Posts Tagged With: experience

Where do I begin?

I knew February was going to be insane, and I tried to plan for it.  I didn’t plan well enough.  February was INSANE.  March hasn’t been much saner.

A quick run down on the move and what’s been going on.

  • Two days before we left Finland, I picked Baby J up from daycare and was informed that several of the kids had chicken pox.  (Finland doesn’t vaccinate for it, FYI)
  • We flew to the US on January 30th.  The trip was okay – we were able to upgrade to Business Class.  Hello, lay flat seats!  It was very nice, quite comfortable, and it was great having a “bed” to lay Baby J on.  He took 3 decent naps on our transatlantic flight – if we had been in Economy, his naps would have been shortened because he wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable.  So yeah, that upgrade was totally worth it.
  • We had ordered cars from Volvo to meet us stateside through their expat program.  Mine was due to arrive on February 1st, but it was delayed.  Not going to get into all that at this time, but suffice to say, I am quite unhappy with Volvo right now.  Anyway, we were supposed to get one car, then drive to see family in Texas and Arkansas.  We didn’t get a car until  February 10th, so our road trip was delayed a week.  During that week, we received our household items from the US (that had been in storage for four years while we were gone) and unpacked most of that.
  • We did a road trip from February 11-19.  Baby J got chicken pox the day we left.  We got to see some family, but not everyone we wanted to see, thank you very much  Highly Contagious Disease.  Poor baby was miserable for about 3 days, but then it was better.  Luckily, he’s not quite old enough to realize that scratching made the itchiness feel better, so all he would do is sit there and squirm.  Small favors.
  • On February 22 our goods from Finland arrived.  Stephen was back at work, and my mom had come to help out through February 26th.  We unpacked more boxes, piled stuff on counters and tables, tried to get through as much as we could.
  • My car finally arrived on March 4th, then Baby J started getting what we thought was carsick – he managed to christen both new cars.  But then I came down with a stomach bug and was down for the count for two days, so we figured that’s what Baby J had.  Then when I was better, Stephen got it, then actually ended up in the hospital last week, spent 2 days there.
  • And this week, Baby J got sick and started having breathing issues again, so I took him to the doctor on Wednesday to make sure he got diagnosed and treated properly with a new doctor.  He’s been getting breathing treatments three times a day since then, which take about 10 minutes each.

I’m exhausted.

I still have a pile of linens that were in storage that need to be washed, I still need to sort through most of the kitchen stuff, the office is a complete wreck, and there are still about 10 boxes that need to be unpacked (not including the 6 boxes full of DVD/CD cases that we’re not bothering to unpack).

And, we’ve started looking for a new house – we are in a six month rental right now.  So we have to move everything again in a few months.  I’m desperately trying to reduce our inventory before then.

So I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been working on the new podcast I started.  I haven’t really had the equipment to do it until recently, anyways, and now I just lack quiet time without a two year old asking for more food (the bottomless pit).  Baby J will be starting part time daycare in April, so if I can just survive two more weeks without life going sideways – again – I might get some things accomplished.

Meanwhile, this conversation happens:

  • Stephen:  “You really need to-“
  • Me:  “I really need to do a lot of things right now, and whatever you were about to suggest is probably on my list.  Do you really want to go there?”

I have a bunch of thoughts on the move and acclimating back to US customs.  But that’s a post for another day.

How have you been?

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Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Inspiration Tuesday

Even if you're not where you're supposed to be, or where you want to be, you can still thrive. #inspiration

A post shared by Sara Sara Johnson (@bysarajohnson) on

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Lapland, Part 3 (of 3)

On our last night in Lapland, we splurged and stayed in one of the glass igloos at the Arctic Snow Hotel. You can spend the night in the snow hotel itself, which stays at a constant temperature of about 30°F.  The glass igloo, on the other hand, was nice and warm, especially during the day when the sun turned it into a greenhouse! Beware, though:  the bathrooms are freezing at night! Even so, the igloos were absolutely lovely.

