Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Want to Believe

I raised the white flag and took Gracie to the pediatrician today. Stephen and I were up all night long last night- and I mean ALL NIGHT LONG. I did not successfully get her down one single time. I tried three or four times, both times I was up with her, and ultimately Stephen had to take over every time. She was also awake for two hours when she woke in the middle of the night to eat. I finally told myself that I do not know what to do for this girl and we need serious HELP before we all die of sleep deprivation.

Back at her 1-month appointment, I asked her regular pedi if he thought she might have reflux. He kind of brushed off the idea, but suggested that we try giving her 1/2 tsp of maalox a few times, and if it helped, then we'd start zantac. At that time, she seemed to be turning a corner in terms of her fussines, so I didn't push it. Of course, we all know what happened, as the wheels fell off the bus, the shit hit the fan, and every other analogy you can think of happened. Today we saw the pedi who did her 2-week visit. She asked just a few questions, and said that Gracie has classic symptoms of reflux. She checked her for other signs of illness (there were none) and gave us samples and a prescription for Prevacid, with instructions to call her on wednesday if she's not any better. I asked about the sleep issues- the girl is constantly overtired and resists sleep more than any baby I think I've ever seen. I'm not sure she really answered me. I decided to think that the reflux is fragmenting her sleep more than we even realize, causing her to be overtired even when she seems to be sleeping. I left the office moderately hopeful. I think Stephen was a bit more doubtful, but probably because he's more pragmatic anyway.

I'm already losing hope for this. She was fussing a lot, and since she'll be up all night anyway, I decided to try putting her down around 7:30 (an hour after she last ate). She fell asleep four times before I successfully got her in her crib. The first three times, she went down, and startled herself awake a minute or so later (staying down just long enough to make me think she might sleep). I have no idea what that would have to do with reflux. I think we're dealing with two separate issues (I do believe she has reflux, just that it's not the main problem), and the bigger issue is the one with no solution.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Best Not to Know

Wednesday night, after our Episode of Normalcy, Grace fell asleep in the swing (we do our best to only use the swing once a day. we choose dinnertime) around 6pm. At 8:30, it had been three hours since she ate, so I woke her up. The one consistent advice in all the different books is, if you let them sleep thru a feed cycle during the day, they won't sleep at night. I do think it's helped, waking her like that. Anyway. She would not wake up. Would NOT. I changed her diaper, tried to feed her...she was OUT. So, I put her in the crib. This, of course, woke her up. So I went back to trying to feed her. This repeated about three times, until she'd had probably half a feeding, and that time I got her down in the crib. It was a little before 10.

She slept until 2am. I'm not even kidding.

Stephen and I were so keyed up, we didn't fall asleep until after 11pm. Then we both woke up at 12:45, quite certain she was dead. We ran down the hall to her room, and found her sleeping peacefully. Of course, when she woke at 2am, she was awake for two hours, but then she went back down until 7, and then again until 8:30.

The same thing almost happened last night, but then I woke her up too much and she didn't go to bed until 11pm and then was up every 1.5 to 2 hours all night long. Awesome.

The problem with this is, now I know that A) it's possible for it to happen, and B) how GOOD it is. She's probably not going to do it again until she's 12 years old. I would rather not know how good it feels.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


you guys, oh my god...I came home from getting my hair cut (ahhh....FINALLY), and Stephen said Grace was having a bad day. When I walked in, she was lying on the changing table smiling, and he said, "I swear, she was crying the whole time!" I picked her up and we sat on the couch, and oh my GOD...she just sat on my lap and looked around and looked at me and we sat like that for maybe over five minutes. Just sitting there. She didn't cry or arch or writhe around or ANYTHING. She even had a huge poop halfway thru, lol, and I didn't get up to change her because I was having so much fun just SITTING there. This is what it's like to have a regular baby, isn't it? I seriously got tears in my eyes.

I think this colic business is God's way of making sure I don't try to have 5 kids, because if she were like that even half the time...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Well, that's a fun trick.

The last few nights, Grace has been willing to sleep in four hour stretches again, but now? When she wakes up? She STAYS up. Last night she slept 11-3am, and then was up until 6am. I wish I were exaggerating. She just thinks it's the same as the rest of the day and it's time to play. I don't really know how to convince her otherwise.

