Monday, January 26, 2009

American Apparel Home Birth

Come on R - you outed me in the bottom of your blog!

I should have clarified in my comment that I meant your photo looked like American Apparel pre-porn, when all the girls looked tiny and boyish (two traits that have always attracted me to women) but still had pretty faces.

Now look what they've become. This girl is one big belly away from an American Apparel Home birth. That wouldn't seem complimentary at all, would it?

Still you have to give this one to me. Give it to me... I am pretty sure that's the translation of the words across this girl's frontal region. Love you guys. Cole you're hot - that's all I was saying!

I Don't Need Your Sympathy Internet, I Just Need Some Space

While breastfeeding and finalizing a 2500 word term paper and an 18 slide powerpoint I turn to yell at Dexter the puppy who is whining in the kitchen because Dan just left without him. Cohen is still sleeping, yes at 10:19 a.m. Not because I am the worst mother in the world but because I let her stay up until midnigh watching Madagascar - oh wait. Isn't that behavior synonymous with being the worst mother in the world?

Yeah, I might have fallen for that guilt trip on baby number one (putting baby into rocker with binky) but on kid number two (shut up Dexter) your judgement means nothing to me (replace binky). Who am I kidding though, I am a blog read mostly by my loving friends and/or fellow parents who would only judge me out of ear shot (replace binky) and I know that asking for anything more is impossible. (Binky hits floor and crying must be tolerated) I start a new class tonight where I will actually have to enter a class room again. The instructor did not post the syllabus until the day before class and now I have today to write another 1400 word paper. Lame. I am eating a mushy banana. I am weaning off of any type of pain medication but unfortunately the blog is still subject to the aftershocks of bad humor, no humor and rampant crying jags. Mine and the new kid's.

What can I tell you guys, I am swamped and really looking forward to the visitors I still have coming over the next 4-6 weeks. Merrick is my co-pilot. He is on the breast, at the helm, as my one free hand alternates between this soggy banana, a cold cup of coffee (that's right, I went back to the black! The second I was approved for a liquid diet after surgery I sent for an Americano) and the keyboard.

I am engorged in every sense of the word. I am forever embracing every distraction as the reality of two children is so truly overwhelming. Already I can see how times goes faster with two. I am the pong ball, bouncing between Cohen having taught herself to ride her tricycle and Merrick's belly button rot falling off. It was hard enough to keep up with all of Cohen's changes, but now I look left look right look left and all of a sudden my baby is my toddler, my fat belly became my baby, and my body is this slow deflating emotional time bomb that I am kidgloving so that it won't detinate before it is restored to it's previous condition.

On the upside, my birthday is Wednesday. I got myself another DVR. I tried to quit cable cold turkey in my ninth month of pregnancy. What kind of psychotic hormonal bullshit that was. Here's a thought... how about right before I come home from major surgery I cancel my cable. That way I can stare at a fucking wall while I wait to lose my baby weight. What would be better than waking at all hours of the night to feed the new kid, who refuses to stay latched in when I am in the laying down position? Watching local cable at 3 a.m. That isn't Gunsmoke folks, we are talking religious propaganda and infomercials.

I will be 31 years old and I am happy. I have gotten all of my breeding out of the way and it feels really satisfying to close a chapter. Like getting married closed the dating chapter of my life, a huge sigh of relief occurs and is followed by a sense of completion and satisfaction. I can only compare this to catching a great wave. The catch is, you can't sit and relish in it too long because another wave is forming and is on its way to send you crashing into the next part of your future. So I am here, trying to keep my pace up, nursing the new kid, letting the dogs out, taking advantage of Dan the best I can while I still have him at home and (who would have guessed it?) actually getting a blog in. Thanks you guys... for giving me someone to talk to other than Dan who has to listen because he is under contract.

And because the belly button rot has fallen off the new kid got his first bath last night. This is one of the only things I have seen him do off of the boob that does not entail screaming in dissatisfaction.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dick L'Orange

Recently one of my friends inquired as to whether or not Dan has been helping me make sure my calorie intake remains high these first few weeks of breastfeeding. I assured her that Dan eats like a fat 10 year old, (subsisting primarily on blueberry poptarts and beef jerky) and since he has never once done anything to help in the decreasing of my caloric intake - these two traits by default mean that he must be helping...right?

Tonight, he proved himself an asset. I asked him to prepare an orange for me before he took the dog for a walk and this is what I got...

