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Thursday, March 19, 2015

On the Contrary

Hello? Is anybody home? I'm here. We're here.

We've made it to Baby E's 7 month birthday. She's over half a year old. We've passed the newborn stage. We've passed the rolling over and the sitting up and the first teeth milestones. And I don't know how we got here. You know when you're driving on a long trip and you kind of mentally check out and all of a sudden you're 50 miles away from where you started? That's how I feel.

In the early days of our new life as a family with a newborn, I spent countless hours reading about newborns, and newborn sleep, and newborn milestones. What an immense waste of my time.  I feel like my baby and our experience was (and is) the opposite of anything I read online. Nothing is what I would have expected. Everything I read was useless, at least in terms of trying to apply Doctor Google's advice to my baby. Examples:

  • "You'll know you're in labor when you start to feel your contractions getting stronger and closer together. You'll really feel them start to get strong every 20 min or so and get closer together."
    • In my experience, I was jerked awake with contractions every 7 minutes. After an hour, they were every 4. Another couple hours every 2 min. Fast and furious, yo. This baby meant business.
  • "Write your birth plan in advance and give it to your provider."
    • ...or write it down, coat it in beer batter and deep fry it. Enjoy it with a side of cole slaw and fries because...(see next item)...
  • "The hospital will already have a copy of your birth plan." (Per Kaiser's OB-GYN department)
    • Then why were they asking me all those questions about my birth plan while I was huffing and puffing between contractions?! I did give it to them but apparently the message was not received.
  • "Nurse every 2-3 hours in those early days. Wake baby if necessary. Feed at least 10-12 times per day." 
    • I'm sorry, but I refused to poke the bear at night. Baby only got 8 feedings per day in the early days. She gained weight like a champ.

  • "Bye bye, sleep!"
    • Ok, this is where women are going to want to punch me in the throat. My baby slept great from day 1. This is NOT the norm and now that I put that out into the world, she will probably never sleep again. Shit. Anyway, it is what it is. On her first night, she slept for 6 hours straight. The next nights were pretty similar. Days, she nursed pretty much around the clock but it made for some sweet, sweet sleep for the both of us at night. As time went on, her day sleep deteriorated and night sleep got better (i.e. longer). Her naps were (and sometimes still are) 30-min cat naps.
  • "Sleep or take some much needed 'you time' while the baby naps."
    • ...unless you have a cat-napper, in which case, you will have no 'you time.' You know what you can get done in 30 minutes? Not a DAMN thing.
  • "Take baby for a ride in the car to settle the fussies."
    • NO. A million times, no. Until fairly recently, my child hated car rides with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. Trips to Grandma's included the not-so-sweet serenade of incessant wailing from the back seat. The 4-minute ride to Target felt like 4 years. I don't know what it is, but she's still iffy when it comes to the car. 
  • "Don't nurse to sleep. Your baby will get dependent on it and will never learn to self soothe."
    • What-the FUCK-EVERRRR. We nurse to sleep for bedtime. It's amazing and probably the most relaxing part of our day. And now with the time change, there's something so magical about that time of day. We have our last nursing session of the day just as the sun sets and dusk falls on the earth. We bid goodbye to the day while baby is contentedly falling asleep in my arms, her belly full and my lap warmed by the weight of her not-so-tiny body.
I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but these are the stand-outs. 

I've all but abandoned Dr. Google and am choosing to live new mommy-hood by my new mantra: Live and let baby.