Thursday, August 12, 2010

Morning terror

I've never been more scared in my entire life. I was sure Squeaky was dead. I can't even write it without a paralyzing fear staying my fingers and tearing my breath from me.

It was the longest three and a half seconds in the history of time.

We were both asleep in my bed, her dad having left for work about 45 minutes earlier. I was tired - so, so tired - and as it was, delighted that she went back to sleep after her first morning feed. (I was far too tired to act delighted, so I expressed my gratitude by going back to sleep myself.)

Something started me awake. Without my glasses, a fold of the blanket appeared to be covering Squeaky's head. I snatched it away, realizing quite quickly the cover only came up to her waist. Sigh of relief. But my frantic grab didn't disturb Squeaky, so I put my hand lightly on her chest to feel her breathing. (I've done this before, like all new moms, though never with a trace of fear).  I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't hear a breath.

"Squeaky!" I said. "Squeaky!"

Her head rolled to one side. Movement. Still no breath that I could detect. Then it came, so gently, so quietly. It had been there all along, but in my sleepy haze I didn't register the tiny currents of air filling her lungs.

Going back to sleep was out of the question. She's beside me now, still sleeping, still breathing - the most beautiful breaths in the world. I'm asking Dr. Internet about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, about losing a child, about overzealous parents.

I've checked her breathing before, in her crib, in her car seat. But this - this was different. The terror was real. The aftershock worse - I imagined having to pick up the phone and call Man, my parents, an ambulance. I imagined, later, how I would dissect our final day, and if it would have been a good day, and how I would forever blame myself. I tried to make myself carry her to her crib, but I was feeling too much and I wanted her close to me. So I sat up and stared at her, counting her breaths, watching her little chest rise and fall. Talking myself back from the brink of self doubt and self hate.

It was the longest three and a half seconds in the history of time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting fit

My plan to Get Fit And Eat Right is coming along..  much as before, I do GREAT one day, and totally and completely fall off the wagon the next. For example, today I bough Ah caramel treats. I've NEVER bought them before in my life, but it's as if all the willpower has been sucked right out of me.

Exercise is better. I get moving every day, and I've had a couple of really long walks. I'm not being too hard on myself, 3 months postpartum that I am, but  I really could stand to get moving a little more frequently.

Like now, for example: Squeaky is asleep. I should close my laptop and pop in a yoga video. Perhaps I will.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What do you mean I can't have chocolate chip cookies every day?

It's reckoning time.

Squeaky has sucked all the belly off me that she's ever going to. I can't maintain my daily handfuls-of-chocolate-chip-cookies-and-ice-cream diet and expect to look good at my friend's wedding next week. Hell, the wedding is only five days away, so any chance of looking good will only be a reflection of the beautiful baby in my arms. So, yeah. Time to cut back on the cookies and milk fat, and fill up on apples and almonds and water.

I used to be an athlete. I competed in a couple of sports on the provincial and national levels, and while I was never winning medals, I could hold my own... When I was 16 years old, I remember sucking my tummy in whenever I was with my boyfriend, convinced I was thick through the middle. One time he said to me (and I remember this vividly, as one of the very few times I've ever vocalized my disappointment with my thick middle) "You look good to me." Those five words sustained me for the next ten years. And though Man makes me feel desirable, I can only see the thick middle, sloping shoulders and chunky legs in pictures. I used to love my legs - they were long, strong, muscled and tan (at least during cycling season). Now they are long, strong, fleshy and stubbly. (Finding time to exercise? No problem. Finding time to shave my legs? A whole 'nother story).

So last week I booted myself in gear, bought a jogging stroller (half price!) and made two trips to the post office, one long walk with the regular stroller, vacuumed the whole house with Squeaky in the Bjorn and did 25 crunches and 10 leg raises. Baby steps. This morning I jogged to the post office, and back, whereas last week I walked/jogged on the way home.

But ice cream and cookies, and chips and chocolate are still my downfall. I do everything right - 1tablespoon on peanut butted on my whole wheat English muffin every morning, big servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner, and apples and cheese for snacking. I drink gallons of water (breastfeeding as I am), and I'm ramping up the exercise ever so slowly. But then on top of all my exercise and ideal diet, I eat waaaayyyy toooo muuuuucchhh juuuunk. Chips! Crackers! Chocolate! Candy! Brownies! Cookies! Ice cream! Ice cream cake! More ice cream!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eight weeks of boobs

Squeaky is eight weeks and two days old today, and in all that time she's only ever eaten breast milk - my breast milk. She's packing on the pounds, too - up three whole pounds from birth. I don't know why this boggles my mind, but the fact that my body can sustain a whole other being - and that that being can thrive at my breast just... just... blows my mind.

Most natural thing in the world, all mammals do it, blah blah blah. Whatever. I'm nourishing a human being, here!

And of those approximately 580 feedings, about 574 of them have been at my breast. (The other 6 have been varying degrees of successful bottle feedings of expressed milk).

