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Archive for September, 2008

latter days.

for the moment, jude is asleep. h has gone into town with the recycling, and the dogs are not barking at passersby. it’s birdsong and panting and squealing neighbor kids and my daughter’s heavy breathing. maybe i’ll churn out a few words.

my heart is heavy and not just a little anxious these days. in three days, i have to put on my game face and return to work. i haven’t mentioned it much here; for a long time, we spoke in the language of ‘if’ and not ‘when’ i’d go back. we had a hopeful plan for me staying home, but it didn’t pan out, and so off i go.

i am beyond grateful that h will be at home with little j. i don’t know how my heart would handle putting her in daycare so young. for you mamas who have had to do just that–my heart goes out to you. i can’t even go there in my head, not even hypothetically. i am trying to concentrate on the parts of my going back to work that don’t make me cry:

  • it’ll be nice to get out of the house everyday
  • it’ll be a new, yet familiar challenge to actually do my job again
  • i will be able to reconnect with friends, not to mention the non-mom part of myself
  • our fantastic benefits will continue
  • h and jude will get to bond one on one on a deeper level
  • i will get to find out if being a working mom is what i want to be

and so i steady myself as much as i can, and try to muster that “first day of school” kind of energy; i’ll need that momentum to keep myself sane. otherwise, i just look at my sleeping baby and feel nothing but grief.

i realize that, by american working standards, we have been blessed. i have been off work since april, and h has been home since may. we had six weeks together to nest before jude’s arrival, and fifteen weeks home together as a family. our days have been lazy and delightful, and i can see what gorgeous effects this time has had on jude. she is so mellow and content, she sleeps so soundly (and long!), and she is the very essence of peace 95% of the time.

every season comes to an end, and this six month season has been the best of my life. we’ve lived in a happy little fambly bubble, and now that it’s actually really very much about to change…well, i’m being redundant. this is the hardest imminent separation ever…from both of my girls.

and so i’m spending as much time as possible snuggling with jude, and when i’m not nursing her, i am pumping. my poor boobs are a red, sore mess. but they’re productive! i’ve stored between 50 and 60 oz so far, and am still on a roll. i feel a little bit better about the separation knowing i’m doing my best to keep my baby well-fed with my milk.

wow. this post is ridiculously sad and boring. i think i will close it up with adorable jude pics from last week. i’m going to watch her sleep.

my smiler.
my smiler

cheeks.
can’t you just eat those cheeks?

fake cough.
perfecting her fake cough.

clean, happy, and a bit blurry.
happy clean bath baby.

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pieces of me–mosaic meme

i found this highly intriguing over at rajen creation, and decided to give it a try this morning. i suggest you do it too; there are so many fantastic photos on flickr.

Here’s the meme:
If you want to play too, type your answer to each of the questions below into a Flickr search. Using only the first page, choose your favorite image, then copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows).

The questions:

1. What is your first name? (anne)
2. What is your favorite food? (thai)
3. What high school did you attend? (mercyhurst)
4. What is your favorite color? (blue)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (frances mcdormand)
6. Favorite drink? (red wine)
7. Dream vacation? (cinqueterre)
8. Favorite dessert? (chocolate)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (writer)
10. What do you love most in life? (autumn)
11. One word to describe you. (hoping)
12. Your Flickr name. (ohchicken)

drumroll:

pieces of me mosaic meme

and here are the photo credits!
1. Anne Lamott and Fr. Tom Weston (1997), 2. coconut chicken soup, 3. what i love about erie in july…, 4. graffiti tears, 5. Frances McDormand, 6. So lonely night….darling…, 7. HDR – Panoramic view of Riomaggiore, 8. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 9. writer’s teeth, 10. Lookout, 11. when you wish upon a star, 12. annie in repose

please let me know if you decide to play along. what better way to spend your tuesday?

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antibiotics.

what a weekend we have had. i mentioned in jude’s three month letter that she has an ear infection. it’s most likely caused by an eye infection (plugged tear duct gotten out of hand and quite goopy). perhaps we were too quick in making our decision to give jude antibiotics (thank you, mama bleu, for your alternatives links), but they seem to be doing their job.

the downside of antibiotics is the diarrhea and subsequent diaper rash they seem to have brought on. i have been eating loads of yogurt, as well as taking acidophilus pills to counteract the effect. but sadly, our little girl woke up the other night with a scream, and when i changed her diaper, her bum was flaming red. when i put a diaper on her, she wailed and flailed and was inconsolable. i brought her to my breast–the cure all–and she cried on. for the first time in her life, my boob didn’t make it better. i wept silently.

jude finally calmed down and drifted off to sleep when we stripped her and let her bum air out. once she was out cold, we re-diapered her and she slept the rest of the night. since then, we’ve added acidophilus to her bottle once a day, and have used a little cortisone and lotrimin on the rash. three days later, and it is GONE!

