Archive for February, 2006

What’s the Point Without the Chocolate?

Friday, February 24th, 2006

It looks like Sophie really is sensitive to chocolate through my milk. I sort of tested it the other day when I caved in and ate a piece that was laying around hidden in my office. It was just one little piece! But she had another fussy evening and I’m choosing to believe it was the chocolate, even though she’s been having fussy evenings this last week whether I eat chocolate or not.

Sophie’s version of “fussy” is much less horrible than Julie’s was at this or any other age – the new one is at least generally consolable, and is not screaming the “someone is cutting off my arms and legs” scream taht Julie used to make pretty much constantly. Really, until she was almost two, we didn’t realize that Julie *had* any other cry, and I thought parents who could ignore the cries of their newborns for more than five seconds were complete barbarians. Now I know differently. Poor little Sophie has had to fuss in the crib for a few minutes at a time on more than one occasion as Julie got a diaper change or some other little multi-child crisis came up.

Anyway, Sophie’s current case of the fussies probably has more to do with being two weeks old and having a little cold in her nose – the same one that Joe and I had last week and from which we are still recovering. But I’m going to take a leap of faith and believe that abstaining from chocolate keeps her a little bit happier. It’s good motivation to stay away from the freakin’ chocolate, and I’ve realized over the last week that chocolate really is the bane of my existance, or at least of my hope to ever fit back in my size-10 wardrobe.

I didn’t realize, until I tried to stop eating it, how much chocolate I really eat. It’s a daily thing for me. Literally, not a day went by during my pregnancy when I did not consume something choco-licious, be it brownies, cookies, ice cream, candy, a cafe mocha, or even when nothing better was available, a handful of chocolate chips and a handful of nuts mixed together.

Today, after Sophie’s two-week well-baby checkup, she Julie and I drove out to Joe’s office to show off the baby to the coworkers. Then the four of us went out to lunch at Culver’s, which for the non-midwestern readers, is a fast food place that specializes in frozen custard desserts. As I sat there finishing my sandwich and fries, my mind drifted automatically to the hot fudge sundae I would have ordered almost without thought while I was pregnant, and before I reallu thought it through, I said “Oh Darn!” which sparked this little dialog:

Joe: What?
Me: Well, I guess Sophie wouldn’t like it if I ate a hot fudge sundae
Joe (with a disapproving look): No.
Me: And I guess I’m better off without it anyway.
Joe (still looking at me like a stern parent): Yes

So then two thoughts went through my head.
1 – I could drop Joe off after lunch and come back through the drive-through, get my custard fix and he would never be the wiser. This kind of food-hiding thought has been in my little psyche since my earliest memories. Thanks, mom and dad, for installing that food=shame button so early! Being told not to eat something or that I am fat or really any related message just makes me want to rebel and do it more.
2 – What’s the point of getting custard if there’s no chocolate involved? Sure, I love the creamy texture. But I’ve never been a vanilla girl. I don’t really care for white cake. Given a choice of something chocolate or non-chocolate, it will pretty much always be the chocolate. And plain vanilla ice cream by itself definitely doesn’t do it for me. Even the idea of a fruit or caramel sundae doesn’t really float my boat. A root beer float would come close to satisfying, maybe, but it wouldn’t be worthy of a stealth drive-through trip.

This second thought is actually quite liberating. It adds hope to my dream of eventually losing this indulgent-pregnancy weight. I mean, yes, I want my old clothes to fit. Yes, I want to feel good in my body again and feel happy about the way I look. I want to have the energy to chase after my girls, and it’s hard to do that with an extra pile of pounds on your back side. But those are all internal motivations. The no-chocolate thing is an external one, and sometimes those can be helpful things, especially if they are driven by love instead of shame. The chocolate prohibition is out of love for my daughter and not wanting to see her in pain and wonder whether that hot fudge sundae I ate this afternoon is the source of her screaming tonight. Totally different than a raised eyebrow from a well-meaning husband.

