Are You Here For The Cute Stuff?

I guess I pretty much have it all. By that I mean a healthy, awesome baby. That was essentially the goal, when I started out in this space – damn, just about three years ago. This blog became a place for me to voice my fears and vent my frustrations in confidence, and I’ve been very grateful to have it. Most of what I have to say these days though (when I get a chance to say anything) just doesn’t fit. All the milestones and cute pictures, those are all things I do want to share with people I know in my real non-virtual life, and they don’t feel appropriate here. That just isn’t how I think of this blog. And I don’t want to take for granted that people arrive here via connections to the infertility or pregnancy loss communities.

Besides, it’s a complete pain to keep the same blog in two places indefinitely – plus that’s just dumb.

Therefore, I’m declaring an intellectual divide, making definitions for what this blog is and isn’t as I look ahead. I’m not going to shut this space down entirely, but I am going to reserve it for my selfish side, the darker stuff I don’t need read by my Dad or my Random Facebook Friend or That Other Navy Wife I Know. Since things are generally wonderful these days, it may stay pretty quiet here most of the time. (I have a couple of drafts of posts I’ve been working on, but writing selfish stuff takes major time commitment, apparently.)

I won’t be putting the cute stuff here anymore, at least not on a regular basis. If you want to keep up with the cute stuff, come visit the “family and friends” blog – Keys Made Here.

… Okay, okay. A smidge of cute stuff, maybe. Occasionally. Like right now.

I'm 9 weeks old and I have the most ridiculous smile ever!!

I’m 9 weeks old and I have the most ridiculous smile ever.

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One Whole Month

In case I don’t get a chance for blogging tomorrow (and I am expecting tomorrow to be busy), I’m going to jump the gun and celebrate Viv’s one-month-birthday tonight. Hooray!

She is, of course, a genius baby. Her visual tracking is pretty outstanding, and she is holding her head up for like whole minutes at a time. We are so proud. She is outgrowing her NB and 0-3M clothes already, it’s unbelievable. Okay, it’s totally believable, since at her last & final checkup at the byouin this morning, she weighed in at 9 lb 14 oz. We’re going to run out of diaper covers, and it makes me a little sad to already be boxing up some of the really-really-cute stuff. Like this little footie number.

winky in pink

Photo from 1/25… As of today she can no longer get her legs extended in this outfit, poor thing. Also: Man! They grow up so fast!

My mom leaves Japan tomorrow. She’s been here since before the birth. On the one hand, it has been awesome having her around. I have been calling her the ‘Laundry Ninja,’ because somehow all of the laundry gets done and I never see it happen. This month of new-baby has, in a lot of ways, been easier than I expected – and I think a lot of that has been because of the third pair of hands to handle everything. On the other hand, there’s still this unspoken pressure to entertain my mom on her “vacation” – go out to eat, see sights, and, you know, not nap in the middle of the day or skip too many days in row of showering. This is all internal, something I put upon myself, but I can’t shake it. At the very least, I’m really ready to start working out our own sustainable routine. I’m a little worried she’s been creating a dependency on her domestic awesomeness. Also, there’s a slight chance that without her being here, some of those overdue blog posts might get written, since this does remain a secret blog and therefore I feel a little weird writing on it while she’s sitting across the coffee table from me.

The Swing Of Things

Vivian is three weeks old! Ahem, plus two days. And I have barely written anything about her! We have managed to keep her alive, and mostly keep our heads screwed on, for twenty-three days… But I still am not getting much computer time. (Sacrifices!)

Mostly it’s just been a series of days spent figuring out how to own and operate a tiny human, albeit a pretty easy one. Like I mentioned in passing last time, feeding has been tricky. At her two week visit to the Navy clinic, Vivian’s weight had not yet started to rebound and she was still down near 8 lbs; and therefore I was instructed to start supplementing with formula. (I’ve come to believe that breastfeeding must be a conspiracy designed to make women feel inadequate.) A week later, she was up to 9.0 lbs at her re-check. A full pound gained in a week! The doctor called her a porker. So, the supplementation has been working. My goal is to gradually start weaning her back off of it… Breastmilk or bust, dammit.

Comotomo (TM)

At least the bottle looks like a boob.

Honestly? I still am not really prepared to do a real long quality post here, in this sitting. I really do have actual intentions to write: the birth story (before I forget everything), and about breastfeeding (like I said, breastfeeding = inadequacy), and about what a bureaucratic ordeal it’s been giving birth to an American citizen abroad (huge pile of paperwork). But right now, for the remainder of this post, I’m going to copy and paste from a post I managed to get up on my family blog a couple of nights ago. Because it’s been easier (and not at all inaccurate) to post happy fluffy updates to satisfy the aunts than it has to write anything that requires actual thought. And so! Self-plagiarization begins here.

