And other things I learned the hard way.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Picture is worth a thousand fails

Hey kids. I don't have much time these days, what with the baby tapping my boobs like a fraternity keg. But I haven't forgotten you ;) In lieu of a wordy update, unfortunately you are going to have to make do with a few photos I've taken recently. Of shit that is blatant outright LIES. Enjoy :)

Okay, not only have I definitely NOT seen a reduction in colic, but the damn things leak. And if it were something as innocent at water, I probably wouldn't care. But in the middle of the night and you are trying to get the air out of the bottle and end up loosing two ounces of breast milk to your kitchen floor it REALLY sucks. I actually said this morning "Do you know how long it took me to make all that??"

And...speaking of leaks...

Leakguards my ASS. More specifically, my daughter's ass. Which has blown out these "guards" more times than I care to mention. She's freaking nine pounds. This should NOT be that hard to "guard" against. Luvs. You fucking suck. End of story.

Related news: things my baby wears...

This looks so simple right? See that docile calm child with the Mona Lisa smile? These instructions would lead you to believe that your child will slip into this thing like an angel. I mean, they even named the damn thing HALO. Okay, it doesn't work that way. In fact, the only Halo I will compare this to is the video game. There was screaming and I was confused. And how simple this Velcro looks? LIES!! I kept getting her arm all bunched up funny.

Speaking of bunching up...

Again, another illustration of a calm wonder baby being happily strapped into her car seat. Do you have any idea how hard it is to check for "finger width" on the straps while your child is flailing and convulsing in the seat. Plus the head bumpers it came with originally weren't the right size for her, so her head kept lolling around like a rag doll. One more than one occasion I had to reach into the back seat and said "Dammit, the baby's head is on sideways again." Who comes up with these pictures?? I bet it's the same high school dropouts that wrote the instructions for our Pack'n'Play that WEREN'T EVEN IN ENGLISH!

Well, there you have it, a short little list of the most recent things that are pissing me off.

Future blogs to include: Being a dumbass and assuming my child is the wrong gender, How to incorrectly use your Boppy correctly (pictorial guide), and Dealing with dipshits and their moronic advice (special attention given to total strangers, co-workers and your mother.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pump up the (boobs) volume.

I missed yesterday. I was busy most of the day pumping my boobs.

Yeah, you read that right.

Apparently, my and talented tatas managed to contract thrush AND mastitis AND get a clogged duct or two just for good measure.

My tits feel like they are going to drop off. And at this point, I don't think I would really mind.

"Breastfeeding is the most natural thing a woman can give her child"

Nope. Wrong. I call bullshit. I call shenanigans. There is nothing natural about this. Case in point: if you are a first time mother, like I am, let me ask you -- how many things have you let suckle on your teets during your life?


Yeah, I thought so. Me too. So when your baby pops out of the over screaming for the boob-juice you are already at a disadvantage. You have all the equipment and none of the manuals! And it's not like your baby is going to be a fat load of help. They will search for nipples on pretty much everything. My baby's latest trick is to try to suckle the burp cloth and scream when she doesn't get anything good from it.

And I don't know about you but after my birth, even though it was a c-section, I was pretty damn tired. And my brain was definitely NOT firing on all cylinders. I kept having "zomfg I've got a fucking BABY!!" moments. So when they put my darling into my arms and told me to feed her, the gears pretty much ground to a halt.

And to be honest, at almost a month into the game, it's not much easier.

When my baby gets hungry she get HUNGRY. Like a hippo who is HUNGRY HUNGRY. She screams and wails and beats her little fists on my chest. Even though the nipple is *right there*, sometimes even IN her mouth, she won't latch. Just scream. And my milk is letting down and it's leaking everywhere...yeah. These are the precious moments so I'm told. One more than one occasion I've referred to her as "the angry barracuda".

