So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.


World's Most Beautiful Child

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World's Most Handsome Child

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Clive Owen

Clive Owen
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A whole new world

Amelia Bedelia and I went to the mall this morning, because I have barely left the house in the last five and a half weeks and it is starting to drive me a little infuckingsane. I intended to look at ridiculously expensive purses, which is what I have mostly decided on for the "hooray, you gestated and birthed an entire human being" gift that I am buying myself. (I am buying the "hooray, you gestated and birthed an entire human being" gift for myself for the simple reason that nobody else did. My campaign for new diamond earings was not successful.) (I guess somebody decided that a girl with four pairs of diamond earings does not really need another pair.) (God, I'm a spoiled little bitch.)

It finally hit me in the mall. I am a mother. You know what did it? The escalator. The escalator is no longer an option for me, I am an elevator girl all the way. I will likely not be on time anywhere I go for at least the next year. I can no longer leave the house without a carseat, stroller, diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, hat, sweater, burp cloth and blanket. I will frequently appear in public with spit up on my shirt because I either could not manage to change or did not have anything clean to change into. My new perfume is eau de sour milk. I will only shop for lovely, expensive purses if they start carrying them in Baby Gap and Gymboree.

My life for the forseeable future bears little resemblance to my life of 6 weeks ago. I was a little shocked by how little it bothered me.

Mia slept through the night last night, and this morning she laughed when I blew a raspberry on her belly. She is my gift.

This is in very bad taste

I am really torn about this entry. On the one hand, it is very, very funny. On the other hand, it is in exceptionally poor taste. Ordinarily, I would never make this sort of joke and in most circumstances wouldn't laugh at it either. But there's no way around it, it's funny.

So anyway, this is from the take out menu of a local Chinese restaurant. Read carefully.

Continue reading "This is in very bad taste" »

You're pretty

And also smart. Mia is the proud owner of a particularly nice case of reflux, and the pediatrician gave the same advice you all did. If only the internet could write prescriptions I could have saved the $10 copay.

Anyway, we're having a rather bad day today, but we had a very good day yesterday so I guess it evens out. We did manage a walk...

... and a nap on my lap, at least until Chris decided to poke her and woke her up.


Bare bottom!

Oops, I mean bear bottom.

And just for added cuteness.


I need your assvice!

Ok internet, specifically all you breastfeeders, help me out here.

In the last week, Mia has gone from a fairly happy baby who rarely cried and had a very regular feeding schedule to a nearly constant screamer demanding a very erratic feeding schedule. I am a high-strung new mom and convinced something must be wrong.

Most days lately, Mia starts screaming somewhere between 15 to 45 minutes after she finishes eating. She eats for between 10 and 70 minutes. Sometimes she falls asleep while eating and cannot be convinced to continue, other times she is totally awake the entire time. She spits up quite a bit, usually in small amounts but every third day or so I get an Exorcist-style drenching. At first, she was ok during the day and only fussy at night, now she is fussy all day too.

She doesn't seem to be gassy, but I have noticed that she is happier when she is upright and some days lying her down is enough to make her scream.

Putting her on the breast used to be a guaranteed cure, but over the last 2-3 days there are new problems. At times, it takes several minutes to get her to latch, which has never been an issue before. More troubling is when she eats for a short time and then screams loudly and will not latch on again. Switching boobs sometimes helps this, sometimes not.

I have started to worry that I don't have enough milk, but I know that is a common trap. She is gaining weight more quickly than "average" and is a prolific pooper, so I don't think she is starving.

So ladies, any ideas? Advice? Suggestions? We are going to the pediatrician this week and will discuss this then, of course, but I would still really appreciate anything you can tell me from your experience.

Thanks!

One month

Yeah, I know everybody does the letter to the kid thing. Ask me if I care. This is the only way I will write this stuff down, so I don't care if I am copying half the internet by doing it.

Mia Bean,

You are one month old today, and changing so fast it makes my head spin. For the first couple of weeks, you were pretty easy. You slept all the time. I woke you up every two hours to change and feed you and then you went back to sleep. Those days are over. For the last week, you have been crazy glued to my boobs. In fact, as I type this you are asleep on my lap with your left hand holding tightly to my breast to be sure I don't try to take it away. For the last week, you have spent a lot of time eating and a lot of time yelling. Yesterday you cried your first actual tears and I think my heart exploded into a million pieces. You hate the pacifier, but we keep trying and once in a while it makes you happy for a few minutes and my sore boobs get a break.

