Sunday, August 31, 2008

Smile, it's Two in the Morning!

Gabe does his best sleeping between eleven pm and ten am, but on nights like last night, he declines to sleep until two. Last night Chris and I were both in the nursery at two, and I was telling Gabe what a stinker he was being for keeping us up, when Gabe smiled at us. Much parental excitement ensued.

The smile is definitely nature’s way of preventing parents from killing their young.

Gabe didn’t want to sleep much after two, either, but if I had been sleeping I wouldn’t have seen this lovely morning atmospheric effect.

I am getting faster at typing with one hand, due to baby in arm, and I’m even learning to use a mouse left-handed, or as they call it in snowboarding, “goofy”. (And as a non-sequitor, in snowboarding I am not even goofy; I’m both-footed, which boggled the instructor I once briefly had.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gabriel the Gamer

Gabe woke up not to long ago with a diaper filled to the brim with grim. After a quick change by daddy it was onto the breast of the great giver of life. I returned after about fifteen minutes to do another diaper check and was rewarded with some wonderful gas smiles and well, the gas that goes with them.

Upon return to the boob Gabe was right back in action. The problem is that the boob had been completely drained of milk. Now this didn't stop Gabe, and as he lay their wide eyed I could only think one thing. He's a little dirty spawn camper waiting for the milk to spawn, and by golly he's going to be first in line. As I carried him over to the other side of the bed to tackle the slightly respawned boob I narrated what must be going on in his mind to Michelle who nearly died laughing.

Gabe: "Dude why you takin' me away from my boob. I'm totally camping the hamburger spawn. I mean seriously there this bot that's totally been taking my milk when I sleep. If I don't camp it I'll miss it all. Bots are so lame, they take the milk and sell it on the Internets, I bet it was made in China."

Well I can hear him crying over the intercom so I'll be heading back up for another diaper change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Pictures

Gabe made some new friends at the yearly block party:

Gabe, deep in thought.

Gabe, being hauled around like a sack of potatoes:

Look at that tongue!

Like a mighty leopard, snoozing in a tree. . .

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Naked Baby!

Gabe’s got some diaper-rash, so I put him out naked on a towel to air-dry. And I couldn’t resist taking pictures.

Naked babies are adorable.

Look at all of this hair!

Gabe can hold his head up! At least, for a few seconds, before he goes all bobbly-headed.

Gabe concluded the session by first peeing on the floor, carpet included, and then by peeing all over my pants, shirt, and bra. I probably deserved it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Protecting Gabe From Himself

Like all infants, Gabe came equipped with claws. In his flailings, those little claws scratch up his face. Keeping the claws trimmed is an ongoing fight, and largely futile.

Both my mother and a random woman at the post office suggested I try biting Gabe’s nails. I’ve tried it, and I have to say, so far, biting is at least as effective at the clippers and files, takes less time, and I don’t have to coordinate having the nail kit and the sleeping baby in the same place at the same time.

Another way that Gabe has learned to inflict damage on himself: his roving hand grasps a hank of his own hair and pulls. This causes him to scream in pain, which causes his mutinous hand to pull all the harder. He has done it four times now, and at every changing I see his creeping fingers come perilously close to doing it again. Mitten sleeves are becoming doubly useful.

And yesterday’s funny: while falling asleep in my arms, the rest of his body and face slack and sleepy, Gabe’s eyes suddenly went wide, eyeballs darting every-which-way like Mad-Eye Moody’s. He had gone into REM sleep with his eyes wide open!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mourning for a Whale

I love to joke about nursing, but I also find it to be deeply profound. The idea that this little being derives all of his sustenance, and all of his water, from my body – that humbles me. And it scares me. What if something should happen to me? Thank goodness for modern medicine: I may have a low opinion of formula in comparison to mom’s milk, but formula is a godsend in the face of starvation.

I cried when I read today that a baby humpback whale, not much older than Gabe, has been abandoned or separated from its mother. It was found in Sydney harbor, attempting to nurse from a yacht. Modern medicine has not invented formula for whales, so in all likelihood it will be dead soon.

This is going to haunt me for a while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gabe’s First Bath

Gabe’s belly button has fully healed into a little smile, and he’s had some up-to-his-waist-in-poo diapers, so he had his first tub bath yesterday.

The modest picture:

The less modest picture, with his daddy:

Chris did a marvelous job of getting him clean and sparkly - even the armpits, which apparently I hadn't cleaned well in his last two sponge-baths, because they smelled like toe-jam.

Gabe is three weeks old today. He is getting the hang of focusing his gaze on people and things now. His favorite subjects: mommy and daddy, and the nifty mobile over his changing table that was a gift from one of my coworkers. (Thanks Erik!)

