Thursday, May 31, 2012

Breassesses, part II

I don't think my boobs have been such a huge part of my daily life since they first started to appear and I would sneak and sew little training bras by hand from pairs of underwear (why I didn't just ask my mother to take me shopping, who knows - I found pretty much every aspect of puberty utterly mortifying).

Today I went shopping for more sleep bras and bras with underwire, since the nice soft unsupported ones I bought while pregnant are ok but don't give me much of a figure, and I sweat and leak so much these days I go through them too quickly. I am a 34 DD. That's not an easy size to find. The two I bought aren't great but will hopefully see me through until I'm not breast feeding anymore, whenever that may be.

My boobs still hurt a lot. I would consult the LC that helped me, but I'm afraid of being shamed for still using the nipple shield. I'm sure that's part of the problem - he's probably sucking too hard because of it, and thereby causing me all this pain, but trust me, I simply cannot nurse without it. He just squirms and cries and gets frustrated. And so it goes. According to my chat boards I'm not the only woman still using one at this late stage, so I may just use it for the duration.

In order to help my reluctance to pump, I bought a pumping bra online. Oh boy, is this the best invention ever! So now instead of having to jam the pumps on each boob, hunch over, and stare into space bored out of my mind while the dog barks and the baby screams, I can now hook this thing up and go about my business. I got 2.5 oz today in just about five minutes - if I can just do this once a day I will always have enough milk for sitters. It sure helps to have these little conveniences. As much as I use maybe 10% of the things in the nursery, for sure indispensable are the Breast Friend (I call it the Baby Tray) and this pumping bra.

I've been using some nipple butter but I'm not sure if it actually does anything. I also use little silicone inserts in the bra to protect my nipples and keep them nice and cool (for a few minutes anyway). It'll be nice when my breassesses go back to being just another part of my body and not this super-important mechanism that keeps my child alive!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A day in the life

When I used to keep journals as a young girl, from time to time I'd write out my daily schedule just for posterity, and it was kind of fascinating to go back and read it. Since things have gotten into a pseudo routine around here (as opposed to the free for all that resembled a bit the acid trip scene from Easy Rider that my days were in the first few weeks) I thought it might be fun to do a little run down.

Life with Bumpus at two months:

10:30-11:30 - wakey wakey. Honestly I've usually been up or semi-up for some hours at this point, and have very sore nipples from the 4 AM - 10 AM feeding frenzy that usually occurs.

Play with baby on the bed, change night diaper. Have cereal on bed, let dog lick bowl. Try to prevent dog from stepping on baby's face as dog runs around bed excited about cereal.

Put baby, still swaddled, in swing in bathroom while I brush teeth, shower, dress, do hair and put on makeup.

12:00-3:00 - either feed baby while working on computer or run errands or hike. Put baby in carrier to walk dog, keep baby in carrier so I can make lunch, empty dishwasher, do dishes.

5:00 - 11:00 - sit on couch while feeding baby, watching TV, fiddling with phone, doing work. Cook dinner around 9 PM, hopefully get to eat it.

11:00 - 12:00 - bed time. Last diaper change, swaddle baby, nurse to sleep. Usually sleep until about 4 or 5, then baby wants to nurse a lot until morning.

Rinse & repeat!

It's a pretty awesome life, I have to admit. The amount of time he is happy and alert increases by the day - I'm kind of not used to him just being content for a half hour or hour at a time; I don't really know what to do with myself when this happens, but I try to take full advantage, like by cooking something or straightening up or doing some paperwork. My event is ramping up by the day, so I need all the free time I can get!

In the meantime, he has discovered his hands:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Post holiday wrap up

This weekend was a whirlwind of parties and social activities. Often holiday weekends are not at all like this - I've spent many a long weekend alone and bored at home. So it was refreshing to have multiple events to attend. And it was so easy with a little baby who can just be popped in the carrier every time he got cranky. I'm dreading the day when he's less manageable, needs to be home in time for naps, etc.