A certain INTP Librarian did a lit search for me, and, in fact, babies born to mothers who run are usually calmer and better able to handle stimuli. So, it's just everything I've done SINCE she was born.

Awesome funness.

Now she's super pleasant this morning, happy and well-rested, and it's hard to look at her smiley, adorable, chubby face and not think I'm totally letting her down.

Friday, January 23, 2009

But I bet Jesus wasn't colicky.

The church where I was depaganized was really big on this icon. The story is, Jesus was scared by the mean angels in the upper corner, so he went running to his mother. You're supposed to see that he was really scared because his shoe is hanging off his foot, he ran to her so fast. The idea is that if Jesus can turn to Mary, then surely we can, too. I always really liked that story.

I don't really believe in the church doctrine the way we're supposed to, not in the literal sense. But there's no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole, so I've spent a LOT of time talking to Mary lately. Asking for patience, asking to be a better mom, and mostly asking for sleep. Sweet, precious sleep. My prayers haven't been answered yet- but, like another one of my friends said after her first daughter was born, it's been so long since I believed in God, He's unlikely to answer my prayers at this point anyway. It's a little less lonely, though, to imagine this woman, who was the ultimate mother (I mean, seriously, even if Jesus wasn't the Messiah, he was an awfully nice person, so clearly she did SOMETHING well, right?), sitting and listening to me, and even though Jesus probably wasn't colicky (wild guess), I feel like she's not secretly thinking I'm overreacting, or Grace is just responding to my tension, or I shouldn't have run so much when I was pregnant.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Big C

So, the other night, after walking in circles around the dining room table for about half an hour, vigorously patting my little treasure on the butt, I stopped and said to Stephen, "Um, yeah. I know I keep saying she's not colicky? But she really is."

Stephen half-laughed, half threw his hands in the air, and said, "I KNOW!! I keep saying that!"

I feel bad. She's not severely colicky. She's not one of those babies who screams 24/7 and cannot be soothed by anything except a constantly running vacuum cleaner. She barely fits the three-hour requirement, and I suppose technically, since colic has to last three months, we can't officially say this until we're saying it in retrospect, but seriously. The girl is colicky. Mildly colicky.

It's really funny how I'm all shocked by this. Like somehow I would be exempt from having a colicky baby? Like people who have colicky babies really see it coming? (Anyone who does see it coming and has kids anyway has to be a crackhead.) Don't ask me.

In a way, though, saying she's colicky is a comfort. It means she's not necessarily going to grow into a tantrum-y little toddler and a hellraiser of a teenager. She could still be those things, but it's not like we've got an undeniable sign of that in our future.

In the meantime, we're going to buy stock in Duracell, because it turns out our colicky little girl looooves her swing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Closing That Chapter

I had my post-partum visit today, which means I am in the clear, no longer remotely pregnant or anything related to it (though my hormones still beg to differ, I think). Since my doctor's office moved a few months before I went in to confirm Grace was on the way, that was my first time in the office not pregnant. It was full of women with their husbands, women with bumps...and me. It was sad. I realize this is very annoying of me, as I hated being pregnant, especially at the end, and swore I would not feel this way, no matter how many women tried to tell me otherwise.

I was wrong, OKAY?!

I read in the Baby Whisperer that she thinks women need to "move on" when it's been two months since their delivery and they're still processing it. I decided to turn that on its head and give myself two months to stop fighting it and just miss my bump and the excitement and anticipation, and then I need to suck it up and stop being such a drama queen. Since I'm not very good at avoiding drama-queenism in general, we'll see how that goes;)

In other news, this has me totally horrified. Here's the thing: I've taken care of shaken babies and kids with various other non-accidental traumatic injuries, some of whom did not survive. Too many to count. So I always said that while I would prefer in-home babysitters to day care, at least at a day care center, there are too many witnesses for someone to shake your baby. Turns out that's not true, either, and it fills me with a black, soupy dread that I have never experienced before. Losing a child is so completely horrible and wrong, it's impossible to fathom, but the thought of my child's last minutes being filled with so much pain, cruelty, and terror- that is something I know I would not survive.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hey, Darwin, little help?

