parenthood, single mom by choice, SMC, writing

writing

Tonight’s post is short and sweet because:

I started writing my book! You knew this was coming, right? My SMC story will be told. So, my writing time is somewhat cramped as I just have post-8:30pm to work on it (plus everything else I can’t do while E is awake). I try to do an hour a night and follow Annie Lamott’s #1 advice, “Butt in the chair.” So far, so good.

I’m pumping as I write, which is weirdly hurting my back. I have the hands-free pumping bra but it’s hard to sit normally. Each night, starting last night, I’m attempting a “dream feed” with E, inserting the bottle’s nipple into his sleeping lips and hoping he’ll subconsciously latch and suck (and then remember how to do it when he’s awake). Last night, he was so asleep that he looked just like those dolls with a tiny hole between their lips for the bottle. He let it be there and eventually started sucking on it gently. Not much milk was transferred, yet. I have a friend who did this every night for weeks and eventually the babe caught on. The bulk of the pumped milk goes into the freezer stockpile.

Last night we had a 6.1 earthquake, centered in Napa! I woke at 3:20am to feel my building rocking, creaking, groaning. I clutched little E and sort of shielded his head from any eventual flying objects….it went on for a long time but didn’t reach the point where any damage was done. The biggest earthquake I’ve felt and definitely a different experience with a baby. Must get the earthquake kit together.

E is getting so giggly! I caught a photo of it today. Love to all and more soon as I become a wizard of time management.

xo

laughing e

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Baby nap window! My moment to write.

We traveled home from Michigan last Friday and the trip was a bit more of an ordeal this time due to a lengthy flight delay in the Minneapolis airport (a total of 6 hours). We had just boarded our connecting flight and it was a big plane with two aisles–we had two seats all to ourselves. The baby was sleeping in the Ergo. I had boomchunkas I texted my sister D to say we had everything dialed.

Moments later, they announced that the cargo door wouldn’t close and we had to deplane and wait for another (smaller) plane to arrive from Atlanta.

It’s moments like this that make you want to cry but then you think–well, we’ll just deal. So you spend six hours quietly strategizing how to spend every minute. I said something super-obvious to my sister B when I got home, like, “Traveling with a baby is really nothing like traveling without a baby.”

E was a champ. He really rolled with it–loved laying on the airport floor (ew) on a blanket (OK) and kicking his legs. We even achieved tandem sleeping with him in the Ergo while on the plane. I woke up and was so out of it that I thought we were on a bus.

One of the coolest things about traveling with a baby is how many moms jump up to help you. Like the one who brought me my iPhone which I’d left on a seat at the gate. Or the one who zipped my bag and put it on my shoulder as we deplaned in SF while E was howling (it was 3am according to our body clocks). Moms make the world go round, I’m telling you.

It was sad to leave Michigan! It is a dream world of sunshine, beaches, freezing cold water, lush trees, and tons of time with beloved family. My mom’s cooking each day fortified me. Everyone gave E lots of love and let me be hands free. I got back to running!

One night, I had a dream about SF. I was in an area of the city that’s not particularly exciting (somewhere around Van Ness and Bush, let’s say) and it was cold and foggy, and I was saying excitedly, “I’m HOME, I’m HOME!” Which made me think a about what home is.

Home is where I’m from and also where I live. Home is where my family is. And home is now where my baby boy is.

And his home is me.

My sister B picked us up at the airport in my (cleaned!) car and spent the night and part of the next morning with us. When she left, and I was nursing the baby on my bed, and we were alone in our home, I had this ecstatic feeling about being back in our groove, just the two of us. Home.

Later that day, though, it became more of a reality that I was back to 24/7, and I missed everyone.

And then I swung back to blissfully setting up my schedule for the week: mom and baby yoga, mom meetup in the Mission, Zumba, pilates, walks, dinners. Saturday hike. This is why I pay to live in this crazy-expensive city: community.