Today I made my very last Business Line of Credit payment! I wish I could say I now have an extra $1000 to play with each month...but honestly if I'm stuck paying his full health insurance premium, diapers and wipes, and child care for even some of my activities each month, that's easily $1000. I still don't even know if I've seen the last of the hospital bills - I noticed on my last statement that the "family" out of pocket max for the year is $17,500, not $3500 as it would be for just me. Does that $17,500 apply to just the two of us, and if so, are there more bills coming...? I dread getting my mail every day. Still waiting to hear from Healthy Families, too.

My printer broke over the weekend so I can't do any work until I go out and buy a new one and set it up, and my pool had been draining along the side of the house for days, wasting hundreds of gallons of water and driving me insane with this dripping noise right outside of my bedroom window every night. A rat chewed through my kitchen window screen and ate all of my fruit and avocados, and now I have to replace the screen. This doesn't even mention my brown water, leaking sewage line, decaying porch, wonky left wrist, and constantly sore breasts. Let's see...what else can I complain about...?

First world problems, eh?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

This is not my beautiful house

Last night I went to dinner at the house of my friend who I hiked with who was complaining about her seven-year-old. Why did I do this? Well, because she asked, and because I hate sitting home on Friday nights and will take whatever baby-friendly invites I can get. I made a cherry cobbler in hopes her kid would like it and by extension, like me. Hey, if you can't bring presents, bring sugary treats, right?

I always find participating in other people's family dinners profoundly uncomfortable. It might be because I didn't grow up with family dinners (for the most part), or just because I'm awkward, or because without cursing and bitter sarcasm, who am I?

Suffice it to say they did make me welcome, the kid was no where near as bratty as I expected, and I survived, although my cheeks and brain hurt from positivity and smiling by the end of the night. Those who know me will understand my terror when the kid insisted on playing with - and of course, popping - balloons when I first got there. My friend said I'll have to get used to having balloons around now that I have a kid. No, no I won't. Still once the boy warmed up to me a bit he was quite endearing - wanting to show me his toys, and I made an effort to be impressed and ask lots of questions about them, which is huge for me. Unfortunately he didn't care for the cherry cobbler, which he took one bite of and them pushed the bowl away. Oh well, could have been worse - he could have said "yuk!" or that he hated it, right?

After he went to bed my friend and I watched Hannah and Her Sisters, which I had brought over thinking it would be a better alternative to the shitty romantic comedy she'd rented. She did that thing I hate when you try to introduce someone to a movie you love - she talked over the most important parts, asked questions that aren't at all relevant to the plot, and fixated on unimportant things, like how much older Michael Caine was than Barbara Hershey and how annoying and depressive Woody Allen's character is (that's kind of the point...). Anyway. At the end she simply said, "well, that was weird." Ok. Never mind!

When I got home with the baby (who thankfully was being unbelievably cute all night) I was so relieved to be in my own space, with my own house smells and my own furniture and things. I don't think they have a bad life - I really don't. And all in all it was a nice evening and they really made an effort to make me feel comfortable. But it's just so good to have your own nice little life, you know?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The future...?

Today I went on a hike with a friend who has a seven-year-old boy. She admitted she's exhausted by him - says he's glued to the video games, tells her she's a "mean mommy" when she doesn't give him his way, and that she can't even take him to a mall because he clamors for her to buy him everything and throws a fit when she doesn't. Lord, is this my future? Can't Bumpus just stay like this forever?

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Bumpus is developing more and more every day - today he (thankfully) slept through a brunch in the carrier, and even cooed and smiled at me while I spent two hours on the computer tonight. Makes up for the scream fest when I was trying to get ready to go out this morning!

I hate to say it, but you ladies will know what I'm talking about: it is a lot easier to love something that sees you, smiles, and reacts. I'm surprised Mother Nature doesn't have babies come out of the womb all smiley and cute to make the exhausted mothers want to take care of them. I often think Nature gave a non-nurturing a-hole like me a super cute kid so I wouldn't throw him out the window. Whatever the reason, it worked!

Tonight I am going to attempt going out dancing. This time I'll put the baby in the carrier rather than leaving him in the car seat which he hates. However this may make dancing impossible. Well, I guess I should look at tonight as socializing rather than dancing. Let's face it, even sans baby I never got more than a couple of dances in during a two hour dance night anyway.

