Bodies, again

It’s been seven months since I wrote about my postpartum body.  (Insert legitimately felt cliche about time flying.)  4 months back at a desk job, 16 month old baby.  Finally weaned a month ago, a month and a half off the domperidone.  Breasts finally starting to shrinking (F cup and falling…)  and period started to resume a normal cycle.  So, all told, in quite a different place than I was in December.

To use the scale in that post, I’m now at X+2, so, heavier than I’ve been since there was a human being inside of me.  And none of my pants fucking fit, and that makes me cranky.  (Pants shopping is the worst type of shopping.  I don’t know what the fit models people use are shaped like, but it’s sure as hell not anything like I’m shaped like.)  I’ve put on 5 pounds since coming back to work, and while that’s honestly not a big amount, when you don’t quite crack the 5’4″ mark, it’s enough that pants don’t fit.  And I had to buy new pants to come back to work, because even at 5 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, my actual hips were bigger. I unpacked the box of work clothes in March, and was sad but unsurprised that a grand total of ONE shirt fit over my giant boobs, and all my sweaters were far too short, again due to the chest.  So none of my shirts fit (even still) and now none of my pants fit. Getting dressed every morning is awesome!

In the short term, I’m cutting out snacks and cutting down on food, and upping my fitness classes, at least until my pants fit again.  Calorie restriction is easier than buying new pants.

But.

I don’t know how to feeeel about this.  On the one hand, I could just accept that I’m now in my 30s and I’ve had a kid, and this is what my body looks like, and I should just go out and buy some damn pants, and get over going up another size. Ditto shirts and bras.  After all, this one is my real body.  But is it?  is this just a heavy weight blip as I adjust to the new routine?  And what about the next baby?  We’re planning to start trying before the year’s out, so I don’t want to invest in clothes that might only fit for a few months, and who knows what my body will look like after another pregnancy and birth and mat leave.  I feel, honestly, like this isn’t my real body – that this is just this temporary thing.  Can’t I wait to get back in to shape after I’m done having kids?  Is it really worth sweating my ass off on my lunch breaks if I’m just going to balloon up in a few months anyway?  (Duh, of course it is.  It’s better to be healthy, in general.  But it’s haaaard.)  I feel generally uncomfortable with my body.  I miss the firm lush roundness of pregnancy.  I know I’m getting older, and my genetic destiny will become increasingly harder to fight.  I’m just… tired.  Can’t I postpone this fight until I’m done with the babies thing?

And really, we’re not talking huge differences.  At my average size, I wear a 12.  At my very lightest, usually a 10, and currently at my heaviest, a 14.  We’re not talk huge changes.  Just enough that, you know, none of my clothes fucking fit.And I’m too cheap and or lazy to buy new stuff, especially not knowing if this change is permanent, or if I can swing things back to the middle.  Or if I should even bother trying.

Ugh.  Being a person is hard some times.

The Great Flood of 2013

It’s really weird living in a city devastated by a major natural disaster, and being personally almost completely unaffected.  I mean, sure, I’m working from home with a baby at my feet because my building downtown is still powerless, and D’s been temporarily relocated to an office in the deep south, but that’s about it.  The house flooded 2 years ago, but that was due to the saturated ground and constant rain, not due to river flooding.  We discovered that our roof leaks, which isn’t awesome, but is a mere trifle compared to the fact that 100,000 people were evacuated (including my mother, trapped on the other side of multiple closed bridges) and actual houses were swept away.

So.  City’s in chaos, region is devastated, industry shut down, houses ruined (and did I ever mention that flooding isn’t covered by insurance in Canada anymore?), transit a mess, Stampede grounds flooded weeks before the city’s huge moneymaking Stampede…  And we hung out at home, carefully positioning water barrels and listening to the sump pump turn on briefly perhaps a dozen times.

D's spiritual home, flooded

D’s spiritual home, flooded

It’s been heartwarming to watch the city pull together, and amazing how great our mayor’s been, and astonishing at how fast things are getting back to normal.

I mean, sure, I don’t know how I’m going to get to work when it finally opens back up – the c-train’s down for weeks, and the bus I would otherwise take follows the Elbow River – where the worst of the flooding was.  But we’ll figure something out, and I’ll still be grateful that everyone I know is safe, and that I live in a place that really comes together in times of crisis.

Weaning, redux

So, I was on domperidone for like, a million months.  Okay, about 9 months.  About 750 little white pills. That’s a lot of time, and a lot of little white pills.  That’s, particularly, a lot of time on an anti nausea drug that interferes with your dopamine receptors.