Interior, glass igloo, Arctic Snow Hotel

They are fairly new, built last fall and opened to guests in December. The showers are amazing, with fabulous water pressure and optional rainfall shower head. The igloos are equipped with an aurora alarm that buzzes when the northern lights make an appearance, so you can fall asleep and not have to worry about missing them. And since the igloos have adjustable beds, there’s no need to put your coat and boots on if you don’t want to, just crank the bed up and enjoy the show!

Northern Lights, seen from glass igloo

I do have one complaint, and you might be able to tell what it may be in the photo above. It seems the people staying in the other igloos didn’t know that in order to see the stars and the northern lights better, it’s best to minimize your own light pollution. In other words, turn your flipping lights off, dumbasses! I left a comment card with the hotel saying they should “suggest guests turn lights off after 10pm unless absolutely necessary.”

Glass igloos, lights ablaze

Another very minor thing I found funny – the bathrooms have frosted glass, for privacy while you do your business, which is appreciated (although, the ceiling is open to the room, so you had better be comfortable enough with your traveling companion if you’re going to do anything particularly noisy or smelly!). However, just along the edge of the bathroom there was a slight gap, so that this was my view as I got out of the shower, naked.

IMAG0409

(Made me wonder if others could see in!)

 

In addition to the glass igloos, there’s the snow hotel itself. It’s built new each year, so the rooms look different year to year. You can visit the snow hotel easily from Rovaniemi (it’s about half an hour away by car, and many of the tour companies offer this tour), and of course it’s tourable if you’re staying on site. The intricate designs are spectacular!

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

IRoom, Arctic Snow Hotel

There’s also a super friendly reindeer on site:

Reindeer

Since Baby J was sick, we opted to have dinner in the lodge (possibly our best meal on our entire trip), but they also have a restaurant in the snow hotel, along with an ice bar. The ice bar doesn’t open until 10pm, though – we would have had a drink there if there had been a bartender on site in the afternoon.

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

It’s pricey, but certainly a once in a lifetime experience.  We saw a shooting star, a couple of satellites, and so many stars.  And, of course, if you get to see the northern lights, it’s even better!

Night sky

Night sky

IMG_2873

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our trip for more photos!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Lapland, Part 2 (of 3)

Our second day in Lapland, we traveled about an hour southwest to the Ranua Zoo. A lot of the animals were sleeping, hiding, or hibernating, but we saw a lot of owls, and the polar bears were great! They seemed to think we had brought them some food in the form of a baby.

Polar bear

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Polar bear

I smell a little baby, Yum!

Polar bear

Did you bring me lunch?

"Did someone say lunch?" "They're not sharing."

“Did someone say lunch?”
“They’re not sharing.”

"Bastards." *sniff*

“Bastards.”
*sniff*

It was neat seeing polar bears in something close to their natural habitat:

Polar bears walking in the snow

On day 3, we went to a husky park and went dogsledding. We got a brief lesson in driving, including the suggestion that if the sled tips over, to hold onto it, because the dogs will keep going and leave you behind. Stephen drove while I held on to Baby J for dear life – and if the sled had tipped over, I would rather walk than be dragged along by the dogs, TYVM.

While on the trail, our guide stopped to let everyone change drivers (we opted not to), and he pointed up. “Look.”

This is the one photo I didn’t get that I so wish I had. We looked up and saw a crescent sun. Yes, a crescent sun, because where we were, right at the Arctic Circle in Finland, we had an 85-90% solar eclipse happening. It was just cloudy enough that you could look directly at it and see it without, you know, burning your retinas.  It. Was. Awesome.

Meanwhile, Baby J fell asleep on the sled.

On Day 4, we went out to Santa Claus Village – Home of the REAL Santa Claus! 😉 We visited with Santa for a bit, and Baby J was fascinated.

