Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cheeta: Week 6

(The kid is only six weeks old and I am already reduced to post dating blog posts to appear current and on top of things.)
This is essentially a photo dump post because one; people have been asking for more pictures, two; he's changing and though I don't notice it while living day to day, it's really apparent in the photos and videos and three; complete strangers tell me he's the cutest baby they've ever seen:
Cheeta is six weeks old now and starting to develop a schedule.
Sort of.
He wakes up most mornings around 9am. This makes getting ready for church an adventure and the last two weeks I have had to feed him in two pieces, during Sharing Time or Singing Time as I was in charge of one of them each time.
Then he goes back to sleep for most of the morning.
The afternoon and evenings are still random, depending on what we are doing and where we have to be. Dinner time through 11pm is Cheeta's fussy time and he spends a lot of it thinking he's hungry only to fall asleep after nursing for 3 minutes and then crying when he gets put in bed. It's a party.
He goes to sleep for real between 11 and midnight - except for the night he stayed up until 2am - sleeps until 4am or so, gets up to nurse, wants to play and is convinced to go back to sleep around 5:30 or 6 and sleeps until 9am. It's not a bad schedule and I am really thankful he lets me get ~4 hours of sleep at a time. It cuts down on the number of times I have to check my phone to see what day it is.
As far as dislikes, Cheeta still does not like a soggy diaper though he is just fine sitting in his poop. He does not like light when he is trying to sleep, though he stares at all lights and sunbeams all the other times.
Overall, he's a pretty agreeable baby. He fusses at home but when we're out he charms all the people:
Likes; he likes singing and that will usually work when won't settle down. I am finding I don't know the words to many kid songs, other than church ones. I really need a Raffi CD or something.
He likes the mop in the bathroom next to where we change him on the counter:
He loves bath time. Thank you Rocketgirl for the tip. When they get crabby, stick them in the water and watch how fast they cheer up:
Cheeta likes driving in the car, which can be an advantage when we are running errands. As long as the sun doesn't get in his face, he'll usually sleep:
As with every baby, he loves to be held and sometimes that is the only way he will sleep:
Which makes it hard if I need to do something with both hands, like shower. It has been a real blessing this holiday season to have Tarzan home so we can take turns holding Cheeta and getting other things done. I'm almost caught up on the laundry!
Cheeta REALLY likes that mop:
If he's fussy we can sometimes put him down and have him spend 10-15 minutes communing with the cleaning supplies:
Because of my left-handedness, and our position for nursing, Cheeta has developed an affinity for his right shoulder and spends a lot of his time staring in that direction. I hope it won't develop into a need for physical therapy in the future. (I worry about a lot of weird things like that.)
He is learning to smile. We're not entirely sure when/if he means it or if he's just working his facial muscles but it's adorable when it happens:
His Daddy is pretty smitten:
And I'm pretty sure - as long as he's fed and dry - that the feeling is mutual:

This is me; have I mentioned how much he likes that mop:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

From our house to yours:


This is me wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Shalom

On this, the last day of Hanukkah, it's a good thing we aren't Jewish.
I realized we have a ham, bacon and pork sausage in the fridge right now.

This is me, prepping some pig for consumption.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

They Get Stale Quick

The problem with giving baked goods for the holidays is that you have to space out the giving - leading to some people thinking they have been overlooked and all kinds of hurt feelings there - or spend one crazy day/night baking and decorating and labeling. When one has a newborn this is more stressful/exhausting than it has ever been.
(At one point I looked at the clock thinking it was close to midnight and finding out it was only 8:30. On the one hand, that's good - more time - on the other my sense of time is severely distorted.)
If I was less idealistic, I would have recognized the challenge before getting mired in the process and ending up with icing all over because I wasn't thinking clearly and didn't put a tray under the rack of glazed cookies.

This is me rethinking my plan.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting Soggy

The crying has got to stop.
Not Cheeta. He's very stingy with his crying - only when denied food for a while or when sitting in a wet diaper does he cry.
No, MY crying.
Jeepers, hormones are one thing but this is ridiculous.
I've seen Steel Magnolias dozens of times. I don't even like it that much. (Sally Field is great as is Shirley MacLaine but the storyline bugs me. Always has.) Never shed a tear previously. Now it's all over my lap.
White Christmas? Classic holiday movie, lots of songs and dances, it's a funny flick I've seen at least once a year my entire life. Never even thought about crying. Now I'm tearing up every other scene.
And that horrible Christmas song on the radio about the shoes? Makes me mad every time they play it. *So* many problems with that song.
Also makes me weep this year.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night had me crying in church last Sunday.
I can't even say why.
I understand why Cheeta smiling does it to me, or thinking of him getting older and not being able to protect or provide everything for him. Sure. Makes total hormone sense, but random songs and movies I don't even like?

This is me and say it stops eventually.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Cheeta: Week 3

I understand why parents get up in the night and stand over their child's bed just to check that they are still breathing.
Not so much to verify their respiration - though one can think of some horrible things in the middle of the night - but to confirm that it's actually happened. And to revel in the moment. They're so small and helpless but they have personalities and potential that is vast, so you I go and watch him sleep to try and soak up all the 'now' time I can. I have to sleep sometime too but I hate it because I might miss something. Makes me bleary at 3am but I go and skip napping in favor of watching him the next day anyway.
Odd as it may look, having four arms would be a wonderful thing. (And not just for nursing; holding both hands out of the way, pulling down a lower lip, cupping a head, guiding things into mouths, it's a complicated dance we do over here...) Then I could hold him all day AND do the other things that need attention. (Laundry, dishes, brush my teeth, get dressed, etc.)
This week has been one of accomplishment and a little lessening of the tension. Cheeta is eating which makes me feel better. I learned that the headache comes from sleeplessness (right?!) and the pain in my back is tension from my right arm which is the one I hold Cheeta in when he nurses, on either side. Knowing that he is eating and I haven't broken him makes the tension - and hence the back ache - a little less.
He is growing and learning - too fast, too soon but what can I do? - and making connections. He's learning our faces and voices and smells. He stays up in longer stretches and sleeps in bigger bits. (Sleeping through the night is not as distant a dream as people tell me.)
We went to the pediatrician this week and everything is okay. Cheeta has a big head, but so did I and so did Tarzan, and he's pretty steady on the length thing so hopefully he will be tall like Daddy and not short like me.
For the first time since he arrived I feel like I'm not chasing the care thing, but actually on board with it. We'll see how that goes this week when we start making personal appearances and return to church next Sunday.
In closing, I leave you with this:

A visit from two of Tarzan's aunts and an uncle today. So cute and so well behaved.
The baby too!

