Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Giving shots, taking shots

Ruby had her 4 month immunization shots today. I had been dreading it for the past week, increasingly so yesterday and today. It's never a pleasant experience to have to take your baby to something that you know is going to hurt them (even if it is for the good of their health), and you would think that the health nurses should know this and maybe lay the fuck off with the ignorant, unsolicited advice.

Bitter? Why yes, I am.

I had no questions for the health nurse regarding Ruby. I have no complaints about Ruby. She's a great baby. She's healthy. We're happy. So give us the stupid needles and we'll get on with our day. We're busy people. We've got things to do.

But it seemed that she was looking for something to lecture about, some reason to spout off all her "valuable knowledge". So she started asking me questions.

She asked about Ruby's doctor, and I told her that Ruby doesn't currently have a doctor - my family doctor closed his practice while I was pregnant and during my pregnancy I was cared for by a midwife. The midwife then cared for Ruby until she was 8 weeks old and since then I have had no reason to take her to a doctor since she's been perfectly healthy.

So that started her first lecture. Apparently I need to find Ruby a doctor ASAP because when she DOES get sick I will have to scramble around to get her records.

Oh but I already have all her records with me - the midwife provided me with copies.

Still, she insisted that I find a doctor and take Ruby to him/her ASAP. Even if nothing is wrong with her. Ok. Fine. I will. (For the record I have been poking around for a new doctor. I just haven't found one yet, but I know I eventually need to - there's just been no rush.)

Then we got on about the breastfeeding. This is where I need to be a better liar and just answer "yes" to the question, "Are you breastfeeding?", because we got the same lecture we always do:

You're pumping? Why are you doing that?

So I explained the breastfeeding situation and how we got to where we are today... Which sent her into a tirade about how my milk is probably going to dry up (Ha! Nice try! I already had another health nurse try that one on me two months ago. She said that when I reached 3 months my milk would likely dry up if I didn't stop pumping and start breastfeeding exclusively. At 4 1/2 months I am still going strong and have an abundance of milk. Freezer is FULL, thank you very much.) Then she said that Ruby is old enough and strong enough now that she should be taking the breast and not a bottle. And that she would like to refer me to a lactation consultant.

I told her that we are happy the way we are right now, so no thank you. (Seriously, it's been 4 1/2 months now. As if I'm going to start that shit up all over again when we're quite content with where we're at now. Get over it, Health Nurse!)

But she continued on to say that if I change my mind (and clearly I should) that I should call and let her know because health nurses are very resourceful and very helpful.

Great. I'll keep that in mind. Don't hold your breath for my call, though.

Finally we got to the dreaded needles. And it was all the horror that I expected it to be. I had heard that the 4 month shots were worse than the 2 month ones and indeed they were. It really broke my heart to see Ruby hurt like that. Her little lip quivering, her eyes wide with shock and her little face going red before she burst into painful tears.

At that point I got a little emotional myself, and I tried my best to hold back the tears that were welling up in my eyes as I held a sobbing little Ruby to my chest and tried to console her.

And it was at that precise moment that this bitch went for the jugular...

"Has anyone told you about tummy time???"

Uh... Yes?!

"Because I notice she's got a bit of a flat head. Right now her head is still forming it's shape but do you realize that at some point that flat head is going to be irreversible? You might want to increase the time she's on her tummy and decrease the time she's laying on her back. Of course you should always be in the room when she's doing tummy time."

Oh really? So I should stop leaving her laying on her back, unattended all day while I smoke crack and turn tricks in the back shed???

Fuck off already!

That one stung for some reason. Maybe it was because I was in such a vulnerable state at that very minute, or maybe it's because she TOOK A SHOT AT THE SHAPE OF MY BEAUTIFUL BABY'S HEAD, or maybe it was because that was the straw that broke the you-are-a-shitty-mommy camel's back.

When I got outside, I lost my shit. I stood under a tree with Ruby in her stroller staring at me like a freak, and I sobbed my pathetic little heart out. I continued to weep as we walked home. Steve called to ask how it went and I lost it again, and since he couldn't understand what I was saying he came and picked us up when I was halfway home.