It's getting easier. I don't have to curl my toes as much when she first latches on. If my boobs are particularly full or particularly empty, it hurts more, but my milk supply is regulating itself to Squeaky's seven-hour sleeps overnight and her frantic cluster-feeding every evening (though that too is leveling out).

Hmm, now that I think about, it's coming up on one year since my body began sustaining her completely. Can I celebrate her one-year 'date of conception' anniversary, or would that just be weird?

But back to breast milk. I'm fascinated by the biology of it, and the amazing feeling of having Squeaky grow and thrive and learn to laugh and smile and try to crawl... all powered by milk from my own body. That's cool stuff.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Living by the sea

Last night as Squeaky was screaming in my ear and my nipples were rubbed raw and I was so, so tired, I started tallying up all the woe is me sob stories and things I have to complain about - the self-pitying that comes from fatigue and a broken antique rocking chair (*sob*).

Our house is still a construction zone.
The walls are all marked up from moving furniture.
I'm tired.

My nipples hurt
My rocking chair just broke.
My baby won't stop crying
Why won't my baby stop crying??
Man looks so sloppy and lazy on the couch with his laptop playing solitaire and oh my heavens I hate it when he plays solitaire
You know, all the things that will really make you feel sorry for me. And then I heard, above the roar of the wind and the cracking of the fire and the draught in the chimney, the waves crashing ashore not 40 feet from where I was sitting.

I've got saltwater all around me. Life isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Never default on rent owed to a woman in labour

Here's how I coped with the pain of labour:

I read a book.
I talked on the phone.
I watched half a movie.
I breathed through each contractions.
I evicted my tenants.

Never default on rent owed to a woman in labour, or you will find your lease agreement terminated at the earliest possible time.

Last night Man and I went back to my house, showing the place to potential new tenants. I've had trouble collecting the rent money from the current tenants every month, and I know my former neighbours are none to pleased with them either, as their kids have been terrorizing the neighbourhood (seriously - break and enter, thievery, spray-painted roads).

The showing last night was a little stressful, becuase my current tenants were at home, with their two yappy dogs and three surly kids. And those kids? Those kids keep untidy bedrooms. The whole house was untidy, though if you were being evicted I don't suppose you'd be inclined to clean up for the landlord, either. As we walked through discussing electricity costs, tenants' insurance and how many references I require, the oldest kid was sulking around after us. When we checked out the backyard, he came outside for a smoke. As we stood in the driveway discussing move-in dates, he hand a hankering for more nicotine... this time out the front. His younger brother took a more stealthy approach, hiding out in his bedroom with his window cracked open listening from there.

The couple who saw the place last night were friendly, and their kid, at 2 years old, is not likely to be breaking into the rec centre down the street. Promising. I've had many more calls on the place, and a few more lined up to see it in the next few days.

It was hard being back at the house - I bought it before Man, before Squeaky, and I had pictured many long hours in the garden, many mornings canoeing on the lake just beyond the back fence, and many barbeques and bonfires among friends. It is also an ideal house for our small family now, but it is just too far away from Man's work to make it a viable living arrangement at this time. Also, what did we spend all winter renovating for if not to live here in our wee small house?? (And I like our house, I really do, I just wish it was finished). I know houses are nothing more than four walls and a roof, and ideally a wood stove, but the associated memories and fantasies of the future can tug on the heartstrings as if they were living beings.

First time (separation) jitters

My baby is five kilometers away from me. This is the farthest we've ever been separated, and will likely be the longest stretch of time, too. Apart from when she's sleeping, but even then I'm no more than 10 metres from her (living in a tiny house as we do).

Man decided he was going to take her to work this morning to give me a chance to rest. He feels bad because I do all the nighttime feedings and changings, but really Squeaky is an easy enough baby, and he works mad hard hours, so why shouldn't I get up? (The other night she slept from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. - not an unusual occurrence - and she's five weeks old! I know I may be crowing a little too soon, but for now I do count myself lucky beyond measure.)

So my baby is at work with her father being showed off to all and sundry. This makes me glad. What makes me sad is the five kilometers separating them and me. What makes me mad is the thought of his mother getting all handsy with my baby, and breathing her smoke-filled breath into my baby's ear as she tries to Shhhh her. (Newsflash, Grandma: Babies cry! Just because you spanked your oldest child at six weeks to make him sleep through the night does NOT make you an expert on Shhhing babies.)

And now I've gone and gotten myself all riled up. There will be no rest for me. I guess I'll just HAVE to get dressed and drive those five kilometers to get my baby back. Shame.

But I don't want Man to think I'm checking up on him, because I'm totally not - he's a wonderful father, he's got all the diapering accessories he'll need and a bagful of expressed breastmilk. And I REALLY need to get over my irrational anger towards his mother when it comes to Squeaky. So, as Man pointed out, this will be good for me in the long run. Better still if I actually use the time to get some sleep. Wish me luck, dear Interwebs.