Friday, October 30, 2009

Baby Book Club

Last book read (not finished) before giving birth: Hitchhikers Guide Series (Douglas Adams)

Pile of books waiting to be studied and said theories utilized: What to Expect, The Sears Baby Book, The Baby Whisperer, Well Adjusted Babies (the Chiropractic version), Mother and Baby, Your Baby and Child (Penelope Leach), Mister Rogers' Guide to Parenting, Family First (Dr. Phil)

The point of most of these books is to make you feel like an incompetent parent.

Pleasure book, very large and at the bottom of the pile: The Gathering Storm (the most recent book from Robert Jordan)

Probability of most of these books getting read is low, given that Raphaela actively fights sleeping during the day because she is afraid of missing something exciting, and given that at night I am going to take every opportunity to close my eyes in between feedings.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

FAQ: How is the cat handling the addition of the new baby into the house?

Answer: He is actually quite jealous, and quite curious at the same time. Harry will allow Raphaela to lay down next to him, and he will purposely put himself near the baby, even when she is moving around and crying. I have no fears that he will harm her.

Instead, he is showing all the classic symptoms of an older brother who cannot understand why this little crying and smelly thing is not leaving the house. Harry will ask me to let him outside or to feed him, just as I have sat down and pulled out my breast to nurse Raphaela.

I set up the Brain Gym from Tiny Love, which Raphaela enjoys at her level, spending lots of time looking up at the parrot, and at her reflection in the mirror. Harry, in an effort to impress me, show me how he can actively start up the chimes and how he can grab at the monkey hanging from above.

In my amateur psychological opinion, Harry has resorted to kitten-like behaviour as a response to changes in the house, but just as older brothers and sisters survive, my "first born" feline will find his place in our new, redefined family, and will even hopefully become friends with Raphaela.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Our Own, for the First Time Really

For two days after the birth, Raphaela and I were in the hospital. For three days, we experienced the Baby Hotel. The day I came home was the same day my parents arrived from the States.

For the last two weeks, my mother and father and I have been living under the same roof. Tension could be expected, of course, but it was nice to have them here and to have the extra sets of hands, and of course, the free instantaneous baby sitting.

The Nesher taxi came this morning, and as of today, Raphaela and I are on our own, together, for the first time. I am not yet freaking out, as there is little she needs at this age and I continue to enjoy her company. Bath time ought to be fun, and then - since there is no particular outside appointment on the agenda for today - I will invent a reason to get her in the stroller and take a walk, since it helps her sleep at night.

Tomorrow we have a well-baby check up with her pediatrician.

Hard to believe that three weeks ago, I was pregnant and single, when I can no longer remember what my life was like BR (Before Raphaela), and what gave me meaning when I didn't have her energy around me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Blackout Baby Challenge

Raphaela is almost two weeks old, and I can't remember a time before I became her mother.

Yesterday evening, my extended neighborhood experienced a blackout for close to two hours, my mother (who has been staying with me) was not at home, and it became a serious challenge to my fledgling parenting skills.

Can I breast feed in the dark? Sort of.
Did I change her diaper in the dark? Nope.
Can I get her to fall asleep when I can't even see where I am walking? Yes, with the help of a rocking chair.

I tried not to move around too much, because I could not find my flash light and did not want to trip over some piece of furniture and G-d forbid injure the baby. The darkness gave us time to bond, and while Raphaela got in a nap, I was unable to, constantly on alert.

Too bad, because last night she did not get much sleep, she was not hungry, her diaper clean. I have never imagined frustration and exhaustion on that level, not knowing what she needed and how to translate her cries.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Already She Inspires

I have been invited to speak to a group of religious single women in my neighborhood, they have formed a group for unmarried women who are veering close towards the danger zone of fertility, and they meet to talk about the possibility of doing what I (and others before me) have done.

I did not go into this pregnancy and motherhood gig to become a leader of a new revolution, but apparently my so-called bravery has broken through the taboos associated with single motherhood. Now it is OK to talk about it and think about it, in public as opposed to the lonely recesses of the mind.

How can I be a role model to anyone? For all the life skills and intelligence I possess, I barely know how to dress this child, and cannot get her on any sleep or eating schedule. This experience has humbled me to the core, I feel like a novice and anticipate a steep learning curve.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Journal from the Hotel

Some post-birth thoughts I had, while I was still enjoying the luxury of the baby hotel and before I went home this past Tuesday afternoon. Enjoy, and enjoy the recently posted photos of Raphaela.


I had the strangest and most wonderful existential moment today, looked at Raphaela while she was sleeping: I had the strongest feeling of deja vu, not as a woman looking at my three day old daughter, but looking at her face and into her soul, and knowing that I know her. She reminds me of someone, I don't know who, but she is not a stranger to me.

I came to another realization of a dream this morning, spurred on by a comment of the night nurse, "There's nothing like a first-born daughter."

Raphaela is now the fifth link in the chain of eldest daughters, going back to my Bubby's mother.


I have essentially been awake since three am, waiting for the nurses to call me to breast feed now that my milk has started to come in. (Which sort of defeats the purpose of having the staff there to babysit...and me to sleep.)

My milk is leaking every where and my breasts are heavy, and so I find myself just as dependent on her as she is on me. Only she can relive this pain. Amazing how nature insures the survival of these tiny beings.

I am also having trouble sleeping because I am at least partially ready to go back to my home, with my child, and to try to start figuring out the skills set needed for this new life. The many thoughts of being scared and a complete idiot when it comes to newborns have certainly plagued my brain as well. For the first real time in my existence, planning goes out the window, and my every action is dependent upon a four day old baby.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Angel Has Arrived

With thanks to G-d and the Greater Universe, my daughter was born at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on Friday 10/2/09, after less than 12 hours of labour overall, and no epidural. (Not my choice!)

Named in shul in Newton Center, Massachusetts by my father today, she will be call and counted among the people of Israel and the planet as Raphaela Rivka Danzig Leeder.

More details on the birth and this miracle child when I return from the Baby Hotel, where Raphaela and I are relaxing and getting to know each other for a few days before we return to reality.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monitor Shmonitor

Got the correct bus this morning, and only had to walk up a small hill to get to the medical center.

Brought grapes with me so I wouldn't have to eat the disgusting sesame cookies. As a result of the natural sugar rush, I had to placed on the monitor for almost an hour and a half, before the baby stopped moving and gave them what the nurses and doctor's considered a "standard" read-out.

Ultrasound showed a bit less amniotic fluid, to be expected with a pregnancy lasting more than 40 weeks, and certainly within normal limits.

However, the doctor found no evidence of any opening, and could therefore not perform stripping. And because there are various due dates floating around on the chart, he is not going to insist on my being induced on Sunday, but rather I should return to be monitored once again, and they would induce on Monday. Unless, hopefully, of course the baby is born sometime this weekend and then a weight estimation will be done outside the womb. :-)

The doctor did ask me to go home and go through a course of Castor Oil today, in the hopes that the bowel movement will not only start some cervix opening action, but also stimulate an increase in prostoglandin hormones, which is necessary to induce contractions toward labour.

My Chiropractor thinks that I will go into labour this weekend with or without inducing diahrea.

On the way home (I walked for forty minutes rather than take the bus) I visited some friends who work downtown, and bought a nursing bra. Wishful, positive thinking can't hurt.