It returns

So. After all of this. And this. And this. This. Or how about this or this or this or this. Or this time or that time.

[TL;DR: The last period I had by myself, without relying on hormones or fertility treatments was in March 2015.]

AFTER ALL OF THAT… guess what came a knocking this week?

That’s right you guys, my period. It’s back. Hello bitches, did you miss me?

Even though breastfeeding supposedly suspends your period for a while. And giving birth totally messes everything up. And my history of anovulation. ALL of that. And my period’s back at just shy of seven months postpartum.

I know I’m coming off as snarky, but I’m actually really excited, for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s just another sign that my body’s getting back to “normal” after giving birth. Similar to the first time I went without breastpads at night. Or the first time I wore a normal bra again. Or when I was able to put on my real jeans again. I’ve celebrated all of these little milestones along the way to getting my body back. (And in this case, I mean “my body back” as in I’m regaining ownership of my body, if you will. I’m no longer pregnant or a newly minted mom or nursing every half hour or waking up with leaking boobs. It’s nice, to reclaim my body.)

Also, it feels really awesome to have my period back after so long without one. As I mentioned above, the last period that I got all on my own was more than two years ago. My body just didn’t want to ovulate in the meantime, so no period without fertility drugs and hormone treatments. So go ovaries! Knew you had it in you!

We don’t have plans to try for a second dumpling any time soon, but it’s nice to know that things may go a little more smoothly this time.

 

 

Six months!

So first off, these past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at work. They’ve been the type of weeks where I’ve only managed to scratch of an item or two from my to-do list, while simultaneously adding three or four more items. They’ve been the type of weeks when I’ve been insanely busy each day, yet at the end of the week I can’t really pinpoint appreciable progress on my current tasks. In other words, screw these past couple of weeks.

On a much higher note, the dumpling officially turned six months old this past Tuesday! He had his six month check-up and the pediatrician was satisfied by his growth and progress. He weighs 14.5lbs (5th percentile!) and measures 26.75in (56th percentile – holy cats!!!). He doesn’t roll except when he’s in his crib, but he’s sitting almost perfectly unassisted. He doesn’t have much interest in toys, which was starting to alarm me because he doesn’t really grab for things. He has though, in just the last couple of weeks, started to really analyze what he’s holding. He still doesn’t reach for things much, but he’ll take it from you if you give it to him. He loves fabric though (and paper it seems – the paper liner on the pediatrician’s scale, for instance, he had to bring that with us back to the examination room). He’s officially tried sweet potatoes, peas, squash, egg, and avocado. Although, the egg and avocado, I’m fairly certain he didn’t actually swallow either of those.

It’s amazing watching him grow. His hair is coming in. His little legs are getting longer and hammier. He’s long and lean and adorable.


If I may though, can I relate to you the night of hilarity that occurred at my house this past week? Yes? Oh thanks.

So Luffy had to travel for business Wednesday and Thursday. No biggie. I was preparing the dumpling’s bath when I heard what every homeowner dreads – three chirps from a smoke detector. Le crap. I carried the peanut with me as I tried to track down the chirping unit. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chirping, the unit was ominously silent and I STILL hadn’t found the culprit. Well, I thought, might as well get the dumpling off to bed first. The only good thing in this scenario was that I had happened to be standing directly under the unit in the dumpling’s room as the last set of chirps went off, so I knew it wasn’t his.

So I continued with bedtime and got the dumpling off to bed, his bottles washed, his milk made, my pump parts cleaned, all without another peep from the detector. I naively hoped that it was a fluke and that it wouldn’t sound again. I knew it wasn’t a low battery signal and none of the other units had gone off, so it wasn’t an alarm state. All of the units showed steady green lights, so no issues to note there (also no help in determining which of the units was chirping). Around 10:30, I was about to head to bed when the chirping started again. Le double crap. I hurried around the house, but still couldn’t determine which unit it was because the thing still only chirped three times. When the house was silent again, I sat back to think about what to do. I figured three rounds of chirps every two hours or so wasn’t bad – I might even be able to sleep through it and it didn’t seem to bother the dumpling. I headed to bed with the hope that it would be a smooth night.

