Archive for July, 2008


little j giggles now. was it plato who said the soul entered the body at 40 days, when a baby began to laugh? jude wins. she started at day 38. an accidental tickle by h during dressing time did the trick.

also, she is sleeping at more consistent 4 hour stretches overnight.

i am routinely getting 8-10 oz every time i pump. wow.

we ordered digital cable yesterday. our basic cable “lineup” is shite: network, network, 37 public access channels, telemundo + several knockoffs, and our television savior: 2 pbs channels. as of tomorrow, futile channel surfing will end, as we will have bbc america, tcm, the channels with all the baby shows, and all the other gluttonous indulgences i love so much. plus, we will still have our beloved pbs stations.

glory be.

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quite the week.

sorry for the lack of posts around here, but it’s been quite a week. this is the first day that we have actually been home all day. sweet jude has been such a little trooper.

so we went to the beach this week. by “the beach” i mean galveston, and by “this week” i mean just as tropical storm dolly decided to become a hurricane headed for the gulf coast. luckily, we just saw a lot of rain and wind. it was actually quite beautiful, as our dear friend dee rented a beach house, one row back from the water. we sat and watched out of huge windows, as we snacked and drank wine for a couple days.

galveston is a 4 hour drive from us, and we got stuck in houston rush hour traffic on our way there. and god bless our perfect daughter, she slept the whole way there. and the whole way home as well.

so now we are home and recuperating from our restful trip! it was so great to actually leave the house for more than a few hours, but so so so wonderful to return. jude has been extra sleepy since we’ve been back. travel is exhausting!

when she’s not napping, however, our little chicken is keeping us very entertained. her sly smiles are coming easier and more often now. her crinkly eyes gleam and she exhales the sweetest of coos, just before launching into a fabulous grunt and release of gas. i love this girl. she gots perfect comic timing.

i must go make myself some food while the gassy smiler is sleeping, but here are some photos:

her one month birthday, wearing her waking up face:
waking up face.
on the beach, just before another storm:
waiting for hurricane dolly
this morning, on her sensory overload play mat, giving the camera her cooing smile:
first photographic evidence of her sly smile.

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our homestudy went just fine. our social worker is a very nice lady who is obviously excited for us to finalize the adoption. at one point, as we discussed how grateful we feel to be a family, she got a little misty-eyed.

the woman definitely has a knack for pointing out awkward details. upon meeting jude, her first words were, “oh, pimples!” jude’s cheeks had, an hour before, broken out in a little heat rash.

upon meeting our lucy dog, her first words were, “well she’s not underfed, is she?”


so, that’s one more thing out of the way for the second parent adoption. now we just wait for all the background checks to come back, as well as the annoying texas-mandated 6 month waiting period, and jude will have two legal parents by december.

in other news, h and jude have gone out grocery shopping together, leaving my exhausted self with a couple of uninterrupted hours to rest. this is their first solo trip, and i am so excited to have a break from being the boob. in fact, i’m going to nap now…right after i post this photo, as i already miss my little girl’s face:

always with the arm...

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i’ve been meaning to write this post for days, weeks even, but that sweet little baby of mine seems to always be awake when i feel inspired to write, and it’s hard to type with one hand for very long.

as of now, my girls are napping together, and so i’m giving this post a shot. who knows how long it will take to actually finish it.


the hours after jude’s birth are hazy for me, and after how peaceful and sacred my labor was, it is hard for me to think about what happened after. because it wasn’t peaceful. it was hard and painful. after jude was born, i began to hemorrhage, and though it was controlled with the pit shot to the thigh, i continued to bleed a lot. the moments of jude lying skin to skin with me were shortened by my midwife having to massage my still-contracting uterus in order to get the blood out. i didn’t see any of this, and tried not to pay much attention to what was going on. i didn’t want to go into a state of panic: i’d had my baby. she was fine. she was right in front of me. i tried to center on this reality, but then my midwives were talking about how many cups of blood i was losing. i felt like i was peeing every time michele pushed down hard on my belly. thank god i didn’t see any of it.

after awhile, the midwives began pressuring me to eat and think about sitting up. i had no appetite; i was feeling pretty woozy and wiped out. i just wanted to lie next to my baby, who was learning to suckle. but my blood pressure was low, somewhere in the 90s/50s, and i needed sustenance. i finally ate a hardboiled egg and some toast, and soon was helped to a sitting position, at which point i felt my organs drop and rearrange in my belly. then the room began to spin. i remember feeling like i had to pretend to feel better than i was, in order to stay close to my baby, who was in h’s or the coach’s arms. i could hear h’s voice, faraway though she was in the same room, saying “she doesn’t look good you guys. she’s really pale.” the midwives assured her that i’d be alright soon.

