Monday, March 30, 2009

She's baaaaaaaaack

I'm home, blissfully home. When I got in the bed the night I got back I joyfully thought, "my bed, my sheets, my babies, my freckly husband" and then tossed fitfully through the night, waking whenever Hannah wanted us to know she wanted just 1 1/2 ounces of milk. Just the way it ought to be. Just like always. How dull am I, to take the time to post that I am pleased with my life? Pretty dull. I'll complain later, but today, I am happy, happy, happy.

And, I am still not a pole dancer!

And, I have enough money to go to Costco and engage in excessive consumption!

And, I have legs!

Woo-hoo. I rock. Yay, me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

like a fruitcake, moist and nutty

My first business trip away from my 7 1/2 month old daughter is half over. My mind is half full, with joy, now that the end is in sight, and yet half empty that I had to do it at all and be away and didn't manage to find joy when I could, like having time to myself.

I have, however, in the course of this conference, recognized that my ass kissing skills are no better than before, so chalk one up for edification in the midst of ennui. Need to work on that pucker up policy. I facilitated people who don't like each other being civil in a group. Social engineering, building bridges.

I didn't write my novel in the back rows, but I got some powerful knittin' done on Hannah's matinee coat. Success can be found in baby sweaters and unspoken insults.

Hmmm. Good thing it is all on the road less travelled.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Brave is not the word that you would use for me tonight. Out of town for a conference, hundreds of miles away from my baby. Can I trust her Daddy to wake up and feed her? Can I? I'm having cookies and beer in the Holiday Inn and biting my nails. A few people close to me have mentioned that I will have to trust my husband to parent this child, and to trust her to be able to wake and ask for food. But, at seven months? Seven wee months? Why is there no trusty equivalent of Dr. Spock for how to feed a not so hungry baby?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laid low, no chariot

Something is rotten in the state of my house, and it is not well camouflaged by the piles of dirty Kleenex and empty baby ibuprofen bottles. We have been laid low, good and proper, thoroughly asskicked by a tiny wee thing, supervirus to us a common cold to you. So why should this thing be thought of as common? It is actually uncommon to breathe like a freight train, to whistle and sigh with each tiny movement of one's body, and most uncommon of all is the way the feverish brain works so differently. I remember reading Katherine Anne Porter's famous Pale Horse, Pale Rider as a child and almost wanting to get the honest to God Spanish 'flu, so I could be so moved and entertained by feverish thoughts. At the same time of course, I was going through puberty and having romantic notions of what might come to pass in my life, if I ever grew up and got some pubic hair. I thought it would be something like this: And he came to her as in a dream, floating into her room with his eyes so focused on her that there could be no other purpose in life than to hold her, touch her, gaze upon her face. He swept her into his arms and . . . but really my fever thoughts are more like "purple, hey purple. Dogs like ice cream and isn't that a fast kind of car and where do the pillows go when they leave my head? Am I falling? I smell flowers, flowers, flowers or no that's more medicine and sickly sweet NO NO NO, and hey, purple . . . pale horse pale rider wait WAIT WAIT isn't that a metaphor for death?? and hey, a lot of time has passed hasn't it? No? Oh, maybe I am asleep. No. I can't be asleep, I am thinking too many thoughts to be asleep, right self? Isn't someone coming soon with some sorbet to spoon into my mouth?" I hope my baby doesn't go through any of that but I bet she is tired of having me sneak up on her with bottles of breast milk that we sneak into her mouth while sleeping so she won't know its happening. Surprise! Who needs hallucinogenics when you can have infancy and a fever at the same time!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Your nursies and your bellybutton

Look, Mom! That's me, and that's you! (Claire and I are standing in the grocery store at looking at a parenting magazine picturing a mother and child)

Look, Mom! That's you (now she is viewing a sexy fitness girlie magazine, picturing a hot thin model in a bikini) (the man looking at manlie magazines checks me out, to see if what the child says is true, and it isn't)

Mama, that's you and your bellybutton. That's you when your nursies weren't bigger yet and before you had Hannah and that's your nursies and your bellybutton. (the man left)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