HAHAHA – I foresee much fail.

I got ready for bed and climbed in, settling down into my pillow right as the chirps started going off again. I ran through the house to figure out which one it was – again with no luck. I finally decided that maybe it was the hallway one and went to get a new battery and a chair.

Now let’s pause here. I knew, KNEW, that it wasn’t the typical battery dead chirp, but I, for some reason, did not consider that information. That’s basically all I know how to do with smoke detectors. Hear chirping – change battery. These are all of the things I know. Secondly, I should have just pulled them down to disable them (ours have A/C power as well as the battery back-up). I was worried that if I did that, it would set them all off with some sort of malfunction alarm as they sensed a fallen brother (not too crazy, ours are interconnected).

But I didn’t do any of that. At 11pm, I drug a chair into the hallway and replaced the battery in the hallway unit and then somehow managed to set off a test phase which meant that all of the units in our house suddenly blared their alarms. I prayed to ALL OF THE GODS AND LANDS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY that the dumpling would sleep through the racket. And he did! Praise be! I climbed off the chair, ready to head to bed when – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. (F&*%)

So at 11:15, I drug the ladder in from the garage and climbed atop it to change the battery in the office unit (again, see above and all of the things I know regarding smoke detectors). The damn thing kept chirping, even with the new battery. So at 11:30, I frantically looked up the manual to try to figure out what the freaking beeping meant and how to shut it the hell up. (My language was getting worse through this ordeal, so glad the dumpling wasn’t awake to witness it.) I discovered that this specific beeping pattern meant the unit was malfunctioning – FANTASTIC – and decided to disable it for the evening. So at midnight, I climbed up the ladder again and pulled the entire thing down. Since I still wasn’t 100% sure that the office unit was at fault and the thought of getting out of bed AGAIN for chirping AGAIN made me want to murder someone, I decided to pull down a couple of others for good measure.

So at 12:30 in the morning, I finally settled into my bed, completely on edge, waiting for more chirping. Which didn’t happen. Whew. But then my night fell apart farther as an unholy trinity of leaky diaper and gas and uncomfortableness got the dumpling up at 1:30 and kept him up until 4. Fun times. At least I didn’t have to call the fire department again. So win?

Voyeur

A week and a half ago, the dumpling woke me up at 6:30 in the morning, howling. He usually wakes up happy in the morning, so this was odd. When I went in to get him, I immediately noticed he’d made a 180 degree turn, with his head on the opposite side of the crib from where I’d laid him down. As I squinted down at him in the darkness, I suddenly realized I was also looking at the back of his head. Great.

He was clearly less than pleased to find himself on his belly, with no way to get back to his back. For the record, this was the first time he’d EVER rolled back to tummy (or even tummy to back, for that matter – first roll ever). He’s always stopped at his side when laying on his back and he’s never, ever attempted rolling out of the tummy position.

Alas, it was time to purchase a video monitor.

Back when I was pregnant (or even shortly after birth), as I scrolled through the recommendations for monitors, I couldn’t fathom getting a video monitor. Why do I need to watch my baby all the time? Ugh. So many crazy, helicopter parents out there that NEED to watch their child 24/7. All I could think about was the casual stories from moms on my birth board who carried their video monitor around the house and couldn’t do anything during nap time except watch the baby sleep – checking again and again to see if they were breathing and wondering if they were too hot or cold and was that a cough?! RELAX – is what I wanted to tell them. When I bought a monitor at two months (when we moved the dumpling into his room), I purchased a fairly inexpensive unit with sound capabilities only. I liked it a lot and figured we’d be all set.

As is (always?) the case with parenting, I’m eating my words now. As the dumpling becomes more mobile, I realized that I wanted the ability to check on him without disturbing him. Plus, when he wakes up in the morning, he’s usually so quiet that we’re often left wondering exactly how long he’s been awake in there. So, back to the monitor recommendations I went, hunting for a well-reviewed video monitor.

(Side note – I really like Baby Gear Lab for this sort of stuff. We bought our high chair based on their recommendations and I LOVE it. The monitor has been a great buy as well. Plus I just really like reading through their reviews on everything from strollers to diapers (both cloth and disposable) to breast pumps. Very entertaining, if you’re me and easily entertained.)