This is me and I don't want to miss a thing.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Victory

There is something validating about day wherein you make it to a morning appointment (nearly) on time with a newborn; a medical professional tells you your newborn looks perfect; said newborn has gained weight (9 lbs) and length (21"); the lactation consultant says he is eating well and enough (score!); and you also make it to the grocery store so you and the husband don't starve while looking after the newborn.

This is me and I really need a nap now.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Cheeta: The Birth Story

Friday, November 14th was a fairly typical day for me, late in my pregnancy. (I was 3 days from my due date.) I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions periodically but they went away when I laid down and didn't happen at all when I went to see Dr. She (my obstetrician) for my weekly appointment. She mentioned that walking might bring on regular contractions and we'd follow Dr. Smartypants' (my perinatologist) recommendation for any artificial means of getting things going. At the moment, he said, waiting for labor to start naturally was fine because Cheeta was not yet "too big." The official weight for a baby considered "too big" is 4500 grams. (Cheeta's birth weight was 3775 grams or 8lbs 5ozs which made me laugh because Dr. Smartypants was sure he would be 9lbs or more.)
After visiting the doctor - where all was declared fine - I had some errands to run, grocery store, post office, sat in on an inspection for Stingy, etc.
That evening my contractions started getting more intense and they didn't always go away when I laid down, so I knew we were getting somewhere. In an irritating fashion they woke me up every 10-15 minutes all night long, so I didn't get much sleep.
Saturday morning they were still pretty far apart so I sent Tarzan to work and started to get ready for a Primary activity we had that morning. Naturally the contractions amped it up right then. After coming every 4-5 minutes for an hour I called Tarzan and had him come home and take me to the hospital. (I feel bad for the Primary President as I had promised her I would be available for this activity.)
The nurses were very nice but they said I was only dilated 2cm and I could go home and come back when the contractions were more intense and closer together. They also recommended walking.
So we went home, Tarzan went to his second job and I went to bed. Still not much sleep but laying down was good for my back which had begun to ache. When Tarzan got home at 4:30 he took me walking around the block of the local high school.
We walked and walked and walked around the thing, pausing every time I had a contraction. They did indeed get closer together and I learned the difference between a 7 on the pain scale and a 9. When the contractions were regularly 2 minutes apart, around 6pm, Tarzan deemed it acceptable to stop walking and go back to the hospital. Funnily enough it was the same shift of nurses at the desk and they could tell right away things were different. This time I was admitted, having dilated to 5cm, with regular intense contractions. The doctor on call that night was Dr. Beard, my regular gynecologist, who was not my OB only by virtue of his schedule being too full when I made the first appointment back in April.
So I knew him and he recognized me.
Labor progressed rather steadily from that point. In the next six hours I continued to dilate up to 9cm. The contractions weren't my favorite - it was very hard to not push - but progress was being made, Tarzan was there to hold my hand and I breathed through it, as the nurses suggested.
No one is entirely sure when my water broke. There are three possible moments but I sure don't know if or when the contractions got more intense. I do know that around 2am Sunday morning I was still at 9cm and this was not moving as fast as the nice professionals said it would. My back was really giving me fits and it didn't abate after the contraction was over. The nurses kept saying the back pain meant the baby was moving but every time Dr. Beard came in I was still at 9cm and Cheeta was still "getting ready."
That's when they offered me the epidural. And though I had told myself previously that I didn't want one, it was a lovely thing when it came. Of course, they put the needle in the smaller, spinal tap area, instead of the larger epidural area so I only got a small amount of medicine and it had to be given every hour AND I had to let it all wear off before the next dose, so the next few hours were a circle of blessed relief and some dozing for 40 minutes, a gradual increase in discomfort for 15 minutes, hard contractions for 5-10 minutes and then back to blessed relief.
Dr. Beard had a surgery to be at early Sunday morning and while he was gone the other on-call doctor came in once, around 8am, said she was concerned that I hadn't progressed beyond 9cm in so long, my temperature was going up which might mean an infection - my water had definitely broken at that point - and Cheeta's heartbeat was rising though he wasn't moving down like he should have been.
She was recommending a C-section.
This was harsh news. We had been at this for so long, were almost there and had tried to avoid a C-section all along and why was this chick - who we didn't know - pushing? We asked to talk to Dr. Smartypants who was the next doctor on call that night/morning. (Dr. She came on-call after he was done so I really lucked out with the available professionals.) She said that was fine.
Dr. Smartypants came in about 40 minutes later, along with Dr. Beard and two other doctors, including the one recommending the C-section. It seems what I had was "failure to progress." There are many reasons why labor is long or slow but I had most of the factors on the list and Cheeta's rising heartbeat was a big concern. If it climbed any more he would have to be in the NICU for a mandatory 72 hours, however the birth developed.
So on to the C-section we went.
Having the epidural put in the wrong space was a plus for the spinal tap for the C-section - speed of preparation - and Dr. Smartypants did the surgery himself, which helped me relax a little. He was very quick; we were in and out of the surgical room in about 30 minutes. (Nearly every doctor in the hospital came by to see the incision over the next two days, all commenting on what a good job Dr. Smartypants had done.)
It was totally weird, feeling the pressure and pulling but not any of the pain or stress as they helped Cheeta out. Poor Tarzan was divided, being there for me, not looking over the screen at my lower half and wanting to see the baby, all at once. It was surreal hearing Cheeta cry but not being able to hold him for a while:

