Thursday, January 28, 2010

Four weeks in three-hour increments

Sam was born four weeks ago today. In some ways it feels like it happened yesterday (especially when I think about my lingering aches and pains!), but in others it feels like he's been with us forever. I am sitting here in our living room, listening to him snore (and I admit, fart), and watching his little hands flail in his dream, and I can't remember what it was like when his little noises didn't fill the house.

On a side note: What do babies dream about? Sam definitely looks like he is dreaming a lot - but it can't be about work, or relationships, or back to school... So what is he dreaming about???

He is still a quiet, peaceful baby, and I feel so peaceful around him, even when he is having a rare meltdown. His little facial expressions just make me laugh - he has his disapproving look, his "who the hell are you and what are you doing to me" look, his give me food look... I know it's all just reflexes, but it's hard not to imagine that they are real expressions of real thoughts and feelings. And we already determined that he is going to be an orchestra conductor because his long fingers are so expressive and he likes to flail and twist and wave his hands around all the time.

I've been home alone with him for the past two weeks and I would lie if I said that it hasn't been hard. I feel like I am just now emerging from the disbelief I felt about having him. The first two or three weeks have been rough - especially in the evenings for some reason. I was always weepy and just looking at him as he ate at 3 a.m. was enough to make me burst into tears. But that seems to be over now - hopefully a sign of my hormones quieting down. My body feels like it's getting back to normal too - although this is definitely going to be a new kind of normal. I've always been chubby and squishy, but now I am squishy in a whole new way. My belly is like a soft, wrinkled nest or some sort. Very strange.

But I also keep thinking about how amazing it is that not only did my body give birth to this amazing baby, but now it's also capable of bringing so much comfort to his little human. It is obvious that he recognizes me and calms down when he can nuzzle his head in my neck. For the past two afternoons we napped together on the couch - his warm little body on my chest with his tiny hand on my neck.

He breaks my heart.

This week I managed to make it out of the house with him - once to Panera to meet with Girl Chris and Ruby, and once to the newspaper office to pick up copies of the issue with his birth announcement. He slept through both trips - a good sign since Drew and I take a lot of road trips and having a baby who likes to hang out in the car seat is a definite plus! I am hoping for a mild February so that I can get out more with Sam - it's not good for either of us to be house-bound.

So, life's been good. I am one very lucky mama.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He's here!

Our little Sam arrived a bit early, on New Year's Eve, five minutes after noon, during a snowstorm and a Blue Moon. How cool is that?

Labor was... how shall I put it? Ugh. I am extremely lucky, because it was very short and quick and so I didn't have time to panic (too much) or to get pain relief, for that matter. Go figure. I know that I had the labor that many of my friends who recently had babies wished for, but I have to be honest and say that I found the whole experience very violent and somewhat traumatizing. Maybe with time that feeling will fade, but for now I am just grateful that it's over.

I started to have contractions on Dec. 30, around 4 p.m. in the afternoon, right after I saw my doctor and had another ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels. I came home, ate some of my mom's green bean soup and started to time the contractions - they were 8 minutes apart. The doctor on call told me that they will probably peter out as the night goes on, that they just came on because of the exam earlier in the day. Right.

I was up all night with contractions - nothing too bad, but they were bad enough that I couldn't stay in bed. I spent the night on my yoga ball, then in the armchair in the living room, surrounded by pillows and a heating pad on my back. All the pain was in my back and it was very unpleasant. I also felt like I needed to build a little nest around my body - thus the pillows. It was very strange... By 6 a.m. the contractions were 5 minutes apart and I called my doc who told me to head to the hospital. I was convinced that they were going to check me and send me home, but it was not to be.

We got to the hospital at 7:45-ish and I was at 2 cm. The nurses told me to walk around a bit and after about 5 minutes of walking I had 5 or 6 of the most intense contractions. Drew was awesome - he employed all techniques we learned in our childbirth class and they really made a difference! So did my yoga classes - vocal toning kicks pain in the ass! Well, a bit at least!

So they checked me again around 9 a.m. and I was already at 6 cm. I was not going to be sent home after all! I was admitted, a fumbling nurse put an IV in my arm which still hurts, and I got a shot of Nubain to take the edge off. It did nothing for the pain, but it helped me zonk out between contractions, which was a relief.

I got wheeled to the labor and delivery room and my Mom got there too just in time. By 11 a.m. I was ready to push after the midwife broke the water. I pushed for an hour and Sammy was born at 12:05 p.m. I gotta say that pushing a baby out hurts like nothing else I have ever experienced. It's also such an overwhelming experience, because your body takes control and there is nothing you can do to stop what is happening. And even though you are in pain, you know that the only way to get out of the pain is to push really hard and thus cause yourself even more pain. It's wild. I felt like an animal.

I also have to say, that once the baby is out, the relief is HUGE. I don't remember much of what happened after Sam was born - it's all a blur. The placenta didn't want to come out, so they took Sam away to get him cleaned up while the midwife worked on me. I will spare everyone the details of the aftermath, but I was assured that at some point in my life things will feel normal again. I'll drink to that! No, really, I need a drink...

So, Sammy is two-weeks old today. It hasn't been a completely smooth ride, but I guess I wasn't expecting that anyway. He is adorable, and cute, and looks like a little elf that lives in the woods in a giant mushroom. He has a mop of blond hair and my nose (or rather I think my dad's nose!). He eats, poops, and sleeps on his own self-imposed three-hour schedule. He only cries when we change his diaper or when he is cold. I want to be really, really mad at him at 3 a.m. when he wakes up to eat, but I look at him and it's impossible to feel anything but love and wonder at the whole process.
I can't believe that Drew and I made something so beautiful.