On the road again

Monday, April 30, 2007

Miss Harlow has proved herself to be quite the little traveler. Because I am too dog tired to be witty, here is a recap of our travels over the past 72 hours:

Saturday:

Technically not her first concert since that would be her daddy's, but the Memphis rock n romp seemed to pass muster. She slept the whole time while mommy and daddy drank from the keg and listened to electric guitars. From a safe distance. Musta been 50 kids running around. The nicest compliment I got - some girl told me my post-preggo pilates bod made her want to vomit.

Sweet.

Sunday: A little trickier as our post church lunch date with mom and dad coincides with her feeding. I happen to have pumped, so I feed her my milk from a bottle in the back seat while Caleb drives us to lunch. She sleeps the whole time. We then take her over to Lauren and Tommy's to celebrate Wilson's dedication and Grace's baptism. Everyone stares at her intently. She sleeps. A breif interlude at home and then we're off to Nana and Pop's where she decides to get a little cranky. But after a feeding, C and I head out to Baby Gap to use our big ole gift certificate. WE're halfway there when we realize it's the first time we've been anywhere just the two of us since she was born.

Monday:

Her goodwill toward me is starting to run low. She accompanies me to the doctor's office - aw hell, she 's crying as I type this.

Doctor's office
Petra cafe
Target
grocery store

equals

rockstar baby

Pilates!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Nana and Aunt Lindsey came over today and brought Christmas early. The gift of me time. I hightailed it over to the pilates studio and got my first official workout in since Harlow arrived a month and day ago. My body still feels like jello but wow did getting stretched out feel amazing!

This week I haven't been blogging because every spare moment has been devoted to cleaning up my novel pages for a writing competition. I advanced to the second round (yay!) but waited until the last minute to turn in the pages and so the home stretch for revisions found me on my own, pulling out everything in my bag of tricks to stop Harlow from screaming which ultimately was holding her in my arms while typing one handed. Then Murphy threw up at my feet, she started screaming again and I rang up daddy who was out having a boys night. And like the sweet daddy he is, he hurried home to find his sweet baby girl asleep. But I got them pages done.

next week I'll post about Mothersville, this very cool mommy-centric shop in Cooper Young that had a breastfeeding support group and a 1 and under play group, both of which I attended for the first time this week. Finally got to meet some cool moms.

Reason #30127 why I love my husband

Monday, April 23, 2007

I won't go into specifics, but C has been a bit incapacitated and unable to help with the bebe at night. So I've been having to do the bulk of the grunt work and yesterday the combo of sleep deprivation, massive parenting insecurities and a very, very fussy baby hit hard. Lots of tears, self-doubt, embarassment and exhaustion. And then my sweet, sweet husband kicked me out of the house with a list of movie showtimes and told me to go have fun. So I did. I got me a coke, a slice of pizza and a matinee screening of Hot Fuzz. Which I kinda enjoyed. When I wasn't missing my baby girl and husband.

What I've learned so far

Parenthood is the combination of gut instinct and abject terror performed one handed.

Babies can cry for no reason. Loudly.

Sleep is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

It's amazing what one can accomplish on 2 hours of said sleep out of, what day is it today?

Harlow is eating like she is preparing to hibernate underground for the winter. I haven't the heart to tell her that she has to get through a Memphis summer first.

Vanity doesn't go away. I'm trying to pretend that I don't mind my poor little one's greasy, broken out skin.

My heart is tripled in size. At least. As much as she exhausts me, challenges me,makes me doubt my abilities as a mother and a human being, she fills me up with a love that hurts to feel it.

And good God do I love sleep.

Friday

Friday, April 20, 2007

I remember paying close attention to something I read in one of my baby books before I gave birth, a caution to parents not to be fooled by the sweet little angel in the hospital, the one that slept for 7 hour stretches and didn't cry and pretty much just looked cute and chilled. They said to wait until you got home and give it a couple days and then sweet baby would introduce you to the real little one behind the curtain. So I did. I did't make any presumptions that the marathon sleeping, chill baby we brought home would stay that way. And then 2 weeks passed. She wasn't sleeping for 5 hours anymore, but that was ok because she was, well, chill. She didnt' scream, she didn't spray poo, she batted those spooky blue eyes and smiled in her sleep and pretty much made anyone within a five foot radius fall in love.