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I sent out a few postcards to friends’ kids, letting them know I had met with Santa and he said to tell them hi. We had intended on going on a reindeer ride, but Baby J was sick, so we opted out.

Side note:  If you have kids that you’re trying to break of the pacifier addiction, I thought this was a really neat idea. Have them send the pacifier to the baby elves at Santa’s Village!

Bin of Pacifiers with note

We may not have gotten to take a reindeer ride, but that night there was a reindeer race in Rovaniemi! We found a spot to watch from, and I got the camera ready. The first race happened so fast I literally missed it – man those suckers can move!! Was able to catch the second race, though:

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our trip, with photos from the Snow Hotel and more Northern Lights!

Read Part 1 and see my pictures of the Northern Lights!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Visiting Lapland – Part 1 (of 3)

Lapland, home of Santa and reindeer and the northern lights. And after three years of living in Finland, we finally made it!

We left home on March 17 and took the overnight train to Rovaniemi. Incidentally, the 17th was the night the northern lights went crazy! My neighbors took photos from our backyard, they were even seen as far south as Helsinki! And I was stuck on a train. *eye roll*

The train ride was nice, the beds were actually pretty comfy. The cabin was tiny, of course, but what do you expect? We had a private bathroom with a shower, but there wasn’t any hot water, at least on our trip north. The train had a car carrier, so we were able to take our car with us. Load it up, sleep the night away, then drive the car off the train in the morning. It’s a pretty nice setup!

Sleeping cabin on train

Our cabin on the train – Stephen’s leg is propped against the left wall (to give you an idea about the size).

We arrived in Rovaniemi around 11am the next day, too early to check into our hotel. So we went for lunch, then checked out the Arktikum museum. The museum was…boring. Or I was tired. One of the two. Actually, the museum had some neat exhibits, and it would be a lot of fun with a kid around 7 years old. Note to self – take Baby J back when he’s older!

Ceiling of Arktikum Museum

The ceiling of the Arktikum museum

I braved the cold that first night and went out to a spot I had read about online, on the river by the museum. I set up the camera on the tripod and spent some time fiddling with the camera settings. Once I had the camera focused, I stood back and waited.

Night Sky

Night Sky, Rovaniemi

It was a mostly clear night, just some thin high clouds every once in a while. I was still close enough to the city to have quite a bit of light pollution, but I could still see the stars. I watched the thin clouds come and go for about an hour, then I saw one cloud that looked a bit…odd. And was that a hint of green? I took a picture, waited for the 30 second exposure, then checked the screen. I’ll be damned – that was it.

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis

My first glimpse of The Northern Lights!

And this is where I want to address the issue. The Northern Lights, at least what I saw, despite the photo above, were not what I would call amazing. To the naked eye, they looked like exactly what I described earlier – light bouncing off high thin clouds. Yes, some of them had the minutist green tint to them, but for the most part, they just looked like clouds. The camera, with a longer exposure, is able to bring out the colors, and they are beautiful. But standing out there in the cold at midnight, I was quite disappointed. They didn’t dance across the sky like I had heard.  I found a post by another blogger that talks about the color of the auroras, and the author does a good job at explaining the difference between what your eyes see and what the camera sees.  I just wish I had read it prior to seeing it for myself – maybe then I wouldn’t have been disappointed!!

Regardless, I am glad I got the chance to see them and photograph them. I feel like I did fairly well with focusing in the dark, and with exposure, although they may be a bit overexposed. The pictures turned out amazing, even if the real time experience wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped.  🙂

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Stay tuned for Part II of our trip!

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Easter in Finland

This is what happens when you quickly, with about two hours before an Easter egg hunt, make an Easter basket and decorate some eggs. Pretty impressed with myself, actually.  I just grabbed what I had on hand in the craft pile and went crazy.

