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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

daily dose

D and I need to get wireless at home. We have DSL on our home computer, but that computer is so old it crashes regularly, and it’s in our basement, which is cold and full of radon. There’s no point in eating organic food if I’m going to sit down there are breathe radon, so I’ve been pirating wireless from my neighbors (they said it was okay). Unfortunately, the only place I can access the connection is if I sit on the stairs overlooking our living room. It’s not terribly comfortable, especially if I’m trying to hold a baby and my computer, so I haven’t been logged on much lately. This is why I’ve been so slow in responding to e-mails and why I’m way behind on my blog reading. (This doesn’t explain my lack of reading in general or my lack of literary posts. I just find it difficult to read when I’m tired and have nursing brain.)

I’ll try to catch up on a couple things, though. A few weeks ago (pre-Zoe), Jen and Denise were kind enough to give mother words: mothers who write a daily dose award. The award is supposed to be passed along to blogs you can’t live without. “They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog.” Jen and Denise are both preeclampsia survivors, and I always find strength, hope, and such great compassion in their posts. Thanks to both of you!

There are so many blogs I love, but for this, I’m going to focus on a few blogs that are fairly new to me:

Lisa at Eudaemonia: Lisa is a wonderful writer and blogger who has a true sense of herself in the world. Her posts are full of compassion, and I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to know her.

Kristen at from here to there and back is another writer who posts about life and parenting and writing. I always find something that makes me think on her blog. Thank you, Kristen.

Andria at Nora and Soren: Andria is a writer (we got our MFAs together), who is currently at home with two little ones. She hilarious and lovely and dear and I’m so glad that I’ve reconnected with her.

Thanks to the wonderful words you all write. You’re certainly helping to keep me sane right now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

a little levity

I’m feeling much better today, and you are all right—I need to take it slow and be patient and remind myself to breathe when the drama queen (Stella, not me) begins slamming doors and hitting herself on the head as she wails about not being loved anymore. Dear child. The sunshine helps and so do friends--virtual friends with your words of wisdom and my local friends who bring me lunch and mixed CDs and send me funny e-mails. Thank you.

This came via e-mail from one such friend today, and I thought I should share:

So disgusting and yet, beautiful.

Most adults I know no longer think that sugar-covered marshmallows taste good. But really— honestly—what could be better? They are hot pink (or yellow or now purple), squishy and covered with sugar. Yum.

I once competed in a peep-eating contest (this was over a decade ago, but I was old enough to know better). Sadly, I lost, and now I have a five-peep serving limit. I’m planning on eating my fill on Sunday because my dad—bless his heart—still gets me an Easter basket.

Monday, March 17, 2008

the power of hormones

This morning I woke to falling snow, and I almost started to weep. I don’t know what I had been thinking, but it went something like this: I will have a baby, and we will be in the hospital for a few days, and when we are discharged, it will suddenly be spring. I was born and raised in Minnesota, so this line of thinking is obviously delusional, but I had really convinced myself that it was going to happen this way, so snow now feels especially brutal.

But even if it were warm (I’m only talking 50 degrees and sunny), where would I go? I still can’t drive, and it’s still cold and flu season here, so I don't really want to take this baby out in public anyway. And I can’t walk very far (no more than around the block) or my incision begins to hurt. So I’m trapped inside, watching the snow cover rooftops and the ground, wishing away this weather, and wishing I felt normal. (How I would love to put this baby in a stroller and walk for hours along the river with the sun on my back!)

Tell me, how does one feel normal after giving birth? I’m disgusting, people—milky and bloody and sweating so much at night that I’m convinced I’m going through menopause. On days that Stella is in preschool, it’s easier. At least I can nap when Zoe naps (something I was never able to do with Stella, who never slept and who I had to hold 24 hours a day), but then Stella comes home and throws a tantrum and/or breaks my heart with one of her big-sister adjustment phrases: “You don’t love me anymore” or “I wish I were a baby so I could always be with you.” She’s killing me, and I spend half the time feeling guilty because I’m irritated with her and the other half of the time feeling sad because I know how hard it must be to have to share her parents’ attention for the first time in her life.

Oh woe. I also feel guilty because I do feel depressed. How in the world can I be depressed after that birth? How can I be depressed with a baby who is such a stellar sleeper and eater? Oh, I know about the hormones raging through my body. I understand their power. And I wish I could just be happy to spend the day sitting inside, watching the crows gather on my neighbor’s rooftop, pecking at the fresh snow. The problem is that I have never been good at sitting still. I want to walk, to breathe fresh air, to look up at a blue sky. I want to lug this baby around town, to go biking with Stella, to run again.

I know these things will come in time, but I want to be well enough to do them now, and I want the weather to cooperate. Even if I could sit outside for a bit under a sunny sky, I think I would feel better. Damn hormones. Damn snow.

That I feel this way now makes it seem impossible that I made it through 5 months of winter trapped inside after Stella was born. I almost went crazy, true, but we made it through that, so certainly I can make it through the next few weeks without losing my mind, no?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

little zoe

Thank you all so much for your good wishes. I’ve been meaning to post for the last few days, but it’s amazing how the day just seems to disappear between nursing a newborn, trying to pay attention to Stella, popping motrin, and trying to nap.

