9 Months

9 mos

Thhhhbbbbttttt!

That is the sound of my daughter blowing a raspberry. Because at 9 months old, that is her favorite thing to do. She blows raspberries from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to bed. In her opinion, the best way to accomplish this is to take a big swig of water from her sippy cup and THEN blow a big, long, slobbery raspberry with a mouth full of water.

This kid, folks. She is the silliest.

She’s been crawling for two weeks now, and in those two weeks, we’ve watched her confidence and speed increase tenfold. At first, it was just a few tentative scoots over to a toy she wanted before she went flat on her belly and rolled over. Then, she discovered that she could cross a room. Last week, she discovered that she could LEAVE whatever room she’s in and go to an entirely DIFFERENT room. Now, nothing is safe. The house is her playground. She desperately wants to drink from the dogs’ water bowl. Yesterday, she figured out the flap on the doggy door. I am searching Craigslist for baby gates.

The other day, my mom and I described C as a concussion in motion. I can’t count the number of times a day we hear the thud of her head against something—a door, the floor, a toy, the crib—and exclaim, “Bonk!” If she’s not crying, she will laugh! If she’s crying, she will demand about 2 seconds of coddling from you before she’s over it and on the move again.

At the moment, she has 5 teeth, and she’s working on the 6th. Teething has been a special kind of hell. I would truly give my right arm to be able to take away the pain that these tiny little teeth cause our baby girl. It’s lousy.

For her newest party trick, she’s waving hello and goodbye. It’s adorable, and my heart aches when I have to be on the receiving end of her wave bye bye in the morning.

About a week ago, we started noticing that Charlotte was also waving at the ceiling fans. It was a head scratcher. We really couldn’t figure it out. Then it occurred to us. When Catch is carrying her and flips a switch in one of the rooms with a ceiling fan/light, she sticks out her arm and makes a “flash” gesture with her hand like she’s performing magic to turn the light/fan on. C is now imitating her. I almost died from the cuteness.

Sleep still eludes us, but at the very least we can count on her naps. She will consistently take two good naps in her crib every day. She’s stubborn, and sometimes she’ll play for 30 minutes before she falls asleep, but usually it’s more like 5-10 minutes and then she’s out for 1-2 hours. We love watching her on the monitor before she falls asleep. She has a puppy WubbaNub in her crib with her and she can keep herself totally entertained with it before she squeezes it close to her and passes out.

The water is Charlotte’s happy place. She loves being in the pool with Catch at swim class, and she is a silly, splashy little wiggle worm in the bathtub. The other night she was totally inconsolable (a rare thing these days) and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong or how to make her happy. A bath solved everything.

Diaper changes have become complicated. She either screams like we’re torturing her, or wiggles so much that we can’t even hope to cover her bottom in cloth. It’s maddening.

I am so grateful that I get to share my days (and let’s be honest—my nights) with this little girl. She makes my world go ‘round.

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To two or not to two…

My wife and I often have differing opinions. We don’t agree on art. We don’t agree on music. We don’t even agree on how to prepare Top Ramen. For that reason, I’m pretty surprised that we agree on the subject of whether or not we want another child. That is, if you can count a mutual, “I dunno” as agreement.

Every single day of my pregnancy, I told myself that I never wanted to do this again. From the progesterone injections that left excruciating welts on my back side to the desperate sadness of losing one of our babies to the constipation and the overwhelming discomfort, I hated pregnancy. Never mind GETTING pregnant. And I feel much the same about childbirth. I hated it all. It was miserable and uncomfortable and I was basically terrified for 40 weeks and 6 days.

But it brought me Charlotte. My amazing baby girl. And now all those weeks of misery just seem so absolutely secondary to the wonderment of being this little girl’s mother. For her, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

But that’s the thing. I already have her. Doing it all again would bring me another child. A different one. And in my head, there is this voice that wonders how I could ever possibly love another child as much as I love this one. I can’t even imagine it.

And even if I did love another child as much as I love my Charlotte, what would that mean for our precious firstborn? Less attention. Moms who are spread even more thin. How could I do that to her? Knowing that everything we have to give is barely enough for her right now, how could I even fathom doing something that would give her less?

