Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Status report: Month 2

Today Chloë is two months old. We went for her two-month checkup today, to get examined and vaccinated (she may never trust me again). She's twelve pounds, two ounces, 22.75 inches long, 39.5 cm head circumference. Everything is fiftieth percentile or higher, so she deserves the name she got called by the pediatrician: Chubs. I can officially stop being paranoid about her weight now. In fact, the pediatrician, when he heard that feedings will run to sixty minutes if I let Chloë determine them, suggested backing off on feedings a little and limiting them to forty minutes or less, which is quite all right by me.

Chloë's second month has been full of smiles. She smiles when she sees me sometimes, or when I smile at her. She coos and makes odd noises, enough that we have "conversations" sometimes:

Chloë: Eeee.
Jenny: Really?
Chloë: Ohh.
Jenny: I'm not totally convinced. Could you be more specific?
Chloë: Waaaa.
Jenny: Now I understand.

She's discovered the baby in the mirror, and loves to lie in her swing and look up at her, sometimes grinning, sometimes just intently watching. She looks around at things all the time now; we think this is partly why she likes car rides and walks.

Her hair sticks up in the back like a bird's crest. Her eyelashes are dark and long now, and her eyebrows delicate but definitely visible. She can support her own weight, and can support her head most of the time. We've started being able to use the two baby carriers we have (a sling and a backpack-style carrier) because of this, and are looking forward to using them more in the future. She's getting awfully heavy in that carrier.

The drool has come, in vast quantities, enough that I'm sure at least one feeding a day goes directly to replacing all that saliva. She's also started sucking her fist a lot more, and is finally taking a pacifier for more than two sucks before ejecting it. Nursing has improved; we're finally nursing full-time, except for a bottle at night because she's ravenous just before bed. There is no actual bedtime yet, but we're working on it--the pediatrician told me that now is the time to work on good sleeping habits that will last the rest of her life, no pressure. (He also told me that babies tend to sleep really well after their shots--probably exhausted from all that crying. She certainly fell asleep quickly and thoroughly once we were out of there and she'd satisfied herself that I was aware she was unhappy.)

This month she met her Aunt Bev, Uncle Philip, and cousin Gabriel, and went to the zoo and Lake Erie for the first time. She also stayed with her Omi and her Aunt Michelle while Eric and I went out on a date, and she's been to her first coffeeshop gaming night and gem show and restaurant. She's kept us up later than we wanted almost every night, though there were also two nights she went to sleep quite happily in her bassinet (sadly, they haven't been repeated). Now that she's not as jaundiced, she's not sleeping nearly as much as she was, and not as much as the books say she should. But she's healthy, and growing, and ours.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chloë's birth story, part 1

Seeing as it's been, um, eight weeks, I thought I'd start working on keeping my promise and put up Chloë's birth story. It will be in several parts, because I love useless detail, but there will be no quiz, so feel free to tune out if you don't want to hear about how crackers, wet shorts, a bean bag, a Jacuzzi, and what Eric keeps calling hallucinations lead up to our overlord's birth. (There will be some graphic content, as well, so be warned.)


The evening of July 22nd, 2009, I was lying on the couch, reading. I had finally gotten the last answers I needed on my paperwork for my maternity leave that day and planned to turn it in the next day. I also planned to buy a R.I.N.D.S. rig the next day since I knew time was running low, though I still firmly believed that, having had the world's most boring pregnancy so far, I would continue to be solidly normal by being a few days late.

I wanted a snack, so I retrieved the box of Wheat Thins Fiber Selects Garden Vegetable (they taste better than they're titled). I lay down again, bit into a cracker, and felt an odd sensation between my legs. Sort of a sudden spurt of liquid sensation. Not exactly like peeing my pants (which Jackie warned us was what most "I think my water broke" situations turned out to be), but I could see how it could be confused with that. So I put down the box of what I will forever call my water-breaking crackers and went upstairs.

"What do you think?" I said to Eric, once I'd confirmed that my underwear was quite a bit bloodier than a simple pants-wetting incident would have called for.

"Huh," he said. We looked at each other.

Another spurt of fluid exited me, also tinged with pink. "Huh," I said. "I should probably call the midwives."

The number the midwives had given me was for an answering service; the lady who answered promised that someone would call right back. I went and laid on the bed with Eric and waited.

