10 minutes and counting

I have 10 minutes until my next meeting, which is the perfect time to shoot off a post. Right? Amiright?

I have been wanting to write a post for ages, because well… I’ve been thinking. What brought on this thinking, you ask? The bizarre decision to take a 10 month old to Amsterdam.

Yes, I did that. And the flight was fine. The trip, however, was disastrous.

Perhaps it was a magical combination of teething, a serious case of Mama-Fever, and a new place, but Chick was fairly miserable and would only be happy if he was physically on me at ALL TIMES. It also happened to be unseasonably cold and rainy. So I was cold and caring for a fussy baby for 6 days which is how the sucking of this vacation began. Then there was that time my breast pump broke on a national holiday. That was fuuuun.

But since I have only 10 minutes, I’ll cut to the chase.

It sounds a little ungrateful to say that one’s vacation in Amsterdam sucked because I decided to bring a 10 month old. But there it is. Mr. O and I have traveled a fair amount, many times in Europe and elsewhere. You know what? We’re excellent travelers. Our baby just threw a wrench in the works which made the trip exponentially less fun. No more dinners in little bistros. No more wine while watching the sunset.

This next bit I can’t believe I’m going to share publicly. But this is my goddamn anonymous blog, and I’ll do what I want to. On this trip, I did think “Dear god, what have I done?” in regards to my hard-won baby. For reals. I could see, for the first time, what I had given up– aforementioned meals in bistros and wine at sunset. And I gave that up in favor of a 20 pound clingy, crying weirdo.

Yes, yes… I know. Someday that 20 pound clingy, crying weirdo will grow up and things won’t be so “hard.” But I’m no fool. It will still be hard, just in new and exciting ways I can’t predict.

And my 10 minutes is up, so I’ll leave you with this…

For the first time since Chick was born, I’ve found myself looking back longingly at the life I used to have.

For the first time ever as a committed and adventurous traveler, I wish I had stayed home.

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On the Road. Again.

After a few days with Mr. O’s aunt, we headed back to our neighborhood to go to Chick’s pediatrician appointment. Though a little fussy because he was hungry, Chick is by all accounts a healthy kiddo. He is gaining weight really well at the rate of an oz a day. I think he may have a wee bit of acid reflux (not uncommon in premies) but nothing that is currently making him uncomfortable or impacting his weight gain.

With that, we went back on the road once more- this time to spend the better part of the week with my dad.

As luck would have it, my dad has decided to spend about 2 months of this summer about 3.5 hours away in a lovely small coastal town. There is ample room for all of us (and all the crap comes with a newborn.) There is also little pressure from my dad to do anything or be anywhere. I think he is grateful for the company, and we are grateful for the hospitality.

Yesterday we ventured outside for a stroll down to the harbor for some fresh air and a lobster roll. Not only was the lobster roll excellent, the scenery was even better. This town is one of my favorites – with a beautiful open park right on the water where you can watch the boats go out and come back in.

After a leisurely hour, we started to pack up and head home, and just in time too because I was getting really tired. I’ve also started to get some lower back pain and cramps which I’m chalking up to all the whacky breastfeeding hormones. My dad was also taking it really slow- he’s over 70 now and has some trouble with his hips. So what would normally be a 10 minute walk dragged out to 20 as he and I both stopped, stretched, and complained about our ailments.

That is the most activity I’ve had since the beginning of June, and boy did I notice. It turns out pregnancy and childbirth have turned me into a 70 year old man.

Mr O is here and taking the week off (which is technically his paternity leave which is in actuality his paid time off because his company doesn’t offer any paid leave.) he has been great about helping with feeding and diaper changes. It’s the feedings that are the hardest. By pure dumb luck, Chick is always hungry when I need to pump. (because of his need for extra calories, I still can’t switch to exclusively breast-feeding.) So I have to feed him first and pump later, leaving my breasts swollen and tender by the time I hook myself up to the good ol’ Medela Pump in Style. So far, Mr. O has taken over when chick’s feeding would push me too far off schedule (I need pump every 3-4 hours.) While I appreciate the help, i’m not quite sure how this will pan out once he goes back to work. Between feeding, pumping, and our pathetic attempts to breastfeed two times a day, I’ll be at the end of my rope quickly. Because this doesn’t even account for diaper changes, tummy time, feeding myself, or sleep. I had a low moment yesterday when I was ready to pack in the pumping/breast-feeding towel because this is really hard to juggle.