But then I see pictures on Facebook. Siblings holding hands. An older sibling kissing the top of the newborn sibling’s head. “Share this if your sister is your best friend.” And I watch Catch with her sister–leaving silly messages and commiserating about their parents. Sharing in each others’ lives… and it makes me wonder if less in the short term is worth it for more in the long term.

That’s where I get stuck, though… because I have a half-brother and a half-sister and neither of them are speaking to me. I worshiped them from the day they were born. They were my baby brother and sister. But now… well, now they’re pain in the ass young adults who need to grow up and figure their shit out. That’s not exactly the kind of more that I want for Charlotte.

There’s a huge part of me that would LOVE the chance to have a newborn again just so I can have a do over. So I could go into it with the knowledge, comfort and experience that I have now. So maybe I can enjoy it more. But of course, that in itself is not enough of a reason to have a child… we all know how fleeting the newborn stage is.

I don’t really know what to make of it all. I don’t have all of the answers right now. What I have is 5 embryos still frozen in a lab 5 miles away and a biological clock that is ticking away. I hope that in time I will have the answers, but for now I am perfectly content to have one little pair of crawling hands and knees to chase after.

Zombieland

We were in teething hell last week. Seriously, it was awful. Lots of fussiness, very little sleep, constant low-grade fevers, and plenty of ibuprofen. Which leads me to 3:30 am:

Charlotte: SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM *chews on fist* SCREAM

Catch: What do we do?

Molly: I don’t know!

Charlotte: SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM *push mom away* *reach back for mom* *push mom away* *reach back for mom* SCREAM

Catch: Should I get ibuprofen?

Molly: YES

And that is the scenario that landed me on the phone with poison control at 4 am. Because we used the wrong syringe in a middle of the night, sleep-deprived fog, and gave Charlotte .625 ml (1/3 of a dose) more than we should have.

Guess what? The folks at poison control are LOVELY. Even though it was the middle of the night and we were probably the hundredth people calling because they overdosed their kid with some “foolproof” children’s medicine.

Also, it was absolutely fine. The awesome woman I spoke with asked a few questions, crunched some numbers, said not to give her any more ibuprofen for 8 hours and that she might have a bit of tummy upset, but that it was essentially no big deal.

Two days later, two new teeth had broken through. It appears that there’s still one more on the way, but things aren’t as bad as they were because Charlotte has been distracted by…

A COLD! Yes! Because moms didn’t need a break or anything.

So, hi from Zombieland. I took my first sick day since returning from maternity leave yesterday so I could stay home with my needy little monster. It was SUPER fun. Charlotte is going through this annoying-as-hell phase where she reaches out for me and then the minute I pick her up, she pushes away and insists I put her down… but the second I put her down, she’s reaching for me to pick her up again. We repeat this ad nauseam. All day. I do not understand it. I am so tired of being pushed away by my baby. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, CHILD?! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! I will so gladly comfort your sicky-yuckiness, but you have got to let me hold you for longer than 5 seconds.

I’m going to stop whining now and share with you a few brief moments of cuteness that arose on yesterday’s sick day. The previous owners of our house installed a cat door on the master bedroom door. We keep meaning to replace the door, but then something like this happens, and we’re just so entertained by it that we can’t imagine it not being there. Also, pardon the YELLOW walls. OMG I hate that room. Yellow is not my color. Someday, I will find the energy to paint.

Peek a boo from Molly on Vimeo.

Prove Me Wrong!

Last week on Monday, I mentioned to the nanny that Charlotte wasn’t yet pulling herself into a sit and I was starting to feel a bit anxious about it. The nanny said she’d make sure she got lots of floor time and that they’d work on it.

When I got home on Monday, I was playing on the floor with Charlotte before dinner and she rolled over and then hoisted herself back up upright like it was no big deal and she’d been doing it forever, mom.

This past Monday, I was eating lunch with a colleague who had her baby just a few months before Charlotte was born. I asked her when her daughter started crawling because I’ve been feeling antsy about Charlotte not crawling. Her daughter was crawling at 7 months. I got more antsy.

