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Archive for April, 2010

squirrel!

here’s 15 seconds of cute for your friday. you’re welcome.

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pregnancy gripe:

oh, how i wish that every single emotion i experience, no matter the intensity, was not manifested in tears. especially in business sorts of meetings or doctors offices. over it. so very over it.

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continuity.

one bananie. one big jude. two pregnancies.

the hottness = jude + sparky + bananie

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good morning, son.

i promise it has not taken a week to find words about the reality of having a son. that took about a day, honestly. the subsequent days have slipped by with little time to reflect in words. but here i am now, five days on.

ultrasound day was a blur. that morning was a regular prenatal appt with m. my friend james, an email from whom i once wrote about here, has been staying with us for the past six weeks, as he finds some firm ground in austin. he accompanied me to my appointment, and recorded the galloping horses heartbeat of my baby. i asked m if she had any final guesses as to zig’s sex, and she said, “based on heart tones today, a girl, but my original hit was boy, so i’m sticking with boy. team boy.”

…meanwhile, on the ziggy poll, the boy voters had nudged ahead.

right about this time, i was pretty convinced i was having a girl. and i said it out loud to myself. my months of guesses culminated into the following philosophy: i may have had boy hunches, i may have thought of a full boy name, but no matter my thoughts, i am bound to have a girl. it is what i do. it is what my family does. we are girls who birth girls (with the occasional boy). so, hunch away, self; you’re still having a girl.

h had similar thoughts. hers had gone further, though. the boxes of baby jude clothes carefully packed away in the attic filled her head with baby girl dreams. sisters. the girls. that was going to be our future. our family was going to look like a house full of girls.

fast forward to the ultrasound. i’m lying on the table, elastic-waisted jeans pulled and rolled down low on my hips. jude begins to wail in terror at her mommy being in such a position, especially once the goo is applied. h sits next to me, jude on her lap. i ask jude if she wants to hold hands. she says yes. she calms down. when she gets scared again, she pushes her favorite doggy stuffed animal to my face for a kiss. it tickles. i try not to sneeze or laugh. i can’t see the big screen in front of me, where the silent sonographer takes ziggy’s measurements.

soon, jude becomes excited about the wriggling fetus on tv. beebee! beebee! beebee! she shrieks loudly, an excited mantra, over and over. sonographer says, “how old is she?” with not much interest for an answer. “22 months,” i reply, and then answer her real question: “yes, this is how she is all the time.” meanwhile, sonographer is spending a lot of time measuring ziggy’s kidneys. and unless prompted, she doesn’t answer any questions.

finally, the big reveal. ziggy’s legs are modestly placed together, and sonographer pokes around a bit with the transducer until something appears between the legs. something which turns out to be a penis. a boy. a boy. a boy.

sonographer is done. i ask if we can have a profile pic, you know, for the family album. she says yes, and annoyed, she finds ziggy’s–my son, ziggy’s–profile, and takes a couple stills. she then hurries out of the room, saying the dr will look over the measurements and let us know that everything is fine with our boy.

a few minutes turns into twenty. the doctor is performing a procedure of some sort. we wait. jude eats a pb&j, rolls around on the floor, takes off her shoes, whines about the baby not being on tv anymore, wants to play with all the instruments in the room. h says she is getting worried about how long this is taking. uncle g busies himself with jude. i am numb, trying not to worry about the fact that we’re still waiting in an exam room. i am trying to get my brain to understand that i am growing a boy, a son. my son. my boy.

sonographer comes back at the end of eternity, with news that ziggy has fluid in his kidneys. they like to see fluid levels be under 6 (mm?) and his were something like 5.4 and 5.6. this is common in boys, she says. it usually self-corrects. we’d like to schedule another ultrasound in 10 weeks. i don’t know how to interpret this information. i say, if this were really bad news, the doctor would be talking to us right? she says yes, that’s true. this is nothing to worry about…for now. we’re ushered out the door.

later, i call my midwife. she jumps up and down with joy about my boy, about her correct guess. and she tells me, very specifically: hear me, listen to my words. this happens all the time. i have NEVER seen it NOT correct itself. EVER. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS.