I do not understand why these nurses insist on pushing the cookie cutter, by-the-book style of raising a baby? Do they not realize that everyone is different? Every baby, every mom, every dad, every situation is different? For them to go so overboard with their unsolicited, unwanted "advice" without knowing fuck all about me and my baby and my life really sends me over the edge.

YES, I DO realize that "breast is best" - but that doesn't always work out for everyone now, does it? I'm doing my best with my situation and I've made peace with that - a long time ago. So if I needed your help I would ASK for it! And YES, I DO realize that my baby will eventually need a family doctor and I am looking for one. But we're not the kind of people that go to the doctor every time someone coughs. There's been no need as of yet, but I assure you when there is a need, Ruby will be in good hands. And YES I DO know about tummy time (come on, she's 4 1/2 months old. How facetious of you to ask if anyone had told me about tummy time - ignorant), and YES I DO realize her head isn't perfectly shaped - this happened very early on and I have her up and off her head most of the day unless she is sleeping.

Now I know why she left her office door open during the whole visit. It was so that I resist the strong urge to launch across the room and kick the shit out of the self righteous little bitch. I couldn't do it with the door open, too many witnesses.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Feeling rotten

My mom tells me that after you have a baby, your period is supposed to get easier.

So far, that has not been the case for me. I am currently fighting my third battle with AF since having Ruby and while this time is slightly less terrible than last month, I am a hurting woman.

I am so full of painful, achy cramps that I can hardly stand it. No over-the-counter meds have been working for me. Tylenol, Advil, Midol - nothing is working, even if I take larger than recommended doses.

And the tiredness, the lethargy! I feel like I am dragging around a piano. Everything is so difficult. I have ZERO energy. And my body aches - my legs and arms and back... ache, ache, ache!

And my appetite is all weird. I don't want to eat anything - seriously, this is NOT normal for me, I like to eat! So then I put off eating until I'm almost ready to faint because I don't feel like eating anything and also because I'm too lazy to make anything!

My daily walks that I've been going on? Pfft! The thought of going for a walk makes me want to cry!

And the flow? Heavy. WAY HEAVY. To the point that I thought something was wrong with me last month!

All my life I have not had too terrible of a time with AF. Not pleasant by any means - but I'd have maybe one day that I wouldn't feel great and that would be it. This shit is NOT what I'm used to.

I want it go away. I want it to go back to the way it was before.

Will it???

Monday, April 20, 2009

Demon baby

It took me a little while to figure this one out.

To be honest, when she first started doing it, it scared the shit out of me. I thought maybe she was having some sort of seizure, or that she was in a great amount of pain, or that maybe I shouldn't let her watch Paranormal State with me anymore because I wondered if she had somehow become possessed.

But with time, I realized what the issue is. She does this when she's tired. Overtired. When she desperately needs a nap but is fighting it with all her might.

Sometimes popping the soother in her mouth will make it stop. Sometimes she requires that soother to be dipped in gripe water.

She did this in the bank the other day and the whole place went silent and people turned to stare. Understandably I guess, it sounds terrible.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bloggy love

I have a friend that I met about 15 years ago. Back in the day we were roommates for a period of time - I was hairdressing, she was going to school and bartending/DJing. We have both long since moved on to different careers, different interests, different cities, husbands, etc. But we've stayed friends through all of it.

One thing that neither of us were expecting? We both had to battle infertility.

And ever so coincidentally, we both cycled at the same time (in different cities) and we are now both "parenting after infertility". Our babes are 10 days apart.

Through it all - cycling through IVF, pregnancy, and now parenting she read my blog and we stayed in touch via email and FB.

AND NOW.... she's taken the plunge and has started up a blog of her very own!