We went to the doctor last Thursday, because I cleverly allowed you to fall on your face, and you weighed 9 pounds and 5 ounces. You are starting to get those wonderful chubby baby rolls. First it was your thighs and knees, then your arms, and now you have dimples on your elbows and chubby cheeks and even chubby little fingers on your perfectly bite-sized hands. You like it when I blow raspberries on your round little belly and you wiggle all over when I do it.

You are very strong. You could turn your head from side to side on your stomach the day we brought you home from the hospital and could also roll from your back to your side - always your left side, never the right. When we put you on your stomach, your push your legs back and forth like you are crawling, and if your arms would cooperate I think you could do it. If you could figure out how to get one arm under your body, I think you could also roll over onto your back. You love to kick your legs and fling your arms around, and best of luck to anyone who gets in your way because you pack a wallop. We swaddle you to sleep so you don't wake yourself up hitting yourself in the face, and the first thing you do when I unwrap you is throw your arms over your head and stretch.

You like to sleep on my chest, or especially on your father's chest. You hate to be put down. You do sleep in your bassinet at night, but only if I hit the vibrate button at least four times and reach in to rub your head several times an hour.

You make all sorts of noises - little coos and hums and snorts and lately you yell just for fun. Last night you smiled and made a sound like you were laughing. You are smiling more and more, watching more and more, and sometimes even acting like you recognize me. When you are eating, you make little humming noises and it sounds like you are singing to yourself.

Last night you slept 5 straight hours. When I woke up at 4 and realized you had been asleep since 11 I was thrilled since that was by far the longest stretch of sleep I have had in a month, but also a little sad because this time is moving so quickly. You already look so big to me compared to the day I met you, and you are a slightly different person every day. I marvel at every change and look forward to every new thing, but it makes me really see how quickly your baby-ness will pass.

I am learning from you. I am learning how to sit still, how to do nothing, how to spend two hours smelling your head instead of worrying about the dishes or the laundry or a job. I am very bad at sitting still, but you are very good at it. I am learning to be at least a bit more patient, at least a bit more flexible, to just go with the pace of life and not get upset if that doesn't match my plans or my schedule. Learning to be your mother is very, very hard, but I hope in the end we will both be the better for it.

Love you,
Mom

A Mia Story

Mia is four weeks old today, so I decided I had better finally get around to posting her birth story. It's long and there's not much drama, so I threw in some pictures just to keep it interesting.

Amelia's birth was nothing like I expected. I expected to go past my due date, to have a natural childbirth, to do my best to cowboy up and skip the epidural. Instead, I had a scheduled, heavily-medicated cesarean nine days before my due date. It took me a while to come to terms with the drastic difference between my expectations and my reality, but in the end I found that it doesn't matter a bit. Mia is beautiful and healthy and we both came through surgery very well, nothing else is relevant.

I was scheduled for surgery at 9 AM on July 22. We had to show up by 7:30 and we live 15 minutes from the hospital. Clearly, I had to get up at 5 AM. I managed about 4 hours of sleep the night before, which was a lot better than I expected. The benefit of a scheduled c-section was that I got to shower, do my hair, even shave my legs before going to the hospital. I was in a state of low-grade panic the entire time. We took a last belly picture and a last picture of ourselves as non-parents, and I think I look terrified. I was.

When we got to the hospital, we were shuffled into a triage room where I got to change into my very sexy hospital gown and equally sexy green socks with rubber treads on the bottom. The socks did not match the gown, which I found offensive. I was hooked up to monitors and for the next hour Mia's heartbeat was our soundtrack. The nurse ran an IV and I didn't even cry (my A number one irrational fear is of IVs) and drew about a gallon of blood. Half the blood was for the hospital, which the nurse threw away when she realized I had come in the day before and had blood drawn. The other half was for the cord blood storage company, which we discovered had sent us a collection kit but no paperwork and no way to label the random vials of blood we were about to air courier to them.

Once I was drained of all that pesky blood, I started getting saline through my IV and the nurse came back with her electric razor to, um, clear a path for the surgeon. She also treated us to a discussion of the grooming habits of her other patients and I am now fully up to date on the most popular pubic hair fashions in the Northern Virginia area. I don't know how I survived so long without the information.

Setting the theme for the rest of our hospital stay, people were in and out of the room at random. Several nurses, my surgeon, someone who made me sign all the same paperwork I had signed the day before, the asshole anesthesiologist , and my in-laws. I wish I knew which helpful nurse told my in-laws where I was and to come on back so I could smack her soundly across the jaw. I wasn't exactly in the mood for company.