she seems to be feeling better overall, though she is very clingy. last night, she refused to sleep in her bed, and so she slept half the night latched on to me (and my still very sensitive breast), but i couldn’t really sleep. when i tried to take the boob away, she’d wake up and get fussy. and so sweet h took jude into her own room–which is to say, spare room with her as-of-yet unused crib and a futon–with a bottle and spent the rest of the night there. jude finally slept for four hours, as did both her mamas. i did feel guilty waking up alone in a big bed with fresh new sheets. but, as h says, at least i’m not cranky.

through all of this discomfort, my little one’s personality has shown through. she is patient and gentle, and is already learning to make the best of things. when diaper changes undoubtedly stung her raw bum, she gritted her teeth gums, and smiled and cooed while grunting. she’s continued to squeal happily at her favorite toys. and she’s begun a new, ridiculously cute behavior: she is in love with our dining room chandelier, which she can see over my shoulder when i burp her. she smiles big with a tongue poking out, and then closes her eyes and quickly looks away. and then she slyly looks back and begins the whole process again. my daughter is flirting with a light fixture. and it makes me all squishy inside.

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three months.

dear jude,

yesterday you turned three months old. to celebrate, we took you to the doctor for your first shots. congratulations! here, have some pain in your thighs. sorry about that. we’re really trying to good by you, and i think you understand, as your red-faced crying quit five seconds into an emergency nursing session.

as it turns out, you have a small ear infection, and so are experiencing your first taste of bubblegum flavored antibiotics, which you love. a whole lot. your body quivers in anticipation as the syringe nears your mouth. you seem to be feeling alright, overall, though you are sleeping a lot.

speaking of sleep, thank you SO MUCH for starting to sleep through the night most nights. you’ve taken to conking out during our nightly narnia storytime. mama h puts you in the bassinet, and there you remain for the next 5-8 hours. last week, you slept 6 hours, got up to eat and be changed, and then slept another 5 hours. that’s 11 hours, jude. ELEVEN. you’re bordering on lazy college student sleeping habits. i’m so proud.

oh, before i get off on some tangent, let me say that, at the doctor yesterday, we got your current measurements. here they are, in no particular order:

weight: 16.7 lbs (97th percentile)
height: 25 inches (89th percentile–though we’re pretty sure they measured you short…)
head circumference: 40 cm (57th percentile)

geez kid, you’re big.

anyway, this month has been a monumental one for you. we traveled by plane to nashville for your uncle kevin’s wedding. you were such a champ with constant car rides, hotel sleeping, not to mention the inner ear craziness that is flying. you were passed around to so many people who adore you. you are a very popular baby. neither one of your mamas had anxiety attacks about you being in so many other people’s arms. you’re welcome.

you also met your namesake, big jude, this month. she is such a big part of your story, of your mamas’ story, and for you two to be in the same room made my heart ache with thankfulness. she is coming to austin to visit you this month, and i can’t wait to see what shenanigans you girls get into…

the weather here is cooling down finally, after months of 100 degree days. and so the windows are open, and you get to feel the breeze on your skin. i catch you sighing and smiling when it tickles the back of your neck. today, mama h spent the afternoon working in the backyard, and you and i snuggled up for an afternoon nap. the cross breeze blew lazily, as you nursed and slept. brazilian music on the radio outside filled the bedroom and i sniffed the top of your fuzzy head. we slept for three hours that way. and i stored the memory like a stone in my pocket. you are my joy.

in just under two weeks, i have to return to work, dear one. there are many emotions wrapped up in this reality, and chief among them is grief. i am immeasurably sad to sacrifice our days together, to pump instead of nurse, and miss your daily antics and cuteness. but i am also immeasurably grateful that you get to stay home with your other mama, and that you two will have the opportunity to bond even more deeply. i have been promised by your mama h that the two of you will routinely visit me at the office, and i’m holding tight to the fact that i will see you every morning and every evening.

it’s bedtime now, and i just nursed you to sleep, as the three of us listened to old radio programs via teh interwebs. crickets are singing out the window, and you are peaceful in the fambly bed. my dearest jude, you are loved and safe and home.

my precious.

wedding fambly.

john travolta.

doing the senior picture, hand on chin pose.

in her happy place.

just a typical thursday night.

