, feeling calm, optimistic and well-fed, we headed to the birthing room for the second dose of the prostaglandin at around 10:30. we were monitored for an hour or so (if i never see a heart rate monitor again it’ll be too soon) and then went down to the cafeteria so james could have his daily milkshake. around 2:00 (14:00 hours) i definitely noticed the contractions were getting stronger and i started having an “oh my god, what’s coming??” sort of feeling in the pit of my stomach. i could still walk though and we spent a good part of the afternoon walking outside and sitting on the benches, unintentionally enjoying the last few hours (ever) that we would spend absolutely alone just the two of us.

at some point my mom came back with my grandmother (who ended up sleeping on the couch in the lobby until 2 am when she came up to meet her great-grandson) and around 6:00 (18:00 hours), we all (sans grandma) went to be monitored (am i conveying well enough how often the baby’s heart rate was monitored??) and at that point, i was definitely feeling the contractions. unfortunately for james, it coincided with the time the spain game was starting. not the last time this baby will change his plans, i’m sure.

we were shown to a birthing room where i was checked to see how far i was dilated, etc (which was not very far but farther than i had been – i had been at 1 cm for weeks!) and told to wait. around 8:00, the contractions were definitely stronger and i was beginning to feel like i didn’t really want to go through with it any longer. although i logically knew that some way or another, this baby would have to come out, there was a rising panic that tried to convince me that if i just ran out of the room and got far away somehow, it would all just magically stop. luckily for me and baby, i didn’t actually try it.

at this point, i asked james or my mom (i don’t remember which) to cover up the clock on the wall. i realized that either way – wether it went quickly or lagged on and on, i didn’t want to know about it. i could just imagine feeling like i was there for hours and hours and glancing up at the clock and realizing it had only been a half hour. no thank you. at this point, i was standing in the middle of the room grasping onto the knotted cloth hanging down from the ceiling that is common to all birthing rooms i’ve seen here, swaying back and forth, concentrating on not being tense through the contractions and wondering how in the hell i had managed to completely forget to put on my ipod all of the music i had planned on listening to during the birth.

i stayed this way for a certain amount of time (seemed like ages, really, but probably was only an hour or so) and then made my way to the birthing tub, which i wasn’t at all sure about. i felt like i should want to be in the tub and the idea of water lapping around me and heat on my belly and back sounded wonderful, but heat everywhere else seemed like it would make me pass out, but i thought i may as well try it. i was, however, correct. i loved the idea of the heat and i really liked the water in general, but i couldn’t handle putting my whole body in it. in fact, i sat on the edge, with my legs and nether regions in the water and had my husband rubbing ice water all over my face and back constantly. then it was okay.

it was interesting though. just at the time when i started thinking, okay, i don’t want to be in this tub anymore, but i don’t know where i do want to be… the midwife said that i’d had enough and it was time to see how dilated i was and move me back to the birthing room. at this point, it should be said, that i was borderline crying at each contraction. i’m not sure if anyone noticed, as i had ceased noticing everyone. i had closed my eyes once the contractions started to get bad enough, disappearing inside myself being the only way i could handle the pain. i had disappeared so much though that for the midwife to speak with me, she had to sort of clap at me and force me to open my eyes so that i paid any attention to her.

once we got back, it seemed like i started pushing immediately, but i’m not sure if that was really the case either. time had stopped mattering, really. and i was definitely at the point where i was thinking that i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to finish this huge task i’d set for myself anyway. i knew that even had i wanted it, it would have been too late to have an epidural, but a small part of me was hoping they’d offer me some sort of medication. i wasn’t sure if i’d take it, after all, i’d really wanted to do this au natural, but i was starting to wonder if maybe that wasn’t just a little bit crazy. what did they give me? some sort of homeopathic cedar bark. i imagine it did do something, but did it compare to an epidural? no, it most certainly did not.

