Friday, February 26, 2010


I've always had trouble with my pelvis, but it has not been quite the same since well before giving birth. Until Will was about 3 or 4 months old, I constantly felt like my pelvis was about to snap in two. I suppose it didn't help matters that Will required being carried some 12 hours a day, or that his carseat weighs some 300 pounds, or that I tried to start running again 8 days after he was born.

I kind of just kept going, because really, what else can you do? I tried to build up my mileage to start marathon training, but nothing in my body felt like it was put together right. I started feeling pain in my IT band area, so I got a new pair of shoes (the ones I had been running on were quite old and worn out) and kept running. Things didn't get any better, and I realized that the pain was not in my IT band but more in my (very) lower back. I tried to run on Wednesday evening and just couldn't do it.

In desperation, I decided to try getting a "sports massage." Rob had good luck with one of these after his last marathon. I didn't really know what to do, so I just randomly called a place, they had a time for me that same day, and they said it was okay if I brought Will, so I went.

When I got there, the massage therapist turned out to be a guy-- a very young guy. He had a fair amount of piercings and his hair color was probably not natural. I felt like I was old enough to be his mother. It was kind of awkward.

He started massaging my aching lower back and couldn't hide his amazement at how messed up my pelvis was. Muscles, ligaments, and bones were apparently not where they were supposed to be. I always, always, always hold Will on my left side-- this is partially because my hips are crooked (and always have been) and I can actually balance him on my left hip, but cannot on my right. It is also because I'm right handed, and holding him on my left side frees my right hand. At any rate, Massage Boy said that my pelvis was definitely messed up from the way that I always hold the baby. The muscles on my left side were hyper-developed, whereas the muscles on my right side (the side that hurt) were practically atrophied in comparison. Such a huge imbalance had messed up my sacro-iliac joint and apparently everything else in the region.

The massage experience became more awkward when Massage Boy informed me that he did not have a client scheduled for the next session and that he would like to keep working on my gluteal region some more. No extra charge.

Will was being a trooper, but he was having trouble hanging in there by the end. Blue Seahorse ran out of batteries all of a sudden and was no longer playing music. It was time to go.

So I go out to the front desk to pay, and on the receipt there was a place to add a tip. Like when you use a credit/debit card to pay at a restaurant. I was like, oh crap, am I supposed to tip the guy? Never having had a sports massage before, I did not know what the etiquette was. I stood there, awkwardly, wondering if I could somehow quickly call somebody who was more experienced in these matters and ask them if I was supposed to tip and if so, how much.

I ended up leaving a tip, hoping it was the right thing to do. The guy did spend 45 minutes on me (continuing to work my gluteal region) instead of the half hour I was being charged for.

I am still in a fair amount of pain. It is really hard to pick up or hold Will, which is unfortunate for everyone. In fact, I think the sports massage actually made it worse. But worse in a way that seems like "this is going to get worse before it gets better" way, hopefully.

I am paranoid that I'm not going to make it to the marathon. Now I've got to delicately balance taking time off to heal versus continuing to build up my miles. If I take too much time off, I won't be prepared for the marathon. If I take too little time off, I will make the injury worse and not be able to run at all.

I'm trying not to be in a bad mood about this, but it isn't working so well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bottle saga update

There are so any things I want to write about but never enough time.

It occurred to me that I never posted any updates about Will and the bottle saga. After we perfected the "bait and switch" technique, wherein I started him on the bottle and then handed him off to the nursery staff, we moved to a full-fledged bottle feed while I was not there. It seemed like everything was going great! I thought all our bottle woes were solved!

Then today, as I was putting what I had hoped would be the final touches on my dissertation revisions, Will refused to take a bottle at daycare again. When I got there to pick him up, he was night-night in a rocking chair with Ms. H (he was very cute), and they told me that he wouldn't take the bottle. His eyelashes were wet and his nose was a little crusty, so it seemed he'd been crying. I felt so awful. As I buckled him into his car seat to go home, he woke up and started bawling. We made it back home, and I thought I'd see what happened if I gave him the bottle. At first he just chewed on the nipple and looked around (he does that to me sometimes too, ouch), but then he got serious and chugged the whole thing down. He cried when it was empty, so I offered him a boob and he chugged that too. Then he was very, very full, and he went to sleep.

He was in a surprisingly good mood when he woke up. Very giggly and happy. We played for a while, and then I gave him some avocado, which he slurped up about as good as he ever has. I put him down for tummy time, and he did a really good job with it. He even rolled over all on his own. That made me really happy because he still rarely rolls over, and the few times that he has, it's usually been when we have helped get him started. It's not that I care so much about him rolling over, per se, it's just that he's supposed to be able to roll over by now and since he can't seem to do it, I get worried that this is a sign of some huge developmental problem. So it made me feel better that he rolled over today.