Hideous disappointment in the MediCal department. Yesterday I got a massive package from them that I thought was an acceptance packet - no. Just endless paperwork demanding more authentication of my income, assets, bank accounts, citizenship, etc etc, including the same exhaustive form I'd already sent in. I called because I had a lot of questions - and the guy on the phone somehow started going over my entire tax return line by line asking about each one of my hundreds of deductions - I felt like I was being audited! I asked if he was going to ask me to explain and justify every one of my deductions, and he said yes. So at that point I explained that I wanted Healthy Families and not MediCal anyway, since I already know I don't qualify for MediCal. He told me I can do a Profit & Loss statement for HF instead if using my tax return, which is what has been screwing everything up from the beginning. Yet another disadvantage of being self employed, ugh! Thank God the HF website had an example of a Profit and Loss statement, so now my weekend job is to try to find three consecutive months that show I make the money I say I do, which is almost impossible since most of the year I make almost nothing, and then over 2-3 months I make over $100,000, almost none of which I keep (it all goes to pay the expense of the event). Anyway, I can forget about getting myself covered, but if I do this Profit & Loss statement correctly I just might get coverage for Robert. I have a tremendous amount of anxiety over it. And then I opened the envelope from Kaiser which was a $1000 bill for his coverage for the last three months. I think I can forget about that water filtration system and just resign myself to drinking brown water for the foreseeable future.

Good thing you're so darned cute!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Faking It

The baby is nursing and I am at my computer, so now is as good a time as ever to write up a little post. I busted out the nipple cream yesterday in an attempt to mitigate my sore and painful bresses. I can’t say I’ve noticed much of a change – after all, it’s not dry, cracked nipples I’m having but just over-all pain – but I will keep using it since it can’t hurt. Most mothers I’ve talked about this with say yes, nursing can be very painful, they went through it too. So I guess as long as it’s normal and not a sign that I’m doing something wrong or I have some illness that needs to be treated, I can live with it. But boy, the other night thinking about weaning early was suddenly very appealing!

The new season of Pregnant in Heels has begun. I credit this show with a lot of my pre-baby knowledge; it was on this show I learned about meconium, and first heard of pre-eclampsia (little knowing it would affect me – the woman on the show I believe had a c-section early). On the premier episode a woman has a home birth. Watching her suffer gave me flashbacks of horror. The way the midwife was telling her “you need to have this baby now,” was maddening to me. How can you tell a woman who’s been in labor for hours that “you need to have this baby now”?  Like, no shit! Although I’m sure experienced midwives would explain to me that sometimes women just don’t really try to push or get lazy at the end…still. I’m glad nobody said anything like that to me when I was in labor. The one nurse who, when I had my 4 AM freak out, told me, “yeah, labor sucks,” almost got a fist in the eye, however.

Suffice it to say it’s still hard for me to watch anything pregnancy or labor related. I just remember all those feelings so well. Not only the misery of labor itself, but that dazed feeling when the baby’s finally there and everyone’s gushing about it and all you’re thinking is “I just want to sleep,” but it’s not ok to just want to sleep, so you pretend to be all emotional about the baby, too. Well, I know that’s just me – many women are genuinely emotional and swept away at the first sight of their baby. As you know for me it wasn’t like that (after 66 hours of chemically induced labor, can you blame me?). It does make me wonder how many other women are faking it, though. It’s interesting the questions I’ve had since the baby was born – first, people assuming I’m a frazzled, sleep-deprived wreck (I’m not), and second, people assuming I’m “totally in love” with the baby to the exclusion of all else. Neither of these statements is true – I mean, of course I love the baby, I think he’s totally adorable and a great kid, and I find him fascinating, but I haven’t shut out the rest of my life. I’m still just as interested in the dog, my friends, family, the band, my event, the house, the world around me, as I ever was. If not more so, because I need something to think about/look at when he’s nursing, which is pretty much all of the time! I haven’t found motherhood to be transformative – I still feel like the same person I was a year ago, only perhaps slightly less bitter. Part of me is a little relieved I didn’t morph into some mom-bot; part of me is a little disappointed. Perhaps the morphing comes later, or over time. But I do feel a certain pressure to be a certain way, and I know that I’m not being that way, and it does worry me. Again, those old questions. Is not being totally transformed by motherhood a sign that I’m going to be like my mother? Am I, too, a malignant narcissist? Have I really not escaped the legacy of two completely insane parents after all?