Easter eggs in basket

After four Easters here in Finland (has it really been 4?!), we finally tried mämmi, a traditional Easter dish here.  Mämmi is made with rye flour and rye malt (among other things) and allowed to sweeten naturally before being baked.  I picked some up from the grocery store and put it in a bowl with some vanilla cream.  It tastes like molasses, and after the first bite Stephen was done with it, but I finished the small bowl, and although the texture was a bit grainy, I will say that the taste grew on me with each bite.

Mammi

Easter is a great weekend to travel around here, because both Friday and Monday are a holiday, so it’s a good, long four day weekend.  The stores are also closed for most of the time – Friday, Sunday, and Monday, all day, since those are official holidays.  On Saturday, the grocery store is open, but the Post Office and Liquor Store are both closed.  It makes me wonder what the sales figures are on the Thursday beforehand, since everyone is out shopping like Southerners bracing for an inch of snow…

Oddly, we’ve never traveled for Easter Weekend, mostly because we put off planning anything until it’s too late.  Honestly, after our trip to Lapland a few weeks ago, we’re rethinking our travel plans for the year.  Traveling with a baby is hard!  I hope it was mostly because Baby J was sick, and it’s really not as difficult as it seemed.  Our takeaway lesson #1 was: get an apartment, don’t stay in a hotel.  Maybe that will help.  I should plan something relatively easy so we can find out.  Hmmm…..where to go…..

 

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Memories from my youth

It’s funny how random memories from childhood will hit you. I remember having a slumber party and being amazed at how fast one of my friends could pee. The time she went into the bathroom to the time she came out, 37 seconds. Odd that I remember that number. I remember sitting outside on the sidewalk in front of Kristy’s house, eating macaroni and cheese, listening to the Beastie Boys tape, watching Lamont ride a bicycle with no bike seat up and down the street. I remember desperately wanting to do this ribbon ceremony performance at the high school, and getting to school extra extra early to sign up, and finding out my friend, who said she didn’t want to do it, was already there to sign up. I was so mad at her, but I can’t remember which friend it was (luckily we both got to do it). I remember spending the night at Christy’s house, eating cold brisket from the fridge at 2am while playing checkers on a chess board. I remember setting Alicia’s rug on fire by spraying hairspray on it and torching it with a lighter. God, we were stupid, but at the time we thought it was cool.

All of those memories are from a two year span in elementary school. I have crazier ones from middle school. Sneaking out of the house numerous times, only getting caught once. My mother was livid. One time, we were walking through an alley at 3am and there were these flashing lights in a back yard. “Holy shit it’s a UFO!” I said. Kevin wrote that in one of my yearbooks, years later. I remember walking home two miles from middle school, singing and dancing to “Stop In The Name of Love” and dreaming about one day becoming a lawyer and driving a Miata. We would stop at the 7-11 halfway home and buy slurpees and play video games. I remember sneaking a picture of Steve on the last day of school – I had such a crush on him, but he was a year older and so cool and didn’t know I existed, I’m sure (although we’re now FB friends, so maybe he did).

And, ah, high school. Driving out to The Reservoir and drinking (probably Boone’s Farm). Someone throwing fireworks into the bed of the pickup truck and Andy falling out, landing face first on the pavement. We were probably going about 30mph. I will never forget the look on his face. Getting up the nerve to ask Casey out, only to have him express interest in my friend (I was crushed!). The after-prom at the hotel. The after-Graduation at the hotel. My friend Tommy buying me a bottle of Goldschlager, me taking one swig and saying, “I have to get drunk before I can drink this!”

Crazy memories. They all make me smile, every last one of them.

If you knew me in my younger years, what memories do you have of me?  (Be kind, please!)

What memories do you have that make you smile?

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Wanna see my nipple?

I have a photo of each of my nipples at their worst.

I’m not going to post them online, of course.  But if you go to this link – that’s pretty much what my bad nipple looked like.

Yeah, really.

