March smarch

I am really not a fan of March.  so instead of excusing my absence (I hate when bloggers do that), I shall just show you what I did in March.

 

A Tame Adventure

So guess what I did yesterday.

Oh, just took a half day from work and drove 2 hours to Paramus, NJ, ate at On the Border, and happened upon the Barnes and Noble where this #1 New York Times Bestselling Offer was doing a reading, Q&A, and book signing. Nbd.

ER MAH GERRRRD!!!

It all started about a month ago, when Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, announced a book tour to coincide with the release of the paperback of her book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir.   I saw that the first stop was Paramus, NJ on March 5th, and the second stop was NYC on March 6th.  I have my photograph class on Wednesday nights, and didn’t want to miss it (even though I didn’t go tonight, but that’s another story), and set my sights on Tuesday.  Normally the Man has a Tuesday evening class, but this week was SPRING BREAK WAHOO!  So instead of the Man partying like a rockstar, I got to meet one of my lady crushes!

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Naturally, this involved asking begging forcing one of my bffs Jess to come with. Not only is she also a huge bloggess fan, she’s also a Jersey native and could explain all the U-turns to me.   I can’t remember the last time I took a lady road trip, and it was amazing to talk about friendships, babies, birth, loss, marriage, feminism, drinking, sex, love, and everything in between. Not to mention we were riding in style in my mom’s Tiguan.

So we left around 1:30, and got there by 3:45pm. For a 7pm book signing.  Originally we were planning on leaving around 3, and grabbing dinner, and then realized that arriving in lower NYS/NJ around 5pm was not the brightest of plans.  So we grabbed a healthy, modest dinner (HA) at On the Border, talked some more, and then scouted seats at the event.

We walked in and immediately saw THIS:

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

 

And then took pictures of THESE:

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

And then had an employee come up to us and say “oh the fangirls are arriving”, and I was kind of embarrassed, but then I was like “whatever I run with 12 gans….” And continued to gush.

We were one of the first in line, and got seats in the second row, right behind the reserved seats for family and friends.  Which is kind of silly b/c first of all, she’s from Texas, so I doubt she knows too many people from Paramus, NJ personally (correct me if I’m wrong?) and second, doesn’t everyone there want to be her friend?

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Anyhow, we were re-reading the book, snorting like idiots, and taking ridiculous pictures like THIS:

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And after about an hour and 15 minutes of waiting, THIS HAPPENED:

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

And then she set up Copernicus.  Stop. Just stop. *

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You guys. I know you know what I’m going to say. Jenny Lawson is brilliant and funny and beautiful and loving. And she’s normal. She is the person you work with. Your next door neighbor. That woman you see at the grocery store every week.  She wears normal clothes and carried her own purse and talked about how she took the wrong medication before going on the Joy Behar show the day before.  I had a schoolgirl grin on the entire time.

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In the days prior, she tweeted asking for suggestions on which chapter to read, and I was delighted that she chose Stanley the magical squirrel. The whole room was packed and LAUGHING. Even better, she would stop and add little anecdotes throughout the story.

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Q&A was interesting, with a lot of people asking obscure questions about stories from her blog (which I oh so smugly was like “yeah I know what that is b/c I’ve been reading for years nbd), which is precisely what I expect those people were trying to convey.

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We lined up row by row for the signing+ and I was sweating like a pig. Like my armpits were soaked and I kind of smelled bad, and I was so nervous b/c I knew I would be close to her.

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And then she was upon me.  Jess went before me and I was so nervous I totally didn’t take any pictures of Jess getting her book signed!



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When it was my turn, I was gushing. Obviously I told her I was a huge fan, but also confided in her about a certain line in a post that I say to myself over and over. And she started to cry.  And then I totally forgot to tell her that we drove from Albany and that my family has the Christmas weasel.  But its ok because I asked her for a hug and she gave me one. So there.

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They had a system for the signing, including someone who was taking pictures. I made the mistake of asking the woman to use my “real” camera, instead of my iPhone.  And this was the result.