in this nearly passed out state, i was helped to the bathroom and plopped down on the toilet, where i was asked to pee. i was bleeding and bleeding and was too numb and swollen to will myself to do it. because i was so lightheaded, midwife v and apprentice s took turns staying with me as i sat there bleeding, but not peeing, into the toilet. meanwhile, everyone else was in the bedroom (which is right off the bathroom, thankfully). jude was being weighed and measured and given the vitamin k shot. i missed all of this. i heard my baby’s first cries of pain, and could not even stand up on my own to get to her.

i have no idea how long i sat on that toilet, but after awhile, s tried to distract me by showing me the placenta. finally, i could feel myself peeing, and begged to be pulled off the toilet. i was exhausted, covered in sweat and blood and olive oil and god only knows what else, and asked to take a shower. midwife v turned it on for me, and was going to stand guard, but i couldn’t stand on my own. i was seeing lightning bolts in my peripheral vision, and was pretty sure i was about to black out. and so i went back to bed and was wiped down a bit. my blood pressure was taken again, and it was still too low for their liking, and so the midwives threw together a concoction of emergen-c, orange juice, and other sugary, vitamin c-like liquids. they made me chug it, which i did without puking. lucky me.

despite the panicky overwhelming mamabear feelings of being separated from my baby for so long, i was sort of okay with all the eating and peeing they were making me do, as it prolonged the dreaded stitching of the tears. by the time michele started stitching me up, i was so over being poked and prodded. i just wanted my body back, wanted everyone to leave, wanted to be alone with my family. instead, i lay on my bed with my ass propped up on dr sears big baby book and legs on michele’s lap, as s held a flashlight on my suzy and v sat next to me, holding the speculum in place. michele mercifully gave me a few shots of lidocaine before she began to stitch my internal tear and then my torn perineum. h had the baby on her breast for some of this time, and then she laid a sleeping jude next to me.

after what seemed like forever, the stitching was done, and the midwives finally said goodnight. i think it was about 2:30 am. we got on skype to videochat with big jude, little j’s namesake, and then we passed out for a few hours.


i really thought i’d processed those first postpartum hours pretty well. they happened. they were painful and scary and surreal. i was sad that i didn’t get to have the ideal home birth experience of nursing my baby off to sleep and snuggling with my love, but i was grateful for my competent midwife who knew how to put me back together again. my body, however, immediately began to grieve.

i’ve been having a lot of nightmares since jude’s birth. they usually feature ghastly animals made of all teeth and claws trying to climb my body and kill me and my baby. i’ve dreamt of being shot in the stomach. i wake up nauseated and in a cold sweat. i tell h about the dreams, which steals a lot of their power. the nightmares are happening less frequently now, thankfully, and i’ve gotten to talk about them with my therapist, which further strips them of their scariness.

another thing that is helping me heal is the fact that my body itself is healing. after over three weeks of having to mentally prepare to go through the process of going to the bathroom, my bathroom routine is returning to something like normal. i may soon even be able to wipe myself with toilet paper instead of spraying my frankensuzy (thanks h for the nickname) with the sanibottle. i mustered the courage to look at myself for the first time last week, and the little cosmetic mirror tells me that i am still me, just with stitches. and after bleeding pretty heavily for four weeks straight, today is the third day of no more blood. i can’t articulate just how much more whole i feel without that constant reminder of blood. i seriously get teary-eyed thinking about it.

my body has felt oppressed by the aftermath of giving birth, and the oppression is slowly lifting. i hadn’t been able to write about this before now for that very reason: i was still very much living in the wordless oppression and grief of an exhausted, broken-down body.

if you’re still reading this post, thank you. i know it is a cobbled together ramble, but i hope it makes sense, and can serve as a small hope to a woman in a similar situation someday.

to sum up: it’s sometimes really hard to reconcile the beauty of a birth experience with the brokenness of your body that can follow. let your body grieve this. be gentle with yourself. and your body will return to wholeness sooner than later. i’m getting there a little more every day.

pee ess, i was only interrupted for one feeding while writing this post!

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jude is 4 weeks old today!

here she is during bathtime yesterday.

beautiful clean baby.

loves hooded towels and mama.

wish us luck this evening…we have our adoption homevisit…

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three weeks.

yesterday, my little jude turned three weeks old. we celebrated by heading into town to notarize and send off various forms for her adoption. we then enjoyed lunch at cafe mundi, a favorite haunt that i really miss biking to.

there are so many stories to tell about my ever-changing child. naturally, there is the aforementioned gift of flatulence. and the other noises she comes up with are equally breathtaking. for being such a cherubic little girl, she can imitate the mean screech of a pterodactyl. and she whinnies! you should hear her my little pony impression. she is good, i tell you. gifted.

