Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meet Mirena, my new BFF

Well, yesterday I got my IUD! I was a little freaked out about getting it put in, because back when I was in undergrad I tried to get the Paragard and it hurt when they measured my uterus before insertion (my uterus was too small, so I didn't end up getting it at the time). But my Mirena insertion yesterday went just fine-- a little crampy and uncomfortable, but overall not bad at all. I guess once your cervix has been stretched open to the point that a small person can get through it, sticking a little plastic thing through is a piece of cake.

It is such a relief not to have to worry about another unplanned pregnancy for another 5 years. For the first time in my life I feel like I've found the perfect birth control option: it's long-term, minimally hormonal, safe for breastfeeding, low-maintenance, 99.9% effective (this is crucial... haha), and will make my periods lighter and less painful (like 40% of women stop getting their period at all after a few months!)... I'm starting to sound like a commercial here, but I seriously am in love with this little piece of plastic.

In fact, here's how my insertion appointment went:

My OB (looking at Caroline sleeping in her carseat): She's so good! Are you sure you don't want another one like her??

Me: HAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! (deep breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No, seriously, hand that thing over.

Okay, maybe it didn't go exactly like that...

But honestly I'm not sure I will ever want another child, so the long-term-ness of the IUD really does appeal to me. I love Caroline more than I ever thought I would or could. But the NICU experience was really traumatic, and at my post-partum appointment my OB told me that even with hormone therapy, I'd have a 30% chance of delivering early again. And I'm sure I'd be more likely to have to stop working early once the contractions started up again. But mostly I just feel like my "mommy" urge has been satisfied with Caroline. I guess I would feel badly about not giving her a sibling, but overall I don't really know if I see another baby in our future. I know that for some moms, the love they feel for their first child makes them want another one that much more... but for me, it has made me feel reluctant to take away any attention from her by having another baby.

I know that Tyler wants at least one more (he's always said he wanted three; I always used to want two), so we might have some disagreement over this in the future.

But for now it doesn't really matter because regardless of what happens, we'd want to wait several years. And I realize that I might change my mind down the road when she gets older... and of course I might not have a choice in the matter, just like this time! However. These are my thoughts at the moment.

And it sure does feel good not to have to worry about repeating this whole experience. I wouldn't trade my Caroline for the world, but I won't be playing Russian roulette with my birth control again any time soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Sleep when the baby sleeps."

This is the advice given to new moms by other moms whose babies are too old for them to remember what useless advice it is.

It sounds good in theory, right? You could be up all night nursing or whatever, so try to nap when the baby naps to get sleep in whenever you can. But in practice, the baby will only sleep in your arms so you have to nap sitting up, and/or the dog barks every few minutes and wakes you or the baby up, and/or the baby naps for a half hour at a time so by the time you fall asleep the baby is awake again. By the end of the day you haven't napped much at all, and you've still got the night ahead of you.

Caroline is a good baby, she really is. She sleeps through the night (7-8 consecutive hours) at least once a week, and rarely cries for no reason. But no matter how low-maintenance your baby is, you are still going to be Tired for the first few months. The kind of Tired where you feel like you have sand in your eyes, and where you almost run red lights accidentally. The kind of Tired where once you get a minute of free time you would choose a nap over ANYTHING else, including eating or sex. In fact, I've forgotten where I was going with this post because I am so Tired.

Today I am sick, though, and it's the first time I think I've ever been thrilled to be sick. Tyler stayed home to take care of Caroline and I am allowed to sleep as much as I want!! I've always been an 8-hour kind of girl so this is approximately the most amazing thing ever. I'm also planning to ask Tyler for a full weekend of as much sleep as I want for my 25th birthday, which is coming up on April 2!

I'm off to nap now... ZZZzzz....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to make a grown woman cry

Tell her she has to throw out her entire freezer stash of breastmilk.

Here's the back story: Tyler had gone to Michigan for a few days to look at some fossils for his research. I was left alone with Caroline and, needless to say, was exhausted by the time he came back. I pumped and thawed a bunch of frozen breastmilk so that he could take over the night feedings for me so I could get some rest. Well, the thawed milk smelled terrible. It has this gross metallic smell that made me want to gag. I dumped it and thawed milk from a different day. Same thing. I threw it out in frustration and went to bed. (Luckily I did still get my rest because Caroline slept through the night, which she will do at random times. Actually, it seems like she only does it on Fridays. Hmm. But I digress.)