The three NICU people got peed on for their involvement - but he had inhaled some amniotic fluid and so it was good that he was born when he was and in the end we both came out healthy and safe. (Poor kid had a serious conehead too, but that's all gone now.)
Which is really the most important thing:

This is me and that's how it went.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cheeta: Week 2

I can't promise to do a post EVERY week for Cheeta but things change so quick at the beginning it helps me keep track of what happened when.
This week we saw an increase in awake time, so after eating he does not go immediately back to sleep. This is adorable of course because when clean and full, he is very focused on our faces and memorizing who we are: 
Or the mop next to his head.
I can't count the number of times this week Tarzan has said, "I love holding him like this!"
Cheeta also has decided he likes to be held while asleep - I blame Tarzan for that one; all those hours at the computer, reveling in the fact we made another human being - so once he is asleep, we take a few extra minutes walking around in the dark to make sure he really means it.
There have been a few adventures this week; Thanksgiving being his first long drive (2 hours out to my parents' house and then 2 more back), meeting his cousin Ted - neither one of them seemed to care much - making it through Mommy's first solo day and his first rainstorm. (Bring it! The Jungle needs the rain.)
Big news; we are making progress in the nursing department.
I think.
We will find out at the pediatrician's office this week if Cheeta is gaining weight. I'm encouraged by the number of wet diapers he creates and then...then there was the epic poo of this afternoon.
I share this not to embarrass my son - who, if he is like his father will take pride in the story one day - but as an illustration of my belief that he is, in fact, gaining nourishment from somewhere.
I am not as na├»ve as you might believe. We have had one blowout diaper over here already that got on clothing and went down legs, so when I heard the telltale noise from Cheeta's direction, I did not panic. I took him to the bathroom and laid him on the changing mat, undid the legs of his sleeper and waited. Sure enough, there was another of the distinctive sounds. And I waited that one out too. When there had been a few minutes of silence I thought it was safe to start the clean up. I used the diaper to get the most I could, reached for a wipe, while holding Cheeta's heels up slightly out of the goo, and was totally surprised when the poop came shooting out, over my hand, down the front of my robe, onto my slippers and - silly me, I jumped - then on to the wall.
In three places.
Naturally, in the stunned pause that followed, he decided to pee on me as well. Figuring we were really done this time, I started to clean it all up - bless Tarzan for the newspaper in the bathroom - only to have more poop arrive on the scene. A little less distance, just as much mess. Followed by more pee.
Poor kid ended up dressed in a diaper and a towel crying on the couch while I got changed, tried to restore order to the bathroom and prayed Tarzan would get home from church soon.
(He did not get back soon enough.)

This is me still cleaning it up.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Am Thankful For Tarzan

Another one of the "it's a given" sort of posts, but I am so thankful for Tarzan.
For his determination to do good, for his work ethic, for his effort to be a good, fair bishop, for his talents, for his love of Cheeta and of me, for his efforts and plans to be a good father, for his desire to be a better person everyday.
Even though it drives me crazy at the time, he keeps me grounded and makes me laugh. He doesn't let me get hung up on the details, as I am wont to do. He has a much larger "big picture" view than I do and I appreciate that.
He was solid throughout the pregnancy, coming to all appointments he could, being part of the conversations and discussions, supporting me and what I wanted to have happen.
When it came to labor and delivery I don't think he left my side once. I don't know how he avoided needing the bathroom for 30 hours, but whenever I needed him, he was there. There to hold my hand, to talk to the doctor, to report how I was feeling, to sign the paperwork, to fetch a nurse, or some water, to hold the baby and to tell me what was going on.
It hasn't stopped since we came home. He's happy to change a diaper, get up in the night, hold Cheeta and hug me too. He always asks how the day, or night, went. If there's anything he can get or do to make a situation easier. Some things he volunteers or gets, just because.
Whatever I need is okay and he'll move heaven and earth to get it. It helps me be a little more humble knowing that he's there.
He was and is amazing:


This is me and my eternal companion.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Am Thankful For Interchangeable Pieces

I am thankful that there is an industry standard for baby paraphernalia; that allows all lids and tops to be the same size, so no matter which one I grab in the dark of the night, it will fit the bottle I am holding and expedite the Cheeta feeding process.
Is it just me or is a crying baby much louder at 2am than at 2pm?
As for the bottle situation, we are doing as much breast milk as possible over here - sometimes in a bottle and sometimes au natural depending - but my body hates me (no surprise there!) and is a bit behind in the manufacturing process, so Cheeta gets a little formula too.
I really hope I am not ruining him forever.

This is me feeding the baby.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This year, Thanksgiving means a whole lot more.
Not that Tarzan and I haven't been thankful in the past. We've meant every single one of our kernels, every year. The thankfulness seems bigger, or less qualified this year. My heart has no room for anything other than pure, unadulterated joy and thanksgiving.
This time around, I'm pretty sure Tarzan and my first kernels are the same, but here are my three.
  1. Cheeta. Of course I am thankful that he arrived safely. Given the number of things that could have gone wrong, and didn't, I am very thankful for that. I am also thankful that he was able to come at all and I can't take any credit for that. Strictly a higher power in charge of this one, so all I can be is thankful. And try my best to do my best for him.
  2. Tarzan. Without him, this trip into parenthood would not be as enjoyable and not as fun. Our world outlook has shifted and it's all for the better, together. He's amazing and was throughout the entire pregnancy/labor/delivery/birth/first week. The change in his demeanor makes me laugh and he's so tender with Cheeta it makes me cry.
  3. Sleep. This may seem a redo of another post earlier this month but it is a valid quality for thankfulness. I did not realize what a sense of place and space sleep gave a person until my world got upended and now I don't have any idea what day it is or time of day most of the time. But it doesn't bother me as much as it would have previously because of kernel #1.
I hope your holidays are as joyful and full of thanks as ours are sure to be from now on.

