Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Letter to A 39 Week and 4 Day Old Ex-Embryo Or Alternatively a 3 Week Old Baby

Dear Tricky

We’ve got this weird timeframe thing happening where you turned three weeks today but you’re not actually due till this Friday.

Also, when we were walking home from the physio appointment today I saw the moon, all round and getting ready to be full and that took me right back to just before you started making your grand entrance.

But then maybe this is just the effects of sleep deprivation because holey dooley that sleep three hours, get up and feed, go back to bed, get up an hour later thing is quite a headspin.

We’re doing a demand feed thing with you at the moment, so when you demand, I feed and my, for a small boy you can be quite the demanding little muppet. (That should probably be ‘moppet’ but with your cute round head and your little dark shiny eyes and blobby little nose you could get a part on Sesame Street any day. Also, who has time to fix typos? I’m a mum! And I’m tired! And I’m feeding on demand!)

Your father is completely smitten and sniffs your head constantly.

I allow him to do this because I think it’s a good way to get rid of house dust or skin flakes that may have gathered on your scalp. He learned how to swaddle you at the hospital and has since developed this to a fine art, wrapping you tightly and binding your teeny limbs to your body. At the moment you seem to enjoy this, you settle down and often fall asleep, but I’d like to see him try it when you’re, say, thirteen.

Sometimes your father takes the swaddling too far, like on the second night at home, at about three in the morning while I was waiting to feed you and trying to stay awake and he was saying…let’s try this new swaddle, now how did it go again… and I felt like screaming FUCK THE NEW SWADDLE JUST GIVE HIM TO ME. He’s calmed down a bit now but I still hear him muttering to himself “swaddle, swaddle swaddle” and catch him wrapping bits of cloth origami style about your tiny self.

Each day I try to achieve small goals such as returning emails, or writing a blog entry (!) or perhaps trying to edit one of my previously rejected scripts. Today’s goal was to try and gently extricate an unsightly piece of dried snot from your left nostril and guess what? I succeeded!

Meanwhile, your goal seems to be to daily increase the volume of your screaming. Hey! It’s working! Also, the velocity of your pooing. Today you almost managed to hit your father in the chest but he sneakily leapt sideways and instead you hit the door and the floor in one explosive farty squirt.

And then there's the scowling! Magnificent! You furrow your weeny fuzzy forehead and beetle your tiny brows and attempt to focus your little shoe button eyes and direct tiny laser beams at those who incur your displeasure. As a baby, I too was a furrower and a scowler and it makes me proud to see that you have inherited these disagreeable qualities. The explosive poo thing though…that’s completely your father.

I’m both horrified and jealous at your power to excrete. A week after we came home from the hospital, the combination of no walking, lots of fine cakes and especially, NOT ENOUGH WATER saw me staggering about the bathroom in agony. I have never been so constipated in my life. It was hell. It was worse than giving birth and it lasted three days. In the end I had to use those squirty up the bum things AND drink gallons of water AND march up and down Bondi promenade AND eat a coffee meringue before there was happiness again.

When I mentioned this to various friends and family who have had babies they all recalled the same thing happening to them. “It made me cry”, “It was horrible, I was too afraid to push”, “I nearly put a fist through the wall” “I was crippled” I was aghast that no one had seen fit to share this with me.

Yes, I was told to drink lots of water while breast feeding but no one actually said: because if you don’t you won’t just ‘shit a brick’ you’ll be shitting the entire wall, the bloke who built it, his ute with the blue heeler on the back, and his esky. Yesterday a friend said that, although truly appalling, once the constipation was over, it was forgotten and that's why no one had thought to warn me. There's just too much other stuff going on.

I suppose that all this other stuff is just part of the strange new territory that C and I have entered.

This place called parenthood.

We’re kind of scared, I have to admit. Sometimes we watch you sleeping and you look so tiny and cute and fragile and our hearts just overfill with love and love and more love for you.
And it’s sweet, but it’s painful too because how can we protect you from all the ghastly horrible things in the world? There’s just no swaddle big enough or strong enough for that.

So it’s scary yes but most of all it’s wonderful. And C and I gaze at you and then turn and look at each other and make “can you believe it?” hand gestures at each other and raise our eyebrows quizzically because, frankly, we can’t believe it.

But then here you are. Neatly swaddled and blissfully asleep on our bed. So it must be true.

Your full moon arrives tomorrow night. Let’s watch it together during that three o clock feed. We can toast it with breast milk and a large glass of water.

