Breastmilk snob…

OK, first of all, this:

lingerie

Anatomical lingerie, people. Let’s get real.

All right, now for an altogether separate topic, I need to get some advice from everyone who has an opinion on breastfeeding (FYI that’s everyone, period). It turns out my 9-month-old son is a breastmilk snob — he will not take formula (even though it’s expensive and organic and I bought a whole damn tub of it), nor will he take defrosted breastmilk from the freezer, whether warm or cold, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether it’s in a bottle or sippy cup. He wants straight from the boob or nothing else, and honestly, I can’t really blame the guy. However, this doesn’t work so well for when momma has to leave the house for more than three straight hours. And let’s just say there are a few weddings coming up, plus most likely daycare in the near future because we are so damn broke and momma needs to get a real-ass job. I know that once he reaches 12 months we can switch over to cow’s milk, but what the heck am I supposed to do in the interim? I don’t have a pump because I had to return it to my friend, but even if I did, it would always take about three pumping sessions to get enough supply for one feed. So annoying. Anyway, would love any advice out there for how to get this kid’s palate adjusted to the shitty merlot of the milk world (ie. formula).

Obsessed with French parenting

I don’t often like to read books about what I’m already doing 24/7 (ie. parenting — or, last year, being pregnant). But I kept coming across this memoir called Bringing Up Bébé by American journalist Pamela Druckerman, about her experience raising kids in Paris and the vastly different approach French parents have when it comes to child-rearing (and I don’t just mean feeding croissants to 4-month-olds). After reading a few sample pages on Amazon, I decided her tone was warm and funny and self-deprecating enough that I might actually be able to read it during M’s naps and not feel overwhelmed, so I bought it, plowed through it, and have to admit that, despite my resistance to joining any kind of parenting cult, I’m kind of obsessed with this French approach. Let me count the ways:

1. It spins laziness into cultivating autonomy… Apparently most French babies sleep through the night by three months of age. Now, I’m not sure if this is the “five straight hours” definition of sleeping through the night or the “7 pm to 7 am” definition, but whatever — that’s pretty damn impressive. And how does this work? Basically, moms do a teensie-tiny version of cry-it-out from the day they’re born; when the babe cries, they pause for a couple minutes before picking him up, stopping to analyze the situation and determine whether baby really needs feeding or is just trying to settle himself. This is like what I do already: M starts crying at 6 a.m.; I turn off the monitor and “pause” for five minutes (also known as desperately try to cram in more sleep), allowing him to self-soothe and learn to cope with his own frustration. Obviously this isn’t a cure-all for babes with sleep problems, but I would be curious to try this technique if we have kid #2.

2. It provides lots of tips and tricks for getting your kid to eat stinky cheese and charred eggplant and whatever else you plonk on the table… Long story short: NO SNACKING, and start offering the camembert early. This was kind of enlightening for me because I feel like we were encouraged very early to plump our baby up as much as possible and that chubby = healthy; because of this, I’d been shoving food in M’s mouth every hour, all in hopes that he’d be on track for his next weigh-in at the doctor’s office, but also so that he’d be full enough by evening to sleep 12 hours without any food or breastmilk. Now, at almost 9 months old, we’re sticking to the every-four-hours rule and he seems just fine with it. He’s still not touching the eggplant, and most of the food ends up on the floor, but I’m trying to be patient and adopt the whole European, que sera (ie. lazy) attitude here.

3. The author basically calls for a crackdown on this weird trend of treating one’s child as a colleague or collaborator — asking them if they could “please not bite daddy while he changes your diaper?”, as if this is optional, or attributing a temper tantrum to a child’s energetic nature, implying that it’s out of anyone’s ability to control. I’m all for giving kids options and involving them in decision-making, but I want M to understand that, ultimately, I’m in charge here (ed note: obviously I reserve the right to drastically alter this stance when my kid is 2 years old and I’ve turned into a pushover). Apparently the key to establishing authority is to employ the “big eyes” technique — opening your eyes wide like an owl on crack and maybe even twitching one eyelid slightly while you shoot “don’t you even dare” daggers from them (loving daggers of course).

So has anyone else here read this book? Thoughts? Criticisms? And are there any other parenting books that you’d recommend (ideally ones that have a sense of humour and can be flipped through during naps and other short bursts of freedom)?

And for good measure, here is my child behaving like a perfect, well-read French citizen:

Reading

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy elimination communication

Well, if there was any seminal life accomplishment that was going to convince me to start updating this blog again, it was my kid taking a shit in the bathtub. (Insert more sincere apologies here about neglecting this space and follow up with a few obnoxious, humble-braggy excuses relating to how little time there is when you have a baby, etc. etc.)

