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


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


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.

From Whence You Cometh