Luckily, my “good” nipple wasn’t quite that bad.  And yes, I continued to breastfeed.  Did it hurt?  Not nearly as much as you might expect.  As I told my husband, it didn’t hurt any more when I was breastfeeding than when I wasn’t.  Not really sure that’s a good thing…

I had several people look at it, and tried to search everything I could online.  The possibility of it being thrush kept coming up, but neither I nor Baby J exhibited any symptoms.  Other than, you know, the torn up nipple.

I think I know how my nipple got so bad, and it’s something I haven’t found anywhere online.  So I thought I’d share it here.  Maybe it will help someone.

At one point, I had this white dot on my nipple (the bad one), and I thought it might be a milk bleb.  I read that you could try scrubbing it lightly with a washcloth to loosen it up.  I think in the scrubbing, I ended up taking off the scabbing that had formed over my nipple, leaving fresh new raw skin exposed.  And it never scabbed over again.  And never fully healed because of it.

Baby J’s nurse suggested Bepanthon cream – it contains Vitamin B to aid healing, and is normally used for diaper rash.  It didn’t help.

I tried to find the ingredients for DIY APNO, but couldn’t get Polysporin here.  I asked my mother-in-law to bring some when she came, and I feel like I did see a bit of improvement in my “good” nipple after four days of use.

I made an appointment to get tested for thrush, but I had to wait three weeks to see the doctor.  When I finally went in (on day 4 of using a Polysporin/Hydrocortizone cream), she said it wasn’t thrush, and prescribed an uber-cortizone cream and some sort of liquid for liquid bandages.  She said if it wasn’t better in a week to come back in.

This past Monday morning I was begging for an appointment.  A week of the prescribed cream (and using the DIY cream) and the “good” nipple was fully healed (which was wonderful!), but I didn’t see much difference in the “bad” nipple.  I saw another doctor, who agreed it wasn’t thrush and prescribed a super-cortizone cream for me to use for a week – stronger than hydrocortizone, weaker than the first prescription I was given.  “It should spontaneously heal,” he said.  You know, because it’s had about five weeks to do so at this point…. (bitter?  me?  noooooo…..)

I don’t know.  I’ve been using this new cream for four days now, and sometimes I think the nipple looks better, and other times I think it looks the same.  Like I said, it normally doesn’t hurt (too much) to breastfeed, but there are times when it’s all I can do to psych myself up to latching Baby J on.  I think about quitting every couple of days.

I posted previously about my breastfeeding issues.  That was July 25th, and nursing has become easier, as I thought it would.  Mostly, it’s better because Baby J has more control and coordination, so he’s not just dive-bombing my chest and hoping to get lucky.  He knows what he’s looking for now, and is pretty good at finding it.  I’ve started using the My Brest Friend pillow again, occasionally, rotating it with the Doomoo, random pillows, and no support at all.  I found that the advice I read online, to put the MBF pillow just below your boobs, was NOT working for me, so I put it around my waist, at my belly button, as I think it was intended, and it works better.  Now that the one nipple is healed, I’m able to do laid-back nursing and side-lying nursing, which is great, but I don’t want to subject my bad nipple to that.

In that first link I posted, the one with the picture of the nipple – the author asks if breastfeeding helps with bonding if your nipple is this torn up.  Honestly…I don’t feel like breastfeeding has helped me bond with Baby J any more than I would have.  It’s certainly caused a fair share of anxiety and both mental and physical anguish, starting in the hospital and up until today.  I realize it would be easy enough to still give Baby J breast milk, without actually risking the loss of my nipples.  But I like the ability to feed him anywhere and any time he becomes hungry.  Especially since where we live, certain stores aren’t just up the road a few minutes like in the US, but an hour or more away.  You can’t really plan around feeds (or pumping schedules) in that case.

One day, I hope to not have a bad nipple…

(can’t wait to see the hits that title brings…)

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Baby J’s Birth Story

I think it goes without saying, but here’s your official TMI alert.

I can’t complain too much about my labor. I think it was fairly easy and quick, all things considered.