The first few days totally off the pills sucked.  I didn’t throw up during my pregnancy* but 36  hours after my last pill I found myself puking up the pain pills I’d taken for the splitting headache I had again woken with.  So nauseous.  And headachy.  And ragey!  Yikes.  It took days to feel better.  I read somewhere on the internet that the drug’s halflife is 70 hours, and it takes 6 halflives to be out of the system.  It’s been a little over a week, so I’m halfway through the detox and really am feeling better.

I am still nursing in the morning though – for increasinly short times, as my milk dries up.  I’m surprised that it didn’t just vanish overnight without the pills, as I was expecting.  I’ve decided that J’s month-a-birthday next week is the last time I’ll nurse the baby – “I nursed for 15 months” has a nice even ring to it, as opposed to a more wordy “I nursed for 14 months and some extra weeks” that the pedantic in me would probably use.  (Er, provided that there’s still milk there in a week.)  It’s funny the way we tell stories to ourselves.

I didn’t intend to nurse for so long.  The year of mat leave and a month of transition was as long as I’d planned, once I was in to the thick of it.  But before I had a kid?  I was very much pro breastfeeding, but when they fed the baby formula while I was still knocked out cold from the c-section, I wasn’t overly concerned.  When I had to supliment with formula for a week after J was born until the “too complicated for the hospital to fix” tongue tie was resolve, I just did it.  The whole routine just about killed me: every three hours I had to feed the baby a bottle of breast milk, then nurse, then feed the baby formula, and then pump.  8 times a day.  But the formula part just … was, emotionally, not a big deal.  I was happy when she weaned off the formula herself – it smelled really gross – but I was never truly opposed to using it.  I mean, after the birth plan fails pretty catastrophically, supplementing with formula for a few days was no big thing in comparison.

But was that birth failure WHY I put myself through 9 months of brain-chemistry-altering pills?  I mean, I did it without a thought, really.  “Kid’s starving, take drugs, skim over 10 page warning pamphlet, feed kid, sleep through the night again.”  The logic was so clearly there, but why the extra time?  How much of my willingness to fuck with my body chemistry was because I wasn’t going to fail at breastfeeding too, goddammit?

I mean.  For a long time I felt like I had failed at birth.  The PPD certainly made me feel like I failed in the first months as a mother.  I felt like I failed when my milk dried up, despite exclusive breastfeeding on demand – something I didn’t even know was physically possible.  Going back to work (as generally pro-me-not-staying-home as I am) and enjoying it makes me feel a bit like I’m a failure compared to the “naturally great at it SAHMs” who surround me  and are able to actively engage their toddlers every day, instead of like, taking J to the mall on my Fridays off as I do.  I felt like I failed at bonding with the baby for quite a while.  I certainly felt I failed, and flailed, during the various weight crashes.

But, dammit, I could NURSE THIS CHILD.  There was something.  Medically assisted or not, I could offer the baby a nipple and she would eat and I would know, KNOW, that I wasn’t failing her at this one thing.

And I guess, as I work this out on my computer screen, that’s not nothing, if that’s the route of why I have nursed for so long.  That in the rough seas of early motherhood, I found myself a touchstone that I could say, with confidence, that Yes I Can Do This.

It’s funny.  I also cloth diaper and made like 98% of the baby’s food, but that doesn’t feel the same to me, despite how the three are often grouped together in  “parenting philosophy”.  I CD because it’s cheap, and cute, and since the introduction of flushable wipes, surprisingly not messy.  I made all her baby food because it was cheap, and easy, and I could make 3 weeks worth of food in an afternoon, and my kitchen produced infinitely more interesting varieties of food than the store, and I like cooking.  I have no ego tied up in them – it’s just, you know, what I did, because I could, and wanted to.

But breastfeeding?  I have ego involved in that, which I’m only realizing now in the final days of my nursing relationship with J.  That’s interesting to me.  I wonder what other choices I’ll look back on later and see more complex reasoning for, tucked behind the stories I tell myself?

*except for that one night of stomach flu, but that wasn’t pregnancy related, so it doesn’t count.

Feeling the fever

So everyone is pregnant, as far as I can tell.  Everyone!  But, uh, not me.  Not trying, even.  Due to the pills I’m on, probably couldn’t be even if I tried.  I just, like, have eyes and can’t help but notice that everyone is pregnant.