The past week has been especially hard. The thrush turns your nipples bright pink with white spots in the middle and damn if it isn't the sexiest thing ever. I kid. It's horrible looking. And, as luck would have it, thrush makes the baby latching on HELLA painful.

Oh good, because things were already going SO well in that department.

Add in mastitis and I have boobs of doom. The crystallized milk forms lumps that you have to massage out while pumping or feeding.

So let me get this straight: a.) my tits feel like they are going to fall off b.)my baby attacks my nipples like a shark c.)she wiggles and screams so hard I need to wrap both hands around her as she nurses and d.) try not to cry as my nipple goes up in flame and e.) massage out the lumps. Okay, I guess I can...wait...crap...both my arms are wrapped around the baby. am I supposed to do this?

Natural. My. Ass.

But, like the good mommy I am, I'm trying to weather the storm. So even at points when I feel like Gumby, we are doing it all at the same time.

Pumping if you can imagine is even worse.

SCENE: Interior bedroom. 2:30 am. Allison sits propped up in bed with a Medela hand pump attached to her breast, attempting to pump. As Allison tries not to fall over asleep the pump suction slips, occasionally spilling milk all down her side. Or while using her free hand to knead out the lumps she knocks the pump and it pops off with an audible "THYUP!". While trying to re-adjust the pump around her boob the pump handle pops off. She puts the pump down while rubbing her eyes and it falls over, leaking milk. Allison picks up the pump and throws it out the window while screaming righteous fury into the night air.


I hate them. I 100% no holds bar HATE them. First off, they pinch your nipples. Then your hand goes numb from the pumping. And they leak from the connection of the filter to the bottle. Even though they have a base, they fall over CONSTANTLY! There is not one redeeming quality about this contraption of doom. Unfortunately I have to use this at night, or pad out into the living room in the wee hours of the morning and fumble for the electric.

Curse you bedroom for not having an outlet on my side.

Though to be fair, the electric pump isn't much better in my opinion. Feels like the thing is trying to suck my nipples clear off. The poor things are swollen and black and blue. Though I'm pretty sure that's from pumping every time they get sore (like the lactation consultant said) and massaging them during the whole time. I've never felt so battered and abused.

Now, not saying that I am going to give up. Breastfeeding my child is one thing I am DEAD set on. But nowhere in the baby book did it ever say it would be like this! I want to find these asshats that write this tripe and slap the shit out of them!

"Your breasts may swell and you may experience some discomfort."

Swell? DISCOMFORT? If this was a TV commercial I would sue them for false advertising! If I had to write it, it would sound something like this -

After your baby is born, prepare to meet the biggest boobs you've ever seen. Ladies, they are going to get huge and angry and even though the nurses tell you that feeding or pumping will help, what they DON'T tell you is that it will also be painful at the same time. It's like trying to suck a gallon of juice out of a coffee stir those first few days. Hot showers will feel good, give the girls a rub while you're in there. But don't think about your baby once you've gotten out or else you'll be leaking like a defective cow in your bathroom and just need to wash up again.

All in all, it's been a rough week. But not as rough as the skin on my nips. *bah dum bum ching*
(You think it's so easy, you come up with a clever closing line.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's the trouble with SIDS today?

As a new parent, I'll be honest, SIDS scares the shit out of me.

Don't put the baby on their stomach or side. Don't use blankets or soft materials for sleeping. Don't give the baby a bottle or toys in their crib. Don't use crib bumpers. Don't let them sleep without a pacifier. Wow...that's a lot of rules. I just have one question:

How the hell did any of us survive pre-1990??

My husband and I were both put on our stomachs and put to bed with bottles and blankets and I'm pretty sure a tinker toy or stands to reason that we shouldn't have survived. How did parents manage without all these books, websites, tv show and contracts (yeah, I had to sign a CONTRACT at the hospital saying I would only put my baby on her back to sleep) telling them they were doin' it wrong?