Recently an old friend of our family died from lack of medical care (a common theme in our old religion). I knew this lady when I was a kid and always thought of her as a loving mom figure, since I spent a lot of time at their house when I lived in NY. She had three boys (two when I knew them). My sister is still in touch with the older boys (now around 30 years old), and especially lately as their mother was in decline. Their situation is very similar to ours – a lot of alienation from their mother because of the religion, frustration at her unwillingness to save herself via medical care, and general ambivalence about her situation. The one thing I didn’t know, however, is that apparently she verbally and physically abused her boys their entire young lives – I mean real, severe beatings, usually in a response to not being as religious as she would have liked. This was, and is, utterly shocking to me. I just can’t imagine her ever being like that; she always seemed like such a gentle, soft lady. But I don’t doubt what they’re telling us is true. Now she’s gone and there’s a Facebook page for her. Last night her husband posted a bunch of old photos and I looked through them, remembering her as a young woman, seeing all the happy family gatherings, and still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that she was beating the crap out of these kids, calling them stupid, etc, at the same time those smiling pictures were taken. It truly boggles the mind. Once again, how many mothers, how many families out there, are faking it?

If there’s one goal I have in my little family it’s to be truthful. I think I can tell my son one day that his birth sucked for me – but I’ll also tell him it was worth it (true) and that he was a trooper through the whole thing (also true) and that it wasn’t his fault I suffered, it was just the way my body coped with pregnancy. I can also truthfully tell him that he was a beautiful baby and a joy to have around, and that he made me very happy. And that he was loved by a legion of family members and dance family members, even, dare I say it, his crazy grandparents. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

He's official

Today I waited in line for 45 minutes in Van Nuys and got Bumpus' birth certificate. It actually wasn't so bad - the line moved consistently and a combo of the carrier, bouncing, and the white noise app on this phone kept him quiet the whole time. Also there were kids and babies acting up all up and down the line, so I'm sure if he'd cried nobody would have cared!

So now if I need to apply for a passport I can. Not that I have any intention of taking him out of the country right now - but in case something like Antigua comes up again, I won't be two steps away from going.

His smiley interactive-ness grows daily. He also does a nice long 4-5 hour stretch when he goes to bed, so my sleep has been less interrupted. I got an app on the phone about the "wonder weeks" - a theory of baby development, with a map of when to expect him to be the fussiest, etc. I can't say I can tell if it's accurate yet...but I will say his general demeanor is pretty changeable day to day. There's no one thing that works to comfort him all the time, which is kind of maddening, but at least I have some tools in my arsenal: swaddling, swaying, the swing, the chair, white noise, carrying, nursing, etc. Nursing seems to always work, but honestly my breasts ache so much these days I simply can't stand the endless nursing sessions anymore; the pain has become excruciating. It's not the nipple per se because I still use the shield, and it's not mastitis. I just feel like I've had a couple of high-powered vacuum
cleaners attached to my boobs. I may have to look for some remedies soon, because it really sucks (no pun intended).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Better in Concept

I wasn't planning on posting today just because, honestly, what can I say about Mother's Day that hasn't been said on every other blog and Facebook today? Yes, it's awesome that this is my first Mother's Day. It's great that a year ago I was having an awful time and this year was totally different. Yes, it sucks that there are women still out there in the trenches of infertility who are suffering today. Perhaps mindful of this I don't feel ok about writing yet another "doesn't having a baby make everything better" Mother's Day post. So here is what today was like, for real, the good and the bad.

Woke up to a torrent of texts, calls, and Facebook posts wishing me a happy Mother's Day. It was lovely, but quite unexpected. Still surprised anyone gives a crap, honestly. Spent much of the morning trying to figure out how to afford to join my sister and her side of the family in Antigua next month - a trip that, for financial reasons for these people will probably never be repeated - until it dawned on me Bumpus will need a passport and I don't even have his birth certificate yet. So that was that! And just as well because of course I can't afford that, or anything else, now that I owe $2000 more to Kaiser unexpectedly.