When Gabe is awake and not crying, he makes the most amazing little sounds. They aren't cooing sounds just yet, though every so often he will make some surprising exclamation of a single vowel, as if by mistake. ("Ah!") Mom call the little chirps and sucking noises "puppy sounds". For some reason, I can't stop thinking they are the sounds a small baby dinosaur would make.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On My Breast Behavior

With the constant leakage of liquids and gasses, babies appear to be the root of all toilet humor. Along with that comes a completely different perspective on breasts. And I have to say, I’m more comfortable with my breasts being a functional part of my anatomy than I ever was with them being decorative.

Which helps, because, good lord, my breasts are gigantic now compared to what they used to be! When I drop crumbs, they fall right into my bra.

My breasts were the first part of me to get stretch marks during pregnancy. Between that and the blood vessels standing out under my pale skin, my bulging mammaries look rather frightening. I’ll refrain from posting photos. :P

At first with the nursing, it was unnerving, because I had no evidence that Gabe was actually getting anything out of me for all the work he was doing. But I was prepared for that: babies do lose weight after they are born, and milk isn’t properly produced until a few days after birth. Before the milk comes in, all the breasts produce is a tiny quantity of colostrum, which is a transparent stuff that helps prep the infant’s digestive system.

The first evidence I had that Gabe was getting enough real milk was when he spit up a teaspoon of it. That was a relief!

And now the reverse: I am producing such an abundance of milk that I have to wear absorbent pads, least I soak through yet another shirt. Apparently this leakage becomes less of a problem in subsequent pregnancies. Thank goodness for that.

There is so much humor inherent in being a human spigot. For one thing, I have accidentally *sprayed* milk in my son’s face on more than one occasion. And equipping and putting away a breast repeatedly for each feeding and changing cycle, while simultaneously holding a crying infant, results in just taking out one boob and then leaving it out while doing laps between the sofa and the changing table. I’m not looking forward to the day when I absent-mindedly answer the door with one boob hanging out.

Right from the start, I had named my breasts. The left one is “Hamburger” and the right one is “Milkshake”.

I’m grateful that I am not hampered with embarrassment about nursing!

Growth Spurt

I’m feeling like a million dollars right now. Yesterday, Gabe seems to have had his three-week growth-spurt. After a night of only four hours of sleep, for the third day in a row, I was dragging. I attempted a morning nap, but Gabe only slept for an hour – and it took me that long to nod off. Then he proceed to nurse. . . and nurse and nurse and nurse. It’s a good thing I’ve taken to grabbing a hearty breakfast at four in the morning, because during the day it took me an hour just to get myself a couple of slices of banana bread. Ultimately I did manage to stay well-fed, but I never did get dressed. Gabe didn’t take any significant naps between 11 and 5:30. And for that entire time he was having digestion trouble. He squirmed and cried and squirmed and cried, all the while attempting to nurse and periodically ripping his head away from my nipple (which hurts!) with a wail. I am amazed that he was still getting milk out of me by nightfall. By evening, my breasts were killing me.

In the evening and early night, he took two more hour-long naps, neither of which was long enough for me to really fall asleep. Chris helped out when he got home, and the feeding storm and resulting diapers started to relent about midnight. At four, when I got Gabe settled down for a nap again, I finally got my shower, and some more banana bread.

The only things that I managed to do yesterday aside from nurse, change diapers, and attempt sleep were brush my teeth, figure out how to reheat and eat pizza with one hand, and reread half of the final Harry Potter book. The book kept me sane through the endless nursing. I never even made it down stairs during the day.

And this morning I got a blissful three hours of sleep! And I feel wonderful. Now, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming, and to my delight, it seems easy by comparison. I can't say I liked the experience, but as a benchmark for comparison, it was a valuable day.

The antibiotics failed to fix my urinary tract infection, which probably made me more tired yesterday than I should have been. I hear Chris now, getting back from the pharmacy with my second round of antibiotics – yay!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yes, the Tomato is as Big as his Head

Some produce from our garden, with Gabe as scale reference.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gabe is a Beautiful Butterfly

Gabe is so beautiful that he overloads my capacity for wonderment when I look at him. He is so helpless and perfect.

My friend Faith and her two children came over for lunch today. She reheated lasagna for me while I nursed Gabe and delighted in watching her children at play. Having them over was so wonderful – I got to socialize with an adult, and I got a reminder of what fun things are in store when Gabe gets older. This parenthood thing is starting to feel normal. Normal and good. I am starting to relax into my new role.

In the garage, the monarch butterfly chrysalis that Chris and I have been watching has moved on to its next stage in life. The butterfly is drying his new wings. He’ll be off visiting the flowers soon. I can’t think of a more fitting symbol for my new life right now.

I tried to get a picture of a serene and beautiful Gabe with the butterfly. Emphasis on “tried”.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hurry Up and Nap

Gabe is twelve days old today, and already it feels like he has been here for an eternity. I’m feeling isolated and terrified that with breastfeeding, I can’t ever take a break from the baby. But that will change when I start using the breast pump, I suppose.