The follow-up question is how far will the chocolate-free diet get me? Will it be enough along with the nursing and chasing after a toddler and carrying extra loads of laundry up and down the stairs? I have no idea. I do believe in the 9-monts on, 9-months off rule. Even though this is on my mind, I’m not obsessing over it. I am already losing some weight, but it’s always the first big chunk that’s the easiest. I really don’t think I’m going to be a fattie forever.

Home Alone, Day 2

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

We’ve not only survived day 2 of Joe being back at work, but it seems to have gone pretty darn well – assuming that nobody has a crisis in the next 15 minutes or so before he’s due in the back door.

I didn’t get a shower this morning, but that was because Sophie was nursing at the moment the alarm clock went off, and when it comes down to a choice between me being squeaky clean and my kid having a full tummy and not screaming at me, the latter wins out. Even so, we made it to Julie’s ECFE class at 9:15 – actually, we got there at 9:10, which is amazing since Julie and I have been at least 5 minutes late every week since it started in September. I guess I overcompensated for the Sophie factor this morning.

Sophie slept in her car seat like a champ through most of the class, with a brief intermission to nurse and make a giant poo at the perfect time during the parenting part of the class. It was a little disruptive since all the other parents had to stop, stare and coo over her, but nobody seemed to mind too much. She went back in the car seat and slept till after we were home and had eaten lunch.

I know this is perfectly normal for a newborn, but it is still freakishly easy for me after having dealt with a baby who screamed bloody murder when put in her car seat, even when we were in the moving car and I was singing songs to her, for the first 6 months or more of her life. I remember coming home from Joe’s aunt and uncle’s house one night not long after Julie was born and having to pull over off the highway to nurse her in an attempt to console her for the remainder of the 1/2 hour drive. It didn’t work, and we listened to her scream the whole way home, feeling like the worst parents in the universe.

On with today – we had naptime, during which Julie played and Sophie and I napped, then a snack for Julie and Sophie, and now it is Sesame Street time. Julie watched her show and Sophie fell back asleep, allowing me to snuggle her in the car seat and cook up some homemade sloppy joes for dinner. I CAN NOT believe I just cooked a meal from scratch, including cleaning and cutting broccoli ready to steam up, on my second day solo with two kids. I know it’s not going to be this easy every day, but it sure feels nice today.

I’m even typing this entry two-handed as Sophie is still snoozing in the car seat. I should add, we have multiple other baby-holding devices like a swing and a vibrating chair. She likes the car seat. Joe’s home – gotta go!

Oops, and I have to add, Sophie has her first cold. She got whatever gunk from which the rest of us have been suffering. It is really sad to see a two-week old baby with a snorkely nose sneeze out giant bits of snot. But she doesn’t seem too unhappy, so I’m not worried. At least she’s not stuffed up and can breathe when nursing without any problem.


Monday, February 20th, 2006

There is a t-shirt available out on the Internets that says “I Make Milk. What’s Your Superpower?” I think it’s a pretty cool shirt, and I keep meaning to place an order for it. But then, I feel pretty strongly about nursing. I weaned Julie at 17 months and still sort of regret not going longer with her. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about me having survived my first day at home alone with a newborn and a 2.5 year old.I am happy to report that nobody cried for more than two minutes straight – the closest we came was about a minute and a half while I fixed Julie’s hair and forced Sophie to sit in the vibrating baby-chair, which she doesn’t particularly love. I managed to get a shower, albiet before anyone else was awake. Everyone got fed at their normal times (and for Sophie that is whenever she pleases). Julie got her toenails trimmed – when DiD they get so long?