If you've got a few minutes, stop in at Traded High Heels... For Stroller Wheels and give her some of that awesome bloggy love.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Game 2

Tonight we're going out to watch the game. There's a Boston Pizza down the street from our place and the three of us are going to walk there to watch the game in the sports lounge. It seems like the perfect setup because:

~We're walking there, getting a bit of exercise

~I don't have to cook

~I get to get out of the house and into a "social" atmosphere

~Ruby gets to come too

~I can have a cocktail or two and it's totally ok because nobody is driving

Sounds like a good situation all around - which usually means that something will fuck up, but we'll give it a shot anyways and see how it all pans out.

Oh, and Ruby is wearing her lucky Canuck jersey again tonight but this time she has a flower in her hair so that no Dumb-Dumbs call her a boy.

Here's her game face:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Girls can be hockey fans too.

Occasionally somebody will mistake Ruby for a boy. Usually when she's wearing something kind of... well, boyish. I know that when babies are not wearing PINK or BLUE, it can be hard to tell sometimes. It's not as if she's got hair long enough to put into ponytails.

I usually don't care too much about it.

But today, someone went so overboard with it that I think even Ruby was annoyed.

Today is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs for Ruby's favorite hockey team (Canucks) and so when we went out today Ruby wore her retro hockey jersey (with a red frilly shirt underneath) and red pants.

And some ass in the produce store said this:

Ass: Awww, would you look at that cute little guy.

I turn around to look at him to correct him but I don't get a chance because he just goes off...

Ass: I should say look at that BIG guy. He's all ready for the Canucks game tonight isn't he? He's going to grow up to be a BIG BOY! Isn't that right, fella? You should play hockey when you get older. You would be a good DEFENCEMAN.

So not only does she look like a boy but she's a brute too? I know those jerseys are never very figure flattering on chicks, but seriously?

Personally, I would feel kinda bad taking my little boy out with a pink pacifier in his mouth and pink painted toenails but whatever.

Head out of your ass, buddy. That was obnoxious.

Monday, April 13, 2009

4 Months Old

The past month has absolutely flown by. And even though it feels like it went by so fast, I feel like Ruby has changed SO MUCH in that time. She's doing different things everyday. Her personality is emerging. She's GROWING! It's crazy.

This coming month I am vowing to do both her and I a favor by letting/asking other people (Steve or my mom) to help me out with her. She may even have a sleepover at Grandma's house in the coming weeks. I think we're both at the stage where that would be ok. (But you know I'm going to read every piece of literature the internet has to offer on the subject first.)

Now without further ado... the 4 month old pictures (just in time as I hear her rousing from her now famous 30 minute nap):

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pity party over!

Whoa! I don't know how many of you had the chance read the dribble from my last post but I must apologize. What a load of whoa-is-me bullshit. I'm even a little bit embarrassed for myself.

I've now had a chance to think about things (and get a little rest) and I've come up with the following thoughts... (this may be more for me than you):

Being a mommy is more than a full time job. It is draining physically, emotionally and intellectually. You are on duty 24 hours a day. And you are bound to have some really challenging days, weeks, even months.

Anyone with a full time job gets time off. Even people who work long hard hours, get to go home and put their feet up at some point in time. They usually get at least a day or two off a week. And sometimes they even get to take vacations. And when they return to their job they feel refreshed and clear headed and they are better at their job for having a break (usually).

Although I don't want to liken my time with Ruby to being a "job" because I love and enjoy being with her so much, to some extent it is my job. And it is the most challenging yet rewarding job I've ever had.

I recognize that I need and deserve a break.

Any thoughts of guilt on this are purely my own issues, ones that need to be dealt with. I realize that there is no reason to feel guilty about taking some "me" time as long as I know that Ruby is being well cared for by someone who loves her. My mom is just that person.

I know that sometimes I have a tendency to make myself a martyr (I come by it honestly). I want to do everything myself and I don't want help from anyone. And when I have help I feel bad about it. Fine if I want to do that in my everyday life but I need to take a step back and look at it in a different perspective where Ruby is concerned. Because in the long run all I really want is what is best for her - and I should not confuse my own issues by making them seem like Ruby's issues. I should not fool myself into thinking that I am doing something for the sake of Ruby when in fact I am reacting to some of my own issues and convincing myself that the reasoning behind it is that I am doing what's best for Ruby.

