Wednesday, August 25, 2010


In theory I'm not a big fan of medicine for run-of-the-mill aches and pains. But when you watch my every day behavior, you may not notice. Even though I willingly went through an all natural labor, including eight hours in transition dilated to nine, I HATE pain. I talk a big talk about home remedies when I'm feeling good, but once the pain starts, its a different story. Whatever works to get rid of it, I'm all about. I do avoid antibiotics at all costs, but after a couple days of echinacea, garlic, or other herbal remedies, I yield to my discomfort and take whatever over-the-counter drugs necessary to avoid the effects of my cold, flu, or whatever. Actually, that's part of the reason homebirth was so appealing to me. I didn't have the choice of backing out. At the hospital, I probably would have gotten an epidural pretty fast because my values go out the window when I'm in pain.

So it's no surprise that when my baby boy cries like crazy in the car and I can't fix it, I'm not above turning to drugs. I know it's controversial, but I gave Malachi Benadryl this weekend while we traveled. I didn't do it because he was sick. I did it because he was hysterically crying and needed to go to sleep. My research told me this practice is controversial with a baby so young because the dosage is tricky. Also, most people who are critical of it tend to think that you are doing it because your child is annoying you with their crying and you are tired of hearing it.

I'm sure there are parents out there who use that reasoning, but I didn't. I did it because my poor baby got so upset in the car and I just wanted to help him calm down. It's not good for babies to have high stress levels (one of the reasons that I do not believe in crying it out, but that's another post). He cries when he's tired, and if he is unable to go to sleep, he just cries more intensely until he is truly inconsolable.

We tried everything. The best solution is usually loud parental advisory hip hop that I feel dirty listening to, but even that only works for so long. So after giving him constant attention until he reached his limit of being able to be pacified, we pulled over for a comfort nursing session and gave him the Benadryl. Just a tiny bit, small enough that I even doubted whether it would work for his weight. The result: it didn't work. In fact, if anything, he got more upset. In retrospect, it makes sense that would happen, since he's crying because he's tired. And if he's getting more tired, but still doesn't have what he needs to go to sleep, more crying would be the result.

But its hard to draw a cause and effect between behaviors like that. All I know is that he didn't sleep. He kept crying. The thing that finally calmed him down was when Joshua put his large comforting hand on Malachi's face. Somehow his daddy's touch soothed him and put him to sleep. It was an incredibly sweet image that made my heart swell with love for both of them. It was also an exciting moment, because it was one of the first times that Joshua has been able to soothe him out of such agitation, and I sense that Malachi may be ready for us to try some father comforts instead of always needing mama. Obviously, he is not out of the woods yet as far as newborn behaviors, this scenario being a perfect example.

So, say what you will about it, I gave it to him, and it didn't work. But we have another trip coming up, and I hate to think of him crying through it, off and on. Fortunately, he can be entertained by some things now, like singing and talking, and toys. Without those, we would have really been up a creek. My hope is that even in the next few weeks, his ability to self-soothe will improve and it won't be as much of an issue.

My question is what do you do? How do/did you keep your tiny baby from crying on long trips?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Flashback: 35 Weeks Gestation

Occasionally, I have what I call a waking nightmare. When I have them, I am fully awake, sometimes in my car or daydreaming in bed. It's a very vivid daydream that something bad happens such as I get in a car wreck and Malachi survives, but I don't. It's quite horrific. Often these waking visions bring me tears to my eyes.

On Wednesday morning, I had one of these imaginings. And you know how sometimes the contents of a nightmare isn't that bad, but the emotions you feel at the time that make it bad? That's what this one was like. I imagined that I woke up in the middle of the night and was in labor. And since its too early to have a homebirth we headed to the hospital. I was afraid, both of giving birth in the hospital, and because its still a little early. I was also really stressed because our house wasn't ready for Malachi yet. Let me give you a vision of how physically unprepared we are for this baby. His room is full of bags and boxes of baby stuff we have accumulated. It was our room until about 3 weeks ago, so our clothes are still in the drawers and our trash is still on the floor where we found when we took the bed down last weekend. I guess it fell out of the trash can.

