March 28, 2011

practically humdrum now!

whew. big weekend.

saturday, went out to the farm; the queen had family in from ireland and there was a minor shindig. it was the first time i saw most of his family since getting out of the hospital, and i felt really cared for - they all hugged me and said nice things like they've been my family for a long time, instead of less than a year. yay.

sunday, drove home for a quick coffee, then went to my folks' place for the night. this involved driving on shitty roads; wind plus slushy snow equals scary. also, it's been grey forever. wtf. i live on the prairies, it's cold but there is sunshine, right? right?? anyway, the grandparents tour's second leg went well.

today we drove into the city and did some shopping, then visited with the wife and batdog, bringing them back home for a few days. it was weird to be in the city; i felt overwhelmed by the cars, the signs, the everything. although going for indian food helped the overstimulation a lot.

but now i'm exhausted. guess i'm still in recovery mode.

this week looks busy too. doctor's appointment, optometrist's appointment, fieldinbloom is visiting, then possibly a road trip out to visit the awesomes in the next province over. we want to get as much of this stuff done before the queen goes back to work. and when the days are full, i pay less attention to feeling ill - i feel more human when i keep busy. but i want to keep my health up and not overextend myself; still don't feel confident that i have that balance right. i definitely still have some things lacking - posture, balance (as in, physical balance), full lung-power, stamina...

all in time. currently my mantra. also, carrying rocks around in my pocket, and working on deep breathing. (thanks jen!)

March 24, 2011

a bit of everything for everyone

remember the cat?

me neither. just kidding! olive is, of course, jealous of the peanut. usually content to sleep at the foot of the bed or in between the queen's legs, she has recently decided she needs to sleep between us, by the pillow. right where the baby is. also, she needs to be on my lap, but only when the baby is. when we burp the baby, she comes running, because she likes spanks (s&m kitty, now you know. i outed her.) and it seems to her that we're spanking the child far more often than her own deserving bum gets any action (this is further compounded by the fact i still bend down very rarely, so olive will lure me to the carpet only to be frustrated).

poor cat. she still gets lovins though. i am still thoroughly a cat person. the queen also gives her attention, though his attention is somewhat more... violent than mine. he claims he has broken her, giving evidence that she lets him roll her over and toss her onto beds and couches. i think they vent their frustrations on each other.

i've also taken to talking to the cat like i talk to the baby, and i periodically call the child "kitten". ah well. the queen started calling olive "olivia" which evolved into 'livey, and this morning i heard him call out " 'livey oil! " who broke who, that's what i wonder.

neck cheese?

something that they don't tell you: babies' bodies have lots of folds, and things hide in there. the milk she drinks sometimes (okay, frequently) gets drooled down the side of her mouth and into the crevices in her neck. then it colonizes into neck cheese. these neck folds are tricky, let me tell you. we're talking quaker-during-the-civil-war tricky. spit-up neck cheese is even more quease-inducing, mostly because i just think so. anyway. clean those necks. all of them. especially the ones you can't see.

the midwives!

we had our last official midwife visit, but i hope we see these fabulous women again. they're just awesome. i needed to share that. i've laughed so often during our visits, and i felt so cared for after the birth, with all the breastfeeding troubles, and when i was in the hospital. i appreciate them so much more because i have so much less local community here.

well, mostly i just wanted to talk about neck cheese. wait! for those who remember that i used to blog about adult things like films and books:

we watched "black swan" last night. someone should have warned me it's a psychological horror movie. i watch movies to relax or be mentally stimulated, not scared out of my wits with clenched muscles. that said, it was reasonably well done, although the queen noted the serious amount of ballet and mom issues pegged it as a chick flick, dark as it may be.

i'm (slowly) reading a collection of larry niven short stories. i had read one of his novels and decided it was too "boy sci-fi" for me, but the stories are great. the queen (who got me the book) says his stories tend to be better than his books.

there you go, media fans. some media.

March 23, 2011

the peanut (photos by the queen)

all about food, mostly

things i miss about gluten:

1. chinese bakeries. oh god, the white flour and sugar. give me another red bean cake.
2. ichiban noodles. seriously, the queen still eats these and i sit by quietly, embarassed to admit i am jealous. but there ain't nothing like ichiban.
3. coffee shop pastries, and their fake goodness. also, their ability to stave off "woke up too late for breakfast" hunger on one's way to work. gluten-free people have to keep a stash of granola bars. it's not as much fun.
4. late night evil pizza. 'nuff said.
5. naan bread. i don't want to talk about it.

