Author Archives: dredgereport

Illin’

As I just tweeted, I’ve been a little MIA because the past two weeks has basically been this:

baby sick –> me sick –> me sick again –> husband sick –> me still sick –> baby sick again

This all coincided with me starting back at work and the baby starting at daycare. She was there 2 days before she came down with something and passed it on to me. Husband managed to avoid all this but contracted some kind of stomach bug or food poisoning that took him to a very unhappy place. I even had to take two days off this week (unpaid, because I had to use all my sick time during maternity leave) to cope with The Cold 2.0. It’s been real, y’all.

So I guess this is our life now, for the next, what, 10 years or so?

Up In The Kitchen

I know it’s time for me to go back to work because I rejoined Pinterest and don’t hate it anymore. But to be fair, I’m only using it as a stockpiling tool for recipes that look good. I’ve been cooking quite a bit lately. This is partially because I have the time and partially to make up for the fact that I didn’t cook a damn thing while I was pregnant because the thought of turning on the stove exhausted me and food was mostly a neutral thing, neither enticing nor disgusting. (Confidential to husband: thanks for all the dinners!)

Even though many things about having a baby are expensive, we’ve been saving quite a bit in the food area because we eat out a lot less because OH GOD THE HASSLE. When we do “eat out,” it’s take-out from our local favorite Mexican cart or the Vietnamese place nearby.

A few notes and recipes:

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Murphy’s Law, Cash Money Edition

Well, at least our annual financial shitstorm hit all at once this year! In the span of 2 days I got a hefty bill for my work-related benefits that I was only semi-expecting, we did a dry run of our taxes on TurboTax and found to our great chagrin that we’re going to owe a decent amount of money this year (how this is possible with us both claiming “0″ on our W-4′s is another story), and then I knocked over a water bottle which emptied itself directly into the CPU of my computer. And tomorrow I’m taking the cat to the vet, which if the last visit was any indication, will result in an enormous bill due to rotting cat-teeth.

On the plus side, desktop computers are ridiculously cheap and I was due for a new one anyway — ol’ Bessie was purchased way back in Aught-Eight, and an almost 5-year lifespan for a crappy Dell desktop is practically unheard of, right? And the other stuff, we can mostly afford with a little creative juggling.

All of this seems trivial in comparison to the fact that August has now slept through the night for the past 5 nights. And I’m talking 8 hours, people, not a single early-morning wake-up. 5 nights is well past “fluke” territory, to my mind, but let’s knock on wood here and not jinx it. And whenever she wakes up she’s totally happy and smiley, like “Hey tall people! I didn’t know I would ever see you again but I’m sure happy that you’re here!” It’s going to be so much less fun when she develops a sense of object-permanence.

Six Weeks

We made it through 6 weeks, universally acknowledged as the most difficult period of newborn-raising. High-five!

It has definitely gotten better. August has grown up a bit, gained weight and height, nurses better, doesn’t choke as often when she drinks a bottle, and has graduated from needing to be fed every 2-3 hours. We’re still working on a sustainable bedtime routine, because right now nights alternate between great and not-so-great. But for the most part she’s sleeping for at least one 4-5 (and sometimes 6!) hour stretch at night.

The daycare saga has been heart-rending and never-ending, but it looks like we have found a guaranteed slot at an infant daycare that we like. It’s not our #1 top choice, but I’m more than happy with it for now, and I can always continue to try and get her in to another place a little later on. So, there’s that.

My mom is in town this week helping us out and it’s been great. I’ve gotten to get out of the house for Treat Yo Self  time (massage yesterday, drinks tonight, facial tomorrow).  She cleans and feeds the baby and doesn’t even ask me to take her out of the house for touristy stuff, so basically she’s the best houseguest ever.  And J and I are going on our first post-enfant date night on Friday. The plan is dinner at Ava Gene’s and dessert/drinks at Pix. You could not possibly understand how excited I am for this. Italian food, sherry flights, adult conversation (which, granted, will probably be all about the baby), dining without being interrupted by a demanding 10-pound creature. Blissful.

P.S. Baby’s first skull tee!

photo (17)

Things I’ve Learned So Far

Babies, man. Intense.

  • Baby socks – great in theory and worse than useless in practice.
  • 5 hours of sleep (non-consecutive) is just about enough, 6 is better, 8 (again, non-consecutive) feels like a gift.
  • That old chestnut about babies being cute because they have to be? So true.
  • Procuring a birth certificate for my daughter has proved incredibly difficult, maybe owing to the home birth thing. And I only requested the short-form!
  • Leaving the house with the baby – great in theory, exceedingly difficult in practice at this point.
  • Zippers > snaps. Related: To hell with snaps.
  • They really do outgrow clothes in a matter of days. Related: Newborn clothing sizes are totally meaningless from brand to brand.
  • The lack of high-quality infant day care seems to be a market failure — families are willing to pay the cost of a mortgage per month for this service, yet slots are few and far between and waiting lists can be years long. Why aren’t more entrepreneurs entering this market?
  • Related: Our quest to find daycare for August has been horrible and depressing. This morning we toured an amazing new daycare, with open slots, and were ready to enroll right then and there, but at the last second the director changed her mind on the age range of children she decided to accept. Anyone want to be a cut-rate nanny in scenic Portland, Oregon?
  • All that crap about “babies not needing a lot of stuff” is such garbage. I’m glad we had all the stuff we did, and glad Amazon was on hand in those first few weeks so I could quickly order things we didn’t know we needed (bottle warmer, more bottles, a bouncer, and a million other things). Lots of baby stuff makes raising a baby easier.