My room? Well, for one, it had about a month's worth of clean laundry unfolded in baskets. Books stacked 18 inches high on every available surface. The bookshelves half-painted in the middle of the floor in the way of everything. Joshua can't get to his side of the bed by walking to it. He has to climb in from my side. It's just that bad.

I have been working hard. Really, I have. But last weekend, my hard work consisted of making about 8 meals in single servings to pull out of the freezer for lunch and dinner each day. Without these, we had been eating out way too much, which is neither affordable nor good for our health. My hard work during weeknights consists of going to childbirth classes and midwife appointments. Between these, I am getting things done here and there, but a gestating woman a few weeks from her due date can only work so fast.

Needless to say, when I had this waking dream of going into labor with my house in such a state, I freaked out, both in the dream, and in real life. In the dream, Joshua called our friends Phil and Rebecca and told them what was going on, and would they be able to gather some people to get things organized while we were away. I dreamed that the hospital made Joshua go get a car seat because we didn't have one yet, and that he also picked up diapers while he was out.

When I snapped out of my dream-like state, I was a changed woman. I realized that this baby, though not due for 5 weeks, could come anytime now, and we. are. not. ready.

So I went to the midwife yesterday and discovered...I'm between 3 and 4 centimeters dilated and somewhat effaced. That basically means that I'm further along in the birth process than a lot of women are when they go into labor. I'm only at 35 weeks, so its a bit early for this. That means I'm off work for a few days, resting and trying to some natural remedies to delay labor. The goal is to get to 36 weeks. Then he will be full term, and I can have him at home whenever he's ready to be born.

So today, I sorted through baby clothes. My cousin brought a big stash of cloth diapers that I'll be borrowing. So now we have stuff to cover his butt and body. That's a big step!

Flashback: Eight Weeks

Sometimes I find posts that were in progress that never got published. When I come across them again, I will title them as a flashback so the dear readers will know its not current.


Malachi has been changing so much the last few days. He went through a growth spurt last week, and I've really noticed that he's changing. The biggest physical change I've noticed is that he's growing out of some of his newborn onesies. So sad. He would probably have more time if he weren't in the bulky cloth diapers, but either way they are getting snug. Developmentally, Malachi can now see me in a room from a few feet away, and WANTS me there. He's following me around the room with his eyes! Yesterday, I put him in his swing for a few quick minutes while I made some food for myself. He was "done" with the swing and started crying right as I finished cooking, so I headed in there to get him. As soon as I came in the room, he stopped crying, so instead of taking him out of the swing, I sat next to him and ate while he swung. He was happy to sit in the swing for another 5 minutes, just because I was with him! This is a big change. I used to be able to put him, almost asleep, in his swing or bassinet to go to sleep. I could go in and out of the room cleaning, or checking on him, and he wouldn't know the difference. All that is about to change I guess!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Complaining Post

I wrote this a few days ago, but somehow it's easier for me to publish these not-so-positive posts a few days after the fact than when I am in the depths of despair (to quote Anne Shirley).


I don't know why it is that I only feel like blogging when something is wrong. Wait. Yes I do. It's because 1) writing is a release, and 2) I'm looking for encouragement and support. So here goes...

People keep asking me about how our nights are going. The answer: fine. We co-sleep, so usually we both get a great night's sleep. Joshua has moved back into the bedroom, so we are adjusting to less room in the bed, but other than that, no complaints.

What we really have an issue with is days.