"Hello," I said when the midwife on call, Sandy, called me, and then, idiotically, "How are you?"

"You had me paged," she reminded me.

"I think my water broke," I said.

"How far along are you?" she said.

"Thirty-nine weeks."

"Well, it may be nothing; or sometimes the baby kicks just right and a little comes out," she said. ("She wet her pants," I could hear her thinking.)

"Tell her there was blood," Eric said, and I did so.

"Oh," she said, her tone changing. "Well, let's have you come to the hospital and be examined. When do you think you'll be here?"

"Maybe half an hour?" I guessed.

I hung up and Eric went into action: going straight for the mostly-packed bag, retrieving the list of what was left and packing them. I was getting more spurts of liquid, so I sat on the toilet. "We may not be staying," I said, though I didn't really believe it.

"It's better to have it and not need it," Eric said as he continued to shovel things into the suitcase.

We weren't ready to leave until nearly an hour had passed; I'd called at nine, and it was almost ten. Eric brought the suitcase down to the car; I dashed upstairs to change my pad again just when I was putting on my shoes, and then we were off.

This may be the last time we ride in this car as a childless couple, I thought in car on the way to the hospital (still not wanting to commit to the idea that I was going to the hospital to stay). I'm really glad the mothers gave us these waterproof pads, I thought (shifting around on the one I'd put down on my seat).

"Ugh," I said when we arrived at the hospital, looking down at my shorts, which were now soaked. But there was nothing to be done, so we entered. Another pregnant woman was ahead of us, being registered. While we waited, I noticed a couple of people in the waiting area notice my shorts. I watched a few droplets run down my leg to my sock.

When the lady at the registration desk noticed me, she gave me the appropriate form without even asking why I was here and shanghaied a nurse to take me upstairs. (The other pregnant woman got a wheelchair. I wasn't offered one, which was fine since I was in no pain and didn't really want to sit down in my wet shorts anyway. I wonder if the woman at registration had similar thoughts.)

That nurse, who turned out to be the supervisor just about to go home for the evening, took us to one of the triage rooms. "We'll examine you in here," she said, pulling a hospital gown from a cupboard. She started to hand me the gown, then really looked at me. "Oh!" she said. "We don't need to examine you. Let's get you a room."

She led us further down the hall, toward the nurses' station. They saw me and started to laugh. "I was going to put her in triage until I noticed her clothes," our nurse confessed. "It's kind of obvious, isn't it?" said one of the ones at the desk. I was kind of annoyed that while I had avoided being laughed at for coming for a false alarm, I hadn't gotten away with not being laughed at.

The room had a pull-out couch, a DVD player, a small fridge, an uncomfortable (the nurse said) bed, and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. I changed into the hospital gown and was helped onto the bed (which wasn't really that bad) over a waterproof pad. Our nurse introduced us to the current nurse on duty, who was sick and was quickly replaced with our first real nurse, Stephanie.

"First we need to get you hooked up to the monitors," she said. I wasn't excited about the monitors to start with, having read that electronic fetal monitoring has made absolutely no difference to birthing outcomes except for potentially contributing to the C-section rate, but I knew that the hospital required some initial monitoring and the midwives had told me it wouldn't need to be done continuously after that.

So I spread the gown and moved my hips so that Stephanie could get the two belts on me. "You have such a cute belly!" she said. "Do you even have any stretch marks?"

"I don't know," I said vaguely, though I did.

"Let me look." She did, and (mothers of the world, do not hate me) pronounced, "You don't have a single one!"

The two belts (one to monitor contractions, one to monitor fetal heartbeat) did their thing. The baby looked perfect and I was actually having occasional contractions, though I couldn't feel them. Sandy came in and said to me, "I'm really sorry your water broke so early. You're the last person I wanted this to happen to." She explained that I was under a twenty-four-hour deadline, and that if my contractions didn't start progressing very soon, she was going to have to start Pitocin on me. I was completely unenthusiastic about this, and she said she could give me a couple of hours, including a little bit of sleep. So Eric curled up on the couch, and me in the bed, and we did our best to sleep.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby's first stalker

When we were at gaming last Friday night, Chloë needed to be fed, so I sat at a separate table with her bottle, being unwilling to nurse in public in that shirt with a ton of people around, and the coffeeshop was crowded that night, especially by a large group of what I was later told were Bible group people.

