Weighty Issues

Jess got her 2 month shots recently, and while we were at the public health nurse, they also weighed and measured and assessed all sorts of things.  (See, me crying in a medical office while discussing my feelings, AGAIN, ugh.)  She took her shots like a champ.  There were three of them in quick succession (and having got my own booster shot 1 minute earlier, I was extra sympathetic about how much they hurt).  Jess was screaming away as I tried to latch her on the boob, but she was screaming too much to focus.  So the nurse rang a bell, loudly and constantly.  I actually laughed at my poor baby who was so entranced by the sound of the bell that she stopped crying completely and then latched on.  (She ate for 2 minutes, then fell right asleep, and slept for most of the rest of the afternoon.)  The nurse told me that the bell doesn’t normally work on 2 month old babies – usually not until they are older.  I was like, yup, my baby is amazing!

However.  They also, as I said, weigh and measure the baby.  Her head was in the 97th percentile (might explain that c-section…).  Her length was about 55th percentile.  And her weight?  97th percentile.  Which on the weight to height chart put her right off of it, in the what the hell range.  Sure, if your baby is at the top range for weight AND height, that you clearly just have a big healthy baby.  But 55th and 97th?  That’s, well, that said to me that my baby is short and fat and oh god what I am doing wrong to have cause my little girl to be so out of proportionality oversized already panic flail guilt.

Then we had a doctor’s appointment 5 days later, and they weighed her WITHOUT a damp cloth diaper and got her age in weeks correct, and she went to 55th percentile in length and 70th percentile in weight – a much more normal proportion for a little baby.

And I was relieved.

And then I felt kind of shitty, both at my reaction and more so about my relief.

I mean, I’m short and heavy myself.  And I’m pretty okay with that.  I mean, I’ve been this height since like 14, so I’ve had time to get used to the fact that I’m the shortest in all of my extended family.  (My sister is 6 inches taller than me, and my cousins are mostly taller than her.)    My weight’s been pretty stable since I started working 8 years ago.  My natural weight range is small.  Hell, compare my lowest weight in high school while I was on the cabbage soup diet (UGH) and my highest weight pre-pregnancy is only 23 pounds. It’s very hard for me to move outside that range, compared to my sister or cousin whose ranges are much bigger (30 and 50 pounds, respectively).  I have long made my peace with my weight, as much is probably possible in our media driven world.  I know that I would rather lift weights than run, and that my body muscles easily and holds on to my belly fat, and than it would be so very, very difficult for me to move and then stay bellow my natural range.  (Hey, if healthy eating and swimming competitively at least 6 times a week as a teenager didn’t make me slim, there’s not much I can do now at 30 to change that.)  Sure, I can be healthier and I do prefer to stay near the low middle of my range instead of the top, but still, I’m okay with my body and myself.  (Although one post pregnancy note – c-sections are terrible on your endurance and stomach.  I tried crunches yesterday, and managed a measly TEN without even managing to lift my shoulder blades off the ground.  And it hurt.  My fitness classes a few months ago would often have at least 10 minutes of serious ab work, and now I can’t do 30 seconds of weak work.  Sigh.  THAT upsets me, and I will be working hard to get my core strength back.)

So, back to the baby.  I’m okay with my body and my short and heavy proportions.  Why on earth would this cause me to react so strongly about my baby?  My breastfed on demand baby?  Babies cannot eat more than they are hungry for – their stomach can’t expand and if they eat too much it comes back out.  You can’t overfeed a breastfed on demand baby, I’m told by the doctor, the nurse, the internet.  And yet, I felt like I was already failing her.

Clearly, I have work to do.  My mother had a ton of body issues that she projected on me, and she’s already starting on Jess.  (She accused me of letting a 9 week old baby of eating from boredom, not hunger, “like we both do, right?”.  Thanks mom.)   And I want to break that pattern.  I don’t know how yet, but I will work on it.  I’ll also tell my daughter that she’s beautiful more often than my mother did to me.  (Which is easy.  We’ve already surpasses the number zero.)  But look that that smile and those chubbly wubbly cheeks.

Smiles

How can I not want to protect my little girl from my issues?  I owe it to her to get over my reaction to the initial news, even if it was incorrect.  Because there is a good chance that she will to grow up to be built like the women in my family – short and chesty and muscular and chubby.  I owe it to her to make her feel like I always have her back, yes?  To make her believe that someone will always find her beautiful and smart and strong.  Growing up with that security is something I never had, and really want to be able to give to my baby.  So that’s my work, I think.

