Naps: A Memoir

I posted this picture of our recent nap FAIL, and it got me thinking about everything I've learned about naps.

He's got this beige thing going. (But not the nap thing) #wildmongoose #ontheloose

A photo posted by Hmv (@hmvlife) on

Here it is, a short memoir in naps:

  1. First baby: Naps rule the world. Baby needs naps. Mama and daddy really need naps. Does baby #1 nap? No. I obsessed over this for roughly 36 months.
  2. Second baby: Naps are ... optional. We got things to do, people to see, playdates to attend. Naps for baby #2 are bound to happen, don't get me wrong. But more as a result of the sheer human need for rest. Not so much the motherly compulsion to put baby down to rest in a timely and ordered manner each and every day.
  3. Normal babies vs. colicky babies: This makes all the difference. Normal babies lie down, and if they are tired enough, they eventually fall asleep (est. 10 minutes). Colicky babies lie down, panic ensues, sleep is the enemy, where is Mommy?! Dear God, where is Mommy?!! And so on.
  4. Mommy: The mommy of colicky baby is a hot mess. She obsesses. She nurses on demand, for serious. The mommy of normal baby relaxes and waits. She knows that normal baby will either be asleep in about 10 minutes or not. I was this mommy today. I snapped this picture of Baby Henry not sleeping and all twisted up because it cracked me up. Afterward I scooped him up, took him out to the living room, let him play another 30 minutes or so, then tried again. Finally, he slept. Like he should. Like normal babies should.
  5. Panic begets panic, chill attitudes beget chill households: This is the rule that we should hear about, not that "sleep begets sleep" bullshit. (If you haven't heard, this is the notion that babies who sleep well during the day will sleep well at night. I have no idea if it is true, but I believed it for a long time (kinda still do) and it can make you crazy trying to get good daytime sleep to happen.) Really, if you have a panicky baby who wakes up at the slightest thing, only wants to be held in your arms, and insists on one parent over the other, this stuff will make you panicky as well. The household feels like it's on eggshells. Whereas chill attitudes from mom or baby or dad or all of the above (preferably!) somehow seem to create an atmosphere of chillness. This is very chicken vs. egg. "Is our second baby calmer because WE are calmer?" No one knows. But the aura of calm is very nice, isn't it?
  6. Postpartum nonsense: Postpartum depression, folks. IT IS REAL. It affects everything. I just have to mention it with regard to naps because it plays a role in every aspect of parenting. I've had friends who had it with Baby #1 or with Baby #2 or #3. PPD lies to you, and tells you that the babe is not napping because of you. I'm here to tell you: this is nonsense. This parenting stuff is hard. It's not hard because you're doing it wrong. It's hard because it's hard. But it will pass. It will get better.
  7. Finally: nap time is parent time. We all know this. But the second time around I understand this like it's my gosh darn JOB. As soon as kids are asleep, I'm reading my book or searching for flights or washing my dishes or WHAT-ever. Whatever needs to be done, it's the first thing I do. This is precious time! It doesn't last forever. Stop farting around on Facebook and get your shit done! And if "your shit" involves some time with the husby or some time with the peaceful quiet or even (whoa) a nap for yourself, then get on it! And have a blast.

Love ~
hmv

We had a baby. [And related topics]

It has been a wild couple of weeks in the life of hmv, and now, our son, hjvv. Everyone: meet Henry Jones.

Born on October 22, 2014

at 1:50 a.m.

after a quick 2.5 hours of labor

and 40 weeks + 2 days of anticipation


I don't have the time or mind capacity to write down the full birth story, but I wanted to share some thoughts, feelings, miscellaneous findings, and randoms observations. Here we go.