Dan maintains that this was not a cruel joke at my caloric expense rather his romantic response to my stating earlier this afternoon that I might be ready for some physical relations soon, relatively soon, like maybe next month.

L: Even though we still have another month before we can go "all the way" maybe we could get the kids to sleep in their own beds this weekend.

D: So we can go half way?

L: I was thinking maybe a quarter of the way. Just for starters.

D: A quarter of the way sounds good. Oh yeah. We are totally going a quarter of the way.


Last night Cohen and Merrick and Dan and I all curled up into bed together way past our collective bedtime. Cohen began asking for stories about when I was a little ghoul (she struggles with the pronunciation of the word girl). Dan asked her to instead tell Merrick a story. This followed:

Coco: Once upon a time, when I was a little girl I traveled and traveled between these dots and the I got runned over by a car. The end.

Dan: That was... very good Cohen. Now can you tell a story with a happy ending?

Coco: Once upon a time there was the end. And I loved. Oh and I had a frog on my head.

Dan: Much better.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bird's Eye View

Lawton suggested that I write an entry for her blog about my recent experience with her family. I must admit that I first was shy about sharing my feelings with her audience. I was not blessed with Lawton’s eloquence with words or her comedic prose. But, as I returned from my trip, I relented and decided that I would give it a try.

As a woman who may never be able to have a biological child of her own (my husband has brain cancer and the chemo has relegated his little swimmers to the eternal wading pool), the opportunity to witness the birth of Merrick was immeasurable. I arrived on Sunday evening and we went out for a grown up dinner before the baby arrived. As I sat at dinner, I couldn’t help but stare at Lawton’s belly and try to wrap my head around the fact that indeed there was a baby in there and that he would be here in just 11 short hours. She and Dan were so calm and collected as we talked about our how we tortured our own siblings and tried to imagine what Cohen would have in store for her little brother. Cohen is so smart and creative already that I can only hope that she uses her powers for good rather than evil. When we went home, I couldn’t sleep and before I knew it the alarm rang and it was time.

I loved watching Dan and Lawton together as we made our way to the hospital. They joked all the way there despite the obvious anticipation in the air. In the hospital room, they started poking and prodding Lawton with various needles. Everything in me wanted to jump up and hold her hand and make sure that nothing hurt too badly. But, Dan had it covered and I knew that I needed to stay back and let them share in this important moment together. Minutes felt like hours. Finally, the nurses arrived to take us to the operating room. Lawton went in by herself while Dan and I waited out in the hall until she was prepped. I have to say that I have liked Dan from the moment I met him. But, standing in that hallway with him while we waiting for his wife to be ready to give birth to his son, I loved him.

We laughed and joked, trying to make time move more quickly but the fear and anticipation in his eyes was evident. It was truly wonderful to be able to actually feel how much he loved Lawton and his son that had not yet even been born. This is a picture of Dan and I in the hall waiting to go into surgery.

The doors opened and my heart jumped into my throat. The pounding in my ears was deafening as I saw Lawton on the operating table. For the past few weeks I had been preparing myself for this moment by watching surgery shows on television. I set my DVR to record all shows with the words “cesarean section” in the description. I had even gotten to the point where I could eat spaghetti with red sauce while watching a woman’s stomach opened up on the table. This, however, was not like on television. I was no longer able to detach when it was my friend whose guts I was close to seeing. I closed my eyes and skipped behind the curtain before I could see anything. I kept repeating to myself “keep it cool, keep it cool, don’t pass out and miss this.” Dan went right to his wife and held her hand. I stood on the other side and tried to take pictures over the curtain that was separating us from the doctors and what would soon be Lawton’s open stomach.I heard the doctor say “starting the incision” and my brain automatically switched to safety mode. It is a completely surreal feeling as if what I am seeing is actually on a very large, all encompassing television screen. The only thing that I can compare it to is when I jumped out of a plane for the first time and I was staring at the ground coming closer and closer. Your brain just doesn’t allow you to really experience what is happening. Lawton said it best later when she said that it is truly impossible to live in that moment. Then, they lifted him up and I saw him for the first time and my eyes welled with tears. “There he is”, I said, “he is so beautiful.” I loved him. With his first breath, I loved him. I looked at Lawton and she had this look in her eyes that I will never forget. It was one of those looks that can never be captured in words or in a photograph. It was true and utter joy. I watched Dan admiring his new son and he too had that look. If I wasn’t trying so hard to keep it all together I would have fallen to the ground and wept. I would have wept for the love I felt for this new baby and for Lawton and Dan and the absolute appreciation that I felt for being allowed to share in this moment. But, despite my happiness, I also would have wept for the deep sense of loss that I felt at the realization that I may never be able to experience this joy with my own husband. As Merrick was being handed to Dan so that Lawton could see him, I shook this thought out of my head and reveled in the moment. Watching Dan and Lawton hold their son for the first time, I felt a true sense of peace.

