The Gauge

Monday, May 28, 2007

Well, I'm following the wave of people jumping ship and moving over to Typepad!

Come visit me at my new online home, won't you?

The new and improved Gauge!

WORD! This'll be fun!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Even Midge gets tired sometimes. That's her the coffee shop we like - she fell asleep while I was putting our Moby on to take her home - I think she had exhausted herself. She had an epic screaming fit a little earlier, that was so bad that I had to nurse her in the car WHILE I was driving (okay - I wasn't driving, but still). We pulled up in front of our building, and I couldn't fathom the trek into our apartment with that screaming little bundle of cuteness, so I just nursed her right there. Then we headed for coffee and a little r&r.....meaning Robin and Reese, who met up with us a little while later. Thank god for other new moms, I tell you what.

I hesitate to write this down, but Elinor has been sleeping at night this week. It seems that some of her sleeplessness was our fault (duh) for not turning the lights off earlier, and for trying to change her position after she falls asleep nursing. She just can't be moved once she falls asleep, or all bets are off. We've made some adjustments and things seem to be working, by golly.

Don't tell the baby, but after she fell asleep, Ashley and I started to watch The Hills Have Eyes. The last thing I remember thinking goes something like this - "...weird...I'm actually kind of enjoying this film....and I'm not tired! I might get to watch a movie while the baby sleeps....zzzzzzzz..." Fade to darkness.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Well, I went to my first post-pregnancy WW meeting today. I was nervous, but it wasn't half bad. Also? Nursing moms get a TON of points. For those of you who haven't done WW (and if you're trying to lose a little weight I HIGHLY recommend it) every food has a number of points assigned to it and you get a daily allowance of said points. Anyway, they have changed the way they calculate the number of points you get, and nursing moms get a bajillion on top of that, so I think it's doable. I'll keep you posted.

What else?

Oh! The baby! She's doing really well - sleeping more, smiling more, getting cuter every single minute. It's pretty great. In the last few days I went to Fred Meyer's and my meeting without her, which was STRANGE. I realized I hadn't been apart from her in her whole 5 weeks alive. I know that isn't rare, but it still seems funny to say it out loud. But it's good to know that I can leave her with Ashley for an hour if I need to get out by myself, just for a breather.

We're having an "event" at Mabel's tonight. I'm really nervous about it. I feel like I'm having a party and I don't think anybody will show up. If anyone in the Portland area is free tonight at 6, the author of "Punk Knits" will be at the shop signing books, giving a workshop, and showing her wares. Also? She was a rock star in the 80s! So come by and give her a high five!

Crazy crying baby in the other room and milk everywhere! Time to go!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

There's my little cutie basking in the sun.

This week has been a mixed bag. Midge seems to be gradually getting better at sleeping at night - two steps forward, one step back, that kind of thing. And that's great! Want to know what's not so great? Mastitis! Holy Crap! That's all kinds of bad news. I couldn't get out of bed, couldn't see straight (my temp. spiked to 103) and had to nurse and BE A PARENT through the whole thing! Crimeny.

I don't think it would have been so bad, but I keep thinking I'm going to feel better and then I get knocked down by something else. I was in such bad shape when we left the hospital, in such constant, scary pain, that I think I'm just feeling worn down by the things that have happened since. I'm frustrated that it takes me so long to get out of bed, that I still can't sit in a chair for more than 30 minutes, that if I do too much I land back in bed for two days. I so want to feel good now. I want Midge to have a mother who doesn't moan so frigging much. I want Ashley to have a wife who doesn't cry in the shower every morning! Don't get me wrong! I know that I'll get all better, and I'm amazed, given my whole disposition, that I seem to have escaped any real depression or anything like that. Mentally I feel good, other than being beaten down by pain/discomfort. And the most important thing? Elinor is in perfect health, and also has the cutest corn kernels disguised as toes that I've ever seen in my life.

Can I try and make myself clear again? I LOVE having my little darling girl, and it's shaping up to be the best thing ever, but it's so hard not to get discouraged by how I feel physically. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining - I save all my complaining for my long-suffering husband, you see.

