I SURVIVED SEPARATION.

I DID IT. I DIDN’T EVEN CRY.

Okay, that’s not totally the truth. I teared up twice. THANKS FOR NOTHING, LADY GAGA.

But actual tears. They never flowed. Not even one.

That either makes me totally awesome or a terrible mother. I’m gonna go with awesome.

Let me explain the Lady Gaga thing. Every night, we put that pink Johnson’s Baby Lotion on his face. I’m convinced it cleared up his baby acne in August so I’m afraid to stop using it. And with his body chemistry, it smells like Dr. Pepper. So instead of Poker Face I sing “Dr. Pepper Face” at him when I slather it on. It’s one of two songs that will put me over the edge. The other is “Moves Like Jagger” because the stupid tablet ad that used it was played all the time right after the kid was born and we would sub in his name. Because his moves are way cooler than a strung out 70 year old.

So I heard “Poker Face” twice, once while walking through Caesars and once during one of the Imperial Palace’s Dealertainer shows. I’m surprised I didn’t hear it more than that, actually, considering it was Vegas and, duh, POKER.

ALSO if you haven’t been to Imperial (soon to be The Quad), it’s kind of a dump and under construction right now, but it has been our favorite place to gamble for a long time. The table minimums are always less than other places and even though the odds totally blow in the Dealertainer pit thanks to the continuous shuffle thingamabob, it is SO MUCH !#%!# FUN to play there. Where else can you play blackjack until six am with Blondie, Prince, Ke$ha, Alanis Morissette and Bret Michaels.

Bret Michaels took all my money, that dirty bastard.

What, like you never drank Bourbon Cream Sauce straight from the vessel before. DON'T JUDGE ME.

What, like you never drank Bourbon Cream Sauce straight from the vessel before. DON’T JUDGE ME.

Anyways, where was I? OH RIGHT. Tearing up in public. I did it. I’m not ashamed. I’m shocked I didn’t do it more. Again, bad mom.

We had plenty to do – we gambled obviously all the time, I won $240 on penny slots to which we took directly over to the blackjack tables where we promptly lost it, we ate steak, we got free Serendipity frozen hot chocolate, went ice skating on the pool roof of the Cosmopolitan, did the table service VIP thing at Paris and barely slept. So, I can survive a trip away from the little bugger as long as there is plenty of entertainment, good food, great friends and copious amounts of booze. In other words, I need LOTS of distraction.

I’m convinced that the kid grew like five inches and gained ten pounds in my absence. HE LOOKED SO BIG when I got in the car. And now he’s been a giant fussbucket and drooling machine and doing crazy things with his tongue which leads me to believe a tooth is a’comin’. He still won’t roll over but he is getting damn close. It’s just that damn arm that gets in the way and he can’t figure out how to roll over it. I give him another four days*.

BUT I DID IT. BECAUSE I’M AWESOME.

.

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* Less than 20 minutes after I posted this, that crazy face rolled over. Picked himself up and flung himself over the arm that got in the way. Mama would be proud of you, buddy, if you hadn’t just made her look foolish.

Abandonment Issues

I’m having a problem.

Big A and I are headed to Vegas soon. And we love Vegas. LOVE. We’ve been four times together. I’ve been three other times without  him.

Fake Bride for a Fake Wedding.

Two Spring Breaks. My 21st Birthday. His “goodbye” trip before he enlisted. We “pretend” got married Valentine’s Day 2011 to see if we could get free shit (we didn’t). We know how to celebrate. We %$&@# love this place.

This trip, though? Mehhhhhhh.

I already left the kid behind once, in September when we went to Pittsburgh for a Steelers game. But that wasn’t even two days. And I felt bad, but the kid wasn’t really doing much yet and I wasn’t concerned.

But this trip is longer.

And the kid? HE DOES STUFF NOW! I feel like in the days we’re gone, he’s going to roll over to his stomach (totally possible), say a “word” (slightly possible), sit up by himself (probably not possible) or start walking on his own (totally not possible).

He learns something new every day. Interacts a little more. Makes a new noise. Makes crazy faces.

AND I’M SUPPOSED TO BE OKAY WITH MISSING ALL OF IT?!

I can’t even get behind the mommy-needs-a-break mindset because I really don’t. I like my “job” and I don’t need a day off yet.

And I’m not nervous about leaving him with someone else; he’ll be in good hands.

It doesn’t help that the trip snuck up on me and I never got my lazy ass to stop watching Full House long enough to go running so I didn’t lose ten pounds and I have nothing to wear.

I’m trying not to freak out.

I just don’t want someone else giving him a bath. Is that weird? That’s weird, isn’t it. And I probably shouldn’t ask her to not bathe him for the duration.

Absolute rule, though? NO NEW FOODS. Under no @!$%! circumstance will I miss anything like Bananagate.

