Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tiger Stripes?

So, this post has been rattling around in my head for awhile.

It's an uncomfortable subject for me, but I'm going to put it out there, so that if, by some chance, another new mama out there googles "body after baby" or "holy mother of the sweet baby Jesus what has happened to my body and will it ever be normal again after baby" (because in case you didn't know, you become a certified google black-belt when you have a baby) they will maybe know they are not alone in this.  But sweet Avery, should you ever read this, you should know that absolutely none of this makes me love you one tiny smidgen less.  That part's important, too.

You may have guessed that I'm going to be talking about body image and weight and all that stuff today, so if you are here the for the usual cute baby pictures and stories, I'll leave you with this. You know, so your double click was not for naught:

Okay, check ya later!  (No, seriously, later I use the actual words for lady-bits so, if that doesn't interest you at all, you'll want to peace out.)  (Also, maybe if you haven't had babies yet... I really don't want to scare anyone off and this might be veering into stupid-lady-in-the-Taget-checkout-line-unsolicited-horror-story territory).

Lately, or okay, really forever, but especially lately, I have been struggling with feeling... gross.  Everything else in my life is going amazingly well, but I cannot seem to find the motivation to get my eating and exercise together.  I've been doing quite a lot of thinking about it as to why, and it's slowly come to light that I am, in fact, really angry at my body.

You see, my body and I have never really been besties.  It has failed me many times over the years.  I wanted to be 5'6", and grew like a weed until I hit puberty (seriously, I was the center on my 5th grade basketball team), but instead I topped out at 5'4".  Not a huge deal.  Then I was sucky at pretty much every sport ever.  Still not a huge deal.  Because in my heart I always knew that there would be one thing my body would be awesome at... having babies.

But that's where my body failed me the worst.  Let me clarify.  Yes, I did in fact have a baby, and she is healthy and gorgeous and thriving.  I am deeply deeply grateful for this and know how very very lucky I am for it.  However, I also can't deny the feelings I am having towards my body.

The pregnancy changed my body in profound ways, some of which I was expecting, others... not so much.  Like that time when I had a weird rash on my back, and my OB was like, "yeah, no idea what that is, go see the dermatologist."  So I had to find a dermatologist, and then upon meeting me he was all, "ummm, you're pretty much just really sweaty and allergic to your pants."  Stellar.  See you again never.  And then I grew like a thousand moles on my neck.  And then the swelling. the swelling.  So, between the weird rashes and moles and the cankles with cankles with a side of super sweatiness I was not even a remotely attractive pregnant lady.  But that was all okay, because I was going to give birth!

Except that my body didn't want to.  And while I know that a lot of this is probably my fault, because I did everything wrong (didn't exercise at all, agreed to an induction, etc.) I never figured that actually giving birth would be an issue. Instead I ended up having a c-section.  Which my head knows is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but giving birth was a huge dream of mine.

Every year during college I was in or went to the Vagina Monologues.  One of my very favorite pieces was the closer, "I Was There in the Room" in which Eve Ensler records her thoughts on being present during a birth.  The following excerpt evoked a physical longing that I could not fully explain:
[I was] there as her vagina became a wide operatic mouth
singing with all its strength;
first the little head, then the gray flopping arm, then the fast swimming body, swimming quickly into our weeping arms.
But my body would not cooperate.  And I felt like was robbed even I was given the biggest gift that I have yet to receive in this life.

And then, there was the breastfeeding drama.  I had these giant bewbs that should have sustained 4 babies, and instead we struggled.  We struggled and struggled for 4 months and then they just dried up.  I would pump and pump and pump and get 1/2 an ounce.  And no amount of oatmeal or fenugreek or prayer would increase my supply.  So I gave up.  You win again, body.

And so now I'm left with this shell that feels like a failure.  Where things have been rearranged into odd places and there are marks that will fade but never fully heal.  And I try to internalize images like this:
Via Pinterest

But all I can think is... but she's so skinny!!

Yes, I am angry at my body.

So I have been abusing it with food and slothfulness.  And that's why I still have 15lbs of baby weight to lose (not to mention the 25 I gained after our wedding... woopsie daisy).  Although, if you lose it and then gain back I'm not really sure you can still technically call it "baby weight", can you?

But the hopeful part is, I'm working on it.  I'm buying a few outfits that make me feel at least okay with how I look.  I've started eating better (well, mostly, except for today when I may or may not have had Starbucks coffee and candy for dinner) and exercising some.  I'm keeping up with positive and inspirational stories like my friend, Carlie.  And I'm really going to try to keep it up, because while my body and I might be having issues, we are kind of stuck with each other for life.  So, I'd like for us to make up at some point and at least be civil.  Because there will be (God willing) more babies, and I'd really like for us to work together (unlike you, thighs, who fight each other with every step!).   We're both worth it, and remember how hot we looked at the wedding?  Let's get back to there (or at least some mole-ier saggier bewbed version of there), how 'bout?  I'm in if you are.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eight Months

Here we go!  I think we are over the hump sickness-wise.  You'll need another ear check this week sometime, but as far as how you're acting, I think we are good to go. (Touch every piece of wood in a 10 foot radius and cross all of our fingers and toes!!)

Your seventh month was quite eventful, what with the sickness, but it was still a great month overall.

Since we went to the doctor, oh about a hundred times, we know that you are definitely over 21 pounds.  Not sure about your height, but your car seat maxes out at 30 inches, and you are dangerously close to hanging out both sides.  We're looking in to getting you a big girl seat, so if anyone has any suggestions we're listening!