Okay, are you ready? Here come the two impressive acts in my day. We made it to the grocery store and back!!! This is a huge feat of logistics involving getting them both fed and dry at the same time, getting all the cold weather gear on and Sophie into her car seat at the perfect moment when she is willing to snuggle in for a nap, gettin them both out to the car along with the diaper bag, the cloth grocery bags and the all-important shopping list. Next, we had to find the right cart. The Cub where we shop has these car-carts where the toddler can rid up front and pretend to drive, leaving the baby seat empty to hold the baby in her bucket car seat. I actually parked next to a woman who was unloading one of these carts and waited for it, it’s that important, and she understood because Cub doesn’t seem to have nearly enough of these magical carts. We made it through the store and my list without waking the baby, and life is good.

Impressive feat #2 is in the oven right now. I mixed up some corn bread. Hey, baking with an infant and a toddler felt pretty big to me, even a simple pan of corn bread. Which leads me into today’s sub-topic. A couple of weeks ago, we had two freezers full of leftovers. Now we have a few things left, including a huge pile of black bean soup and chili. Hence the cornbread to go with tonight’s meal. But I can’t believe how fast we’ve plowed through my stockpile even with meals brought by super-neighbors and family, even with lots of takeout and a few Lean Cuisines thrown in. I do have a huge stack of empty containers in my cabinet. But I’m going to have to start cooking again. Talkj about some impressive feats. The menu this week includes sloppy joes, tacos, and roast chicken – all relatively easy things to prepare.

Finally, I’ll share a one more tidbit to wow you. I typed this entry with one hand while nursing Sophie. Maybe I really do have super powers. (Please forgive the typos)

Poor Sophie

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

No sarcasm this time – poor Sophie. While I was waiting at Walgreen’s for my prescription this afternoon, I sat and ate some chocolate. A roll of chocolate frosted Hostess “Donettes” and a carton of chocolate milk, to be exact. I was drowning my self-pity in food.

Well, I seem to have stumbled on Sophies first food allergy. She has been fussy all evening, acting like she wants to nurse and like her tummy hurts and like she is wired beyond all get-out. In other words, much like Julie acted ALL THE TIME for the first 6 months of her life. Please, powers of the universe, let it be something as simple as a chocolate allergy! Let it be that I can simply eliminate chocolate from my diet and solve this problem, nipping it in the bud.

Giving up chocolate would and will be no small feat – I do love chocolate. But there are lots of other sugary treats out there for my consumption, and if I can somehow save this new little baby from the fate my Julie suffered, it would be so worth it! I’m really hoping that we’ll wake up with our happy Sophie back in the morning, and that she stays that way as long as I avoid the mocha. It’s been giving me headaches lately anyway.

Poor Joe

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Sorry, this is going to be a somewhat snarky post under the topic “I love my husband, but…”

Joe has a cold. Poor Joe. He spent most of the afternoon yesterday waiting at Minute Clinic to be seen by a doctor for a cold. We had been exposed to strep by a neighbor a few days ago, and I actually encouraged him to go get himself checked to make sure it wasn’t strep. I mean, he seemed pretty miserable and the last thing I wanted him to do was wait till the weekend and get stuck with even fewer options for getting seen/treated than he already has since he’s “too busy” to get himself signed up with a regular primary care doctor.

Men, when they get sick, and in my experience, tend to be pretty pitiful things. In this case, my darling husband has been walking around like the living dead, sipping cups of hot water, reclining on the couch with his eyes closed while Julie spews every toy she has around the living room, ignoring the mounting laundry piles, and mostly not doing much normal house work unless directly asked, and then he does it in a defensive “I was just getting to that” tone, which makes me feel incredibly guilty for asking. All in the week he has off from work, supposedly taken to help me recover from childbirth and transition into the management of a two-child household.