I hemmed and hawed for a while weighing the pros and cons of each, as is my nature. I finally settled on the iBaby Monitor, even though the Amazon reviews weren’t as stellar as Baby Gear Lab’s. It came in last week and I LOVE it. It doesn’t have a dedicated receiver; you use an app on your phone or iPad. I chose to use our iPad because I had read that it can be a resource hog (for obvious reasons). I love being able to bring up the app to make sure he gets to sleep. When he’s fussing, we’re able to tell if his eyes are open (he’s probably actually annoyed and we should go in) or closed (he’s basically just talking to himself, let him be). When I wake up in the morning, I bring the app up to make sure he’s still asleep and check on  him periodically until he wakes up. (He’s seriously super quiet in the mornings and it’s very hard to tell over the sound monitor alone that he’s awake.) It was a godsend over the weekend when the dumpling suddenly decided to add his newly acquired screeching skillz to his protest cries and the sounds we heard over the monitor seemed unearthly yet the video feed revealed him to be mostly calm.

I did pause though, our first night using it. A slightly creepy feeling washed over me as I watched my son drift off to sleep. I felt like a voyeur, peering in on a private moment. I turned the app off as soon as he was asleep and I kept it off through the night, only bringing it up to check on him when he stirred. I wondered if every parent felt that way, peeking at their children through video monitors. I definitely like having it and can see myself using it for years to come (especially when the dumpling’s transitioned into a toddler bed – oh lordy), but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those parents glued to the monitor. The kid needs some space, you know?

Post-baby Body

I’ve avoided writing much about this because the post-partum journey is just that… a journey. I’m still in the middle of mine, but here’s the progress I’ve made so far.

The good – 

I’ve lost most of the pregnancy weight by now. It came off slower than I had hoped (I was still about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight a couple of months after I gave birth), but I’m getting there. I’m now to the point where I’m reluctant to lose more weight for fear that it will effect my (tenuous) milk supply.

I can rest my fears – I my feet did not change sizes. Yay! My rib cage seems the same, as do my hips. My breasts are about the same size too, oddly enough.

My appetite seems to have returned to normal. I was worried that all the eating I was doing while pregnant would continue, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, for a while after I gave birth I had absolutely no appetite. To the point that I was honestly a little concerned about it (especially as I watched breastfeeders comment about how HUNGRY they were), but that passed as well.

I do not have diastasis recti – whew! My abdominal muscles actually seem to have held up incredibly well to the strain of pregnancy. I think it’s because I continued to work out while pregnant. Speaking of work outs, I’ve been teaching my classes since mid-January. I was looking forward to returning and it went more smoothly than I had hoped (you’d be amazed how quickly the stamina to teach a one hour class disappears!). Right now, I’m just teaching twice a week. I miss teaching my three classes (I feel like it’s a much better pace for the week), but I don’t want to take the time. I miss the dumpling on days when I teach and it means a lot of work for Luffy. Perhaps when the dumpling is a little older, I’ll get back to my three-a-week schedule.

On the TMI front, my sex drive has returned. It took a nose dive there for a long time. I was so tired and sore and unsexy that I couldn’t imagine getting naked in front of Luffy, let alone getting in between the sheets. Over the past few weeks though, it’s slowly coming back. Now my main problem is that I usually get the urge at the most inopportune times. The dumpling’s bedtime. Check. At the playground. Check. On my commute into work. Check. My timing’s not so great.

All in all, I’m really starting to feel like myself again.

The bad – 

I was warned about the post-partum hair loss but, MY LANDS, I am losing a lot of hair. About two weeks ago, I finally went and chopped it off. I hadn’t cut it since probably May of last year. I couldn’t stand it anymore and cut off a good six or seven inches. (Does anyone else do this? I’m fine with my hair until, quite suddenly, I’m not and then I need it cut like TODAY. Or perhaps YESTERDAY. Just cut it NOW.) The style suits my lifestyle much better now as I no longer need to pull it up to nurse or pump. Plus it actually almost looks great when I let it air dry. I call that a win.