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Just squint your eyes and it doesn’t seem as bad? Maybe?

 

We were on the road by 8:30pm and I was home by 10:45pm.  Certainly a later night than usual, but I was flying high on fan girl love.

I need to do this sort of, what Jess called a “tame adventure”, a lot more often.

 

 

*Jess and I did go antiquing one Saturday to try and find an awesome ethically taxidermed animal, but didn’t have any luck. Instead, I printed this picture for her, which was kind of lame, but appropriate since Catholics are totally without a pope right now.

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+ A woman came by earlier and wrote our names down on post-it notes to tab on the title page so Ms. Lawson (I keep wanting to call her Jenny, but I didn’t really know her? Is that weird?) would know how to spell your name.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nursing Chronicles: Part One

While writing Breastfeeding by Fire, I got a little side-tracked and started writing about my first impressions of breastfeeding.  So here is my stream of conscious on that.

Even before I was pregnant, I planned to breastfeed.  I was not, however, a militant supporter of breastfeeding. I thought (and still do think) that full baby bellies are the most important thing, whether they are fed with breastmilk or formula. Sure, I was aware of the health benefits, but I was more focused on how breastfeeding was free and convenient.  I was wrong on both counts, at least initially.

As my pregnancy progressed, I became very worried that my milk wouldn’t come in, or I would have a low supply. I even avoided buying a breastpump, so that the money wouldn’t be wasted should I not be able to breastfeed.  I had read so much about skin-to-skin, and how important it is for developing a good breastfeeding relationship, and was terrified of the possibility of not getting that immediate skin to skin contact. I wrote in Vivi’s birth post about how they didn’t bring her right to me, and even that caused a little anxiety.

After only a few minutes, Vivian was brought to me.  A nurse asked me if I planned to breastfeed, and then motioned me to get the girls out. I had a nursing bra on, so that was easy. (don’t buy maternity bras when you’re pregnant. Just get nursing bras. They’re wonderful in the early phases).  I put a naked Vivian (except for her diaper) on my bare stomach and chest and voila.  She rooted around (bobbing her head back and forth) to try to find my nipple. I guided her a little, and she latched on with no problem.  Until that point, I hadn’t read a word about proper latch and all that. I just figured they ate or didn’t.

I expected that first time to hurt, but it really didn’t. At that point, only colostrum was coming out for her (colostrum is what one of the nurses called liquid gold for babies).

The time in the hospital was quite a daze. We had to keep a record of each time she ate, which was about every 3 hours or so. I remember feeling relatively relaxed about feeding her, and felt like things were going ok.

On our first full day in the hospital, I asked to see the lactation consultant on duty.  I figured a few pointers and suggestions could help.  Really, we wanted to be able to identify the signs that she was hungry (other than crying). The lactation consultant came by and asked if I wanted to try feeding her then.

(At that point, she was moving her head back and forth (in her little bassinet thing), and trying to find her hand. Other signs that a baby is hungry is rooting, which is when they bob their head back and forth on your body, looking for the nipple. And crying. Crying also tells you too.)

What a mistake that was.  The lactation consultant was rude, unsupportive, and made me doubt every instinct I had as a mother.  Until that point, Viv and I were doing ok.  Then she goes and tells me that I’m going to have trouble breastfeeding because my daughter is finicky.  Naturally I started getting upset.  She then said that she didn’t think she could help me because I was getting so anxious.  Wow, thanks a lot.  To top it all off, when we were talking generally about our lives and our two big dogs, she went on and on about how she hates dogs.  Way to know your audience.  I know for a fact that not all lactation consultants are like this, but I am so upset to know that she is out there discouraging other new moms.  I think that last part really sparked me to hate her, and dismiss her entirely.  When she stopped by the next day to check on us, I told her things were going fine.  They weren’t, but I didn’t want any more input from her.

Once I got home, I tried to settle into a routine. As with the hospital, the first few weeks were a blur. I was recording every feeding: start and end times, which boob. Over. And over. And over.  I was exhausted. The Man was exhausted. the dogs were exhausted. It was really hard not to get frustrated.

