Mommy Style

All right. It is time for me to blog about something very important. It's about a breast pump. And for those of you who might be a little wary, don't worry. I will post no pictures and I will divulge no personal details about my personal pumping experiences, other than saying that our home has never felt more like a dairy farm.

One of the things that I neglected to mention about Murray in the #1 Dad post was that he, himself, all on his own and on his own initiative, went out and bought me a breast pump in the first few days after Baby-O was born. (I reassert that he is the world's #1 Dad and the world's best husband ever, even if he doesn't quote Pride and Prejudice.) He called me from Baby's R Us to make sure that he was buying the correct model.

Murray wanted to get me the best. There were a few models, each a little more expensive than the last. I think that the salesperson was trying to sell Murray on the most expensive model, which allows you to pump hands-free, and Murray felt like that's the one that he should get for me because I deserve nothing but the best. But I was fine with the least expensive model because I figure the most expensive models are more geared to women who work outside of the home. Me, I work from home and can pump comfortably and privately whenever I choose.

So Murray got me the Medela Pump in Style backpack. And here is where I begin to ask very important questions.

First of all. Why would you ever need to "pump in style"? Who's going to see you pumping, and who's going to judge you on the style of your pump? And how could anyone ever make a pump that was actually stylish? I think it's impossible. (Once again---think dairy farm.)

Second of all. How can anyone ever call a smallish black backpack stylish? Like my pump is an accessory that I'm not going to be humiliated wearing around in public? I'm actually going to feel like I look cool and stylish? I don't think so. Also, where am I going that I am actually needing to wear my breast pump as a backpack? The description of the backpack online says that it is "trendy" black (since when was black a "trend"?) with butter yellow trim. Ooooo. That makes me feel so stylish!

Third of all. The pump itself is inseparable from the backpack. What's the point of that? Heaven forbid that I might not have my trendy black backpack with butter yellow trim with me at all times while pumping---I guess it's called "pump in style" because the stylish backpack is always with the pump, for better or for worse. It's like they're forcing their style on you. Now, Murray pointed out over the phone from Babies R Us that the more expensive model was not attached to its carrying case. But I didn't feel like we should spend $100 more just to have a detachable pump, especially because as I mentioned, I'll only ever be pumping in the privacy of my own home, so it doesn't really matter if my pump is forever attached to a backpack. But seriously, can anyone explain this? Whose idea was it to have a pump that is inseparable from its large, bulky carrying case? What benefit does that give me, the customer?

So there you have it. My thoughts on the breast pump. Let me be clear: Murray bought me the exact pump that I would have purchased myself, so my review of this item does not suggest that he made a poor product choice. My issue is that my pump is called "Pump in Style" and I believe that to be impossible. But judge for yourself:

Beautiful Boy

Just a picture to share with you today. We tried to do a photoshoot at the studio where Murray works, but it was too cold and the baby just cried the whole time. So yesterday we did a photo shoot using window light. Here's one of the winners!

I'm learning that having a newborn means that normal day to day tasks take about four times as long to complete. And I'm learning to take advantage of those nap times. So if you'll excuse me, I would love to spend more time blogging, but right now I have dishes and laundry to do, plus get a start on dinner so that it can be ready by tonight. If I have a little extra time, I might work on sewing a few little toys for the baby. (I sent Murray to DI on Saturday to buy some cheap toys that have rattles and bells inside so that I could rip out the sound maker and make my own toys.)

On my own again.

Today is a sad day. Today is my first day in over two weeks without my mom. So I spent it reading the parenting books that she left behind for me. Here is a list of some of the things my mom did while she was here:

* Made lots of meals, including lunches and breakfasts, and some freezer meals.
* Organized my freezer and stocked my fridge.
* Organized the bathrooms and cleaned them.
* Laundry. Again and again and again.
* Sewed covers for my pillows so that I can have a more wintery living area (my pillows were too spring/summery).
* Helped me to overcome my fear of hanging things on walls.
* Sewed a boppy pillow cover.
* Helped organize the office.
* Organized the laundry room.
* Organized the under-stairs storage.
* Knit most of a blanket.
* Watched some fun movies with me.

I'm sure there are many things that I'm forgetting---not the least of which was to give me advice on the baby, to take over care of him the first couple nights when I didn't get any sleep, and to talk to me and teach me about being a parent.

It was really wonderful having her here, and a little strange to think that she went through all of this with me when I was the infant 28 years ago.

And the real test of whether or not she was good to have around---at the end of it all, Murray said that he's ready for her to move in with us permanently.

Here are some iPhone pictures of him, so that you can see what he's been up to lately.

(Murray would like to be clear on the fact that it's an arm, not a boob behind him.)