So, it turns out I have an 8-month-old.

In this time, I’ve enjoyed many new life experiences. It’s rare that something 100% new and unfamiliar happens when you’re in your mid-thirties, which is why it’s so damn exciting to, like, grow a human in your uterus and give birth. But changing diapers – done before; feeding another person – done; being woken up repeatedly throughout the night – done; buying stuff I don’t really need on Amazon – done. Hence, it was with GREAT excitement when a total first happened recently: Max pooped in the bathtub. Fine, it was pretty gross, but also kind of hilarious, and it gave me a brand new challenge, ie. cleaning poop out of the tub, which I’ve never had to do before, even in my drunkest of college days.

I’m going to spare you those details — let’s just cut to the following night, when Max was in the tub and I heard the telltale grunting. It became our first attempt at elimination communication, and was a complete success. So here, I present my easy-peasy guide to accomplishing this, in case you want some inspiration:

1. Make sure your baby knows what poo is; do this by holding a soiled diaper in front of him and gesticulating to it as Vanna White would, explaining that this fine specimen he produced using the powers of his intestinal tract and a momentary burst of concentration is called, simply, poo. Slight variations in colour and tone may occur from day to day, but generally speaking, it’s the same shit.

2. Feed your baby a large meal, washed down with some breastfeeding (or formula), then insert baby into a warm bath. Wait.

3. Listen for pushing/grunting noises and watch for physical straining of any kind, and/or a slight protrusion of the stomach.

4. As soon as this happens, HOIST BABY OUT OF THE TUB AND THROW HIM ON THE TOILET AND CLUTCH HIS DRIPPING WET AND PROBABLY GETTING COLD TORSO AND KEEP SAYING “POO POO POO POO POO POO POO POO” OVER AND OVER.

5. When baby starts to poo, say “Good job!” and kiss him on the forehead. Demonstrating affection while the turd is still technically on its way out may feel slightly awkward, but get over it — your baby is pooping in the toilet like a grown-ass man! Screw diapers!

6. Take high-res photo of poop in toilet with your fancy iPhone 5 and send it to husband who is currently travelling and therefore will see this first thing in the morning before he’s had breakfast.

Mission accomplished. You’re welcome.

(This was obviously inspired by Mom Spelled Backwards‘ recent How To guides, which are much funnier).

Eight weeks in…

Holy crapballs, how do any of you new moms have time — or hands — to blog?! I’ve opened up WordPress a dozen times and it’s only now, almost eight weeks after Max’s birth, that I’m able to do a quick update. I was going to elaborate on his birth story, but you know what? Forget it. Blah blah C-SECTIONS ARE INTENSE blah blah; that’s kinda the gist of it. OK, now before he wakes up and realizes he’s pooped himself, here are a few more current pics of the little man:

Max8

Max7

Max8

In the first 8 weeks post-birth, the two of us have:
– Walked through the park with other stroller moms and not been called out for being a fraud or even looked at funny;
– Breastfed in an art gallery;
– Attended fancy dinner parties at friends’ houses
– Had brunch at a restaurant… like, an actual restaurant;
– Taken the SUV stroller into rather tiny shops and cafés;
– Survived two weeks of daddy being away;
– Projectile shat on two of mommy’s girlfriends (um, that was NOT me)

The babe has received mail addressed to him (and I opened it, which I guess was maybe illegal, technically?), gotten a social security number and health card, been hashtagged on social media, taken lots of baths, conquered a yeast infection (what? boys? yes) and peed on a variety of objects. He’s transitioned into cloth diapers, has started smiling and cooing and staring at high-contrast images (then again, he’s also been known to stare at the blank wall next to the change table for minutes on end, so who knows, maybe he’ll be a paste-eater after all). Likes: Being in his wrap/carrier; the hairdryer; running water; stretching both arms up over his head upon waking from a nap; excessive bouncing. Dislikes: His adorable shark hat; kisses; sleeping in the bassinet; classical music. Longest stretch of continual sleep to date: 5-ish hours. Breastfeeding: Like a champ! This kid will suck on anything; pacifiers, bottles, nipples, fingers… and more! (Just kidding, not more).

Questions on my mind:

- I want to get on board with this sleep-training stuff early; is this really a thing to be anal about or should I let the kid figure out his own rhythm? When do I start? And what books do I need to read? Can they be short books? Comment below and help a momma out!

- I know we’re far away from introducing solids, but how do I do that? Do you still start with rice cereal? What’s this about introducing one new thing every few days? Can’t I just blend together a sandwich?

- Diaper rash: How do you prevent it, other than frequent nappy changes and zinc cream and “naked time” (read: DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN! HELLO?!)

