Checking In

Oh, life with a newborn leaves little time for anything other than life with a newborn.

My online time has been mostly via the Kindle Fire.  I’ve found Facebook works pretty well on it.  Blog reading seems more onerous.  So, I’m re-connecting with all sorts of people who don’t blog.  Good timing, too, since one person announced a pregnancy.  And I feel a bit bad that I don’t FB more often since plenty of those people stay on top of my life, but I don’t know squat about their daily doings.  For now, at least, you may find my name attached to the list of those who “like” your posts.

There are 150 pictures on my camera.  Right now I’m nursing a baby and typing left handed, so that’s where they’re staying.

Little George was tongue-tied, but the doc got us in that afternoon and clipped him.  It did help tremendously with nursing, but hasn’t completely solved the problem.  Currently, he’s getting 9 oz daily via a bottle (formula or pumped milk), and he’s barely gaining the minimum 1/2 oz per day and he’s hungry all.the.time.  I went to see a lactation consultant and felt she wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.  I tried to get her advice on how to get from where I am now (9 oz supplement daily) to where I want to be (no supplement daily), and she really didn’t have much to say about how to go about that.  Should I weigh him every day?  Every 3 days?  No real answer.  How much should he gain in how many days for me to reduce the supplement by how much?  Nothing.

So, I plan to weigh him every 4 days.  He needs to gain at least 2 oz.  Less than that and I up the supplement.  More than that, and I don’t know.  I guess it depends on how much more than that.

Bill has been working hard and the house looks great.  Today he tackled the garage and you can now walk through it.  The weight bench is out there and needs to be assembled, and there is a stack of boxes awaiting the next recycle pick-up, but other than that, the garage is done.  And if the garage is done, that means most of the inside is done too.  There are pockets of not-done-ness…but not too many.  We haven’t hung pictures or curtains, and some areas are not as organized as we’d like.  But it’s definitely homey.

That’s all I have time for – the baby is asleep, and I must go to bed too.

My current life

Not that I think anybody couldn’t have guessed it, but I would like to confirm that giving birth and moving 325 miles (give or take) in the same week is a really bad idea.  Chalk yet another Army-induced life experience up to mandatory lessons in coping.  Real-life “resiliency training,” a hot topic in the military.  I’ve never taken those classes they keep pushing, so they keep giving me practical exams instead.

It’s like having a baby while your husband is deployed, something else I did not need to actually live through to know was a bad situation, but which I got to find out first-hand just how terrible it truly was.  I’ve seen, more than once, a good, Catholic wife asking on forums if a pending deployment is a grave reason to avoid pregnancy.  Perhaps all that suffering was just so I could firmly assure those women that it most definitely is.

I really don’t know how we survived last week.  In fact, my husband wanted to call off the move more than once.  Emotionally, though, I needed to get out of Georgia.  And it was a matter of comfort as well.  We were living a Spartan life in that house.  I wanted my comfy desk chair and my generously sized dining room table.  And my good washing machine.

It was about 11 pm when we got in on Friday night.  My bed was in the back of the trailer (first in, last out), so we unloaded everything, pushing the kids until they dropped.  After that day, taking a shower seemed essential, and as we undressed, Bill voiced my exact thoughts: “I just want to burn these clothes.”  It would have been cathartic, but sleep was a better choice.  It was nearly 1:30 am when we collapsed on our mattress on the floor.

Saturday was a slow day.  There were things we had to do (internet guy came to set us up), and there were things we chose to do (adjusting furniture, moving boxes to make better paths in the house).  But we tried to keep things simple.  I spent much of my time concentrating on the baby, who had been having difficulty latching on.  Every session of nursing was a struggle to get going, and I starting thinking back over the last week: how many diapers have I changed?  when was the last bowel movement? how much does he weigh?  I didn’t like any of the answers. 

The handful of you who have been reading me for a long time might remember all my troubles with nursing Mary.  I swore it would never happen again.  I would be vigilant; I would pump; I would weigh the baby every day.  I didn’t think I would move the same week.

As Saturday evening winded down, I found myself dramatically telling my husband like the final line before the curtain falls at intermission: “Bill, I think the baby is tongue-tied.”  That might explain a lot.