And really? How can you not be happy when you have this in your back seat?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

That's just me and Little Midge at the coffee shop this afternoon.

Okay, so I'm reading this book about families who have made the switch to being TV free. It's called "Living Outside the Box" by Barbara Brock, and it's actually pretty good and not too preachy. HOWEVER, in one section she is suggesting dinner conversation starters to get your kids talking, and comes up with this gem:

"Would you rather have ice cubes for hands or not be able to tell the difference between a baby and a muffin?"

WHAT?? That's the creepiest thing I've ever heard in my life!! Ha! Can you imagine asking your five year old that question? Oh my god! I'm falling over laughing...though these actually are the kinds of things I pondered when I was a kid. Hmmm.

Sigh...all I can picture now is furiously trying to nurse a muffin in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So, I'm going to steal someone's idea and do a little time-line of Elinor's birth. It's the easiest way for me to put things in order and be a little coherent.

Here goes!

Wednesday April 11th, 1PM - Elinor's due date! I go to the bathroom at Mabel's and see that things are starting! I know that losing your plug isn't a sure sign of labor, so I stay pretty relaxed for the rest of the afternoon as Ashley and I run errands and hang out at home, finishing things up. I feel some pressure in my belly and continue to have show throughout the afternoon, but nothing too dramatic happens. Despite the lack of action, my body knows. My pulse races when I entertain the possibility that this is it and I keep saying to Ashley, "Honey? Things are starting!"

11 PM - I call the midwife on duty and tell her that I'm having small regularish contractions and explain some worrisome (to me) details about stuff that is happening (too much info. to go into, I think...) She tells me to take a long bath and see how I feel afterward and to call back if things keep happening.

11:15 - I can only take 15 minutes in the bath before I feel like I'm going to lose my mind from the heat, so I stand up, get out of the bathtub, and something other than bath water is running down my leg....but does it look kinda weird?

11:30 - We're packing up! The midwife has told us to head to the hospital. Lottie looks confused and worried. Ashley and I just keep laughing and trying to act cool. Ashley says "You know, they'll probably just send us home," approximately 100 times.

Thursday April 12th, Midnight - We drop Lottie off at our friend Kim's house and tell her we'll call in the morning, when, Ashley points out, we'll probably be home anyway.

12:30 AM - I am admitted and strapped to the monitors. They begin watching the screen when 10 gallons of what looks like pond water and smells like cookie dough gushes out of me. Meconium! The nurse says "you're not going anywhere!" Is this it??? The baby sounds fine, they don't seem worried about anything, they may have to monitor me a little more closely, I'm 1.5 cm dilated and OH MY GOD is that what a real contraction feels like?

12:45 AM - Ashley and I walk the halls. My contractions are a minute long every three minutes. I keep looking at Ashley out of the corner of my eye because I seriously worry that he might fall over with a serious case of the giggles. He pulls it together like a champ and we go about this labor business.

For the next 7 hours I labor in the shower, in the jacuzzi, on the ball, on my feet. My contractions build and build until I feel like I'll crawl out of my skin. I am sick everywhere, I feel a little desperate, I'm disappointed when the hot water only annoys me as it's always been such a big comfort to me. Sarah (our labor assistant) shows up around 5 AM, I think, and she's a big help. Ashley is being great - just quiet and supportive. I am excited to be checked by the midwife. She straps me in to the monitors, snaps on the ol' rubber glove and tells me that I am....wait for it....3cm dilated. I cry. She tells me she thinks I need pitocin because of the amount of meconium and I order an epidural. This is a sad moment, but I know I won't make it if it gets anymore intense, so I relax into the idea. I say to Sarah, "Fuck Ina May and her stupid hippie shit." This is related to the midwife later, much to her merriment.

