Tag Archives: postpartum

Why I love the (hashtag) Royal Baby & a special milestone for me and Sam

I am so excited Prince George has made a safe and healthy entrance into the world. I read some of my American friends criticizing the news (and one British) and having ‘mixed emotions’ about what the monarchy stood for. Although I may be a noisy political advocate for many causes, this was not a political cause for me.

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I guess at the heart of everything, I do not have an intrinsic problem with the monarchy. They return more money to Britain than they cost, they don’t interfere with everyday life, but they do try to do some decent charity work without too many bells and whistles (LOVE Prince Charles quiet support of organic farming, and much as I did not like Diana, she did amazing work to remove a lot of stigma from HIV patients). And, all countries need their identity; the monarchy is part of ours and if not something to be proud of, to me, not something to be particularly ashamed of.

So, for me, as my heckles do not get raised by the mention of the monarchy, the Royal Baby story was just a story about a young couple, who fell in love, and had a baby. All the criticisms: they didn’t swaddle properly! She came out after only 12 hours! She has a manicure! She can’t nurse in that dress! She showed her belly! All those bitchy little comments just reminded me so vividly of my first few days (months?) as a parent.

Swaddle fail

Swaddle fail

I failed utterly, utterly, at swaddling, despite great instruction from my Bradley Method teacher, AND getting the nurses to show us how to do it several times in hospital AND having step-by-step diagrams in ‘The Happiest Baby on The Block’. I just said: Thank goodness for ‘swaddleme’s [and for the friend who bought me three].

Also failing at using a Swaddleme. Oh well.

Also failing at using a Swaddleme. Oh well.

I was utterly confident I could see people immediately, even though I was clearly very sick, and visitors were not allowed in ICU anyway. But I was on a great high – I was utterly in love with a new little human. I was convinced her was the cutest / most well-behaved / smartest baby ever, and I just wanted the world d to meet him.

What do you mean I am not ready for visitors? But I invited my colleagues over for cupcake (no... I really did...).

What do you mean I am not ready for visitors? But I invited my colleagues over for cupcakes (no… I really did…).

OK, I didn’t have a manicure, but as soon as I was able to unhook myself from my IV I scuttled off to bathroom and put make-up on (which in retrospect, because I was deathly pale and swollen from blood loss, just looked vaguely clown-like). Had I been able to have a full shower, you can bet your bottom dollar I would have had a blow-out (I got the straighteners out as soon as I got home).

Yes Lekki, you look awesome. Not deathly pale with clownlike levels of blusher at all. AT. ALL.

Yes Lekki, you look awesome. Not deathly pale with clown-like levels of blusher at all. AT. ALL.

Nursing clothes? Messed that up. I found my clothes were totally inappropriate for nursing, especially in those first few days when you haven’t got your technique down. Even when Wes went and bought me special nursing tops I got lanolin and milk all over them. C’est la vie.

Hoodies: Not awesome for nursing. Also: terrible swaddle (again).

Hoodies: Not awesome for nursing. Also: terrible swaddle (again).

And as for that belly? And the ‘Did Kate decide to show she was normal?’, “Did Kate purposely show her belly?’ question. While I applaud Kate for not getting into a girdle, I suspect she, like me, had no idea what people meant when they said ‘you’ll still look 6 months pregnant when you leave’. Seeing that I barely put on 4 lbs of non-baby weight, while I heard people say ‘take maternity clothes’, and I heard them tell me my belly would take weeks to go down, I was used to stories of Alex Curran leaving hospital in her skinny jeans, and I didn’t really think the ‘6 months pregnant belly’ would apply to me. Boy-oh-boy did it ūüôā

When am I due? Oh, 7 days ago actually...

When am I due? Oh, 7 days ago actually…

They were not mistakes, they were just ‘learning to be a parent’ moves. They were just a reflection that nothing can really prepare you for EVERYTHING it is to suddenly have a brand new newborn. You can read books, you can visit friends, you can watch videos, but as soon as you have that little thing in your arms you realize you had NO IDEA what it is going to take.

And that is why I love the Royal Baby news: I guarantee that at this moment, Kate & Wills are not marveling over the heir to the throne, or thinking about the press, or planning their every move. They are completely and utterly absorbed in their new one, wondering how to be come parents, and blown away by how clever they are to have bought the cutest / most well-behaved / smartest baby ever [apart from mine] into the world.

Reliving that special time through them is wonderful. Tomorrow marks the exact number of days, since Sam’s birth, that reflect the time he was inside me (i.e. from ovulation to birth). I am fairly emotional about that, and hearing about wee Prince George just warms my heart and reminds me this is the best thing I have ever done.

Best. Baby. Ever. Fact.

Best. Baby. Ever. Fact.

 

Oh, and I am not proud of this, but we also didn’t get the car seat right:

Not a good way to strap the wee one in

Not a good way to strap the wee one in

Chest strap too low, head not properly supported, and in fact, should have had side impact protection (Sam was very small!). We’ll do better next time.