This is me wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Am Thankful For Cheeta

It finally hit me today - like a brick to the face - that I am someone's mother.
Not just someone's but this kid's mother:
I was standing by his bed this afternoon, getting ready to lay him down and his face quirked into a smile. (I know, it's not legit because he can't control his face yet but it was the right direction.) And then he did it again. Made me cry and you all know how often I cry. (Try zero times. I am was not an emotional type of person. That has changed too it seems.)
It was almost a laugh the second time and I thought of the trust that he has in me, the way he calms when I pick him up, how he listens to my voice when I talk or coo or cuddle him.
It's both terrifying and empowering at the same time.
Inadequacies abound - boy howdy - but this is something I have always wanted, a position I have sought out and thought denied me and I want to do well at it.
I have such plans and goals and desires for him. I have methods for helping him succeed.
(Of course Tarzan will be there too, to help and support and guide etc., but it's mostly my "job" to nurture and I can be good at it.)
I am so very thankful for Heavenly Father's trust in me to allow me this opportunity to raise a son, teach him the gospel, how to choose right from wrong, how to live in the world, how to be a good example to others.
We're going to teach him to read, to share, to play well with others, to participate, to be humble, to grow his talents, to do so many things.
I'm excited and nervous and capable and deficient and all of it at once.

This is me, a mother.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Am Thankful For Family

I can see how easy it would be to post another adorable picture of Cheeta and call it a blogging day but I feel I should put a leetle more effort into it as I have been and am so richly blessed.
And it is Thanksgiving week.
I am thankful for my family. For my parents who tried so hard to teach us right from wrong, to help us develop our testimonies, who taught us how and why we should get along with each other, who took us places, who prepared us for school and then explained why they world wasn't perfect and how to deal. I am extremely thankful that they were married in the temple of the Lord so we could be an eternal family forever.
I am thankful for my siblings who really are there for me, and me for them, despite the number of times we tried to kill each other as children. I am thankful for the things we have in common, the different talents we share between us, the advice, the experiences, the humor, the inside jokes, the new jokes, the things that aren't even funny, the way we can start or stop a conversation and pick up 6 minutes, or 6 weeks later without a pause.
I love my family.
I am thankful for Tarzan's family who accepted me from the very first; a short, round, music-less girl who had has a series of issues. I am thankful for Tarzan's parents who try to include my preferences and needs into their very busy schedules, who have never tried to interfere in our marriage with "advice" or made us feel less than because - until now - we weren't giving them grandchildren.
I am thankful for Tarzan's siblings and the common ground we were able to find, despite our different upbringings. They are all so talented and smart and fun and such different personalities from me and mine, but we gel and it isn't and hasn't ever been hard to get along.
I am thankful for the eternal family Tarzan, Cheeta and I are now are. Tarzan and I have been floating for many years, just doing our thing, and figuring that was all it would be. But now, as Tarzan keeps saying, we have a legacy, a reason for living, a goal, a plan, a family to support and things to teach and do and places to go. Because we have Cheeta it all makes sense. And he will be ours for eternity, no matter what. (I wasn't a weepy person before, but I sure am now!)
I am thankful for the opportunity to be Cheeta's mother and Tarzan's wife and to do a good job at both.

This is me and it was supposed to be this way.

Monday, November 24, 2014

One Of Many Cute Ones

This is Tarzan's new favorite way to sit at the computer now: 

I'm not sure how much he actually gets done with one arm but it is very sweet and I'm glad he enjoys the time together.
The next picture is not very clear - tres dark in the living room last night - but it did capture an elusive facial expression of one Cheeta O'Grady that is mighty difficult to catch on film:
Mostly because he doesn't know how or why he's doing it. But the adorableness is extreme.

This is me with the cuteness.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cheeta: Week 1

And so it begins.
I will spend the rest of my life whining about how I can't believe how quick time passes.
Cheeta is 1 week old today.
This time last week I was laying in a pain medication induced euphoria, wondering where my vegetable broth had gone because food services did not send it up with my "dinner."
So all I got to eat was Jell-O and water.
The doctor was concerned I might throw up after not eating for 30 hours and then the C-section so he wouldn't let me have 'real' food. First time in 8-1/2 months I did not feel stuffed full and I wasn't allowed to eat. (I felt like quoting Bill Cosby: "I once ate a dead frog and didn't throw up.")
It has been a wild week - birth story coming soon - and a good one. We are home and though I don't know what time or day it is anymore we are making it through:

Cheeta likes to sleep in large chunks of time 4-5 hours at once, which make the doctors crazy, but as long as he is eating I can't see the trouble of it. It has made for easier nights for me too, getting up only twice or so. I'm sure it won't last but it's been nice at the beginning.
On the subject of nursing; it is a wonderful thing when Cheeta and I both do our share and everything works. Seems natural and easy and well worth the effort. When one or more parts isn't working the way nature intended, it hurts beyond explanation, my back tenses up so I can't move my head and I wonder what is wrong with formula.
We're still working on it but it was wonderful having my mother most of this week to suggest all the tricks of the trade to get it work properly. And we'll see her again on Thursday for a tune-up.
Cheeta likes to stare intently at the face of whoever is holding him - Tarzan could spend more time just looking rather than dancing, singing and scatting, but I understand his excitement - so we have had some intense bonding moments this week:

He gets a lot of comments on his intent stare and his good behavior.
Cheeta does NOT like wet diapers, but poopy ones are not a cause for crying so we have to keep an eye out for those. I will say, Tarzan is very eager to change a diaper - I have had to do very few so far - and I hope to remind him of that when we reach #4295 rather than #18.
As for me, I go from feeling great to feeling exhausted in a matter of minutes, I haven't had on regular clothes since we got to the hospital a week ago (except to come home in) and I spend a lot of time wondering if I broke the baby already. My steri-strips came off my incision today and it hurt a lot less than I had imagined it would, so that is good. I am not taking much of the pain medicine anymore, but the doctor did load me up with enough pills for a 90-year old. Iron, psyllium, stool softeners, pre-natals of course, and then two kinds of pain meds. I think I'm set.
It's definitely an adventure; some parts are far more intense and difficult than I imagined, others are second nature already. It's work for sure, but it's work I feel comfortable doing.
Far fewer unknowns, now that he is born and here.

