Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Matilda - The Musical

Our Little Vampire is a month old today. What an exciting time it has been! (Exciting, synonymus with breath-taking and dangerous?) We seem to be a lot more in control of things now, though, which is nice. When I think back (through the fog of confusion and terror) to the first 2 weeks, I am amazed at how much better things are now. And at how UNPREPARED I was about how difficult it would be. Have I said that before? (YES YOU HAVE!) Here's a joke for all of you that have children: Before Matilda was born, I actually signed up (and paid) for a First Aid course that would take place 3 (count them, one... two...three) weeks after I had Matilda. The course lasts 2 weekends, 6 hours every day. I thought, no sweat, Peter can come with, I can give her to him and nip out and breastfeed her when she's hungry. That's all she'll need, right?
Ummm.... yes. Luckily the nice people let me reschedule the course... For March. HOPEFULLY I'll be more able to multitask by then.

Peter has started work again on Monday, and I stayed alone with Matilda for the first time. Scary, but it went better than I thought! After the initial shock, I found that if I give her a short feed when we wake up, I can then stick her in the pouch and go around making breakfast without her complaining... Then I finish feeding her after I've put some caffeine in my system (Ah, the wonderful world of addictions!) To add to the list of my achievements, I have also managed (while alone with the baby) to:
Cook dinner (more than once, too!)
Wash the clothes and fold them
Paint my toe-nails (Just once, ok?)
Wax my legs
Go grocery shopping
Make the beds
Wash the dishes
Visit my neighbour

All Hail Super-Mum! (I might be getting just a TAD carried away here, but I'm just managing these things for the first time, bear with me (Or bare with me, breast-feeding joke, get it? Nudge-nudge snigger.) Here's a snippet of wisdom from the expert: if you have a baby in the pouch, don't wear socks. SO convenient to simply pick things up from the floor using your toes, instead of having to bend down. And good for stretching your muscles as well; hey, it's practically yoga!

Also, this week I've dared to go out of the house with the pram for the first time. All previous times, I just had Matilda in her pouch, but Thursday it was raining, so I had to take my chances with the pram. The reason this seemed like such a task that I had to put it off, is that it requires planning and speed worthy of an army operation to keep the cat in the house, the baby in the pram, and my sanity (almost) intact. If you're interested, here are the steps you have to follow to achieve a simple walk with the pram, if you're me:

1. Put Matilda in the Pouch.
2. Close Domino in the bathroom.
3. Open the door, and take the pram out.
4. Get back in and close the door. The baby is still in the pouch at this stage.
5. Release Domino from the bathroom.
6. Throw Domino's toy for him to chase and rush out the door while he's busy. (Try to avoid banging the baby's head on the door-frame at this stage.)
7. Check the pram is still waiting outside and no one has stolen it or thrown empty crisp packets in it.
8. Remove Matilda from the pouch and place her in the pram. Lock the door.
9. Remember you forgot your wallet inside. Bang head on door. (This step is optional and, frankly, best avoided.)

Our cat is still being very sweet, as he has been since Matilda was born. He was babysitting for me the other day. Matilda was in her pram in the kitchen and I was chopping veg, ready to pounce and pick her up if she started fussing. Domino got on the pram and sat on the hood, with his tail swishing around, and Matilda was so transfixed watching him that I managed a good ten minutes of chopping and washing before he got bored and went off to chase flies.
He also regularly goes upstairs while I'm sitting on the sofa breastfeeding, picks up one of the soft toys Matilda (Ok, I) have and brings it downstairs and deposits it on the sofa next to me. He's not supposed to do this, but it's soooo adorable I can't tell him off, and besides if I do, I suspect he'll simply stop bringing me the toys, and I'll have to chase for them around the house instead. However, the other day he decided my sanitary pads from the bathroom would make a good present and he proceeded to bring me the whole value-packet of pads I had left sitting on the shelf (leaving a trail of pads leading to the bathroom behind him.) Then he went back and brought me the discarded pads too, so all was well. Not a party trick to show guests, but I sure thought it was funny!

