Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Road Trip: the Miniseries (4)

Episode Four:

At the rate I'm going, it will be American Thanksgiving before I manage to finish posting about Canadian Thanksgiving. And in the meantime, we've done other stuff, too, so Thursday night through Sunday will be presented as a montage. Imagine appropriate music.

Thursday night, surreal. Very odd being a mommy in a house where I was a baby. Didn't sleep much.
Friday morning, family love.
Cousin Love
Walk to the park wearing the baby. Alana climbed on the kiddie climbing wall. Someone else took pictures.
Visit with Jenn and Rob and Dom, who was still in the womb when I last saw him, and Andrew, who was born a week before Valerie but is gestationally a month older and it shows.
Grandma, Valerie, Jenn, Andrew
Awesome time catching up with old friends. Yummy homemade macaroni and cheese.
I think we did something Friday night. Lack of sleep catching up, so it's a blur.
Saturday, more fun with family and friends. Katie, Mike and Isla came over. Katie should be having her baby any day now.
We watched UHF. We set up Settlers, but didn't play. Alana and I made pies.
Sunday morning, church. April was dedicated.
We took a billion family pictures.

To be continued...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Road Trip: the Miniseries (3)

Episode Three:

I had wanted to leave my house on Thursday at noon, but it took me a lot longer to get ready than I had anticipated. I've never traveled with a baby before, and man, do you ever need a lot of stuff to travel with a baby! We eventually got on the road at 3:00 p.m., which was actually the estimated departure time I had given to my mom, so, in a way, we actually left on time. (Although my cover will be blown as soon as my mom reads this post. Darn.)

Before this weekend, the longest trip Valerie had ever taken in the car was 45 minutes. And she was pretty good for about the first 45 minutes of this trip. Unfortunately, my mom's house is an eight-hour drive. First, she got hungry. I was completely prepared for this eventuality, having packed some pumped milk, my pump, extra bottles, and an AC adapter so that I could pump in the car. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack "not being stuck in the car seat." Valerie is normally pretty good about taking a bottle, but we just couldn't seem to get the angle right in her car seat, which led to much mess and frustration. Which led to crying. Which led to her overheating, because she was so worked up. That was the worst. When she was completely miserable, but I could do nothing to help cool her down, because I couldn't take her out of the sweaty, plastic car seat. Whenever we would finally stop, I would take her out, her back soaked with sweat, and comfort her as she tried to comprehend why it took so long for me to tend to her needs. Then I would put fresh, dry cloth diapers behind her back and we would be okay for a few minutes as we started back on the road.

By 9:00 p.m., we had only made it halfway to Ottawa. When the sun set, overheating became less of an issue, but it was replaced with fear of the dark. Remember how I made myself a mental note to bring a battery-powered light with me on this trip? Well, I didn't. My mom called my cell phone about this time, and I told her I was sure it was going to be 2 or 3 a.m. by the time we got there. I wasn't feeling optimistic.

Fortunately, Jeremy had brought a little LED book light with him, which I clipped to the baby-view mirror. Then Valerie fell asleep. Worn out, no doubt, from all the crying she had done in the past six hours. And she stayed asleep until we arrived in Ottawa at 12:20 a.m., having stopped only briefly for gas and pee breaks. I was so relieved, I almost thought we might be able to make the return trip.

To be continued...

Road Trip: the Miniseries (2)

Episode Two:

Two weeks ago today, Jeremy lost his job. I've been hesitating to write about this, because he's a much less public person than I am, but I can't really tell my own story without including at least some bits of his story as well. Besides, when I get to the part of the road trip story where we keep adding another day onto the end of the trip, someone was bound to wonder why we had the freedom to do that.

The same week Jeremy lost his job, Valerie had her two-month check-up with the pediatrician. Except when we got to the doctor's office, we found out that Valerie didn't have health insurance, because her paperwork hadn't been submitted to the insurance company in time. After a long afternoon on the phone with my insurance company (who can't add Valerie unless they add me, and can't add me unless I lose my insurance coverage somewhere else) and Jeremy's insurance company (who can't cancel our coverage unless we get coverage somewhere else), I ultimately submitted an appeal with Jeremy's benefits administration to appeal the denial of coverage. (I just found out this morning that our appeal was allowed, so, yay!)

Anyhow, it's been a rough couple of weeks, and we're still not sure what's in store for us. I'm trying to keep my spirits up, and we put worrying mostly on hold for the weekend so we could enjoy time with my family in Canada.

To be continued...

Road Trip: the Miniseries (1)

Episode One:

I have a lot to say right now, so I've decided to break up what is inevitably going to be a very long post into smaller chapters. I'll try not to go on too many tangents.

Whenever I see the word "miniseries" written out, I read it wrong in my head, like it's all one word and the only stressed syllable is the "ni". (Just kidding about that no tangents thing, by the way.)

I'm going back and forth between starting this post out with some precious Valerie milestones or with why the Wakeman household had a lousy week last week (as mentioned in my last post). Aw, who am I kidding, cute baby always wins.