This is me, being a mommy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Associations

I'm not saying it's Cheeta's fault that USC lost to UCLA today...
I just think that wearing a butter yellow sleeper while wrapped in a baby blue blanket didn't do much for his loyalties.

This is me and we've got a tradition to continue.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Am Thankful For My Mother

Again; one of those things we all would think was a no brainer but as adults, we often (and by "we" I mean, me as the oldest child who never really thought of herself as a child) consider ourselves grown up and our mothers are more contemporaries and equals rather than older and wiser experienced persons.
And then we have children ourselves.
I love Tarzan beyond comprehension, I really do (there's a post about that coming later) but he can't help me with a lot of the learning I am doing this week, much as he would like to.
When it comes to how to comfort a baby who isn't hungry, in pain, wet or tired, my mother knows. Or how to hold an angry baby while getting ready to feed him. Or how to nurse at the correct angle to not get a blinding headache. My mother knows what to expect physically post-birthing and she knows what I need. Knows and remembers to ask me about it. Knows and suggests what worked for her.
She knows me too and how I was as a baby; how I was, or was not, like the baby I now hold and how to deal with that. She know what I like to eat, what I can and can't eat and when I can eat it. She knows about how much water I need.
She knows what the most important things to do around the house are and she doesn't ask if they need doing, she just does them. She asks how I like my laundry folded. (I almost laughed at that one. Fold? What is this fold she speaks of? I'm lucky to get it clean most of the time, so Tarzan has white shirts for Sunday.)
My mother offers to do things for Tarzan, even though he's plenty capable of fetching his own drink, to keep him included in the discussion and part of the experience.
It matters not how old we get, mothers are always smarter and in high demand.

This is me and I still need her.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Headache

Question: those of you who have nursed, bottle-fed or otherwise nourished your children when they were infants - bonus if you also wear corrective lenses - did you get a blinding headache between your eyes when feeding your child and/or a tension ache across your back, between your shoulder blades?
If so, what did you do to alleviate it?
If not, do you have any suggestions?
On the plus side, I pooped for the first time since Cheeta was born, so I assume I'm going to live. 

This is me and my forehead hurts a little.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cheeta Headshot

Because today was the first full day at home there was much to figure out and then Nana and Auntie Haro came to stay for a while, mommy did not get to compose the full on post she wanted.
However, since she now has images like this laying around:

Who needs words?

This is me and I sure don't.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We Interrupt This Broadcast

To introduce Cheeta Tarzan O'Grady:
(Named after his father of course.) Born: 11/16/14
Weight: 8lbs 5.2ozs
Length: 20"
There will be more statistics and a rockin' wild birth story. We just got home and Tarzan has to go out again, so let's see what I can do on my own.

This is me and the baby is in:
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Estimated Due Date Day

Today is our estimated due date.
Doctors seem to get really hung up on the actual calendar date that they chose. One of my cousins is pregnant as well - she's due in February - and her doctor actually moved her due date BY ONE DAY.
As if that's really going to make a difference.
We are due today, based on estimated information and size of the baby - which genetics said was going to be bigger anyway. I wonder if this was why my mother was always "late" giving birth to her children...
Who makes up the graph that they chart a baby's progress on anyway? I could see if they used the size of the heart, the development of certain organs, or skills that baby has developed in there. (Apparently Cheeta is practicing how to breathe. Go baby!)
It's amusing to me that there is a long list of reasons why babies do and could come early. However, ACOG has only this to say about "late" babies:
"A post term pregnancy is one that lasts 42 weeks or longer. Women who are having a baby for the first time or who have had postterm pregnancies before may give birth later than expected. However, the most common cause of postterm pregnancy is an error in calculating the due date. When a postterm pregnancy truly exists, the cause usually is unknown."
(I added the emphasis.) Other than the fact the doctors are getting anxious and are ready to start talking inductions and other methods of "getting things going" I am not too worried about the estimated due date being correct or not. As long as Cheeta comes healthy and I manage the labor thing well, it's not too important what day it is.

This is me, ready for the blessed event.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Things We Don't See

Tarzan was very proud and happy to eat this meal for dinner the other night:

So much so, he made me take a picture of it.
And only while getting ready to post it right now did I realize all the little things that made it into the frame that I hadn't noticed at the time.
Can you spot them?
1. My prenatal vitamins just hanging out there by my water glass along with
2. 1/2 the Friend magazine
3. Also the ground pepper flakes by my fork that are likely still on the table.
I also managed to get Tarzan's lemon and the tip of his knife but nothing else from his plate.
A food photographer I am not.

This is me needing to see before I click the shutter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Surprise

It seems I am in labor right now and whatever else you read on this blog until we put up pictures of Cheeta - live and in the flesh - have been postdated, for this very occurrence.
Wish me luck friends.

