Category Archives: mother

post-partum posting

How to measure the time, the changes of the last four months? In pounds? I’ve lost 43, N has gained 10.

In sleep? I get about 4 hours a night solid. N has good nights and bad nights. B wants me to take him to dreamland, in which case he is down for the count. H sleeps lightly, with earplugs, in another room. My jaw is sore from the clenching that evidently comes from snacking on rest rather than having a full meal of it.

In capabilities? N can laugh, talk, dance (with help), and blow out diapers as if they were kleenex. B is learning how to be a big brother, and now plays that he is the young one, not the baby. I learned how to get within minutes of blowing up a microwave oven.

Post partum depression? Yes, I have it again, but I’d liken it to being aware of a low grade cold. It’s there, aggravated by sleep deprivation, alleviated by companionship and a good stretch of sleep.

What might be most frustrating – though not full blown frustrating, because I rarely have the energy for it – is that I have ideas for writing which slip from me. A turn of phrase, an observation, a reaction to something I hear or read, and before I can put my fingers to it, give it a shape and color, something else demands my hands. The twitter 140 character limit starts to make sense – spitting out fragments instead of poetry in the beginning, and later, perhaps, looking at 140 chars like the structure of haiku or a sonnet. To be honest, I’d be lucky to make it to doggerel, and some rhyming couplets.

Walking with N in public makes me realize how far away I am from the sense of being at home, grounded, where I belong. It’s not that I don’t know I belong with her and B, walking alongside them until they pass me and my line of sight. But beyond that, I’m an invisible person, at the mercy of my bank balance and the paid substitute for care from salespeople.


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Filed under ambivalence, mother, Motherhood, mothering

Welcome to the World, Nora

On 19 November, we drove to Evergreen Hospital to evict my beloved tenant. She made no sign of leaving on her own, having blocked the exit with her bottom and legs.

I walked unassisted but not unaccompanied to the delivery room, took my spinal like a woman (nearly soundlessly and according to my labor nurse, like “a very tough woman”) and within a few minutes became mother to a daughter. A daughter, in the words of the surprised OB, assisting and nurses, who was “a very big girl”. Baby was 8lbs, 8oz, 20.5 inches. Strong. Pink. And with the most beautiful thatch of blond hair, which after her first bath made a silvery blond cap on her little head, prompting lovely spontaneous expressions from her nurses.

Looking at her, all the names we preselected seemed wrong. And in fact, I thought she looked more like a Walter in those first hours. But with time, hospital discharges, and the 100,000 Baby Name book, we figured out her name by the 26th: Nora. Her full name is Eleanor, but when I looked into her dark eyes, I saw a determined, decidedly unfrivolous person, looking back at me. Nora. She cried only for food and cold – no sense in making a fuss otherwise – and was as content as could be once full and warm. Nora. And yet, such a delicate little face, a halo of silky filaments, a little beauty completely unaware of a world falling in love with her, and acting accordingly. My Nora. Welcome to the world, little one.


Filed under children, daughter, Love, mother, Motherhood, women

39w4d – the end of an era

In this case, the end of my gestational career. The scheduler at the hospital asked how I would celebrate my last night of pregnancy, when it hit me. This is the end of something, arriving later than expected.

I could have used the three extra weeks the first time around. But this time, with MDs predicting early deliveries, I found myself walking slowly, stunned, through November, getting bigger. And unlike the first time, beauty and peace came to my face and body the farther I went. People remark on my appearance, kindly. The combination of waddle and sashay is enough to get a measure of amused attention.

Ben came in to see my “biiiiig belly” and hug it, saying, “I can’t wait for you to see you, little one!” My mouth is dry, given that my last beverage was at 4:57am. I’m looking forward to little one too, and a tall cool glass of water.

see you all in a few!


Filed under mother, Motherhood, pregnancy, pregnant after 40

38w6d: long, closed, contemplative

Yesterday, at the OB’s office, there was a moment where I felt less like an expectant mother and more like my purse – the ob rummaging through me to find a cellphone, or in this case, a cervix. What she found was long, quiet and closed – not unlike my cellphone by the time I find it. No sign of labor, or of the tenant’s plans for moving day.

After some earlier emotional arguments at home, this news was a little less than welcome. I had whispered to her that this would be a great day to come out, that Mommy had already driven to the hospital, she had the keys and her baby bag in the back seat, and we could get this squared away in no time. Just mommy and baby.  But in a disturbingly familiar display of stubbornness (wow, does that spelling look wrong), she has decided to prove all qualified and certified medical professionals completely wrong. “I won’t make it to term? Well, induce THIS.”

Admittedly, the stress of my mother’s visit is a contributor to her reticence to exit. My mother came to “help”, but she is a rather frail 79 who has nearly lost her hearing completely and refuses to wear a hearing aid. Parenting issues and flashbacks abound. I had thought I was big enough to follow through on letting her come – she is doing this as much for herself as for me – but I’m faced with the ugly reality of my rather unforgivable smallness. (Don’t tell me I’m not. This is not false modesty.)

So self-directed trips alone to the hospital give me time to be with little one, and with my son, focused on things that matter to me. I can reassure myself that I won’t be in housewifery exile forever, though the economic conditions of this region may conspire to make that feel like the reality. I’m quietly excited both for her arrival, her growth, and a new real job. I’m better prepared for what will mostly be a solitary parenting experience, regardless of marriage license and/or marital status. I line up documents and questionnaires, prepare for sleeping places and nursing stations throughout the house, pry out of H whatever it was I last did to piss him off so he’ll drop the silent treatment, and get familiar with 42, mother of two.

The catch is how to get everything else done smoothly, incurring the fewest number of complaints, while allowing myself the space and brain function to imagine and execute the next steps so important to take. If I get 6 hours a night, I think I can pull it off.


