Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6 weeks. It's not really THAT long

I'm 4 weeks into my recovery and postpartum stage and I have had an epiphany.

If I had a "real" job (meaning: a 9-5 five days a week), I might have to go back to work in 6 weeks. That's what alot of employers give for maternity leave. Thankfully, I get ALOT more time off than that.

But I have decided to take these next two weeks completely off. No cleaning, no cooking, no thinking about what I 'should' be doing. No crossing things off my to-do list. I'm going to take a full 6 weeks of maternity leave.

And in two weeks, when my six weeks are up, I will get back to real life. I will work on finding a part-time at home job. I will clean my house from top to bottom. All while being SuperMama.

But for now, I will take some of the pressure off by just being SuperMama. For the next two weeks, I'm going to relax and sleep and play with Bjorn. After all, that's what maternity leave is all about.

So if you don't hear from me, don't worry. We'll be back soon and we'll be better than ever. Have a great two weeks!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

White Kids & Gang Signs

My baby boy thinks he is part of a gang. At only 3 and 1/2 weeks old.

He hasn't quite worked up to knocking over a gas station, or even a taco stand. He hasn't begun tipping cows and not tipping waitresses.

But he has definitely mastered the throwing of gang signs.

When Bjorn sleeps, he sleeps. Deeply. We run the vacuum, the blender and the radio while he babies-snores with his arms raised over his head in his 'I'm-a-quarterback-for-Texas-Tech' touchdown stance.

But when I touch his belly or his foot (which I really can't resist doing sometimes just to bug him), his hands fly towards me, clenching and unclenching with his baby gang signs. His index and middle fingers are flexed and curved, the thumb thrown out to the side, while his pinkie and ring fingers stay clenched into his palm. I'm not sure which gang he's a part of, but I know what I see. And I see baby gang signs.

The actual definition of this movement is called the 'Moro Reflex'. This Moro Reflex is apparently the only 'unlearned fear' in humans, and is appropriately nicknamed the 'Startle Reflex'. When I touch Bjorn's tummy while he's sleeping, it startles him - ok ok, it scares him - and he throws out his arms and hands to clench something to save him.

It's not as cute as baby gang signs when I know that I am actually scaring him in his sleep. But forget about that, put him in a do-rag and a low-rider and it's pretty darn cute.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quick Update

This is gonna be a quickie because I really want to sit and do nothing for a few minutes, but I KNOW that the second I do, Bjorn is going to wake up screaming. But I need to update, so here goes . . . . .

Bjorn's Two Week Updates in a Nutshell:

Length: We think he's 21 inches. Just a hair longer than he was at birth, but really, is there any good way to measure a wriggling baby?

Weight: 8 pounds, 13 ounces. He's a big boy - already 11 ounces past his birth weight. Mama is feeding him well!!!

Talents: Pooping right when you take off the diaper or right after a new, clean diaper is put on. Smiling while farting. Pushing up on your chest when you're holding him chest to chest - it looks like he's doing baby push-ups! Pushing on your feet like a little frogger when holding him chest to chest. Picking up his head and looking right at you with big blue baby eyes. And the big finale. . . .

Sleeping for 4-5 hour stretches at night. Yup, I got a sleeper. In fact, he's such a sleeper, I sometimes try for an hour to get him to wake up. I think he might even start snoring soon!!

I'm sure there is much more, but like I said, Mama wants some downtime!!

Uh oh. . .I think I hear the kiddo waking up now. . . . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

I never thought I would. . . .

bite my baby's fingernails because I'm too scared to try and clip them.

And because he scratches the crap out of me when I'm holding him.

Weight Watchers

While I was pregnant, lamenting the loss of my skinny jeans and cute tanks, every Mommy told me not to worry. I would get my old bod back quickly - especially since I had always been pretty active and worked things off fairly well.

A mommy-blogger I follow (shout-out to And Baby Will Make 4!!) wrote that at her postpartum check-up she actually weighed less than before baby. Less! I was so impressed, and promised myself that that would be me, also.