When I got home from work on Monday, Catch came out to greet me with Charlotte in her arms and proclaimed, “Mom! We’ve been crawling!” We broke out the outlet covers in celebration.

I’m just putting all of this here as a heads up to you that on Monday next week, I am going to write a post lamenting how Charlotte doesn’t sleep through the night.

Game on, universe… Game on.

There’s a Pill for That

My weight gain while I was pregnant was a reasonably respectable 25 pounds.

Some of you who have been around long enough might remember that I worked my ass off to lose weight before I got pregnant. I lost a total of 50 pounds between our first and second IUIs. (There were a number of months in there, for the record!) I was running. I was eating well. I was healthier than I’d been in a long time.

At some point after that second round of IUIs, the fertility treatments and the drugs started taking their toll on me. I stopped eating as well. Once we started on the IVF train, I stopped running. I was depressed. There was a lot of Ben & Jerry’s involved. Even so, amazingly I didn’t really gain any weight. I attribute that to the fact that my RE had put me on metformin, which I later stopped taking after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Everyone told me that if I breastfed, the baby weight would melt right off. I fully expected that would be the case. Except it wasn’t.

First, my body didn’t really want to produce breast milk. All of a sudden, I was eating a ton of things that I wouldn’t normally eat. Lactation cookies around the clock. Lots of carby, oaty things. Then, I started taking Domperidone, which is known for causing weight gain. Then, between postpartum depression/anxiety and just adjusting to being a working mom, our eating habits just went down the toilet. I’ve been struggling with meal prep. I’ve been struggling with grocery shopping. There aren’t enough hours in the day, and yet I barely have enough energy to get through the hours that are there. Having a baby who won’t sleep more than a few hours at a time isn’t helping things, either.

Right now, I weigh 3 pounds MORE than I did when I was 40 weeks pregnant.

Admitting that kind of makes me want to throw up—which actually brings me to the next part of my story.

When I saw my doctor last week, I asked him to put me back on Metformin. I am pretty much desperately hoping that the met will help curb the effects of the dom so that at least I’m back on an even playing field. Eventually, I’d like to start running again, but realistically, I think it’s going to be a while before I can make that happen.

All of that is a very long way of getting to the point that I think the metformin was the reason why I was horribly ill yesterday. I started the day feeling a bit nauseous, and as the day wore on it got so bad that I was pretty much incapacitated. I started throwing up about 30 minutes into Charlotte’s nap, so Val was stuck with a grouchy screaming baby while I laid in bed and wished I was dead.

I know a number of you out there in PCOS land have experience with metformin. Has it ever made you sick like that? I was trying hard to remember from the last time I took it, but it’s kind of a blur. I feel mostly fine today (thank dog) but if that’s going to continue to happen, I might have to revisit this decision.

Before We Build That Wall

First, I want to thank you all so much for your words of encouragement on my previous post. I am so lucky to have your voices in my ear.

——

So, we’ve booked a trip to Mexico in July.

Because traveling internationally to a developing country with a child under one when you’re struggling with severe anxiety is totally the thing to do.

Sigh.

The thing is that this will essentially be a free vacation for us. My mom offered to pay for our airfare, and we’re staying at her timeshare just outside of Puerto Vallarta. Plus mom is also coming, which means BABYSITTER.

How could we say no? We couldn’t.

So now I’m left to stress about ALL OF THE THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG. And OMG there are SO. MANY. THINGS.

The last time we went to Mexico with my family, we had a near death experience on a catamaran. We made the mistake of taking a snorkel/pristine beach day trip across the bay while TOTALLY hung over. Then we got so sea sick (courtesy of our hangovers) that I threw up in the water while snorkeling, and Catch spent a while puking over the side of the moving boat. THEN WE GOT CAUGHT IN A MONSOON. No joke. Full on monsoon. Pouring rain. Crazy lightning. Zero visibility. NOT ENOUGH LIFE VESTS FOR EVERYONE ON BOARD. (Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…)

So this morning, as I was discussing the trip with my mom, I mentioned that we would not be getting on any boats this time. Fortunately, she was in agreement, having been caught in ANOTHER MONSOON (same trip) while doing a Pirate-themed dinner cruise on the bay. Catch and I had decided to sit that one out, and we were pretty grateful when the rest of our family returned around midnight looking like drowned rats.