7:30 - The epidural man comes and does his thing. I feel something cold run down my back - how weird! I lay back in bed and wait for the relief, which I *kind of* feel. Ashley is rubbing my legs, which I feel, I have a gas pain, which I feel, and what's that? Oh, a contraction. Certainly the edge has been taken off, but I'm feeling everything. The midwife wonders if we should have him put a new one in - I say no. They try adding more drugs, but it doesn't seem to change anything. Everyone is a little perplexed, but labor is somewhat bearable and that's all I care about.

10 AM - Sarah and Ashley rest and my epidural wears off almost completely. I begin having to breathe through contractions again and things are back to about the intensity they were before the epidural. I count myself lucky because I assume things would be worse with nothing at all because of the pitocin.

11 AM - I am almost fully dilated! Yay for pitocin!

11:30 AM - Wait...what is labor? You mean the baby is actually going to come out soon? Something never happened during labor...I never connected to the experience. I don't care if the baby comes out. I want to go home and watch the Sopranos. Labor is awful and everyone lies when they say it's a spiritual experience. I have hated it. I have not breathed through the pain. I have lost sight of everything. I have forgotten to freak out about pushing.

Noon - Time to push!

To all you ladies out there who have pushed a baby out....I am so glad you're there, because I so need people to understand what this was like. I pushed for an hour and a half - nothing has ever been as physically demanding, painful, frightening, or emotional in my entire life. I am trying to keep my eye on the prize, but I can't in the face of this absolute overwhelming force of nature. My world is exactly one inch around my head. I can't open my eyes. I paw at the air for supportive hands, faces, shoulders....whatever I can get my hands on. I am being LOUD! Ashley is being perfect. I love my perfect husband with all his ice chips and cold washcloths! I think its funny that they are telling me to push....ummm, like I couldn't? There ain't no stoppin' this train! But half way through I lose it. I honestly lose hope that I can do this and I don't care if I can't. I tell everyone they don't understand. The pain is beyond imagination. I keep thinking I feel something inside of me ripping. They say "Look down, Caitlin! Look down and see the top of your baby's head!" I pry my eyes open and see a slit the size of a quarter where there should be a coconut. Don't tell me to look down anymore! Ashley sees the slit of her hair and has a completely different reaction. He is dumbfounded, overcome, emotional. The nurses ask if he needs some oxygen. He says no, but I worry that he is about to lose it. I've never seen him like this! He is so excited for his little girl! Why don't I feel like that?

1:30 PM - Elinor's head starts to peak out and stays instead of sliding back in. OH MY GOD! MY LITTLE GIRL IS ALMOST HERE! This is what this is supposed to feel like! From nowhere the will to push overtakes me and I feel her little face come out, her chin, Ashley is is telling me to "Look, honey! Look at our girl!" I don't have to look! I can feel every little inch of her...her neck, her shoulders, her arms already wiggling, and then foooosh! She's out and crying! No need for the standby waiting for her in case she's in trouble. She's wonderful! She has Ashley's feet! I love her so much I can't stay on the bed! I rise three feet above it, I swear! My little daughter is in my arms...finally!

Elinor stayed perfectly healthy ( a little jaundiced) but I unfortunately took a turn for the worse. The next 24 hours were some pretty scary ones, and I'll write about them when I have the chance. Needless to say, we are all well on the road to recovery now. I had a couple of days when I got a little too sure of myself and certainly pushed myself back a few days, but now, thanks to TV on Demand, I am staying in bed and nursing for all of my hours.

Did I mention how much Lottie loves the baby? She sleeps with one ear in the air at all times and runs to Elinor whenever she makes a peep. It's very sweet. Elinor, for her part, puts up with the kisses all over her perfect little head and feet and whatever else Lottie can lick before being called off the poor little dear.

Don't make fun of my sentences, either.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Elinor Hornbeck Wallingford

She arrived Thursday afternoon, and nothing will ever be the same!
She's a little sweet pea, and though these past few days have been a challenge, we're so happy, excited, proud and hopeful that it's hard to put into words.
I'll tell the birth story and all that when it's a little easier to sit in a chair, and I'll be getting emails out to everyone in the next couple of days.
Right now I have to go lay 100 kisses on that little girl!
PLEASE be in touch!