For comparison, I’d like to offer a list of my physical complaints this week.
*I have the same cold Joe does, for starters. I think I got it the day we came home from the hospital, and I’m still snorking up much more nasty stuff than normal, and yes my throat is still sore.
*My bottom still hurts like hell when I sit down, stand up, move the wrong way, whatever. It’s getting better and the hot baths are helping when I manage to find time to take them. Sunday night it was so bad, I called the midwives and went down to the hospital so they could check my stitches. I took the baby with me and called in my friend Jean to go with me and hold her while I was getting looked at. Joe was a little ticked off that I had waited till then to go in…I’m not sure what his problem was, other than he had to handle Julie’s bedtime by himself. I came home with a Tylenol 3 prescription and a renewed admonition to take it easy – no laundry, take the baths, etc.
*The Tylenol 3 helps, but I’ve taken only 1 of them till just now because they wipe me out and make me less able to care for the kids. The first one I took sent me on a 2-hour afternoon nap (Sophie in tow, of course.)
*My nipples are sore and cracked. I dragged Sophie in to see a lactation consultant yesterday, and the woman was very nice and sweet, but also a bit horrified by what she saw. She stated her disbelief that I was still happily nursing in that condition and that I hadn’t sought help sooner several times. She did give me some good tips – aparently Sophie has a slightly short tongue – as well as some crazy clamshell thingies to wear in my bra and speed up the healing. But it still hurts like hell sometimes when Sophie latches on.
*I’m still bleeding too much. I spent the afternoon, Sophie in tow, getting seen at the hospital again, then at Walgreens filling a prescription for some medicine to help my uterus contract (i.e. give me really bad menstrual-type cramps) and hopefully stop the bleeding, or at least slow it down.
*A minor irritation, but I have dry, scaly patches of skin all over my body where adhesive things were placed during my hospital stay. Anywhere a piece of tape or a monitor electrode was stuck, and there are lots of them, I have a nice dry, red, itchy spot that is ugly and annoying to me. A petty complaint, I know, but while I’m sharing, I’m going for full disclosure.
*Finally, I’m going into the realm of truly too-much-info for the Internet. I’ve been constipated for the last 6 months. It’s pregnancy-related, although I’ve always been predisposed to that problem. I’m on a bunch of stool softeners, and they do help, but taking a poo is still scary business, especially when your hoo-hoo is full of stitches and your bottom is still bruised from passing a baby.

Tonight I feel a bit at the end of my rope. I’ve just taken my second Tylenol 3 pill this week, and I’m going to go sit on the couch and ignore the mounting laundry and the toys scattered across the room. I am going to watch some tv and hold my precious, wonderful baby while the buzz takes hold, and probably I will end up going to bed early in my drug-induced haze.

So why, in all the whining is this post entitled “Poor Joe”? Well, a husband does deserve to feel sorry for himself and take it easy when he’s sick. Especially when he doesn’t succumb to a cold all that often. It really is a shame that he had to get sick this week when I have very little sympathy to spread around beyond myself and my babies. I think he’s in there right now picking up the toys and the dinner mess, bless him.


Friday, February 17th, 2006

So, I know some of you may have been waiting patiently for an update on Baby Sophie this past week. I’ve been, as you can imagine, a little busy with the two kids and all the associated fun of bringing home a new baby. One thing I have been working on during my few minutes each day at the computer is Sophie’s birth story. It’s a little rough around the edges and the formatting is not beautiful, but I can almost guarantee that there is more information about her birth than anyone besides me really wants to know or remember.

Anyway, I’ll have more updates on the home life coming soon…but know that we are all well – Sophie’s nursing like a champ and is almost back to her birth weight. We’ve had lots of generous people bring us gifts and food and well-wishes. Joe and I are suffering through a cold – he a little more pitifully than me.

Poor Julie has lost her only-child throne and is dealing as best as can be expected with the transition. There have been a few spectacular tantrums, and some night-waking demanding that Baby Sophie wants to go sleep in the crib. But she is going to make a great big sister and we are doing our best to help.

Sophie is the sweetest little thing ever. I can’t get over how much this kid sleeps, and how when she is awake, she spends her time gazing into our faces and making cute little noises. This is something we, unfortunately, never experienced with Julie who was too busy screaming in food-allergy-induced pain to do. It’s a bittersweet kind of thing, and as much as I am enjoying the normal-baby love, it makes me hurt all the more for the new mother I was two and a half years ago, struggling to love a hurting baby. And it makes me especially hurt for the poor baby who was in such pain.


Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Originally uploaded by shellykang.

Sophia Eun-Soon Kang

Born February 8, 2006 at 2:31 p.m.

8 lbs 9 oz, 20.5 inches long

Successful drug-free VBAC!

Baby and Mama are healthy and happy.


Still Here

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

The last 24 hours has been an exercise in more of the same.

The best I can say is that at least we got to go to ECFE this morning, Julie had no worse of a time there than she would have had at home, probably better, and now the morning is burned. Yay! The other moms were VERY sympathetic. That was nice. (no sarcasm – it really was nice.)

The worst I can say is that my body has apparently gotten bored and doesn’t seem to be very interested in making contractions, so I now feel like I could just be pregnant forever and have to learn to deal with it. Joe doesn’t seem to think that will really happen.

Two other incidents of note – Joe’s cousin, who is a sweetheart, gave me a nice little phone call yesterday afternoon to say hello and commiserate. She had lunch with him as is their normal Monday routine, so she was thinking of me and just had nice, supportive things to say. It was a bright point in my very-pregnant day.

Alternatively, I got another call this morning from another relative who shall remain unnamed. On my cell phone as we were leaving ECFE. She had apparently tried calling the house, and rather than leaving a message here felt compelled to call me on my cell phone (sheesh, I’m not at home, or not answering my home phone for some reason. Could I possibly have my hands full with a two-year-old, maybe crossing a cold parking lot? Do you really have to bother me RIGHT NOW?) only to leave a chatty message saying she just wanted to see how I was doing. Okay, I know this is sweet and well-intended. But leave me an F-ing message on my home machine to say that you are thinking about me. Otherwise, assume that since you are our primary care provider that if I were in labor or otherwise not okay, YOU would be the first to know!

This is precisely the reason why I lied about my due date to most of the world for most of my pregnancy – to keep people from pestering me when I’m already overdue and not in need of nitpicking at inopportune moments. I knew I would be crabby and irritable at this point, and finding nice words with which to respond to well-meaning but intrusive friends and family is not where I want to place what little positive energy I have left. Hm. They called me 20 minutes ago from their cell phone. Maybe I can get away with calling their home phone and leaving a message. That would be so much easier than having an actual conversation. Wish me luck.

More of the Same

Monday, February 6th, 2006

I’m still stuck in a nasty little pre-labor holding pattern that is NO FUN! Brace yourself, I’ve got some whining to do.

But first, let me just say that despite being uncomfortable and crabby all day yesterday, the situation was made entirely bearable by Joe. He pulled an all-nighter Friday, had a long sleep-in on Saturday, and spent a few hours back at work Saturday night while I got the kid to bed and suffered through pre-labor symptoms, then he spent the day home on Sunday keeping Miss Julie out of my hair and letting me go get the pedicure promised to me as a birthday present AND a nice long nap in the late afternoon. There. You’ve had your bright side up front.

Now on to the delicious whine I deserve. I’ve been in early labor since oh, about Thursday. Losing plug, loose bowels, contractions as close as five minutes apart but tapering off to nothing and never as intense as they would need to be to really get things going. It’s all very exciting because it feels like the big event could happen any minute. It’s also very frustrating – I woke up Sunday morning really believing it was “the day” and even stuck all my toiletries and daily junk into the hospital bag out of confidence that I wouldn’t need it again before we were at the hospital. Wrong.

Okay, I’m trying to remind myself that whatever work my body does in this easy on-again, off-again fashion is going to cut into the length and intensity of the actual labor. I’m trying to trust that my body knows what it’s doing and will see me through this process just as bazillions of women’s bodies have done throughout history. I’m trying not to think about the c-section potentially looming over the horizon. And, most importantly, I’m trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel…a beautiful new baby girl. Never mind that the light is attached to a freight train called impending motherhood to a toddler and an infant. We’ll deal with that part when we get there.