No boats.

We also agreed that we’re going to stay at the resort and not go into town because I am too afraid that someone is going to steal my baby. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, I know that the resort cities in Mexico are reasonably safe for tourists because they live off of tourism, but hello ANXIETY. I am convinced that we’ll go from a stroll through town to the nightly news in the USA.

We’re going about 2 weeks before Charlotte’s first birthday. Catch picked up her birth certificate today so we can get her a passport. I can’t believe my baby needs a passport.

If you have any tips for traveling with an almost 1-year old, I’m all ears. Er, eyes. Whatever.

When Everything Isn’t Enough

Yesterday morning, I swiped my debit card for my $20 copay and planted myself nervously in a beige vinyl chair as I waited for my name to be called. I would be seeing my doctor shortly—for the first time in almost 2 years.

A nurse called my name and exited the room after taking my blood pressure and temperature. I sat on the exam table staring at my feet wondering how I was going to approach this.

How do you tell your doctor that you think you’re dealing with postpartum depression/anxiety? Would you believe that I actually googled that before I left work for my appointment? I did.

Last week, I told my wife that I made a doctor appointment. She responded, “Are you really feeling that low?” I had to think about it for a while because all this time, I’ve thought it was obvious. I had a similar conversation with my mom a few months ago.

That exchange left me questioning whether I really belonged on that exam table or not. I wasn’t contemplating hurting myself. I wasn’t having trouble bonding with my baby. You wouldn’t look at me sitting at the dining room table across from my wife as we laugh at the antics of our daughter over dinner and think, “That girl needs help.”

But I wonder if you’d think differently if you could see inside my head. I wonder what you’d think if you could see the scene that plays out in my head when I strap my baby girl into her carrier—it’s always the same. I trip as I’m walking and watch as my baby’s head hits the ground and her brain smears onto the sidewalk. Graphic isn’t it? Sometimes I can shake my head and make it go away. Sometimes, I put down the carrier and reach for the stroller instead. Always—always, I silently plead with my brain to stop. Just stop. But it doesn’t. It’ll be there the next time I reach for the carrier, too.

It’s the same as I lie in bed at night and suddenly in my head, I’m standing over my daughter’s dead body after she’s lost a battle with cancer. Or she’s been kidnapped. Or hit by a car. I’m holding a heavy urn filled with her ashes. I’m sobbing. The list goes on and on, and all of the scenes play out so vividly inside my head. Like watching movies. I shake my head. I count backwards from 999. I take deep breaths. I argue with myself over how ridiculous it is and how there are far more mothers in the world who get to watch their babies grow up than those who don’t. I remind myself how badly I need sleep. I try counting again. Eventually, I’ll fall asleep.

The horrifying scenes that take place inside my head are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more—things that I’m not particularly comfortable sharing right now. Maybe someday, but not now.

So how do you communicate all of that to a busy medical professional who hardly knows you? At some point, you have to stop worrying about whether other people think you’re struggling and accept that it’s enough that you feel like you’re struggling. It’s enough that something doesn’t feel right to you. You are the only one inside your head.

That’s what I told my doctor yesterday morning. I explained the flashes of horror-film-like anxiety. I touched very briefly on some of the other things. I explained how I just don’t feel like myself.

My doctor listened. He reassured me that in his experience, about 30% of new mothers have postpartum struggles with mental health, and that I’m not alone. He made sure I knew that even though he’s telling me how common it is, he recognizes how serious it is and that it requires treatment.

I learned that the medical group I belong to has a department dedicated to postpartum mental health. He’s referring me to them, and said that I should hear from them this week. He suggested that I may need medication, but that he will work with them in making that decision rather than prescribing something on the spot.

So that’s where I am right now, friends. Struggling more than some and less than some, but struggling nonetheless. My daughter is this amazing, beautiful ray of sunshine that I am grateful beyond words for, but it turns out that just being her mother isn’t enough to make me feel whole right now. It turns out that I’m going to need some assistance from the professionals.