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shrug.

well hello again.

it’s an unseasonably cool evening here in austin, texass, and i’m taking full advantage by sitting outside tonight. our windows are all open, and above my head, i hear a happily squealing baby getting ready for her bath.

it’s been a whirlwind of a weekend, with uncle g’s mom–aka jude’s gabby–coming to town from houston to ride out hurricane ike. thankfully, her house seems to be fine, though she’s still without power. we spent the weekend ogling the baby, eating good food supplied by h, east side pies and clay pit. yum all around. we also played a riveting game of canasta, during which we took turns holding the baby. good times.

a little while ago, i announced that my sister e was pregnant with her first baby, but then i took that info down, as she hadn’t really gone public with the news. she’s now 10 weeks along, and my mom knows, so it’s safe to mention here. e is 39, and after 10 years on the pill, got pregnant on the first try. her doc had her lined up for the clomid challenge, given her “advanced maternal age”, but clearly my sister is her own fertility goddess. her due date is 4 days after her 40th birthday.

today, e had a bleeding scare. blood flowed like water, and she rushed herself to the er. ultrasound revealed a happily moving baby with a heartrate of 167, and everything seems to be fine. the culprit appears to be the s-e-x. she has a followup ultrasound on monday, but her doctor is pretty confident that all will continue to be well. do think healthy thoughts for her and her baby, if you think of it. e is a nervous wreck of emotion.

my mastitis is slowly healing, thank GOD. i was so miserable pumping all the time and having less time nursing jude. i really missed the connection with my baby. she did too, i think. she has been desperate for snuggles lately.

clearly, my mastitis did not poorly affect little j. according to our home scale, she is pushing 17 lbs. did i mention she grew a diaper size when we were in nashville? i think i did. well, she did. and she’s wearing 6-9 month clothes now. there are so many tiny outfits that she never got the chance to wear. sad.

so poor h has been afflicted by some sort of virus–an itchy, rashy virus. combined with my mastitis ickiness, we have been a grumpy pair. lots of shrugging and sighing instead of conversation, and loads of sleep. thankfully, jude has granted us this sleepy time, and has mostly joined in.

i hear the little one growing grumpy herself now, so i must close, but i wanted to thank all of you who sent kind words my way after my last post. i am trying to be as healthy as i can about my dear friend, and am slowly letting go of the grief of how close we once were and how my telling the truth of my life changed that. therapy has helped, as has distraction. i have had to remind myself that just because she adamantly disagrees with my life does not make me wrong. i am living a life of love and honesty, and i am finally free of the demons that kept me in the closet until i was 24 years old. the life of my daughter is a testament to that freedom. amen.

what’s a post without a jude pic? here is another one from nashville, of me and j and my dear friend, m. m is the first person i ever came out to, and was my rock during that horrid first year of being a lesbian living in the middle of christian music and fear. she wells up with tears of joy when she sees me now, whole and in love, and blessed with the miracle of my world.

with auntie marlei.

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gnome baby.

post bath baby, clearly not in the mood for video, but bottle:

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long time.

well hello. anyone still out there?

please forgive my lack of words here lately. my world is a bit topsy turvy these days, and finding the energy to sit down and write has been difficult. my computer time has been reduced to posting half-edited photos on flickr, and reading–but not responding to–email.

our trip to nashville was a whirlwind of busyness and fun. i was in a wedding, which meant h spent loads of time with the judelet, and i spent loads of time pumping. i even stripped nekkid during the reception so i could pump. (the dress was not conducive to nursing.)

my sweet baby did so well with all the travel and hubbub. she slept through the first flight and much of the second. she endured being passed around to lots of people. she was just so…good! her sleep schedule was severely messed with, however, and nights were difficult, as she woke up to nurse nearly every hour. i think this had a lot to do with all night cosleeping, as well as the unavailability of my boobs during most of the days.

she also grew a whole diaper size while we were in nashville. my little 12 weeker now fits comfortably in a size 3.

it was indescribably wonderful to see and introduce my daughter to all of my nashville friends. big jude, little j’s namesake, just moved from london to nashville on the same weekend we were there, and so they were able to meet for the first time. my heart nearly exploded with joy. many photos were taken.

here is big j eating little j:
jude eats jude.

and here is one of my favorite shots of jude, because i can see how much she looks like me sometimes:
in which she looks like me.

there are many more photos to be seen here if you are interested.

so yes. our trip was wonderful. but there is a sad coda to our adventure, unfortunately. one of an attempted resurrection of an important relationship in my life. it’s a story i’m still finding the words to tell, but suffice it to say my heart aches, and i am not sure if the relationship is salvageable. this person has never been able to reconcile her faith with my life choices, and now that there is a child in the mix, the stakes are much higher…for both of us.

…this sadness has kept me from writing here, honestly. i’m used to being exposed here, and this story isn’t one i’m ready to talk publicly about. and yet it has consumed so much of me. maybe there will be more to say later. or maybe i will be able to let it all go and simply move on. stay tuned.

meanwhile, i gots the mastitis. all the aforementioned pumping vs nursing weirdness seems to have taken its toll. i’m on antibiotics and a plugged duct has recently unplugged itself, so i am definitely on the mend. for now, i’m pumping on the afflicted side (it hurts too much to nurse) and nursing on the other. i still feel pretty flu-like, but am hoping things will start getting back to normal soon.

normal sounds delightful.

god bless my beautiful wife, who is totally picking up the slack around the house while i’m recuperating. she is not only my heart, but my hands and breastesses this week.

and now, i’m off to eat some chocolate and pump yet again.

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