I’m really enjoying getting to know her, figuring out what makes her happy and how to fix the things that make her unhappy. At three weeks old, almost all of the major crying is about hunger. Other things that may make her fuss or cry include:

  • Having to poop. Apparently it’s uncomfortable. (Solution? Pooping.)
  • Needing her diaper changed. (Solution? Fresh diaper.)
  • Having her diaper changed. (Solution? Power through it; the crying will stop when the changing is over.)
  • Having her clothes changed. This is way worse than the diaper changing. (Solution? See above.) (B says his personal hell is an eternity of changing infants’ clothing… Putting their squirmy hands through sleeves that are a little too long and a little too narrow.)
  • The time immediately before and immediately after a bath. Some overlap with the clothes changing, coupled with the extra-cold factor. (Solution? Warm water / dry and dressed baby.)
  • Being put down/left alone, i.e. in the bassinet, swing, car seat. (Solution? Movement, or pacifier, or in extreme cases, picking her up again.)
  • Pacifier falls out of her mouth. (Solution? Mommy/Daddy/Grandma fetches pacifier. Solution part 2: work on pacifier retention skills.)

Things that Vivian likes (besides food) include:

  • Being held.
  • Being stroked, especially on her scalp or her legs.
  • Her hands, and keeping them on or near her face.
  • Pacifiers.
  • Baths.
  • Exercising: mainly kicking her feet; also, lifting her head. (She is so advanced.)
  • High contrast books and toys. Just like the literature says, she will track black and white or brightly colored objects held 1 to 2 feet from her face. Especially when those objects rattle.
The cuteness!

The cuteness!

She spends more and more time awake and not eating or crying. Just contentedly alert. It’s lovely. Holding Viv while she is peacefully sleeping (and watching the silly REM cycle faces) is awesome, but the happy alert times are the best.

Juggling

Did you guys know that it’s difficult to maintain one’s grownup hobbies in the initial weeks of newborndom? Huh. For instance, it has proven quite challenging to hold an infant and simultaneously type on my computer. I think perhaps, with strategic Boppy placement, I’ve finally figured it out.

IMG_0038

(Why yes, that is the same awesome koala onesie from before.)

This is slightly precarious, and requires a pretty deep sleep, but – perhaps I can get a real update done soon. Soon-ish. Um, no promises. One day at a time here.

But yes. All is, like, 95% well. Just some breastfeeding hurdles that eventually you shall hear about in detail.

Homeward Bound

Quick 3:30 am mid feeding update.

Vivian did rejoin me at the byouin on Friday, so we have had lots of marvelous time together all weekend. They are planning to discharge us tomorrow (Monday) as long as the last round of checks and tests, for both mama and baby, go well. It seems everyone is expecting that there won’t be any issues and we shall be outta here.

I intend to do some more detailed catching up once I’m reunited with a real computer and real Internet. Pretty much all is well and Viv is the awesomest thing ever.

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Baby Bliss

Everything is so much better today than last night!

Vivian and I are still at a different hospitals, and she is spending a second night in a NICU incubator with an IV in her tiny arm, so the world is imperfect. However! Her condition is good enough that they are planning to let her be transferred back to the byouin tomorrow. The minor drawback is that both of us will remain hospitalized for probably another week. But I want to be wherever she is, so if it isn’t home, then this is the next-best thing.

So she is doing well enough that she can leave the NICU and just go back to normal newborn nurserying (with regular bloodwork to make sure she stays fine). She did not have to have her blood transfused. They paroled me for a couple of hours today to go visit her with Hubs. Since the only treatment she was receiving was the baby-RhoGAM in the IV, we were able to take her out of the incubator and hold her a good long while, and I even got to feed her – those couple of milliliters of colostrum that I had to give.

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Yes, thanks. Our gaijin newborn is a giant in the Japanese NICU.

Rh Troubles

The big hospital’s tests do confirm that Viv has Rh disease. Yes, I got the Rhogam shot, albeit at 29 weeks rather than 28; I got it after the triplets were born, too. Apparently one of those times didn’t take and now our perfect beautiful baby is sick.

Hubs bravely dealt with all that at the big hospital while I googled things from my adjustable bed and had a good cry. (Sick baby… Hormones… Plus still being awake at midnight after getting up at 6 am and delivering a baby today… I am an utter disaster.) It kills me that all the medical sites discuss Rh disease as 100% preventable and almost never happening anymore in the US. Anyway, Vivian having had no (known) problems before birth from it, and really being quite fit and healthy in appearance after her full term delivery, she will probably be fine after some treatment with photo therapy for the jaundice and the newborn version of Rhogam for the evil antibodies. But, Hubs did sign the consent form should they decide she needs a transfusion in the wee hours of the morning to replace her bad blood. With further testing ahead of her, plus communication problems, it is very unclear how long she will have to stay in the NICU. As far as I know, I still have to stay at the byouin for 3 days, but I’ll get to chat about that with the doctor tomorrow.

What it meant for tonight was Hubs and my mother driving around Japan looking for a drug store open after 10 pm, because we have to provide a specific type of breast milk baggies, and then pump and freeze milk to feed our baby while I’m stuck in one hospital and she is in another. And no, apparently we couldn’t just get the baggies from either one of those hospitals. Not even a couple for the first 24 hours. And they won’t feed her anything other than my milk… Which is all we want her eating anyway, but not so much if it means she doesn’t get fed at all before we can understand the rules – and acquire bags – and pump – and freeze – and deliver the breast milk from one site to another.

Eventually he did find the bags, but the byouin nurse wouldn’t allow me to pump by the time they got back here because I was supposed to be sleeping or some crap.

Ugh.

If only I had just sucked it up and agreed to deliver at the big hospital after all. At least some of this heartache might have been avoided. At least I could hold and feed her myself. Poor baby girl.