Sharing

http://www.scarymommy.com/why-i-wont-make-my-kids-share/

I read this post the other day and it kind of set me off.

First, I don’t think that her 9 points really give an accurate picture of what sharing is all about. When was the last time you walked into Starbucks and asked some random stranger to borrow their laptop? HOWEVER, I’m sure there’s been a time or two when a close friend or significant other has needed to borrow your electronic device. You’ve probably accommodated them, even if it meant that you asked them to give you an hour to finish up what you were doing first.

Second, sharing is about manners and socialization. I’m not saying every kid has to hand over whatever they’re playing with just because another kid wants it—it’s not that black and white. There’s a middle ground there, though. There are plenty of reasonable opportunities for sharing.

For us, Easter was a prime example. My aunt hosted a little egg hunt at her house for Charlotte and my cousin’s son (her grandson) who is 2 ½. My cousin’s son wouldn’t share ANYTHING with Charlotte. To the point where if she had something, he immediately walked over and just took it from her. AND THE ADULTS LAUGHED. Like it was cute! “Oh look, he doesn’t want to share!” It left me and Catch sitting there with giant question marks over our heads.

When my aunt brought out baskets for the egg hunt, she handed her grandson one that was a little cowboy hat with a handle and it said, “cowboy” on it. Charlotte was given a sand pail that was Frozen themed and had a little shovel attached. My cousin’s son tossed the cowboy basket on the ground and took Charlotte’s pail from her. My aunt laughed at how cute he was.

Later, Charlotte was chewing on the end of the shovel and he ripped it straight from her mouth. It had a loop on the end of it that her teeth were through and he could have really hurt her teeth, but again, everyone laughed as if it was funny.

IMG_4182

Then, during the egg hunt, we picked up a couple of eggs (there were TONS and only the two kids) and sat her down with them so she could play with them. She would be chewing on an egg and my cousin’s son would just come over and rip it out of her hands. No one said a word to him. HOW IS THAT OK?

Honestly, my family is lucky that Catch and I were able to contain our inner mama bears all day.

Charlotte is going to learn how to share. She is also going to learn that she can’t always have what someone else has. It’s called manners. All children should have them.

Sleep Regression

We have been hit by the 8-month sleep regression. HARD. It started two weeks ago. It was painful, but I was managing. She had been sleeping from 7 pm until 1 or 2 am, and suddenly, that was bumped to 10/11 pm. OK. I was dealing with it. I attributed it to teething. We carried on.

Then, the 10 pm wake up started being followed by wakings every 2 hours. She’d go down at 7 and we’d be up at 10, 12, 2, 4, and finally around 6. YAWN. I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

The last two nights she has been up EVERY HOUR after 10 pm. EVERY SINGLE FREAKING HOUR.

She rarely outright cries, so the Happy Sleeper methods have been pretty useless. She mostly just lies there and fusses/moves around her crib. If I do 5 minute checks while she’s just fussing, it escalates to a screaming place we don’t want to be. If I leave her in her crib to fuss it out, it takes a good 30 minutes for her to get herself back to sleep, and then she’s up again 30 minutes later. If I get up and nurse her, she’ll go back to sleep, but start fussing again the minute she’s in her crib. The whole process will take 30 minutes and then she’ll be up again 30 minutes later.

I am screwed no matter what I do.

And I am tired. I am So. Tired. Pardon my language, but FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK. This is awful.

I have no idea what to do. (Aside from swear and drink lots of coffee.) From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like part of C’s problem is that we’ve totally blown the transition from 3 naps to 2 naps. It seems like we need to make some schedule adjustments, but I am too tired to understand what the internet is recommending. My brain is like alphabet soup and all of the letters spell out magical sleep solutions, but I can’t read yet.

Last night around 2 am, Catch and I were trying to get ourselves back to sleep after a particularly harsh wake-up, and the following conversation actually happened:

Catch: Would you trade cuteness for a kid who would sleep?

Me: Physical cuteness or personality cuteness?

Catch: Physical.

Me: Yep. You?

Catch: Yep.

Sigh.

We’ll sleep when we’re dead. And apparently not a moment sooner.

monitor nap

Napping together at my in-laws’ house. Mommy was desperate for sleep.