the pushing was hard. i didn’t really know where to push or how to separate out my pushing – the midwife kept touching me towards the back saying, “push here, right here” and though i’m sure it was helpful, i sort of wanted to punch her in the face because wasn’t i already pushing there??

luckily it was really fast (so to speak). i was squatting, supported by my husband and helped to a standing position during the breaks by my mother, who was at my side. though the whole process didn’t take very long, it seemed to take forever from the time when i could start to feel his head with my hand and when his head actually finished coming out. i mean, i know it’s big and everything, but i sort of thought that once i could feel it, once he was crowning (isn’t that what they say in films?), he’d just sort of pop out. not so. but, once the head did come out all the way, the rest of him just sort of blobbed out. and yes, i realize that “blob” isn’t a verb, but short of actually making the blub blub noise that i can still hear if i imagine it, that’s the most descriptive i can get. i’ve been told that if you have an epidural, you don’t feel that. and though i would’ve been happy in some ways not to feel the head coming out, the rest made it worth it. i have no idea why but that was a great feeling, that blub blub.

and the feeling that i was done was just incredible. what made it absolutely suck, though, is that i wasn’t done. in fact, i was bleeding quite a bit and they seemed sort of worried about me. ignoring the baby, they seemed to be all focused on me – both of the midwives as well as the doctor, who had come in for the actual birth, just in case. i remember thinking this in a rather detached fashion, as someone picked up the baby, daddy having cut the cord, and placed him on my chest. then, all i noticed was him – his eyes, his skin, his hair, his little fingers and his super long toes… i was somewhat aware of all of this activity going on down there, but it was as if they were working on someone else. even when they placed an iv in my arm because my uterus wasn’t contracting and it needed to in order to both get the placenta out and to stop the bleeding, i was just staring at him.

there were more contractions, then, as my uterus started to do what they wanted it to and they were pushing on my stomach, forcing my uterus to contract and forcing the blood and placenta out – it was horrible enough for me to remember that it was my body they were working on, in fact, and i most definitely was aware of what was going on. they took the baby from me (to have more freedom to do all of these horrible things to me) and gave him to his father.

the contractions i felt then were definitely in no way as bad as the ones from the actual birth, but because i thought i was finished and it turned out i wasn’t, they seemed a thousand times worse. i just kept thinking, i can’t feel this anymore. i just can’t do this anymore. not even for one second. what i discovered though is that there is a lot that your body can do without your permission and without your believing it can be done.

the only other thing i remember at this point is that my mother kept taking pictures of the baby with the flash on and i kept yelling at her and she kept ignoring me. but it seems like flash photography would bother a newborn’s eyes, right? he’s not blind, though, so i guess everything is okay.

unfortunately, i was bleeding because i had torn a little bit, which was basically my worst nightmare, second only to the dreaded episiotomy. the midwives didn’t seem to think it was so horrible though. the doctor said it was nothing. i suppose it must be normal. and truth be told, i didn’t feel it at all when it happened. so, i suppose it wasn’t really the worst thing in the world. the doctor stitched me up quickly and short of a strange sort of threading, i couldn’t feel that either.

finally, i got my baby back again and could close my legs and just stop for awhile. my husband was there next to me and i’m sure we babbled things to each other, i’m sure we had questions, i’m sure we were scared and confused and exhausted, but now i completely understand how in films, that moment is always so perfect and beautifully peaceful because no matter how it actually was (my mother flashing away with her camera, my husband worried about my bleeding and wondering over and over again why they hadn’t cleaned the baby and if they were going to and me concerned about everything and not even sure how to react), in my mind, i’ll always see both of us, heads bent over this perfect little baby (who in reality looked like a purple alien and was covered in blood, vernix and all sorts of goop) – our first glorious moment as a new family.

so, they were right… your whole life DOES change… (part one)

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so, it happened. my beautiful little baby boy is here and has been for almost a month (jesus cristo!) now. james went back to work last week and i’m sitting here on the couch, with the baby sleeping next to me (finally – he hasn’t been sleeping all day) and i’m sort of looking around thinking… what happened??