Anyway, the in-laws finally picked up on my "get the hell out of here" vibe, Chris donned his sexy blue scrubs, I made my last unassisted trip to the bathroom for the next few days carrying my IV bag along with me, I put on my very stylish hat and at almost exactly 9:00 sauntered casually down the hall to the OR. I'm pretty sure that was when I started crying.

The OR was freezing. There was a very nice nurse there who introduced herself to me and gave me tissues, the asshole anesthesiologist, and a couple other random people who were seemingly just hanging out. Chris was made to wait in the hallway, which at first I thought was good because he wouldn't be there to watch the random humiliations to which I was about to be subjected, but then I realized that there was a spot of clear glass in the door where he (or anyone else for that matter) could watch the show.

The first step was getting a spinal. The asshole anesthesiologist numbed my back and then spent at least 10 minutes poking, prodding and pushing without telling me what he was doing. He finally stopped, to my huge relief, only to announce that he couldn't get the spinal in and was going to do an epidural instead. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was definitely crying at this point, scared out of my mind that someone was about to cut me open.

The epidural was finally installed and taped to my back with at least three rolls of tape and I was laid out on the table. Next step, the catheter, item number 1 on the list of things I am requiring Chris to forget he ever witnessed. They put up the drape and from that point on I have very little idea what was going on and nobody bothered to tell me. For all I know, they drew a checkerboard on my stomach and played a few games. The most surreal moment was when they did what they called a "time out" and asked me to state my name and why I was there. They were not amused when I ordered a double latte.

Finally, Chris was allowed to come in, the surgeon came in and started poking me. Can you feel this? No. This? No. This? Ouch! So, not quite numb, more epidural please. The medication feels cold going in, did you know that? Anyway, the surgeon pokes me again, I can still feel it, more drugs. Again. Again. Finally, I am numb up to my armpits and actually paralyzed from the waist down, and still feeling pain at that one spot where the surgeon is going to make the incision. They finally gave me a local.

I expected to feel pressure, but no pain. I guess I was too drugged for that. The only way I knew the surgery had started was when I heard the surgeon report the time of the incision. It was amazingly soon after that that the surgeon started giving us updates. "It's a girl." "The cord is wrapped three times around her neck and once around her body." "She's peeing." And then 9:52 and Mia screamed. There is nothing that compares to that sound.

Mia was moved off to the warming table to be checked by the pediatrician. I could see her amazing head of black hair and her legs folded up almost to her chest and her eyes open and slowly blinking. I don't know how many times I asked if she was ok. I asked the pediatrician, I asked the surgeon, I asked Chris. She was perfect. I kept asking anyway, just to be sure.

The surgeon asked her name and became the first person to hear it, Amelia Morgan. Chris went to take pictures, and then brought her back over to see me. I was still strapped to the table and could barely move my arms thanks to the epidural, but I could move my hand enough to feel her hair peeking out under the back of her hat.

I thought going in that the part after the delivery would be strange - knowing that various organs were being shoved back into my body and stitched back together. It didn't even occur to me to think about it at the time. The world shrank to the very small space around me, Chris and Mia and nothing else even registered.

Eventually, Chris went with a nurse to show Mia to the waiting grandparents and take her to the nursery to be checked out. I got all my bits back where they belong and was rolled off into recovery. After a couple of hours I made another excursion to my room and the bed I would not leave for more than 24 hours, where Chris and I were greeted by four ecstatic looking grandparents who had spent the last couple of hours cooing at Mia through the nursery window.

Finally, at about 1:00, I got to hold my daughter and immediately forgot everything other than the shape of her nose, the curve of her cheek, the sound of her cry.

Most pictures by Chris - I was a little busy.

Fifteen Thousand Dollar Baby

The hospital bills are in, and it seems that I procured myself a daughter for the bargain price of fifteen thousand dollars. Luckily, my insurance company has already paid nearly all of it. Suckers.

When you add in all the various baby items that we have either purchased or received, I think the total comes closer to, eh, let's say a nice even twenty grand. This makes Mia the third most expensive thing in my life, and I'm sure she will move into second place before long. As she is so costly, you would think I would be more careful to not do things such as dropping her right on her head.

Ok, I didn't drop her. I did allow her to roll head-first off of a pillow onto a hard floor, producing a very impressive thunk for such a small skull. I am torn between wanting to take her to the doctor for a quick check and CAT scan, and being afraid to call the doctor in case they decide to put her in foster care to get her away from her incompetent mother. I think the best solution is to go to the doctor and then blame the whole thing on Chris.

He really should be more careful.

(In my defense, I was distracted by the poop. There was poop everywhere. You would have been a little distracted too - how can so much poop come out of such a little bottom? And how does it get all the way up her back? Mysteries of the universe.)