1. Can you be "in labor" for over week?

I have to say that I think the answer is now, yes. I had contractions every night (and several during the day as well) for a solid week before this baby was born. I had a false alarm at work. I packed up, called Jake, turned on my out-of-office, and excitedly zipped home where .... nothing happened. My membranes were swept twice. And I had strong contractions those two days. Like, get up and take some deep breaths and lean over the counter kind of contractions. Still nothing. For 4 days I was 5 centimeters dilated. That's HALF WAY to 10cm, which is all you need to have a baby. Well, 10cm and a whole lot of pushing.

So basically, yes, I'm going to go ahead and say that I was in labor (sorta) for a week. After that it all went pretty fast. But that's a story for another time (I promise).

 

Here I am with my husby, "not in labor" the day before my due date. It was fun talking the wait staff at the restaurant: "When are you due?" "Tomorrow" "Oh...that sounds about right."

 

Will this bread make me go into labor??  I did have some big contractions here. And some free creme brulee!

 

Here I am "not in labor" at Saturday market on game day. (Go ducks!) It's hard not to feel like everyone is waiting for you to hurry up and have the baby when the whole fam is in town, but our family was really very good about this. We had a fun 5-6 days of waiting together. We watched the game, went out to dinners, visited parks and apple orchards, and cleaned up the house. They SCRUBBED our house from top to bottom and it was glistening by the time everyone left.

2. Nursing. It doesn't get much easier.

So many things are easier the second time around, but nursing isn't really one of them. It still hurts your poor little nipples. It is still intensely emotional. And it's just plain hard at times. When my milk came in the day after I came home from the hospital, it was nearly impossible to nurse this little guy. Imagine trying to suck a tiny bit of water from an over-inflated water balloon. Not easy. And then imagine that you are the one with the giant water balloons on your chest. And they hurt. And they scare you with their gigantic proportions. And they appear to be scaring your tiny baby too, and everyone else around you, and the entire world.

It's hard to overstate the pain and terror of engorgement. Just trust me.

3. Thank the Lord above for the fine men and women of the Sacred Heart Emergency Room.

So, I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it's not like every day you find yourself in the ER. In fact, I'd never been to ER, except this one time when I was kid but that was because my sister went and broke her arm and while we're on the topic let me add, it wasn't my fault.

 

This picture was taken about 15 minutes before the uterine cramping from hell hit me.

I also posted this to Facebook with some general complaint about the difficulties of nursing, and I got the nicest responses. My friends are truly the best.

I found myself in the ER because of severe uterine cramping. Or as my discharge papers so scientifically put it: "pelvic pain." It turns out that my sensitive little uterus would cramp up rather intensely every time I would nurse our little guy. Well, the nursing wasn't going very well (refer to #2 above), so I hadn't nursed for several hours. By the time I did (twice) I hadn't taken any pain killers for hours and the cramping was so intense it was like I was in labor again. It was like the worst contraction I ever had. And I have to believe this was pretty accurate on account of how recently I'd been in labor and had a baby (TWO DAYS prior).

Despite how many people told me that this kind of cramping is normal after second pregnancies, I had this nagging little feeling that I was DYING OF PAIN. I'm exaggerating, but at the time it was actually very, very scary. My husband jumped into action and called my mom and called our midwife clinic and talked to them. Minutes felt like hours and by the time the midwife called back to tell us to wait longer, I was practically yelling "NOOOOOO! I need to go to the ER."

So I went to the ER. My heroic mama drove me there and waited with me. Our incredible and reliable friends rushed over to watch our kids so that Jake could join us at the hospital. In the end, everything checked out fine and the pain medicine they gave (intravenously....holy crap! the serious stuff) was just divine. Oh thank goodness. And thank you, good people of the Sacred Heart ER. I could not be more appreciative of your kindness, your willingness to believe me and hear me out, and of course, your willingness to dispense large amounts of strong medicine.


Did I mention how amazing my friends are? Look at all the breastfeeding helpers they brought me! Thank you Leia and Carolyn!!

Welp, that's all I've got for now. On to the next nursing/diaper changing/napping session. Like I said, it's been wild times around here. More coming soon!