And then Harlow met her digestive tract and everything went to shit.

Fortunately Nana was over the first night the piercing, godawful shrieking cries came out of my sweet baby girl's body and they only lasted about 2 minutes - but it was enough to reduce me to tears. Why was she sounding like somebody was stabbing her body with a knife? A call to the pediatrician's office resulted in the expected - give her some mylocon drops, say a Hail Mary and good luck. Caleb and I were a little iffy on the drops and I happened to find some homeopathic version at MOthersville so we gave some to her. And lo and behold it worked. The only thing is that fructose is one of the ingredients and I really wasn't keen on giving my child sugar. And then the painful, gut wrenching screaming started again and I suddenly knew what it was like to be one of those parents with best intentions. The one who was only going to use cloth diapers and make baby food and only give her the purest of nutrients. Give screaming baby the stuff with the sugar. Baby stops screaming. Peace reigns. For a bit.

This was my first full week unassisted. Caleb was back at work, no family was safely within reach to pass her off so I could steal 30 minutes reading a magazine in the tub. And she made the most of he time. She was pretty much wide awake when daddy went to work and then would stay up until she go tired of looking at the ugly dolls and stripey burp cloths I trotted out for her amusement. And those wide awake stretches got longer and longer until today where she basically decided nope, no sleep for me no sleep for you, so let's get this party started. The problem was that I skipped my nap yesterday so I pretty much was extremely ill-prepared to handle the meltdown. She is 3 weeks and a day and again, thanks to the baby books, I knew to expect the 3 week growth spurt, i.e. lots of fussing, demanding and eating around the clock. But the thing is that sweet baby is putting on the pounds. She's gained like, 3 pounds in 3 weeks. Now I'm no pediatrician, but that sounded a bit excessive to me. The "Whoa!" exclaimed by the pediatric nurse I talked to when I called concerned didn't make me feel much better.

(An internet search a bit later mentioned that breastfed babies' weight gain are judged by the percentile scale developed in the 1970s when most babies were bottle fed. The WHO has since updated their chart to relect that breastfed babies gain weight much more rapidly in the first 3 months and then suddenly drop off until 12 months or so. But apparently most pedes don't know this.)

So this afternoon Harlow was screaming. For what I had no idea. I had fed her, burped her, changed her, walked her, promised her a new car on her 16th and nada. I put her in bed with me and shushed and held and rocked her but nothing. And I was getting dangerously tired. In a fit of exhaustion I curled my entire body around her and willed all the love I had in my body into hers.

And she stopped. And apparently so did I. 1 hour later I woke up, my daughter curled up peacefully in my arms. 2 minutes later she was screaming again, but so it goes.

smile

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A few minutes ago, after I had fed Harlow and ate some cereal and watched her squirm and grunt and dance close to the edge of crying, I went to her rescue. Immediately upon picking her up, she let out a huge burp, which made me laugh.

Then she smiled at me. And that made me cry.

I know it sounds like it was wishful thinking, but she smiled 3 times in a row. She looked at me, gave me this gummy smile and then crinkled her whole face up with it. 3 times.