E is totally thriving. While he is noticeably less patient about entertaining himself now that there are fewer people around, he is barreling through his milestones. He’s holding his head up with fewer bobbles every day. He can do tummy time like a champ. Yesterday, I left the room to run a bath and when I came back he had rolled over onto his belly! Uh oh!!!

And today he’s grasping a rattle and bringing it to his mouth AND grabbing his toes. (I’m proud.)

Babe’s up.
xo
13 weeks

anxiety, breakup, dating, family, gratitude, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

time

Baby E is 12 weeks old today. Does it feel like 12 weeks? Yes. And no. What can I compare it to? So many quiet moments and slow days but when looking back it seems like the time passes quickly.

My mom and I just watched the birth video (which she recorded on my iPhone) for the first time. First of all, she recorded it beautifully, keeping the frame perfectly centered on my vagina for almost an hour. Plus the video includes about 20 minutes of post-birth bonding time. It’s feature film-length with pretty nonstop action–the pushes are obviously productive, the chatter in the room like a chorus of female positive assurances, and there I am yodeling like a jungle woman. I had tears running down my face each time we got closer to seeing the sweet little face we’ve come to know so well.

We heard a gurgly newborn version of E’s current cry and watched him move his body in heavy slow-mo as if it were full of beans instead of bones. The intensity of his dark eyes was already there, and his big hands pawing at my chest. We laughed out loud as I, not once but twice, called out the complicated password to my iPad between pushes so the med student Kacy could continue to hold it up for me as a mirror.

Incidentally, if anyone knows of a way to get the video from my iPhone to the cloud or a computer, please let me know. I’m so terrified of losing it although I’m not sure baby E will ever in his life want to stare at my vagina for that long.

I came upstairs after watching to find him sleeping angelically in his sleep sack, a more rounded and rosier version of his newborn self. These days, his built-in superman curl (cowlick) is still going strong. He’s holding his head up pretty steadily and just today started really focusing on grabbing a toy dangling above his head. His hands, once spastic, got slow and steady, and, after a decent amount of crying in frustration, finally grabbed that damn owl’s tail. He loves his mom. He takes mini-breaks from nursing to look up at me adoringly with a big smile.

Whenever I’m here at my parents’ place in northern Michigan, I feel like it’s kind of a time-out from real life and therefore a good time to be reflective. It also feels like all my previous reflective visits are piled one on top of the other so that I’m experiencing those memories often throughout my days here. I remember bringing various boyfriends over the years. When I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I remember taking a break in there from a middle-of-the-night argument with a boyfriend who had started having second thoughts about ever wanting kids. Then I remember how I signed a lease on an apartment to try to coax a boyfriend of four years into living with me (didn’t work), and how I made plans to quit my job and travel the world with the Alaskan (didn’t happen). I remember feeling like I could not could not could not get my life to move forward.

And then I decided to have a baby on my own. In retrospect, all these guys were poor matches and necessary steps on the way to Dr. Tran and baby E.

And, as my sister B says, it’s so clear that I found my path. What poetic justice that by being overly dependent, I learned to be totally independent.

This 5 weeks in Michigan is almost up, and the time has passed at a comfortable pace. When I’ve come for a two-week vacation, I could never wrangle it to go slowly enough. But five weeks is substantial enough to relax and stop watching the clock or calendar. E got to absorb a big dose of this family he has joined, thanks to the miracle of nature and UCSF, including his cousins and aunts and uncles and Mimi and Chacha and a whole lotta love.

And my maternity leave is about 60% complete, which is a clock and calendar that I would slow way down if I could. But how? Did anyone see this video if the little girl sobbing because she doesn’t want her baby brother to grow up? Sadie doesn’t want her baby brother to grow up

The paradox, of course, is that we want him to grow up and go off and live a meaningful life, but that also means eventually losing these baby cheeks and moving out of my bed. Wah!

I just finished reading Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown, in which she talks about how joyful moments can open up a feeling of vulnerability. The answer is to use this as a trigger to remember to practice gratitude, which keeps us in the moment. I love this!

And I’m pretty sure it’s the only reasonable way to slow the whole darn thing down.

xo