This is me on the way.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Am Thankful For Books

It used to drive my mother nuts when we were young and she'd ask for help with a chore and our answer was "when I get to the end of the chapter," and a 1/2 hour later we'd still be in the same book, long having passed the end of the chapter we promised.
It wasn't that she didn't want us to read, she just felt that we could put the book down, do what had been asked and then go back to the book.
She's a very practical person, my mother.
And it's true, we could have been quicker to help, or finish our homework or do our chores and saved ourselves the time spent arguing over whether we had read one chapter or two.
We weren't that smart.
When we were in the book, there was nothing else.
I like to think I have matured somewhat, though I still find myself checking - 8 more pages and then I'll switch the laundry - and bargaining - if he doesn't die, then I'll go to sleep - while in the midst of a really good book.
It's amazing what the written word can do, sending me off to another city, country, world; real or imaginary. A really well written novel is so immersive I can forget what I should be doing or what time it is.
I get the impression for the next few years I will be reading books that are a tad shorter than what I have been used to, but that's okay too because I will have a reason to be in the children's section of the library, leafing through Dr. Seuss, or Richard Scary, without the supervisors thinking I'm some crazy old lady.
I am thankful that my parents taught me to read while I was young and to love books - even if it did frustrate my mom when I didn't get around to making my bed that day.

This is me, still reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Am Thankful For Heat

I started off this month's series with a post full of thanks for the cooling ability we enjoy in this day and age. And refrigeration is a wonderful thing.
But so is heat.
And since the atmosphere over this country has decided that though yesterday was summer still, today it is fall. I took my first warm shower in probably 8 months today and it was glorious. I had forgotten how nice and relaxing heated water can feel.
I pulled both the sheet AND the comforter over myself last night and the snuggly feeling this morning was like a brand new discovery.
(I wonder if it's pregnancy that is messing with my memory or just that it's been a long weird summer and the body forgets, like when you're sick you don't remember what well feels like and vice versa.)
I am thankful for the ability that a lot of people and places have to change the temperature of the environment with the touch of a button. I begin to see how complacent we would become if it was comfortable all the time.
And of course, heat cooks our food, so now that I feel comfortable turning on the oven to make cookies or roast something, Tarzan's dinner options just opened wide up. I can cook more than pasta (stovetop stuff) again!
Though it's said in an amusing way for the theatricality in the movie "Cast Away" I can understand the character's pride when he makes fire for the first time and all the options that he suddenly has to work with.
Heat is a beautiful thing.

This is me thankful for warmth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Was Thankful For Weather

I was going to write about how thankful I am for weather - and I truly am thankful for the seasons, whatever counts as seasons where you live - but I am very mad at the month of November this year.
I am not one of those who criticizes the sky when it rains - I love the rain. In fact I have always loved the rain. I am sure most of my childhood sicknesses came from splashing in puddles while it rained at too cold a temperature for me to be outside in bare feet.
I don't love snow but only because it is so heavy to move and is the cause of so many accidents, vehicular and pedestrian. I do love the silence of a snow storm and winter with the slower pace and the holidays and the vacation from school and the talk of peace on earth and kindness. It's one of the times in a year I can wear a sweater and not expire.
I love the fall, the changing colors of trees, the different seeds and pods that get scattered around, the crunch and brush of crispy things on the ground, the preparations and storing for the winter months. My birthday is in the fall.
I love the spring with the new buds and grasses, the smell of freshness, the planting of seeds, wet dirt, open windows and warmer days.
I love summer; the newly cut grass, the chlorine of pools or the salt of the beach, the heat of the sun and the seeking of shade and drinking lemonade and eating ice cream.
I love that we live on a planet that has so much variety. Going south of the equator will switch the seasons all around and seem like a whole new place. Christmas being hot and summer vacation having snow.
I also love order and logic and that's why the weather is bothering me so much right now.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot November?! It's 90°F in November! How does that make sense? It's been the weirdest summer/fall in terms of weather; cool far into August and now it's like the temperature is trying to make up for it's lapse in attention and is shoving all these hot days at me. Not amused November, not amused at all.

This is me; is it wrong to want the weather to match the calendar pictures?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day 2014

When I was growing up, Memorial Day was not celebrated with the same ceremony as it is where we live now. And then, when I moved here, Veteran's Day (called Remembrance Day in The Frozen North) was not celebrated with the same reverence as in my youth.
I suspect it has something to do with the countries involved in which of the World Wars and when the holidays were created and all that.
Perhaps because it's the first war related holiday I recall, or because it's the non-selfish holiday of my childhood, or because it is a tad neglected here in The Jungle, but I've always had a place in my heart for November 11th.
And maybe it's because my mother's father had served in WWII, born during the Great War, and he never talked about his service but always participated in the celebrations, memorials and he always, always wore a poppy during November.
Thanks Granddad.
I found this article today while browsing poppy images and while I'd known who had written the poem, I had forgotten parts of the story about how the poppy became such an iconic image of the day.
It was good to be reminded.

This is me, remembering.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I Am Thankful For Medicine

I am very thankful for modern medical advancements and technology and medicine.
Without modern medicine I would not be alive to write this blog, or if I was, I would not be in good shape, probably missing limbs or having failing organs.
Insulin hasn't been around for very long, relatively speaking and when I was diagnosed we were still using insulin derived from cows and pigs. Human insulin extracts are an even more recent discovery.
Speaking of amazing discoveries; check this out.
And then let's talk about this baby. The medical knowledge being expended on this child is enormous. One could say he doesn't really need it, but it's nice to have, so we know he doesn't need it. And I pass other women in Dr. Smartypants' office who clearly do need the expertise and so I'm thankful that it exists.
The things that are possible now that weren't only a few years ago is incredible.
The diseases we don't have to worry about; polio, smallpox, bubonic plague, heck we can get flu shots now. Tetanus isn't deadly anymore.
Infections aren't deadly anymore.
Tarzan watches Nova and the other night was an episode about vaccines. I appreciate that people have questions and take an interest in what is going on with their kids. (I wish they showed as much interest in other areas of their children's lives but that's a whole other post.)
But I don't have to understand how it works to know that it does work. Or before I trust that I will work for me and/or my child.
I am very thankful for modern medicine and the effects it has had on my life and the good that it will do for later people and generations.