Also on the TMI front…. and I can’t believe I’m telling you this…. I legitimately have BO now. Like. Serious BO. Teenage-boy BO. Teenage-boy-after-football-workouts BO. Research tells me that it’s hormone related (see, just like the teenage boys) and that it should subside when my hormones are back to normal. I am still waiting on that. To be fair, it has gotten a bit better. At a month post-partum, my pits were rank even after a serious scrubbing in the shower – that’s how bad it was. At 4.5 months post-partum, I just need a shower every day. Ahhhh hormones.

Last piece of not so great things, the skin around my scar is oddly numb and overly-sensitive at the same time. Does that even make sense? If I bump it or Luffy touches it, I’ll say it hurts because that’s the best description I have, but it’s not really pain. It’s more just uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. I’m also told that this is normal. So yay?

The ugly – 

In all my worries for my post-partum self, I never considered my scar. Even if I had, my worries probably would have looked something like this: How would my scar look? Would it be easily hidden? Would I be able to love my scar, to wear it bravely? One thing that I definitely didn’t consider, wouldn’t have even known to consider, was a dimple. You see, my incision has a dimple on the right side, like that side got pulled a bit tighter or something. It was extremely obvious right after birth and I hoped that it would diminish over time. It has not. The left side looks perfect, smooth and even. The right side looks horrendous as it accentuates the flabby stomach with an abrupt indention. I still hope that it smooths out over time. Maybe once I can lose more weight? Right now, I’d be happy with even a little smoothing out. I’m trying to come to terms with it because, despite my hope, I really don’t think it’s going away. At least high-waisted swim suits are in style right now, that should cover it for the summer anyway. Luffy reminds me that this scar, this incision, marks the spot our child was born. It’s visible proof of the incredible feat my body accomplished. My body doesn’t need to be perfect after the amazing thing it’s done. Still though. I can’t help but wish that it looked a bit better. More even. Smoother. Symmetrical.

Some day. One day. I’ll get there.

Baby’s First Flight!

Last Tuesday, exactly a week ago, we got a postcard in the mail. My mom had recently finished renovating her newly acquired office building and she was having an open house. This was a huge milestone for her. She’s been in business for over 11 years, but she’s rented her space the entire time. She had outgrown her original space long ago and had slowly leased additional suites in the same building. These suites were not all together though, so she and her employees were constantly running through common area to get back and forth. Plus there was a lack of security, given she had to rely on other tenants to lock the exterior doors. Then there was also the fact that the entire building shared a bathroom. Etc. Etc. Lots of reasons why this new building is going to be such a huge step up for her and her employees. Plus her own building! With her name on it!

When we got the postcard invitation to her open house, Luffy asked me if I was going to attend. It was on Friday though, middle of the day, in my hometown (5+ hours away by car) and Luffy also happened to be out of town that day.

“No,” I chuckled, “I’ll just send her some flowers to let her know we’re thinking of her.”


Last Thursday, around 2pm, I got a call that registered with my hometown’s area code. I answered, instantly recognizing my mom’s business partner’s voice. He and my mom’s best friend (who also happens to be her employee) wanted to surprise my mom by having me there for her open house. They’d cover the flight, they’d pick me up, they’d even purchase a car seat if that made things easier for me. My mom always planned surprises for everyone else and they wanted the chance to surprise her.

What could I do but agree?


Thursday night, as I lay in bed contemplating the next day – flying with the dumpling all by myself – I dissolved into a ball of nerves. What on earth was I thinking?! Flying home, with no one to help me with the dumpling?! I’m crazy! I’m insane! I should be committed!

As 11pm and then midnight and then 1am rolled around, I tried frantically to adjust my plans. I even got on the phone with the airlines to try to take a different flight (that actually didn’t exist – turns out I tend to misread things when it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m freaking out). I tried desperately to come up with a solution that would allow me leave the dumpling at daycare and be home in time to pick him up. (To be clear, we have plenty of friends and family in the area who would have been here for the dumpling in case he needed it. I wasn’t just going to abandon my young to daycare and go jet-setting.)