The Sex Post

Silent. I have been silent for a while. Working, playing, sleeping, dreaming.

Not blogging, but silent.

And through this time I have received two questions regularly:

(1) When are you going to write about body after baby?

(2) When you are you to write about…. er… marriage *wink wink* after baby?

I thought about it. ¬†Really I did. Long and er… hard. And really, that latter two is probably the easier to address. Really. So here we go.

It’s Mother’s Day. It’s a special occasion. You remember those from your dating days, right?

A.

Special.

Occasion.

And, in the tradition of the dating days, in preparation for such, I don my french knickers and camisole set the night before

Image

Not me… but let’s pretend, OK?

And, I drift into a beautifully sexy, sensual sleep. 

I awake, about 2 hours before I am ready, and glare at Wes. “I can hear the baby” he says. Fair enough. Blurry and grumpy, my day turns around when Sam’s big (newly)-toothy grin greets me. He provides the ray of sunshine the blackout curtains (installed when he was 3 weeks old) deny.

I love it. I love him. I roll with him, and we giggle and kiss and cuddle and play, and he fusses and I scowl and Wes says “Shall I get him breakfast?” and I nod and down they trot.

2 hours later I wake up, alone and luxurious, in my sexy silk Pajamas. Like a cat, I languidly stretch, having appreciated the gift of time and then I loll, lazily, out of bed.

I am up late and it is a little cold. I retain those sexy silk coverings, but I do throw over my grey Target dressing gown over the top of them, and I descend the stairs.

 

I am greeted with a beautiful family picture: my husband enjoying the news on TV, watching over my perfect baby, who is contentedly¬†lolling in his playpen (my baby… not my¬†husband). I curl up on the sofa and raise one sultry eyebrow:

“I am wearing my sexy Pajamas”.

My husband’s face lights up, he smiles and … he¬†hesitates… “I was about to get breakfast”.

Obviously. I was under no illusion and I concur “Of course! Sam is awake”.

Wesley smiles, and with a wicked grin says: “But he naps…” and he dutifully dashes off to McDonalds.

Indeed he does… nap that is….

But by nap time I am clad in a hair-dye-stained charity T-shirt and pair of torn¬†denim¬†hotpants (sexy at 19, utilitarian at 31), my hair scragged into a top-not, my arms deep in potting soil. My¬†husband¬†is in his old army T-shirt, fingers deep in.. wait for it… a model train from 1951.

He’d like a pre-war one.

We don’t notice the opportunity.

4 pm races around, faster than the now setting sun, and bringing with it long shadows and cooler soil. I jump in the bath with my son (always my son now… we waited so long for marriage, and¬†fulfilled¬†out¬†Christian¬†edict, waiting for the promise of endless of sexuality; but¬†finding¬†the reality of motherhood and a¬†pantechnicon¬†of plastic penguins and waterproof squeaking books).

But it’s OK. I am clean and my SECOND (I only have 2) pair of sexy pajamas are donned.

I come downstairs and Wes grabs us both, clasps us in a hug, and tells Sam how much he loves him. Tells Sam how much I went through to have him. Thinks (but does not say) that finally, finally, he would go through it again, he would lose me, to have his little boy. He doesn’t say it, he only thinks it. But I kown he thinks it. But it is OK, because I thought it 6 months ago.

Instead, Wes says:

“I am so grateful to your Mom. She loves you so much, and she is such a good Mom and such a loving wife. She is so good to us”. As the sunset casts a red glow on his tears he blames the onions diced for my¬†special¬†Mother’s Day meal.

Giggling, my husband and I each crack open a beer, and toast the day, while giving Sam his steamed sweet potato. I go upstairs, feed Sam, place him in his crib. The beautiful, still rose, evening is¬†broken¬†by Sam’s screams of anger… but restored within 3 minutes.

The sleep training was worth it.

And now. Now it is our time. Adult time. My (second) sexy pajamas are still on, I am laid out on the sofa and before me is a nice bottle of red, and a black ‘n’ blue salad Wes has gone to lengths to perfect. We enjoy our shared meal, and our shared gratitude at our manifold blessings to an episode of ‘House of Cards’.¬†

Spacey is brilliant. His depiction of complex, faltering relationships¬†faultless. We discuss our admiration over a beer and a wine. The episode ends and we put on ‘Britain’s¬†Got Talent’. We crack open another beer, and pour another glass. We cackle into the episode; I reveal ¬†my as-yet-undiscovered operatic ability (clearly better than the girl who is through because she was fat and dowdy but had a reasonable voice) and Wes pooh-pooh’s the dancers as he moonwalks to the bathroom.

I snuggle under my blanket in my (second) sexiest pajamas. We trade dirty jokes.

The episode ends. Neither of us are quite sure why we feel so drunk. I think about it. Ahhh… our first big¬†celebration¬†since pregnancy… and birth… and breastfeeding… and wobbly tummies and saggy boobs and¬†stretch¬†marks and sympathy lbs and under-eye bags and exhaustion and responsibility and a love neither of us expected.