Apparently when we were born (circa 1981) it was advised that the parents put us on our stomachs for the best sleep. Several years later the side was the preferred location for the baby. Now we are to the back. AND they are supposed to be swaddled.

This causes a problem for us for a few reasons: a.) my baby hates sleep flat on her back and b.) she HATES being swaddled. No matter how tight of a burrito you make her she kicks her feet and arms free so that only her waist in wrapped. But, being the dutiful parents we are, the first night home we opened our "Halo Swaddle Blanket" and got confused, because there were no instructions (Sidenote - What the hell is it with baby gear not having goddamn instructions? Our travel system didn't even have instructions in English. There were just mono-chromed pictures and one word like "Snap!". I'm guessing for all the illiterate Spanish speaking people that would put together the stroller...) Only a little diagram of a smiling baby looking ever so pleasant in her Halo Swaddle Blanket. How hard could this be?

So me and my aforementioned college degree velcros my bundle of joy into this thing...and all hell breaks loose.

She's kicking. She's screaming. She in fact looks NOTHING like the angelic miracle in the pictured diagram. She's red in the face and her chin is quivering she's screaming so hard. Okay, did I put it on wrong? I unwrap and try again. Same result.

Shit. It's my baby's first night home and I'm already shaping up to break my contract of putting her in this...sack...thing. But as soon as I unwrap and unvelcro her she stops her wailing. And it DOESN'T take a college degree to figure out that she doesn't like it.

Okay fine, we'll just swaddle her regular and stick her in the crib. So we do..and...she rolls onto her side. Two rules broken. No side sleeping.

No it three rules? Does the swaddle blanket count? Crap. Okay. Three rules.

Alright, so we should just stick the binky in and she'll sleep. Except...she won't take the binky. Her mouth is slammed shut tighter than a drum. *sigh* Four rules. One night and we've already broken four rules and failed our end of the contract. Does that mean the parenting police are going to show up and arrest me? Take away my right to hold bottles? Probably not.

But it raises some interesting questions. Do these SIDS precautions apply to all babies no matter what? Because they aren't working for mine. I'm pretty sure if I let my baby have her way she'd sleep naked on her side in the basket of dirty laundry.

Here's the opinion I finally developed. SIDS warnings are designed to scare you into being better parents. Or not being a complete dumbass. You could probably achieve the same with a warning that goes something like "Treat and dress baby as you would enjoy".

For example, one of rules about SIDS is what temperature it best for baby. And no, it's not to keep them fresh the longest. But rather what temp they are most comfortable at. This should really be a no-brainer. The info I've read said that it shouldn't be under 65 degrees. Well no SHIT Sherlock! Hell even I'd be cold at that temperature.

So here it is, my baby has been home almost three weeks. Do we put her on her back to sleep? Do we swaddle her? Do we keep her crib clear of debris? Nope, nope annnd nope. It just doesn't work that way for us. My baby sleeps in our bed propped up on her boppy. Or sometimes in her crib with her boppy around her feet and waist so she feels held. The mattress of the bassinet is lined with blankets and a t-shirt of my husbands. And we let her sleep with her spit rag. And guess what? She's still alive. And for the most part, sleeping like a baby. It was only on the nights that we were Nazis about her sleep did it result in multi-hour screaming fits and tantrums.

In end, we learned that yeah, rules are good for when you don't know your ass from your elbow. And for most parents, they probably work just fine. But sometimes, well, rules are made to be broken.

Just don't tell the baby police.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Problem with Sparkle Moms

Sparkle Mom - (n) a woman either pregnant or with children that insists that everything about her pregnancy/motherhood was a dream. Generally states that her children are textbook perfect without any major problems. Usually huge big fat liars that I want to smack the crap out of.

Yeah, THOSE women. We've all met them. Sally Lou who insists that she never had a touch of morning sickness. Or Gene Louise who says that at a week and a half old her child can not only sleep through the night, but brings mom coffee in bed the next morning.