Then I had a c-section and have found myself bed-ridden (or at least house-ridden) and forbidden to bend down, lift anything besides my baby, and rest rest rest. Needless to say, I don't think the pounds are going to just fall off like I hoped. And C-section recoveries are usually 8 weeks. That's a long time to be in maternity clothes.

I entered the hospital at 181 pounds.

My baby was 8 lbs 3 oz.

I left the hospital at 171 pounds.

Pretty much, I lost the baby weight. And that's all, folks.

Isn't there supposed to be some more fluids and water weight that comes off with the birth weight? How about the placenta and amniotic fluid? Not to mention that I was in the hospital for almost 4 days, and they wouldn't let me eat for almost 2 of them. And when I did eat it was hospital food, so it wasn't exactly fine dining.

Still, I lost only 10 pounds.

Hmmm. . . . this weight loss thing is going to be harder than I thought.

I'm wondering what happened, though. Could it have been the saline drip I was hooked up to for 14 hours? Saline means "salt", right? And salt retains fluid, right? So could that saline drip cause me to retain extra fluids? And before the C-section, during the induction phase, Bjorn's amniotic fluid had to be replenished and they used - you guessed it! - a saline water mix. Could all this have contributed to my overwhelmingly disappointing postpartum weight loss?

And could it have also contributed to my ogre feet? My feet were so swollen for a week after the surgery that I didn't recognize them. If they had been green with yellow toenails, I would have mistaken my lower body for Shrek's. Or Fiona's. And I thought I had cankles before!

I've also been told that now that I have this perfect little baby (and, let me tell you , he is absolutely the most perfect little baby ever!!!) I wouldn't care about losing the weight.

Wrong.

It is not the most important thing in my life, now, that's for sure. But I do care. There's only so long a girl can wear her maternity clothes before she goes crazy. It's time for a real dress - even if it does fold up at the top for easy nursing!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Poop Happens!

I'm what you might call a "Guy's Girl". I like sports, motorcycles and beer. I would rather go to an amusement park than on a romantic dinner date and although I like heels and dresses, I gravitate towards shorts and flip flops. I almost always laugh at fart jokes and sometimes tell a few of my own.

But I never thought my days would revolve around poop.

Boy was I wrong!

Whatever way you slice it, motherhood changes you. Even if you don't want it to. At our house, this means that we pay more attention to the pooping and peeing habits of our six-day old than we do to the nightly news. Each dirty and wet diaper gets logged using the method they required us to do at the hospital.

And when he didn't poop for the whole first day we brought him home, the conversation between D and I revolved entirely around poop. Was it something I was eating that was going into the breast milk? Was it the formula we were supplementing with? Was it a bowel problem? Should we call the doc?

And now the kiddo won't stop pooping. He seems - like every other male I have known - to take pleasure in it. Especially when he is on someones lap and they are cooing over how cute and wonderful he is. Then he lets out a loud, wet fart - or a shart if you've ever seen he movie Along Came Polly. A fart that's filled with poop - or a poop that sounds like a fart.

Yes, I did just go there.

D and I do have adult conversations still. We talk about work, life and the national news. We do crosswords and joke around. But inevitably in the course of our day the subject of our perfect babies poop cycle creeps in.

"Did you hear about the 72 year old woman who got Tased by a cop?"

"Yeah. She really went down fast!!! Do you think she pooped when she went down?"

"Dunno - maybe. Has Bjorn pooped yet today? <> OK. He has. Guess we don't need to Tase him to get it out!"

Or something like that. It always comes back to poop.

It turns out that every newborn is different. Pooping twelve time a day or once every four days is completely normal, depending on the kiddo. A problem arises when what is normal for that particular newborn changes drastically. Considering that he has only been out in the real world for 7 days now, and only out of the hospital for 4, there hasn't been enough time to change what's "normal" because nothing is "normal" yet.

Oh yeah, and in case you're interested in more than just poop in the Bjorn household. . . . .