She’s a month old on Monday, and it definitely gets better. But I’m still waiting for it to get a little…better-er, at least in terms of sleep.

Birth Story

Oh man. I have wanted to blog, but I have not blogged. Every time I sit down at the computer — which is frequently, since I’m having to use my breast pump 8 times a day and need something to do in the meantime — I’ve thought about how to write out the story of August’s birth, but I started once and got stuck. I just don’t have it in me right now to do the full-on play by play that you might read on other mommy/parenting blogs.

In a nutshell, it was really great. No, really. 7 hours start to finish, quick quick quick. No pain meds (obvs), no bright lights and beeping machines, just me and my husband, an inflatable birth tub in our bedroom, and a few helpers (midwife, nurse, student midwife, and doula).

The only quirk was that my water broke 24 hours before my contractions started. Normally this is cause to go to the hospital right away and induce if you haven’t started contractions within a certain time frame (usually 12 hours or less). This is to minimize the risk of infection. But my wonderful midwife told me to chill out for a day and then we’d start worrying about how to get labor moving if nothing had happened. As it turned out, nothing had happened for 24 hours, so after a 5:30 a.m. frantic phone call, she told us to come to her clinic at 7:45 am to start some antibiotics and check me out. My contractions started on the car ride over and everything was smooth sailing from there.

Anyway: home birth / natural birth / water birth: A+++, would do again. Yes, it was painful at times (mostly at crowning), but I surprised myself with how well I was able to focus to get through the contractions and the pushing. I was completely out of it by the end, but the moment after the final push when they laid her on my chest in the tub is one I will never, ever forget. Thinking back to it has made the hardest parts of the past couple of weeks bearable.

Welcome Wagon

OK, blog, you are the last to know, but our daughter August was born Monday at 2:21 pm. 8 lb 4 oz, 19.5 inches long, healthy. The birth went really well (more on that later). Mother and father are doing well, lack of sleep notwithstanding. Oblig photo:

Current Status?

40w 2d! I just have to keep reminding myself: this is totally normal, lots and lots of babies come after their due date, just be patient, try not to dwell on the fact that you have a TWO-DAY OLD BABY just walking around inside of you, etc.

J and I are getting a touch of the cabin fever. The house is clean, the freezer is stocked, the laundry is done, everything’s ready. All that’s left is for us to chill out and relax. But honestly? Today I ate popcorn for dinner and watched a marathon of The New Normal on Hulu. This baby needs to get here if only to give me something to do.

Home Stretch

In pregnancy parlance, I am 39w2d (39 weeks, 2 days), so labor could theoretically start at any time, but I haven’t had any indicators yet that it’s imminent. The stats nerd in me delights in the notion that birth dates are roughly normally-distributed around the 40 week mark (although first-time mothers are statistically more likely to deliver after 40 weeks). Here’s the baby bell curve.

I still have 3 more days of work. Working until my due date is such a cliché, but every day off I take before I have this baby is one I won’t get after the baby’s here. 12 weeks is 12 weeks, after all. (Remind me to post a rant about “maternity leave” in this country; to wit, there is no such thing — what women actually receive is a very meager short-term disability leave).  Colleagues are generally supportive, except for the constant barrage of “We’ll set up a WebEx in the hospital for you so you don’t have to miss the next meeting!” jokes. I’ll note without comment that these jokes are always made by men and women without children.

Everything’s ready…ish. Baby clothes are all washed and stowed, swings and other devices have been assembled, supplies for the birth purchased. We finally got our (private, non-employer-based) life insurance policies finalized and signed, which is a huge relief. We still need to cook a lot and stockpile food in the freezer for the first several weeks. I’ve seen my midwife weekly over the past month, plus I’ve got my labor doula and my post-partum doula all lined up. (With little family in the area and few friends who’ve shown any interest in helping us out with meals and laundry and such, my solution is to throw money at the problem, hence the post-partum doula).

Now to play the waiting game. I hope the next thing I post will be a baby photo.

Coastal

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, when we drove out to the Oregon coast for one last quick visit before B-Day (similar to D-Day, except maybe more blood?) Everyone from Portland goes to Cannon Beach because it has the famous Haystack Rocks and is the quickest way from Point A to Point B, but as someone who’s driven the entire length of the Oregon coast I am here to tell you that Manzanita is the choicest, loveliest spot along the way. It has a good beach and enough elevation to provide some truly spectacular views as you approach the town driving south on 101.

It was really windy the day we went and there were a ton of kite-surfers out, which was really fun to watch. J. caught some video:

It was so zen, and so damn cold, that we left after about 15 minutes. But if a beautiful beach isn’t worth driving 4 hours round-trip for, what is?

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