Bad Mommy Update: We went to the doctor. She's fine, her legs are freakishly strong, and she has gained 22 ounces in 13 days.

Adventure

Today, just for an adventure and a little much-needed variety, I pried Mia off my boob, put her in the car, and took her to the bank and Starbucks. (I'm still not allowed to lift anything, so I can't move her carseat and therefore our adventure was limited to places with drive-thrus.) I had been a little nervous about driving with Mia in the car, because I am not a very good driver as I tend to forget to pay attention and arrive at my destination with no recollection of how I got there. I think I did pretty well today, although I may have somewhat annoyed my fellow motorists by not once cracking 15 MPH. Come on people, I had my BABY in the car!

The excitement seems to have worn Mia out and she is sound asleep on Chris's lap. This is huge since for the past three days she has screamed any time there wasn't a boob in her mouth. I'm sure I'll be back on duty shortly, but in the meantime I am marveling at the experience of typing with both hands. Much easier this way, you know?

And as a total non sequiter, I would like to offer as evidence that I have a really amazing husband the fact that I have taken a shower every single day since Mia was born. This sometimes means Chris has to face 20 minutes of surprisingly loud screams with no immediate boob access to stop the insanity, but he does it anyway. I feel a little guilty about sneaking off to shower knowing the baby will probably scream the whole time, but I figure a few minutes of unhappiness is better for her than an entire day of cranky, stinky mommy.




Genetics

My second toe is longer than my big toe - a genetic quirk from the Scottish side of my family.

Like mother, like daughter.


The second one

Some days I think hey, I've really got this nailed. In fact, I will probably be voted Mother of the Year. I have this totally under control.

Other days, I think I'm a total disaster.

Anybody want to guess which kind of day today is?

What we've come to

Chris is currently walking Mia around singing to her about vomit.

(Dibs, honey.)

You wanna make something of it?

No, I'm not dressed yet.

I also haven't brushed my teeth and there has been a dirty diaper in the sink in my bathroom since 9:00.

Welcome to 4 AM

Mia Bean slept nearly 4 hours straight tonight, 11 to almost 3. This meant that Mama got three hours of uninterrupted sleep, which was lovely. However, Mia has decided that we have slept enough and have no reason to go back to bed. So, since we are up, I decided to post a few more pictures of my lovely and clever and wide-awake daughter. Yes, I do know she is the most beautiful child ever, but I hate to brag.

Talk to the hand


BTW, this is my 500th entry. Woo.

On our own

Chris went back to work yesterday, leaving Mia and I to fend for ourselves. Mia refused to sleep all day yesterday, I am convinced she was waiting for Daddy. Today she is willing to nap, but expressed her displeasure by projectile vomiting down the front of my shirt. Motherhood is so glamorous.

Mia also had her first tub bath yesterday, which she hated with the fire of a thousand suns, and this afternoon may take her first trip out into the world in her stroller. That is, if I can manage to change out of my pajamas.

Did you know that I get surprisingly little email at 4 AM?

16 days

Mia,

The last 16 days have thrown my life into complete chaos - the kind of chaos I cannot believe I ever lived without. These are the things I want to remember from the first days of your life.

You are unclear on the concept of hands and most often use yours to smack yourself in the face. When you were four days old, you accidentally discovered that your fingers fit up your nose. You were not at all happy with the discovery. You seem most content when breastfeeding with both of your hands pressed against your cheeks.

You have long dark hairs on your earlobes and ankles and most of your forehead. These will go away eventually, but I will miss the little hairs on your ears. You have an amazing amount of dark brown hair. It was the first thing I noticed the first time I saw you, and the first thing that made you seem like a real person to me.

You have small red birthmarks in the divot of your upper lip, the right side of your nose, and right between your eyebrows. Your nose and bottom lip are squished to one side from being stuck up under my ribs for so long. They are straightening out, but when you are sleeping I can tell when you are really out because your bottom lip flops way over to the side.

You are using your legs a lot more in the last week and are more willing to let us touch and move them. For the first week or so, you kept them scrunched at the knee and splayed at the hip and screamed if anyone tried to move them.

You only cry when you are hungry. Sometimes, your father and I are stupid and try to figure out another reason why you are crying. There is never another reason. Even if you just finished an hour-long meal, if you are crying, you are hungry. You seem to prefer dirty diapers to clean ones and solve any gas problems on your own by spitting up huge amounts of milk and then crying for more.