This is me, and it's better than it was.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Weird Dream #45

Last night I dreamed I was in labor.
My water broke and everything - not in a gush, more of a drip, like when there's a bit of water left in a cup when emptying the dishwasher and it goes on the floor.
It was like that.
I woke Tarzan up - in my dream - and got ready to go to the hospital.
But first we had to put the car seat in the car.
One car seat in each car if you want to be precise.
And while we were figuring out how to do it - where the seatbelt goes, which seat in the back should it be in etc. - my labor was progressing.
There were nine different muscles that all needed to go at the same time before the baby would be born - they were labeled with digits so I knew which one was which - but they started contracting in a progressive manner, first #1 and then it would rest and #2 would go.
We never got to the hospital and the baby wasn't born - I never got all nine muscles to go at once - and I'm sure giving birth will not work out this way but it was very organized and logical in my head.

This is me and if only it was that way.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I Am Thankful For Sleep

When I was a kid - and I'm sure most children are this way, seeing as so many of them fight bedtime like it was trying to take their cookie away - I did not like to go to sleep.
*I* didn't think I was tired and I was sure there were all kinds of cool "grown up" things going on that I would want to be part of.
(My mother likes to tell of me referring to our family as "Mom, Dad, me and the kids." I was not one of the children, see.)
Even as a teenager - when we are supposed to need and desire more sleep - I was not one to run off to bed, or stay there longer in the morning.
(True, I didn't have far to go for early morning seminary, but I was never late because I slept in.)
Senior year of high school the school hosted an all-night party, I lasted through the whole thing and then the next day too.
Sleep seemed an inefficient use of time.
During college, as an architecture student, I spent a lot of late (and also early) hours in the studio, working on models and drawings, and it was then that I first began to appreciate the break that sleep provides.
Since then I have come to love sleeping.
I try not to oversleep - there is still a lot of things to do in a day - but when the night comes and it is time to slip into a nice, comfy bed, rest my head on a soft pillow and check out for a few hours, I am thankful for the break. For the pause, for the healing time, for the rejuvenation period, for the chance to dream, to dump all the junk from the day, to close my eyes and rest.
(I know it's a really short time I have left in which to enjoy sleeping - babies aren't fans of sleep I hear - so I am thankful for the time to mention it while I still have it.)

This is me, and I've learned to appreciate it.

Friday, November 07, 2014

I Am Thankful For Music

This is perhaps an odd thing for me - a non-musician - to say but I am extremely thankful to have music. I'm certainly not as discerning as others I could name about what I listen to. (Occasionally I like a song from Katy Perry, Taylor Swift or other Top 40 artists.)
I don't like all things by any one musician but I do like a wide variety of players. I have a rather eclectic music collection, from Jim Croce and Neil Diamond (don't groan, that man is the highest earning living songwriter in the world. He must be doing something right) to Bach and Holst, Yanni and Sugarland, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy to many others. It stems from my love of choices I think.
But mostly I am in awe of the magic that is music. The moods that can be evoked, the colors, (Fantasia was an incredible experience for me. Both of them) the seemingly endless combinations of the same seven notes is amazing and humbling to me.
I can't tell which note is which, but I am glad that there are those who can and who love to play them. Who have the skill and the talent to play the notes in a pleasing fashion. Tarzan's family is very musical - my sister-in-law Rocketgirl plays in two, 2!, bands - and has even released CDs which makes them legit in my book - and family gatherings are always raucous with music and jamming. (I had to ask them if this was the appropriate use of the term) I am not skilled at all. I don't even know if the notes are correct most of the time but I tell them that someone has to sit in the audience and applaud.
I have decided this is one of my missions in life; appreciation of the musical talents of others.
Tarzan is extremely busy with his jobs and his bishop-ing and all that but he has agreed to learn a piano/organ duet for the Christmas program at church this year. I like to share the talents of the members of the congregation - maybe because I don't have any in this arena and can't believe someone with the talent would not want to share it - and since I live with him he's always top of my list. He rolls his eyes at me because he doesn't like performing, but he graciously participates and he gets others, who are more shy and nervous, with less experience than he to accept the challenge too. It makes for some wonderful programs. (And I get to hear all the practice and working out of the pieces at home as well, which make me so proud of him.)
One of my favorite Sundays of the year.

This is me, listening with adoration.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

38 Weeks 3 Days

To bring you an update on Cheeta and my state of being.
Before we are separated and can't take cute pictures like this:
We are at 38 weeks 3 days now and all is "normal" if such a thing exists in pregnancies.

My total weight gain, depending on the scale and the time of day, is +/- 8lbs.
(Dr. Smartypants says Cheeta weighs in at about 8.25 of that.)
The doctors keep congratulating me on this feat and I tell them it's not about self control, it's about feeling so full all the time that I really don't want to eat and actually feel like I just did eat most of the time, but I don't think they believe me. So I'll take the accolades for now. (If we're blessed with another shot at this, watch me gain 30lbs.)
My blood pressure is still fabulous - so no preeclampsia worries - but because of the kind of health care we get through Tarzan's job, they send me for all the tests they can think of. One of those is a non-stress test twice a week to listen for changes in Cheeta's heartbeat and make sure the placenta is doing it's job.
So far, it is.
Kid is going to be stubborn like me though. If he does not want to move, or is sleeping, none of the nurses' little tricks - cold hands, buzzers, etc. - is going to get him to move. The tests last for 20 minutes or so but they keep us longer if the baby isn't moving a certain amount. One day last week we were having a hard time getting Cheeta's attention and he was decidedly ignoring her until the last 5 minutes and then he ran the whole table in time for us to make the next appointment.
Conversely he's also going to be obedient like his father. The doctors have been warning me since the beginning about how diabetic babies typically grow big and if I go too long I'll have to have a C-section, or induce early so he doesn't get caught coming out blah, blah, blah, but Cheeta hasn't grown big - he may be the smallest baby my family has ever had - and the doctors really have nothing to be critical of. (See weight and blood pressure above.)
I have been fabulously blessed with this pregnancy. So many things could have gone wrong, or been problematic, and haven't.
Things I do not have control over.
And speaking of things I have no control over; when he will actually make an appearance. I have been having contractions but they aren't regular, they aren't painful and therefore aren't helpful. (If you're looking for things to pray for tonight, pray I go into labor soon, so the doctors don't have strokes over how to get me to capitulate to an induction.)
In other news, we finally got the furniture put together for Cheeta's room. He has a place to sleep:
I know, it's not an actual crib, but it is on wheels and according to the nurse education people I'm going to want the baby in our room for a while and it'll be much easier to move this way.
We also have a way to get him home and out for walks:
Other than diapers and clothes - of which we have a few:
Of course, some he'll never fit into, being "newborn" - but what else does a kid need?

