Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sleep-In Sundays

Before baby, our Sundays have always been the same. Wake up whenever, make a nice big breakfast (or brunch), turn some music on (usually big band or jazz), and just do…nothing. After baby things did change, but we are managing to return to our traditional lazy day with a few changes. We have only done this three weekends, but so far it has been working and I hope to continue this routine as long as possible.

  • ·         Alternate Turns Sleeping In. This has been SO lovely. I alternate sleeping in on Sundays with Brian. The boy usually gets up anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30, so to be able to sleep until 10:00 or so is such a huge break. I just realized how much my definition of "sleeping in" has changed.

  • ·         Plan Ahead. It's such a simple concept, but not one we normally put into practice on our traditional Sundays. I mean, not planning was part of the beauty of it all. But I have since realized that with a little bit of thinking ahead, our lazy Sundays can be re-created to some extent.

Take today, for instance. It was my day to sleep in, but I wanted to try this coffee cake recipe I saw online. So, I made it last night and let it set in the refrigerator. Brian put it in the oven and I woke up to an amazing breakfast. Take into account the pouring rain outside (with 30 second hail storm) and the sleeping baby, and you have the perfect leisurely morning. Our Sundays aren't all like this, but we are figuring out the timing to where we do get some downtime.

Ironically, Sunday afternoons usually turn out to be pretty productive. Maybe it's because of the additional help with the boy, maybe it's all the extra sleep and coffee. Even as I type this, I've got a to-do list a half page long of things I want to get done today. But then again…


and this

Plus this 

…Equals me sitting on the couch wasting time just a little while longer:)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Weekly Update, Winter Plague & Sleeping

Not much going on here. Brian spent the whole week out with a respiratory infection, so we quarantined him in one of the spare bedrooms. Then a few nights ago, I started getting really dizzy, like holding onto the walls dizzy. Taking care of Dorian that night was no picnic. 

Want to know what is worse than driving yourself to the doctor when you are sick? Walking to the doctor when you are sick. The normally ten minute walk seemed to take an hour, especially at my drunken-like pace. 

I walked into the pharmacy, and was directed to the doctor's office. To get to it I went behind the counter into the back of the pharmacy, up a staircase and into a small waiting room. There were about ten people in the waiting room, with no other signage on the walls other than the two doctors in attendance that day, one a GP, the other an OB. No one looked at each other or spoke, it was complete silence, save for the traffic sounds from the road below coming through the open window with no screen. I made a mental note of who all was in front of me and sat down. Just to make sure, I asked, is everyone here for the GP? Immediately the still figures in the room became animated, all nodding yes, some smiling. Then we all went back to ignoring each other, quietly standing up to go see the doctor when it was our turn. I realized that two years ago this would have infuriated me. No receptionist? No signs telling me what to do? No magazines? But this doesn't bother me at all anymore. 

The diagnosis was inner ear infection, but the dizziness was my only symptom. He gave me a prescription for vertigo, and one day later I feel much better. 

I still get sticker shock when I go to a doctor privately here. As in, I am shocked it was only twelve euros for the full price of the visit and another eight euros for my prescription. 

The Boy
 Dorian is growing so fast! I can't believe how big he is getting. He is working on smiling, the only time I can get him to do it consistently is when we are looking in a mirror. We put together the crib and set it up next to our bed, leaving the Moses basket in the living room. He has almost outgrown the basket, and I think soon its purpose will be to hold toys. He has no issues sleeping in the crib at night, but naps are a whole different story. I tried for several days to put him in it for naps, but he wakes after about 30 minutes. We've also had construction going on in the unit below us, but at odd times throughout the day so for now I am just having him nap in the bouncy seat, or wherever, in the living room. 

He likes sleeping here...

...or on the floor. The floor's fine.
 It's a long weekend for Brian, because Monday is a holiday. We have no real plans except getting better and bathing the dog. Can you stand the excitement?

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Body By Baby

I read a lot of articles by new mothers who boast about not caring what their bodies look like post-delivery, or commenting that the only thing they focused on was their baby. This may have been my experience after initially coming home from the hospital, but now that I am starting to recover from my C-section and feel more like myself mentally, I'm starting to notice how unlike myself I feel physically. 

I should probably note that pre-baby I was never considered thin and I never had a muscular physique, but I did like to stay somewhat active.  I have always walked, and even graduated to running for a bit. I did yoga for a few years, loved it. Did Zumba for a while, loved it too. And when I moved to Malta, despite all the wine and gelato, I managed to lose some excess weight mainly from walking everywhere out of necessity, as we don't have a car here. 

Since I didn't have a scale throughout my pregnancy, I only found out just before having Dorian how much weight I gained, about 25 pounds or so.  I know I was lucky. Most of my weight was in my belly and chest area, with a little bit of swelling in my legs and almost no weight in my arms and face. 

I didn't really pay attention to my eating after giving birth, and it was the holidays.  And hey! I was celebrating! It's Christmas and I have a baby!

It turns out getting over the holiday indulgence combined with just having had a baby it not the best combination. I actually gained about five pounds from the time I came home from the hospital to last week. 