We finally got off to Will Rogers state park for a nice little picnic, but it was a bit of a mixed bag. For one, although the sun was beating down, it was bitter cold - a stiff cold wind blew the whole time (a bizarre LA springtime phenomenon I'll never get used to). We brought the dog, and she barked her head off the whole time at everyone who walked by. The baby fussed so my sister and I had to alternate eating and holding him as he squirmed and cried, and I had to try to feed him while the ice cold wind blew my hair into my mouth and blew my Hooter Hiders off and he chomped my aching nipples and knocked the nipple guard into the grass. Then people insisted on kicking soccer balls at our heads and snotty teenaged girls walked by saying my dog looked like a rat and was gross. After an hour or so my sister and I were both freezing and over it. Was it a bad Mother's Day? No, not really. Let's just say it was Better in Concept. That'll learn me to attempt to do anything outdoorsy on the west side in the spring time without a snow suit handy.

Once home we hustled to do all those projects we meant to do during my shower visit - took down my broken Venetian blind, assembled my vanity, finished the nursery stenciling, and hung the pictures. So the nursery is officially DONE. Now I just have to get rid of about half the crap in there and I'll be happy.

Tonight I put the fussy baby in his sling and for once gave my aching nipples a break. I may start keeping him in there evenings so I don't have to endure these excruciating five hour feeding sessions anymore, and I can actually cook and eat dinner! The sling may save me.

My mother sent me the second of two very odd photos, this one a very graphic full frontal nude shot of a woman and her baby - to me it kind of bordered on pornography. It just wasn't something you'd send your daughter, you know? I showed it to my sister and she agreed it was really weird. It made us wonder what she's up to down there (Brazil). This is the second risqué naked photo she's sent me of a woman and her baby. And I don't mind nudity and am no prude, but these caught me off guard. What the heck?

So anyway. I don't want to sound all shitty about this first Mother's Day when I'm so blessed to have a healthy baby, sister visiting, etc. But I feel like, much like any holiday, just about anything we chose to do today would have been a huge pain in the ass. We could have waited in line with a screaming baby for a table at a mediocre restaurant and that would have sucked, too. Maybe we all should have piled into bed and watched a Jackass marathon. That kind of would have been more my speed, honestly.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An extra pair of hands

My sister is here. Today we had a lovely leisurely day going to The Trails restaurant in Griffith Park, then a steep hike up to the Observatory. I made us Indian food and we watched the George Harrison documentary on HBO.

It's an interesting dynamic having another adult in the house who is genetically programmed to love my child. So I don't have to wonder if she wants to hold him, even if he fusses - of course she does! It was odd spending nearly an hour cooking without a screaming baby in a swing; I'm so used to just fending for myself and having to figure things out. It's peculiar having the option of someone here to help. It does show how adaptable you are - you rise or sink to the occasion, depending. All the people who have told me they could never be a single parent (or a parent at all), I think, "well, you could if you had to." It's really not that hard!

This morning I got two Mother's Day cards out of the blue, and a huge box on my porch. It was a keepsake kit from of all people my old nemesis, The Friend Who Unintentionally Makes Me Feel My Life is Shit. A cute frame with a kit for hand prints and foot prints, with a personalized name plate. I opened it and said to my sister, "ok, I'm an asshole." I haven't mentioned this friend in a while on here because I'm just not in that bitter place anymore, and she's been so über supportive of me that I feel pretty ashamed of how jealous I once was...although looking back at all the circumstances I can kind of still understand why I was like that. Also the irony is, after over a year of marriage and what must be two years off birth control, they are still not pregnant. She seems to have a very positive attitude about it - she is one of these people who just assumes everything will work out, whereas if I were her I'd automatically go to the dark place first. But I wonder as the months pass how she really feels about not getting pregnant; and of course I can't ask because it's not polite. But the whole thing makes me feel all weird so I haven't mentioned it here until now.

