Sunday, July 26, 2009

The First Trip

Unnecessary traveling at this time in you and your baby's life is not recommended. Every unnecessary trip will age you by at least a year.

This trip was necessary, that first doctor's visit for a "check-up".

Allow at least four hours to prepare for this trip. One hour to dress yourself and the baby. An additional hour to do this all over again. (See definitions - "Spit-up" and "Poopie".) It will take an hour to pack the diaper bag. Thirty minutes to figure out how to secure the car seat. Fifteen minutes to secure the baby in the car seat and fifteen minutes travel time.

Items that need to be packed for this one hour excursion are as follows:
6 bottles of breast milk/formula
22 diapers
1 packet of baby wipes
16 bibs
7 extra outfits
4 extra pairs of booties
10 burping pads
1 bottle aspirin (for the headache you will develop on this journey)

Bon voyage!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

I was so happy (most of the time) during my pregnancy and I was even happier after the delivery of my beautiful, healthy baby boy. I never thought this could happen to me.

When I first gave birth it was called the "baby blues" and no one talked about it. How could I be so irritable, feel so sad and cry most of the time. I had to try to hide my feelings. This could not be normal.

I struggled to camouflage my irritability and sadness. When I cried, I said it was because I was so "happy". This was a very difficult time for me.

I knew of a few other women who had been hospitalized for suffering from the "baby blues". They were labeled as being "crazy". These women should have been happy, something had to be wrong with them. I could never risk being labeled "crazy", I had to keep quiet.

Thank goodness these "baby blues" did subside in about two weeks.

And thank goodness this is now called postpartum depression and considered a normal part of early motherhood.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, What A Night

"What a very special time for me. 'Cause I remember what a night."

Frankie Valli's night had nothing over mine.

This feeding, diaper/linen/ bed clothes changing marathon continued all night long, each and every night for three weeks.

The entire "feeding process" (see definitions in a previous post) took hours.

As soon as I would fall asleep, it was time to start all over again.

Although physically drained and sleep deprived, I did enjoy watching the re-runs of Make Room for Daddy, Dobbie Gillis and My Favorite Uncle.

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy - Author Unknown

That quote described my baby. To the outside world it appeared that my baby slept for three hours before he needed to be fed. The first night home I did manage to get two hours of sleep before my baby awoke, wet and hungry.

I changed his diaper. A process that took approximately twenty minutes. I could never quite get those cloth diapers to fit my baby and it took at least 7 minutes to put bandages on my "safety pin pricked" fingers. "Safety", nothing safe about those pins.

The baby begins to breast feed and falls asleep.
(Gently nudge baby) He begins to breast feed and falls asleep.
(Gently nudge baby) He begins to breast feed and falls asleep. This continued for at least ninety minutes.

Diaper on shoulder, I position the baby for burping. Patting his back, I wait. And I wait some more. After thirty minutes the baby delivers a burp (complete with spit-up) that almost rattled the windows. As luck would have it, half of the spit-up claimed homestead on my nightgown sleeve.

I cradle him in my arms and prepare to place him in bed. As I laid him gently down I felt something on my arm. I looked down and saw this mustard colored, runny substance. It was on my arm, hands, the baby's onesie and his brand new Sears, Winnie the Pooh crib sheet and comforter. Winnie the Pooh, that's the nursery theme I picked, shaking my head.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He Looked At Me With Those Big Brown Eyes ... You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

After five days in the hospital mommy and baby are coming home. (Back in those days a complication free delivery required a five day hospital stay.)

He looked at me with those big brown eyes. I held him close and whispered, "We're taking you home today".

Once at home, we were greeted by close friends and relatives bearing prepared food dishes and eagerly awaiting their turn to hold the baby.

I visited with my friends and relatives. My mother fixed a wonderful dinner for all of us. The homecoming day was just perfect.

On top of all of this, my baby was a perfect angel (see definitions in a previous post). He slept almost all day long.