I hate these women.

Now, I don't know about you, but my pregnancy was NOT very pleasant. Now, this is NOT to say that I was angry at being pregnant, or that I didn't want it, or that I was inconvenienced. But if you have a seven pound parasite living in your uterus for nine months you are bound to get a little testy! The baby takes your energy, your nutrition and even at point your very will to live. In the early months they make you sick to your stomach and unable to face foods you've dealt with your entire life. During the first 12 weeks I couldn't cook, let alone even open the fridge without vurping into my mouth a bit from all the combined smells that came at me. Later in pregnancy they take your sleep because you are so freaking huge that nothing is comfortable anymore. And we aren't even going to discuss acid reflux. Your feet and hands swell so that you end up looking like ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. Yeah, that sort of feeling does NOT equal sexy. Which leads me to...

"When I was pregnant I never felt so sexy/beautiful!"

You may have heard this from another woman or read it in some idiotic feel-good pregnancy book (btw - I'm convinced that men write those things. Because I read a few and NEVER once felt 90% of what they said I would). Whoever said this obviously is either a.) lying her FACE off or b.) smoked a HUGE bowl of crack before giving this interview and was tripping her face off. I don't know about you, but I was greasier/pimplier and dandruffier than I'd ever been in my entire life. What about an overweight woman with greasy flaky hair, huge zits and sweat marks the size of Uganda screams sexy? Nothing, that's what. They lie.

"Morning sickness is all in your head. If you don't think you will be sick, then you won't."

Believe it or not this was ACTUALLY said to me by some headcase I know. She believed that morning sickness was in my head. Disregard the fact that I was vomiting at work so much that my doctor had to prescribe medication. I just apparently wasn't using enough "positive thinking". I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish her to be torn limb from limb by rabid coyotes. That was such a load of crap. How about I not think I'm pregnant either? Would that work? Or how about I not think I'm a woman? I'll just imagine that my back doesn't hurt anymore...idiot.

"The first few weeks home with my new baby were magical."

Um...what what now? Magical how? Did they crap rainbows and pixie dust? Now don't get me wrong, the first moment I held my nugget was THE most AWESOME thing EVER. Did I feel like I could fly? Absolutely (though that could have been the morphine. But when we got home? No. Not very magical at all. It was a crash landing skull first into reality. The screaming, puking, pooping, "Honey the baby just peed on the couch...again" reality. Again, not saying I didn't enjoy it or want it, but lets be honest: bringing a baby home is hard freaking work. And anyone that says differently either has a genetically superior government engineered super baby or is lying. It's just THAT simple.

And on that note, someone recently told me that I "didn't appear to be enjoying the mommy thing."

Oh back THAT train right. The fuck. Up.

Look here bitch (oh yeah, I'm throwin' DOWN): I tried for over a year to get pregnant. I went through how many cycles of fertility treatments? Artificial Insemination. Dye test (which, before birth was the most painful thing of my entire life). We had in fact GIVEN UP trying to have kids after they told us we only had a 2% chance of conceiving naturally. Then after finding out I was pregnant (suck on THAT Doc) I went through a HORRIBLE pregnancy. Why horrible? Three dislocated ribs, both hips and four lumbar discs. And I worked on my feet all day. And let's not forget the cardiac incident where they thought I had a heart condition. Or the fact that I didn't gain a single ounce until almost my fifth month of pregnancy and it was worrying my doctor. After giving birth my child spent time in the NICU and at one point they told me that if she didn't poop she would DIE. We went through Cystic Fibrosis testing, home nurse visits to check our weight gain and most recently three days in a row where the child did nothing but scream and not sleep.

WHO are you to say that I'm not enjoying this? What sadistic asshat WOULD enjoy all that?? Do I regret having her? No. Would I change anything? No! Would I give her up for 12 million dollars and a personal recording session with Cyndi Lauper? NO! (yeah people, not even for Cyndi) Are you a royal bitch for making such a rude comment and should you be loaded into a cannon and shot into the sun? Absolutely.