Filed under children, mother, Motherhood, parenting, women

37w4d, or no limits on term

Now what?

After months of hearing about my risk and unlikelihood of making it to term, here we are, term +4. Flirting with 190 lbs, but never quite staying there long enough to close the deal. Keeping true to my typical low blood pressure (a hoot of a revelation for anyone who has experienced my temper).

Little one spends a lot of time in variations of transverse lie – sometimes, she sits upright on the left side. Other times, she rolls over onto her side, a huge bump protruding from my left with no symmetrical match. Then there are those legs, stretching and kicking to the appendix, the right hipbone, and (I’m beginning to think) into my actual right leg.

Ben pats my belly and asks “Little one, when are you coming out?” then tells me “Mommy, she’s not ready yet.” When H starts to show signs of wear, he takes one peek at my profile, and the caring returns.

I walk into Ben’s school and the coffee shop each day to shocked expressions. “What is going on? When is she going to come out?” I’m left with shrugged shoulders, a smile, and a sore back.

On another note: yesterday in our house, we all celebrated the impending arrival of a smart and gifted president, grateful to those who waited in lines in the last month, and those who took on more dangerous challenges in the decades that preceded us.

I remembered ’04, taking Ben in a carrier to the polling place, and crying through Kerry’s concession speech. I swore I would have traded the Sox WS victory for the 04 election. So a few weeks ago while watching Garza pitch circles around the Sox in game 7, I whispered to God – ok, can we make a deal? I won’t complain about the Sox getting knocked out if my guy wins in November. Who knew God was also a broken-hearted feminist red sox fan?

Last night, I started whispering to Little one, patting her and telling her, “It’s ok, you can come out now. You’ll be safe. We have a chance to make a better world, from the bottom and the top. So it’s ok – it’s ok – we’re going to make it better, and we need you to help.”


Filed under mother, Motherhood, Obama, Politics, pregnancy, pregnant after 40, reconciliation

what is great about being pregnant, 30w+

This pregnancy has been full of uncertainty and worry; only recently have I been able to enjoy it more fully.

Even though I am having more trouble getting around (hah), it’s a pleasure to be out and about. Generally speaking, I think people treat pregnant women pretty well. Strangers smile, offer congratulations and well wishes. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if that were standard operating procedure. My own social experiences are usually pretty positive, but it would be even better to have that sense of good will more often than the days I’m visibly pregnant.

But if I recall my own behavior, expectant moms get top of the list treatment. They’re brave, whether they know it yet or not. They are making a visible, good faith commitment to a world that has no explicit interest in their well-being, and offering the most precious and vulnerable effort they will likely ever make in their lives to that apathetic (at best) place. So who among us, especially parents, wouldn’t smile, with their hearts in their eyes, hoping that future mother wouldn’t find a better place than we may know to date. That maybe this time, with this mother, it will be different, better, the changing point.

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Filed under "getting ready for baby", children, mother, Motherhood, pregnancy, women

the incredible shrinking (baby) woman

Just when you think you’ve managed to swim in a new sea and its cycles, a wave comes from behind at lowtide, leaving you gasping.

As an official “high-risk” obstetrics patient, I’ve been put on a regimen of checkups with special features – ultrasound exams every 4 weeks, to check on both baby (presumed by mommy to be fine) and cervix for signs of early labor. From 16 to 28 weeks, Little one’s growth rate has been dropping. I’ve been asking why, and have been advised to increase protein intake, reminded not to smoke (not an issue) and to keep healthy. Measured in percentiles, she’s gone from 78th to 32nd in 12 weeks – a full quartile in the past 4 weeks alone. This was a tear-inducing shock. Not to mention a complete reversal of experience I had with my first, who maintained a 95th percentile size and still is near the top of his development curve four years later.

At the OB’s instructions, I have been protein loading until the cows come home, and even then, I hit them up for a pail of milk. I’ve been feeling bigger, and thought for sure we’d at least maintain her growth rate (90g or protein a day, minimum; dropping the OB-sanctioned coffee and white-knuckling my way through the days of migraine). But the sonographer said 32nd %ile for weight, and I gasped.

“She was 58th at my last exam.”

I had brought a chart I made from the last three ultrasound reports, showing the downward trends. I had noted that the placenta was evaluated at Grade 2 at 20 weeks – about 10 weeks too soon for such a grading. I had a list of questions, and now I had tears to blink back. H held my hand while I looked at the twinkling lights in the ceiling (all ob/gyn practices should consider such features for their examining rooms…)

The MD I had this time, my third in 5 visits, was the one who delivered my son in an emergency c-section, and he must have remembered what we were like – as he showed up with a set of charts for us. He explained that we were still in a safe spot, and went through each of the measurements, explaining to us what he looked for in terms of trendlines and when they saw a red flag. He explained the ratios and relationships they watch closely, and the range of error with ultrasound readings – up to 10% on weight, and even more on percentiles for abdominal circumference.

He told me that maybe the baby was figuring out where she wanted to be – petite and powerful, perhaps, based on her activity level. He told us what would happen if she took a big drop at the next exam, and what the next steps would be, including increased exams to determine if there was a particular issue getting in the way of baby’s growth, and the issue of discussing how early to deliver.

He told us that if there was a problem with the placenta, there would be little we could do to override that, save to keep the same high-protein, high-nutrition diet to get as much to the baby as possible.

He also told me I could come back at any time, regardless of appointment. “Just show up if you’re worried. We’ll take you.” It was kind and reassuring.

But on the way home, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What if what she wanted to be was a brief visitor? What if she decided this wasn’t the time or place for her to arrive?” I’m still wondering.


Filed under "getting ready for baby", children, mother, Motherhood, pregnancy, pregnant after 40, prenatal care