Wednesday, January 28, 2009

another quick update

Sorry, old photo today -- from penelope hanging out with cousin harry, last week. This was such a great moment -- mere seconds after I took this shot, Harry looked at Penelope, nursing, and then laid down on Emily's lap and put his face on her breast. He remembers! Amazing and adorable!

Penelope is 7 lbs 12 oz -- that's almost 1 oz/day, which is what she should be gaining. That's only on breastmilk, so despite my worries that she sometimes still seems hungry after eating for an hour, she's getting something.

We had our first playdate! The marvelous Susan of Noe Knit had the same due date as I did, so it was fun to go over there and compare babies. They weigh the same but hers seems so much more substantial! on the other hand, penelope is doing some things amelia is not, like her pushups. But they really do seem the same, mostly. And I really loved getting OUT of the house and seeing her after nothing but emails for so long. How funny, that I should be 3 weeks postpartum and just starting my maternity leave! sigh.

Speaking of, I've stretched my leave -- paid and unpaid -- as long as I can, and must go back to my day job on March 6. This is so hard. Penelope will developmentally be 8 weeks old then, far too little to be away from me, but in this economy I am lucky to have this steady job. So we'll soldier on and hope for the best. I'm trying to make my peace with it.

We've definitely been a little more ... challenged by Miss P lately. She has fussy periods that we can't figure out -- she'll stop eating to scream about something, or will fall asleep after one boob during her night feed and wake up in 2 hours instead of 4. The past four or five days, she hasn't gone back to sleep after the 3am feed so that by the time Randy gets up, I have to take a nap, and lose hours of precious daylight -- it's the worst feeling! But if I try to stay awake, I do awesome things like set myself on fire or jaywalk without realizing it. It might be because we started her vaccinations -- she doesn't have a fever, but maybe she is in pain? Poor muffin, it's hard to see her like this! And it's frustrating when I do all five S's, she falls asleep, and then starts awake for (seemingly) no reason!

The ped says this is normal -- at 3 weeks, she's just more vocal and opinionated. I don't mind that, but she seems unhappy! waah.

though last night she stayed in her bassinette for like an hour! of course I was sitting next to her holdign the binkie in her mouth, but um -- at least she was in the bassinette!

ha HA!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Penelope Pushup

Yes, that's right. Miss person-lady is pushing up. It's spooky! Like she's levitating. Maybe she was an awkward helicopter in a previous life. Or a mayfly.

So yesterday we had a very excellent day. Randy and the kids went off to a museum and had the car, and I knew there was a 1pm meeting for nursing moms at the local organimommy emporium. So I plopped her in the Moby and marched up, over the hill, down the other side, and up Valencia. (The central irony being, of course, that I put off feeding her till I could get to the breastfeeding party -- ha-whoops.) It took about 45 minutes, which was 15 minutes longer than I thought it would, and it turned out that I was the first to show for the meeting -- it was MLK day, so I guess people were out being festive and/or thoughtful and/or performing their National Day of Service activities.

I nursed there anyway and chatted with a groovy tiny mommy who had a home birth. Badass! Not for me! She was from Long Island.

On our way home we stopped in at a new barbecue restaurant for lunch, and everyone kvelled. Then we walked back up the hill, running into Ed and Harry on the way (Harry was hoping to hurtle himself headlong down the steep side of the hill, and Ed was attempting to dissuade him). I was worried that after sleeping so much and not eating when she wanted would freak her out, but she had a great night. And our friend Haili came to visit -- it was a very exciting day!

Then, today, we got up just in time to watch the inauguration. After the festivities, Randy took over and I got some work done -- not enough, never enough, but some. Then we watched the presidential balls. haha. balls.

She's doing this odd thing tonight -- about once a week, she needs more to eat in the evening than I can provide. Thank goodness we had some of my milk in the freezer, because we're out of formula. I had her on one boob or the other for 3 1/2 hours and she was still shrieking whenever I took her off. Why does that happen?! And when the heck do I pump more milk? I swear to you people, my mom nursed four of us and never had such problems. Nurr.