This is me and we're as set as we can get without the actual baby.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I Am Thankful For Food

If this seems a little too "well duh," let me assure you, not every person out there is thankful for food.
My second brother, for one. He does not really care too much about the variety and taste and experience that is eating. In fact, if he didn't have to, he wouldn't eat. Ever.
Some people are allergic to foods that make eating a chore rather than an adventure.
I am sympathetic to their plight and at the same time, I am thankful that this is not a challenge of my life.
I love food.
The colors, the sounds, the look, the juices, the textures, the changes when treated different ways.
I am extremely thankful for the many options we are blessed with when it comes to food. Some of it is because we live in a temperate climate and thus have the option of growing more types of food. (When we lived in The Frozen North we were excited for the six weeks in summer when grapes and strawberries we available to be purchased. The rest of the year; they were not even an option, regardless of price.)
Some of it is because we have technology and bigger brains than mine working on how to get more food to more people.
I am thankful for the different cultures that take the same foods and make very different types of meals out of them.
(How many ways are there to serve pig? Close to infinite I think.)
I am thankful for the different spices that exist, and for the talents of others who are able to create combinations I would never think of, but love to consume.
For example: who first decided to drink coconut milk?
And then who added basil and curry to it?
There are so many foods; raw, cooked, frozen (ice cream? one of the best foods ever created), mashed, cut, steamed, stirred, baked, fried (bacon anyone?), wrapped, tossed, boiled, etc.
It's amazing.
This is not to say that I like all food - because I don't.
But I am very thankful for the opportunity to see if I do.

This is me, glad to try it once.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Ode To Fourteen Years

Ha.
Ah ha hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
I looked back at last year's anniversary post and it made me laugh.
This is what comes from thinking one is settled in life right?
That is correct, just when we thought we had a handle on everything, we're having a baby!! Which will make year 15 totally unrecognizable compared to the previous ones.
Bring on the hysteria!
On a completely different note, I realized today that Tarzan and I got married on a Saturday - as a lot of us are wont to do, work schedules and travel plans being a necessary consideration - so it wasn't voting day that year.
But nearly every year since, it HAS been voting day, November 4th; so we always have a date and a place to go on our anniversary. Down the block to the store to drop off our ballots.
(One of the smartest things we ever did was register for a mail-in ballot. We can fill it out at our leisure, change our answers if we need to and then don't have to stand in line - when there is one - at the polling place. Sometimes we actually do mail them in, but then we don't get a sticker.)
Per the usual, I wouldn't want to be doing any of this; the baby, the voting, the walking in our neighborhood, with anyone else but Tarzan. He's my guide, protection and friend.

Happy 14th Anniversary to us!

This is me and it's just getting going.

Monday, November 03, 2014

I Am Thankful For Toilets

Seriously.
I am so thankful I live in a time and a place where flush toilets, hot and cold running water and showers exist right in my house.
I would have been so pathetic as a settler in a new land, ANY new land, digging latrines,, building outhouses, scheduling waste dumps or working processing facilities.
My hat goes off to the people who have made that their life's work.

This is me thankful for the flushing ability.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

I Am Thankful For Technology

I am thankful for technology. I'm pretty sure I don't use it all the way it was intended and I sure don't spend as much time using it as others do.
But I am thankful that it exists and is available when I need it.
Today being Sunday I am reminded of General Conference, one month ago, when I woke up at 8:58am and remembered the broadcast started at 9.
I would have been in trouble had I needed to drive somewhere to see the program.
But no.
I just rolled over, opened my iPad and voila! Made the opening song and everything.
(Also made it much more convenient to visit the restroom every 20 minutes and not miss a word.) Or go back and listen to the talks a second or third time.
And let's not forget the wireless internet that made the connection possible.
Or the GPS that keeps me from getting lost when visiting a new location, or from a new direction, or at a new time of day, like used to happen ALL THE TIME before I found the wonderful app that has maps for my phone.
There are a lot more uses I know but those are the ones I am thinking of right now.

This is me thankful for technology.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

I Am Thankful For Refrigeration

This year, for NaBloPoMo, in addition to my semi-regular not at all regular updates, I would like to present the things that I am thankful for. These have been coming to my mind all year but I am enough of a control freak that I held it all in for continuity's sake.
You are welcome.
Today I would like to present my thankfulness for air conditioning.
Especially this past September when it was so hot (setting records all over the place - it's not usually over 100°F this late in the year) and I was seven months pregnant and not loving the extra sweating and the sticking that my clothes were doing.
Tarzan invited me to come to his school to hang out and/or work on my computer, whatever and it was glorious! I felt like bursting into the Hallelujah chorus or something equally as rich and full. The man who created the ability to get cold air into warm spaces, totally deserves all the money he got for the invention and probably a little more.
And part of the same invention is the refrigerator and that makes ice and cold water - without which I would have a hard time living. Warm or even room temperature water just does not taste good.
Plus the fridge keeps the butter from melting, the bread from getting moldy and all kinds of wonderful things.

This is me thankful for the ability to make and keep things cold.

From Whence You Cometh