A week before my due date, I woke up about 1:20am for one of my usual pee breaks. When I went to the bathroom, I notice my pantyliner was soaked through. Odd, I thought. Could it be amniotic fluid?  I smelled it (I know, that sounds gross, but according to what I read online, amniotic fluid smells sweet), but it didn’t have a particular odor, so I figured maybe I had peed a little, or maybe had some heavy discharge.  I checked the bed when I went back, and it was dry, so didn’t think too much about it.  About ten minutes later, though, I got up again with what felt like “poopy cramps.”  A trip to the bathroom yielded nothing, so I went back to bed, only to get up again a few minutes later with the same feeling.  I ended up sitting up on the couch, suffering through these mild cramps for a while, searching online for what labor pains felt like.  Everything I read said, “you’ll know it when you feel it.”  Well, I wasn’t sure these were labor pains, so they must not be, right?  Sure, my belly was tight, but I felt like it was tight most of the time over the previous couple of months, so nothing felt unusual…

I started timing my “cramps” anyway, as they seemed fairly regular, and I figured there was no harm in timing them, just in case they were contractions.  They were about 4.5 minutes apart and lasting about two minutes each, over a 60 minute period.  I kept thinking of the 5-1-1 rule, thinking, if this is labor, it’s time to GO!  But the pains were still not very strong – just crampy feeling.  I still wasn’t convinced I was in labor.

Around 3:30am, I emailed some friends to get their advice (“Is this labor?”), then went to the bathroom again.When I wiped the toilet paper came away red.  “Hmm, bloody show,” I thought, and made a mental check mark. I knew that didn’t necessarily mean labor was imminent, but it was a sign. I went to the bathroom again around 5am, and definitely lost my mucous plug.  Check.  Feeling kind of gross at this point, I decided to go ahead and take a shower.  I figure the shower might help with the cramps, if that’s what they were, and if it was labor, at least I’d be clean.

While in the shower, the “cramps” definitely started getting worse, so when I got out I woke Stephen.  “I think it’s time.”  I finished packing my hospital bag (all the last minute items) while he showered. I tried to keep timing my “contractions” using an app, but I kept losing track, so when Stephen got out of the shower I handed him the phone and just started telling him when to start and stop the timer.  Brain wasn’t functioning on all cylinders at that point.

We left the apartment about 6:45am, me in the back seat with my gut in agony by this time, one foot up on the center console, as there was no leg room in the back.  My cramps, now contractions, were coming every two and a half minutes and lasting just over a minute each.  The normally 45 minute drive took half an hour, with Stephen speeding moderately, as I didn’t feel “bat out of hell” speed was quite necessary.  Luckily there was little traffic at that time of day, so he was able to pass slower drivers (and avoid the speeding cameras by dodging into the oncoming lane).

We arrived at the hospital at 7:15, and they hooked me up to monitors to check my progress.  I remember telling Stephen how I was going to be pissed if this was a false alarm, but I was admitted at 7:45, so I was, indeed, in labor.  I had measured 2cm dilated a month before, so I figured I’d be a bit further along, but no, I was still at 2cm.  I started to worry that I’d have a long labor, and the “cramps” were definitely contractions at that point, although I still felt very much like I just needed to poop.  In my birth plan, I had decided against an epidural, but around 10am, at 4cm, I was very quickly started to rethink my decision.  I couldn’t seem to get comfortable.  I jumped at the chance to use the birthing tub, since I haven’t had the luxury of a bathtub in months, but after ten or fifteen minutes I wanted out.  The tub was huge, so I could never get traction in it.  I kept wanted to brace my legs against the tub when a contraction came, but the tub was too big for that.  I tried the rocking chair, and the birthing ball, but I found that any sort of sitting or squatting position was very uncomfortable, like everything was being compressed.  The best “relief” I found was simply standing and bending over the bed when a contraction came.  I had access to laughing gas, but I couldn’t really get a good breath once the contraction started, and I didn’t feel that it did much good.  That is, until I had a monitor hooked up and could see the contraction coming.  Once I could see the contraction start, I’d huff on the gas, so that by the time I felt the contraction the gas actually did take the edge off a bit.  Not a lot, mind you, but a bit.