I am so glad that we postponed the C-section and that my doctor was able to perform the surgery. She’s so good and I was so relieved to have her there. She’s seen me through so much worry and crisis, and it just felt right to have her deliver our little Zoe.

I was very nervous Wednesday morning. I don’t like the idea of spinal anesthesia, and really, the thought of being sliced open made me feel a little sick. And then there were the parenting worries: what would we do with two kids? What had we been thinking? How would Stella react? How would we handle it all? Most people probably consider these questions prior to getting pregnant again, or at least earlier than, say, the day of delivery, but I’d spent all my time and energy worrying about the pregnancy itself. I had a sudden moment of panic, realizing that we were having another child and that it was happening TODAY!

We were scheduled to have the surgery at 4 pm, but my doctor called a little after noon and asked if we could do it at 2 instead. We called my mom, and she came over to be with Stella, then we headed off to the hospital, where we had the fastest non-emergency C-section prep I can imagine. At 2, I walked into the operating room. I actually walked! What a change from last time. Everything, in fact, was so different from last time. There was no vomiting, no dizziness, no whisking my baby away, no team from neonatology waiting in the wings. Zoe cried as soon as she was out of me, which, of course, made me cry. Who knows how many times I said, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Oh my God, I can’t believe it.” I was incapable of anything else.

I was able to touch Zoe right away, then D went with her to the nursery for tests (and Stella and my mom were waiting to see her on the way). I was able to nurse her in the recovery room, and she latched on right away. It all felt so fabulously normal at the same time it felt absolutely abnormal to us.

When we were settled in our postpartum room, Stella came in and held Zoe for a half hour and kept saying, in the same high voice she uses to talk to her baby dolls, “Oh, isn’t she cutie.”

Stella stayed with my mom, so D and I were both able to stay at the hospital. To have her in the room with us, to hold her and nurse her—I can’t tell you how amazing this was for us, how grateful we felt. And how utterly relieved I felt that I was no longer pregnant. At the same time, I felt (and feel) incredibly sad that Stella didn’t get this, that she had to go through what she went through. It’s odd because I’ve felt sad for us, for D and me, for having to survive the NICU and Stella’s premature birth, but I haven’t thought about it in terms of what Stella missed out on until now, until I realized how different it could be.

But Stella is a tough little cookie, and I suppose she is this way partly because she had to be tough to make it. But still, to have been able to hold her and take her home right away—that’s how it should be for all babies, no? Again, I think of all of you who ended up with two preemies and I'm so sorry you didn't get to experience a full-term birth.

It’s wonderful to be home. I’m a little slow with the recovery from the C-section, but I’m hoping to feel better soon. Yesterday a home care nurse came by and Zoe is doing great—she’s already gained back the weight she had lost, and yesterday she weighed 6 pounds exactly. Oddly, my blood pressure is up, higher than it was during the pregnancy. I know preeclampsia can occur after delivery, so I’m keeping an eye on it, but I’m hoping it will be lower tomorrow. (My mom borrowed a BP cuff from a friend and I've been ordered, by my mother, to check it every day. In this, I'm doing as she says.)

Thank you, again, for all the thoughts that you were thinking for us on Wednesday. It is such a gift to have had a birth like that and to now have a healthy baby girl. She’s just a doll. I'll post more frequently as I settle into a rhythm with my two girls.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Introducing Zoe Frances!

Greetings! This is D and I am posting at Kate's request. Zoe Frances (6 lbs. and 19 3/4 in.) joined our family on Wednesday, February 5, 2008. Kate is convalescing and doing very well. This birthing experience is amazingly different and much more enjoyable than our first, thus far.

I cannot believe Kate gave me her password and confidence to post on her behalf. Let me be honest, the aforementioned is not anything like I conjured in my mind while wending my way through the carpeted corridors of the hospital. However, I kept it together and came to my senses when typing the letters Z-O-E!

Kate will post in the near future!

Monday, March 3, 2008


This may sound a little crazy, but the C-section has been postponed. My doctor called tonight and it turns out that she's really sick, as well. One of her colleagues could go ahead with the surgery tomorrow morning, but since I'm still not feeling great, it makes sense to wait. This does make sense, right? This is my thought: I would rather be healthy going into surgery, and a day and a half might just buy me that health. It would be a relief not to hack up a lung on the operating table.

I plan and plan and try to control these things. Ah. When will I learn?

So it looks as though this little one will be born on Wednesday afternoon, but I'll let you know when I have more details. And of course, I could always go into labor before then.

Thank you, as always, for all your thoughts.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

so sick

Well, I’m spending the last few days of my pregnancy laid up with a horrible head cold and cough. I’ve been sick on and off for the past three months, but this time, it’s special. I have a fever and a cough so violent that it’s become commonplace to simultaneously throw up and pee myself. I spent the whole day in bed yesterday, which I never do. In fact, I think the last time I lay in bed all day was the day before Stella was born, and though I had a violent cough then, as well, I was lying down only because I was ordered to do so.

So much for my grand plans of posting about actual books this week and spending some quality time with Stella in her last days as an only child. Instead, I’m going to lie in bed and hope I don’t cough myself into labor before Tuesday. I’ll let you know if I do cough myself into labor, though.