One f-d up thing happened today. Along with the nice Mother's Day greetings I got another freakin' bill from Kaiser, this one for a whopping $1900 for Robert's NICU stay. Apparently the second he was born he automatically took on his own deductible and yearly maximum out of pocket, which was eaten by the two days in the NICU. Which brings the grand total for this birth, which I thought was going to be $1500, to over $6000. Ugh! I called to complain about it - I was specifically told he would only take on his own charges above and beyond my personal bill if he had to stay in the hospital longer than me. I was right there with him, but apparently this doesn't matter. I am still boiling with rage about it, but what can I do? Pay it and pray to God that's the last of the bills. And pray we both get MediCal so I can make up for this huge bloodsuck of a bill. Did I mention I never want to do this again? I mentioned that, right?

In other news, we had fun with the IPhone reverse camera angle thingy:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Right now I’m blogging from my computer for a change to procrastinate cleaning the house.  For the record I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen while the baby slept this morning (and by “morning” I mean 1 PM) but then he woke up, so now he’s in the carrier with the intent that I can do the second half, and my least favorite – dusting and vacuuming the floors.  Ugh. But my sister is coming tomorrow and I don’t want her to think I live in filth, so there you go.

The plumber came by and I think I will go with the reverse-osmosis sink system rather than the whole house water purifier. Apparently the whole house systems need a lot of maintenance and you need a sink purifier for drinking water anyway, plus the whole house system is a lot more expensive of course. Personally I hate those stupid little spigots at the side of the sink…but I’ve got to have clean water, and lord knows I’m not about to start buying bottled. So, a few hundred $$ and here we go.  Oh, and my pool needs an overhaul to the tune of a few hundred $$ as well (the filter isn’t working and the whole thing is green), so there goes the $1000 I would have spent on debt pay down for June. It’s always something, isn’t it?

I have some fun things planned for my sister’s visit, focusing on healthy outdoor activities. I figured for Mother’s Day we could do a picnic – this is infinitely more baby friendly than a crowded restaurant that would no doubt involve a long wait and/or reservations anyway. The idea of being able to nurse with impunity appeals to me – as long as I know I can nurse him I can take him anywhere, since that’s all he needs to be content. My nipples are killing me and my breasts are so sore it reminds me of early pregnancy. Still, it’s less hassle than formula feeding and of course better for both of us so I’m happy to do it. One thing I’ve been worried about lately though, and that’s been brought up on various chat boards, is the question of how, exactly, do you get to pump and save any milk when you’re full time breastfeeding? I mean, there’s almost never a moment where he’s not currently feeding, just fed, or needs to feed in a few minutes, or is otherwise occupied long enough for me to get a good pump in. When I pumped for the sitter the other day I only got about 2 oz after half an hour – good thing I had 2 more leftover from Monday or I would have been screwed. I had just fed him an hour or so before so it didn’t surprise me I had nothing left…but how am I going to handle this in the future when I need to leave him occasionally? I’ve been told to pump in the morning, so I guess I can try that – maybe with my sister here she can occupy him enough that I can pump a few times and at least get a reserve going for the freezer. But right now it seems kind of impossible to squeeze more out than he’s already using…which is a lot.

As promised here is the picture from my gig Sunday night.  It’s a bit blurry but you get the general idea.  I wore this dress with a fancy multi-colored pattern on the chest in case I started leaking!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week six

The gig went well last night. As hoped, I squeezed into a vintage dress and everyone commented on how I did not look like I'd just had a baby. Freakin' sweet. I'll try to grab a picture off Facebook as soon as people start posting them.

My Mom Guru friend kindly offered to babysit, so I had no bad feelings about leaving him (although everyone asked if I was "freaking out" that make me a bad mother...?). I asked her to pop on a cloth diaper so I can get that whole thing started. I have to say, so far...not a fan. Within two hours the whole thing was soaked...and I mean soaked, with urine and poo. Now he could have just had a very enthusiastic potty during that time, and lord knows he's had poop blow outs with the disposables. But somehow the disposables catch the pee and hold it in one spot so you're not touching a sopping wet piece of cloth, and the disposables are nice and small and tidy. I don't know - the whole thing just totally grossed me out. Maybe I waited too long; maybe I need to keep trying. But right now I'm contemplating apologizing to the environment and sticking with the 'sposies.