Baby pee is also an interesting topic. Turns out newborns are supposed to fully soak 5-6 diapers a day. What that really means is they are expected to soak through their diapers, their cute onesies, their swaddling towels and the sheet they are lying on. I think this is why everyone laughed when I said I had enough receiving blankets (10). We've already done a load of his laundry - after 4 days at home!! Unfortunately, I can see where this is going.

And, yes, my baby boy has already christened me once - and once is all it takes to learn a valuable lesson!! He christened D, too, but he got me first. And I wasn't quick enough to dodge the bullet. D had the foresight to put up a hand to stop the flow, deflecting it directly onto Bjorn's clean clothes and tummy. But at least it wasn't all over him. This may be the first time I'm soaked, but it won't be the last, I'm sure!

On Sunday (the first full day home from the hospital) we found orangey-red in his fully soaked diaper. I freaked. Orangey-red? That sounds like blood to me! Get my baby to the hospital! D thought we should calm down so he called Dr. Mom while I researched on the net. It is completely normal.

This orangey-ness is called a urate crystal. Pretty much its a build up of urine - fairly common in newborns - that show up in wet diapers when the baby is dehydrated. It's not a problem and has nothing to do with blood and only rarely has a medical issue.

So why can't it be another color? If it had been blue or purple, I don't think I would have freaked out that way. (But I might have freaked out a whole other way!) But red? That only says "blood" to me!

Now you have way too much information on Bjorn and his pee and poop. But, hey, maybe you can work this trivia into conversation at your next cocktail party.

Or maybe not. And if you can, I don't think I want to be invited to that kind of party. . . . .

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The first online photo!!

And D-Day has arrived!!!

Finally - the moment you have all been waiting for!!!

Drumroll, please. . . . . . .

BJORN IS HERE!!!! YAY!

Bjorn (or as we shall now call him by his legal name) - Landon Levi - was born on June 3 at 4:55 pm. Yes, HE. It was a complete surprise to me, a pleasant surprise, but a complete surprise nonetheless, that my baby was indeed a boy. Landon weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 oz at birth, measured 20 3/4 inches long, with a head circumference of 14 inches.

His Apgar scores were 8 and 8. For those of y'all that don't know what APGAR scores are: it is a test the doctors put newborns through at 1 minute and then at 5 minutes post-birth. Kind of like military training tests; they have to do agility drills, time trials, the whole works. Landon got an 8 out of 10 both times, and since thye don't give out "10's" because there is no such thing as a perfect baby (unlike Dancing with the Stars where there were repeated "perfect" dances this past season), he really got an 8 out of 9. What does this mean? I'm not bothering saving for college - I think this kiddo is getting a free ride to Harvard!

It was a somewhat traumatic birth, and as I'm recovering right now, I don't want to dwell too much on it, so I'll give you the highlights.

Landon was entirely too comfortable, so we had to induce labor. Went to the hospital at midnight Wednesday morning (Tuesday night) to get a room. Who makes these crazy hours? I didn't sleep for almost three days straight!! Anyways. . .

We started inducing around 12:30 am on Wednesday morning. I'll spare you the gruesome details as to how they do this, but let's just say it's not very comfortable and it involves more than a shot of tequila and a sugar-rimmed margarita glass.

The nurses tried to induce 4 different times, each try resulting in no change in dilation. At one point I had very very strong contractions - the kind that made me cry helplessly and hang on to DTB for dear life. Turns out I wasn't even in "real" labor at the time, but it sure as hell felt like it. The contractions lasted thirty seconds and came every minute for an hour, which I think qualifies as real labor. Medical science says it doesn't, though, because my body was being forced into it and as soon as the medicine wore off, so did the contractions.

I got some good, heavy drugs (which I had said I didn't want, but quickly changed my mind) and DTB enjoyed having a very pregnant wife acting like the 19 year old drunk he met 8 years ago. These drugs were good. (How good? Let's just say that I was comparing my contractions to Christmas trees, and after a while, started talking about the Christmas tree farm I was making from contractions!!!)