I'm so frustrated. My sweet baby never wants to be put down. If he's awake, he wants to be held and (usually) walked. If he needs to sleep, he won't go to sleep or stay asleep unless I hold him or lay by him so I can comfort (read: nurse) him when he stirs. This is how we spend the majority our days:

I honestly don't mind holding him. I think it's very good for him and for me. I believe in holding my baby and don't believe it will spoil him. What I mind is that my laundry hasn't been folded in weeks, I'm only in my kitchen long enough to make a mess preparing food, and the kitty litter stinks to high heaven. I wear him in a couple of different carriers, but my back can't handle carrying him around all day. So we mostly sit.

I've been given all the advice from varying ends of the spectrum, and I've tried the things I feel comfortable with. They haven't worked thus far, and just end up making me feel more frustrated. The only advice that really works for me is, "stop having goals and making plans and just be with your baby. When I can manage to do that, I have my best days. But it's hard. As a new stay-at-home mom, I have all these things I want to accomplish. Mostly keeping the house clean and organized, the laundry done and folded in drawers, and meals. And showering. I would like to do that on a regular basis as well.

Sometimes I just feel like I'm failing at this. I feel like I should be able to manage the bare minimum of housework. And I also often feel like I must be doing something wrong if I can't get my baby out of my hands for more than 20 minutes a day without crying. As many times as I've been told that's not true, there are a lot of sources out there that say otherwise. As if I needed another reason to second-guess myself.

Everyone says to appreciate this time, because before I know it he will be too old to snuggle and hold. And I'm trying, I really am. I don't feel like this every day. About once a week maybe.

I've heard that after three months, things will get easier. Please tell me this is true. He will be three months in two weeks, and I am looking forward to it. And yet I have this sneaky little devil sitting on my shoulder telling me I should feel guilty for looking forward to my baby growing up. I know he will only be little for a short time. I ask you: why would I want to wish this scrumptiousness away?

I want to cherish every moment. But it's hard sometimes. So go ahead, encourage me. And give me advice about how a baby-wearing mama can get things done. How do/did you do it?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Doing In" My Husband and Other "Mistakes"

I am scatterbrained even on my best days. And in terms of organization, the days lately are far from my best. This is the excuse, however lame, I am using for the dangerous, but overall humorous, shenanigan I pulled earlier this week...

I was making lunch for Joshua on Tuesday. Chicken Curry, one of his favorites. The chicken was not thawing fast enough, and I was in a hurry (no surprise there).

Mistake Number One: In my haste to get it on the stove, I plunged the knife between two frozen breasts, and twisted. I heard a crack, and as the knife came loose, I realized that the tip of it, about 3/8 of an inch, had broken off in the chicken.

Mistake Number Two: Since I didn't have time to let it thaw completely, I decided I should just go ahead and cook it. When it was done, I dug around in the offending piece of chicken for the knife. I could see the knife tip, but couldn't seem to get it loose. Keep in mind, this chicken is in a thick, dark curry sauce. All of the sudden I lost track of the knife tip. Oh. Great. Did I get it out, and it fell in the sauce? Or did I push it deeper into the chicken? I wasn't excited about either prospect.

Mistake Number Three: I dished up the Curry, thinking that this sizable, shiny knife shard would be easy to spot once it was in a smaller portion on his plate. I actually gave him the chicken the shard would have been in intentionally, because I wanted him to find it. As I handed him the chicken, I announced the situation, and that he needed to be on the lookout.

Twenty minutes later, I asked Joshua if he had found the knife. He hadn't. Hmmm. I ate my chicken. I didn't come across it either. I dished the leftovers into a container, and no knife shard to be found. Double hmmm.

Ten hours later:
Sandra: You know, I'm a little worried about that knife shard.
Joshua: I'm surprised you gave it to me. I would have thrown that piece out.
Sandra: Yeah, I should have. I don't know what I was thinking (Hmmm, I don't know, maybe about the BABY screaming in the background as I rushed around to get lunch ready?!?). We should say a little prayer.

So we said a little prayer.

Twenty minutes later I can't get the chicken out of my head. I decide that I'm going to inspect the chicken again. Joshua says that we should use the metal dectector. Seriously?!? We are going to metal detect our chicken?!? So we did. I'm sure we looked a hot mess in our front yard metal detecting our Chicken Curry. But we didn't find it.