The lactation consultant suggested I take Fenugreek to increase my supply. I feel like it is still too early to see if it’s working – though I have noticed my BO smells like herbs now, which is just plain weird. I smell like a damn hippy.

I’ve decided to give it at least another two weeks, and see if the pediatrician will allow for more direct breast-feeding. If this is going to work, I need him to make the transition boob sooner, or call it quits and move on.

Dispatch from the Road

If there is one thing I have learned through bed rest, early delivery, and 6 weeks in the NICU, it is humility. (Maybe that’s the wrong word, but cut me some slack as I write this on my phone at 4:00am while I’m pumping in the dark.)

I’ve learned there are limits on what I can do myself and sometimes it is okay to ask for help. So when the great mold capper of 2015 began, Mr. O and I asked our families to take us in. Through the weekend, we’re staying with his aunt. And through next week ( yes, this whole shit show is going to take a WEEK to clean up) we will be staying with my dad who is spending the summer about 3.5 hours away.Mr. O’s aunt is one of the kindest people I know. She is like a second mother to him- Mr. O grew up down the street from her family and she looked after him while his dad worked nights. So she didn’t bat and eyelash when we asked to stay.

The funny thing is that she still lives just down the street from Mr. O’s dad. (Who, it is worth noting started talking to us again after Chick was born. Which, it should also be noted, I find almost as rude as the whole not talking to us thing. Like now that we have bequeathed him with a grandson, all is forgiven. Bite. Me.) We aren’t staying with Mr. O’s parents because there is literally no room for us- Mr. O’s dad has a bit of a hoarding problem. But that is a story for another day.

Last night, we went over to Mr. O’s dad’s house for dinner. This was Chick’s first outing since leaving the hospital. Of course, the first thing Murre wanted to do is hold check. Kittiwake was running around taking pictures with flash. Murre was grinning from ear to ear.

And I wanted to punch him in the face.

My kid is not a tourist attraction. Nor is he a Kardashian being chased by paparazzi. He is a premature baby who needs food and sleep right now, not to be lit up like the goddamn Fourth of July.

I literally wanted to rip my child from Murre’s hands because he was playing with Chick. In my defense, Chick was on the verge of a meltdown because he was overdue for a feeding. You can’t hear your baby crying with hunger and not want to rush in an fix it. That’s what the baby hormones pumping through your veins are for. Instead, I mostly bit my tongue and watched the baseball game on TV. It KILLED ME, and not just because I find baseball exceedingly boring.

There is this weird vibe with Mr. O’s folks. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. There is this sense that seeing Chick, holding him, is their right. Murre in particular never once asked how he could help when we were in the NICU. The question wasn’t “How can we help?” but “When can we visit?” What we needed wasn’t visitors in the hospital, which was the only time we had alone with Chick. What we needed was someone to pick up groceries, bring over dinner, or help putting together his nursery. Murre and Kittiwake only checked in to see when they could see Chick.

Interestingly, Mr. O’s mom has struck a better balance. Yes, she still wants to know when she can hold him, but she also helped straighten up the apartment and brought over pizza. Perhaps I underestimated her, but I never saw this coming and I’m grateful for the support she’s given us as a family.

All this rambling has made me realize that I’m still really mad at Murre for his whacked out temper tantrum over the baby shower. Mr. O has even made peace with it all. I have not.

In my most honest moments, I resent him immensely. Murre chose to isolate and alienate Mr. O and me when we needed him. Now that we have something he wants, he flips a switch and gets to be back in our lives.

My mom does not. Though not perfect herself, she wouldn’t have pulled a stunt like this. She couldn’t be here because she is gone. The “decision” to be a part of Chick’s life wasn’t hers to make.

Then I just get angrier. I realize this says more about me than it does about him.

I’m rational enough to know that there is no correlation between my mom being dead and Murre’s ridiculous behavior. Maybe if things had been different and my mom was still here, I would be able to brush it off as Murre just being crazy.

As is, I want to tell him to jump off a fucking bridge.