Speaking of parenting a toddler. At the moment, our lovely toddler has a nasty little cold. We’ve been spoiled for about the last year since we figured out the food allergies, and Julie has been blessedly illness-free. It’s downright remarkable how long she’s gone without getting sick, especially considering how many times I dragged her into the ped’s office during the first year and a half of her life. But now she has a runny nose and a cough that went from a little one at bedtime a week ago to sort of an all-day on-and-off rattly thing yesterday. And she’s crabby. Crabby because of the cold, crabby because Daddy hasn’t been around as much lately, crabby because Mama insists on taking a nap every afternoon and has much less energy to focus on her than she deserves.

I SO wish I had some reliable caregiver – someone who already knows her well and that she trusts, which limits the pool drastically – offering to take her off my hands for a couple of hours of fun. Even if there were such a person, I think I would feel bad about shuttling her off considering that she will be left with the grandparents for a day or two some time in (hopefully) the next week. That will be confusing enough I’m sure. If I don’t go into labor tonight, hopefully we’ll have our act together enough in the morning to go to ECFE, which she loves and which will serve to give her an hour or so of fun and teacher-attention that will take some of the pressure off of me. Boy-oh-boy will those parents be surprised to see us without a baby in tow!

A Special Day

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

I don’t know if this kind of special day really falls into the special day category. But it’s a first for me, as I never got to it the last time around, what with a scheduled c-section and all. Today is my Estimated Due Date.

Yes, I’ve been whining about “It could be any minute” for a couple of weeks now. But, see, and Estimated Due Date comes with a +- two weeks window of opportunity. If you pop the baby out two weeks before the EDD, they assume it’s probably fully cooked. If you’re under the care of modern westernized american-style medicine, they will usually let you go up to two weeks past the EDD, albiet increasingly begrudgingly and with more and more constant supervision and testing. Today is just the peak of the bell curve of when I am expected to pop this little girl out, give her a name, hold her and kiss her, nurse her, and start loving her for the rest of my life .

It scares me that I can use the term bell curve and literally get all weepy with joy over the idea of my new baby all in the same sentence.

Anyway, Joe is planning to spend another marathon evening at the office trying to wrestle the new Exchange server into submission (Damn you, Microsoft!), and if we’re really lucky he will be done before the sun rises tomorrow and won’t have to go back and finish the job over the rest of the weekend. Maybe that kind of miracle would be enough to spark up the contractions and throw me into labor. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Now that I’ve hit my EDD, (which by the way, is a little questionable since by the original calendar reckonings should have been next week but the midwives swear the early ultrasound is more accurate) I am under a bit of a time limit. For most pregnancies, OBs and midwives start talking about induction once you’ve gone a week or over. Unfortunately, since I’ve had a c-section, even though I had the right kind of incision and it healed beautifully and it’s been plenty long enough, induction isn’t an option. Pitocin increases the risk of uterine rupture. If I don’t pop this baby out before they decide the time limit’s up, it’s straight to c-section #2.

If we get to that point, I will be pushing for a few more days’ waiting – as much as I want to evict this baby and as uncomfortable as I am and as excited as I am for the big day, I would *really* like to avoid another major abdominal surgery, and I would really like to experience a natural birth. Not only is this probably our last child – 2 is the magic number for our family – but a VBA2C is almost unheard of in this country, unless you decide to do an unassisted homebirth, which is not something that Joe or I could handle.

Enough of the doom and gloom, though. After a night’s rest, the pelvic pain has subsided to bearable. The reflux has decided to take a nap. I’m feeling alright, and Julie wants to bake something with me today. I have a 2-year-old enabler for my sugar habit! On the bright side, my best friend’s birthday was February 20th. If I end up having to schedule a c-section, that will be the earliest I will agree to it. If I don’t get to have my natural birth, it would be really really cool to bring a new little girl into the world on the anniversary of Julie Rhodes’ birth 33 years ago.