By 2 pm, the induction wasn't taking, my water had broken from so much internal monitoring, I was hooked up to IV's, a catheter, two internal fetal monitoring system and countless other bells and whistles. My blood pressure and pulse were dropping drastically and so was Landon's. The medication was hurting both of us (probably because I don't even take Tylenol for a headache and here were practically thousands of narcotics being handed to us on a silver platter) and wboth our bodies were crying out in distress.

At 4 pm, the nurse told me that I was probably going to have to have a C-section, even though she knew I didn't want it. But our bodies both needed it and we needed it now.

She was right. Less than one hour later, the doctors and nurses were all scrubbed in, the anestheologist was pumping me full of more drugs and DTB was suited up with his scrubs, hair cap and heavy duty camera. I was going under the knife.

I asked to see the whole operation, but they didn't have mirrors in the OR, so I had Do adjust the lights on the ceiling so I could at least see part of the surgery. And I was able to see a little bit of it. Not enough to see the sex, but enough to see the seperation of the ab muscles, the first incision and the gush of blood and fluids when I was opened up.

Graphic enough for ya? Cuz I could go on!

Anyway, DTB took lots of pics, didn't faint and held onto me for dear life while Landon was being born.

And the coolest moment was when the Docs and nurses - none of whom knew if Baby Olsen was going to be a boy or a girl - all clamored to see what he was. They were just as excited as we were to be finding out! (And we had a bet going. I think the anesthesiologist and one nursery nurse still owe us $25 for thinking Landon was a girl!)

All in all, Landon's birth was a very different reality than what I thought it was going to be. And that's ok; that's just life. Nothing turns out the way it is "supposed to" or else we would lead a very un-interesting life. Sometimes we are in need of a little surprise.

We had to stay in the hospital for four days, and DTB stayed with us the entire time - even spending the night on what essentially was a collaboration of bricks, coils and springs dressing up as a fold out chair. Poor guy. But I needed him there for support, so he stayed.

Now Mama (no longer Preggo!), Landon (no longer Bjorn!) and Daddy (no longer DTB!) are back home and resting comfortably. Landon is probably resting more comfortably than any of us - that kiddo sure knows how to sleep! He's beautiful, happy, healthy and more spoiled and loved than our dog ever was. . . . .

Speaking of Dog, she is adjusting perfectly. She sniffs Landon and likes to lick his little ears and face. Landon doesn't mind at all. I did find Dog in the bedroom, hind legs on the bed, left leg on the nightstand and right leg up on top of the side of the playpen/bassinet Landon sleeps in. Her face was pressed up against his body, sniffing like he was the perfect steak and she was dying for some red meat. Landon just smiled through the whole thing. I think this family is going to be just fine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Best-Laid Plans & All that Jazz

Well, Bjorn still isn't here! Stubborn little feller, eh? I think maybe s/he's just like DTB, in that neither one of them can hear an alarm clock. My body is practically screaming at him that his time is up, but he's just sleeping soundly, not noticing a thing. I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

We had our Doc visit today - our last one, surely, seeing that we are now 4 days overdue. Or in the first overtime, as DTB calls it.

I'm only 1 1/2 cm dilated, same as last week. And the 2 weeks before. Well, technically, I was only 1 cm dilated the last couple of weeks, but I'm not letting that 1/2 cm mean too much to me. After all, what really is 1/2 a cm? The size of one of these letters? Not a whole lot to be excited about, if you ask me.

The big news is, that after talking to Doc and getting some testing results, we are inducing. This is not the way I had planned on having a baby; I had planned on my water breaking somewhere extremely embarrassing and annoying, racing to the hospital with DTB barely able to stay within the speed limit and the lanes, and being completely incoherent and cursing the entire way. It looks like it will be a little more low-key than that. I guess Bjorn is starting me out on the path to motherhood with a little lesson: Don't plan anything, because it will never ever turn out the way you think it will. Thanks, kiddo. I'll try to remember that.