I am an unwavering believer in evolution. I mean, I feel stupid even saying I believe in evolution, it's like saying I believe in oxygen or blood or something. I just don't doubt it. However, there have been times in my life when I have really wondered HOW something is an evolutionary advantage, and if not an advantage, how it's managed to survive the parsing of undesirable traits. Many of those times have come in the last six weeks.

Here's the thing: human reproduction is like a sick joke. The postpartum phase is the sickest of them all. I mean, let me get this straight: after nine months of discomfort in one form or another, you spend a varying number of hours squeezing a full-sized human out of your body, after which time your hormones rapidly go apeshit on you, and instead of giving you a few weeks to, you know, get over that, you're left with a squalling, entirely vulnerable little bundle to care for. It cannot care for itself at all, nor can it cannot seek out its own care, beyond shrieking in a very undesirable way. Your efforts to care for said bundle are not met with smiles, eye contact, or really any positive feedback of any kind.

Yeah. Makes sense.

Add to that the fact that some of those bundles squall an inordinate amount. I don't like to name names or anything...

But seriously, how does this make any sense?

Because here's the thing: you hang in there. It gets better. They stop screaming interminably, they start to occasionally sleep, your endocrine system stops acting like a total jackass and the weeping and panic attacks subside a little bit, and then the baby starts cooing and smiling and looking less squooshed and puffy, and life gets a little, teeny bit easier. Well, no, not easier, but there's some fun associated with all the tough stuff. Up until then, though? I don't get it.

Wise Donna pointed out that our fussy babies (the Graces and Brendans of the world) are probably an evolutionary advantage because they scream bloody murder when the woolly mammoth approaches, while the quiet babies just lie there silently getting munched to bits. ok. I'll take that explanation. The rest, though? Nope. it's all a cruel joke.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I always speak too soon.

Awake from 1:30 until 5am? And too twitchy to get in the crib til 6am? And then waking at 6:30 and 8? my GOD, it's like the second week all over again (but still better than the first week, since we DID get a three-hour block at the outset.)

She's lucky I don't actually know where to find gypsies. She's too noisy to make a good pickpocket, but she'd be a GREAT distraction, as Stephen pointed out, so they'd be glad to have her.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I wanted a girl.

Ok? There. I said it.

Of COURSE I wanted a healthy baby, DUH. And I wouldn't have been sad if I had a boy, I was just extra happy that I had a girl.

Saying that out loud is sort of like admitting to being a Republican, or that you don't like NPR. It's okay to say you want a boy, but saying you want a girl is just not cool. Well, I wanted a girl.

I didn't have a specific kind of girl in mind, for the record. I wasn't dreaming of a frilly Laura Ashley baby, a ballerina or a Barbie-lover. If that makes her happy, then great, but I'd be just as happy with a tomboy. I'm not really sure what it is about having a girl that appealled to me so much, in fact, I've been racking my brain trying to think of it and I'm still not sure. All I know is, I'm really glad I had one.

And now that she seems to be sleeping for more than twenty minutes at a stretch, we just might end up keeping her. The gypsies will be so disappointed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Our House is not such a veryveryvery fine house

When we moved in, the electrician came out to give us an estimate on some work. Then he mysteriously vanished. I do not get it, everywhere I look, I read about electricians, plumbers, roofers, contractors, etc, having terrible trouble with the real estate bust. Not this guy, I guess, because he wanted nothing to do with us. This, um, sucked, because we had kind of a major even in early December, which makes all work on the house excruciatingly complicated.

They finally came out today, saying it would take one full day's work.

ha. hahahahaa.

Every single fixture on the second floor is a mess. There were no actual boxes to support ceiling fans. The wires were so old and in such bad shape, they literally crumbled in the electrician's hands. The best part? The weird pipe-like things in the wires. Those were gas lines. Yep, gas lines. Probably from when the house had gas lamps. I guess the previous owners didn't think those were such a big deal? (I hate those people more and more with each passing day, by the way.)

The electricians are HOPING to be done by wednesday. they come out each day at 8:30, also known as the only time Gracie reliably sleeps. Also awesome. Oh, AND?! they'll need to cut the power most of the day on wednesday, which means I have to take Gracie to my parents' house because it will be too cold for her out here. Fantastic.

If I ever, EVER talk about buying another 100 year old house? Someone point me to this blog post. And then smack me. And then shoot me. Thanks.