we all seem to be finding our rhythm around here, three weeks into life on the outside. i am pumping a bit now, so h can give little j a bottle at night, and let me sleep for a few extra hours. (unless jude is still hungry after a bottle, in which case she usually sleeps four hours after having seconds…) even when i don’t get a break in the night, and jude is up every 2-3 hours, she likes to stay in bed late into the morning. and so the three of us often lounge in bed until after 10, us basking in extra sleep with jude sleepily curled up against my breast.

my blues are settling as well. i haven’t written much about the postpartum blahs because it’s hard to put words to something so intense and present tense. i am not sure i am out of it all, but i can at least say that there were moments during the first two weeks that were very hard. bonding is difficult when you can’t lift your baby on your own, when someone has to bring her to you in order for you to comfort her. bonding is difficult when you are too sore to stand long enough to change a diaper or an outfit. and in those voids of bonding moments, fear of not being a good mother–or not wanting to be a mother at all–set in: the inevitable “what have i done” panic. can i handle being depended on so much, especially when i am so weak? will i ever recognize my life again? etc.

i am slowly regaining a sense of humanness…and will even more so once i am healed and no longer bleeding. the panic subsides when i pick up my daughter all by myself and stifle her cries by laying her on my chest. and when there continue to be moments of temporary paralysis when contemplating just how permanent parenthood is, i find this face staring at me:

my old soul little girl.

and i melt into a gooey mess of a grateful mom.

happy three weeks in the world, my little judelet.
mama's eye view.

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that’s my girl.

my daughter farts like a grown man. long groan, even longer, louder delivery. vibrating diaper. i am so beyond impressed.

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the coach, etc.

i’ve had some questions recently about the coach and how he is doing with the birth of little jude. i’m sorry i haven’t posted before now. he is in our everyday lives so much that when i say “we” he is included.

so. the coach was present for jude’s birth. while i was in labor, he was in charge of updating my mom and sister and auntie big jude, which he did like a pro. h didn’t leave my side once during labor. all throughout my pregnancy, i waffled over whether or not i would want him in the room when the baby was actually born. on one hand, he is a dear friend, a brother to both h and me. but. if we were trying to create healthy boundaries for him and for us, would it be too much to have him present? would i want a man in the room, period? and so i continually offered him an i don’t know, and he was gracious about it.

when it came down to me pushing and jude’s arrival being imminent, my midwife asked me if i wanted him to come in, to be the one to take pictures. i was completely naked and squatting on the assless chair, and i gave a hardy attempt at a shrug: let him in! and so there he was. i was aware of his presence in my stoned birthing state, and it was anything but intrusive. he was part of the room’s energy. i don’t know how afraid or awkward or grossed out he felt at being so close to the action, but i think that being behind the camera gave him a sense of safe distance. i’m not sure. i should ask him. but there he was. he watched as jude crowned. he bore witness as h pulled our slippery daughter from my body and into the world. he saw–with horror–me start to hemorrhage, and was present for the emergency pit shot to my thigh, and immediate recovery from a scary moment. he was among the first to hold jude.

the coach may have voluntarily relinquished the title and responsibilities of dad, but he and jude have an undeniably precious connection. he is the man in her life. she quiets down when she hears his voice. she snuggles into his arms. she stares at his face as he holds her and reads her articles from the austin chronicle or chapters from joseph campbell. simply put, she loves him.

the coach’s parents were the first set of grandparents who came to meet jude, when she was 4 days old. gabby and pop pop, as they have decided to be called, are smitten by their little girl, and though they are quick to point out the many features jude has inherited from the coach, they are equally respectful of both h and me being her parents. they even want to come to her adoption hearing this december.

and so that is how things are with the coach. he is in love with this little girl who is obviously related to him, and i think he is a little in love with us for bringing her into the world so he could meet her.

in other news, h and jude and i ventured out of the house as a fambly today for the first time. jude LOVED it. she slept soundly in the car, slept through brunch at a favorite coffeeshop called bouldin creek, woke up briefly at wheatsville, the local co-op (and only because she needed to be changed), and nursed happily at rio rita. altogether we were out for four hours, and it was delightful.

here she is wearing her elvis snarl, inherited from moi:
elvis snarl.

discovering her sal cat:
discovering her kitty.

and finally, rocking her gang signs in her treasu(red) outfit from her auntie sheela:
thanks auntie sheela!

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zz top, the zebra.

for those of you wondering where jude’s favorite zebra came from, i have an answer for you: cost plus world market. i checked their website, and couldn’t find the zebra, but jude’s gabby (ie the coach’s mom) purchased it at a houston store in late april/early may.

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two weeks old.

…and she actually took a three hour nap today. [sadly, i could not sleep and am quite disappointed. at least i got to take some photos, though. right?]

two weeks old today.

linear time lives somewhere outside our house right now. how is it possible that i gave birth two weeks ago? wasn’t it just a few minutes ago? wait, where am i? who let a baby in the house? sweet lord of hosts, someone needs to vacuum in here.

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