For Mo

Nadav

He was here. Four years hasn’t changed that, nor could forty.

Sometimes I wish there were rhyme or reason to the universe, but clearly (to me, anyway) there just isn’t.

There’s never going to be a good reason why I got to bring Ike home safely but Mo didn’t get the same chance with Nadav.

Shit doesn’t happen, in life or in death, for reasons that can actually help us deal with the shit that happens.

There isn’t a damn thing I can say that could help Mo feel less alone…but I can remember. Even if it is in the abstract, which of course it is for me, I can remember what I remember, if not what Mo can. And so I shall.

Counting kicks and crying at my desk at work, wondering how the fuck could this possibly be okay, ever….

He was here.

Nine Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Today you are nine months old.  This weekend your paternal grandma came up to visit with us (well let’s be honest, she came to see you!), and I think she was quite blown away by how big you have gotten and how active you are now.  I am, too, frankly.  It is a little unfortunate that her visit seemed to coincide with your separation/stranger-anxiety phase, so you were a little shy with her and much preferred to have me or Daddy around while you hung out with her.  But she couldn’t stand to wait any longer to see you again, and you did have some very good playtime and peek-a-boo sessions with her, if not quite as many snuggles and hugs and kisses as I’m sure she hoped for. Next time will be better for all that, I’m sure.

According to the baby development emails that I get, this is your fortieth week of life.  I gave up counting weeks myself a while back – now I’m doing good if I can just believe the actual number of months that have passed since you were born, as they are still flying by way too fast for my taste – and I know this isn’t going to reverse itself. Given that you were born a week and a half before your due date and that you didn’t actually exist for the first two technical weeks of my pregnancy (period math – someday you may care, I think), you have now been around longer outside of me than you ever were inside me. While I know that my conflicting feelings are normal, and every mother feels this way, I am still astounded that I can be so excited over every tiny stride forward you make in your development and at the same time a little saddened that you are less and less teeny tiny every day. Of course I want you to continue growing big and strong, but at the same time I am always going to miss your newborn-baby-ness!

You are going to be crawling proper any day now, it seems.  You can go backward pretty easily, while forward is more of an army crawl-scoot hybrid at this point.  You do a lot of rocking back and forth on hands and knees, though, so I think it is going to surprise me any second now to see you motoring all around as if you’ve been doing it all your life.  You’re going to keep the dog on his toes, I can tell.

We haven’t added a whole lot to your diet in the past month, as getting you to slow down enough to drink a bottle or have a good nursing session is still a bit of a struggle what with ALL THE THINGS that need exploring and examining all the time, so we have been trying to focus on making sure you get plenty of milk.  I am very thankful that you are still nursing, even though it pretty much takes a dark-as-possible bedroom and lying down either before bedtime or naptime or right after you wake up.  Every once in a great while I actually get to cradle you while you nurse if I catch you awake but still sleepy enough, which I relish, but for the most part you will hardly tolerate it, preferring to have more space of your own for kicking and wiggling. And forget little snacks on the couch in the living room, or anywhere else – everything is just too much of a distraction for you.  But as far as new solids, carrots are going over well, as are peaches, though apples are still your favorite by far (if we don’t count Os, which is what I’ve been calling Cheer.ios).  I had lofty intentions of not giving you any grains until the one-year mark, but I failed to convey that to Grandma, and I think it would be a silly thing to be too strict about – the Os are definitely good for helping you develop your pincer grasp. Not too many of them make it to the floor anymore, much to Dexter’s dismay! But I think his day is coming, as you haven’t yet really taken much to finger foods, so you aren’t purposefully throwing things to the floor yet, either.  He’ll be really happy when you figure out how much fun that can be.