#1 Dad

Okay. So now it is time for the post dedicated completely to Murray because if you think that I was the star of this baby delivery show, you've got another thing coming. Murray has proven yet again to be the world's best dad and father.

First of all was the fact that he brought not just one camera, but an entire back pack filled with cameras to capture the magic of Baby's birth. Murray even bought a special camera just for Baby. Since Polaroid is dead, he found a cool Japanese version that takes credit card sized pictures, Polaroid style. Murray will post these pictures once the tenth and final photo of the first set is taken. Be prepared for some awesomeness.

The cool thing is that he threw this bag of cameras into the car just to go to a non-stress test. We didn't realize we'd be actually having the baby that day. Father's premonition, I'm sure of it.

Upon learning that I would, in fact, be induced on Thursday and we would, in fact, have to cancel class, Murray's first order of business was to call his mom to tell her to come to the hospital and his second order of business was to make all the calls to all our students. He seemed a little stressed, but as soon as that was taken care of, he came alive and seemed ready to have a baby.

During the day, Murray was the most supportive and most loving he could possibly be. He fed me ice chips like nobody's business (I didn't actually need them until after the baby came, so mostly we just made a joke out of it) and he was the appropriate amount of touchy-not-touchy. Without me having to tell him, he touched me at the right moments and gave me space at the right moments. He also declined to eat when we suggested he get something to eat, because it made him feel bad that I only got ice chips. But then of course I insisted that he get something to eat because he would need his strength for the delivery part of things, too, and I really needed him to have energy. But still. He won points for not wanting to eat just because I couldn't eat.

We had a nice time visiting and chatting and making jokes throughout the day. He was kind and good to listen to me describe exactly how my contractions were, and told me, "I want to know every update---when it starts feeling a little stronger and a little more intense. Let me know ANY changes."

When it came time for the epidural, the anesthesiologist saw our video camera and our Mac Powerbook and he was ready to talk computers and cameras. So all during the administration of my epidural, I was able to listen to Mac chatter as Murray informed the anesthesiologist about all the latest iMovie updates announced at Mac World. It was so nice, actually, not to have to be the one to make chit chat with the guy shoving the tube in my spine, but to be able to listen to a conversation that I was actually interested in. Yay!

When it was the pushing part, Murray stepped into his role very well. He held one of my legs and coached me and encouraged me. (It also helped to have the mothers and the nurse and the doctor all cheering, too---like having my own cheerleading squad.) Once the baby arrived, he took care of business by cutting the cord, supervising the cleaning up of the baby, and bringing the baby over to me to meet.

Then, he went with the baby to the nursery for him to be fully cleaned and took care of all that business while I had to finish up all of my crazy business---all that post-delivery stuff that you don't think much about.

Back together again that night (I think we reunited sometime after midnight), Murray slipped into the bathroom to get into the pajamas I'd packed for him in the hospital bag---the nurses were due to come into the room at any moment, so he used the bathroom for privacy. The nurses came in, and as they were trying to tell my weary brain all sorts of really important things, like how to use a nasal aspirator to keep my baby from dying if I happen to hear him stop breathing (like I can handle THAT information at such a time!), Murray emerged from the bathroom wearing my capri sweatpants that I'd packed to wear home from the hospital. The ones with a ribbon tie at the waist. I almost burst out laughing, but saved it for when the nurses finally left and I could point out that Murray was, in fact, wearing women's pants. Apparently, while Murray wins points for being the best husband ever, I had yet again fallen short of my wifely duties. I didn't actually pack him any pajama pants and I once again forgot to pack him socks.

Since Baby's birthday, Murray has continued to the best dad and the best husband. There's not a thing that I need to ask him to do twice, and most things, I don't even have to ask him to do at all. He just does them. Yesterday I changed my first diaper---it's not that I have an aversion to changing diapers at all. It's just that Murray beat me to it every time before then, asserting that this was something that he could do and that he'd like to take care of it.

And now, not to be too schmoopy, but I have to say that I've been surprised at the surge of extra love that I feel for Murray now that he's not only my husband, but that we share a baby together, too. He is in every way the best!

(Murray's first work portraying Baby---a sketch-photo composite.)

Fruit of My Labor

Okay, so I know I'm a jerk for waiting this long to show you all the prize, but I'm sure you all have it in your hearts to forgive me. After the baby came, I was in no mood to boot up the computer at all. Ever. But now things are starting to normalize a little, so I'm ready to share pictures. Let's face it---that's what you've all come here today to see anyway!