Domino had to go to the vet last week, and forego his masculinity for ever (he got castrated, ok?) He had developed an alarming habit of trying to hump our arms. I spent the day worrying sick about him, and he came back bright and full of the joys of life, so all was well. The vet sent him back with a pack of special food we were supposed to feed him for the first 24 hours, which he promptly gobbled down in 5 minutes so then we had to treat him to boiled chicken breast. Other than a certain emptiness between his legs, he's the same as always, only better behaved. Although he does still try to hump us some times, which is hillarious. (*Humpety hump rub-rub* *confused pause* "Wait, I seem to remember something exciting used to happen when I did that, what's wrong now? Blast, I never have any fun around here. I'll go eat instead." *walks away looking dignified*)

Apparently, sleep deprivation makes you creative, so here are a couple of songs I sing to Matilda:

(To the tune of Love is All Around)


I feel it in my fingers,
I feel it in my toes,
The poop is all around me
And still the volume grows...

You know you stink and
You always will
And I feel terror at the nappies you fill
There's no beginning
There'll be no end
To all the changes
I must attend!


It's all right
It's ok
We chew boobies every day
With a knick-knack
Paddy wack
Give the boob a bite
I will drink your blood all night!

But hey, don't let me make you think motherhood is no fun!
Here's how it's worth it:

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"This Breastfeeding Business is Bloody Boring!"

So, give La Leche League my phone number to organise a public lynching. I suppose I still have to get the hang of it. I was looking SOOOO forward to nursing Matilda, and now it's boring half of the time, and plain painful the rest of it. Don't get me wrong, I love gazing in my newborn's eyes as much as the next person. But, let me see now. My newborn nurses every two hours, for approximately one hour. That's a total of... oh... 8 hours a day (or not, I stink at Math.) And I can't NOT gaze at her when she's being quietly attentive, she's ADORABLE then, and makes sweet faces, and responds to me. So add a couple more hours there. Oh, and I gaze at her when she's sleeping quite a lot too. (Is she about to wake up? DEAR LORD, is she stirring?!) I'm sorry Friends and Neighbours, but aproximately 13 hours a day of gazing in my newborns eyes is a tad too much. I'd go for gazing at the page of a book, or my email, every now and then. I have to get organized and learn how to nurse one-handed (not to mention, NOT NECESSARILY sitting on the sofa, with 4 pillows, and preferably on the left side, please.)

Disclaimer: I do NOT intend to give up on breastfeeding. I hugely looked forward to it, and have been lucky enough that it seems to be going relatively smoothly, and I KNOW I'll enjoy it more as we get the hang of it. Thank you. *sits down*

I'm being funny, of course. In fact, Peter keeps trying to get me to go take a nap, and I can't seem to keep my eyes closed if I can be looking at her (invariably, suggested nap times are when she's quiet or sleeping -her most lovely times.) But it's amazing how unprepared I was for this mummy business. I wanted many children. I still do, I refuse to reconsider anything when I'm sleep-deprived, confused, and possibly a bit depressed. At some point I'll have figured this out, and then we can talk numbers. When I was pregnant, I read everything that crossed my path. I was prepared for everything, or rather, I was aware of everything. As it turned out, I knew nothing.

Book: Most newborns will want to breastfeed every couple of hours, and you might find that taxing.
Delusional Anna Voice: But I'll be gazing in her eyes! How could I find that boring!

(See above.)