My sister is coming to visit Thursday night. It will be great to help erase the memory of her last visit - my traumatic labor - and finally have a nice time where she can enjoy the baby and we can get out and see the city. There are so many fun things to do I'm having a hard time choosing. Sure am glad this time I have a healthy body back, though. I do tend to take for granted how nice it is to not be pregnant any more, that I can eat what I like and exert myself a bit. Going to mommy & me yoga tomorrow and I'm sure that's going to be great, I've missed yoga a lot.

I am contemplating shelling out for a whole house water filtration system. I have used faucet based filters for years, but lately I think my faucet is stripped or something, because for months every brand filter I buy doesn't really fit and eventually goes flying off and sprays water all over the kitchen. It's a huge pain in the ass, and the last few days after another incident of this I just took the damned thing off, which means I now have zero clean drinking water, which means I'm horribly dehydrated. So this has to be fixed, now. Again I have no money for this, but it's a valuable home improvement and will definitely make my life better - good soft water, and no more tiny trickle every time I'm trying to fill a pot to cook something. For now I may get a Brita jug just so I have something to drink. Unless I want a glass of brown water, of course.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back in the saddle

Tonight I have my first post-partum singing gig. I was hoping to squeeze into a tiny vintage dress so everyone can say how awesome I am...but I don't think I'm quite there yet. I still vacillate between 142-144 pounds (pre-pregnancy was 140) and I'm hoping to get to 135 at some point. Right now I'm just enjoying the sugar a little too much.

Bumpus has taken on some odd eating habits. Maybe some of my experienced mom readers can tell me what's up. So thankfully he's sleeping in longer increments now (usually 3-4 hours, even did 6 the other night) BUT this only follows a massive eating binge in the evenings that involves nearly non-stop munching from nipple to nipple for sometimes five hours, leaving me so sore it brings tears to my eyes. Is it the six week growth spurt? Maybe. But it's pretty painful. I'm supposed to pump for tonight and I haven't been able to bear the thought of it because my boobs are so sore. Ugh. He just fusses and fusses and I try every alternative but finally have no choice but to put him back on the boob. I wonder is he not getting enough? At other times just one normal feeding seems to be enough. Is it a phase that will pass? Sure hope so.

Despite having missed out on my social activities yesterday, I had a lovely day with the baby. Just simple stuff - walking the dog, grocery shopping, sitting in the yard to read my new book club book. It's so weird to think this is my life now.

How is it different than my old life? Well, not very, which I think is why the adjustment hasn't been too hard for me - I'm used to odd hours, a lot of time alone, etc. But I have noticed one thing lately. "It" is gone. That sad undercurrent of "when am I going to meet someone, am I ever going to have kids?" which followed me everywhere. It didn't ruin my life or anything - well, not once I decided not to let it and to live the life I did have to the fullest - but it was always just "there". It would rear up on holidays or anytime another friend announced an engagement or pregnancy (which, when you're on Facebook, is pretty much every day). When I think about my amazing international trips - Greece, Egypt, Israel, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Nepal - as much as I loved these trips, I do remember a certain loneliness about them. You have a lot of time to ponder your life on trips like that, and on tours everyone is in couples. As is much of life once you're past 35 - couples, families. That's the whole world all of a sudden. All the fun loving single people vanish. That sad undercurrent had become such a part of me that it took me a while to figure out that it was missing - something just felt different. And it looked something like this:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sleepin' in

So...this is what I ended up doing instead of getting up at 9 to go berry picking. Oh well, some other time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gabba gabba

Today I got together with my new Friday walking friend and we went to her house after and chatted about what we learned from Bringing Up Bebe, her experience parenting her now seven-year-old as opposed to her new baby, our alienation from our culty parents, and how to combat anxiety and depression. It's so fascinating to see yourself mirrored in someone you last knew when you were both anxiety-addled 20 somethings. We've both come a long way since the Derby.

On my way over there I was thinking about how I'm so in the moment now that I really should take a little time to step back and look at the big picture occasionally. That I have a SON. That I spent my whole life terrified of pregnancy and childbirth, and I did it. That a year and a half ago I first thought of becoming a mother via sperm donor, and here I am on this same couch with a perfect baby boy. That as I had hoped, I have added a member of our family. That a week from Sunday, Mother's Day will actually apply to me and not just be a depressing reminder of everything I'm missing out on, and how irreparably damaged my relationship with my own mother is. Even now I can hardly wrap my mind around any of these concepts. But I believe it's important to try. Because in the fog of early motherhood it's easy to let days and weeks slip by without ever looking up from the diaper pail.

