Heart Burn

I would laugh about it if it wasn’t so unfunny and also totally cliched, but right after I wrote that big florid sonnet about how Baby Girl was the best! baby! ever! things went all to hell.  I mean, holy cow, you think you’re doing a lot of laundry and then when a five week old starts projectile vomiting all over everything in sight six times a day, you look back at that one load of laundry per day you were doing and you just shake your head at the innocence.  Or you would if you weren’t so busy doing laundry and trying to find a clean t shirt that doesn’t offensively reference Michigan, cheese, Nebraska, and crops.

Anyway, I called the pediatrician on call because the first of MANY Vesuvious Barfs happened at night, and we lost the on-call pediatrician lottery and I got the one I hate.  This is the same turd face who looked at me after I dragged my three days postpartum ass into the hospital so we could get a baby weight check and said “Sooooo.  Tell me about the baby.”  I should have said “This is Katherine.  She likes horses and long walks on the beach.” but I just said “Uh, we had to come in to get her weighed?”  and then mentally added “You ass.” in my head.  Where you mentally do things.

Anyway. On call pediatrician – total ass.  He VERY CONDESCENDINGLY tells me it’s reflux and to keep an eye on her and that it’s no big deal unless she does it every time she eats, blah blah blah, fine.  Meanwhile, she feels hot to the touch, although our shitty ass thermometer says that she doesn’t have anything the doctor considers a fever, and she’s screaming bloody murder every time she eats and she’s gone from sleeping nice long stretches of the day and  sleeping next to us at night to refusing to sleep anywhere but in our arms upright on the couch and there aren’t too many nights of trading off couch duty before my husband begins emailing me weird fantasies about our old dumpy dirty ugly really really really comfortable couch that I got rid of four years ago and I swear to god, I don’t want to hear about that couch anymore, ever, so I did what any reasonable person with a wifi connection would do and I emailed Arwen because I know she had some “spirited” babies and I could remember that back in the day she had given up dairy to try to stop the screaming and so I figured at the very least she could recommend some cookie recipes made with margarine.

Because I was totally convinced that Lady Lightning had gone from Awesome Baby of the World to Screamy McAngryPants because she had a cold, Arwen had to sort of hold my hand and gently inform me that my child MIGHT PROBABLY have reflux (hi, I am a moron and also very tired) and that I MIGHT PROBABLY want to try propping her up while she ate and get some baby probiotics but also to not feel bad if I wanted to just sack all that business and get some Zantac, and seriously, she wrote me the LONGEST email ever full of just…tons of information but mostly reassurance and that is when I started in on a regular schedule of casting my eyes upwards and saying “Thank god for Arwen” about ninety times a day.

Mr. E really thought I should give up dairy. I believe he thought this as he presided over a giant bowl of ice cream, and then we had a “discussion” where I mentioned nine months of morning sickness and the therapeutic effects of ice cream sandwiches and how I had been trying to nurse a six week old who was doing that “you are stabbing my leg” scream for three hours and then he made K Dub a doctors appointment, where they took one look at her and diagnosed her with a whopping case of reflux and prescribed her some Zantac and recommended the probiotic drops that I already had on order because Arwen told me to get them, and in the end I can only conclude that sleeping on the couch is for sucks, and Arwen is pretty much ready to become a pediatrician and also thank god for the internet, really truly, because otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this with one hand while I hold an ice cream sandwich in the other hand and I think we all know that’d be the real tragedy here.

Also, it appears that Bacon Face is already feeling somewhat better.  I certainly hope so, because right before all this shit went down she started smiling and dudes, I really miss that dimple that pops up in the corner of her chubby little cheek when she busts out a big old  gummy grin.  I really really do.

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HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Me on TV

Because a few of you were asking…our Turf Wars episode is available online at Hulu…

Yard: Pimped

Now that the show has aired, I put my yard pics up on Flickr…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/e_and_e/

And to those of you who watched it, well, – thank you internets, for not viciously mocking my insane ceaseless pregnant giggling, at least not to my face.

Set Your DVR on Stun

Rumor has it that my first foray into reality television (our episode of Turf Wars) airs this Monday, 7/19.  On the DIY channel, at 7 and 10 PM, PST.

Hold me.

Taking the Long Way Around

I’ve been writing this post in my head for four weeks, and now I have writer’s block, so I’m going to just have to get it out now, please excuse me if it makes no sense, and let’s try not to start a lactivist war on Twitter or something over some stupid thing I’ve said.  (Not that anyone really cares that much what I have to say about any of this.)

