30 January 2015

7QT: Sleeplessness

Whew. I wish I could say "the baby is a month old, ain't no excuse to not hop back on the ol' blog train," but I cannot (CAN. NOT.) say that. I'm going to link up with Kelly for 7 extra-quick takes about why that is a thing which I cannot say.

1. Did you guys know that babies sleep like garbage?! I mean, this isn't my first rodeo of baby-having but I am OLDER and TIREDER than last time. (Also less worried about everything, and thus ripe for a good, old-fashioned overnight coma.) I have been experimenting nonstop with sleep conditions to coax a longer sleep out of Declan, and tonight I hit on a surely-not-to-be-successfully-repeated combination that netted me four straight hours: nurse baby until he is passed the heck out, in very specific low-light-but-not-no-light and low-sound-but-not-no-sound environment (I find that a brightly lit iPad screen and a podcast playing out of my phone is about the correct amount of light and noise); VERY GENTLY AS IF HE IS A BOMB, put said baby in the Rock'n'Play (with vibration, natch); turn on the sound machine to rain (no timer, rookie, because why would you want it to turn off? HE MIGHT AWAKEN EARLY!); and dive for the bed, burrow beneath the covers and pray for silence. And I just realized that my boast of four consecutive hours is a big fat lie (what the heck my phone said it was 2:30am but it was only 12:30am waaaaaaaah). I'd say "back to the drawing board" but I'm all drawn out. I have tried everydarnthing.

2. Meanwhile, after Declan's baptism last Sunday and a wonderful visit from all his Pennsylvania cousins -- someday I might have pictures! -- we're all feeling under the weather again. I'm mostly okay, but Declan is a little congested. Big sister seems mostly fine but her sleep has been interrupted like nobody's business so something must be bugging her. But my husband...

3. MANFLU. The less said about that, the better.

4. So since I've been so tired and useless I've been mostly just nursing continuously and watching Netflix. I just watched season one of Reign, which I honestly expected to hate but do not as long as I pretend to know nothing about Mary, Queen of Scots. And then I picked up where I had left off when I somehow forgot I was in the middle of watching Peaky Blinders. I've been dreaming in a Manchester accent.

5. What else, what else... Oh! Last night was one of those nights where I was feeling cocky and overconfident about my ability to get this kid to sleep without being snuggled up against me (see #6). Michael was in the guest room to sleep because the plague that is MANFLU was making his snoring so bad it was even waking him up out of a dead sleep, and I was feeding Declan when I heard a familiar explosive diaper sound (breastfed babies, amirite?). Three seconds later I realized: it's about three inches from the bottom of his hairline. Which means that his clothes, his blanket, the diaper-changing pad and the Boppy cover are all now covered in poop. And it's 2am. And my phone was dead from listening to podcasts so I couldn't even text for reinforcements. Somehow -- I think maybe it's because of all the screaming from a baby who did. not. like. having his whole back scrubbed down with baby wipes? -- Michael happened to come check on me (with a giant 2-year-old in his arms, while she guzzled her fortieth cup of warm milk for the night), so he was able to put all the poopy, goopy items in the washer and/or soaking tub of OxyClean water for me. It was delightful.

6. So all these sleeping woes are maybe my fault, in part. I mean, we're all genuinely not feeling well which is not my fault, but I have to admit that I have discovered the solution for sleeping: this child will sleep almost indefinitely if we just co-sleep. Part of me wants to give in to the inevitability of that -- and come 5am I will, fear not -- and another part of me wants to find something he likes as much so that I can sleep without being completely stationary all night long.

And finally:

7. Almost an hour of nursing and diaper changing later, he's showing signs of being ready to be chucked lovingly placed back in his Rock'n'Play so I can snatch another four minutes or so of sleep. Au revoir, mes amis! Please wish me ALL THE LUCK and comment below with your magical tips for baby sleep.

22 January 2015


Today is the 42nd anniversary of the legal travesty that is the decision in Roe v. Wade. That means that today was the March for Life in Washington, D.C., which is a mere metro ride away.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend because I have a three-and-a-half-week-old baby who nurses every half hour or so and who obviously couldn't be out in the January cold (although it was a relatively mild day today, it's still January in the mid-Atlantic region). This year marks, I believe, the second March for Life that I've missed since something like 1996. (I missed one year in college when I was attending winter session and had an exam that day.)

So instead I stayed in, nursed continuously, did some preparation for Declan's baptism this Sunday (dear Jesus, please take it easy with the snowstorm that's predicted for this weekend so that his godparents can actually get here!), and found some stuff on the Internet to share with y'all.

Here's a news story on the March that's actually complimentary!

Here's a moving testimonial from one of my favorite journalists about his own adoption, three months before the Roe decision, which also touches on the failure of Congress to follow through on their promise to pass a 20-week abortion ban because they are USELESS and SPINELESS.

Another perspective on the USELESS and SPINELESS.

An explanation of the ways in which artificial birth control is REALLY not good for your body.

Finally, I spent a while today thinking about planned and unplanned pregnancies. Both of my pregnancies were planned to heaven and back, and longed-for, given my struggles with infertility and need for Clomid assistance to achieve said pregnancies.

I was my parents' first planned pregnancy after two surprises. My sister just found out today about her second surprise pregnancy, several months before she intended to start trying for another baby. (Hooray!)

As a person who has struggled with infertility, I take abortion to be a personal insult. There are so many people out there dying for a baby. Adoption waiting lists are long and can feel insurmountable. We hadn't yet reached the point of seriously considering adoption when we achieved our own pregnancy, but I was dreading it because it's so expensive and potentially heartbreaking. And yet, so many women just throw away the precious gift of a baby.

On the other hand: I've prayed for friends who were dealing with pregnancy scares, I've had family members go through teen pregnancies, I've endured my own nightmare pregnancy moments -- hyperemesis gravidarum is no picnic, y'all. On some level, I can actually understand women who abort. This is awkward for an unequivocally pro-life person to admit, but if I'm being honest I must: if I had been as sick as I was with a baby I didn't want, I can understand the impulse to make it go away.

But if I had been dealing with a crisis pregnancy and had an abortion, I would have missed out on so much. A two-year-old and an infant are quite a bit of work (I can hear the laughter from y'all parents of seven or eight), but I wouldn't give them back for the world. I wouldn't even lend them out to someone else for a weekend because I would miss them too much (much to the displeasure of my mother-in-law, I must admit).

Babies are awesome. That is #whywemarch. And I intend to be back marching again next year.

13 January 2015

Welcome to the outside world, little man!

Declan Michael was born on December 27, 2014 at 8:32 PM. He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.

He. Is. Perfect.

I have a lot more to say about this -- his birth story, for instance, and some reflections on the differences between first- and second-time motherhood. I'll get to it eventually. Right now I'm still soaking up the sweetness.