And a sharing of everything that we just didn’t plan.

So light headed. So happy. So fulfilled. Our eyes meet across the room. The strap of my (second) sexiest pajamas falls down my shoulders. We grin.

“Final feed for Sam in 20 minutes?”.

“Yup”,

And so we go our own ways…. 20 minutes is enough for a blog post, a book review, ¬†some hobby research… but not much else.

20 minutes is up. We go upstairs. One of us gains a precious few extra minutes of sleep. More than that, a few minutes sprawled on the bed with TIME AND SPACE TO YOURSELF. The sheets are crisp, the silence unbroken. The space and time all your own.

The other gains a few beautiful minutes with Him. His trusting face drinking from you in the night, softened by the moonlight through the window. A rare glimpse of Him, all yours, all silent. The life you love so much so very still for just a few moments. Even when He is replete, and asleep, you stare at Him a while longer and marvel.

Of course, while you are marveling and staring, your spouse has snatched those extra few moments for sleep. And when you break away and come to the bedroom and you curl up next to their exhausted body and snuggle in, you appreciate their recovery and envy their recovery.

Together, as one, you slip into oblivion.

And so you sleep. Your celebratory day ends in a celebration of all you have created and all you have cared for, and all you have made. You are replete, full of love and happiness. You are¬†exhausted. You¬†sleep. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

You sleep and you wake in your (second) sexiest pajamas to a new day. Happy and blessed and expectant and satisfied and just so damn f*cking happy. And you rush for work.

Your pajamas signal hope and promise and you don’t care that that is all they offer. You’ll wait.

That, to me, is sex after baby.

Or am I the only one?

 

 

 

Running after Sam

Sexy running gear. I said: SEXY running gear, m'kay?

Sexy running gear. I said: SEXY running gear, m’kay?

Well, it took six weeks to get clearance after the great bleed of 2012, but I finally got the go ahead to go running. Part of me really wanted to get back at it… part of me really wanted to keep lying on the couch eating cookies and going ‘lalalalala, I just had a baby, I am supposed to look like this; lalalalalala, I lost so much blood it is not safe for me to get myself my own mimosa, let alone get my butt moving. lalalalalala’. Those parts were not evenly sized.

But… back out there I got. Initially, I planned a ‘test’ run. 2 miles to see how I would do. As I sanctimoniously said to everyone “I am just going to see what I can do… I mean obviously I don’t expect to be running at my old 8.30 pace or my old 11 mile distance… so I’ll just check I can do this before deciding on a training plan” I clearly, clearly, meant “I fully expect to be running at my old 8.30 pace and my old 11 mile distance”.

And took off.

I struggled my way at 10/mile pace for the 2 miles with a walking break.

TOLD.

But, I have persevered (if not with my previous zest and commitment, but I have persevered)… 1 week later I got down to not walking and going for 9/miles. Booyah.

Then, on the 26th I was feeling charitable and affectionate towards the wee one, so I decided to take him out in our “jogging” stroller. Baby trend expedition if anyone is interested. It is labelled as for jogging, but it not really – plus Sam is so wee we have to keep the car seat, the heavy car seat, in. I said “Obviously, I don’t expect to be pushing a heavy stroller and keeping my new pace” but I clearly meant… well… you get the picture. I google safety tips for taking a newborn jogging (<;—- totally do this), wrapped up Sam super warm as it was only just above freezing and off I went:

Double swaddle and warm hat

Ow. It was hard. Muscle achingly hard. My arms ached after ,5 mile as it takes quite a bit of welly to stop the stroller wobbling all over Houston’s crappy pavements (sidewalks, yanks) . Plus, given that the place for your hands is quite high, it also means you end up expending a lot of energy going up and down (stop sniggering at the back) not forward. But it was fun watching Sam.

Yeah... I am kind of cute to watch.

Yeah… I am kind of cute to watch.

My pace dropped to 9 min/mile.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend stroller jogging if you are interested in race training, and this is a speed / stamina run. However, if you just want to get out an burn some calories: go for it. Me? I am somewhere in between. Running fits in with a broader sport program for me, so I think I will take Sam out for short runs every 1-2 weeks. It will challenge and build my muscles, and may help with pace when I am less encumbered.

Now I have my eye on a 5K on the 1st… Wes won’t commit to coming with me as he is possibly going to be hungover, so my motivation has dropped a little. Also, I am not sure about taking a jogging stroller on a 5K race – anyone done it? Is it a problem? Does it annoy other runners? I get the feeling this is a fairly informal race (you can run or walk). I do really want to do it, but I don’t want to mess up anyone else’s experience, so may have to miss out. Makes me feel like this:

Learned how to pull at Mama's heartstrings indeed.

Learned how to pull at Mama’s heartstrings indeed.

Anyone else? Thoughts / experiences with taking a stroller to a race.