I was certain that Joshua would have been the one who ingested the knife, seeing as how I gave him that piece on purpose. And since we couldn't find it in the chicken, it must surely be making its way through his intestinal tract by now. This was not good.

Next step: call all the medical professionals we know. They reassured us that he wouldn't die, but a knife in your intestines could do some damage. (Ya think?) We were told that we could wait it out to see if it passed.

"How do we know if there's a problem?" we asked.

"It will hurt if there is a problem", Dr. Serge said.

"How long will it take?" said I.

"How long does it take to see corn after you eat it?" Queried the good doctor. (Really? How scientific!) "Wait that long, plus 24 hours. If it hurts, or you have a fever, that's bad, very bad, and you must go to the ER straightaway."

Okay, then. Since all we had to do was wait, we might as well look through the chicken again. If that didn't work, we were going to metal detect Joshua. Yes, you read that correctly.

So we looked through the chicken. We didn't have to metal detect Joshua because we found the missing knife tip. It was in the sauce after all. It was a lot harder to see than you would think, since it's a shiny metal object. But evidently it shininess was overpowered by the dark thick curry sauce.

What a relief. I haven't been that scared since the time I went to pick Joshua up from a day of fishing and couldn't find him and it was after dark and there was no cell phone signal. And there was fast moving water and no street lights because it was in a State Park.

But that's another story. The moral of this story is: don't feed your family sharp objects. There's a good chance they will puncture their intestines. You wouldn't think I would have to learn that one from experience, but apparently, when you combine everyday tasks and new motherhood, you'll get some doozies.

The End.

Thank you for listening.

And here's the knife:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am seven years older than my sister, so I clearly remember when she was a toddler and learning to communicate. I got such a kick out of her saying i-peem (for ice cream), back-a-yoom (for vaccuum), circle (for the ham and cheese roll-ups she like to eat for lunch), and mix-chew (for the mixture of different types of juices she would combine to drink in the morning). Whenever she felt we needed to buy something she thought we could get it at a store specific to that item, like the bread store.

I know Malachi has a long way to go before he's a toddler, but it will be here before we know it. I look forward to the stage when he learns to talk and starts experimenting with language. With that in mind, these are some "toddlerisms" that moms shared with Mothering Magazine on Facebook recently. They are adorable and made me laugh. I included the translations at the bottom with the corresponding number if you can't figure them out. It will be fun hearing Malachi use some of these and make up his own.

1. Slickery, Slipperly
2. Farkle
3. Libaberry, lie-belly
4. Bumbrella, Rainbrella
5. Twirler
6. "Dat's increbidle!"
7. Skun Skeen
8. Doodle
9. Punkany
10. Hound Dog Bus
11. Kepich
12. Headboard
13. Baby soup, Timmin toot
14. Bilboes
15. opticus
16. Fillow Pipe
17. Lemon-made
18. Spadachios
19. Heart beep
20. Understorm
21. Lasterday
22. Dinoscore
23. Vap-cume
24. Refrigulator
25. Resternot
26. Yipper, lipper
27. Waterlemon, ladolemon
28. Ca-buzz
29. Canpakes
30. Frip frops, slip slops
31. Imporkinant
32. Doodle
33. Comfterbler
34. Hopgrassers
35. Ska-meeto
36. Handy downs

1. Slippery 2. Sparkle 3. Library 4. Umbrella 5. Squirrel 6 "That's incredible!" 7. Sunscreen 8. Noodle 9. Company, as in, "Mom, will you keep me punkany?" 10. Grey hound bus 11. Ketchup 12. Forehead 13. Bathing suit 14. Elbows 15. octopus 16. Pillow fight 17. Lemonade 18. Pistachios 19. Heartbeat 20. Thunderstorm 21. Vaguely meaning: "at some point in the past" 22. Dinosaur 23. Vaccuum 24. Refrigerator 25. Restaurant 26. Zipper 27. Watermelon 28. Because 29. Pancakes 30. Flip flops 31. Important 32. Noodle 33. Comforter 34. Hopgrassers 35. Mosquito 36. Hand-me-downs