Anyway. The kitchen is a mess and there are 3 loads of laundry to fold and shoes everywhere and I still have to pump milk and get to bed because who knows how many times he'll be up in the night. I am really hungry but trying not to eat because today while I was working, I ran into a friend I haven't seen in 2 years who said to me, "Oh yeah, you look like you've had a baby."

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


It was exactly a year ago, when, in my nausea and vomiting induced haze, I discovered that I could eat avocado. It made sense. Avocado is bland, tasteless, fatty, and doesn't require much chewing. I went crazy for avocado. It was all I wanted to eat. After a long day of raging nausea, I would wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach growling and eat a bowl of rice with mashed avocado. We spent a small fortune on groceries that month, and I gained a ton of weight.

I remember thinking that the baby (who was the size of a lemon at the time) must really love avocado. I imagined how sweet it would be to feed the baby avocado after he or she was born. It made me all teary-eyed. As I was reading up on introducing solid foods to babies, avocados were listed as one of the best foods to start with. And it just seemed so right. That would be the first solid food I would give the baby. It would be what this baby would want, I just knew it.

After a couple weeks of an avocado-only diet during my pregnancy, I abruptly got sick of avocado and haven't wanted any since then. That's how it is with a lot of the foods I ate when I was pregnant. Something would sound good to me and I could eat it for a little while, and then it would make me sick again (usually after I had just bought a whole bunch of it). Even now, 6 months after having the baby, I still can't eat those foods. I can't even think about them. To tell you the truth, it made me feel sick to even handle the avocado and mash it up for Will. It makes me wonder if you ever really get over hyperemesis. I'm getting kind of afraid that you don't. Maybe I'd rather not know.

Will seems somewhat ambivalent about the avocado. Certainly not as exuberant about it as he was when in utero. On the one hand, it is something to put in his mouth, which he likes. On the other hand, it is a new and different taste, which he isn't sure about. Feeding him avocado the past few days has definitely gone better than it could have, but in all, I'm not sure if he ingested even a pea-sized amount. I guess we'll just keep trying.

I just don't know about this stuff

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear William (6 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 6 months old. I can't believe it has been half a year since you were born. It has all gone by in the blink of an eye.

You still cry a lot. By now I am pretty sure that most of the time you are crying, it is because you are tired but you can't or won't let yourself fall asleep. I try to reassure you that you won't miss out on anything if you do go to sleep, but I think I lost my credibility about that when, back in December, I decorated the Christmas tree while you were taking a nap. When you woke up and saw that the tree had been decorated, I could tell by the look in your eyes that you were saying, "I will never sleep again." That has been very hard for us all.

You are becoming more and more interactive. Your face lights up in a smile when I walk into the room. I love that. You "talk" by saying things such as "ba ba ba ba ba" and "goo goo goo goo ga." A month or so ago, you started blowing spit bubbles by buzzing your lips and tongue together. I thought it was your new thing, but then you abruptly stopped doing it. You started it up again a few days ago, with much more gusto than before. I do it back to you, and you laugh like it's hilarious.

Speaking of laughing, you are very ticklish. You laugh when we tickle your feet, tummy, underarms and chin. You burst out in peals of laughter every time I take off your shirt. The sound of your laughing is the best thing ever.

You are very grabby with your little hands. You grab anything within your reach and shove it into your mouth. You grab strands of my hair and try your best to pull them out. While you are nursing, you send your arm up and grab the skin on my neck. Or you grab my lower lip and try to shove your hand in my mouth. Once you even managed to jam one of your fingers up my nose. Gross.

We are celebrating your half-birthday by giving you your first ever solid food. We are giving you some mashed avocado. When you were very, very little and lived in my tummy, you wanted me to eat avocado. I decided that since you liked it so much, it would be your first solid food.

First taste of solid food

I can't wait for our next adventure.

Love you,


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Not ready

Will is going to be 6 months old on Friday, and I am not ready for it. Partially this is because I am still fat. It seems like everybody and their brother loses their pregnancy weight in 6 weeks, or maybe even as long as 3 months, but I have discovered that losing weight, in the winter, when I can't go running like I used to, and when I am surrounded by delicious food I couldn't eat without vomiting (or at least feeling like it) for 9+ months, is not something I'm good at. My size 2 jeans are gathering dust in my closet. I fear they may eventually make their way to Goodwill, but I'm not giving up on myself quite yet.

I just can't believe Will is going to be 6 months old. Right after he was born, I remember getting together with some of the yoga moms whose babies were 6 months old and thinking, there's no way my baby will ever be that big, but he is! I feel like we are just one step away from him going off to college, marrying some girl I don't like, and then moving across the country where I hardly ever see him again. It is a terrifying thought.

