Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Naming the Baby

Today our baby is one week old. My birthday present to her, in addition to copious amounts of breast milk and nuzzling, is an alias for this blog. In my exuberance, I said her actual name in the “she’s here!” post. But it’s not really fair to give everyone else in the family their anonymity and call her by name. It’s tricky, though, because my four-year-old son and I both have very convenient nicknames that work well for the blog. (Many of my close friends actually call me “E,” and O. is known by the inner circle as often by “O.” as by his actual name.) I don’t think we’re likely to start calling the baby “R.” at any point; that letter doesn’t sound out the initial syllable of her name in the way that “O” and “E” do ours. The other name under consideration was Lucy, and I have to admit one thing I liked about that name was that it has a cool little nickname (“Lu”) built in, one that she could use if she turns out to be the butch, no-nonsense type, and one that would also work nicely as an alias on my blog. But we decided on the other name option, and I am glad. Now that she’s named, it seems like no other name would quite suit her so well. But the first syllable of her name is “rue,” and that doesn’t seem like quite so jaunty or cheerful a nickname.

As so often happens, though, my son taught me otherwise. When my Old Man read my last post, he said “You used her name. That’s interesting,” and I told him that I planned to use an alias from now on, but was having trouble coming up with one. O. was not in on the conversation, but of course he was absorbing every word. After my Old Man and I had gone back and forth over possible options (this baby has already gathered several little nicknames and terms of endearment, but none seem blogworthy), O. piped up. “The baby’s nickname could be Roo, like in Winnie the Pooh,” he said. Hm. “Roo” is totally different than “rue.” And I’ve always dug Roo. (At least the A. A. Milne version; I’m thus far blissfully ignorant of the Disney versions of Pooh and his crew.) He’s small and cute but scrappy, always leaping in and out of sand pits to keep his jumping chops up. And both he and Kanga are unflappable and can take a joke, and even turn it around to joke the jokers (see chapter seven of the first Winnie the Pooh book, “In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath”). He’s also often tucked into his mama’s pouch, and as an ardent fan of the baby sling, I am already walking around wearing my little girl in a pouch some of the time. It seems like a fine nickname, plus it fits the family pattern of first-syllable-as-nickname (which my Old Man can’t really rock, his name itself being one syllable). So Roo it is.

So what to say about this baby girl I’ll call Roo? (New as she is, it will take some getting used to, calling her by anything but her sweet name.) Well, it’s only been a week, but I am deep in love. I’ve never been one to fetishize tiny babies, or to wax nostalgic about nursing days gone by, and yet now that I’m in it, I’m entranced by the smell of her little head, the softness of her face, the funny sounds she makes, the sight of her face relaxed into the bliss of breastfeeding. It’s bringing me back to my love-addled days as the mother of newborn O., and at the same time, it’s a whole new thing, an encounter with an entirely other being and her particular rhythms and charms. And watching my Old Man father her with such love, such humor, such patience, makes me appreciate him even more than I already do. It’s a downright lovefest around here. True, we’re short on sleep. True, it’s a challenge sometimes juggling a newborn and a preschooler. But all-in-all, things are pretty fucking great. If you stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll have some wit’s-end moments in the coming weeks and months, but right now, I’m just happy to be where I am.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baby Love

Our baby is born! She wriggled out at 4:44 PM on Sunday, after a mere fourteen hours or so of labor (nothing compared to the 24 it took me to get O. out). The birth went really well, overall. I'll undoubtedly tell the whole story some time, but basic highlights: I spent the morning laboring at home with my Old Man and my amazing doula, Rae, while O. played with his matchbox cars and went to the park with my mom. At around 1 PM I walked a block and a half over to the home of Kristy, the miracle-working midwife who delivered O. She checked my cervix and said "Let's get you to the hospital!" Then she proceeded to drop her kids off at a neighbors so that she could go to the hospital on her day off and deliver our daughter. It was a water birth, which was very cool. Overall, it was much easier this second time around. Afterward my placenta wouldn't come out and I nearly had to go to the OR to be intubated, put under general anesthetic, and have the placenta "instrumentally removed." Nothing like enduring the work and pain of natural childbirth only to be separated from your baby and put under a more intense form of anethetic than an epidural. But luckily Kristy called on an OB who came in and essentially punched me in the stomach until the placenta came loose and slid out. I never could have imagined being so grateful to anyone for wailing on my recently-laboring belly, but I wanted to kiss this woman. By that time, my mom had brought O. and I was happy to be reunited with my whole family, including our new little baby girl.