After everyone left, I realized just how tired I really was. I couldn't wait to take a good long shower and get a good nights sleep. (It's impossible for anyone to sleep in a hospital.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Baby Is Born - He's The Cutest One

Since labor was induced for the birth of my first child there is nothing memorable to blog about the trip to the hospital. (Wait until the blog about the hospital trip for birth number four. Trust me that will be a trip.)

Arrive at hospital, (fast forward, there are medical websites detailing the birthing process) I have now given birth to a beautiful baby boy. Oh, my God, I am a mother.

Flowers, balloons, gift baskets and people filled the room. I could barely make my way (in a wheelchair, common practice at the time) to the nursery viewing window to see my baby boy. (Have you viewed the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding? Well that is my family. Only if the movie would have been inspired by my life the title would have been "My Big, Pork and Crawfish Fat, Boudin Eating Cajun Family").

Every living person related to my baby is standing at that window, in addition to the spirits of deceased Great Grandma Lucy and Great Aunt Ky, my cousin Rose could just feel their presence. Everyone had an opinion (you know what they say about an "opinion") as to who our baby looked like. I could hear the relatives commenting, "Oh, he looks like his dad", "No, he looks like his mom", "He is the spitting image of Paw Paw Gus", "No he's little Xavier, Aunt Marilyn's nephew made all over again", ... )

One thing everyone agreed on, he was the cutest baby in the nursery and maybe his little round head did remind me of Paw Paw Gus.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Diaper War

Every parent has taken a picture of their child wearing only a diaper. I'll bet every parent has a baby picture of themselves wearing only a diaper. Diapers, the ultimate baby staple. You cannot raise a baby without them.

The diaper war, cloth diaper versus disposable diaper, has been going on since the disposable diaper was invented. I was drafted into this war in 1974. The battle being fought at that time was the "cost" battle. Back in those days disposable diapers were considered very expensive and two income households were the exception and not the norm.

I began the war fighting for the cause of the cloth diaper. This lasted two days. The constant smell of ammonia coming from the bucket of diapers soaking in the laundry room began to alter my brain function. I had already "disposed" of three cloth diapers in this short period of time, so it seemed only logical to switch sides in this war.

Believe me disposable diapers in 1974 were not at all like the diapers of today. The diapers of 1974 were merely a smaller version of hospital bed pads with tape on the corners. Re-taping a perfectly usable diaper involved using duct tape and a 3M bonding solution. Their unique 'wingfold' design was a guarantee that only half of the contents would actually be contained in the diaper.

Today infantry soldiers, I mean parents, are so lucky to have ultra dry thin diapers in the hourglass shape, with absorbent gelling material, featuring the frontal tape system, which allows multiple repositioning of the lateral tape without tearing the diaper, in sizes ranging from Preemie to size 7. (I'm out of breath just typing that sentence.)

Still the diaper war continues. The impact of disposable diapers versus cloth diapers, battle "environment".

I am so glad to be retired from the diaper military. Good luck to all you diaper soldiers of the world.

Pregnancy Food Craving - Myth or Reality

The sight of boiled shrimp, crawfish and crabs will either be the answer to a pregnant woman's craving or it will send her running to the bathroom to empty the contents of her stomach.

For me this pregnancy food craving was both - a myth and a reality.

While pregnant with my first child I ate a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner. However for lunch I had a bag of Cherry's Barbeque Potato Chips and a strawberry sundae from the Rinky Dink*. (I don't think they make that brand of potato chip anymore.) This was every day for months. My friend Sandra will attest to this, as she always accompanied me there for lunch. She and other friends visited me in the hospital after the baby was born and gifted me with a bag of those chips and a strawberry sundae. Immediately after the baby was born it seems the craving ceased and I emphasize the word "immediately". And here we are, 35 years later and I have never reverted to my lunch "fix" of Cherry's Barbeque Chips and a strawberry sundae.

