Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Stuff I'm Learning

Our good friends Aaron and Katy recently sent us a really cool gift. It's a book called The New Parents' Book of Firsts: The Seemingly Insignificant but Truly Astounding Accomplishments of Mom and Dad. Instead of being about baby's first steps or first projectile vomiting incident, it has pages to record the things mom and dad do along the way, like "The First Time You Used Your Own Saliva To Clean Your Baby's Face." There really is a lot of stuff you learn from the birth experience and the early weeks of caring for a new baby. Here's some of what I've picked up so far.

1) Labor really does hurt. A lot. Sorry Elaine, but it's true! I can't lie to you. I was expecting it to be painful, but nothing could have prepared me for what it was actually like - and I thought my pain threshold was pretty high considering that I have endometriosis and suffer through terrible cramps every month. It really is true though that as soon as it's over you know it's more than worth it because the reward at the end is so great. I was ready to do it all again the next day. And this may be my hormones talking, but I am so grateful that I got to experience that pain. It's totally empowering to go through what millions of women have gone through and to know that I survived it! (at least for those six hours before I caved in and begged for drugs.) And it also makes me really really really grateful for whoever invented the epidural.

2) Sleep deprivation is a really big deal. I have to admit I severely underestimated how this would affect me. I thought, "OK, so I'll be a little tired for a while." It never occurred to me that there's a good reason they use sleep deprivation to torture prisoners of war. In reality, I'm walking around like a zombie most of the time. It affects every aspect of life, from my ability to think logically to my fantasies. All of my daydreaming now consists of visions of being tucked up in bed and sleeping for eight hours straight. Which leads to my next observation.

3) 2 hours + 2 hours + 2 hours does NOT = 6 hours of sleep. There's a scientific explanation for this, involving the importance of REM and deep sleep cycles, but my head is much too muddled to sort through it right now.

4) I love breastfeeding. I always planned on breastfeeding Sawyer, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it, or how easy it would be. I guess I'd heard so many horror stories from my mom friends that I was prepared for it to be difficult and painful to master. So it totally surprised me that aside from one day of engorgement, it's been a breeze. It helps that Sawyer is a voracious eater and has had great latching-on skills from the start. Given our love of food, I should have known we'd have a gourmet on our hands. Breastfeeding produces some funny stories too. A couple of days after my milk came in I was feeding Sawyer and not really paying attention to him because I was reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the same time. I suddenly noticed he was making a sputtering sound, and I looked down to see that he had let go of my nipple and milk was spraying all over him - on top of his head, in his eyes, everywhere. Poor little guy.

5) I love having Sawyer sleep in our room. I remember when Eric and I were engaged and we were visiting an old mission companion of Eric's who is married and has a little boy. The friend mentioned that their son (who was almost 2 at the time) sleeps in their bed with them. Eric and I looked at each other and later both agreed that we thought it was weird and maybe even a little creepy. Now it's not at all weird to me and feels like the most natural thing in the world - which it actually is. Our culture is unique in the world when it comes to putting babies to sleep in a separate room from their mothers. We have a great little bed for him called the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper (endorsed by Dr. Sears, author of many informative and only slightly self-righteous parenting books.) It attaches to the side of our bed so when Sawyer wakes up at night I can roll over and pick him up to feed him or comfort him. I love that he is right next to us and I can always open my eyes and make sure he's OK. Plus I can feed him as soon as he wakes up and starts grunting, but before he gets hysterical crying, so he goes back to sleep easily. We'll see what happens when it comes time to move him to his own room, but for now this is working really well for us.

And I'm sure I'll have a lot more to share soon! For now I'll be sitting slack-jawed on the couch in the same clothes I wore yesterday, waiting for Eric to get home so I can take a shower.

3 comments:

  1. Nikki4:35 PM

    Yay! I'm so glad for the update. It osunds like you are a very happy mom. Tired, but happy. Congratulations, again, girl! BTW, I had egg retieval yesterday and I have a mild OHSS. blah

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  2. YAY! I am so glad things are going well. I am also glad that Eric's true identity has comeout into the open. I always liked Eric.

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  3. Yes, welcome back!

    I know labor hurts, hon. I got in a small argument with the guys at Millennial Star when I was feeling sorry for a pregnant 13 year old. It made me hurt just to think of that little body trying to have a baby. I wasn't advocating abortion at all, I just felt sorry for her. I think all men should have at least one kidney stone.

    Now my advice to all girls getting married is "get the epidural" which has caused some problems because people think I think they're pregnant. I just want to get that in early. I don't give it unsolicited, it's at those shower things where you give advice.

    I had all my kids natural, so I know what I'm talking about. It was worth it, I loved my babies, but it hurts, oh, yes, it does. Although I have two friends who don't have labor pains and have almost had their babies in strange places, like the food court of a mall or something.

    Well, I'm glad you are doing okay and enjoying your baby.

    Nikki, what is ohss? Are you doing in vitro?

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