Finally, probably around 1:30 in the morning or so, a mere four and a half hours before I needed to get up, I calmed myself. I could handle this. I was flying with the dumpling, not some stranger’s squalling infant. We would be fine. Worst case scenario, the flight is only 45 minutes long, I’m pretty sure I (and my seatmates) would be able to survive anything for just 45 minutes. And with that thought, I finally managed to get to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 5:45 because omg the baby! He hadn’t made a peep all night. Of course, the one night I’m riddled with nerves and can’t sleep is the one night he sleeps all the way through. Because of course. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. Which was probably ok because the dumpling ruined my plans to get ready before getting him up for the day by waking up at 6:15 and nursing for half an hour. But even with the curve ball, I got him fed, myself showered, breakfast eaten, Jas got her medicine, and we were out the door by 7:30!

And then I got to laugh at my anxious self as the dumpling did beautifully in the airport. He peaked out from his carrier as we went through security and made our way to the gate. He slept while we waited to board and woke up to be delighted by the airplane. A kind couple behind me shifted seats so that I could have a row to myself. I nursed him as soon as we took off and he nodded off for his first nap of the day. He slept the whole flight and woke up just as we were touching down. We made our way through my hometown’s small airport to find my mom’s best friend. As promised, she had a newly purchased car seat in the back. She had, adorably, given up YouTubing for installation help and had taken it to the local fire station. We chatted excitedly as we made our way to my mom’s business. With her business partner keeping her distracted from the security camera feeds, we made our way inside.

When I rounded the corner into my mom’s office, she stared at me, completely shocked and not really putting the pieces together – to see the dumpling and I standing in her office on a Friday morning. But the second passed and she burst into happy tears and came around her desk to envelope us both in a hug. She took the dumpling from me, hugged me again and again, and then proceeded to direct the set-up for her open house one-handed as she carried the dumpling everywhere – her mood notably lifted.

It was so much fun getting to surprise her like that! She was so shocked to see us and we made her day. We also got to surprise many of my extended family (including my own granddad who got the opportunity to meet his great-grandson!). Of course, with only two people in-the-know, we surprised nearly everyone who came out to support my mom. My mom had a blast showing her grandson off to all of her friends.

Since I was travelling alone and I needed to be back home to teach my first class the next day (which – SPOILER ALERT – didn’t end up happening because of a stomach bug I picked up along the way), our flight home was at 4:30 that afternoon. Mom drove us to the airport, sad to see us go but ever so happy that we came.

The dumpling did well on the flight home, although he was much more tired and therefore a touch more cranky. We made it home in time to get him into bed on time. Then I took a hot shower, had some dinner delivered, chatted with Luffy, and climbed into bed myself, exhausted from our busy day.

And then I got back up and puked, but let’s just pretend the story ended on my happier note, shall we?

Reminiscing

One interesting part of being back at the office is that I keep having flashbacks to being pregnant. I suppose because the last time I was in the office for any measurable amount of time was when I was pregnant. So every time I use the restroom, I remember going to the restroom a bajillion times. I remember walking waddling from the parking lot to the building. I remember making snacks and lowering my chair.

This has prompted me to look back through my archives here and I realize that I’ve already started to forget things about my pregnancy, especially in the early months. For instance, I totally forgot all the burping I did and how uncomfortable I used to be after eating and how I took up napping. I’ve already forgotten how I waffled for weeks over whether I had really felt the dumpling move. Most of all, I’ve already forgotten how long it too us to accept that I was really pregnant, after months of infertility.

Last night, I was browsing through posts and I came across this one. It’s so crazy and amazing to look back at it now and know that this WAS our cycle. This was it! We just didn’t know it yet. This cycle would be the one and we’d have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. Incredible.