What about you and your kids? What toddlerisms do you still talk about?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Little Weed

Why do we compare children to weeds when they grow? Malachi is way cuter than a weed, but he is growing a lot lately. Mostly in length. Two weeks ago at his last appointment with the midwife, he measured 24.5 inches. It looks like he's in the 95th percentile for height, and the 5th percentile for weight. So funny. I never thought I'd have a tall skinny kid. But I did marry Joshua.

Tonight I measured Malachi's foot against the ceramic footprints that we made for Father's Day when he was just over a week old. His foot completely covered his little footprint! Everyone tells you that they grow so fast, but you can't really appreciate how fast until you experience it.

It's easy to make him smile and even laugh occasionally. We discovered a couple of weeks ago that he has dimples, which we love. He gets them straight from his daddy. He's drooling all over everything. I need to start having him wear a bib, but I keep forgetting. On the way to take Joshua his lunch today, he was pushing the plastic buckle on his carseat into his mouth so he could suck on it. That was completely new. It makes me think he might be an early teether. A little one we know has been teething for a couple of weeks and he's only two weeks older than Malachi, so it's possible. I hope not though, sheesh!

What else?...He's started gazing into my eyes when he nurses the last few weeks. It's so dear. And speaking of his eyes, they are changing to lighter shade of blue. So it looks like he'll have Joshua's eyes.

Probably the funnest thing about his development lately is that he's really into music. When he is upset, it is sometimes the only thing that will calm him. I discovered it when we were in the car, and he was crying his poor little head off. On a whim, I turned the radio up really loud and flipped through the stations until I found one he liked. It happened to be Eminem and Rihanna's new song, "Love the Way You Lie". Great. He's going to be trying to listen to all the music with parental advisories. His favorite so far is Coldplay, and he also likes Patti Griffin, James Taylor, and Elvis Costello covering the Beatles (what?!?!). This is my child.

We took him camping last weekend, and he did pretty good. He's always really into his surroundings, so I think all the bright colors made it hard for him to take his naps. So he was a little grumpy. It was probably good birth control for our single friends who camped with us. But you know, they're single, so that might be good! All weekend, when we would do something that was quintessential camping, like sitting around the campfire eating S'mores, or playing cards under a tarp during the rain, we would say, "This is camping, Malachi." We got a kick out of ourselves.

So here's a picture of our little family on our first camping trip together. Malachi was pretending to be a bear.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thank you

Thank you so much to those who have responded to Malachi's birth story with comments and personal notes. It feels good to share something that resonates with people. It was good for me to write it too. It is healing to share my birth experience with others. And I love that it has resulted in others sharing their birth experience with me.

A few days ago I watched a friend's homebirth video and cried. It was beautiful. Just what I wanted. It's hard to be reminded of what I didn't have.

I wanted a homebirth, but instead of a homebirth I got--not a natural hospital birth, or even a vaginal birth plus interventions--but a freaking Caesarean. It couldn't have been further from what I had hoped to experience. At least I got the kid out of it. And as long as we're talking about the perqs, I did love his perfectly round head and unsquishy face.

I'm so glad that I labored at home the way I did. At least I got to experience that. It was so beautiful. The entire experience for me (until the end) was everything I thought it would be: hard, exciting, exhausting, exhilerating.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Weight Loss

It's not happening the way they said. "They" told me that when you breastfeed the weight comes right off . Well, not for everyone apparently. Two weeks after Malachi was born, I had lost all but nine pounds of my pregnancy weight. I was pretty happy about that. Then it proceeded to stay there for the next five weeks. Until last week, when it started to go back up! What in the world! Heck, yes I'm eating a lot, but seriously, people, weight gain?! This kid is eating constantly, I'm sure its at least the 600 extra calories they say babies take from their mamas.