We have gotten a little bit better about a bedtime routine (about time, right?) in the past couple of months.  So long as you’re not already overtired, we now have storytime before sleepytime.  I am always amazed that, as easily distracted as you can be, you do seem to enjoy reading books.  Most nights we can get through at least two or three, depending on the length.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a favorite (of mine, anyway – I’m not sure if you’re really as into it as I am), and you are enthralled by the page of Goodnight Moon that has only the picture of the tiny mouse on it.  When we get to that page you usually rip the whole book out of my hands, flip it sideways, and try to eat the mouse.  I love it.  Makes me laugh every time.

Your language and communication continue to evolve.  We still get a lot of ‘ma…ma…muhhh…mehhh…MUHM!’ sounds, and the bbbbbbb motorboat sound has become a warning of sorts that you’re not too thrilled with whatever is going on at the moment – a precursor to true fussing or crying, it seems.  We are also hearing lots of Das and Nas, some Yas and Tas and Guhs (and those consonants followed by various other vowel sounds).  Lately you’ve been doing some head shaking, more of the No variety (side to side).  It doesn’t seem as though you associate it with the word no; I think it’s more just an interesting sensation for you.  You’ve also started doing this thing where you scrunch up your nose and sort of pant through it, like a tough guy face with huffing and puffing.  It’s hilarious, and you think it’s hilarious when we do it back to you, which I of course have to do every time I catch you doing it.  Grandma caught a picture of you doing it – it’s blurry but captures the expression pretty well:

IMG_0105

Last but definitely not least this month, we finally (not that I’ve been looking forward to it) have the beginnings of some TEETH!  Both your bottom middle two are peeking through.  They don’t seem to be bothering you too much, at least not constantly, but it seems like they still have a long way to go before we can say they’re fully in – and then more will quickly follow, I’m sure.  You will rarely let me put a finger in your mouth to check them out, but if you grin wide enough they are just barely visible.  Yet one more way that you are morphing right before my eyes from baby to little boy – no need to hurry on that, young man.

I can only imagine, and I do, all the fun that is right around the corner…but I am trying my hardest to stay where we are, and be present for the present, not getting too worried about what’s next. Wherever we are now is always where I want to be with you, Ike. Kisses and kisses and kisses, as I say to you while covering your still-chubby-for-now cheeks with them (good thing Mama hardly ever wears lipstick, right?).

Love,

Mama

Digestive Drama, Continued

Ike’s repeat LFT still showed some elevated levels (AST & ALT above high normal, and bilirubin still slightly high), so this afternoon we are off to Cincinnati to see the hepatologist.  Boo.  I really hope they do not want to do anything more invasive than blood tests.  The finger sticks are hard enough to take; I don’t know how I’d handle anything more involved, honestly.  But of course I want to get this settled and figured out, if at all possible.  Will be asking about my diet, too.  Part of me wouldn’t hesitate at all if they said to go ahead and eliminate gluten and corn, too (or anything else), and part of me is dying for them to say, go ahead and eat dairy and soy again if you like.  Mike had to use a Groupon for Jet’s pizza before it expired last night, and I very nearly actually cried when I saw the boxes in the kitchen.

His four-month checkup at the regular pediatrician’s office went fairly well on Friday, though.  The vaccinations again seemed to make him sleepy for a day and a half or so, but he seems to generally take them well enough.  No fever that I noticed or that seemed to bother him, so that’s good.  He’s near the middle of the pack in height and weight, but his head circumference is nearly off the chart, so they want to order – get this – an ultrasound, to make sure that there is no fluid where there shouldn’t be any, or anything else of concern.  I am tempted to bring Mike into the office so they can see that it’s likely just familial big-headedness.  I don’t really know the scale for hat sizes, but Mike says he wears a seven and a half fitted hat, which I guess is big?  I again don’t feel like I can refuse the recommendation, like we should do it just to rule out anything of actual concern, but JESUS.  Enough with the ultrasounds already.  Given that he was scanned weekly from a six weeks’ gestation embryo through the first trimester, plus an NT scan, plus growth scans and plus BPPs, then the abdominal ultrasound, there better not be research coming out in the next few years that’ll show any real risk from the procedures.  Eek.