…i am reminding myself of this every day. worry not worry not worry not.


that night, h and i talked a long time about grieving the fact that we’re not having a daughter. the grief does not diminish, in any way, our joy about having a boy ziggy, but it was a real grief, and one that needed to be honored. we talked about our fears of being two women raising a son. i know what it means, what it feels like, to be a good woman, we agreed. i don’t know what it feels like to be a good man. and then we followed with the tentative conclusion of: we both know what it means to be a good person, and that is enough.

we rejoiced in the fact that uncle g and his dad, pop pop, will be two present and extraordinarily good men in zig’s life. if he grows up to be like them in spirit and kindness, we will have succeeded as parents.

we talked about circumcision, about which we are on the same page.

and then we cuddled into sleep, our hands both on my belly, and tried to swallow and understand the wonder of our son.

baby sexy leg!
chomp chomp chomp
sucking on fingers.
aka jack the pumpkin king.
look closely: boy
boy?  boy.

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hi. i have a son. more later, once the words come back to my brain and the feeling comes back to my toes.

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the big reveal is at 2pm cdt tomorrow. there is still time for vote. as of 7pm, the internal voters have 52% of the vote. what say you?

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vote.

peep the sidebar. weds is zig’s big reveal, unless s/he holds out on us. vote!

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weaned.

hi my name is bananie. i am a lactating mother. i last breastfed my child nine days ago. i am pretty sure that nine days without nursing warrants official wielding of the term “weaned”, right?

i wanted to nurse jude until she was 2. then i got pregnant. and i realized that jude would turn 2 three months before i gave birth. the likelihood of tandem nursing seemed pretty high. and daunting. and holy hell my boobs sure did hurt from all those pregnancy hormones.

i thought that jude might wean herself, that my milk would completely dry up or change flavor. however, she held on with gusto. she only wanted milk at night, before bed, and usually for less than 5 minutes. sometimes, she’d have a moment on the couch in the morning. it was all comfort, little to no nutrition. and though i remained hesitant to let those precious moments go, the act itself was becoming more physically uncomfortable.

a few weeks ago, jude’s nose was stuffy for several days, which meant even less nursing. i took that time to introduce a sippy cup of water or milk at bedtime. she didn’t really ask to nurse. [quick digression– bedtime these days looks like this: i read jude a few books, we turn out the lights, she has a little milk, and then she asks to go into her bed. i cover her up, say goodnight. the end.]

and then the weekend of awful sleep happened in dallas. she regressed a bit, wanted to be babied a lot, and in the middle of the night she wanted to nurse. i did what i used to do in a cosleeping situation: i whipped out a boob for her and went back to sleep. she fell asleep while nursing, and proceeded to BITE THE FUCKING FUCK out of my nipple. i yelped, squeaked, squawked, tried to unclamp her. but she was out cold and wouldn’t let go. jude has never been a biter, thank GOD; this was a total sleep-chomp. but the pain was ridiculously intense, and came only hours after she accidentally pinned my nipple to the bed with her elbow while throwing a tantrum. i’m guessing that the experience was akin to a good kick in the balls. i was immobilized for a bit.

…and sore for days after. too sore to nurse, in fact.

when we got back from dallas, jude wanted to nurse again. she asked for milk at bedtime, and when i offered her a cup, she clarified her preference by pulling up my shirt. when simple distraction no longer worked, i pulled out my trump card of no return: sorry, baby. mommy’s milk is all gone.

the first time i said it, she looked at me quizzically, but when i immediately offered a cup of milk, she was totally fine with option number two. nine days later, she sometimes forgets and asks for mommy milk, but all it takes is a reminder, and she is okay. no tears. no tantrums. in fact, at bedtime most nights, she is opting out of beverages altogether, and just wants book and bed.

so. yes. jude is weaned, just shy of 22 months old. i am so proud of our breastfeeding relationship, that we made it last this long. i already experience nostalgic moments with an air of wistfulness and finality. a montage of jude nursing through the ages plays through my head with a soft glow. it abruptly ends with these thoughts: she will never nurse again. that season is over now.

i grieve a little bit, feel a bit of relief to have my boobs back for a few months, and i celebrate what a rousing success we’ve had. i’m more at peace with the change than i thought it would be. and the best part? she snuggles me for the snuggles alone now. there’s no ulterior motive of, “if i get close enough to mommy, i’ll totally score some milk”. she just wraps her arms around my neck and goes limp on my growing belly. bliss.