With love.

Your very own OvaGirl


frangelita said...

At least you got to eat coffee meringue.

So happy for you in this weird alternate world called parenthood. Smell Tricky's head for me.

soralis said...

I almost forgot about the post birth constipation... your WALL comment made me laugh!

Oh yes and the explosive poops aren't they fun?

Thanks for sharing it brings back wonderful memories and some stinky ones too! :)

Take care

lucky #2 said...

How fun to be able to enjoy his "due date" with a three week old Tricky! Love the post -- you definitely summarized the first 3 weeks of child-rearing!

Anonymous said...

One year on and my hubby and I *still* look at each other and say "Can you believe it?"

Dramalish said...

Does his head smell like rice pudding, too? Oooh, I hope so! :)

The explosive poo, post partum constipation, and the brain-numbing joy of "can you BELIEVE this?"... all of it rings true for me.

Happy days! It's going to be so nice sharing mom-ness with you, OG.

LL said...

ha ha, his ute & esky.... I snorted my porridge, thank you very much....
I love swaddling too... sometimes when I wrap her all nice and tight, she falls asleep immediately. It's almost as if she knows she cannot overcome the wrap and surrenders without a fight.

Mony said...

He's so beautiful.

Lin said...

At about month 2 a swaddle wasn't enough for Baby Sophie and so, at great expense, the MIRACLE BLANKET was purchased. And for several months, she couldn't go to sleep at all until she was bound like a papoose and laid all stiff and boardlike into her crib.

Let me know if something like that is needed for Baby Tricky

Anonymous said...

Oh Ova Girl,

I am so happy for you all. That was a wonderful description of Tricky, and a hilarious one of the 1st post partum poo. How cruel that you were at the opposite extreme to your baby.

I remember also taking 3 days, about 10 false attempts, shivering with fear and finally weeping with pain. Despite drinking over 3 litres of water a day, it was effing AGONY. The nurses gave me latex gloves and told me to put as much KY up there as I could manage. Ah, parenthood and all the new associations it brings...

Em said...

Ah yes. . .your post just reminded me to buy a bottle of milk of magnesia and pack it in my hospital bag. Vile, vile stuff, but essential.

If Tricky gets too big for swaddling with traditional receiving bankets, I second the vote for the miracle blanket.

charlie's mom said...

That was really sweet but the constipation? I had no idea. Great.

Eggs Akimbo said...

That three hour getting up/feeding/burping head trip stuff does get better. Look at me, talking like am an old pro with Baby Eggs 13 weeks old. Seriously, it is so awesome and things just seem to come together.

Anonymous said...

This made me smile in ways I wouldn't have a short week ago.

And I'm thanking God the hospital dosed me up on stool softeners.

Anonymous said...

I tell all my pregnant friends to eat all the tinned fruit provided in the hospital, and to pack their own dried fruit to prevent scary constipaption. they don't take me that seriously though, in the lead up to labour it seems like a side issue I guess.

- and yes - nothing like sitting up in bed at 3AM with one boob out waiting, and all hubby can do is coo at the baby. So much for romance!

Anonymous said...

seepi makes me laugh... almost as much as ova girl. I'm glad your bowels are moving, and especially glad for your grander happiness.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the stare in disbelief moments. Countless times a day I do this. Countless.

Demeter said...

Oh, yes, blissful moments like this cannot come without the other not so blissful ones like the poopy diapers you have to deal with for a while...


elle said...

That was lovely, as usual :-) I was constipated for SIX days!! And i was happy about it - after the birth, I was afraid to poo. Who new what crazy things would come out?

Gabrielle said...

Oh, the constipation...EVIL BUSINESS!!! My bum will never be the same and I thank every deity under the sun every time I successfully poo. Back on pain killers at the moment, so am chugging the dried fruit to keep things moving. Gabrielle, just like Tricky, has no such problems, but we have yet to be blessed with hitting the door or floor. The towel after a bath is a favourite though. Love M

Unknown said...

I'd just like to say that I sat through an ENTIRE program on the aybeecee I affectionately call "Wankers On Wanking" and though it was nice to put a face to the words, I'd like that hour of my life back!

Urban Chick said...

i remember being scared to go - scared in case my section scar popped open

(i didn't look at it for about six weeks after my mother told me it looked like 'a bit of a war zone' - beside there was a roll of flesh hanging over it and i wasn't standing in front of mirrors much)


Anonymous said...

Cute post. :)