Anyway, Randy gave her the extra milk and calmed her down whie I hid behind my laptop, flinching in terror every time she gave a peep. I'm traumatized! We were watching one of the balls (heh heh, balls) and the screen in the back had an electric-lightning show and I told Randy that's why my breasts felt like. OWWW. and I'm tired. ZZZZZ.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

photographic evidence abounds

there. we have proof that i actually carried this child. of course, we don't have the benefit of randy's baby pictures, but when I look at her I just see Randy, Randy, Randy. At least now I can also see a glimmer of my freaking SELF, which is nice, considering I built her out of peanut butter and sinew.

This crazy baby can't figure out her schedule. The night before last, she was angelic: she snoozed for four hours, ate for an hour, and then politely nodded off again for another four-hour snooze. Last night? All bets were off. Randy brought her in at 1am, she ate, and then peered around the room like she had just noticed how interesting it all was. Seriously, it's eggshell walls and flat-white ceiling, kid; what's with the sudden interest in interior design? I thought she could look around while I snoozed, but that resulted in loud objections -- she wanted company, like a coked-up college roommate. Surely after her 4am feed she'd fall asleep? Not really. She kept topping off her fluids, then spitting up, then wanting to wash away the taste with a little more milk, which of course made her spit up... at a certain point I lost all cognitive ability, and I think we both passed out.

Which didn't stop us from taking a great stroll up the hill to see Emily and Harry; photo of that tomorrow. But let it be known that I have the most adorable, sweetest nephew, and Penelope is going to have a great time with her big ol' lug of a cousin.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blood Pressure and Followup

So we went to Penelope's blood-pressure followup on, what, Monday? Anyway, they took her blood pressure via all four extremities, plus a heart ultrasound, and said she looks just fine. We'll go back for one more appointment in two months and there's no reason to suspect she'll be anything but healthy.

Not that you'd know it from the way she bellyached! I'll tell ya, I don't really hear it anymore, but judging from everyone else's reaction, she really can holler. I nursed as long as I could, but that only lasts an hour at the outside. Maybe this'll encourage the doctors to stay on schedule and move us out of there in a timely manner, hmmmm?

I also got a call from the nursery followup program. Any babies born before 32 weeks of gestation or under 1500 grams qualify for the followup; we get to go in every six months, more often if we think there's something we could use extra help with. I bent the nurse's ear for a while, just asking about various things I'd read in the preemie books.

Interesting tidbit #1: Because preemies miss their last couple months in the womb, they don't spend a lot of time curled inward, or flexed, so when they come out, the muscles that let them do that haven't developed. Preemies are often "high toned," meaning they can work in the big house. NO! That's not what it means. It means they arch backward a lot, which is something I've noticed with P -- that she peers backover one shoulder when she's in her little chair. I thought this meant she was interested in something back there, and I'll often turn her around to face whatever that is only to have her seem to decide something else, back where she used to face, is just as interesting. So that's one mystery solved. She's not paranoid, she just has weird muscle tone.

Interesting tidbit #2: Never mind. I forget. Anyway, we get to go in every six months to see how she's developing, which i love.

We've been doing tummy time, on the nurse's recommendation. She is pushing up and moving her head from one side to the other... slowly, wobbily, but surely. It's magic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Martin Balsam Baby

Randy keeps calling Penelope "Little Martin Balsam Hair." You be the judge.

Uncanny, right?

In other news, we FINALLY saw the elusive blood-pressure doctor. Backstory: Penelope had had some hypertension when she was in the NICU. (Who the hell wouldn't?) So we wanted to make sure it was gone. We went to a very nice doctor in the bowels of a schmantzy hospital (the one where Emily had her baby), and she took her blood pressure on all four extremities and gave her a heart ultrasound.

Everything checked out fine, except the eardrums of the nurses and doctors who saw her; I could only nurse so much, and then she flipped out. This little person does NOT like leaving home -- not yet. She's still verrrry sensitive, which according to the books is normal.

So our little twelve-week-old two-week-old will hang around the homestead a little longer! No skin off my nose. We still had an excellent walk around the top of the hill and saw a kestrel (I think), so too bad so sad, east-coast freezing people!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Teeth Out

The one thing every mom agrees on is that after the baby comes, your priorities shift, and you find your voice. Where before, you might have just put up with a certain amount of crap because, well, you don't like to make a fuss, when the baby comes along, you make the fuss.