By late Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t get him to latch on at all.  He was clearly frustrated and hungry.  My poor husband came running when he heard me sobbing in the bedroom as I fed the baby some of the last of the pumped milk.  He went out and bought some formula to get us through these days.  Fortunately, I am not a complete weeping mess this time, yet.  Sometimes I think my husband is taking it harder than I am.  He thinks he’s failed me, that it’s his fault we had to move with a newborn, that he didn’t do enough to get me the rest I needed or the peace I needed to nurse the baby.  Things had been going well and suddenly they weren’t.  But, babies don’t need much to eat in those first few days of life.  And he didn’t make the baby tongue-tied.  And it really doesn’t matter.

More resiliency training: no point in finding blame, just deal with it.

Yesterday, I mentally flipped a coin between calling a pediatrician or a lactation consultant first.  I went with the lactation consultant, and left a message.  It was afternoon before she called back, and gave me some on-the-phone tips, but said I needed a prescription from the pediatrician to come and see them.  I think that is bizarre, and so did the pediatrician, when I finally got in to an evening appointment.  The doctor also gave me the number of an ENT specialist, so that is my agenda for the day: get the baby’s tongue clipped.  In the meantime, my milk supply has dropped dramatically, so I get to spend lots of time pumping.  The closest health food store opens at 9 am, and I’ll have to send Bill out for fenugreek and blessed thistle. 

We’ll get through this.  But prayers are helpful, if you can spare some time.


Amusingly, when I called the pediatrician – a civilian provider – to make the appointment, they asked in which hospital the baby had been born.  When I said he had been born at a birthing center in Savannah, the receptionist said, “Oh.”  She paused for a moment.  And then she said, “Do you plan to vaccinate your child?”  

“Yes,” I said.  And since I mostly vaccinate, it is mostly true.  I have a year to worry about the ones I don’t do.

“Oh, OK,” she said, “because many people who use a birthing center also don’t vaccinate.”

Responsible parents give birth in hospitals, you know.

I love being stereotyped. 

The pediatrician couldn’t see me in the afternoon, but the receptionist told me to call back for their evening appointments for sick children.  She assured me they see new patients then as well.  When I called back, that receptionist gave me a hard time about making an appointment for my 8 day old baby who was having trouble nursing.  I told her that the other receptionist had specifically told me to call back to be seen that evening.  She said, “But these appointments are for sick children.”

“My child won’t nurse,” I insisted.  “He’s starving.”  Really, let’s think about this.  How exactly do you define “sick”?  So sorry your baby isn’t eating, but that’s not an acute issue.  Call back in the morning, thank you. 

And when I went there, another mom brought in her 4 month old who had had a low-grade fever for several days.  I can’t imagine taking a baby to the doctor for that

Well, not any more.  I know I took Fritz in once for a fever.  Once.  That’s all it took for me to realize I was being a ninny.


Off to pump.  Then maybe nap before I call the ENT doc.

A few quick words

My baby is 3 days old.  We move in 2 days.  Things are…busy.

Bill left me and the girls and the baby on Sunday afternoon.  George was about 9 hours old.  They delivered our stuff on Monday morning and unpacked the kitchen boxes after lunch.  Bill took care of any essential tasks and located a few things that had been accidentally or thoughtlessly taken down – the camelback Fritz needs for Philmont and a cooler for whatever food we think we can avoid throwing away – and returned home before midnight.  I know he loves me.  He’s a good man.

People have been jumping through hoops for us to get us the appointments we need so we don’t have to stay here past Friday.  I do appreciate it, even though it may seem I have an attitude of but, of course.

Before amnesia fully sets in, I have to state, for the record, that natural childbirth is TOTALLY OVERRATED.  I’ll be singing a different tune in a year, but for now, I tell you, drugs, even epidurals, are wonderful, wonderful things.  And no, I did not have any. 

Driving home from the pediatrician yesterday, Bill mentioned we’d not be here for any more Sunday Masses.  I started crying.  Moving and saying goodbye plus baby blues is a really bad combination.