I got a letter from MediCal saying as they process Robert's application I can apply for myself as I also appear to be eligible. Normally I would toss something like this, but I decided to take the time and fill out the exhaustive application and send it in. Best case scenario, we can both get coverage and I can save nearly $700 a month, which I swear I will immediately put into savings for emergencies. Worst case neither of us will - R is technically not approved yet, even though I got an ID card a few days ago. I will probably be stuck paying for him for a couple of months. But it will be interesting to see how all of this goes - all I can do is hang out and wait. If we're both approved it will make me VERY happy.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt two things - getting up "early" (9 am - agh) and then a long drive, up to Ventura for berry picking. He could scream the whole way. But I need to try and see how he does with a long day like that. No matter what I can always pull over and nurse him. No big whoop.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You wake him, I cut you

The title of this blog post is something I actually said to my dog last night when Bumpus had finally fallen into a deep sleep and the dog randomly decided to do her "run to the edge of the bed and bark over and over" thing. Never has the phrase "the baby's sleeping!" been so meaningful to me. A baby's sleep is often so hard won - a goal hours in the making - and all unraveled by a loud voice or cabinet door closing. It can easily bring on thoughts of bloody murder when your baby is roused after hours of preparation for sleep, let me tell you!

In other news, I scored at Target today in the nursing-friendly summer dress department. One thing I realize I now need is nursing bras with support. The sports-style ones I have are comfortable for home but make me feel like I'm sagging and flopping all over the place.

Bumpus thankfully slept as I tried on clothes, thank God! Kind of wanted to cut the lady who stood right outside my dressing room door yelling to her mother, though.

But best of all - got what could only be a real, bona fide smile yesterday! I didn't have my phone on me then, but was able to capture this almost-smile today -

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Today is grey and miserable in LA - not a great way to start a lovely spring month, but considering how relentlessly hot and sunny it is here most of the time, I guess I shouldn't complain!

I have for the moment given up on having the baby out of the bed. I read many posts on this topic and started to feel like he's just too young to be away from me yet - he still needs the comfort of my warmth, my smell, etc. It started to feel kind if cruel to insist he sleep on his own at barely over a month old. I know, this doesn't sound like me, does it? But lately I've been feeling like I don't give him enough credit - I always say he doesn't know who I am, doesn't know anything yet...but even my French parenting book says babies are a lot more aware than we think. Just looking at his happy little face as he finishes eating and falls contentedly asleep against a soft boob - how could I deny him that? So I've removed some of the hazards from the bed and set it up more so that I can sleep and feed him comfortably, and not surprisingly we had a lovely night last night with just a couple of feeds and no crying at all. Not saying this will be the case tonight, but I'm content with our sleeping arrangement and he seems to be, too, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Took the baby to a restaurant last night and it was about as expected - had him in the carrier and had to walk outside and bounce him around a couple of times. So, not optimal. Definitely in the future having a sitter for adult dinners out will be the best option.

On the business front, I can't believe my event is merely three months away. Things start to ramp up in May...but the good news is, so does the money. I am putting off paying my massive credit card bill (hospital fees plus international flights for some event teachers) until the last second so I can pay it in full and not carry a balance. This is maniacally important to me, as is making the last payment on my business line of credit that just over a year ago was $17,000 and next month will be zero. I do believe this is the most amount of debt I have ever paid down in my life (I used to just roll debt into my mortgage). So I will definitely be celebrating when that last payment goes out. That will also free up $1000 a month - most of which will go to child care. But it's all good. At least I even have that to pay for child care, you know?

May means another month between me and my lousy birth experience. I know I shouldn't linger on it, but I do think about things like this - the farther March 2012 is from me, the better I feel. Even so I think about Bumpus growing up and it makes me profoundly sad. He'll never be a little squishy newborn again, which, although for sure a challenging time, is not without its charms. In a lot of ways it's easy - he's not mobile, doesn't require much, and his needs are simple, although somewhat endless. Well. That's why we blog and take lots of pictures and try to treasure the little moments.