Book: A lot of mothers feel very depressed a few days after the birth. This stage can last several days. Be careful so it doesn't turn to PPD.
Delusional Anna Voice: But I'll hopefully have a great birth experience, and be blissfuly happy with my baby and my wonderful, supportive husband. How could I feel depressed? I know, maybe I'll cry a bit on the day my milk comes in.
Once again, HA! I did have my great birth (I must be the only person I know who watches her birth video to cheer herself up. During the week I was feeling especially bad, I must have watched the thing six times.) The endorphine high was so strong that when the hormones started clearing up, I crashed like a ton of bricks. I'm talking a week of almost non-stop crying, punctuated by fits of uncontrolable sobbing and wailing (yes, I can joke about it -now.) Even when Matilda was being easy (asleep) I was crying, because she would wake up soon, and what would I do with her then? I felt like a terrible parent. I still feel like a terrible parent some of the time. (I'm enjoying her -but am I enjoying her ENOUGH? Does Peter like her ENOUGH? I love her about 2/3 of the time, but the remaining 1/3 I secretly hope someone would take her away for a while. How terrible does that make me? It's amazing how culturally conditioned I was that I would/should love her instantly, passionately, and unconditionally, that even though I was aware that it comes slower for some people, I still feel like a failure. And I spent my baby's 1st week birthday crying because she would eventually wake up and fuss, and now I have to live with that memory.)

Which brings me to my next point:
Book: Babies fuss and cry. Parents do things to try and help, like put them in the pram or car and go for a walk, or wear earplugs.
Delusional Anna Voice: Oh, you poor ignorant people! Don't you know, all you have to do is cuddle your baby, and feed her if she asks for it, and spend as much time as possible with her, and she'll be so content and feel so loved, she won't need to cry?
Ok, so I want to be AP when I grow up (and before Matilda does.) I don't judge other people (I was being funny before) but I do think that the fact that we carry her a lot, cuddle her a lot, feed her on demand and let her sleep with us at night has helped her sleep for 5-6 hours during the night already, and only cry when we change her nappy or in the evening. But BOY does she cry in the evening! Down the drain goes my theory about just having to follow my instincts and pick her up when she cries. At this stage, I have no interest in putting her on my, or anyone's schedule, and I'm very happy to just give her what she wants to be content. But from about 6 to about 9 in the evening, what she wants seems to be either to cry, or to chew on my nipple, occasionaly shaking her head around like a shark during a feeding frenzy. While crying, some times. Now I have a new theory: Babies are designed by nature to cry in the evenings, to scare away any prowling predators. Trust me, she can sound much bigger and meaner than she actually is.
Oh, and that thing about earplugs is actually Peter's idea. I'm tempted.

My cousin Katerina and her husband had their first baby girl, Maria Lorna, this Monday. She is only 2 weeks younger than Matilda. I can't wait to see photos!

What Matilda can do now:
She can stay awake and happy for quite a long time, watching us and listening to us.
She watches the head-lights on our wall as cars drive past, and the cat when he's around her (Black spots on white fur -purrfect!) She always turns to the light.
I swear she smiles, at least in her sleep, and can get quite a cheerful expression on her face when the occasion arises.
She can poop unassisted most of the time (YAY!)
She startles at noises, so we know she can hear fine.
She can squirm around more, and can hold her head up quite well for short periods of time.
She's developing recognisable cries to communicate different things. (Our particular favorite is one annoyed cry Peter calls "The Barking Duck" -WACK! WACK! WACK!)
I suspect she's starting to recognise the Infacol bottle ("Oooh, boobie time is coming up!") -Should I be feeling guilty about that?

And my answer to those of you who said Matilda looks like me:

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

When the Poop hits the Fan

So... we've been sharing house with Matilda for a week now and it's been... I'd tell you, but I'm too tired to remember.

Our baby is beautiful, precious, sweet, and she makes the silliest hamster-faces when she wants to poop (Look of concentration, eyes crossed, cheeks puffed out, and PUSH!) I'll take a picture one of these days.

It's not as sweet as it all sounds though, because poor thing apparently finds it very difficult to produce anything, and cries and cries... while we frantically rub, pat, stroke her back, try to figure out what she wants, or just cry with her (that's me, mostly.) I never thought I'd be so happy to see a dirty nappy in my life.

Ok, some of it is funny, and some of it is AMAZINGLY overwhelming, and scary (what if she wants to eat instead? What if I'm STARVING MY BABY???) and frustrating. And the hormones aren't helping.

The cat loves her, and we love her when she's not crying, and we're working on it when she does. More updates when I'm more sane.