So, am I ready? Nope! But would I be ready if I was going into labor the way I imagined I would? Nope! Will I ever actually be ready for this? Nope! So doing it now, as opposed to waiting another few days to see what may or may not happen, really has no psychological effects. There is no difference; I'll never be "ready".

Not to mention the fact that Bjorn is weighing in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

Oh, did I forget to mention that?

Because the kiddo is a few days overdue, at Doc's office today they asked me to stick around for a Non-Stress Test. This test can happen at any time during pregnancy, but is always administered when the baby is overdue, to eliminate any medical problems. Basically, from what I understand, they strap two monitors around your belly: one to monitor Preggo and one for Baby. The heart beat is consistently watched for 20 minutes, during which time the Preggo is asked to press a little game show buzzer every time a movement is felt.

That being said, the nurse who could administer the NST was busy during our appt time, so we were sent for an US instead. If the US Tech was to find any abnormalities, we were headed straight to the hospital for the NST. Otherwise, if she didn't see anything wrong, we were good to go.

She started by measuring Bjorn's belly, a task which took her US machine to its limit. My 40 week + 3 day baby was measuring almost too large for a machine that could measure up to 42 weeks. Uh oh. Looks like someone has been eating too many Blizzards. But I was a huge, fat, roly-poly Buddha of a baby, so I shouldn't have expected anything different from my kiddo.

The head circumference, a number I didn't catch, looked huge. But that could just be because I was seeing it on a large screen monitor on the wall. It's all in the perspective.

Then came the weight figures. They are able to estimate weight by combining the numbers of the baby's belly, the head circumference and the thigh bone. Bjorn estimates at 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Could be a little smaller, could be a little larger. S/he is definitely not going to be a standard 6 1/2 to 7 pound baby.

Uh oh.

I think DTB is good with this news. Yes, he is terrified for me, as no one wants to think of this huge baby in this 5 foot 1 inch body, but he's incredibly glad for him. After all, a baby this large sure doesn't feel like all the other tiny babies he's held, so there's less of a chance of him breaking a fragile little baby with his big man hands. See, there's an upside to having a massive baby!

But when I heard the news, my aversion to inducing spun 180 degrees. Yes, I still hate the idea. I don't like taking Tylenol or any other medications, so the thought of having to take medication to start this whole ball rolling really puts me off. But so does the thought of waiting another week until is absolutely necessary and then having to do it anyways. Or by waiting so long, I have put myself into a situation with too large of a baby and I need a C-section, thus resulting in surgery and even more medication. Might as well take care of this now.

After all, I put my baby in a toaster rather than an oven for a reason. I am the Queen of Crispy Cookies, the Czar of Torched Pizza. I always tend to over bake rather than under. I even like my grilled meats covered with the black char synonymous with burning. So, why would I assume that my internal toaster has a proper timer? But as is my experience with toasters, they might not always pop the contents out right when needed, but the over bake is never as extreme as ovens. And when I smell it burning, I'm gonna pop the top.

I guess this bun is toasted. Let's go have a baby.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Likes: spicy food and long walks. . . . .

DTB and I thought that last night was going to be the night.

Yesterday we both were restless. Thinking that we were going to have a baby to play with by this time, we had made no plans and thought of no household chores that needed to be done. We were ready.

Unfortunately, it takes three, baby.

So we went off across the great big yonder (translation: we drove all over town) to check out any great deals on video cameras. This was actually a big ruse to get me out of the house and walking through every electronics store in The Valley. I don't know if you've realized it, but these stores are h-u-g-e. If anything was going to put me into labor quickly, it would be walking through these stores.

No such luck.

So we went with the old reliable, going out for yet another dinner of spicy food. Last week we spent a few nights with spicy Mexican and a few with spicy Chinese, so what did we choose for last night's meal? A fusion of Mexican and Chinese cuisine. You can call it. . . . Mexinese. Or Chinican if you like.