It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Week 2

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We're practically into 2 1/2 weeks but I've hit the Wall, the big, fat Great Wall of No Sleep that makes simple things like updating a blog feel like a Herculean task. Thursday was Harlow's 2 week check up at the peds which meant our maiden voyage in the car together. It is understating things to the inth degree by saying I was a tad stressed. Caleb and I conducted a dry run with the car seat and it was surprisingly simple, but this was the thing - how could I drive the car and not be in the back seat with her at the same time? What if she cried or got scared or spitup or missed me? The only compromise was the backseat mirror which I managed to rig to show the top of her head. So I got her, the car seat, the diaper bag and me in the car, only to find that the landscapers had taken over the driveway next door which is literally connected to ours. So, I try to back up, the baby crying, the car frantically beeping at me not to hit the landscapers or their truck or the wheelbarrow or half dozen boulders scattered haphazardly around and CRUNCH. There went the plastic casing around the passenger side mirror. I am happy to report that, unlike my car, I did get my baby to the doctor in one piece. She got a glowing bill of health - she's up to 8 lbs 5 ozs already!
She also got the go ahead to attend her daddy's first ever Memphis gig at Otherlands, and naturally, she was a rockstar. Slept in the sling the entire time while everybody oohed and ahhed over her cuteness.

dreamland

Monday, April 9, 2007

I want to see where Harlow goes when she dreams. Apparently it's a pretty fabulous place, because it makes her smile. Her whole face lights up, dimples are revealed and sometimes she sighs. It's a beautiful image contrasted with the rest of her face; her eyes tend to roll back in her head Exorcist-style during REM sleep, freaking her mama out.

Okay, I make light of it only to mask the emotions it wrenches out of my gut everytime I see that smile. I'm jealous of that place she goes to in her dreams because it makes her happy in a way that I'm not able to yet. I know I just have to wait and be patient until she'll start sharing those smiles with me.

She's also hilarous to watch as she nurses. Caleb and I have given a name to her alter ego - Dominique Piglet. The "D" for the French Buster Keaton Dominique Pinon, and Piglet, because she sounds like exactly like a little hooved squealer when's she hungry. She latches on like I was the last soup kitchen on the last block in town and then slowly starts to fade, overloaded on oxytocin, when suddenly she decides she's had enough. She makes a little satisfied grunt, flings herself backwards off of my breast and falls limp into a food coma. She makes me feel like the most appreciated chef on the planet.

updates

Saturday, April 7, 2007


I can't believe I haven't mentioned our one and only official outing with Miss Harlow. We went to see the pediatrician, Caleb on an empty stomach and me crazy with stress and a big storm front passing through. The wait took forever and Harlow screamed and screamed at getting weighed and measured. But the pediatician is fantastic - smart lady, tough cookie. Like her a lot. Unfortunately she felt that Harlow still looked a littel jaundiced so we had to go back to the hospital and get more blood drawn. Fortunately the timing worked out as I had royally f-ed up the car seat base in trying to be proactive, so he got to track down the car seat safety lady while I got to comfort my poor baby girl while they squeezed more blood out of her ankle. But her billie rubin levels were fine (how this is a scientific measure and not a country singer is beyond me) so she gets to be stripped down to her diaper and sunbathe which is going over just fine.

And I seem to be bouncing back slowly but surely. I'm doin 20 minute walks daily. And I never EVER thought I would say this, but I kinda miss the belly as it is shrinking away. It was my proof that she was inside. I miss her on my walks, not having her there. I'm sure once it warms up again and we can put her back in the stroller, I'll get over that fast.

She also had her first bath today - which she hated. And I finally pumped, and wow did I feel like a new person. A new person without hot. giant rock hard milk ducts in their boobs.

5:30 AM

5:30 AM. Chocolate poptart in one hand, bag of frozen peas on my swollen boob. Caleb and Harlow in the big green chair, and we're watching the original Island of Dr. Moreau.

Good times.

Seriously, I mean it.

p.s. Caleb does a really fab impression of Michael York.

p.p.s I'm so not buying that "no animals weren't harmed in the making of this film"

Week 1

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Today Harlow is officially a week old. Today Caleb and I are officially tired, awed, freaked and love drunk over our girl. It's absolutely earth shattering the feelings she inspires in me. Love, terror, fear, adoration, appreciation, humility. Today she spit up right in my face. I felt like I had just been through a rite of passage. Congrats. You are a mom. Now try and wipe off that spit up while you change her next to the giant pee stain and try to get that onesie over her head without smothering her.