I know I could go into pretty graphic/vivid detail about the whole experience, and I probably will at some point, but this post is more for those who want to get the gist of it. So here it is:

I went in for a non-stress test on Thursday morning at 9:00. They didn't like how his heart rate responded to some minor contractions, so they told me that they were going to send me to labor and delivery to have my induced. Which was so weird because I didn't expect to be having a baby on Thursday at all. We headed over to L&D, I got on a hospital gown, and at 10:30 I was hooked up to pitocin. My mom and Murray were with me, and my mil joined us soon after. We all visited and chatted while my contractions gradually grew stronger and stronger. Although it was 3:00 before they were intense enough for me not to feel like a wuss asking for the epidural, the time actually went by very quickly. Once I had the epidural, time continued to pass quickly, if not more comfortably. I even took a little nap while my body prepared itself for labor. I'm telling you, the epidural is my new BFF.

By late evening, my body was ready to start. I was still really comfortable because of the epidural, although I hated how my dead legs just felt like huge lumps of fat attached to the lower half of my body. If you had told me that I would have been sitting in the hospital for about ten hours waiting for push time, I would have thought it would feel like an eternity, but really the time passed quickly and pleasantly. It was all rather relaxing.

And to tell you the truth, the actual pushing part was much easier than I'd expected, too. Because I was still completely numb and painless below my belly button, the whole pushing experience felt kindof like a workout with a personal trainer---an upper body workout, since I couldn't feel my lower body. And after about an hour of pushing, I heard my doctor whisper something to the nurse about doing an episiotomy if the baby didn't come out in the next push, and that was motivation enough for me---the baby came out in the next push.

I don't have a blog name for him yet, but baby was 8 lbs 14 oz, and 20.5 inches. He's brought immeasurable joy to our lives so far.

(And lest you think that after an easy pregnancy, I've made labor and delivery sound like it's easy, let me assure you: labor and delivery were easy. Recovery the next couple of days was awful.)

(Also? I'm back to wearing my old jeans today. Thank goodness for gestational diabetes!!)


This is Murray, I am scribing for Cicada who is.......dun dun dun.......starting the process of having a baby HERE SHE IS!

We finally found what worked, Thursday was the only day this week that would have been inconvenient for the baby to come. Murray was starting up his Photoshop class for the new year, and having the baby today would mean canceling class, calling all the students to let them know individually, and risk looking like we were going to take their money and run. Not to mention the fact that I had favors to finish for my Mom and brother. But who would be so foolish to ask favors of a ticking time bomb anyway?

This morning we all came to the hospital for a non stress test, and I assumed that we would be in and out. BUT, the baby's heart rate wasn't responding well to even the tiniest of contractions. Before we knew it, I was in the labor and delivery room and hooked up to an IV. The Grandmothers are here. Murray, has made all the cancelations for his class, and now we are in for the long haul or the short haul depending on ow my body responds to this drip. Wish us luck!

What else I'm trying.

Yesterday my mother pulled everything out of our downstairs storage closet, took down our Christmas tree, and made a huge mess of the entire living area. This got us excited because we assumed that as soon as we made a huge mess of the house, I'd go into labor and deliver the baby.

It didn't work.

So then we organized everything from the storage closet, put away the Christmas tree and put away all our stored items in an organized manner. I volunteered for as much heavy lifting and bending over as I could manage, and we got the main floor looking good again.

It didn't work, either.

And so I ate some pineapple.

It didn't work.

We went to the mall to try and find me some shoes. I walked around a lot and I even walked up and down the escalators instead of just standing and waiting. We went up and downstairs several times. We even got massages in the mall massage chairs, something I never imagined I'd ever do.

It didn't work.

This morning, I slept in. (I needed it! Thanks for calling me at 9:00, Jenny.) It's almost 1:00 and I'm still in my pajamas and my teeth are not brushed and I'm not showered. My fingers are crossed!! This could work out really really well.

The fact is, I know that the baby's just going to come when he comes. Or, you know, when we take him out by force on Friday. But the labor-inducing activities we're trying are mostly for fun. We have no real expectations of success. We've certainly entertained ourselves reading about everything you could possibly think of on the internet. Pretty much all the sites mention a certain activity as the best way to go into labor. I'll give you a hint: It's how people get pregnant in the first place. And while I won't comment on this in a personal way at all, I will mention that we all really had a good laugh this morning when my mom was reading a labor induction site that said that this activity, if tried in the hospital, should be done in private.

Another site my mom read recommended deep meditation where I look into myself deeply and I ask the baby why he is staying inside when he should have come out by now. My baby may tell me that he is scared of the birthing process, or that there is a person who is involved in the birth who he is uncomfortable with. Murray suggested that he might not like our choice of hospital or city.

I think he might be staying in just because all you blog readers are enjoying my daily updates and increased blogging....

By Popular Demand...