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a story.

last weekend, h & j & i traveled north to dallas to spend easter weekend with the following members of my family:

the hostess with the big house: my sister, e. her husband, r. and their adorable son, carlos.
my sister, p. her husband, d. d’s father, pop pop. (note: different pop pop from jude’s pop pop.)
p&d’s 14 year old daughter, a. their 11 year old son, b.

pop pop drove in from pennsylvania. p&d&a&b drove in from virginia.

all this to say, the weekend was to be a big family sort of affair.

we arrived first, pop pop a few hours later. then p started to text. b wasn’t feeling well. he kept having to pee every 1/2 hour. possible UTI or something. they wouldn’t arrive until late. would likely have to take him to urgicare the following (easter) morning.

i was prepared to greet an under the weather, surly 11 year old boy. he’s a cranky kid on a normal day. but i adore him. i lived with him when he was a baby. until he was about 6, i took care of him (and his sister, a) for weekends at a time so his parents could go away together. he looks like me. he is my boy. i hadn’t seen him in almost 3 years. the leap from ages 9 to 11 is huge. i couldn’t to just hug him already.

and then there he was at the door. but it wasn’t my b. it was this emaciated boy with black circles for eyes. shrunken cheeks. grey pallor. i gasped. looked at his mother for reassurance. she was blank. he mumbled a bit of greeting. he said he was just thirsty and tired. he drank his water. told me he drank 5 glasses of orange juice that morning. he snuggled against his father for awhile. he went to sleep.

i fretted. i felt panicked. he literally looked like death. something needed to be done, now. why was no one else talking about it?

the next morning, b was worse, even thinner. he lay limp on a chair as e. and i presented easter baskets to him and his sister. d. then took him to the urgicare down the street. while they were gone (and out of earshot of his mother), we all started chattering about how awful b looked, how afraid we were. we all came to the conclusion that either b had diabetes or cancer. thankfully, we didn’t have to wonder for long. d & b returned, only to pick up p; b had been diagnosed w/ type 1 diabetes. they had to go to the suburban branch of the children’s hospital. his ketone levels were dangerously high. (240 mg/dl is considered high; b’s were somewhere in the 500s.)

the rest of the day is a bit of a blur. and only a week after the incident do i have more details about what went down, as i spent the day distracting a. from being in constant worry about her brother. so. the hospital advised that it was not equipped for the severity of b’s ketoacidosis. he was rushed by ambulance to the main hospital downtown. there, 10 doctors worked to stabilize him. if p&d had waited another day to take him to the hospital, he would have slipped into a coma, and likely died. bringing b’s glucose levels down was a delicate operation; if it was done too quickly, his brain could have begun to swell.

in the end, my beloved nephew was stabilized. the next day, he and his parents learned the regimen he’ll have to keep for the rest of his life: 4 insulin shots a day, and a radically different diet. after three days in the hospital, he was released. he gained six pounds this week. he is okay.

i didn’t get to see him in the hospital. we had to get back to austin the day after easter. and i’ve been decompressing from this near-tragic story all week. seeing my beloved, precious nephew so close to death knocked the proverbial wind out of me. and i’ve been weepy and exhausted ever since.

however, i am beyond grateful to have been present, instead of hearing the story from a thousand miles away. i was able to hug my crying sister as she prepared to rush her son to the hospital. i got to hold a distracted sort of vigil with my niece all easter, as she played with her cousin jude for the first time ever. all of these things were a gift. i’m just still trying to process the enormity of it all.

in the end, though, as i process the fear, the panic, the stress, i can exhale: my boy is alive and on his way to perfect health.

ps: the metastory of easter weekend goes a little like this: my mother was flown in from pa as a surprise. only, her flight was diverted back to the airport, and she arrived several hours later. i saw her for a total for a few hours. and jude. oh jude. this was the first trip without the pack-n-play to sleep in, as she’s outgrown it. we created a sleeping bag sort of bed on the floor, which she had none of. instead she slept between us in bed, waking up every hour. she barely napped. and she threw fierce, body-slamming tantrums, like only a sleep-deprived, nearly two-year-old can do. basically, i spent the whole weekend longing for liquor and some sleep.

how was your easter?

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addendum

i wish to announce that yesterday’s post was, in fact, an april fool’s joke. i hope you all had an “oh shit, really?!” moment, before enjoying a bit of a giggle. that was definitely my intent.

have a lovely weekend everyone. i’m headed on a bit of a roadtrip to see many members of my family, some of whom i haven’t seen in many years. decompression of some sort to follow, for sure.

x

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