So this morning I went to ask my girls on the Nest what the dealio was. Turns out I probably have excess lipase in my milk, which breaks down the fats in it and makes it nasty. Which means that all my painstakingly-pumped-and-stored milk is no good. And I will have to dump it out. To fully express my feelings regarding this catastrophe, I'll need to recycle this photo:

So now I am sulking and delaying the dump because I worked hard to put away all that milk. That shiz is liquid gold, people!! It represents my freedom! Breastfeeding is really hard when you're tied to your baby for feedings every couple of hours... stored milk lets you get out of the house, or sleep a few hours in a row, or whatever other selfish things you want to do. Throwing it out is every breastfeeding mom's worst nightmare. I guess I only have about 25 ounces saved, but still.

From now on I'll have to scald my milk before freezing it, which isn't so bad, I guess. It's a little more work, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. At this point I'm just irritated that I have one more obstacle when it comes to breastfeeding, because it's really been nothing but an uphill battle for me so far, and it was just starting to get a little easier. Oh well. I really hope this is my last challenge! I've earned it, I've been a good little milk cow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"See you in 10 minutes!"

I wanted to use this phrase as a post title because I suspect I will never say it out loud again.

We haven't taken Caroline on too many outings yet because she's so little and it's flu season-- it's been limited to necessary trips to the pediatrician's office and walks in the stroller. But this weekend, we took her to our friends' house for an evening, and learned that oh.my.god it takes FOREVER to get a baby ready to go anywhere. Here's a brief synopsis:

1. Get baby ready for bath. Pause to stain-treat bath mat when she poops and pees all over it after diaper is removed. Bathe baby. Pause to stain-treat towel when she poops on it after the bath.
2. Dress baby in cute outfit. Change baby's cute outfit after she spits up all over it. By now, baby is screaming to be fed.
3. Nurse baby in awkward hunched-over position while attempting to simultaneously pack diaper bag. Burp baby. Change both of your outfits after she spits up everywhere once again.
4. Decide she is done when she seems asleep. Place baby carefully in carseat. Flinch when baby wakes up the second she touches the carseat and starts screaming again. Try everything to get her to stop crying, then realize she is still hungry even though you just fed her.
5. Scream in frustration. Experience crushing guilt for screaming in front of the baby.
6. Feed baby. (Optional: glare hatefully at husband while feeding because he lacks breasts and it's just SO unfair.) Repeat burping and outfit-changing. Sigh at the mounting load of laundry that by now is overflowing, even though you just washed everything yesterday.
7. Put baby in carseat and decide she will just have to scream until the car gets moving because that always quiets her, right?
8. After several minutes of driving and listening to the screaming, pull off the highway so that one parent can get in the backseat to console screaming baby. Realize that it's one of those exits where you can't get right back on the highway and get completely lost trying to find an on-ramp.
9. Eventually, arrive at destination, too exhausted to socialize.
10. Hurriedly greet friends and dash to their bedroom to nurse baby, who is screaming with hunger again.

There you have it, folks! How to get a baby ready in 10 easy steps. Don't worry, we might get to go on a spontaneous outing sometime... eighteen years from now?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's my due date

And Caroline is one month old today! It seems like such a long time ago that I had never met her.

It's weird to me that today is March 5. How many millions of times did I say that date in response to "when are you due??" over the past nine months? I know that only 5% of babies actually come on their due dates, but still-- today is the day I was "supposed" to meet her. Even though her NICU stay was definitely the most traumatic and upsetting experience of my life, I still feel lucky that I got to spend this extra, bonus time with her. I'll always feel jealous of those women who make it to their due dates and who get to take their babies home with them, but I'm sure that missing out on that miserable last month of pregnancy isn't entirely a bad thing either. And I know I certainly will never take her good health for granted!

Caroline decided to celebrate her due date by sleeping a wonderful, consecutive 5 1/2 hours last night. I suspect this had more to do with her new reflux medication (which actually works) than her desire to party it up, but regardless, it was amazing. I feel refreshed today even though I woke up probably every hour, on the hour to make sure she was still breathing. I wondered why she was nursing about every hour yesterday-- she was saving it up to let us get some sleep at night! What a good little baby...

Anyway, in honor of her due date, I'll post her birth announcement pic:

Just kidding. We were trying to take a good photo for her announcements, and that's what we got... haha. Guess we'll have to try again after her bath tonight!