First of all, she has been growing like a weed. I switched to cloth diapers about three weeks ago, and at that time, she was only just growing out of her newborn clothes. Cloth diapers do add a bit of bulk, so some of the 0-3 onesies were not big enough around the bum, but the other 0-3 stuff seemed to fit fine. For about a week. As of this weekend, Valerie's legs are too long for almost all of her 0-3 sleepers, which were each worn a grand total of 0-3 times. Time to dig into the "too big for her" box again (which will soon be smaller than the "too small for her" box).

She is also becoming more playful. She has started noticing things like her mobile, and even laughs on occasion. The funny face game has expanded a bit. For a while, she had been sticking her tongue back out at me when I stuck my tongue out at her. But recently, I noticed that she was smiling and cooing back at me, instead. I wondered why she wasn't sticking her tongue out anymore until I realized that I make an "mmmm" noise when I stick my tongue out at her, and she was making the noise back at me, instead!

Oh, and while she is not yet "sleeping through the night", she is spending longer and longer stretches of nighttime asleep, and she will occasionally go right back to sleep after eating only once. Many mornings, I actually wake up having had a relatively normal amount of sleep. Hooray!

To be continued...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Two Months Old!

two months old

Dear Valerie,

You are two months old today! This is what I should have said to you yesterday, except that I thought that today was the fifth until I uploaded pictures from my camera just now and couldn't figure out why I already had pictures saved under tomorrow's date. I have a tendency to forget what day it is. I'm lucky if I remember to eat.

This has been a pretty lousy week in the Wakeman household, but I'm going to ignore that for the moment, because this letter is about you. There will be plenty of time for Mama to whine about her life later.

You're becoming more and more aware of your surroundings. You love to be walked around, and look out windows. You love to stare at faces. You recently discovered that if you move your hands just right, you can knock the dangling ducky on your car seat and make it move. I thought it was accidental at first, but then you kept doing it, and I realized that you were doing it deliberately. Smart girl.

first thumb-sucking!

You've also been struggling to find your thumb, and have been getting closer and closer. You usually just end up sucking on your knuckle, but this Sunday, you actually managed to get your thumb in your mouth, and it made you very happy. I suppose, in four years, I will be begging you to stop sucking your thumb, but right now, I am very proud that you managed to figure that out. I am also glad that you are starting to find ways to soothe yourself. Because if you can keep yourself happy for five minutes, Mommy can eat a bowl of cereal. You're not a terribly fussy baby... as long as I am quick to meet your needs. You just have a lot of needs. It feels like, sometimes, the narrow window of time when all of your needs are met lasts for about seven seconds, and then you fill your diaper, and it starts all over again.

You still don't seem to have worked out the difference between night and day. I blame the fact that there was no night and day in the NICU, and you scream if the room or car you are in is dark. (Note to self: pack a battery-powered light for next weekend's long drive to Canada.) Your "day" seems to be about four to six hours long. You will eat three or four times within a period of a couple of hours, and then you will conk out and sleep for and hour or two, or sometimes three, and, much to my sleep-deprived joy, you have recently taken to sleeping for four hours on occasion! Although you don't want to spoil me, so if you sleep for three or four hours two nights in a row, you'll make sure to wake me up every hour all night the next night. That's very thoughtful of you.

ready for church

Your happiest time of day is right after waking up. If I hadn't been there when I gave birth to you, I would seriously doubt your maternity. How can a child of mine be a morning person? You'll wake me up with all your normal hunger cues, but once I have you in my arms, you will decide that eating can wait, because Mama is here to look at! You'll smile at me, and make kissy faces at me, and if I try and nurse you right away, you'll often squirm away, because you'd rather put off eating for a couple more minutes to play the funny face game with me. In this way, you are totally my daughter. I've frequently gone hours beyond hunger without eating, because I wanted to finish whatever fun thing held my attention at the time. In fact, I should probably eat something now, but I'd really like to finish this blog post, first.

You hear moms say, all the time, that they can't remember what life was like before they had kids. I'll tell you what: I remember. I remember being able to sleep for eight hours, and ten on a weekend. I remember being able to sleep through anything, and not waking up at the slightest sign that I'm needed. I remember being able to take a long bath without worrying that you would get hungry before my bath was over. I remember being able to drive to the store without having to pack a bag. I remember. My life has changed irrevocably, and I haven't forgotten what it was like before. I remember life without you, but I don't want that life anymore. Now, I'm a logical person, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about what, exactly, it is that you add to my life. What is it about you that makes me happy to give up such treasures as uninterrupted sleep? Is it the way my heart melts at seeing your peaceful, sleeping face? Is it the surge of joy when you smile at me? Is it the intense bond I feel when I watch you blissfully suckling life from my breast? I'd have to be a pretty sappy person to say that it was any one of those things, but I can't seem to pin down anything more tangible. You know, I remember when I wasn't so sappy. But I don't miss it.