Her name is Ruby, and she is beautiful and so very sweet. We brought her home from the hosptial on Wednesday, and life has been lovely. She's crying to be fed at the moment, so I must go and more later!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's On!

Okay, I know I won't be able to post from my hospital bed as Esereth requested (and as she herself, amazingly, did when her little one was born). But I'll do the next best thing: a post during labor.

I'm in labor! And very excited about it. It's a bit after 2 AM and everyone is asleep. I've been having contractions since midnight and now they're about 10 minutes apart, about 40-50 seconds long, and at this point mostly quite managable. I just called my doula on her cell to give her a heads up, but I got her voice mail. I left a message, and I think I'll just call back when things are getting a bit more intense. If I need to, I'll call her home phone, though I'd rather not wake the whole family (including her midwife husband, who I know was on call yesterday).

Time for a contraction.

That one was pretty intense.

It's oddly cool to be laboring alone in the middle of the night. I sort of wish my labor had started more like, say, 4 AM so that I could at least have gotten some sleep, but at this point I'm just really glad to be in labor and hoping things go smoothly. Once things get harder I'll be glad to have my doula and my Old Man to hang on, and I'll be very glad to get to the hospital and get in the jacuzzi. But for now, this is fine.

So, I'll be back in touch to let you know how things went once I'm out of the hospital. It may be a few days. In the meantime, wish me luck.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Still Waiting...

Here I am on the evening of my due date, and we're still waiting for labor to begin. I read recently that the average second pregnancy goes three days past the due date (which seems a bit hard to believe, given how premature births would affect this statistic), so I guess I shouldn't be impatient. But I am. First of all, I want to meet this baby; I'm ready to bring this baby home. Second, I am now officially really tired of being pregnant. I'm getting this recurring Charlie horse in my left groin that is very painful and makes me want to hop around grabbing myself inappropriately in all manner of public situations. (As it is, it recently caused me to plop down on the floor in the intimates department at Macy's and do the stretch-for-pregnant-women-with-Charlie-horses, the Taylor sit, which for you yoga students out there, is basically badhakonasana. For the non-yoga-initiated, let's just say it's not a particularly ladylike position.) I'm also itchy as hell. My belly itches, yes, of course. But my feet also itch, and my shins, and my calves, and my forearms. I itch all over, like I've never itched before. I don't remember this from when I was pregnant with O., and it's maddening. Plus of course I'm all front-heavy and off-balance and I keep dropping things and I have to piss every twenty minutes. And the baby has dropped low in my pelvis and begun doing this head-butt-to-the-cervix move that's really uncomfortable, and makes me make faces and little noises that tend to alarm people around me, because they assume I'm going into labor.

And hopefully very soon I will indeed be going into labor. I'm ready. Bring it on.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hand Me That Twig, Will Ya?

My due date is one week from today. Part of me, the geek part, really wanted to go into labor today. Labor Day, get it? It would've been like a biological pun. But actually, I'm fine with waiting a bit longer. (Not too much longer.)

I'm definitely nesting, though. I have papers to grade, classes to plan, a desk to clean, but I find myself drawn to other tasks. Like putting contact paper in the drawers of the dresser I recently bought at a garage sale, a dresser intended for baby clothes and O. clothes. As I stood out on my porch this morning, washing the cobwebs out of the drawers and measuring contact paper to fit into each drawer bottom, I found myself wondering "Why am I doing this?" Not the cobweb-cleaning part, but the contact paper part. I've never put contact paper into a drawer before. It just seems like something you do when you get a dresser. I'm sure there's a good reason - I just don't know what that reason might be. Anyway, it's done now.

I think we're ready. The new car is bought; the old car is sold. The infant seat is installed. The bassinette is put together (no thanks to the motherfuckers who bought it before us and returned it to the store without the directions and with parts that were supposed to be pre-assembled taken apart... my Old Man deserves a special award for figuring out how the damn thing works). My cock-eyed plan to transform our queen-sized bed to a king in order to faciliate a co-sleeping infant in the middle and nightly visits from a four-year-old on the edge seems to have worked (ask me for details before I patent the technique).

Now we're just waiting for the contractions to begin...