I’m sure it’s hyperbole, but today, for example, I went through the +15 to the next building to grab some lunch, and saw, I swear, 7 very pregnant ladies.  Two were standing in front of me in line.  Walking from my office to J’s daycare?  It’s a 10 minute walk though the +15s, and I have never seen less than 4 pregnant women.  (Okay, sure, they could be the same ones everyday, but I still see them.)  I work in a group of 30 people, 13 of whom are female (not bad for a STEM field), and 2 of them are pregnant.  I’m back downtown, working in a very corporate world, and I’m surrounded by lush, fertile women who are gloriously, roundly pregnant.

And I’m so jealous I’m practically salivating.

I’ve said it before, I was never really baby hungry before I  had Baby J.  It was a cerebral decision, more than anything.  I never had baby fever, or heard a ticking clock, or whatever other cliche that can be used to describe the longing for a baby.  But now?  Holy fuck, you guys.  WANT.  NEEEED.  It’s the strangest feeling.  It feels like a walking cliche, to be so eager, but here we are.

And while we are totally planning a second, not yet.  I’d rather have them +2 years instead of -2 years apart .  I *just* got back to work, and I owe it to myself to give this a serious go.  I’m still on the domperidone, and that’s done insane things to my cycle.  It’s not fair to J to do anything until we figure out what’s wrong with her.  (She’s down to 17 pounds – 1 pound over her 5 month weight.)  I refuse to wean until she stops losing weight or at the very least starts drinking any form of calorie, and I want to have my body to myself for a few months before I get pregnant again.  I’m simply not ready to try again yet, and neither is David.  Mentally, I get it.  In fact, mentally, I have no desire to start trying right now.

But viscerally?  WANT SO MUCH.

At the end of the day, we’re all just animals, right?  It’s stuff like this – this crazy longing – that really brings that home to me.

34 weeks along, looking like I ate the world.  Why do I miss this so much?

34 weeks along, looking like I ate the world. Why do I miss this so much?

Feeeeelings

Oh, god.  I just got the package from the daycare, with all the forms, and the handbook.  And I am having SO MANY FEELINGS.

Jess was a disaster at the fitness class today.  Whiny, clingy, randomly inconsolable, before being fine for a while.  (Teething?  Maybe?  She has to get some eventually, right?)  And I’m torn between feeling sad for her, at the struggle she will have to deal with adults who are not me (child got her fear of strangers at 3 months, and it’s lingered) and feeling glad for me, because she will have to get better at letting adults who aren’t me pick her up when she is sad.

I’m reading through the day care handbook, and it really does sound like we’re sending her to a good place.  “Outdoor time is scheduled at minimum twice a day and more often when time and space allows for it.”  “We provide a morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack that is cooked and prepared at our x location.  The menu is reviewed and prepared quarterly by a nutritionist and follows The Canada Food guide recommendations.”  “Televisions are not used in any of our classrooms for watching movies, or television.”  Actually, it sounds in more than a few ways like a more structured, involving, stimulating environment than home.  What, a trip to Ikea isn’t as stimulating as a sand table and twice daily walks outside?

BUT MA BABEEE!  *insert weeping*  Even though we’re in a phase where my whole day is spent waiting for it to be nap time.

I am just so conflicted.  Someone please tell me awesome things about daycare.  I don’t seem to have any friends who are in my situation, and so I turn to you, internet, to tell me the perks of handing over my child to trained experts.  Because as much as I am looking forwards to it (I’m not loving this stage, right this week), I’m also really, really sad.  (And eating my feelings.)

Christmas

A little on the late side, but here we go.

Christmas was lovely.  The relativity short family time windows were relaxed and pleasant.  The gifts were generous.  The baby was adorable.  It was a lovely holiday.

Portrait of young girl with tree

Portrait of young girl with tree

New traditions were explored.  I personally like the Santa myth, so we’re going to push it a little, and we totally used this year as a practice run.  For example: all the presents from us were wrapped in white and silver wrapping paper (Ikea makes the best Christmas paper) and everything from Santa was in bright garish paper.  Jess “opened” a present on Christmas Eve – something I always loved doing as a kid.  But this year, it was festive pjs, and as a friend of mine pointed out, the problem with doing that is that they get them near the end of the festive season, not at the beginning, where you’d get more use out of them.  So next year, Jess will get cute Christmas pjs on the 1st of December (all other organizational skills being equal…).  David and I did advent calendars again – lego and playmobile.   My inner six year old loves them.