At least we will be busy enough (read: drunk) that I probably (hopefully) won’t think about it too much.

Hopefully.

Baby’s First Hurricane

I have seen my fair share of disasters in the past thirteen months. Well, two natural events and a power outage.

In a long-winded rant about my deployment curse, I explained what happened during the last two hurricanes that hit the mid-Atlantic. And four days after the kid was born, he had his first foray into power outages.

I’m not going to lie. I think I have a slight case of déjà vu and/or PTSD. I had a rough time sleeping last night when the rain started to come, waiting for the moment it became heavy enough that, a year ago, it would be gushing through the wall. I flashbacked to the Shop-Vaccing and the towels and the heaven sent gift of not losing power so I could Shop-Vac some @#!%ing more. I made myself stay in bed even though all I wanted to do was check the walls.

The fact the NYC is pretty much deserted is what I find most unnerving about this crazy ass Frankenstorm.

I can currently hear the water running into the sump and then the pump going off. Frequently. Should we lose power, we have a back-up battery that should last two to three days or more while functioning, long if it doesn’t have to pump. We think.

We’ve never actually had to test that theory. During the last power outage, there was little rain so the battery was fine. I wanted to get a back-up back-up battery. Big A said no. I told him I would not assist in the bail out should it come to that.

So that’s FEAR ONE. More water in the basement. THE BASEMENT WE JUST FIXED.

FEAR TWO is that crazy cooked tree behind our house that I’ve been afraid of for the three years we’ve lived here. It continues to get less straight and while it isn’t heading our way, one giant gust in the wrong direction could be bad for us. Even worse for the house that is RIGHT in it’s path. CUT THAT BITCH DOWN ALREADY.

 

So did we prep for this? Eh…we’ve got a months worth of food and water for the kid. We have some food in the fridge we can eat as soon as the power goes out. There are six boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in the freezer. Big A is kind of a muscle head so there are PLENTY of protein shakes. We have beer. And Bourbon. And Vodka.  If the power goes out it won’t be absurdly hot this time.

Not to mention, Big A is HOME so his luck should take care of things.

Hopefully even the need for the back-up back-up battery. DON’T FAIL ME NOW, NEW BASEMENT. YOU COST US $10k AND YOU BETTER KEEP UP YOUR END OF THAT DEAL.

We are bracing for impact. Kind of.

STAY SAFE, FRIENDS!

Pregnancy vs. Motherhood – Honestly.

I wrote this mid-July, when Little A was about three weeks old. I was in the throes of emotional breakdowns and constant stress and never-ending tears. I debated about posting it at all, since it is pretty raw and jarring – mostly to me. I vividly recall how I wrote it – sitting on the floor of the nursery, exhausted, sobbing, pounding this out on my tablet as the kid slept in the crib after hours of fussing. I am honestly surprised there aren’t more typos. It’s not a perfect post by any means, but it is a recollection of that moment of time for me.

Things have gotten WAY better since this. WAY BETTER. We’ve found a groove, we’re working on a schedule, I am no longer freaking out about feeding. I still think being pregnant is way easier than motherhood – but it is incomparable. Pregnancy does not deliver the smiles, the faces, the grunts, the personality of your spawn. Motherhood is awesome…just not for the first few weeks.

Pregnancy is a hell of a lot easier than motherhood.

Maybe it is just me, but there is a whole lot of guilt, about everything, once that fetus is a baby. And with all that guilt is a whole shitton of tears. And more ugly cries than the entirety of the pregnancy. And I can’t stop.

It’s over stupid things like a photo not turning out exactly right or being peed on.

It’s over legit things like having an ounce of breast milk thrown away that took you two pumping sessions to obtain or the blinding pain of the first few days of nursing.

It’s over regrettable things like not taking enough pictures in the hospital or in the first few days.

It’s over things only I would get emotional about, like not appreciating the labor process enough, being in the moment enough or wanting a do-over.

Yes. A do-over. I often wish I could rewind a few weeks, enjoy and revel in the last few days of pregnancy more, take in and be more in the moments of labor and birth, appreciate every moment that gets spent. I would go through every moment again in a heartbeat if I could take these lessons I’ve learned and use them to have a less emotional time about all this. I would take thousands of pictures, make other people take thousands more, write whenever I had a spare moment so I wouldn’t forget a single detail, I would cherish everything.

Instead, I’m tired and frustrated and impatient and constantly on the verge of tears because I can’t shake the feeling I have done everything wrong and there is no going back. And while I know that is far from the truth – we are all healthy and had zero serious complications throughout this journey – I still feel an intense need to rewind and start again.

It’s hard place, knowing you’re being irrational but unable to contain it. I snap at Big A, I have to walk away in frustration from Little A, I swear a lot.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m in the post partum depression zone, but I also can’t help feeling that this is also a little beyond the baby blues.