Last night I had Steve take Ruby and entertain and care for her while I sat at the computer in another room (and wrote the previous post). I was away from her for about an hour. And even in that bit of a break I felt somewhat refreshed and was happy to see her and was excited to feed and snuggle her before bed. This made me realize that it is ridiculous of me to try to do this mommy thing without taking a break - and I will need to remind myself that it's not a real break if you feel bad about it the whole time. Missing her is ok, feeling miserable about it and not making the best of it is not ok.

I DO believe that it will make me a better mommy, and I DO believe that it will make her a better Ruby if we both get to do some things apart from each other once in a while. An overnighter to grandma's house should be thought of as as much a learning experience as reading a book, or tummy time, or sleeping in her own crib. I want her to be able to enjoy time on her own and learn and see new things.

As with any good relationship, you cannot spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment together. It's simply not healthy. Some time needs to be spent apart if you are going to truly love and appreciate each other. I must take caution to not become the mom who loves her child so much that she smothers her.

If I want to be a good mom, I have to do this. For all parties concerned.

Now that I've come to this point mentally, all I need to do is make a plan, pick a day and find something that I want to do and make the most of it. I realize that my break doesn't have to be spent doing something big and spectacular (although that would be great fun). It could also be spent doing nothing much - maybe watching those movies that I rented (that didn't get watched as I predicted), maybe taking the time to cook myself a great meal, maybe hanging out in the book store for a couple of hours, or reading a book all afternoon, maybe just getting a good night's sleep. I must be cautious not to set my expectations too high on this and not to have my enjoyment depend on too many people other than myself - or I will surely be disappointed and it will defeat the purpose of it all.

I feel pretty pleased with getting myself to this place after such a dismal day yesterday. In the past I might have spiralled into the depths of depression, but after some careful thought I stopped it before it got carried away and even managed to come up with a solution. And as an added bonus, I managed to save myself a $110 therapist appointment with my DIY approach.

And when it happens, you can expect to read to read all about it here

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time for a break?

Lately Ruby's naps have gone from a couple of hour-and-a-half long naps during the day to a couple of 30 minute naps during the day. In between those naps she's sometimes really fussy - which I think is probably because she is tired and needs to nap more. I do all that I can to keep her happy / stimulated / entertained / learning / comforted / etc. but some days it just feels like it's not enough. Some days, no matter what I do she is only happy for a few minutes at a time and then she gets cranky.

Today was one of those days and boy did it wear me down. Or maybe the whole situation has been gradually wearing me down which made me feel extra shitty today.

I spent the day trying to either entertain her or trying to put her to sleep. Blanket? Soother? Sit on mommy's knee? Lay down? Sit up? Bumbo? Jumperoo? Swing? Eat? Talk to mommy? Lay in mommy's arms? Tummy time?

Finally at about 3pm, I strapped her into her stroller and we started walking towards Steve's work. It's a good distance for exercise and he was off at 4:30pm so I thought we'd walk there and get a ride home with him.

I stopped at Blockbuster and rented a couple of movies on my way. I rented them because I haven't seen a movie in a long time and I really wanted to do ~something~ tonight that was sorta adult and was a bit of an escape for me (after Ruby goes to bed). But then I felt mad at myself for spending $12 on two movies when I know damn well that it is like pulling teeth to drag Steve away from the sports channel and to convince him to watch a movie with me. And it is also the fastest way to get him to fall asleep. I swear he barely makes it through the opening credits. And then I will sit by myself and watch a movie while he snores and drools on the couch and then I will feel lonely.

So I was stewing about that along the way when I came upon the remnants of the Vaisakhi parade. And it was kind of like swimming upstream as the attendees of the parade walked in the opposite direction. And I felt like they were all glaring at me. Shooting me dirty looks. People wouldn't shuffle off to the side of the sidewalk to let me pass with my stroller and I had to keep stopping and pulling over while everyone glared at me for some unknown reason. I wondered if they maybe didn't have a good time at their celebration this year or if I was crashing their party.... or if I was imagining it because I was feeling worn down mentally (which was most likely the case).