I’ll blog more when I can.  Here are two pictures taken right after I got home.  George is about 7 hours old.  He is gorgeous.  Mama and Dad are exhausted.  Older siblings are thrilled.

It’s a boy!

We named him George Thomas.

Born at 6:55 am at the birth center, not the hospital – hooray!

7 lbs 5 oz and 20 inches long.   Three of my kids were 8 lbs, 2 were over 8 lbs, Fritz was 7 lbs 5 oz, I think all were 20″ long.  This child is definitely NOT 42 weeks.

Just got home, and will be lying down for more sleep soon.

Pictures, details to follow.  He’s a cutie.

The die is cast

2:30 am update: heading out soon to the birth center – not the hospital – to find relief from back labor in their huge jacuzzi tub.  Keep praying!

When I called yesterday morning to see about moving our delivery date, I was told the next date available was July 18th – 9 days later.  We plan to leave here on the 13th.  I didn’t want to be around when they delivered our goods and when they unpacked my kitchen.  I didn’t want to be hanging out at a hotel room either, with a week old nursling and all that crying (mine and the baby’s).  I tried hard to imagine all the scenarios and what they would really be like, not through rosy-colored glasses, but the harsh realities of those first few weeks post-partum.

The gamble with keeping our original delivery date was that Bill would have to leave Sunday evening (or in the middle of the night) to be there at 8 am the next morning.  The midwife talked of a hospital induction beginning Sunday night, into Monday.  If I didn’t go naturally, Bill would miss something – either the baby’s birth or the delivery of our stuff.

A friend did offer to go down to receive our goods for us, if necessary.  Neither of us was comfortable with burdening anyone with this problem.

Bill was in favor of moving the date, and even extending our time here another week or the rest of the month – cost be durned.  I saw a lost week in getting our house in order.

Yesterday was an angst filled day.  Can’t imagine why the baby didn’t want to be born…

Finally, we decided to take the risk and keep the delivery date.  “We’ve crossed the Rubicon,” I told Bill.  “There’s no going back now.”

“Let’s hope we have the same luck as Caesar,” he replied.

I said I’d see about moving the induction to Sunday instead of Monday.  And we’d hope and pray for this baby to decide it was time.

I woke up this morning, still pregnant, still not laboring.

I spoke to the midwife around 930 am.  I told her I’d come in around 2 pm and we’d see if I had progressed enough to break my water.  Although I had thinned more, I was still only 2-3 cm and the baby was still high and still moving around too much.  The head is down, and the baby seemed to be facing my spine – then.  But as she tried to listen to the heartbeat, the ornery child kept moving away, twisting and turning.  Just now, I’m feeling movement around my belly button – and I don’t feel that hard lump of the bottom anywhere, so I think the baby is facing, again, the front.

The midwife felt uncomfortable breaking my water – worries over a prolapsed cord.  Heck, I wasn’t eager to face labor with no buffer.  She mentioned castor oil – again.  Said it has an 85% success rate in their practice (25 years of delivering babies).  All I have to do is BELIEVE.  I had not tried castor oil this pregnancy because I had done it before and it didn’t work.  But I am desperate, so I was willing to give it another shot.

She had all the supplies there and very specific instructions.  Two doses, two hours apart.  Red raspberry tea.  A Fleets enema.  Fun stuff folks.  But I believe it will work.  Really!  Instead of pixie dust, I just need castor oil, and I can fly!

So, I have managed to take these 2 doses and follow all the other steps.  I am confident that my bowels will begin convulsing any minute now.  Despite brushing my teeth and eating dinner, I still feel a thickness on my tongue and roof of my mouth.  Castor oil, even mixed with juice is so very disgusting.  Lovely burps, too.

And the hospital has me down for 430 am tomorrow morning to come in and begin the induction.  I can call that off at any time, should I go into labor.  Even early labor would be fine.

And an induction would be fine too.  I have accepted it.  Katie was induced, and I actually had a pretty nice birth with her.  The midwife says that she only uses the pitocin until the body gets going, and then she lets the body take over.  I have to do what I have to do.