The Birthing: Part Five (Epilogue)

Seriously. You’ve honestly gone four days without coming here? I thought you liked me.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Part Five

After that amazing first post-partum hospital meal (only slightly exaggerated due to intense hunger – the food was actually pretty good!) I get transferred to recovery and am told I have to be able to get out of bed within four hours otherwise I would be threatened with a catheter. Which was totally fine when I was in epidural land, not so much now.

Due to fear, I waited until the last possible second to make the journey out of bed and to the bathroom. The aide came to assist. Now. This aide was a big Jamaican woman with a thick accent. Bubbly, funny, loud, almost over the top. She led me into the bathroom and ordered me around. Big A says: Before that awesome Jamaican tech came in, the other nurse said “if you don’t pee now, I’m putting in a catheter”. That plan sounded horrible.

She told me to go. So I went. Even though I was terrified.

And then it took 20 minutes just to go to the bathroom.

She handed me a spray bottle so I could hose myself off because that’s just what you do I guess. I did so, hesitantly and gingerly. Because, you know, POSSIBILITY OF PAIN. And I had no idea what the @$^! was going on down there. She saw how I was doing it, scolded me, snatched that bottle from me, refilled it and then went to town. Went. To. Town.

THERE IS A BIG JAMAICAN LADY POWERFULLY HOSING OFF MY PRIVATEST OF PARTS.

“You gotta use hot water, hot as you can stand. You gotta SPRAY it down, you gotta heal up fast.”

I could not stop laughing.

She showed me how I needed to take care of everything, from the wash off to the butt baths to the preventative measures. It seriously was a process to go to the bathroom now. I felt like I was building sandwiches in my underpants with giant pads as the bread and ice packs and/or Tucks pads like cold cuts. You won’t be eating a sandwich for lunch now. Sorry.

Here’s the thing. Your privatest of parts? Not so private during these times. There are numerous people watching you deliver, the nurses are checking your under regions for excess bleeding, the lactation consultants are feeling you up, your boobs are constantly out, you must have zero shame to make it through unscathed.

Luckily, I had practice from a few Spring Breaks in college so I wasn’t fazed.

KIDDING, MOM! Big A says: No, but really.

Anyway.  If you’re pregnant with your first and reading this, take heed. Total strangers, and lots of them, will be seeing various parts of your body and you best be okay with that.

The rest of my two days in the joint were a blur. It included a fair amount of napping, a lot of pain from nursing, drugs delivered on demand and being peed on. And learning what newborns are all about.

You can’t see my face but I’m certain it looked petrified.

Little A stayed in our room for the majority of the time, with the exception of the last night when he stayed down in the nursery to be under the stronger bilirubin tanning lights. I slept like a champ that night, skipping two nursing sessions since he was on a strict 30 minute limit to be out of the lights and by the time he would latch, time was up and he would have to supplement anyway. So I opted for sleep. And sleep was good. Besides, when the nurse came to wake me for those sessions she phrased it as such: “do you want to come nurse or keep sleeping?” Obviously sleep was the answer. If she had known me at all, she would have made it a demand, not a choice. Big A spent most of that night at our house. Putting the crib together.

While I was sort of hoping that they would keep us an extra day for some reason, they didn’t and we were released into the wild unknown Wednesday morning. ON OUR OWN. UNASSISTED. FULLY RESPONSIBLE. Big A says: it really wasn’t THAT big of a deal. I’ve been around little kids for a bulk of my life. I even babysat my first infant at 9. Then I remembered that my wife, my partner in this adventure, had just changed her FIRST DIAPER!! Ish just got real for her.

On the way out, there was another mother being released and I looked at my diminutive six pounder and then at her normal sized eight pounder and back at my six pounder and then up to the skies to say thank you to whomever was listening.

Plus her baby? Typical ugly squishy looking baby. Not to be totally mean but since I am, it was truly an unfortunate looking child. Once again, I thanked above. Then wondered if my kid was really as cute as I thought or if I had mommy blinders already.

I decided he was epically cute. The universe loves me.

So let’s recap.

Water breaks. I get an epidural. I push for a few minutes. I have a baby.

I wanted to end this post with further insight into my feelings on this whole experience, but to be honest, I am just not ready for that yet. I am also slightly overemotional already because the Olympics tend to do that to me and that #@%! P&G commercial with the moms viewing the athletes as children? Gets me every @!#%! time. It would have gotten to me without having spawn, but now that I DO have spawn, HOLY CRAP. I have to avert my eyes. It doesn’t help that they run it all the damn time. Between that and the Michael Phelps focused Visa commercials narrated by Morgan Freeman, I am a wreck. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MICHAEL PHELPS.

ANYWAY. So ends the story of how Little A arrived into this crazy world. Now that he’s here, to stay apparently, it’s hard to remember how life was without him.

His story, though? Our story? That’s just beginning.

Welcome to the crazy, little dude.