***

I think sometimes maybe we’re overexposed to parenting horror stories, us folks who spend a lot of time hanging out here on the internet.  Sometimes it seems like everyone out there had a difficult baby, or that’s what you hear about, and so you think that whatever your baby is up to can’t actually be that bad.  I know Erik and I spent a lot of time, after Eli was born and in the next three years after that, saying things like “thank god he didn’t have colic” or “he wasn’t a difficult baby.  He was happy as long as he was being held, so that’s not really too bad”.  But I think about it now and I realize – he always had to be held.  I could never put him down.  He would only sleep on me.  And he weighed five pounds when he came home from the hospital and from the minute he was born, someone, me or a doctor or a nurse or his father, was obsessing over his weight or his temperature and I had to nurse him all the time.  I mean, ALL THE TIME.  And I hated nursing.  I did it for 13 months and I’d do it again, but I hated it.  It hurt and it was hard and I lived my life under the heavy shadow of a giant imaginary clock.  I hated going to sleep, because I was just going to have to get up in some ridiculous amount of time and try to keep a sleepy tiny baby awake long enough to eat for a half an hour, and then in an hour I was going to have to do it all over again.

I thought the anxiety and then the depression and the fear started when Eli was older, after we started him on solid food and when we first realized he wasn’t growing, when we first heard the words “failure to thrive.”  But I think maybe it actually started in those first days, when all I wanted to do was mop my kitchen floor but I could never put the baby down, when the only thing that made me feel better were doughnuts, and I gained pound after pound but just couldn’t stop eating doughnuts, and it never stopped raining and Erik didn’t get a raise and our heating bill was $400 a month and our house wasn’t even warm, and nurses came to the house to weigh the baby and everyone, everyone, everyone asked about my boobs and milk and feeding and pooping and we lived under a microscope for months.

My best friend in the whole world once said something to me, in passing, about how she felt about Eli, that she knew she’d throw herself in front a train to save him, with no second thought, and it amazed her.  It amazed me too, because I wasn’t at all sure I felt that way, as horrified as  am to admit that you all now.  Was I protecting my heart?  I am not sure.  I am not sure.  I adore that boy with every fiber of my being, now, and I can tell you that if it came to it, I’d do ANYTHING to keep him safe, now, but it took me time to come to that.  I have never been neutral on my son, but I don’t know how to explain that a fiery love wasn’t born with him.  It had to grow, and it had to grow through some hard times, and through years of a child who has never eaten right, who still doesn’t sleep reliably through the night, who is nervous around other children, who takes the batteries out of all of his toys, who melts down countless times a day, who is the only person on earth who is more stubborn than I am.

It is not that I was miserable all of the time, or that I wished that I had never had a child, or that I didn’t know that some people had it much much worse than I did, or that it’s not hard for everyone, taking care of a baby.  Or that I didn’t love my son.  But yes, it was really hard.  For us.  For me.

And I tell you all this knowing that you’ll understand somehow, that through all that, I could not love my son more than I do.  That I am not declaring here and now, at one month into parenting two, that I have a favorite, because I could no more choose a favorite leg or a favorite part of my heart I’d like to keep.

But when Lightning was born, and she arrived here after a season of anxiety, after 29 non stress tests and gestational diabetes and a few long moments I’d not like to relive again, when they told us she might have Down Syndrome, when they told us her kidneys were enlarged, when they told us that we might not see a heartbeat at the next ultrasound, when she arrived, in that instant, something in me clicked, and I knew.  I knew she was just the right one.

I don’t know if it’s because she was born at 41 weeks and Eli was born at 37 weeks, or if it’s because she weighed almost more three pounds than he did, or if it’s because she is my second or because I breastfed my first until he was 13 months old and so the nurses at the hospital assumed I knew what I was doing,  but right from the beginning, things were different.  They were different in such an amazing way.

The sun was shining when we brought her home, and neighbors brought cannoli and gluten free muffins, and she slept and  I vacuumed my house and when she didn’t sleep and the floor was dirty I didn’t care.  I did not care.  In the hospital she ate and she ate and she ate and no one woke her up every two hours to take her temperature, and we took her back to the doctor one time to be weighed and then they told us we didn’t need to come back for two months and when I heard the words 55th percentile I wanted to shake that nurses hand.  And we put her in her crib and she sleeps, and then she wakes up and eats and eats and eats some more, and then sleeps.  Sometimes she smiles.  She hardly ever cries.  SHE EATS.  Let me say it again:  SHE EATS.

I started to get it -why some people would claim to love breastfeeding.  I started to kind of love breastfeeding myself, at the same time that I felt for the first time that if it didn’t work out, we’d pop open a can of formula and move on.  I never have weird thoughts about what would happen if I dropped a knife on her.  I have no charts of when I fed her last with what boob.  I’ve never timed any thing she’s ever done.  I feel really genuinely digustingly honest to goodness happy.  Tired, but really really really happy.  I can’t think of anything to feel anxious about, except maybe my tomatoes, and even for that I really have to work at it.

I am not sure how to put this delicately, so maybe I won’t try.  I had an epidural when I pushed K Dub out into this world, so I had no idea that some things down there were tearing, but trust me, when you push something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon, there’s damage.  Which is why I find it so very ironic that I consider that moment, the moment my Katie was born,  to be the very same moment my heart began to heal.

My Favorite Out Take From the Announcement Pictures