OK, that is all! For now, at least… I have to go check in on some of you ladies (Stupid Stork, Burnt Toast especially) who’ve had some miraculous successes in your IVF journeys — so damn exciting!

Introducing…

This kid… always full of surprises. I’ll cut to the chase: We had our beautiful baby boy, his name is Max, and everyone is healthy and elated!

Max1

Max2

But of course, my dearest babe had to keep us on our toes right up until delivery. As you all know, I was scheduled to have a C-section with my amazing OB on Wednesday; well, on the Sunday before (Canadian Thanksgiving), I was woken up at 7 a.m. with a crazy-ass painful contraction. It lasted a couple minutes, then passed, and I thought to myself, “Man, I hope that was just a one-off thing, ’cause it would really be a shame to miss out on turkey dinner tonight.” I rolled over in bed, felt the little guy move, which reassured me, and then my water broke. I was all, “Pee? … Lots of pee? …. FUCK FUCK DEFINITELY NOT PEE!!!” Ran to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, woke my husband, called triage, finished packing my bag, and bolted to the hospital in 8 minutes flat.

Once there, it was determined that I was 1 cm dilated and also that there was meconium in the water; this, coupled with the fact that I was now having contractions quite frequently, all led to a C-section happening about three hours later with an OB who looked to be about 19 years old. The C-section really deserves its own separate post — for a routine procedure, it’s an insane experience that I just did not anticipate, from the massive operating room to being strapped, Jesus-style, on a cross-shaped table, to a robust team of at least 10 doctors and nurses and other specialists, to the side effects of shaking uncontrollably, dry-heaving, weeping, and feeling totally unprepared to actually meet my baby, scared shitless that I wouldn’t love him at first sight.

Aaaaaanyway, it all went smoothly otherwise. Spent two nights in the recovery ward with a fantastic team of caregivers that made me get all warm and fuzzy about Canadian healthcare. Breastfeeding has, blessedly, been a cinch right from the get-go, I’m healing pretty quickly, and weirdly I could have been “that annoying woman” who’s able to walk out of the hospital in skinny jeans — my stomach is actually flatter than it was before I got pregnant (the nurse said five minutes after they stitched me up, “You’re bikini ready!”), and I have no idea how or why, but hey — I’ll take it.

As an aside, now that I think back on it, I should have known that our kid would arrive on the 13th, regardless of when we scheduled the C-section for — it’s kind of our lucky number, with hubby’s birthday falling on Sept. 13th, our wedding on Aug. 13th, and Max first making his presence known with two pink lines on a pregnancy test on Feb. 13th. As for it coinciding with Thanksgiving — well, it’s only appropriate. I can’t think of anything to be more thankful for than a healthy baby boy in my arms.

Will update again soon, but for now am trying to use every spare minute to sleep. There are so many of you who are at such critical times in your IVF cycles or pregnancies and I’m desperate to get back to reading/blogging, but for now, I gotta Max out. :)

C-section booked!

Well, it seems Mine to Command, Infertile First Mom and Two Adults One Child all came the closest to guessing when I’d deliver (you all put in bets for somewhere between 38 and 39 weeks). My OB has decided that I may as well go ahead with this C-section next Wednesday, Oct. 16, when I’ll be 39 weeks exactly. So assuming nothing problematic happens before then, you can all mark your calendars (because I am THAT important in ALL of your lives). I should point out, too, that while Oct. 16 may seem like a rather boring day on which to be born, it turns out that junior will forever share his birthday with… wait for it… National Feral Cat Day (this year’s theme: Architects of Change)!

With five days to go until — knock on wood, spit everywhere — I have an actual baby in my arms, I can’t help but reflect on how insane it is that we’re finally here. That I’m living a life that includes a big round belly, a bassinet in our bedroom, conversations about diapering, prenatal classes and so forth; it’s a world I truly wasn’t sure I’d ever get to inhabit, and while I have at times gotten carried away with it and other times been blasé about it, I have never EVER taken it for granted. When I was in triage recently having my blood drawn, the nurse was stressed and distracted and started talking to a doctor while she was jabbing my arm; she realized that she’d fucked it up and that I’d be left with a nasty bruise. She was right, as evidenced by this poor-quality photo:

bruise

I shrugged and said, “Don’t worry about it.” Then she started tsk-ing and apologizing and warning me that it was going to get worse and could be quite sore and so forth — in the end, I was like, “Girl, I can guarantee that whatever the heck happens to my arm is nothing compared to the shit I’ve been through to get to this point in my pregnancy. I would happily start each day falling down a flight of stairs and getting covered in bruises if it meant I could be, and stay, pregnant.” OK, I may not have said these exact words, nor referred to the nurse as “Girl”, but you get the gist — I think every woman who’s gone through the torture of infertility would have the exact same reaction as I did upon being told that something might leave a bruise. Like, seriously, whatevs.