So I had some bad labor pains from about 8-11am.  Bad being really really bad menstrual cramps.  Don’t get me wrong, I was begging for it to stop, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I expected.  By 11am, I had dilated to 8cm, so things had progressed fairly quickly, from 2cm to 4cm to 8cm.  The doctor came in and gave me a paracervical block, which was actually pretty painful – but again, more in a cramping way than sharp pain.  Once it was done, however, I felt so mellow.  Stephen was watching the monitor and was like, “How does that feel?” and I was like, “How does what feel?”  It was awesome.  I was told the block would only last about two hours, so at that point my eye was on the clock.  The last thing I wanted was for it to wear off right before I really needed it!

I hit 10cm around noon, and the midwife told me I could go ahead and start pushing if I felt like it…then she left the room to help with another birth!  I was like, I ain’t pushing if she’s not here.  What if the baby came and there was no one around?  So I “pushed” but not really.  Then she was back, and it was time.  The baby wasn’t quite in the right position, so she had me lay on my left side to help with that, then it was time to push.  I spent about 30-45 minutes in active pushing, and I can remember wishing I had a diagram of where he was minute to minute.  “He’s almost there” is meaningless – show me a picture of where he is so I can visualize.  Give me numbers.  His head is through the pelvis, it’s now x far down the birth canal – I desperately wanted something tangible other than, “Almost.”

Pushing was rough, but not particularly painful.  It was uncomfortable, and took a lot of effort, but I was groaning and grunting more from that effort and the pressure I could feel than from any pain.

But then.

Just the day before, I had read about a woman who tore.  Up.  Not down.  It was something I had never heard of, and it freaked me out.  So when I started feeling pain radiating upward, I was terrified of it happening to me, too.  It made me scared to push.  I wanted to take it all back, hit rewind, not let anything more happen.  But you can’t do that.  So I just hoped for the best and resigned myself to the worst.  Luckily, I didn’t tear that way.  I did tear a bit, but only needed three stitches, so I figure it wasn’t that bad.

Random thought #1: the shoulders actually were more uncomfortable coming out than the head, which surprised me.

Random thought #2:  those people who say you don’t know/care that you poop while pushing?  They’re lying.

Baby J was born at 12:58 pm, 3.425kilos (7 pounds 9oz) and 50cm (19.5 inches).  I was in labor just under twelve hours, and he barely squeaked through the paracervical block timetable.  All in all, labor wasn’t too bad, considering what I was expecting.

In fact, the after birth was far worse. (More on that soon…)

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a month on

I think it goes without saying that it’s been a difficult month. I spent five days in the hospital, followed by five days of home health visits three times a day (more on all that later), while trying to also deal with a newborn. Then we spent a week packing, then a week moving, then a week unpacking. I was hoping this week would be the start of some normalcy. Maybe it is, if “normal” includes 1 free hour in a 24 hour period to do housework/chores/something other than deal with a hungry or screaming baby.

I knew my life would change, but I had some hope of having more time than I do. Time, at least, to write in a journal or blog or just have a bit of Me Time. Instead, I haven’t even had enough time to take all the photos I wanted to take, and believe me, I’m hearing about that from the grandparents.

We’ve had some rough times with feeding and sleeping, as all new parents and babies have, I’m sure.  Some latch issues early on, and some serious nipple pain on my part, and of course the hours of inconsolable crying in the evening (not all of it by Baby J) have taken their toll, but I have some hope that things will be turning around soon.  Heck, the fact that I can even finish this blog post (after working on it for a week in short bursts) tells me something has improved, even if it’s only for a day.  With luck, it’ll last.

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Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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