Your biggest milestone this month, by far, was learning to crawl.  Or rather, scoot.  You do this goofy army crawl that I can't really explain, so I shot a quick video of you to document your lightning speed, and the reason you have pretty much full body carpet burn at all times now:

You can stand for short periods of time now if you have something to lean on.  Also, holy snot-face batman.

There was a lot to celebrate this month... up first was St. Patty's day, celebrated in style thanks to a tutu from your friend (and ours) Haley.  You attracted lots of attention when we went and ate Cajun food with your grandma and grandpa (yeah, we're not Irish, sorry dear... we'll still kiss ya though!)  Also, white onesies were apparently your outfit of choice... you kind of grew out of all of your 6-9 month clothes, so it was slim pickin's for awhile.  Don't worry, the grandmas have you well stocked once again!

 Up next, your Aunt Lauren and Uncle Steven came home from their year in Honduras.  The last time you saw them you were just 3 days old!  You got reacquainted really quickly, though.

 And you had your first Easter (and your first photo bomb... thanks, sir.)

You also got the hang of riding in shopping carts like a big girl. You're so fancy.  I feel like I'm going to be seeing this face a lot in about 12 years...

Thankfully you also did LOADS more of THIS this month:

You are also SUPER into:
  • The Backyardigan's theme song
  • Any sort of animal that comes into your line of site
  • Books books books
  • Blowing raspberries and making the "cluck" sound with your tongue as loudly as possible in public (it has made even grown men giggle)
  • Being ridiculously adorable pretty much all the time
  • Growing teeth
    • You got two this month (bottom front)!  Not that you would show them to me AT ALL during this photo shoot. Best we could do...

There are few things you are not, so much loving this month.  Those things include (but are not limited to):
  • Taking oral antibiotics (thanks for the nose-pinch trick, Uncle Steve!)
  • Having your diaper changed
  • Having your clothes changed
  • Being held for any lengthy period of time
  • Sharing toys at daycare 
    • You were bitten on your hand by a toddler who wanted the toy phone you were playing with.  You were inconsolable and required several rounds of The Itsy-Bitsy Spider to recuperate.  Now, it's okay to let things go, Avery.  It's a good skill to have in life, and daycare.
  • The baby jail play pen 

You are just so. much. fun.  I was going through photos and pretty much had to decide that there was no way to cram all of your awesomeness into just this one post or it would take people until you were nine months for this one to load.  You're just so stinkin' cute we can't get over it.  Facial expressions, noises, everything.

You take our breath away, baby girl.  Happy 8 months!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are You Down with the Sickness?

Because we are... fo sho.

Yes, as my hundreds of three faithful blog readers reminded me, today Avery is eight months old.  As always, crazy!  However, her monthly post will have to wait for a day or so, because homegirl is sick.

For the last couple of weeks it has been one thing after another, and we have been in and out of the doctor's office, the ER, and Acute Kids more times than I care to count. 

It started with pink eye, which of course I noticed at 8:30pm on a Sunday night... so off to the ER we went.  After shoving our gel covered fingers in her eyes every four hours (super pleasant for everyone... especially the part where Sam figured out that you can use the straps on the high chair as baby arm restraints when you're flying solo for the finger in the eye business... yay strategic parenting!) for three days with very little improvement in the pinkness / crustiness we went to the doctor.  Where we discovered she also had a double ear infection.   Not that you could tell between the smiles and the learning to crawl.

A round of oral antibiotics later and the next weekend I notice that the inside of her mouth looks weirdly... white.  And she's developing a nasty diaper rash.  So we trucked off to the Acute Kids on Saturday afternoon to get outfitted with the thrush medication and then Avery enjoyed her first (super minor-league) hockey game... it was a playoff game a real nail-biter!

Then, Easter morning she wakes up with her eyes all crusted shut, again.  A quick call to the doctor at 8am and we have antibiotic eye drops to take to grandma's to hang out with all of our cousins.  Who are not allowed to touch her, you know because of the pink eye.  Except that they did, because who can resist those chunky cheeks?

"I'm just going to touch her in her pretty pink eye..."

We're having a great time playing Uno that night when all of sudden Avery throws up.  Which isn't that weird until she does it again.  And then she kind of slumps over, and throws up again.  So, back to (another) Acute Kids we go.  She rallied pretty quickly though... this is her after just two hours of baby Zofran and PediaLite.  Earlier she was so sad looking that I cried:

By some divine Easter puke miracle no one else caught the stomach bug and we thought we were in the clear.  But no, yesterday her ear starts leaking fluid, so we're back at the doctor... again.  With another double ear infection... and another round of antibiotics.  Sigh.

This time, though, I think she's really feeling it.  She's been clingy and fussy and went down about six tonight and only woke up to suck down a bottle and then immediately fell back asleep on me and is still out.  I'm going to have to wake her up to give her another round of eye/mouth/tushy meds and I know it's going to pretty much just rip my mommy heart out.  Hmmm... wonder what Sam's up to?

Really, though, I just feel awful for her and really really want her to be back to her normal smiley feelin' good self sooner rather than later.

Because the laundry is really piling up around here, and somebody needs to do it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome to My Home...

Before I was a mother, I had all these grand ideas about what my house would look like when I had children.  Let me just preface this with the fact that I am an only child, so my need for personal space is probably higher than someone who has a clue siblings.

What I thought was this:

Sure, my kids will have toys, but their toys will live mainly in their rooms.  The common areas of the house will be childproofed, but will remain pretty much as they were before the kids showed up.

I now present our living room... and I feel like there's only one thing I need to say about it:

NAILED IT!  Am I right?

Please tell me I'm not the only mother whose living room looks like this!  Or at least that I wasn't the only mother with these delusions of grandeur prior to the tiny humans with the giant stuff showing up...

Now, excuse me while I tidy up that ottoman... sheesh.