The First Week, my survival guide

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Instructions not included. Your mileage may vary.

While I was pregnant, I obsessively researched the hell out of nearly every baby product available. I read reviews, compared prices, googled blog posts, pinned on Pinterest. I even made spreadsheets for the more complicated decisions (strollers, cloth diapers) and I made lists after lists. I constantly updated and revised my baby registries on Amazon and Target and I loved reading other people’s registries. I admit that by the time Miriam arrived we had amassed quite a collection of baby clothes, diapers, bottles, and gear. As of yet I have no idea what will ultimately be useful, useless or destined for the charity shop, but I there are a few things that I’ve found to be indispensable over the past week. The first few days and weeks at home with a new baby you’re essentially just in survival mode, so here are the things I’ve found that have helped save me. I had a c-section, so my recovery needs are a little different than if I’d had a vaginal birth, but I think a lot of these things apply to both situations.

Depends. Yep, I’m just going to admit that. The hospital may give you those mesh panties and the “mama diapers” maxi pads, but you should have a stock pile of supplies at home. I was initially a little embarrassed buying these, but boy am I glad I did. You can combine these with the Always Overnights (in the purple wrappers, nothing but the purple wrappers are good enough!) for maximum protection and absorbency. Not only do the Depends add more protection, but they save your underwear and fit much better and more comfortably on your tender post-partum jelly belly than any pair of granny panties.

Swaddling sleepsacks. We tried to emulate the L & D nurses’ crazy-fast origami swaddling skills, but were not successful. Our little girl’s flailing arms freaked her out, and she couldn’t sleep or get comfortable unless they were tightly secured at her sides. There are different brands out there: the Miracle Blanket, the Halo Sleepsack, Summer Infant Swaddle Me…if you can get a variety used or as hand-me-downs you can figure out what works best for you.

Organizer basket. I quickly became frustrated with trying to gather everything I needed in order to feed Miri and be comfortable where I was, and realized I needed “nursing stations.” I either feed her in bed or on the couch, and I just tote my little basket to wherever I’m sitting. It’s packed with everything I need while feeding or holding her: nursing pads, lanolin, tissues, chapstick, water bottle, iPad, phone, note pad, etc.

Wedge pillows. As much as I complained about how uncomfortable I was sleeping in the hospital bed, it wasn’t until I got home and tried to take a nap that I realized I couldn’t lay flat comfortably due to my incision, and I hadn’t had to for days because I kept the head of the hospital bed elevated. This (along with hormones and exhaustion) led to a flood of tears, but Matt found me these wedge pillows at Bed Bath & Beyond and they absolutely saved me. I could sleep comfortably and also lean against them while breastfeeding Miri in bed.

There are plenty of other little things that I’m finding to be indispensable this week as well, such as disposable nursing pads, lanolin and nipple cream, good comfy nursing bras, very soft loose-waisted pants, but a lot of these things are per your personal preference. The things I listed above were items that I was surprised would be so important to me in these first few days.

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Daddy: this one is the most indispensable, important, life-saving thing in my life at the moment. Sorry, he’s not sold on Amazon.

August 14, 2013

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Oh hi, were you waiting for me?

I’ve heard that making a birth plan is just a way to tempt fate, that if you plan for the labor and birth you want of course the opposite will happen. But the other piece is that babies have their own birth plans, and no one bothers to check with them most of the time. Baby Miriam Skye had no intention of showing up before she was ready, and we have no idea when that would have been. We finally met her on August 14, 2013, catching her by surprise (aka c-section). She was initially pretty annoyed with her sudden entry into the world but has settled into things very well. She was a healthy and perfect 7 lbs, 7 oz, 20 inches long. Her birth was nothing like I had planned or expected or imagined, but I am completely okay with that. It’s her birth, and she’s here, and that’s what’s important. It was rather epic however, and I’m going to write it all down with my doula’s help and hopefully post here later if anyone’s interested in the details.

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40 weeks

…and we are standing by. The wee lass has been served her eviction notice, no more freeloading, little one. Besides,  tardiness is not tolerated in this family. Due to a small pregnancy complication and a med that I’m on, the midwives aren’t comfortable letting her cook past her due date any more. Despite my initial reticence with induction and the whole cascade of interventions it seems to initiate, I’ve come around to accepting this as our plan. I trust my midwives and I trust that my body can do this. I mean, this birth thing has happened over 107 billion times on this planet before me. It’s no big thing, apparently. 

However, as we always say in Seattle, if you have a good idea of something to do, rest assured the rest of the city has had it first. Want to have a margarita outdoors on a sunny day? Good luck finding a table. Want to walk around Greenlake on a quiet weekend morning? Just try finding a parking spot near the lake. Want to go out to dinner on a weekend night (anywhere, ever?) Hahaha, you should have shown up at 4pm to get in line. Want to have a baby on a nice August weekend? Yeah, nice try. Seattlites didn’t get the memo on the declining birth rate yet, also as evidenced by the impossibility of finding a spot in a day care. It’s like you’re all packed and ready to take a really exciting trip somewhere but you have to fly stand-by. 

Don’t expect any live-blogging from the delivery room, I’m one of the few in this digital age who still attempts to maintain a modicum of dignity and privacy. But I may update in the future if I can get a cute enough pic of this kid to post. 

39 Weeks, 4 days

At this point, I have to say that the best thing about being pregnant so far is maternity leave. I started my leave six days ago. And I actually quite like my job, I’m looking forward to returning to it eventually, but I found that working, doing anything actually, at 9+ months pregnant was getting to be quite the chore.  Even better than maternity leave is having your maternity leave coincide with Shark Week. I couldn’t have planned that any better if I’d tried. Of course, there are some other pretty cool things about being pregnant: feeling the baby wiggle and squirm, the thought that I’m growing a human (and a whole extra organ) but those things are kind of corny and no one wants to read corny.

So now we just wait, as I idly try to fill my time with pedicures, massages, acupuncture, swimming, lunch dates. I’m trying to take full advantage of this time as I’m pretty sure there won’t be another time in my life when I’ll be so encouraged to rest, put my feet up, and relax. Which is a shame because I’m really quite good at it.

Baby hasn’t been served an official eviction notice yet, but I’m working hard to try to convince her that the nursery we’ve set up and her new digs are much better and more comfortable that her current cramped environment.

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