People like this Sparkly Bitch obviously need reminding that life is not perfect. Life is hard work. And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. That's a healthy attitude. Because great things, like my child, are worth working and fighting for. My complaining, and I do A LOT of it, does NOT indicated unhappiness. It indicates that I haven't slept in three days, I'm sticky because I'm covered in spit-up and my couch has a stain on it that looks mysteriously like mustard. Would I change that? Nope. My baby is worth everything. Even the mustard stain.

Maybe some people just say things to make themselves feel better. Or maybe they really believe what they are saying. Or, the most probable, they took too many drugs and are hallucinating that they glitter in the sunlight with perfection.

If you are one of those last types, take my advice and go run off and sparkle with the rest of your kind.

Edward Cullen is waiting for you at the bottom of this cannon. Don't worry, it's not loaded.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Debacle with Diapers

There are, on average, about a BILLION choices of how to wrap your child's butt up. Do you want regular disposable? How about all natural? Bleach free? Then there's the cotton ones that you wash yourself. Or cotton ones that someone else washes for that matter. Diaper services. Diaper genies (I assume that is some sort of mythical creature that grants parents the wish "Please don't let her crap through *another* one tonight.") Diaper pails...there's A LOT of choices out there.
My husband and I had exactly NO CLUE what we were going to do for diapers. We wanted a diaper service, but money-wise, it just wasn't going to happen. We *could* have purchased the washable ones and done it ourselves, but I've hear horror stories of the first six or so weeks where parents were doing nothing BUT laundry. Or, equally as bad, didn't do enough and ran out of diapers. These were options I did not want to concern myself with. I was having a c-section, my washing machine was in the basement. Do some math. The prospect of getting my child's rear into all natural cotton just wasn't on the horizon.
So, we settled - disposable. Now, for starters, it hurt my soul to use them. The amount of chemicals in them, the amount of waste they produce, the length of time they take to biodegrade in a landfill...none of it was tickling my happy bone. But the alternative of my child being bare-butted and ruining my house...I took the lesser of the two evils. I feel bad for landfills, but do you know how much I paid for my couch? I'm not about to voluntarily smear it with poop.
The baby shower came and went, and about 800 diapers came into our life. Varying sizes and makes. Everything from Luvs to 7th Generation Bleach Free. We got a healthy sampling. I figured, in my innocence, that this would mean we wouldn't have diaper drama. That we would have enough. And that I wouldn't have any sizing issues.
Oh. How Wrong. I was.
My child came home from the hospital with a butt that was 6 pounds and 13 ounces and with two packages of Pampers that they had used on her during her luxury stay. The difficulty ensued almost immediately. You see, the diapers they sent us home with were "Size 1". I most definitely had in my possession a "Newborn". So, being the college educated woman that I am, I naturally assumed "I should set these diapers aside and open up the newborn size we got at the shower." Logical. Cool and collected. Spock would have been envious (the Star Fleet member, not the baby guru).
And that is exactly what I did, I set aside the dubious "Size 1" diapers along with the 700 additional of the same size already in the closet. And busted out my "Pure and Natural Size Newborn". I thought I was on top of things. I strapped it to my child, stood back to admire my handiwork (being the exact THIRD diaper of my child's I had ever changed) and noticed something...amiss.
"Honey, do these look too big?"
"Yeah, a little bit."
Crap. Literally. She filled her pants. Husband changed her and I checked the package for weight requirements (this is what a degree in Liberal Arts gets you. Basic reasoning skills.)
"They say 'Up to 10 Pounds', well she's definitely under that, these should work then."
"Well do we have any smaller?"
"I'm not even sure they MAKE them any smaller!"
And it's true, I had no clue. So what does any rational woman with good reasoning skills do? We go to Walmart and hunt through the diaper section.