so, what did happen? first of all, i was late. 15 days late. after making my mom come out a week early because i was so sure the baby was going to come earlier rather than later. in fact, both my mom and grandma had been here since the 21st (i was due the 27th) and they were starting to drive me crazy (it wasn’t their fault – they were wonderful – it’s just that having people in your house [in your kitchen] for weeks is a burden, no matter how welcome).

that burden was eased, however, by the fact that they had rented a car. beyond the trips to ikea and babies r us, going to the geburtshaus (birthing center) every other day by train would have been awful. aside from those trips, though, we pretty much just sat around the house. that second week ended up being hot – our one week of summer, apparently (it rained every day before and has done every day since). my dad came and mowed the lawn, put in garden beds, weeded, installed ceiling lamps and did all kinds of little household chores, with james in tow (“learning”).

and while it was wonderful to have them all here (and not just because of everything that they helped us with), i could feel them looking at me every second just waiting – as if i had any say in the matter.

of course, my due date came and went and i was still feeling pretty good (especially after the heat wave passed), but then even i got bored of waiting. and i started trying things: spicy foods, castor oil, acupuncture, etc, and nothing worked. and i was just so aware of being late – every day i felt the braxton hicks contractions and thought that maybe something might be starting and my mom would go back to her hotel room in the evening telling me to call her right away with smiles and belly rubs and then every morning i’d wake up the same as the day before.

in the end, my dad had to leave before i had the baby, which was sad. my mom and grandma ended up staying a few extra days, but my dad had to leave and get back to their new house and the dogs and work. it was a bit of a let down for him, i know, and i definitely felt a bit responsible, though, again, i knew there was nothing i could do.

on the wednesday before my due date, i went back to the doctor to have a scan and make sure everything was still okay, which it was, except that my amniotic fluid was really low. his heartbeat was still strong and he was still moving around a lot, but there was enough concern over the low fluid levels that on friday morning, i went to the hospital and checked myself in.

though it was different than my “birth plan” (which was to give birth in the birthing center, not a hospital), i still felt okay about it, especially because i was kind of concerned about my fluid and as both my doctor and midwife said that it was important to be in a hospital so that i could be monitored a few times a day (baby’s heartrate).

but then friday night came around and james had to leave and i suddenly realized that i would be staying in the hospital and that i’d never really been in a hospital before and that the whole process was sort of starting (in that i was in the hospital to have the baby, even though the labor itself hadn’t started) and that i was going to be all by myself. and so i started crying.

it was just so surreal, with all the hospital activity and noises going on all around me, i sort of felt marooned. as if my little twin (or smaller?) bed was an island – with one palm tree and just water, water everywhere. i felt lost, alone, terrified and just a little bit guilty, trying to keep in mind that i wasn’t lost or alone and that i was also (and should be) excited.

and oh crap, the baby just woke up. part two to follow.

37 weeks 4 days…

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i feel like i’ve been sitting in the same spot on the couch for over a week now. granted, i do get up occasionally. you know, to pee. a lot. i’ve also done a lot of laundry. and cleaned up here and there, but there isn’t so much i can do anymore. i’ll take a short walk most days, because it’s important to be active, but for the most part, i’ve just sat here.

at first, i watched basically the whole series of bones, but then i discovered that maybe that wasn’t the best use of my time. so i started knitting a sweater. while i watched bones. then, i watched dr. neil degrasse tyson give the keynote speech at the space symposium and i was inspired. now, i’m watching documentaries and learning stuff. way better than bones.

but seriously, what do you do when you are so big that it’s uncomfortable to do anything? oh, and on that note, i’m sick of reading blogs/messages on pregnancy forums where these crazy ladies (teenagers, my cruel mind imagines) talk about how they are still running a marathon at full-term and going to the gym three times a day and feeling great and i just want to find them and punch them in the face.

on that note, i’ll leave you with the song i already can’t get out of my head:

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