To everything, churn, churn, churn

I was checking community service hours folks had submitted, and reading the tasks people had performed and I read "leafs, leafs, leafs, leafs, leafs, clarifying butter, leafs." I wondered about the butter, but of course, since this was about hours performed at a not for profit educational farm, I figured, hey, why not. Then I realized that the handwriting was poor, and the entry was for cleaning gutters, and leafs. I will work on getting more sleep.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Flashback but without the pretty colors and breathing furniture

I have seen a number of bloggers write about the complexities of feelings from the past rushing up when something pushes the memory repeat button. And, today I cried in a store after interrupting a total stranger when I saw that her baby had a NG tube. Nothing but nothing will ever suck as badly as the lack of control and general level of wretchedness that occurs with a baby in crisis. A NICU stay, even one in the intermediate care nursery, is a kick in the guts like no other I have experienced. I didn't see this rush of emotion coming but there I was, innocently buying vitamins in Whole Foods, when I saw the baby and her mama buying anything that would boost her up and make her milk flow again now that her baby had just been released to go back home. My milk let down but worse than that was that I wanted to hug this total stranger because then my anxiety level might slip back down a notch. I interjected in the conversation she was having with the clerk who had obviously not yet had children, and gave her my tips about milk making, and when it was time to go we introduced ourselves and hugged and wished each other well. I told her how strong she was for learning how to insert the NG tube so she could bring her baby home. I wasn't offered that option with my preemie but I would have been if the time had gone on longer and I didn't think I would agree to do it because I am squeamish and afraid. Hell, I still hate to use the suction squeezer on a booger-jammed baby nostril. I told my new friend that she was strong, strong enough to be there for her child, and then I sat in my car and came all apart. So I just continue to take these experiences out now and then and taste them and test them and then put them back and focus on the now instead of the then. And just about when I get to the "I-laugh-in-the-face-of-danger-when-it-comes-to-my-babies-stage" of my life, I will perhaps be used to what happened in the dark and early days. Not yet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Milk math

Douglas Adams said the Restaurant at the End of the Universe was powered by the mental energy of the diners doing math to pay their bills. I wish I knew what my mental energy was powering when I do milk math. Every night I lay me down, adding and subtracting ounces of milk relative to the number of hours that have passed since Hannah last ate, or might be expected to eat again. It goes something like this:

OK, she had 5 ounces at 5:30 but didn't finish the last 1 1/2 , then she was served part of a plastic thingie of peas and two TBSP of baby cereal with breast milk to mix at 7:30 and less than half was found on the child after the meal, but she ate really well at the beginning and didn't smoosh it out of her mouth until the end so she probably had 2/3 of the food that was consumed less the amount remaining in each of the three food dishes we used, but then I had a bite to make sure nothing was spoiled tasting so I have to account for that. Now she has had one more ounce and has been asleep for two hours and if I sneak three ounces of breast milk in by bottle while she is sleeping and I wait until 10:30 then she won't need food until probably2:30 but 3:00 a.m. is the maximum latest time to feed unless I count the solid foods which I can't really count because I can't quantify it but it makes her less hungry for milk certainly so if I wait and let her get hungrier will she eat more in the nighttime feeding so we can sleep longer before she wants to eat again at 5:30 a.m. or is that just caused by the stuffy nose? Should I use a decongestant? She's just so little and I hate to pollute her with wacky drugs not even the doctors believe in but a stuffy nose can impair her appetite and if she doesn't eat we could end up at the hospital and what time did she eat anyway, maybe I can squeeze in more milk now, OK but only half an ounce and does that push the time back for the longest she can go without food or is half an ounce too small to count anyway? Half an ounce is .5 ounces. When you round a number that ends in five, does it round up or down? Since breast milk is liquid gold can we round up when the number is in the middle or must I round down because MCAD babies need less fat and more carbs and so should I just be giving her formula or juice anyway? And I just pumped so I don't want to pump again soon so if she could sleep so could I but if she didn't have between four and five ounces then she hasn't hit her minimum feed and is three and a half like five, enough like five to go six hours or should we feed her sooner? Is this algebra or calculus? Have I spent enough mental energy on this instead of sleeping? What time is it anyway? How long have I been lying awake? Only a few minutes were spent on anything other than milk math, have I gone long enough that now I should take a sleeping pill so I know I get some sleep? How much Ambien lands in milk? If I take half an Ambien can I round it down and tell myself I didn't take any? Is it time to feed the baby again already? Who is that crying?