Keep praying.  I hate laboring in the middle of the night.  I didn’t get a nap today, so that will just make things worse.  Bill will be home from Mass soon with the kids, and I’ll try to rest.

One way or another, I should have a baby by this time tomorrow.

Patience is a Virtue

Practice makes perfect.

I am being perfected.

I have an appointment with the midwives this afternoon.  Unless something really interesting happens, I won’t do any more blog posts, but I will update this one.  So, if you are following baby updates via Facebook or a feed, you’ll have to come here to get them…I don’t think updates will appear on feeds.

Thanks, Lina, for that spinning babies website.  At the minimum, my arms and shoulders will get a workout today.

If the baby doesn’t come by tomorrow morning, I will have to reschedule our household goods delivery.  I’m not happy about that, but, oh well.  As my husband always says, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.  Not that the baby is an enemy…not really

Midwife appointment update: baby is doing great. No change in my cervix since Monday. Hospital induction Sunday night if we go that far. Ugh ugh ugh.

Saturday morning: still nothing.  I’m supposed to call the midwives today and go see them, see if I’ve gotten anywhere.  I’d call now (5:30 am), but guess I’d better wait for a decent hour (8 am?).  It will give me time to go for (another) walk and have some coffee.

My own personal Groundhog Day

I woke up this morning still pregnant.


I don’t intend on answering the phone today.  Yesterday (and the day before and the day before that) were frustrating enough.

Full moon last night.  Didn’t help.  Neither did climbing up and down a step ladder in the sun room (aka: the sauna) to clean two filthy ceiling fans and three walls of windows.  And then climbing the same ladder in the uninsulated, west-facing garage to wash off three shelves out there.  And then reaching into three lower kitchen cabinets to wash them out while the oven was spewing the intense heat from the self-clean cycle.

But at least I discovered three cast iron skillets that the packers overlooked and a missing strainer.

I’m heading into town to the fabric store for one yard I need to do the binding on Jenny’s quilt.  Not that I’m ready to do the binding on Jenny’s quilt.  I am about half done with the quilting of Katie’s quilt, and when I was up at 4 am this morning (love insomnia), I calculated that I had enough material to do her binding and Mary’s binding, but not to do Jenny’s, unless I did hers differently.  And I don’t want to do hers differently.  So one yard it is, with a 20% off military discount because of the holiday.

But I’m not really interested in sewing.  Or reading.  Or cleaning.  Or blogging.  Or watching movies.  Or walking.

I just want to have this baby.  Who is, I’m convinced, sunny-side up, unfortunately.  Oh well.  As Bill pointed out, I have back labor, even when they are face-down.

Have a great Groundhog Day…I mean, Independence Day.

Still waiting

Yesterday, Bill and I were going for a walk.  Fritz was lying on the couch engrossed in some Netflix video on the Kindle.  “Ready, honey?” I called to my husband in the hallway.

“OK, Mom, see you,” mumbled Fritz without looking up.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” I laughed.

“Love you, too,” he responded.

I guess it’s better than him thinking I’m yelling at him all the time.


Peter asked me, “Mom, can you do anything you want to do?”

Naturally, my mind turned to the limits of both God’s laws and the laws of our governments.

“Nope,” I said.  “You can’t.”  And then I heard the song from Blue’s Clues playing in the other room: “…you can do anything that you want to do…”

“I didn’t think so,” said my child who has officially reached the age of reason now.

“Yes, it’s all a lie,” I said, and looked over at him just in time to catch my husband’s eye who was looking at me in horror.

“That’s right, just dash the kids hopes and dreams,” he said.

It’s a cruel world…and it starts at home.


The midwife stripped my membranes today…something I’ve never had done before.  Not comfortable.  She also sent me away with a long list of home remedies to try to get this baby to come out.  I had been subjected to a 20 minute monitoring and an ultrasound to look at amniotic fluid – all perfectly fine, of course.  Our household goods are being delivered next Monday, so I am eager for the baby, who has been very cooperative with my timeline thus far, to make his or her debut.

So, home remedies I’ve tried/known about:

spicy food
peanut butter cups, lots of them
castor oil
marital relations
using the breast pump
evening primrose oil

Anything else?