When you eat, you like to pretend that you are asleep until you get close enough to make a huge grunting noise and dive bomb the breast so you can latch on with your mouth open as little as possible. When I pull you off to try again or try to open your mouth a little wider, you look at me like you can't believe the cheek that would cause me to try such a thing. You tend to zone out while eating, and when I move you to burp you there is often a stream of milk running down your cheek that you are just too sleepy to swallow.

You don't flinch when I put your entire foot in my mouth, or when I give you Eskimo kisses or when I accidentally poke you in the eye. You like to have your head rubbed, the same way I rubbed it all those times before you were born. The skin of your belly is the softest thing I have ever felt in my life.

You snore.

You are so beautiful that every time I look at you it is all I can do not to burst into tears.

Mama loves you, Mia. Never have any doubt.

The numbers

Babies are supposed to gain about an ounce a day. From day 4 to day 14, Mia averaged an ounce and a half a day. I can't help feeling like this is a personal victory. I don't even feel the need to spout obscenities while breastfeeding anymore, so clearly things are looking up.

I have lost 24 pounds from my top pregnant weight (I lost 2 pounds the last week I was pregnant - stress, anyone?). I have 10 pounds to go, but have vowed to not give it any thought until Mia is 6 weeks old.

To celebrate our weight achievements yesterday, Mia and I shared a frappucino and a cookie. Well ok, Mia didn't actually have any, but I did offer.

So far, Mia is a very good baby. She only cries when she is hungry or when we dare to change her diaper. She loves her a good dirty diaper. A couple of nights this week she even slept four hours straight at night, but then she realized that I did not pick her up once during those four hours so she gave up on that idea. We are back to three hours as the absolute limit, but if I take her out of the bassinet and hold her in bed with us she will let me doze for another 20 minutes or so.

I will get around to writing her birth story soon I hope, and will be sure to include the list of things Chris witnessed which I am requiring him to wipe entirely from his memory.

Winners! And boobs, of course.

Back in June, I asked you all to guess the date and time Lima Bean would be born. The very first guess was from carrster, 7/22 at 6:42. She was three hours off people, be suitably impressed. She has already chosen nipple ointment as her prize, the other option was diaper cream.

I also asked you all to guess weight and length, but honestly I am way too tired to go through all the comments and figure out the winner.

I also asked for name recommendations, but I have to tell you I only did it for amusement and never expected to use one of the recommendations. I had a lot of laughs over some of the really awful names that people suggested. Now no offense to anybody as it is strictly a matter of taste and I'm sure there are plenty of people who cringed over the name we chose. Anyway, Amelia had been an early contender in the Lima Bean Name Olympics, but had been discarded because I knew it would be shortened to a nickname and there wasn't one I liked. As we were getting down to the wire, I went back and read all the recommendations and saw that Seed2Tree (no site given) had recommended Amelia with the nickname Mia. It just seemed right to me, and when I recommended it to Chris it seemed right to him too. After all the months of deliberating, we decided on her name in about 30 seconds. So thanks, stranger, for naming my baby.

Finally, this whole mothering thing is lovely and wonderful but not exactly intellectually stimulating. To keep things interesting for myself, I have developed a new game where I try to get my breasts to be the same size. I have yet to succeed and usually walk around looking like I decided to have a boob job and lost my nerve halfway, but I have plenty of time to practice so am sure I will get it eventually. Hey! Did I tell you that when I went to the lactation consultant and she was filling out her little lactation consultant form which for some reason has a space to indicate my boob size she circled Medium? I will love her forever for that as it is probably the most generous assessment of my boobs ever made. She also circled Trauma, which was less endearing, but I plan to save it for to use as a guilt trip on Mia later in life. Boob trauma should be good for something, right?

Feelin' Groovy

Mia (Me-ah, not My-ah for those wondering) lost her crusty stump today, er, yesterday I guess, and now has a big girl belly button. We will pretend that there is no chance that mommy ripped the crusty stump off prematurely during bathtime. We just ate for an hour and I think my nipple may actually fall off onto the floor and I will be forced to put it in my pocket for next time, and now we are rocking and rocking thanks to a predisposition to spit-up over the last few days that makes Mia refuse to lie down until she is fully unconscious. I pass the time by singing to her from my vast catalog of Simon and Garfunkel songs. I sing "Feelin' Groovy" a lot, because even though I haven't slept more than an hour at a stretch in two weeks and my boobs feel like they are on fire and half my wardrobe is covered in baby puke or crusty stump goo and I have set several land speed records for cramming food down my throat before the baby realizes that she is not the absolute center of attention and cries until that situation is rectified, despite all that the last line still sums up how I am feeling lately.

Life, I love you. All is groovy.