Anyway, Oct. 16 is fast approaching, and before I get sucked into a vortex of BAHHH-LOOK-AT-MY-BABY-OMG-LIFE-IS-AMAZEBALLS, I’d like to pause for a moment and say a humble thanks to all of you bloggy friends for being here with me through this journey, from the grossness of neon-blue Estrace leaking out of my lady bits to the challenge of seeing how fast I could administer my own shots… then to the sheer elation of seeing those two pink lines (which remains the highlight of my entire pregnancy, frankly)… and then the panic of not-quite-doubling betas, a bleeding episode that led to me cackling euphorically on the bathroom floor when I realized it was coming from my bum hole… and then further worry over echogenic bowel and the possibility that our fetus had Cystic Fibrosis… and then finally to now, when we’re about to bring what appears to be a perfectly average, perfectly healthy, 7-pound boy into the world.

It means a lot to have this support, even when it’s just a little comment here or there from a stranger on the Interwebs.

– Oscar acceptance speech over –

So stay tuned next week for exciting news! And if you have any tips when it comes to C-section recovery, feel free to share. I vaguely remember some of you talking about milk of magnesia or something to help prevent constipation and the importance of getting up and walking rather than lying in bed the whole time… can y’all remind me?

God bless drugs…

I named this blog Yeah, Science! because I am constantly impressed by the miracles science is able to achieve; it got me pregnant (thanks for nothing, temperature charting and raspberry leaf tea!), and now it’s totally keeping me pregnant. I was predicting, after the blood pressure ordeal, to have to deliver a pre-term baby — but then I started taking one tiny little pill, twice a day, and now I’m coasting along merrily toward the 38-week mark. As with nearly all phases of infertility, it was a moment of hurry-up-and-wait — there were about three days of MANIC rushing around, getting work stuff finished, getting the basement functioning again, assembling the nursery, installing the car seat, cancelling all social commitments, etc., and then each day allowed us to get more done, and then all of a sudden it occurred to us that we mighhhhhht just be ready for this kid to arrive. Like, now. How do I know that it’s officially time for baby? Well, mostly because my time on bed rest has transitioned from meeting deadlines and making calls to insurance adjustors to surfing the web for cute squirrel-themed artwork on Etsy and knitting pumpkin cozies. I mean seriously — I am knitting. sweaters. for. pumpkins.

SO JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN BABY ALREADY!

Some of you asked a while ago for nursery pics. I must warn, once again, that we are not one of those couples who just happened to have a spare room with white walls, ie. a blank canvas simply waiting to be attacked with tasteful Amy Butler fabrics and pastel bunting that spells out the baby’s name and mammoth gliders with matching ottomans. We also had a budget of, like, nothing. Therefore, consider this a warning for the images you are about to see. There is an orange wall. There is a green wall. There is deer wallpaper. There are paint-by-numbers. It’s basically the same ’60s cottage kitsch theme I had for my office. Also, you will note that we still don’t have a proper change table — this is because I continue to suffer PTSD from trying to source a changing pad that isn’t a) pastel coloured or terrycloth; b) $100; or c) bigger than the top of our dresser. Hence, we’ve got a sad, folded-up towel sitting there for now. Oh, and yes, those are two electrical sockets right above this area — we still need covers for those, of course. And yes, the monitor is currently affixed to the crib; it will be relocated to the window ledge eventually. Please don’t call Children’s Aid just yet — I promise we’ll get around to ironing out these details.

Anyway, here’s what things look like so far:

Nursery1

Note the stack of cloth diapers… scary, I know.

Nursery2

The IKEA Poang rocker… sans ottoman, but maybe one day.

Nursery3

Changing area with My Brest Friend. The watercolour depicts a radish because this was our nickname for baby (it came about whenever he was the “size of a radish”, according to our pregnancy app). This area is a bit sparse, obvy, and I also feel like we’re low on the product side of things — you can see we have baby powder and zinc cream and wipes, but should I be getting arnica? And vitamin D drops? And anything else?

Nursery4

Laundry hamper and our designer tote diaper bag.

All I can say is, this kid better have a fondness for retro decor… otherwise he’s gonna be all, “I think my stork got the wrong address, yo!”

Thanks for hanging in here with me in this final stretch — and let me know if I’m missing anything obvious in the nursery, or if you’ve got any tips for enduring another week of bed rest (now that Breaking Bad is over, there’s a major hole in my life. Don’t be surprised if we reveal the name of our son to be Jesse Pinkman).