My second pregnancy served to expand my love of seafood. I have always loved shrimp, crab and crawfish, but this pregnancy introduced me to the world of oysters (I thought I hated oysters, even though I had never tried them until I was pregnant this second time.) I now craved oysters, fried oysters, oysters bienville, oysters rockefeller and had to have them every Friday for dinner. This craving stayed with me. After the baby was born I even graduated to consuming oysters on the half shell, i.e. , raw.

While pregnant with baby three I did crave chinese food sometimes. But it was no more than an average individual would crave chinese food in a nine month period. Pregnancy three was actually "food craving" free.

With the same urgency my first baby sent me to Rinky Dink for lunch every day, baby four sent me to the snack counter at Wal-Mart. It was "deja vu" only this time my friend, Pam, accompanied me for lunch. This time it was nachos and cheese for lunch, each and every day and it had to come from the Wal-Mart snack counter. No other nachos and cheese could satisfy this craving. As with baby one, this craving also ceased after the baby was born. Although I still enjoy nachos and cheese, I just don't enjoy the ones from a Wal-Mart snack counter.

I would really enjoy receiving comments on your food cravings or lack there of during your pregnancy.

*The Rinky Dink was a drive-up establishment that served a large variety of excellent food. It's not as though my choices were limited.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Up, Up And Away On Those Pregnancy Hormones

(Title of this blog post sung to the tune of Up, Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon by the 5th Dimension.)

Congratulations, you are pregnant. Welcome to a world of chaos and responsibility. Those raging hormones are taking you higher and higher, to the land of designing the nursery, to the joys of all the baby showers. All those cute baby clothes and gadgets, you can never have too many things absolutely necessary for the proper care of your baby. Higher and higher you rise, then you hit the ceiling. In the meantime the rest of your body is suffering from exhaustion, morning sickness, heartburn, fluid build-up, constipation, hemorrhoids, bladder pressure and sleepless nights. On top of all of this you also feel unattractive, even though you have never looked more beautiful.

For no reason whatsoever you will complain, scream, yell and cry. This behavior defines who you are for the last three months of your pregnancy. Expectant dad, please be patient and understand that this is a very difficult time in a woman's life. It is also important to know that this too is a "training" period (refer to definitions in a previous post) for the years ahead.

Special thought: You will come to refer to this period of time as some of the best days of your life.

Additional items to be purchased during this period:
Paint for the baby's room, nursery furniture, those cute little alphabet letters for the wall, stroller, car seat, bottles, layettes, booties, books on parenting, onesies, mobile, diapers, swing, monitor, thermometer, hooded towels, nursing pads, breast pump/formula, sleep and play, bouncer, changing pads, wipes, baby toiletries and Rolaids. There are also those additional medical expenses not covered by your insurance. Refer to my definition of "money".

(Ending blog singing "livin on love, buying on time ...." by Alan Jackson)

Advanced Definitions

I Want - Two words designed to test your strength and ability to withstand your "Training".

Joining - Something your child will want to do, i.e., join dancing, scouts, school marching band, music, football, soccer, clubs, etc.
After you have spent a considerable amount of non-refundable money to enable your child to "join", your child will want to "quit" and "join" something else.

Dish Out - The act of continuously spending money to benefit your child.
Since this is done rapidly, you will lose track of just how much money you are spending. Thus this will spare you premature heart problems and allow you to sleep at night.

On The Road - A new lifestyle.
You will actually be living in your automobile on some days. You and your family will eat, sleep and even get dressed in your automobile. This lifestyle allows your child to attend all of the activities involved with "joining".

Quit - Something your child does to test your ability to cope with spending large amounts of money, making many sacrifices, all with the mistaken belief that you are making your child happy.

After you have spent large amounts of that non-refundable money and made those many sacrifices, your child will want to "quit". Yes, your child is unhappy, they hate this activity.