I mean, it's worth a shot, right?

(Still no baby. But they'll induce Friday if he doesn't make an appearance before then.)

Today's Non-Labor-Inducing Activities

So like I said, we're trying to plan fun activities for every day that keep me busy and walking and prevent me from sitting on my couch, staring at my stomach, and waiting for the baby to come out. (One site on natural induction methods recommended visualizing a flower opening, and I can assure you all that that didn't work either, so I'm trying physical activities rather than mental ones.)

Today, Mom, Murray and I went to the hospital for a non-stress test. Everything is okay and the baby is doing well still. Then Mom and I dropped Murray off at work and went out to find some good walking activities. Shopping is always a good idea, so we headed over to the Riverwoods where we shopped around, and also decided to get manicures (note: manicures are not known to induce labor, but we felt we deserved it).

We had originally planned to go to Salt Lake with Murray's mom Lynette, but the road conditions deteriorated really quickly, so the three of us decided to go bowling instead. We figured that bowling might just be the trick to inducing labor, and if it was, we could patent it. Or at least start up a pregnancy bowling alley called Prego Lanes.

I really absolutely loved the bowling, even though my performance was a disgrace. My first game, I bowled a 44 and my second game a 56 (note that there was at least improvement). It's a good thing that we had Lynette there to help us out with pointers and tips. The first time I went to an American bowling alley, I thought, "Wow! This is, like, a RETRO bowling alley, with huge balls with holes in them and everything! Just like in the movies!" The second time I went to an American bowling alley, I thought, "Goodness gracious! Another retro bowling alley with holes in the balls!" I eventually learned that in Canada, we have 5-pin bowling, which is quite different from the more traditional American style. Our balls are much smaller (and certainly have no holes!), the pins are smaller, there are only five of them, and my mom and I swear that you're supposed to get three turns to try and knock them all down instead of just two.

At least no one cared about what the scores were. We all had a fantastic time and did a lot of laughing. And I may not have ever gotten a strike, but at least I got a spare once. Oh, and on the scoreboard, my name was listed as Selma. At least when my poor scores came in, I had plausible deniability. They weren't attached to MY name.

Unfortunately, after an hour or so of poorly hucking a ball down the lanes (I could only manage to shuffle up to the line each time, and I certainly couldn't bend much when releasing the ball), my water didn't break and labor pains didn't start. There's always hope for tonight, right? If I go into labor before tomorrow morning, I still plan on attributing it to the bowling. Otherwise, we've got to find something else to try tomorrow. Bouncing on a trampoline? Springboard diving?

(The master, with perfect form.)

(Ootsie, who was a much better bowler than me.)

Past Due

It is 11:32 p.m. on my due date, and since I'm still experiencing absolutely no labor pains, I think it's safe to say that our baby will be making a late appearance. This is how I feel about that:

(Don't ask my why I get a kick out of posting unflattering pictures of myself to the internet. This one was taken by my mom when I thought she wasn't ready to take a picture yet.)

It only makes sense. I have a fear of libraries because I'm absolutely unable to return books on time. And my college career consisted of turning in late homework. And Murray loves to sleep in. So our little baby comes by it naturally.

It was easy to get through Christmas, because we didn't want him to come before Christmas, but every day since then has been torture. What used to be my cute, smallish pregnant belly has just about doubled in size over the last couple of weeks and I can't walk without waddling. Of course, in an effort to try to induce labor, I've been waddling all over the place. I waddled around Temple Square to see the lights, I waddled around the Largest Dinosaur Museum in the World, I waddled around the Gateway, and I've scheduled more daily waddles in the hope that one day it will work.

Since I was so bored of nothing exciting happening, Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 12:30, I decided that Murray and my mother (who is staying and waiting with us now) should take me to the hospital. Sure, I had a valid reason. It wasn't labor, and we knew the baby wasn't coming, but we all agreed that a hospital trip was in order because none of us could explain my strange symptom (which I will keep to myself, thank you very much---a girl should be able to have some dignity).

So we went and had a wonderful time! They treated me wonderfully in labor and delivery, and I couldn't believe that I was actually put in a delivery room. It felt like a trial run for the real thing! I figured it would be convenient to go into labor right then, but the baby didn't agree, so he just stayed put. They did a non-stress test to make sure that he was doing okay, and he's doing just fine. Here's a picture of me kicking back at almost 2:00 a.m. If you'll notice the monitor, the blue lines indicate some contractions, but really it was just a fit of uncontrollable laughter when my mother made fun of me for my undignified reason for going to the hospital.

Hopefully I'll be posting more pictures like this soon, but of me being slightly less cheery, a little more exhausted, and a new little bundle of joy in my arms.