Week One: Sleep Depraved

new-momDay One:

Wake baby every two hours to feed her. Log feedings and diaper changes in a notebook, keeping careful records of duration, side of feeding, type of diaper, etc. Baby latches perfectly, eats well. Successfully burp baby after each feeding. Am able to sleep when baby sleeps. Smugly tell everyone who calls me how well everything is going.

Day Two:

Baby is up all night. I’m a little bleary-eyed in the morning, but nothing some caffeine and a shower can’t fix. When filling out my baby feeding log, I fudge the numbers a bit. Try to feed baby, but baby falls asleep every time. Attempt to rouse baby via tickling feet, blowing gently on ear. When that fails, drip cold water on her head and sing show tunes in her ear.

Baby cries inconsolably for 45 minutes.

Baby poops up her back. I put her on the changing pad and ponder the best way to change her onesie without shampooing her hair in fecal matter. Decide best option is to cut her out of the onesie.

Once the sun goes down, baby finally decides she wants to eat. Nonstop. For the next three hours.

Burp baby, and she spits up on me. I immediately put baby down and go to change my clothes.

I put on a “Friends” marathon.

Fall asleep.

Wake up some time later, and “Friends” has become an infomercial for a product called “Dump Cakes.”  Switch off tv in horror before baby starts crying again.

Day Three:

I fall asleep while nursing baby. Wake up with a start, look down, and notice baby is gone. I panic; look on floor, in recycling bin, finally check bassinet- no baby.

Realize my husband is holding the baby. Feel silly having checked the recycling bin before the bassinet.

Try to eat a sandwich. Before I can take a bite, baby decides she wants to marathon-feed again. As I begin to get sore, I wonder how early I can start her on solid foods.

Baby spits up on me. I rub it into my shirt with my thumb, and keep rocking her.

Mom calls to ask how it’s going. I don’t mention misplacing the baby.

Realize there is no good tv on at 3 am. Watch the infomercial about “Dump Cakes” again. Think it sounds like a really good idea.

Day Four:

Find baby asleep on my husband, who is also asleep. Pick up baby and put in bassinet. Husband wakes up half hour later and panics over missing baby. He checks the floor, the recycling bin, and finally finds her in the bassinet.

We both nervously laugh at how we keep expecting to find the baby in the recycling bin.

Baby poops all over herself again. Too tired to give her a bath; instead, we clean her with half a package of wipes.

I pump some milk so my husband can feed baby later. Am so tired that my pump sounds like it’s cheering me on, a la Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web.” It keeps saying “What a girl, what a girl, what a girl.” I love my pump.

Day Five:

Find sandwich I made two days ago. Eat it.

While emptying the recycling bin, a neighbor informs me that I have spit-up down the back of my shirt.

Go to pick up baby to nurse her. Get settled in chair, then realize instead of baby, I am holding a loaf of bread.

Phone rings. Don’t know anyone named “Wow.” After it goes to voicemail, I realize it was “Mom” and I was holding my phone upside down.

Showered for 1st time in five days. So tired that I wear my glasses into shower. They immediately fog up, causing me to stumble out of the shower and trip over my husband, who is fast asleep next to the toilet.

Day Six:

I am cradling the loaf of bread while blearily watching an “America’s Next Top Model” marathon. My dad comes to help with baby. He watches two episodes with me, and allows me to explain the premise (he’s right: the photographers should really get most of the credit) then politely asks if he can put the Yankee game on.

Baby poops all over herself. I debate whether I can wait until the end of the “America’s Next Top Model” episode to change her.

Shouldn’t have waited. I get the scissors.

Husband makes dinner, which consists of a block of cheese and a package of Funyuns. I fall asleep while chewing.

Tonight, I think my electric pump is saying “Redrum” over and over again. It is starting to creep me out. After pumping, I hide it in the linen closet.

Mom calls. I excitedly tell her about my talking breast pump and ask if she’s ever tried Dump Cakes. She says she’s on the other line and has to go.

Day Seven:

Wake up and see it is 4 o’clock, and I’m not sure if it’s am or pm.

Put on tv. “Law and Order” is on. Does not clear up time confusion.