We’re continuing to figure out Gabe’s wants and needs. Last night I made the terribly stupid error of waking up the little fella to try to nurse him some more, because I thought he was still hungry. Much crying ensued. Chris ran interference for me all night, and as a result is dragging himself through work half-awake today.

And that was after yesterday’s attempt to get out of the house with the baby. I got the car seat and stroller figured out, repacked the diaper bag, and then took the two of us to Target. Our mission: to obtain diaper wipes, of which we were in perilously short supply. The result: we got just as far as the diaper wipes before Gabe woke up.

There will come a point when I am nimble enough to get Gabe latched on to my nipple that I won’t shy away from breastfeeding in public, but if I try it now, I’ll be baring my tits left and right while the screaming infant draws attention to me. So when Gabe started crying in the store, I high-tailed it out of there. Most of the shopping list remains to be purchased, but we do now have enough diaper wipes to last until Armageddon. Or maybe until next week. It’s hard to tell with baby supplies. Gabe continues to boggle me with the number of diapers he can soil in a single feeding session.

After yesterday’s adventure, Gabe was so angry that he cried all afternoon. So no nap for me. . . speaking of which, he is asleep now, which means I should be napping, too. Gotta go. . .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


It’s just Chris and Gabe and myself now. I had the Baby Blues yesterday; or so I thought; it turns out, though, that I have a urinary tract infection. I’m guessing that was a contributor to my overall down feeling yesterday. I saw the doctor this morning and now have some yummy antibiotics to take. And she said that the infection is probably making me feel more rundown than I realize, which was a relief to hear, because even though I got a good six hours of sleep, I still feel deflated today.

Labor confirmed for me something useful: I have a high tolerance for pain. So it wasn’t a horrible feeling of ouchness that made me call the doctor yesterday, but just an awareness of some uncomfortable sensations that hadn’t been there before. I’m glad I called when I did, because by this point I’m saying “ouch” when I stand up or sit down.

A high pain tolerance is only useful if you don’t use it to ignore pain. Pain is information. In this case, it was telling me that something bad was up.

Gabe is waking up; time to nurse him. . .

Okay, Gabe is on “intermission” right now, which is what I’ve taken to calling his short nap time in the middle of each epic feeding. Gabe has approximately five wake/sleep cycles per each 24-hour period. He’ll alternate between eating and filling diapers while awake, plus a short nap. Then he’ll sleep between one and four hours. Blessedly for us, he goes for upwards of four hours of sleep between feedings at night.

Here’s Gabe and Dad on intermission:

And another cute picture from two days ago:

More cuteness!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Too Cute!

Here's Gabe at six days old. Today makes one week. I'm amazed and delighted that we have made it this far! This new lifestyle is starting to feel normal. And wonderful!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mom, Dad, and Baby are Doing Well!

Thank you so much everyone for the well-wishes! I’m afraid I’ve been too busy being a human faucet to spend any time at the computer, but I have so much to tell! Gabe is amazing, and so is his dad. Chris has blown me away with how he leapt into fatherhood – he is way ahead of me in the diaper department, among other things, and he has a way of talking in stream-of-consciousness to Gabe that keeps me in stitches. He is a natural father.

Gabe is living up to his angelic name. He is amazingly strong for a newborn, and bigger than I expected a newborn to be. He also came with claws that had to be filed down, a suck that could peel that paint off the side of a building, and if you push on the back of his head, he fights back fiercely. All he needs is a flaming sword. (All archangels have a flaming sword in their inventory, right?)

That he refuses to have his head pushed on has made nursing difficult. I had to give up on the “easy” nursing positions for a few days, going instead for the lying-on-the-side position that requires an extra set of hands. I can’t say enough that Chris has been invaluable in toughing it out.

This morning was Gabe’s first trip to the pediatrician, and our first trip out of the house with baby. I was hoping we would be out and back before Gabe required diaper maintenance or (the terror!) feeding, but as it turned out we went through two diapers and half an hour of productive nursing right there in the doctor’s office. The outing went surprisingly well.

Up until last night we had been sticking to a schedule of waking up Gabe every two or three hours to feed him, if he didn’t wake up on his own. But the doctor visit confirmed that he is gaining back his weight ahead of the curve (all babies lose weight immediately after birth), and my 4:30 attempt to wake him for a feeding this morning resulted in furiously shrieking baby, so he has graduated to waking and eating on his own schedule.

I see that Chris has shared the awesome pictures he took before and after delivery. Oh my! I’m blushing at having nekkid pics on teh internets, but I’m too proud of myself to object. :)

I’m recovering nicely, by the way. I had a “third degree” episiotomy, which apparently means the nurses eyes would bug out when they saw my chart afterward, but it was nothing. By now I have taken almost as much Motrin for lack-of-sleep headache as for stitches discomfort. I am so very grateful that I did not require a c-section.

One of these days I plan to write an epic post about the labor and delivery, but it may have to wait a while, because I’ll have to pay for it with sleep, of which I am deficient.

I love you all! Thanks for visiting our baby blog. Time for another snippet of sleep. . .