This also surely means that we’ll be meeting our ridiculous health insurance deductible again this year.  Perhaps I should make an appointment with a dermatologist, for shits and giggles.  And maybe Mike could get the MRI for his hip that had been recommended but declined due to cost a while back.  Le sigh.

Wish us luck, if you can, and I will try to update again this afternoon or this evening.

Actually happy during stomach minutes

Four Months

Miscellany

Pro tip:  if there is one single thing you should probably never, ever say to a woman who has given birth/become a parent in the past, oh, let’s say three months or so, it’s, “I’m so tired.”  REALLY?  I’m sorry, that must really suck FOR YOU.  Please note that I’m not making it worse by smacking you.  (“I’m tired,” “I need a nap,” “I didn’t sleep well” also qualify.)

Okay, there are probably at least a dozen other things that new mothers don’t want or need to hear, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
I’m not actually complaining here; Ike has really been pretty generous about letting us get decent chunks of rest.  So far there have only been two nights after which dawn broke and I felt like I didn’t sleep at all. Other than that, it really hasn’t been as bad as I expected (though this could all still change at any point, I know).  I can imagine how it’ll feel when we end up with six or seven (or more, perhaps way more, HALP) of those nights in a row.  So it makes me laugh evilly when I hear someone else complain about being tired. Because, HA.  FUCKING HA.  I’m sure you are actually tired, but I condescend to your non-parental fatigue, oh yes I do.
What else?  He is a grunty, farty baby.  It cracks me up.  He rarely seems to want to bother burping after a he eats, so I suppose all that air just works its way through eventually.  It doesn’t seem to cause actual discomfort, for the most part, though it probably sounds like he’s not happy (I’m pretty sure it’s grunting of neutral value, not complaint – maybe even grunting for fun!  Gruuunty baby).  He smiles and laughs, when awake and in his sleep.  I of course can’t get enough.
I don’t know that we have a favorite toy yet, but he is tracking things, especially black and white items, up and down and side to side with his eyes as he should be at this point.  He is good at picking up his head and moving it from one side to the other during tummy time.  I haven’t yet started obsessing over what else he should be doing at this age.  I’m sure there’s plenty of time for that, right?  

I’m not being super productive or accomplishing much on a day to day basis, but I feel like we’re adjusting pretty well, for the most part.  One of my favorite things is bath time.  We have yet to do a sponge bath; I just take him in the tub with me.  He seems to really enjoy it.  Not that he’s laughing and splashing, but he seems very soothed and relaxed by it.  I’m so glad the midwife who discharged us from the birth center mentioned that to us.  She said that “they” will tell you that you can’t do tub baths until the umbilical cord stump falls off, but that it’s not true.  She suggested taking him in with me and letting him float (supported, of course) in water up to his shoulders, and that I’d see him make movements that I would recognize, having felt them from the inside.  Pretty cool (and I think it helped the stump fall off sooner – he lost it at only six days).  So I try to do it every other day, if not every day.  I like to think that it reminds him of being inside me.  I still feel like I didn’t allow myself to really celebrate my pregnancy while I was pregnant, for fear that we somehow still wouldn’t end up being able to actually bring him home, so I guess this is my abstract way of celebrating it after the fact.  It also reminds me of his birth, and how amazed and grateful I still am that we got to have the natural water birth experience that we did.  Plus, after he’s all cleaned up I can hand him off to Mike to get dried off and I can finish having a bath myself – that counts as pampering, right?  Whatever.  I’m counting it.  Before long we can probably take him swimming – I’m hoping he’ll like that just as much! 