After she'd finished eating, one of her minions joined us and we talked for a little bit. Then three girls from the aforementioned group came up. They began to admire Chloë, and asked the normal questions: girl or boy? How old?

"Little baby, I want to eat your cheeks!" cooed one of them.

I thought this was a little peculiar (I don't remember; does the Bible say anything about cannibalism?) but I passed it by with a smile. After they had done enough adulation to be considered for the minion list, they prepared to go. The same girl exclaimed, "I love you, baby!"

Now, we get told a lot that our baby is cute (if you're stopping a total stranger and asking intimate questions about their child, you'd better have something nice to say about it), but I thought that was a little over the top. We personally think Chloë could conquer the world just through cuteness, but we don't expect everyone else to share that opinion, and certainly not to express it that way. I've asked Chloë to put that girl on the "do not consider for minion status" list.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busy times

Chloë's had a busy weekend: her first gaming night on Friday and the Toledo Rock and Gem Show on Saturday, plus babysitting during our first night out since she was born. (We've been out without her for shopping and such, but not for fun.) Today, we think she has lactose overload--gassiness, irritability, hunger signs way before she ought to be hungry (we're now at about two hours between feedings), and liquid stools explosive enough to kill a fly at ten meters. I love the Internet; I'd never heard of this and was getting worried at the something's-vaguely-wrong symptoms, but now I know what's (most likely) going on and how (most likely) to fix it.

Chloë's eyebrows and eyelashes are in now, not that it makes her look any more feminine. "Boy or girl?" people ask me, then inevitably say, "She's beautiful!" What would they have said differently if I'd said "boy"? (Which I will someday do. Then give an unconquerable stare when they ask what his name is and I say "Chloë.") They do always comment on the hair.

She's definitely grown; her hands are bigger, and her ears are elongating. Before they were these beautiful tiny shell-shaped delicacies that didn't look like anybody we're related to. Now they're starting to look like normal ears, which we both have, so who knows which side she actually got them from. She's also definitely getting heavier. We took out the newborn insert of her carseat the other day. This girl's growing up.

(Excuse me, Her Gassiness wants another feeding. It's actually time for one at this point.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I decided recently that I want to give Chloë a bedtime. Up until now she's been going to bed somewhere between midnight and two, which is a little later than is totally convenient. Also she's mostly going to sleep on me because I haven't had the patience to sit up and rock her to deep sleep when it's one o'clock in the morning and I'm falling asleep myself. So my goals are twofold: get her to start going to sleep closer to ten o'clock, and get her used to going to sleep in my arms rather than on my chest.

It's been a big fat failure so far. I admit it's only been a couple of days, but how does she know to be bright-eyed and alert and hungry--always hungry--at exactly the time when I want her to be getting sleepy? Right now she's taking a big nap, so as to be as awake as possible in a couple of hours when I want her to be going to sleep. Admittedly we slept nine hours last night (four hours and then five hours) so I'm rested enough to stay up with her until two. I expected this to take a while, but I was kind of hoping for a good start.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Six weeks

Exactly six weeks ago, I was either single-mindedly devouring a veggie sub from Subway, or sleeping, I forget which.

I've been watching Chloë's eyebrows come in over the past week or so. That is, they were there before, but only as fine translucent hairs. Now darker ones have swept from the outside in. I think her ears and hands are bigger. She's also developed small red dots on her eyelids and a fine double chin. I'm particularly proud of this last one, since the nursing is still a work in progress. She hasn't stopped biting me (dropping her jaw and raising it really, but if she had teeth they would be bites--if she's still doing it when she starts teething she will be weaned so fast relativity will kick in and she'll think she's weaning me) and sometimes, mainly late at night, she won't latch on even though she's hungry, instead arching her back and screaming, this apparently being a step up from being fed warm milk while nestled up against a warm body.

To add to the fun, I developed mastitis over the weekend, resulting in a fever that kicked my butt as no previous fever has. Now that I'm on antibiotics, things are much better, but I was highly unamused for a while. Chloë was fortunately unfazed, though she got a lot of my sweat on her.

However, I got a clean bill of health from the midwives today. They also say Chloë is much chubbier than she was when I was there last, ten days ago. They definitely know how to sweet-talk a girl. Apparently the thirteen or so feedings a day are paying off.