For those of you who read Lawton’s blog, you know that she has a beautiful and precocious little girl who is almost three years old. Since her birth, I have made every attempt to see her at least three times per year. I love that little girl to pieces. I was so excited to see how Cohen was going to take to her new little brother. Of course, in true Cohen fashion, she first wanted to see him do something. “I want him to put this in his mouth Mommy” she said of the toy that she had chosen especially for him. Lawton and Dan laughed and explained to her that he was too little to put things in his mouth but that they were sure that he loved her gift. She also wanted to use the little snot sucker to help him out with his little baby snot. What a great big sister! Below is a picture of Dan trying to gently explain to Cohen why she could not shove the snot sucker into her brother’s fragile little nose.

Unfortunately, we would later find out that Cohen was sick and that she could not visit her mother and brother in the hospital anymore for fear that he would catch her bug. While this was sad in many ways, I must admit that I was happy to have some one-on-one time with Cohen. We watched movies, played flashlight tag, read books, made pancakes, played pretend, and cuddled when she was feeling sick. We went to the “book train” and created our own little world of imagination with all of the stuffed animals. I truly enjoyed our special time together. Despite our efforts at making her well, Cohen was still sick when it was time for her mother and the baby to come home. Lawton was heart-broken but knew that it was best for Cohen to stay with her dad at grandma’s house until she was better. I can’t even imagine how hard it was for Lawton and Merrick to be separated from Dan and Cohen for those first couple of days. But, they prevailed and made the most of a rough situation. I tried my best to take Dan’s place and rushed at the chance to satisfy Lawton’s every whim. She was a trooper, all laughs and smiles (with just a little hormonal crying). We ate frozen yogurt and watched the L-Word for two straight days, truly decadent. I got in all the baby cuddles that I could because I knew that I would be leaving soon.

The day I left, was inexplicably sad for me. I was going to miss all of them so much. I got in some final cuddles with Merrick, told him that I loved him, and that I would be back soon.

Cohen and I played in the yard for a while and I let her know how special she is to me. In our last minutes of running around, she said “Auntie Erin, chase me.” Trying to joke with her I said “why would I want to chase you?” She looked at me with her wide eyes and said “because you love me.” Little girl, I would chase you forever if I could.

Lawton and Dan, thank you so much for letting me share in this experience with you. Both of you are such strong parents and the love in your family is unmistakable. You are like family to me and I love you both very much.

Cohen and Merrick, I promise that I will always do what I can to be the best Auntie Erin that I can be. I will be there for you no matter how far of a distance there is between us. I will do my best to teach you and guide you when you are unsure and praise you for your individual accomplishments. I will love you without limits and I will always let you know how special you are to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

He Made the Team

Merrick Brian Jackson
Born 1.12.2009 8:02 a.m.
8 lbs. 12.6 oz. 20 in.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Big Sister

Dear Cohen,
Today was our last day with me as your mother and you my only child - when I see you next you will be one of my children. My hormones are having a hay-day with this. To split the love, to acknowledge love for someone new... my knowing it will be possible doesn't make it hurt less. It's not like the days before you were born when my life was my own. Since that day my life has been yours too and now another little person is going to be dependent upon me.

The mother who popped you in the mouth in the middle of a restaurant last week for biting me. The mother who has begged you these past few weeks to just stop whatever torturous thing you were doing in a desperate attempt to get some of my attention. I'm so sorry for all of the sickness and sleepiness that comes with pregnancy and how it has shortened my temper. I am hoping it will be better in a matter of days.

Very soon I will be able to run after you again, play chase, and crawl on the floor and not complain every time you poop in your pants because that means I have to get down on the floor to change you. I can't wait for you to be able to climb all over me again. To go for long walks and play at the park. And then there's the little matter of the new kid.

I don't know what to expect from your little brother, and so I expect nothing and just wait. I cannot imagine him. I tried to imagine you before you came and it was nothing compared to who you came to be so with your brother I can only wait. Anticipate. I can imagine you with him. Just when I panic, thinking I am still learning to be a good mother to you and I have brought another person into this world that will also be totally dependent; I imagine you looking at your brother and I remember why your father and I decided to have another baby.