When I finally got to Steve's work he was waiting for me with the car running. He took one look at me and said, "Everything ok?" And my response was to burst into tears.

Do you know how stupid I feel when I am crying my eyes out and he asks me "what is wrong" and I say, "I don't know."?

But I think I do know and I am just having a hard time admitting it...

I think I might need a break. I want to be a good mom and do everything for Ruby. I love her so much it hurts. And I have a really hard time being away from her - I miss her SO.MUCH. when she's not with me. And I feel bad admitting that maybe I need a break from her. It would be really hard for me to say that I need a day/night to just be Tara and go do something non-Ruby-related. But it is possible that it might be what I need. And if that is what I need and it's ok to do that then why do I feel bad about it? I know I shouldn't but I can't help it.

I talked to my mom tonight and even though I covered up my craptacular mood, she must have sensed it because she inquired. And so I told her that Ruby has just been a lot more work lately and I'm feeling a bit worn down mentally. She suggested that maybe it's time that Ruby had a day at Grandma's house without me and that she also stay the night there. She said that she would also expect that I don't lay in bed and cry all night because I don't have Ruby - which is what I think I might do. My mom says that I cannot live my entire life around Ruby and that I still need time to be myself. She says I will be a better mom if I get away from being a mommy every once in a while. And that it will be better for Ruby too so that she gets to see different people and do different things otherwise she will be too attached to me and won't be able to *attend kindergarten without bringing her stuffed elephant with her every day of the year for comfort.

And then if I did have time to myself... I wonder what the hell would I do anyways? I don't even know what I would enjoy anymore. Oh I fantasize about going downtown and going somewhere fun for cocktails and some appies and then maybe going somewhere to listen to some live music - but I wouldn't even know where to go anymore. Where to people of my "vintage" go to have fun?

I also fantasize about maybe throwing myself a birthday party in a couple of weeks and having a big BBQ on the deck, complete with friends and food and drinks and music and patio lanterns. But that would actually depend on people showing up. And people around here are so fickle about doing stuff. People live all over the place and people are busy and who knows how many people would actually show up. I would sure feel pretty sorry for myself if I got Grandma to take Ruby for the night and I sat on my deck by myself because nobody could make it.

And then there's a bit of a self esteem issue. I'm working damn hard at losing this baby belly but fuck it's coming off slowly. Not sure how that fits into this post but while I'm feeling shitty about myself I might as well throw that in as well.

I did manage to get to the spa a couple of weekends back but it was only for a couple of hours and it didn't quite do the trick. I can't really afford to go back either.

Anyways, I've wandered all over the place with this post and I'm not sure what I'm trying to accomplish with it other than to try to figure out what I need to do to feel better. Get some sort of release. Feel less guilt about needing a day off. Figure out how to recharge.

I might add that I am normally a very happy person of late. Since having Ruby I have never felt happier or clearer or more at peace in the world. She makes me so happy. It's just that sometimes....

*I was so sad to leave my mom when I went to kindergarten that I had to bring my stuffed elephant with me every single day of the school year or I would bawl my eyes out. The elephant is even in my kindergarten class photo.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Who knew that the color pink could be so much fun?

The only thing harder than painting them was getting a good picture of them:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Change of plans

This morning when I woke up it was (and still is) an absolutely beautiful, sunny day. I decided that this afternoon I would put Ruby in the stroller and go for a nice long walk to the grocery store and buy our veggies and healthy food for the week. I would kill a few birds with one stone by getting in some good exercise, picking up some healthy groceries and also getting out and soaking up some of that glorious sunshine.

And then Ruby started having a bad day. For the second day in a row at about noon, she turned super fussy and cranky and was crying and actually throwing a fit (kicking her legs and trying to punch me while yelling at the top of her lungs). Pleasant. And it seemed that there was nothing on earth I could do to console her. Nothing. And it was upsetting me. Frustrating me.