Also, there’s one small piece from his birth story that I keep forgetting to tell. Like all crazy sane women trying to conceive, once I had a positive pregnancy test, I tested multiple times. I had cheapie tests from Amazon that I was using, but did splurge on a fancy digital one. Of course, they all said the same thing, but the digital one just gave a wonderful feeling – seeing that word “pregnant” displayed. Even more fun was the fact the the box boasted the result would be displayed six months, long enough for you to plan fun announcements or something. That’s sweet, I thought to myself, as I tucked the pregnancy test into my bathroom drawer. Each morning, I would open the drawer to get my hair brush or my makeup brush or my contacts, see the test and smile at that word again. I sent a picture of it to my mom when I told her. The test was a happy little reminder, especially in the early weeks before I started showing. Six months, however, came and went and the test still displayed its cheery little result. I stopped giving it much attention as my belly grew larger and larger each day. I was however amazed to find it still said “pregnant” by August. And September. And October. By the time late October rolled around I joked to myself that the test was going to outlast my pregnancy. Then, on the morning of October 25th, that momentous day, I opened up my bathroom drawer to find the test window blank. That’s right, I thought, in a few hours I won’t be pregnant anymore. Somehow, the test knew. My little silent testimony to the Dumpling’s existence was no longer needed.

I’m Alive!

Seriously. Remember my last post… about baby’s first cold and how he gave it to me and how I was kind of miserable. Yeah. So I wrote that last Thursday. I was ok. Not great, but ok. Then Friday came and hit me like a truck. When I walked into work, my coworker legit greeted me with “you sound like death.” He then made me turn around and go find a clinic to see a doctor that very morning. (I had been planning on visiting a clinic on Saturday because I couldn’t get in to see my own doctor on Friday.) Anyway, saw the doctor at a clinic. Got an antibiotic for the upper respiratory infection and they gave me a steroid shot. A wonderful, glorious steroid shot that allowed me to breathe! Hallelujah!

By Saturday afternoon the steroid shot had worn off. By around 5 on Saturday I was having trouble swallowing liquids because there was absolutely zero air passing through my nasal cavities. (Have you ever tried to drink water with your nose plugged… it’s not easy.) Afrin saved me and I was able to sleep through the night decently. But then Sunday came and the congestion came back and then Afrin stopped working and I thought I would die a miserable, congested death.

And then I had a violent allergic reaction.

Because I was not dealing with enough health related misery.

So Sunday evening – Luffy and I had put the dumpling to bed and I was whining about how miserable I was. Luffy had gone to the store for some soup for dinner, which was warming on the stove. He was massaging my sinuses (from the outside, of course) and my eyes were watering because, again, nothing was moving through my nasal cavities. My sinuses felt so much better once he was done and we sat down to dinner. Right after we finished eating, I realized my eyes were kind of itchy…. And, you know, the left one feels a little… puffy. I hopped up to go look in the mirror and saw two strange bumps, almost like water balloons, on my lower lid. Weird. I joked to Luffy about – oh great, more weirdness. Then I continued eating my kimchi. About ten minutes later, I realized that the puffiness was distracting now and hopped up to check out the mirror again. To my horror, the little balloons had swelled up and were expanding – rapidly. I started to get a little nervous and put a warm cloth over my face, thinking it was clogged ducts or something. That seemed to make it worse, which was when I timidly went out to Luffy and asked him what I should do. It was 8pm on a Sunday, but I needed to see a doctor.

We found one of those stand-alone ER’s (that I actually drive past all the time and always laugh that it’s smack dab in the middle of my little suburb) and I made my way there. Luffy had to stay home with the dumpling. Luckily, it was fairly quiet and I made it there just fine. It took the doctor all of two seconds to diagnose an allergic reaction. He sent me on my way with prescription eye drops, as that was about the only thing he could do for me (antihistamines are not generally good for breastfeeding moms as they dry up supply).

Honestly, I would say today (Wednesday) is the first day that my eyes look normal. Even Monday, when the extreme swelling had gone down, my eyes were still puffy and even my cheek bones looked swollen. My eyes are still itchy and I’m paranoid about touching them.

We have no idea what caused the reaction. I hadn’t gone anywhere all day. I probably had coconut oil on my hands, but we’ve been using it as a moisturizer for the dumpling for about a month. Thus, it’s unlikely that I would have made it this long without having a reaction to it if I was allergic. Luffy had gone to the store, but we’re pretty sure he washed his hands. I’m hoping that it was a fluke – some perfect storm of hormonal changes and medications and just the right trigger.

So I am finally feeling a little better all around. It only took me three weeks. Sheesh.