Husband wants to know if we run the electric pump backwards, will it say “Paul McCartney is dead.” I tell him that makes no sense. You can’t run a pump backwards.

Also, I have no idea where it is.

I pull the baby out of the recycling bin and feed her while watching a John Wayne movie marathon. I learn a lot about how I’m glad I don’t live in the Old West.  And don’t like John Wayne movies.

Attempt to get off couch and realize my hair is glued to the cushion with baby spit up.

Baby poops all over my feeding log.  I nickname the baby “Dump Cake” and throw out the log.

Now I’ll never know if I’m doing this right.

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Birth, Wind, and Fire

c-sectionI knew from the very moment my first pregnancy was confirmed that I would have to have a c-section.  I had a sneaky suspicion I was pregnant, and wanted confirmation right away. My current doctor was booked for the next three months, and in my zealousness to be in the know immediately, I found a new doctor on the Internet.  There were warning signs that this doctor (whose name I couldn’t pronounce) would not work out: A) I asked when I could come in, and she said all time slots were available, B) her office was located above a King Kullen, C) she said if I didn’t have insurance, we could “work something out.” Shady, but still, I was excited.

Despite the empty waiting room, I had to wait for 20 minutes, until I was ushered in by a receptionist named Oksana, who appeared both overwhelmed and barely 20 years old. The doctor looked at the ultrasound. And looked some more. And made a grunting sound while rolling the camera across my belly. Then she called Oksana in, and they had a heated argument in Russian, while looking some more. Finally, the doctor turned to me and yelled “Why you no tell me you have fibroids?!”

Fibroids. I thought it sounded like the name of a curiously strong mint that also regulates digestion. My husband said it reminded him of a 1980s video game. While I was picturing my ovaries quaintly shooting at pixilated sperm, the doctor informed me that fibroids are tumors. She neglected to use the word “benign,” but she did use the words “miscarriage,” “intolerable pain,” and “pre-term labor,” all of which made me freak the heck out. She mentioned nothing about the baby. This was not how I pictured our first doctor visit going.

The doctor continued to accuse me. How did I not know I had fibroids? Why hadn’t I had a sonogram before I got pregnant? I thought to myself: Who has sonograms before they’re pregnant? Is that a thing? Apparently the symptoms of fibroids are awfully similar to the side effects of Mexican food. Naturally, I had no idea.

The doctor poked her head into the waiting room. She asked my husband if he knew where the receptionist was. “You see where she went?” the doctor bellowed at him.

“Um. No. I don’t work here.” My husband was starting to get a bad feeling about this.

“OKSANA!!!!!” The doctor screeched from the other room. Oksana skittered in (she was stocking the storage room) and was asked to draw some blood, since she was also the staff phlebotomist. Six band-aids later, with bruises up and down my arms, Oksana sighed that this was my fault because my veins were “difficult.” If these people couldn’t extract blood from my veins, there was no way I trusted them to remove a baby from my minefield of a uterus. On my way out, I asked the receptionist (Oksana again) for our paperwork.

“Why? You go elsewhere?” she said in a way that was more a portentous suggestion than a question.

I cried the whole way home.   I cried the whole way to our second opinion doctor, an older German fellow with a polka dot bowtie and a much kinder bedside manner. Yes, I had fibroids. Yes, they were pretty common. The symptoms my other doctor had described could very well happen, but probably wouldn’t. And then he giddily congratulated me on having two heartbeats.

“@$&*%!” I yelled. “Twins?!!!!!”

I was informed that one of the heartbeats was my own. And that I probably shouldn’t kiss my baby with that mouth.

The only side effect of fibroids that proved to be true was the necessity of a c-section. I was told that I had a fibroid the size of a grapefruit right near my cervix, so there was no way I could deliver naturally. I was not particularly attached to a mode of childbirth, since all of them sounded awful, but I was dismayed to learn that I would be awake for the c-section. No being put to sleep. No nitrous oxide. No shots of whiskey or horse tranquilizers. I would remember every moment of this.

And that was okay. It’s not the method I would have chosen for delivery (that method would be “concussed with a hammer and woken when the baby is three months old and sleeps for six hours a pop”). But since I had no choice, it became part of my story.

So…you want to hear my childbirth story? You DON’T?

Fine, whatever.