fatten up the post-surgery kid:

everyone wants to fill my hollows, and the queen, who has a bad costco habit (i found the wikipedia page on costco to be rather fascinating), came home with breakfast sausages and hashbrown patties that are gluten-free, and told me with deep satisfaction in his voice that i would soon be fat. he threatened me with large amounts of mayo from the costco-sized (think texas) jar of mayo he came home with, since i still hadn't made the homemade mayonnaise i had been talking about for months now. geez.

more post-surgery updates:

i feel more normal, and can pick up the peanut for longer, but still need to work on posture and deep breathing. still, i am starting to be able to sit up without grappling with my hands at the pillows, and help more around the house. i cleaned up some things that had been bothering me since i came home, and feel proud of myself. these activities are part of my healing process.

today i had my first great cry about it. short but intense, the tears were provoked by one of those feel-good birthing stories, where the child's health was at risk but everyone worked together and helped restore it. i then realised how many people contributed to saving my life and i burst into tears at how cared for and vulnerable that makes me feel. did you know apparently they take all your organs out and put them on the table while they mess around in your body? yeah, i'm visualizing it too. creepy.

the queen and i are valiently trying to maintain our relationship. today we shared some really nice cuddles while the peanut was napping, and i realised that when she sleeps between us, we don't get to touch as much. this part of co-sleeping sucks. also, she's a loud dreamer.

i can see how parents get so involved with the tasks of parenting that they forget the bigger picture. there isn't much time for pondering, and when you get it, you don't know how long until you'll be called back to the world (but probably less than half an hour).

life is good. if it would only stop snowing.

March 21, 2011

the peanut tribe evolves

the little peanut is getting to be fun. i have enough strength to pick her up for short periods of time (to the relief of the queen, since she really likes being carried around. she looks at things now! we're not always sure what she is looking at, but it's something. she seriously ponders it).

parents tend to view their child with favoritism (this deluded behaviour is part of a survival mechanism of the child's, trust me) and we have decided she is the cutest, has lovely long fingers and is abnormally strong. this leads to long discussions about chasing boys away, and whether rugby practice will conflict with piano lessons. it's important that she learns to read music before approaching the guitar from a free, jamming perspective, says the queen. she does love to wave the limbs around though. she pushes the bottle away and raises one arm a lot, sometimes pointing, other times addressing the crowd with her hands in a politician's style ("my people - we are gathered here today on this momentous occasion to mark a point in history...").

speaking of gathered here today, trixie is helping me plan our wedding. yeah, gettin' hitched alberta style! mud wrestling! cowboys! dead meat!

trying to have a small wedding when you're marrying someone of irish catholic background is challenging, but i am being fierce - i will hurt people's feelings by not inviting them if that's what i have to do (only my own friends of course - the queen had to hurt his friends' feelings himself. that's how relationships work). it's difficult, because i don't feel like i have a clear line of "these people are emotionally significant and these people are merely casual acquaintances". so there are emotionally significant folks whom i just don't see often enough and/or haven't known long enough to make the "small wedding" cut. and that sucks, in huge part because i am a people-pleaser and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. i like telling people they belong. but hey, i guess my wedding isn't the social event of the year and i'm probably sadder than they will be. it helps to check the ego.

some humour - i passed time in the hospital imagining the food preparation guidelines (i almost typed "food perpetration, and it's not all wrong). for example, toast:

1. set oven to lowest setting
2. place slices of bread inside on tray
3. let sit for four hours

or the chicken consommé:

1. start with too much cornstarch
2. add one slice of green onion
3. add water; don't mix
4. take boullion cube of chicken; shave tiny amount in - enough so that you can legally testify you put it in there
5. heat and serve

but i never could figure out what the hell they did to the meat to make it taste so horribly. airplane food and prison food are both better than hospital food. what is this about?

March 19, 2011

this is what after-care looks like

slowly mending.

i know i'm still holding a bunch of fear. i feel really weird about the surgery. i faced death, but i was unconscious or out of reality for so much of the crucial time. so what happened to me? the things people say happened; this abdominal surgery, the breathing tube, the amusing statements while i was mentally elsewhere (apparently i called the surgical prep team bastards, and had a bad dream involving breastfeeding, gardening and darth vader. darth fucking vader. can you get any darker and deathier? he's the grim reaper for an entire generation. he's our big mean dad in the sky who probably just wanted the best for us but it turned out really fucked up), the almost-dying? or did nothing happen to "me" because nothing is all i remember?