So, do your teeth come out in a nice way, or a hysterical way? That's the question. It's great to find your voice, but you really have to hope that it's not a high-pitched screech.

I was never particularly easygoing, but I'm surprised at the amount of buffer there actually was between me and utter meltdown. Now that there's none. And yet. I think a lot of that buffer, such as it was, I built up during some years of strife in a bad relationship, and Penelope's forcing me to slough that off and start over.

Ruh roh. It sounds like the vibratey-chair nap might be over.

Wait, maybe I have a couple minutes. The thing about Penelope right now is: she's definitely more than a newborn (more than a newborn to me! da-nuh, nuh, nah-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh...), but still clearly not twelve weeks old, either. The preemie books say that she'll catch up in spurts, and there's no predicting when or how that will happen. But I feel like such a dummy when people ask me her age. Saying "two weeks, adjusted" just gets me blank stares, but "well, she was a preemie, so she's twelve weeks old but two from her due date" is too much information.

One thing the books said that really rings true is that her senses are going to be way ahead of her physical development. This is absolutely clear. She looks, focuses, even briefly follows things with her eyes. When her stepbrother says "turn your head to me," she does, and I really think it was on purpose -- though wobbly and jerky. (Not that she understands "turn your head to me," but that she hears something she'd like to have in her field of vision, and turns herself toward it the same way she turns toward light.)

It's a little frustrating, when her pal Ronin comes over, and i see him smiling at his mom, even though he was born two weeks later than miss p. i can't wait for her to smile bck. i'm so afraid it won't happen 'til i have to go back to work. and it'll be so strange and wild, after this extended newborn phase, to see that, oh yes! she has even more to say and do.

nap's over, if you couldn't tell from my typing. this exquisite, stupendous creature and i will head up the hill to see the dogs.

Monday, January 5, 2009

That Was Stressful

The naming ceremony was wonderful. We were going back and forth between Shoshanna and Raizl as her Hebrew name, and finally settled on Raizl because my family tends toward Yiddish Hebrew names. Why? I don't know. We're just weird that way. Actually, my mom was entirely unaware that her Hebrew name, Malke Henye, is Yiddish. Mine is Arielle, which is Hebrew, but that's only because i had to pick out a new Hebrew name right before my first wedding because my mother could not remember what my real one was. Oh. Oh, thank you SO much, Universe. Being a middle child is such a joy.

Anyway, the service itself was wonderful, but I was unprepared for how stressed out it would make me. The fact is, Penelope's evenings are a little fussy; she needs her peace and quiet, and an evening out was beyond her. She hated the noise, the cold, the car ride; despite my nursing her almost the entire time, she melted down soon after the service ended, and wailed all the way home and into the night. Me too! I felt so terrible! The books all say she's a term baby now, so treat her like a newborn. Were you dragging your newborn out to services the day she was born? No! Augh!

I was reading today that preemies are more susceptible to overstimulation, even after their due date. Ack ack ack. No more forays to the outside world (other than walks, of course) for at least another month, preferably six weeks. Ack. MAYBE NEVER. Is it possible to develop agoraphobia by proxy?

She is so definitely alert, though. She makes amazing eye contact with me AND her daddy now, and she turns her head toward Uncle Lamp, the multicolored light in the living room. (Oh, how I wish I could take credit for Uncle Lamp. Alas, that was the invention of my friend Cindy's husband, some eleven years ago, when the gentle on-and-off of the torchiere in their living room would fascinate, quiet and soothe Bobo). (Bobo was a baby; now she's a big little girl named Bridget. When the hell did that happen? Sunrise, sunset... sunrise, sunset...)

In my never-ending quest for pop culture Penelopes, I found out that the Kristen Wiig one-upping character on SNL is named Penelope. Spooky: The sketch also features AMY adams, and the Keenan character is named RANDY. woooOWOOWOOOOOWWOOoooooo.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Due Date To You!

welcome to the world, baby girl. Tonight's your baby-naming; I really hope we decide on one in the next two hours!