Mama time

Between the second car and new medication, I am a much happier, more relaxed mama. I estimate that I have roughly 7 more hours each week during which I can enjoy our little dude, tackle projects around the home, actually cook dinner for our family, and even tap into hobbies and interests I enjoyed before E arrived on the scene.

Today, K, E and I went to a Mom 2 Mom sale, where we acquired some clothes in the next couple of sizes from what E is currently wearing, as well as a few toys. He’s so much more active these days – whew! – and needs more stimulating and interactive toys. We know that he truly enjoys music, so this is one of the toys we picked up (sweet – only $2!):

E's new toy

In addition to cooking more dinners for K and I, we’ve begun introducing solids to E. I’m really enjoying preparing wholesome, tasty food for E. We’re attempting more of a baby-led weaning approach, where E has more empowerment over his food experience, though we are introducing solids in a slow, choosy way because K has a family history of food allergies. We are also doing more purees for now because E can’t yet sit up – he’s so close – and there’s more of a choking hazard if a little one can’t sit up and spit out whatever might be in his/her mouth. So far, E has enjoyed applesauce and bananas. His two favorites were ginger-spiced, roasted carrots, which he kept cramming in his mouth while making “come to papa” eyes, and quinoa risotto, which made him squeal in a voice I’ve never heard before or since. Here are a few photos for your enjoyment:

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This afternoon, K took E to visit his parents and gave me the gift of some mama time. I spent part of it attempting to make a wool diaper cover from a sweater I acquired at a local resale shop. It was my first try and I believe it’ll be too small. I’ve decided not to be upset about it, though, because it inspired me to get my sewing machine out of storage for the first time in months, gave me a chance to get reacquainted with it, and helped me to better understand how to make a wool diaper cover when I get the time to try again.

How do you spend the little bit of down time you have? If you don’t currently have any down time, what do you daydream about doing during down time you will hopefully one day have?

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More-than-tired mama

I don’t typically discuss this via our blog, but I have a sleeping disorder. While sleeping, my brain looks and acts like that of a person with narcolepsy. Essentially, my body doesn’t naturally allow me to stay in deep, restorative sleep, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness as well as body pain. For years, my main method of treatment has been to take twice nightly doses of a highly regulated medication that, if sold on the black market, is used by reprehensible individuals as the date rape drug. This medication basically knocks my body immediately into that deep level of sleep that I need in order to function well during the day.

When baby E was really little and still feeding at night, K and I took shifts that would allow me to continue taking my medicine: K would get up with E in the middle of the night and I would take the very early morning feedings to allow K to sleep in. Now that E more or less sleeps through the night, I go to bed early, take my meds, rise early and take care of E in the morning while K stays in bed a little bit longer.

These strategies seemed to work pretty decently for a while, but I’ve noticed that my consumption of caffeine has dramatically increased over the course of these past few months. By 1 or 2 pm, I feel practically comatose and in desperate need of a nap. I have, at times, inadvertently fallen asleep at my desk while in the middle of a project, and have also felt simultaneous exhaustion while feeling jittery and wired from caffeine. This experience needs to be contrasted a bit with the typical level of mama exhaustion, and there’s an element of that at play here, too. What I mean is that my narcoleptic symptoms are more active than they have been in the past several years.

I was pretty fearful of how the addition of a child would impact my already disordered sleep and knew that I’d likely need to consider adjustments to the management of it. I had a regularly scheduled neurologist appointment yesterday and took the opportunity to address some of these recent developments with my excessive daytime sleepiness (folks, that is an actual diagnosis). The suggested approach is to add a prescribed stimulant during the day to see if that helps me to maintain wakefulness. I’m a little nervous about the new strategy, which basically means I take a drug to sleep and a drug to be awake (better living through chemistry – yeah!), but we are starting off with the mildest stimulant they can prescribe me to see if it helps. If it doesn’t, they’ll likely try increasingly stronger stimulants until we find something that works.

I’m really hopeful that this will work for me because I have felt so damn miserable and exhausted the past couple of months. Feeling like I would do anything for a nap makes me feel guilty and sad to be missing out on time with my beloved child and partner, and trudging through the day this way makes me a less present and enjoyable partner and mother. I’m also hopeful that the new medicine will allow me to gradually taper the caffeine consumption, which I think is making me anxious and agitated at times.

Fingers crossed!

Our Anniversary

K and I have been together for the better part of a decade, but today is the two-year anniversary of our wedding. In honor of this special day, I wanted to share with you my vows to K on our wedding day:

our feet K,

I have loved you from the moment I met you when, as if by foreshadowing, I directed you in a play.

My heart contains an endless list of the things I treasure about you and our relationship:

  • I adore your sincere, musical laughter, which lifts my mood whenever I hear it.
  • I cherish your sweetness, devotion to bettering the world around you, and your supportive nature.
  • I love that you patiently teach me every day, through your generous words and deeds, how to be a better version of myself.

From this moment, I vow to always be your fierce protector and loyal advocate, and to nurture you when life bruises your tender heart and gentle spirit.

It is my great joy and honor to lovingly walk by your side through this world with you, honoring our independence and individuality, while celebrating our unity.