We wanted you to have a sibling, like Daddy has Uncle Jeff and I have Uncle Clarke. We wanted you to have someone to turn to and say, "Wow, Mom and Dad are idiots." We wanted to give you another kind of love and when we see you at the end of this weekend we will be giving you that gift.

I will just look to you, as I do in so many other situations. I will follow your lead. I cannot wait to watch you wrap your head around the idea that the fat belly I have been lugging around morphed into a crying baby over just one weekend away at Grammy's.

Mostly I am scared at how big you are going to look when you come walking through that door and I am holding this tiny new baby. How big you seemed tonight walking out the door wearing your tight little jeans and carrying your My Little Pony Purse. You are my baby, and I have just not figured out yet how it's going to feel to hold a new baby. To love a new baby. To go through it all again for someone new. Sometimes looking back it seems I barely survived you.

As a tribute to Cohen the big sister, the girl who is forever asking me to tell her a story about when I was a little girl I am going to close with a few stories from this week with you... my little girl.

Monday you fell at Grandma's while I was in the office and bonked your head on the coffee table. It took me almost a full minute of consoling you and checking your mouth to make sure you didn't bite through your bottom lip before I brushed the hair back from your forehead and discovered the head wound gushing blood down your hair line and dripping onto the shoulder of your baby blue pajamas. Your first real wound. I scooped you up and took you into the bathroom. Sat you on the counter while I wet a washcloth to put on your forehead and I remembered one of your favorite stories.

When Uncle Clarke was a little boy he had such blonde hair it looked white. One day he and I were playing in the store and he came running around the corner and slipped. He hit his forehead on the sharp corner of a shelf and when my mom picked him up he had a bright red streak of blood running through his white hair. But when Grandma cleaned him up it turned out to be just a little cut. It had seemed so scary at the time because his hair was so white but he was fine.

With this story (that I now realize was innappropriate to have ever told you) in mind I sat you on the counted and said, "Look, you're just like Uncle Clarke!".

You looked at yourself and as the blood drained from your face you screamed, "My blood! Why am I bleeding my blood?!"

By the time I found an urgent care you had calmed down and were mostly annoyed at how poorly I was handling this whole incident. Once you stopped crying you never cried again and you were such a pro at the urgent care that I saw a strength in you I don't recall having and knew that must be from your father.
Incidentally, while we sat in the room waiting to hear if it would be skin glue and butterfly stitched or a needle and thread your Grandma told me the rest of that story about Uncle Clarke. Evidently, it was a terrible cut and he had to go to emergency room where they tethered him to a body board, strapping down all of his appendages so that they could inject the wound site with the needle that would numb the many stitches he ended up getting. While you agreed to take a needle to the face in exchange for a chocolate bar they were too chicken shit to believe a little kid like you could be so tough and you pranced out of there resilient with 4 butterfly stitches and a free pass for chocolate before lunch.

Tuesday you and I were walking through the Dillard's at the mall and on the way over to kid's shoes you wanted to stop and touch every single piece of costume jewelry within your reach. Finally I walked over and took you by the hand - which you hate - and rushed you along. You dropped your feet out from beneath yourself and turned into dead weight because you know for a fact I can no longer lift you. I pull on your arm and whisper in my meanest mommy whisper "Cohen Beatrix, you had better get up right now," to which you seethed in a whisper all your own, "Don't under-est-i-mate me, Mommy." I asked you what you said and you repeated it perfectly, less for my entertainment and more to make your point, "Don't under-est-i-mate me, Mommy." A smile slid across my face and then onto yours. Technically you had won. We laughed at your way with words and walked together through the store... not holding hands anymore.
Wednesday night you followed me into the bathroom on one of my many night time trips to pee. You brought it to my attention that I was beginning to lose my mucus plug by looking down at my underwear and saying, "Mommy, is that gum on your undies, or pee?" You slay me.
I love you little girl, you are an amazing daughter and you are going to be an amazing big sister. I know it.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Working While Breastfeeding?

I know that I have been a bad blogger and considering that I am going to have this baby in 5 days - it may not get better soon. I am finishing a class, the holidays, and a pregnancy and I don't have time to feel bad about this blog.

However - To make it all up to you for tuning in, I want to share with you Dan's latest idea about what kind of work I should be looking for after having the baby.

Until my regular programming returns thank you and enjoy...

She's Got Alotta Heart