I can hear you now. "How you look doesn't matter! There are more important things to be worrying about, like enjoying your son!" And I am. I don't sit around obsessing about my extra belly fat or lamenting the fact that my breasts seem to be taking over the world. I accept that I may not be wearing a bikini ever again and know I was damn lucky to be wearing one at 39. I'm just not quite ready to succumb to the world of mom jeans.

The truth is that my appearance does directly affect how I feel about myself, and a lot of people, I suspect, feel the same way. When I put on a little make-up, I feel better about myself. When I am moving around more and exercising, I have more energy. For me, totally abandoning my body is a sign that something is wrong.

So I'm backing off the bread. And the sweets, including the Nutella (sob). I had my post-natal appointment last week and was given the go-ahead to start light exercises. I'm actually looking forward to becoming more active again, as even my walking around the island was hindered considerably towards the end of the pregnancy. 

I would love to know what exercises worked post-baby for my friends who have given birth, or who haven't and have a deeper knowledge of fitness than I do. I don't have a huge amount of time to be working out and will likely be trying to squeeze in a few reps while the baby is sleeping, so exercises that pack a punch and can be done at home are welcomed.  Any advice on this subject is appreciated! 

This is the last one I swear

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My C-Section Recovery - So Far

After my emergency C-section, I wasn't sure what to expect afterwards. After gathering feedback from some friends who had C-sections and googling like crazy, I discovered a few consistencies about the healing process, and overall it didn't sound like getting over a C-section was all that different from any other birth. What I expected and what actually happened to me ended up being completely different:

It takes six weeks instead of four to heal. Yeah, check back with me in another six weeks because I am eight weeks out and far from being back to normal. A more accurate description for me would be, "It takes six weeks before you are not in constant, nagging, ache-y pain."

You can't go up and down stairs for six weeks. Stairs were the least of my worries. I was more concerned with getting out of bed, feeding Dorian without him kicking me in the gut, sitting, standing, coughing, laughing, sneezing, crying, walking…you get the picture.

You can't drive for six weeks. This one is more like the instructions above, obvious and laughable. While I don't drive in Malta, I did take a cab a few times for doctor's appointments. These rides were spent gripping the side of the door and looking expectantly at the obstacle course of potholes in the road ahead. The drivers were either surprised by the tip I gave them when they avoided the potholes successfully, or confused when I gave them the stink eye for plowing through them like they weren't there and taking every corner like we were in a race.

These three instructions were seriously the only response I got in the hospital when I asked about anything I should or should not do as I healed from this major abdominal surgery. 

The hardest part of being in the hospital for four days was that visiting hours were limited, and spouses were not allowed to spend the night. Not even the first night. I was in such a haze and exhausted from the whole experience and the morphine drip I woke up with. For the first night I was constantly calling the obviously annoyed nurses and midwives to hand me the baby when needed. The next morning they got me on my feet, and after that, I tried to bother them as little as possible. I totally get that after giving birth, yes, you now have to take care of the baby, but I was in so much pain I could have used more help.

Me and my, I mean, baby

I was prescribed over the counter medication to get me through these past few months. I read that many people who had C-sections in the U.S. are prescribed a pain killer such as Percocet, and knowing this made me pretty upset for a while. What I had didn't feel like it was doing anything until I skipped a dose. It basically dulled the pain just a little bit, but enough that I NEEDED that little bit. 

I will be honest here, my healing process has been sloooow. At four weeks the pain and cramping subsided so little that it felt like it would never go away. And when I say pain, it was like constant aching and cramping in my entire core area. The incision itself healed nicely, and was pretty well done by the doctor according to every medical professional who has looked at it. From my bellybutton down to below my incision it was sensitive to the touch, not at all like the numbness all the forums said it would feel like. The whole abdominal area was, and still is to some degree, swollen with my organs feeling…how do I put this…out of place? 

I experienced digestive issues which have not entirely gone away. Another lovely reminder of the procedure is bladder irritation from the catheter. That, thankfully, has mostly gone away but is still slightly there if my bladder is full. By the way, babies don't care if your bladder is full. 

The thing I am most happy about is that the pain on the right side of my incision is finally going away. This was from the site where the blood drain came out. I had never heard of this but yes, I had a tube inserted throughout my abdomen which came out on the right side and was attached to a plastic jug. They kept it and the catheter in for almost three days, during which time I carefully waddled around carrying a paper bag filled with my jugs of fluids. Every time I got up to take care of the baby or go to the bathroom, I had to be careful of that. And for the record, the most painful experience was having the drain removed. I knew it would be bad when the nurse instructed me to take a deep breath, and to push the morphine drain which they purposely left in place to help me get through taking the tube out. 

I know that my experience is mine, and that many others have healed much faster from this than I have. Is it my pain tolerance? My age? That I will never know. I really cannot fathom how a woman would ever electively choose to have a C-section, though.

 And to anyone who knows they have to have this done my advice to you is to ask and accept help as much as you can, especially in those first few weeks. This is difficult to do when that mothering instinct kicks in and you want to be the only one to give your baby what he needs, the only one to really know your baby. Early on it was hard for me to do because it felt like after all I went through to have Dorian in my arms, I immediately had to hand him over and rely on others to take care of him because I was unable to. At the time I felt inadequate, and that I was missing out on part of the experience I had wanted for so long. In reality, I missed out on a handful of fussy nights and diaper changes. In the end, I am his mom, and no one will know him like I do.