She *IS* sweet though... And let it be recorded for posterity now, that YES, I still want more (you hear that, you out there?)

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!


Matilda Catherine arrived Sunday, 23:15. 8lbs11 oz (3950 gr for the Greeks), 2nd degree tear, 4 stitches... NO PAIN RELIEF AT ALL :) We had a waterbirth.

We had been out for coffee and walks and timing lame-o period pains (I thought!) since midday. After the coffee shop closed, we went home and discovered the 1-missisipi 2-missisipi method isn't very reliable... Surges were 7 mins appart, lasting 1,5 min. Called the midwife at 19:15, she arrived and checked me at 20:00... 5cm! Wohoo! Peter started filling the pool and I labored on the toiled, saying "OOOOPEN UP OOOPEN UP" when I had a surge... Throughout the labor (since 19:00 I mean, I was doing it earlier), I couldn't use my hypnobirthing techniques but found I had to vocalise a lot and couldn't help it... The midwife checked the baby's heart rate while I was on the toilet, having a cx... She said "Oh, you look like you're enjoying this (WAS SHE CRAZY!?) But I guess it looked like that from the outside... Asked her for another vaginal examination because I felt nauseus and the contractions felt different... She said I was fine andd they tried not to do too many examinations (her mistake.) Got in pool at 21:00 aproximately and was feeling very intense... couldn't let go of Peter, couldn't not vocalise "OPEN UP" quite loudly with surges. Asked for an examination again, thought I felt like pushing. Tha midwife said again "You don't look ready to push to me, trust your body... You'll get a respite before you have to push. Now would be a good time to do your relaxation." I felt like slapping her! (Sounds bad, she was great really... I can't write all the details because I'm typing one handed, and I did feel she was blowing me off at the time... Discovered after I read her notes later, she really thought the "chanting" was a hypnobirthing technique, and that I was SO relaxed.) Finally had to get out of the pool to monitor the baby's heart again, so she agreed to examine me again... 8 cm! Don't push yet, but she did call the second mw to come (panicky phonecall: "I have a prima at 8 cm wanting to push here... Yes yes, but she's using some technique AND I THINK THE BABY MIGHT COME BY 23:00!" At 22:00 I said "I'm pushing!" The Second midwife wasn't in yet, she had gotten lost... She arrived shortly after though. I had gone from 5 to 10 cm in 2 hrs exactly! And I never DID get that respite. I pushed for 1 hr 15 mins bellowing "COME OUT BABY COME OUT BABY" at contractions (I couldn't help it... It was in english too!) Water broke during pushing, 15 mins before she was born approximately (so that speed was with intact membranes *LOL*) At 23:15 she popped out, when cord stopped pulsating, Peter cut it... I delivered the placenta on my own 30 mins after the birth. Got stiched up, at which point we discovered their Entonox machine was broken and didn't work! Good thing I didn't ask for it during labor *LOL*

Fun facts:

We were videoing the birth. During pushing, at some point I said "Oh, my mum will watch this and think her child is in so much pain... She'll be in tears." (I was very loud, but it felt much better than it sounded.) Peter said "So tell her you're ok" so I was waving at the camera saying "Hi mum, don't worry, I'm ok mum, Hi mum" (Can you say endorphine high!?)

Also during pushing, Peter decided to joke (!) "The bad thing about having such a good birth is you'll want to have lots more children" and I said "YES I will!" (I'm quite proud of that statement at that time! *LOL*)

Also during pushing, I had no idea what was happening, but I was bellowing and had 3 midwives standing there looking at my hootchie, pointing and saying to each other "Look at that! That's amazing!" (WHAT?! *LOL* But it let me know things were going well *LOL*)

I had a total of 4 mws present, because it was during a shift change, but they stuck around because they wanted to see what happened...Total duration of labor, from phonecall to midwife to the birth, 4 hrs exactly. Not bad eh?

Am a bit lost now... Babies cry a LOT! :(

Apologies in advance if I disappear for a bit, but did I say BABIES CRY A LOT?

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