my conclusion is that something definitely happened, or at least i have convinced myself that something happened. i am still in reaction mode. i am slowly realising i can stand straight up, but i keep hunching over, trying to protect my belly. i was increasingly afraid of things done to me at the hospital, even though the things that were done were increasingly less painful. i have reactions to scenes in movies about pain and bodily harm that are similar to reactions i was having to seeing pregnant women. i am identifying with trauma and surgery, integrating it slowly into who i am. i am accepting that what happened while i was unconscious still happened. i guess i did face death - just not with the part of me i remember. not with the waking me. doesn't really narrow it down, but yeah. not this bit.

but this bit is around for a fair amount of the recovery time. never in my life i have been so grateful for extra-strength tylenol as the period since little peanut's birth. i was "not the painkiller" type, and i will be that type again. but like western medicine, there are times when painkillers are really appropriate. don't worry; i won't forget i'm not 100%. i won't re-strain the muscle. i'll just be able to get up without nearly weeping. yeah. good plan.

strength is coming back. granted, it's just strength to climb the stairs right now, but hey. from here, the world.

friends have been lovely. the wife came out, and it was like living with her again; the on-the-bed talks, the kitchen fun... also a member of the healing party is trixie, whom i referred to in relation to the g-20 protests. she's being charged with conspiracy and has been under house arrest for a number of months. anyway, her conditions have been relaxed (to still tighter than people face for their ninth armed robbery) enough that she could travel out to our small town and stay with us with only a minimum of legal paperwork and a note from her sureties. so she stayed for several days and was fabulous; telling me when to get out of bed, when to go back to bed and what to eat. i lost a lot of weight in the hospital and came back skinny enough to make everyone nervous. but i have already gained some of it back and am on my way to get the rest of it. i've never been too skinny, but it's sad to see your scrawny self. eat some almond butter now, just to be on the safe side.

so i don't have any wise words, i haven't figure anything out and i still want to cry. but i'm sticking around to mend, and this too - you can be damn sure - will pass.

March 14, 2011

just off the press - almost died

okay kids, i haven't abandoned the blog - i was in the hospital.

i guess when you have a fever and diarrhea after giving birth, you should get it checked out. by the time i did (i'm not really a go get it checked out person) my body was so run down they admitted me through emergency, took a bunch of bloodwork, a CAT scan, some x-rays, felt around my uterus (which was fine) and then sent me up to a bed where they put me on some saline because i was so dehydrated. the next day (i think; it's still a little fuzzy) they sent me to ICU. it was dodgy figuring out what was wrong with me, but what it turned out to be was that some strep A, which we have on the surface of our bodies and which does not harm us, somehow got into my abdomen and bred like crazy, so my organs were all swimming in terrible toxic liquid. so i got surgery; they sliced open my abdomen and drained about three litres of this nasty brew. then they put me on IV antibiotics. then they put a drain in my tummy, so more of the liquid could drain out and they could see if it was still making the nasty. then they put a needle in my back to drain more fluid, since i was having trouble breathing.

i had a crazy IV sticking out of my neck. i had a catheter. i was in the hospital for two weeks. at one point, they were feeding me through the IV. i had staples in my belly (they were very scary-looking). in fact, i almost died. yeah. bit of a shocker. but hey! now i'm on the mend. it's a very slow mend, but it is a mend. i can't pick up the little peanut; she's too heavy for me. she's been drinking formula for so long, and i'm so tired of facing hurdles, that i have decided not to keep trying to breastfeed. this makes me sad, but i just can't face another battle.

so invasive western medicine saved my life - i owe it an apology. i judged you, western medicine. but i see there is a time and a place for you. hopefully never again in my life. i don't think i have really processed it yet; almost dying, i mean. i think that will take a while. but i am very, very happy that i get to watch my daughter grow up, that i get to go camping this summer, that i get to marry the queen (yeah, we're gonna get hitched!). i feel very grateful. i haven't had my good cry yet, but i will feel grateful for that too, when it comes.

i know it will wear off, because gratitude always does, but i hope i can nurture this feeling of fresh new day for a while. i hope i can remember.

and hey! i got to try morphine! actually, i got a health-care-funded drug trip; one of the nursing students, bless her, accidentally gave me more than i was supposed to get, and i had a grand old time! when she realised what she had done (poor girl was so upset; i teased her about it until she started smiling again, but i'm guessing she'll be triple-checking dosages for quite a while now) there was suddenly a team of medical staff in my room. someone asked me how i was doing and i said "morphined...". hey, i think as far as mistakes go, that was an awesome one. the comedown is shit though.

so hey, enjoy your abdominal muscles, and think about the irony that i worked so hard to avoid a c-section, had my lovely homebirth (birth story coming, i promise) and then ended up getting surgery and will now have a frankenstein scar running down the length of my abdomen (around my bellybutton). it's okay; scars are sexy.