I am also not ready for the "milk only" period to be over, but it seems like 6 months is generally the time that it is recommended to start babies on solid foods. My dissertation focuses on the phases of maternal investment as defined by Langer (2008). In addition to gestation, Langer (2008) divides lactation into two phases: 1) the milk-only phase -and- 2) the mixed-feeding (or weaning) phase. Once the infant takes his/her first bite of solid food, the milk-only phase is over and the weaning process begins. I just don't feel ready for that! For the last 15 months (9 months in utero plus 6 months in the world), I have been Will's sole source of sustenance and nutrition. I've gotten really used to it. I feel like I could keep it up for, oh, several more years. It just freaks me out to think of him getting energy and nutrients from a source that is... not me. I don't know if anyone else has ever felt like that or not. It seems like most of the world is of the let's-give-them-rice-cereal-as-early-as-we-can mind set, but for me, it is the most freaky, cool, amazing thing ever that this kid weighs round about 15 pounds and every single ounce of it he has gained from what I have provided him from my own body. Physically, it is definitely taking its toll on me, but emotionally, I am not ready for that to be over yet.


Langer P. 2008. The phases of maternal investment in eutherian mammals. Zoology 111(2):148-162.

It really is true. They just grow up so quickly.

Big smile

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Taking it back

My mom brought me my baby book around the time Will was born, and yesterday I was looking through it to see when I got my first teeth (Will hasn't gotten any teeth yet). On the first page of the baby book, my mom had taped the information pamphlet given to her by the maternity ward of the hospital where she had me. I read through it, and at first it made me want to cry. Then it made me mad. Really mad.


What made me so mad was the hospital policy of separating mothers and babies. Look at the bottom left. "...please instruct your friends, relatives, husband, etc., of the time when babies are in the room as you are not permitted to answer the phone when you have your baby." Then they list the times when you have your baby. 9:30-10:30am. 1-2pm. 4:30-5:30pm. Three hours a day. Three hours a day!


I mean seriously. I would have just liked to see some one try to come between me and Will after he was born. Several of their limbs would have been torn off. I can't imagine anything more cruel and inhumane than separating a mother and her baby. What was the purpose of this? What was it supposed to achieve? Did doctors really believe women were only capable of seeing their babies for 3 hours a day? And that they couldn't even handle talking on the phone while the baby was present? What did these doctors think that women were going to do once they got home?

On the bottom right of the pamphlet (see below), it does say that this hospital allowed the option of "rooming in" on request. I asked my mom if she had roomed in with me. "Oh Lord no," she said. "It was unheard of. I was in a room with three other women. Your dad couldn't even be in the room when they brought you in for me to nurse."

I expressed my outrage at such idiotic policy, and my mother shared the sentiment. She recalled that she was furious and that she even got "lippy" with the nurses (to no avail, of course). "Yes, it was inhumane," she agreed with me. "They totally ignored women back then. But what did we know? We had no choice. And I certainly didn't want to have you alone at home."

That's the thing about this. The thing that makes me so mad.

The right side of the pamphlet, in the middle of the page, indicates that women weren't allowed to get up and use the bathroom for six to eight hours after giving birth. Even then you had to have a written order from the doctor, granting you permission. My mom said she didn't remember this part. What she remembers is that her neck hurt so bad while she was lying in that hospital bed, and she asked the nurses for a heating pad. They told her they couldn't give her one without a doctor's order, and it was nighttime, so they didn't want to call and disturb him. "So as I think about it, my neck has hurt for the last 30 years," she told me.


Many things infuriate me about all of this, but perhaps what infuriates me the most is that these policies make breastfeeding impossible. My mother always told me that she wanted to breastfeed, but she couldn't. After reading this pamphlet, I'm all, NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. If you are only "allowed" to see the baby 3 times a day, for an hour each time, how on earth is your milk going to come in? And even if it does, how on earth are you going to make enough milk to feed the baby? Clearly, while the babies were being kept away from their mothers in the sterile environment of the nursery, they would have to have been given formula or sugar water or whatever other crap doctors thought was "best" back then. Formula companies got rich while breastfeeding almost became a lost art in this country, and most women probably blamed themselves for not being able to do it.

I was terrified of giving birth in a hospital, for fear that it would be the same sort of patriarchal, assembly line experience that my mother had had and that it would end with me being unable to breastfeed. But things have changed in the last 30 years. I labored in a tub and on my knees and on all fours or standing or sitting-- however it felt bearable. I had a midwife and a female obstetrician and a doula who whispered encouragement to me for at least 12 hours straight and who advocated for me so that they didn't give me pitocin when I stalled at 5-cm for 4 hours. I got to have my husband with me the whole time, and I got to hold my naked, bloody, writhing baby the moment he entered this world. He never left my side after that, and no one gave him formula (even though the doctors told me I should). I had a lactation consultant who worked with us for weeks and weeks to get this baby to latch right and to get me to make enough milk for him, when despite everything that we had going for us, I still almost wasn't able to do it. I had to fight every step of the way for every last little thing, but not fighting was never an option.

I look at the policies under which I was born, written out in black and white like that, and it makes me wonder when birth was taken away from the mother, and why. I realize this is why I felt so strongly about giving birth the way I did and about breastfeeding. I was fighting to take it back.