About ten days in, I started to lose it.  My milk had come in, and my boobs were killing me.  My nipples were hard and red and sore, regardless of how much lanolin I rubbed on there, and how often I put the nipples soothers on.  Initially, when Viv was hungry, The Man would hold her up under her arms and say “We want boob! We want boob!”.  Usually I varied between laughing or being annoyed, but on this day I just started sobbing. I don’t want to! I don’t want to do it anymore!

I started to have a horrible pain in the upper right side of my right breast.  After doing some internet research (my iphone was my best friend during those days), DOOM! It could be an infection! I read more about clogged ducts than I ever wish to know.  I called my OBGYN that Friday (12 days in), and never got a phone call back.  After actually sobbing through a feeding that afternoon, Bob and I finally decided to suck it up and go buy a breast pump.  And so, Vivian’s first store was Babies R Us.

That breast pump was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Aside from the humiliation of being hooked up to a milker, my first pump experience was great.  First of all, it didn’t hurt that much; certainly not as much as breastfeeding did.  I figured out that maybe breastfeeding didn’t need to hurt so much.  I had read so many people saying that if it hurts, you’re not doing it right.  But now I knew there was a difference between hurt and discomfort.

As I mentioned in the Breastfeeding by Fire Post, I started looking into different ways to hold Vivian while she ate.  I’ve sworn by the cross cradle hold ever since. For example, if I was feeding Viv form my right breast, I have her rest across my abdomen, with her body on my left arm.  My left hand is holding on to the back of her head.  I would then use my right hand to guide my breast to her mouth. My right elbow is sticking all out and weird, but it was perfect for us.  I had control over where her head was going, and where my breast was going. And after that, it just clicked.  http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

That was two weeks in. Two weeks. When I was living it, it seemed like an indefinite, undending period of time.  But here I am, with an eight month old, who breastfeeds like a champ (ahem. have you seen the chunky thighs?). 

My next challenge was breastfeeding in public. or at least not hiding in the other room at my parent’s house.  Tune in for more details tomorrow whenever I feel like writing about it!

In like a lion

March is here! and if Punxsutawney Phil is right, spring is around the corner. Of course, the snow flurries we got all weekend weren’t great, but the fact that they melted pretty quickly was!

Viv had her last swim lesson on Saturday morning, and the Man went in with her. Watching her swim is an entirely different experience. You really don’t appreciate how well she does until you’re in the water with her. The Man had a great time – Viv even floated on her back for a few seconds!

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The afternoon was relaxing– The Man and Viv napped while I went to the mall and picked up a new pair of jeans (one more size to go!) and an Easter dress/outfit for Viv.  Then we went out to dinner, and Viv ate her dinner in the high chair and played so nicely while we ate. We walked around Target for a bit, and contemplated some baby proofing tasks.

Then Sunday, while the Man was at the gym, Viv and I cleaned up and made a pile of clothes and shoes to be donated. One negative side effect of pregnancy was that my feet grew 1/2 a size*, so I have to clear out a lot of shoes that don’t fit anymore.

Then we loaded up the cars (me with the dogs, and The Man with Vivian), and went to my parents’ house.  My childhood next door neighbor and his wife and baby were visiting from NYC, and we had a playdate! Bugg^ is four days older than Viv, and it’s so fun to see them grow up together.  They first met in September, right before I went back to work and it’s amazing to see the change!

429891_10100472504369412_1914386098_n September 10, 2012.

Instead of “playing”, the girls are interacting! reaching, sitting, wanting to crawl, and babbling like crazy.  Bugg even got a taste of Vivian’s interest in hair pulling. yikes. IMG_5419_web IMG_5402_web IMG_5395_web I get more and more excited for summer when they’ll be toddling around!

 

Vivian passed out when we got home, exhausted from a busy day.  The Man and I had a relaxing dinner, and watched Argo, which we LOVED.  I bet that movie wins some awards. 😉

 

* I just read an article last week talking about why some women’s feet “grow” during pregnancy

^ Not her real name, obv.