By this point, several days have passed and we have continued to use the "Newborn" size diaper, which in our opinion swims on our daughter. The sides puff out, we have to fold the top down so it doesn't brush her oozing belly-nub and the tapes in the middle practically overlap. And she's developed a rash where the leg holes are. Not sure if it's related because the baby book says nothing along these lines. But I decided to lump it in with the obvious reasons this size diaper sucks.
At Walmart we discover that no, diapers do not come any smaller. Which I cannot wrap my brain around. The NICU at the hospital was full of babies that were under FIVE pounds, how can there be no smaller diapers?? But our supply of the newborn size were dwindling and I didn't have much faith in the size 1, so we bought an economy box of newborn Pampers (the brand most preferred by hospitals, I read the box.)
Well, aside from our diaper dilemma, we also were having a sleeping dilemma with out new bundle of joy. Namely, she wouldn't do it.
No, that's not quite correct.
She would sleep in our bed, on the boppy, on the couch, on your chest...everywhere BUT her bassinet. Which, as luck would have it, was where we WANTED her to sleep. See the problem? But, as she was under three weeks old, we reasoned "Maybe she's just lonely?" And brought her into bed with us.
(**Now, I know some of you out there are very anti-co-sleeping. But honestly, STFU. Is this your baby? No. Are you in any way part of this particular situation? Nope. Are you getting your recommended night's worth of sleep at your house? Probably. So shut up. We did it. Because if I didn't get sleep soon I was going to go batshit crazy.**)
The good news was that my little darling angel girl slept in bed with us without making so much as a squeak. She woke up to feed around 3am and my husband and I were almost in rapture that we had gotten four hours of un-interrupted sleep.
And then, we stuck our hand under her to pick her up.
Crap. Literally. All over my bed. And her blanket. And her boppy. Her onesie, oh that thing was such toast. Her diaper, the illustrious "Newborn" size of Pampers (hospital recommended brand) had leaked. But leaked is a mild word. My daughter had saturated an area that was about a foot in diameter on my expensive Swedish foam mattress. Thank GOD I invested in the rubber mattress protector back in October or I would have been REALLY pissed off. But my poor 400 thread count sheets did NOT fair so well.
"WTF??? She's under the limit!! Did we put it on wrong?"
That was entirely possible. Ever change a diaper on a screaming wiggle worm at 3 am with one eye closed? Sometimes I'm amazed my husband doesn't accidentally diaper her skull.
However, luckily for me, I have a forum of mommy friends on the Facebook that I turned to for help. Was it the brand? Was it application? Am I just doomed to have the worst baby luck ever?
The answer: Size doesn't matter.
While I'm sure that answer would please all the men in the room, for me...I was not as overjoyed.
What do you mean the size on the box doesn't matter??? Why even PUT a size on the box if it's total crap? Well, here's something I didn't know:
a.) No two diaper companies have standardized sizing. So "Newborn" between Huggies and Pampers are two different ball games.
b.) Diaper sizes overlap. Newborn ranges to 10 pounds, but Size 1 starts at 8 and ranges to almost 20. What??
c.) Sizes are more of a guide, not a contract.
So what you are telling me, is that even though she is BELOW the weight limit of this size, it's still too small?
I don't know how many of you out there have child experience. Maybe those of you with multiple children don't view this as a problem. I do.
I have no experience, I didn't have younger siblings to play with. The last diaper my husband changed was his little brother's circa 1985. So he's not exactly a raging expert either. Parents? Selective memory and extremely dated knowledge. It took several weeks for my mother to understand that my old crib that's been sitting in the basement for the past 29 years was no longer safe.
The diaper companies do this intentionally so that new parents loose their mind. All my "reasoning" and "rational" go out the freaking window when I get told that I should basically "eye ball" it. And if she starts having "blowouts" it's time to go up a size.
No system. No measuring. Screw sizes. FML.
Diapers. They're full of shit.