Christmas imp in new pjs

Christmas imp in new pjs

One of the big things that my family always did differently, growing up, was to spread the present opening out.  On Christmas Eve, you got a present.  (The compromise from my father’s German upbringing when everything was opened on the Eve.)  Christmas Morning you got stockings, and Christmas afternoon you got to open a few presents, and the rest of the day was spent eating and playing games and going to family dinners.  Boxing Day you’d open another presents, and then maybe 2 days later you’d open another one, and it finally wrapped up by New Year’s Eve, at the latest.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Now, that makes it sound like there was a ton of presents, but really, there wasn’t – it was just spread out more so that it felt like more.  The anticipation of opening gifts was often more exciting that the gifts themselves.  (So many socks.)   It was great in many ways, because the holiday felt longer, and richer, and the anticipation went on.  My mom’s birthday is mid-December, and the house rule was that you couldn’t start any form of Christmas decorations or celebrations until December 14th, so we couldn’t stretch the holiday out earlier in the month.

Dec 28, and still a few more presents to go

Dec 28, and still a few more presents to go

I think this is actually a great tradition, but it does mean that I am super, super uncomfortable around people who just like, dive in and are done opening things by 10 am on Christmas Morning.  In part because I just don’t get it, and in part because opening that much stuff – that much conspicuous consumption all at one – makes me squirm.   It seems harder to enjoy each present because you’re so overwhelmed by ALL THE STUFF.   Harder to be genuinely excited by each gift.  Harder to remember all that you received.  Harder to teach the baby about gratitude and appreciation and leisurely holidays.  I’m not saying that everyone else is doing it wrong or anything – just that it’s wrong for me, and I like the way we do it.  It won’t surprise you, I’m sure, to learn that growing up only one person opened a gift at a time, and it was then passed around and duly admired before the next person took their turn.  Luckily David is willing to go with my delayed gift opening, even if he doesn’t fully understand why opening a pile of presents all at once makes me squirm.

Dec 31 and Jess finally figured out how to rip wrapping paper

Jan 2 and Jess finally figured out how to rip wrapping paper

One nice perk for this is that by the end of the week, Jess finally figured out the hows and whys of ripping wrapping paper.  That picture is of the very last present that she opened, and it was the first one where she did much of the paper removal.  She was really, really excited to have figured it out, and it was adorable.

It was a lovely week.  David was home, and we had very little to do and just hung out and played games and snuggled the baby and opened presents and ate food and watched shows and drank drinks and generally enjoyed the hell out of each other’s company.  Just lovely.

Our Christmas tree, and all our gifts, including the best one - the one in the Tigger shirt

Our Christmas tree, and all our gifts, including the best one – the one in the Tigger shirt

A Merry Christmas Evening

Our work Christmas parties were, same as last year, on the same night in the same building.  Opposite ends of a very large conference centre.  Last year we went to mine and stopped in at his, this year we went to his and stopped in at mine. It worked out really well  – we had a sit down dinner at David’s, sitting with one of his best friends and his lovely wife, and then we eventually ducked over to mine to drink our free drinks, talk to a few people and debate eating from the poutine bar.  (Alas, too full from dinner, but cute concept.)  I also got a job offer, which was great, and sure, my boss has already approved my in-group transfer, so it’s a sure thing, but it’s nice to be wanted no matter what.  Plus, I’ll be reporting directly to a woman I quite like, instead of a nice man who runs meetings in a Dilbertish fashion.  So 4 drinks, a job offer, and a great photo?  Glad we walked over there.

DSC_0562 rotated

Because they were free, we had our picture taken everywhere.  (Including three photobooth&costume photo sets, because I am powerless to not wear a viking hat if there is one one offer.)  And re: the last post, maybe there’s something to be said for just figuring out my angles and finding what’s flattering.  Instead of staring unhappily at pictures of myself, I just need to find better pictures, better poses?  Not that the family portraits we had done with Jess were bad!  They were great.  But they were in full daylight and in jeans.  Maybe the secret is in a short sassy little black dress and flattering poses.  Because, damn, do I like this photo.

work christmas

I think I look great.  (David always looks great in a suit.  Yum.)  Open mouth laughter suits me, and the set’s great, and it totally avoids showing the areas of my body I’m self conscious about.  (We’ll pretend the photo where I’m sitting on his lap didn’t happen, because that one is terribly unflattering.)

Okay, a great photo or two may not cure my body angst, but it sure doesn’t hurt – how can I feel too bad about myself, when I can look at that picture and be all, “YES”?  I can’t.  I felt great, in a short black dress that flattered the hell out of my curves.  I’d had a few (ahem) drinks and had a handsome man and the pictures look great.  Done.