After I had tried absolutely everything I could think of to make her happy, I just set her in her swing and let her lose her little baby mind. And she screamed! And cried! And kicked and waved her little arms around and made horrible, pissed-off faces! And she screamed and cried and screamed some more! And I sat and cried and ripped at my hair.

And then she just stopped.

She had cried herself to sleep.

Dear god, did I just Ferber her? Because I hadn't planned on ever doing that....

And so I've decided to forgo my plans for a long walk and getting the groceries and have decided that I will retreat to my sunny patio with a cup of coffee and the new 'Style at Home' magazine while Ruby sleeps off her tantrum.

I know my limits and they have been reached today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Awake Nightmares

I've been wanting to write this post for a while but have been weary of putting it out there for fear that someone might misunderstand what I'm saying. But today I read the blog of another mom who went through something similar when her child was a baby and it gave me the guts to hit the publish button... Here goes:

Remember when I had that issue with sleeping a little while back? Well, things have kind of gotten a bit crazy since then. In my head.

Yes, I managed to get over that specific issue - I no longer grip Ruby to my chest at night while she's sleeping, refusing to put her down because she might succumb to SIDS if I am not holding her. However, I still have to force myself to fall asleep at night - because now that she is in her own room and I can't see her while she's sleeping, I get this gut wrenching sense of dread that washes over me as I'm trying to fall asleep, because yes, I'm still afraid of SIDS.

But that's not all.

During the day, I imagine a million different horrific scenarios that could happen to Ruby. And these "thoughts" or waking dreams or whatever you want to call them are so vivid that they cause actual physical side affects with me. When one of these "thoughts" gets in my head, my heart pounds and my chest hurts and my breathing speeds up and I get tears in my eyes and a big knot in my stomach and I break out in a sweat.

And the thoughts aren't just, "What if a car were to hit Ruby and I right now as we're out walking with the stroller" the thoughts are more like - What if someone in a stolen vehicle comes careening around the corner or up on the curb right now and hits the stroller and then my arm would get ripped off (because I have a wrist band attached to my stroller), and then upon impact the stroller would fly up into the air or across the street and I would be laying screaming in the streets while I tried to get to my baby and I can visually see how mangled she might be.

And the wrist band on the stroller? That's because I've had vivid thoughts of me falling while walking downhill with the stroller and then Ruby rolling away down the hill, gaining speed until she crosses a street and a car might be coming and might hit her... and then the I imagine the carnage that would ensue.

I also freak out when I walk down the stairs while holding her. Yes, it's one thing to consciously think about holding the railing while walking down the stairs, but it's quite another to imagine how it would look to fall down the stairs and what would happen to the baby, which stairs she would hit, how she would land, and what the results might be - she might break her neck and be forever damaged, or she might die.

In fact, even while safe in my house, sitting on the couch watching TV it happens. If I see a plane crash on TV I might start crying in an instant because I can imagine what it would be like if I had Ruby on a plane and it crashed and how it would feel, how scared I would be, how horrible it would be.

I drive like a god damned granny these days because I am petrified of being in a car accident! Is that guy going to pull out in front of me? Is someone going to run a red light and smash into Ruby's side of the car? (You should see me inch through intersections) That guy is coming up too fast behind me, is he going to rear-end us? And the stink-eye I give out if anyone changes lanes near me without giving enough notice...

And then there's the massive gang wars going on in my area right now. Yeah, stray bullets and the whole bit.

Please let me clarify something here - I'm not fantasizing about harming my baby. Oh god no. It's very much the opposite. It's like my biggest fears are materializing into waking nightmares. I feel like I have very little control over the nightmares but how can I not have control over them if they're happening while I'm awake???? I don't understand!

These thought occur every day (and night), all the time, no matter what I'm doing. It is terrible.

I know that this can be a sign of PPD, but I don't feel like I've got that. Even though I was at an extremely high risk for it, so far I've felt really good, really strong and confident - in fact I've never felt so confident and happy in my entire life. It's just this one thing... and it's horrible.

I feel really guilty for having these thoughts. What kind of mother would imagine this stuff happening to her baby? It's just not right. Am I fucking sick, or what? What the hell is wrong with me?