This has got to stop. I'm taking this in hand. Don't worry, I'm not going to starve myself. I just need to eat a little smarter. And start exercising now that my 6-8 week recovery period is officially over. Evidently the ten pound weight I carry around for hours a day isn't cutting it.

My midwife says this is perfectly normal, but its not going to kill me to replace brownies with fruits and veggies. I don't think anyway. I've never tried so I don't know for sure. I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

Sleep and Other Advances

Malachi is snugged up next to me in his swaddling blanket sound asleep, and if I took everyone's advice, I would be too. But my days and nights are about as messed up as his lately. It started at 4am Sunday morning when he woke up for a couple hours. He went back to sleep. I didn't. Later in the day, I napped to recuperate from a short night, and that kept the cycle going.

Lately, Malachi has been changing like crazy. He had a growth spurt last week and he is not only bigger, he is smarter too. He's decided recently that he likes it better when I'm in the room. He wiggles his little body with delight and watches with interest the spinning owls above his bassinet each time I set them in motion. He smiles when he's naked. He smiles back at us when we smile at him. He smiles when we find a new tickle spot, which seem to be getting easier to find lately. He loves to take baths, and loves the shower even more. He's getting better and better at working his itty-bitty thumb into this mouth, and I find myself rooting for him, though I'm sure one day I won't be so thrilled by it. I've resigned myself to it though, since he comes from a clan of faithful thumb-suckers on both sides. I'll just be glad if he quits by the time he goes off to college.

He changes his sleep habits just about every week. Some are better than others, and I always hope those are the ones that stick around. I am finding a pattern in some of his behavior which is helping me to keep sane. It's been work to get him to sleep and stay asleep during the day. I've resorted to wearing him during most of his naptimes. I think its good for both of us, but it is tiring to carry ten pounds around all day. Last week, I was a little discouraged because I am tired of having my (minimal) plans thwarted all the time by a growth spurt, a new sleep habit, or unexplained bout of fussiness. I doesn't help my motivation level. I gave up. The house was a mess. I just didn't feel up to a mad dash of cleaning during the few times I had fifteen minutes that I wasn't taking care of Malachi. Thankfully, we had a guest coming over on Thursday afternoon, so just short of squalor, I had no choice but to clean up. Joshua helped though. Bless him.

My motivation returned somehow on Saturday evening when I decided, maybe without thinking it through very well, that we needed to invite someone over for lunch on Sunday after church. I guess I figured the house was clean, I had simple food to prepare, what did I have to lose? And that's what led to the aforementioned wakefulness in the wee sma's of Sunday morning. After Malachi fell back to sleep, I kept thinking about the things I needed to do so that lunch would be ready when we got home from church. So I got up and cleaned the kitchen, made spaghetti sauce, straigtened up. I know, I know, I just had a baby a few weeks ago, and I should take it easy. That's what everyone tells me. And I promise, I'm not trying to sound like SuperWife / Mom. As soon as our lovely guests left, I hit the bed and slept for four hours. It was lovely.

Of course then I woke up and decided that we needed to take advantage of the fall-like weather and have a fire in the backyard. We called some friends over to join us, and there went my opportunity to clean the kitchen from lunch. (My guests offered to help, but in true idiot fashion, I said no). Here it is Tuesday morning and my kitchen is still in the recovery process from the weekend. And instead of sleeping when normal people sleep, I am up at all hours--not caring for my newborn infant, but stalking people on facebook and IMing with a long-lost friend.

So, when the next person asks me how sleep is going with the new baby, I will tell them it's great! I will be too embarassed to tell them that although my baby slept through the night, I am sleep-deprived because I was too busy taking advantage of my one chance to listen to my thoughts and write them down.

Sleep. Who needs it.