My milk came in on Tuesday, and by milk I mean rock hard plastic jugs like the kind you find in the dairy section at the store that switched places with my breasts in the middle of the night. The fantastic news is that the nursing is going really, really well. I truly can't get over my luck at how I gave birth to a future professional food eater and she latches on like nobody's business. But then there is the rest of the day when she's not nursing, and my boobs feel like they are going to explode. They have to be D cups by now, and as the rest of my body is slowly shrinking back to normal, they just seem to get bigger. Anytime I leave the house I will have to have Harlow with me so I'm not mistaken for some wannabe porn star.

Have I mentioned how we have the most fabulous baby on the planet? I don't know what kind of blood sacrifice is going to be required of me in the future for my sweet deal, but right now we are loving our super mellow, typically sleeps about 4 or 5 hours at night rockstar baby. She rarely if ever screams, and she's really making motherhood go down easy.

But then there are the hormones. The ones that came with the milkman. These are nasty, supersize freak you out hormones. The kind that zapped all your confidence as a mother and a human being, that make you think you are going to royally F up your child or worse - you'll turn your head for one second and the big bad world will get her instead. I thought I knew fear before having a child. That wasn't nothing.

I think I'm gonna go love on her right now.

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl

Monday, April 2, 2007


It's quiet, here on the otherside.

I'm watching my five day old daughter sleep in her bassinet, the sounds of gurgling intestines and blood flow and odd but fantastic choice of background music. It's supposed to mimic the sounds of my womb which, according to the cd, is a world of fuzzy tv reception, constantly running vacuums and a demonic septic pump. But it gets the job done.

So.

I have a daughter. I am a mother.

And it's okay. It's more than okay. I had been so prepared to be terrified, overwhelmed, scared and depressed that I was wholly unprepared for the utter happiness and joy I feel at being Harlow Mae Sweazy's mother. How about that name, by the way? It took us 2 days of making lists and throwing them out and starting over from scratch, but we finally landed on a name beautiful enough to honor our gorgeous little girl.

Let's back up. I tossed and turned all night before the induction. It was just too surreal. Set alarm. Shower. Check in to the hospital at 7:15 to meet the baby. But that's what we did. They led me back to the delivery room by myself which was a little jarring. I know I threw C a pathetic smile as they took me away, and basically they needed me to sign a bunch of paperwork and vouch that my home was a safe place to take the baby and then C was allowed into the birthing suite. Sweet nurse Donna hooked me up to an IV, Diane came in and broke my water, the pitocin kicked in, and within a few short hours I was dilating steadily. I got to feel a few contractions but I made sure to have my epidural doc stop in asap, so nothing was worse than a really bad menstrual cramp. The way it should be. I kept hearing this terrible sound coming from the hallway, and I asked who the crazy lady was. She would be the one in labor without the epidural. I could feel my contractions as my uterus balled up and released, but with no pain. The fascinating thing is that I would suddenly feel exhausted after an intense contraction and then feel the endorphins rushing through me, all without the pain. Brilliant.

I was more than a little stunned when Donna announced that it was time to start pushing. I had just been happily chatting with John and Pat, clueless that I was 10 centimeters dilated. Diane came in, and the pushing began. Caleb held one leg, Donna held the other, and little pleaser me tried to push as hard as I could with a numb pelvis. Fortunately the epidural started to wear off just a smidge toward the end and i could feel better what I was trying to do. And after 40 minutes of pushing and a 2 degree cut, at precisely 2:20 PM, my daughter came screaming into the world. I couldn't have been more surprised if a giant pink unicorn had come galloping out of my vagina. A girl. I was so convinced it was going to be a boy. But now, truly, I wouldn't have it any other way. Gorgeous, mellow, already a heartbreaker, my little girl has already made doormats out of me and her father. They keys to the car? No problem. A pony? It's yours. She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I now just wish sometimes she was still inside my belly, because in there, aside from the dangers of too hot baths and feta, she was safe. Now she's out in the open, and she' sjust going to have to get used to me sticking to her like glue so the big bad world will keep its filthy mitts off of her.