On the Food Network there is a great show called Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. DTB's BF saw a feature on Chino Bandido's in Phoenix and the last time he visited, we went to check it out. It truly is the weirdest mix of Mexican and Chinese food (My chile relleno is served with a side of fried rice.) and for some reason, it works.

We figured having a mix of both spicy Chinese and spicy Mexican would do the trick.

Again, no such luck.

By the time we got home last night, I had been having contractions all day. But not within any particular amount of time. One would hit and then two hours another would come. Even though I could tell that these were actual contractions, as opposed to the last couple of weeks when I would think 'Huh, I wonder if that was one?', they weren't spaced close enough together to even think about.

I sat down on the couch to watch TV and began writing down the contraction times.

9:12
9:18
9:42
9:56
10:15
10:26


None within the 5-7 minute range of when it's needed to go to the hospital, but it looked like it was getting closer and closer. I changed positions - this time lying down, and felt no contractions what-so-ever for the next forty minutes. DTB and I decided to go to bed to get the much-needed sleep we would require for the hours of labor ahead. We would need our beauty rest, because a baby was surely imminent.

With the thought of waking up in two hours needing to go to the hospital, we fell asleep.

I did wake up in two hours. . . . . . needing to go to the bathroom. Not the hospital. It was just a normal night, now.

Doc had warned us about this. Apparently, a Preggo can have tons of contractions, but unless they are spaced more than 10 minutes apart and go on even if you change positions, they are not contractions that mean you are in labor. So when I changed positions, from sitting up to lying down, and the contractions stopped, it meant they weren't going to lead to a baby. And when they weren't coming at regular intervals, that was another clue.

Because, even if we had still did everything the same last night, and gone to bed at the same time, if Bjorn was ready to be born, s/he would have let us know. The contractions wouldn't have stopped, I wouldn't have slept mostly through the night, and I wouldn't have been able to wake up this morning, roll over to DTB and say 'Why don't we have a baby yet?!'

The Hostess with the Mostest

I've never been very good at throwing parties.

In college, my roomies and I threw many parties - Halloween, Christmas, End-of-Finals, Birthday. We tried to throw these parties, at least. Somehow they always seemed to be on the same day as other people's (better) parties or when our friends were out of town/busy/washing their hair. Maybe it had something to do with our choice of booze (I favored rum while my roomie favored red wine) or maybe our choice of music (after a few rum and cokes, my junior high saxophone looks like it needs a revival). Whatever it was, it wasn't until I moved in with my sister-in-law that our house parties started to really take off.

That is a girl who knows how to throw a shindig. (Maybe another reason my parties busted? Because I use words like "shindig" and "clambake" to describe a party.)

So how is it that someone who is so awful at throwing parties, so horrible at hosting, and so Type A crazy that even a small BBQ turns into a massive ordeal - how is it that this person cannot get this baby to leave the party? Have I been such a good hostess to Bjorn for the last 40 weeks and 2 days (otherwise known as over 10 months) that s/he doesn't want to leave the good time?!

Have I, for once in my life, thrown a good party?

Sigh. I have to say, I have treated Bjorn pretty well. S/he gets brownies most everyday. A variety of yummy veggies, usually grilled and dripping in sauces and spices. Lots of chocolate milk, ice cream sundaes and tons of summer fruit. If Bjorn was to come out, all those choices would be taken away. S/he gets to sleep whenver s/he wants (except for when DTB and I poke him to see the waves across my belly) and it may be nice, cozy and warm in there, Bjorn knows that it is really, really hot out here. (Phoenix in June = 103+ everyday.) Might as well stay in, right?

I guess this is one party that is not breaking up anytime soon. Like that last drunk friend that doesn't get the hint (Yawn. I guess I'll start cleaning up all these empty bottles now. . . . . ), Bjorn is going to be the houseguest that overstays his welcome, eating all the food from the pantry and using up every clean towel.

Now if only there was a way to smoke him out. . . .