Sunday, May 27, 2007

Five things I learned in my first week as a mom

One: Spare time is but a distant memory.

Astute readers will notice that I’ve actually been a mother for two weeks. I started trying to write this blog about a week ago, but I kept getting sidetracked. There’s always a diaper to change or a bottle to warm, so I can’t seem to get around to checking e-mail or writing thank-you notes for all the flowers and gifts people have sent. The only reason I managed to vacuum the floor the other day was because my mom was watching the baby.

Two: It’s not about me anymore.

For the past 28 years, I’ve had the luxury of being selfish. If I wanted to go to the store, I went to the store. If I wanted to take a nap, I took a nap. Now I have to consider how everything affects my little Kaylee. This has been a weird transition for me, because I’ve gotten used to being narcissistic and relatively carefree. Now I have this needy (albeit very cute) little person around me 24 hours a day, and she always comes first. Before long I’m sure this will seem perfectly natural, but right now it’s taking some adjustment.

Three: Breastfeeding isn’t a cakewalk.

Nobody warned me that nursing could be messy and kind of painful. Whenever my daughter latches on, I feel like I’ve been captured by the enemy and am being tortured for top secret information. I worked with nurses and a lactation consultant to try to remedy this, but nothing has changed the fact that breastfeeding really, really hurts. (A note to other soon-to-be moms out there: I don’t think this is typical, so don’t panic. You’ll probably be fine.)

In order to keep me sane and my daughter fed, she’s almost entirely on formula now. We started this switch after I found blood around her mouth during a particularly painful nursing session, when we were faced with an important question: Which is worse, raising our daughter on formula, or continuing to breastfeed despite its tendency to make me cry and the possibility of giving our daughter a taste for human blood and turning her into a vampire?

Either choice is an unhappy one. If I go ahead and breastfeed, I feel like a bad mother because feeding my baby makes me cringe and cry. If a don’t, I feel like a failure for giving up on breastfeeding. This has been a big source of stress for me, but I’m almost at the point where I can think about it without crying.

Four: Diaper Genies fill up fast.

Before now, I never would have guessed that I could regularly encounter someone else’s bodily fluids without being grossed out. But now I’ve been peed on, pooped on, sneezed on and spit up on, and none of it has even made me flinch. I guess when the person doing the peeing is really, really cute and cuddly, you don’t mind so much. In fact, earlier today I said this: “Yay, Kaylee pooped!” I never thought a sentence like that would come out of my mouth.

Five: Fathers are much more capable than TV would have you believe.

I’ve seen a lot of TV shows featuring bumbling fathers who don’t know how to change a diaper, so I had minor fears that my husband would be timid around the baby – afraid to pick her up and play with her, and unwilling to help with the late-night feedings. But from the very first moment, he’s been eager to take care of her and be her daddy. It’s like he was born to play that role. With both of us on the job, maybe, just maybe, Kaylee will turn out ok.


Oh, and just because I felt like it, here’s a picture of Kaylee wearing a bunny hat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to me

Miss Kaylee Jane McDonnell was born Sunday, May 13, at 3:58 a.m., weighing 7 pounds even. She's pretty much the best Mother's Day gift ever.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I have seven days left until my due date, so labor is truly looming now. Rob and I were talking last night about the unnerving inability to make solid plans for the next couple of weeks. Can we go out to dinner tomorrow? Can we catch a movie this weekend? It’s hard to say, since I could be in the hospital later today if the baby decides it’s time to come out.

Most of the time, when someone asks me if I’m ready for childbirth, she’ll ask in an excited tone of voice that implies this: “Your life is going to change in the most wonderful way!” But she’ll have a look on her face that implies this: “Labor is scary! Aren’t you terrified?”

For the most part, I’ve gotten over my fear of labor and delivery, but my confidence does occasionally get chipped at when people remind me that childbirth really, really hurts. That’s why it was refreshing to have a conversation with a work-from-home mother yesterday, in which she said, “Don’t worry too much about labor; it’s really not that bad. And when it’s all over, you’ll be amazed with yourself. You’ll be like, ‘Holy $#%@, look what I did!”

That was exactly what I needed to hear.

I’m ready to be amazed. Let’s get this show on the road.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Pregnancy logic

Upon waking up on Saturday morning and seeing a pile of laundry in my bedroom, a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, and a pile of empty boxes from our recent move in the living room, I decided the best course of action would be to go back to bed and cry for a little while.

My husband, who is not nine months pregnant and emotionally unstable, did not understand how this was a logical approach to my problems. He did, however, clean up the living room and help with the laundry.

Seems logical now, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Baby bribery

This morning I tried to reason with my baby, explaining to her why it’s a good idea for her to come out and join us in the next few days.

“You see, I only have one more single-serving orange juice left in the fridge,” I told her, trying to sound as logical as possible. “That means after Wednesday, I will have nothing to drink in the mornings at work. Therefore, I need to go into labor by Thursday morning.”

I think she must have seen that my argument was a bit thin, because she didn’t react. Not a thump to a lung or anything. I don’t think she cares about my orange juice situation.

As of today, I am exactly two weeks from my due date. Every day, I get a little more eager to see my baby for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I’ve finally adopted a pregnancy waddle, which I’d been trying to avoid. (I’ve been told this is “cute,” but I’m not sure I agree.)

I’m looking forward to the day when my husband and I can go to the grocery store together without me having to tell him to walk slower every two minutes. I’m looking forward to a time when I can go to sleep (on my stomach, even!) and wake up without a backache. And, of course, I’m looking forward to holding my little girl (or boy), having a moment of profound awe at the little miracle my husband and I created, and settling in for a lifetime of trying to figure out how to be a good parent.

But first, the baby has to come out here and join the world.

Come on, kiddo, you can do it. We have candy out here . . .