Past Due

Yesterday was Ike’s due date.  I kept thinking I’d get something posted, but…well, shit happens.  A lot, which is good – I think his jaundice will be well cleared by the time we get to his two week checkup on Monday.  Anyhow, a few last belly pics.  This is at the doctor’s office Thursday morning, after the good NST but before the low AFI ultrasound later that afternoon that sent me to the antenatal unit overnight (38w0d):

These are before/at the wedding, the night before I went into labor, so at 38w2d (same dress as here at 30 weeks):

I really figured that I’d go another two weeks, or at least make it to within a few days of my actual due date. So much for that!  I am so glad that he’s here, of course, but I will admit that I feel a tiny bit cheated wait, not cheated, that’s ridiculous, I’ve been cheated of little throughout this pregnancy…let’s just say that there is definitely a part of me that will miss being pregnant.  I was starting to get uncomfortable, yes, but I wasn’t completely miserable yet, and I am definitely still regretting that we didn’t get more cleaning and organizing done beforehand.  Mike’s parents arrive tomorrow and I wish that JUST ONCE it could look as though we have our shit together when they walk in the door, even if that illusion would still shatter once they sat down and stayed a while.  Alas, ’tis not to be.  As usual, we have made significant progress but fall short of actually clean.  Oh well.  At least he’s not crawling yet!  I shall shortly go ignore a few dog-hair dustbunnies in favor of scrubbed kitchen surfaces.  Whee.

Yesterday was also Mike’s birthday.  Sorry, Mike.  You got your present early this year, and there’s no gift receipt.  I’m guessing that’s okay with you.

Home

Eventually did get sent home yesterday, thankfully.  Took them what seemed like all day, but we left with instructions to drink a gallon of water a day (!!), and a note to be off work until at least six weeks postpartum (!!).  The midwife said that was actually negotiable after I have a repeat ultrasound on Thursday and see the doctor to review it, but I do at least have some down time coming.  I was again surprised by that.  Not complaining, definitely.  Going to work every day lately has frankly felt like a colossal waste of my time and energy, so four days to take it easy and do some stuff around the house sounds perfect.  Losing any time from my leave does not sound so perfect, but we’ll see what I can work out.  Perhaps I can work part-time from home or something.  I don’t mind doing what I can from my couch, but unfortunately a lot of the day-to-day stuff on my plate requires a physical presence (or others to scan and email an awful lot of extra paperwork, and that hardly seems fair to ask).  So we’ll see.  Trying not to stress too much about that part.  Not worth it, at this stage of the game!  And at least it’s not bed rest, so I can still do stuff, just need to make sure I drink tons of water and take it relatively easy.  Pay attention to contractions and anything else that should rear its head.  Mike is actually in a friend’s wedding this afternoon, so I should probably start trying to get ready now, since I feel like I’m still moving at the speed of molasses.  I’m fairly sure I have at least one dress that still fits, but shoes are going to be a challenge. Pretty sure I’m going to end up in some cheapo flip flops even if I manage to start out in some cute heeled sandals.  I suppose that’s acceptable for approximately nine and a half months pregnant!

(38w2d)

Better

The ultrasound tech said that the fluid looks normal this morning.  YAY.  Waiting for official word of what the plan will be, but I’m expecting to be sent home.  I’m sure they’ll want to get a better blood pressure reading first, as the last few have been rather high, but I’m thinking that’s nerves from not knowing what’s going on – this good fluid news should help the BP come down, I’m hoping.  Still feeling a bit puffy in the hands and feet, but nothing too dramatic, and I’ve heard nothing of protein in my urine, so I don’t think I’m in a danger zone.

Fingers crossed we get another week or so, at least.  His weight estimate is still around six pounds.  Could stand to plump up a bit.  I do not want to be induced today (or, ever, but certainly not today).  This is not how I wanted to arrange a three-day weekend, but hopefully I get to go home and have a really good nap. Getting up to pee almost exactly every two hours isn’t so terrible at home, but adding IV fluids to make it every 45 minutes plus a bleating IV pump that was convinced it had air in the line did not make for a restful night last night.  I feel bleary, but relieved.

(38w1d)