Cute AND smart

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Repeating Cycles

They must have done grade wide hearing tests when I was in kindergarten, maybe grade 1.  We’ll say, for argument’s sake, that I was 5 when it was discovered that I am partially deaf in one ear.  Not just a little deaf – fully deaf above a certain frequencies – say, a young girl’s voice, or a flute.  I can hear it on the right, but the left ear registers nothing.  I was 5, and they had no idea why this happened, or any indication before the test that there was a problem.  Of course, as soon as this was discovered there were more tests to be done.  Years more tests.  In fact, every several years, or after a string of bad ear infections, I still go in to be tested.  Most of the tests were performed at a local school that had the city’s deaf program.  They had a full sound booth testing facility there and once a year I’d get a half day off school to go sit in a metal bank vault, basically, and hit the button when I could hear the noise, and other such fun tests.

But one test stands out in my mind.

It was one of the first tests, and I had to go to the Children’s Hospital.  I remember a darkened room, and electrodes glued to my head.  (I also remember picking the glue out of my hairline later that afternoon, while playing in the backyard.)  I remember the doctor’s telling me what a good girl I was, and how grown up, and how nice it was to work with me, because how they usually worked on 2 month (year?) old babies.  I remember the toy – the Roly Poly Chime Ball – and talking about how I had one of those when I was a baby, with all the superiority of a 5 year old.  But the memory of being a big girl and not a baby and how much the nice doctors liked me lingered, long after the rest.

Roly Poly Chime Ball

Which made it a bit funny for me, on Monday, as I walked my two month old daughter in to the same hospital.  Sure, it’s no longer the city’s children’s hospital, now just a variety of specialist clinics, but it’s still the same building.  And the same darkened rooms, and the same kind doctors.  Only, this time, there were no toys, and it was my baby getting electrodes taped to her head.  (Adhesives now, not glue.)

Baby science experiment

She was a champ, falling asleep part way through the testing after only a little fussing.  She has, as far as they can tell from the brain activity, not inherited any of hearing loss.  Which is excellent news.  We knew she wasn’t deaf – she responds to loud noises – but as she still doesn’t react much to voices, there was still a little doubt.  Plus, unless I told you, you would have no idea that my hearing loss is severe enough that I had access to all sorts of disability support through school.  (I only ever used two – speech therapy in elementary school, and the ability to write my departmental exams on the computer for my grade 12 classes.  Why not?  My spelling and handwriting are terrible – given the chance to have spell check on my big exams was worth it.)

But walking in to that building again, to take my baby for the same tests I recall myself?  I can feel the cycles…

Darkness

So.  The baby is now 8 weeks old.  (And, frankly, adorable, yes?)

What the what?!?

Things are … okay.  First of all, I have to say that the American system that forces mothers back to work after 6 weeks is obscene and I don’t know how women do it.  Or have they haven’t collectively risen up to force change.  They are probably just too tired…

Jessie is a good sleeper, with a large caveat.  The caveat is that she’s never slept before midnight.  The good point is that she never wakes before noon.  So, basically, my ideal schedule when I was in university.  Does make the days go by pretty quickly, as we’re really only awake for 5 hours before David gets home.  And I do make an effort to do at least one thing every single day.  Today was a quiet day, but I did manage to make cookies.  Last week I wrote a final, visited with Melanie and her adorable daughters, voted in a provincial election and went on three walks.  I’m going to the mall tomorrow to buy a shower gift.  I’m making an effort to do something every day.

Which I’m doing because I know I have to.  It’s been 8 weeks.  It’s pretty clear that it’s no longer the baby blues and I’ve slid in to full on PPD.  It’s a mild case, to be sure, and there are entire days where I don’t cry.  I’m doing okay, for a relative value of okay.  I’m seeing my doctor every couple of weeks to make sure I’m not sliding down too far.  I make plans to see people.  I cook dinner most nights and go for walks.  I’m thinking about going to post natal yoga, now that my body is somewhat healed.  (C section recovery sucks balls.)  I’m trying to get around to actually calling and making a talk therapy appointment.  I know there’s shit I need to work out, but it’s hard. And when you don’t wake before noon, there’s a surprisingly short amount of time during the day to get anything done.

But the baby’s awake and so I’ll end this abruptly.  (Why not be awake?  It’s only 1 am – we probably have an hour to go no matter how much swinging and/or eating she does.)  Here’s a picture of what I walked home to the other day after getting a pedicure with a friend.  Adorable.

*sound of heart exploding*