Nothing I could say or write could ever entirely capture the depth of my love and respect for you, so I will conclude by saying that I am so very proud to become your wife.

Family reunion

Yesterday, K, E and I attended an event that’s hosted by the reproductive endocrinologist who helped us conceive E. It was held in a park with a bouncy house and free ice cream from an ice cream truck, and was meant to be a sort of family reunion for families who have expanded because of the staff’s loving expertise. K and I wanted to attend because our lives had gotten busy and we had never gotten the chance to take E into the office and thank the staff.

It was a lovely park that we didn’t even know existed, and the weather was perfect for the event. Staff members ooed and ahhed over E and other babies in attendance. The oddest part was an unofficial receiving line of sorts where parents and babies waited to speak to the doctor. It felt a little bit like an unintended “meet your maker” sort of moment, but likely only because there were so many thankful parents (like us) who wanted to say hello to the doc.

The doctor’s practice is located in a very upscale nearby community, so K and I weren’t sure what sort of crowd to expect at this gathering. I was pleased that so many of the families seemed down-to-earth and friendly. We chatted with some of the parents about each other’s babies, milestones, etc. K and I confessed to each other later that we each spent time wondering about each of these family’s experiences with infertility. Thoughts of, “I’ll bet you were a cycle monitored, fertility med sort of family,” and, “IVF with egg donor for sure,” kept swirling through my head.

There was one family that was among the demographic I expected to see at this event: a privileged blond woman with her equally privileged mother and baby. They were, as K put it, a spectacle. The baby’s grandma clearly had a lot of plastic surgery and the entire family was decked out in a wide array of upscale clothing brands. The baby was cruising in a $5 bajillion stroller and had no short of seventeen toys dangling in front of her glitter beret topped head. I imagined that the mother had been married to a very wealthy older gentleman and, upon his death, had a doctor harvest his sperm so that she could conceive her miracle baby and secure a larger part of his estate for her and his postmortem spawn.

I wondered what others assumed our fertility journey was, and mused that they were all likely very far off from the accurate story.

FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)

This article was making the rounds recently and has been getting a lot of buzz:

FYI (if you’re a teenage girl).

Now, I’m all for encouraging young women to believe that their value stems from so much more than their appearance and that their actions matter, as part of this post addresses, but I have to say, as the mother of a son (at least until/unless he tells me otherwise), I have a few choice words about this post:

  1. I’m horrified by this particular mother policing her kids’ sexuality and invading their privacy.
  2. I particularly hate that she puts the blame and responsibility for men’s urges and subsequent actions on young women. She’s saying that someone can’t be sexually stimulated by something and be able to control his/her urges. Boys will be boys, after all.
  3. What about teaching her young men that women are people who should be respected and that they aren’t just bodies – or worse – body parts, placed on Earth for their sexual stimulation and gratification?
  4. Her assumption that her children will be heterosexual is nauseating and ridiculous.
  5. Double standard much? Young sluts ladies, don’t parade around braless in your pajamas, but be sure to check out my shirtless sons and husband who are flexing at the beach.

What do you think about this parent’s approach to sexuality and social media consumption? What is (or do you plan to be) your approach to these topics?

Edit: I found another blog post that is much more in line with my preferred approach as it relates to sexuality and social media. I decided to post the link as a great counterpoint to the above referenced post.

Feverish

We’re trying to get E’s fever down with Tylenol but it is persisting. Next step: cold compress. This poor kid looks both pitiful and adorable, if I may say so.

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We’re still attempting to sleep in shifts and K is taking shift one while I attempt to snooze. It’s difficult to do so, even with sleeping meds, because I am so, so worried about my little beebop.

Sick kid

And I mean sick with a big ol’ S.

After an atypically grumpy day on Saturday, E kept waking up crying that night. By morning, he was crying and screaming inconsolably. K thought E was sick, but I suspected teething. We kept taking his temperature and I administered nearly any potentially related over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to attempt to keep E calm. His temperature was totally normal. After several hours, I agreed with K that something was not right and K paged the on-call pediatrician from our practice. The ped who called us back happened to be our favorite doctor with the practice. He encouraged us to visit the hospital’s pediatric after hours clinic, just to be safe and because of the holiday weekend.

E was, of course, calm and borderline cheery, albeit lethargic, when we arrived to the clinic. We were relieved for his demeanor because we had to wait almost two hours before we saw the only doctor who was working that day.

The pediatrician was brisk when she examined E and then diagnosed him with an ear infection and upper respiratory infection. She prescribed antibiotics and told us to continue giving E Tylenol every 4-6 hours. I’m actually shocked that E is taking these icky tasting meds so willingly, likely because he’s so weak.

The only way E would sleep last night was upright on one of our chests, so we slept in shifts. Gallant K let me sleep first. E still sounds snotty today, is coughing, sounds hoarse when he cries, is very lethargic, and keeps refusing the bottle. He does have some moments of cheeriness and playfulness, which gives me hope that he’s on the mend.

Right now he’s crashed on his daddy’s shoulder.

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The kitty is very concerned about his human brother.

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