New Mama Musings

Friday, April 28, 2006

No Heavy Lifting

It's been an interesting week. On Monday, inspired by the gorgeous weather, I strapped Henry into the mei tai in a front carry and went on a gi-normous walk. Here we are, in happier times, on Monday:

We walked up to the park and watched the ducks, checked out the tot lot (with baby swings!) and took lots of pictures. Henry fell asleep six blocks from home and it was so nice to have my warm baby snuggled up against me as I walked in the sunshine.

Unfortunately, I think it was walking with that nice, warm 23.5 pound baby that caused me to throw out my back the following day.

I was talking on the phone to my sister on Tuesday, Henry playing nearby, when I felt a shooting pain in my back. I lay down, thinking resting for a few minutes would help, said goodbye and hung up the phone, and tried to get up.

For FIFTEEN MINUTES I tried one way and then another to get off the floor, with Henry crawling on me and crying. Finally I called my husband and asked him to come home from work. And he did, immediately, no questions asked.

Over the next few days my sister came and then my mom to help with Henry. I'm feeling a bit better now, but my husband will be home for the next three days and I'm hoping to avoid lifting my little chunky monkey and let my back heal.

For his part, Henry is concerned (check out that face!), because with Mama out of commission, the baby doesn't get held and carried around as much as usual.

What I'd like to know is, if my occupation is usually listed as "stay-at-home mom", does this incident qualify for workers' compensation?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Having a Baby Changes Everything

I've always, since learning about abortion, been on the side of pro-choice. It wasn't that I was completely comfortable with the idea of a pregnancy being terminated, but I felt strongly that the issue wasn't as clear-cut as the strident pro-lifers acted like it was.

I mean, right to what kind of life? One of violence? Abuse? Poverty? Resentment? Neglect?

I also always thought that the woman's needs should figure prominently into the equation. It just seemed unfair that someone's whole life should be turned upside down because of one mistake, especially when the other person involved didn't have to face the same ramifications.

And then there was the question of when life actually begins. I never believed that it began at birth, but I would have argued that an embryo was only truly a baby when it developed some kind of an awareness.

Having Henry, though, has made me re-visit my thoughts on this topic.

I haven't blogged much about this -- someday I will write an entry about it -- but Henry is a test tube baby. My husband and I went through infertility treatments for two years before getting pregnant. We were successful with our first try at in vitro fertilization, in which eggs were extracted from me and injected with sperm from my husband.

Because my husband has a daughter with Down syndrome we were concerned about the possibility of chromosomal disorders, so we opted to have genetic testing done on the embryos. We ended up with three viable embryos; two were placed in my uterus through a catheter and one was frozen. As we all know, one of the embryos "stuck" and became Henry.

Right before the embryo transfer my husband and I got to see them under the microscope, projected onto a TV in the doctor's office. They were multi-celled organisms and looked like this:

I sometimes think about the one that didn't make it, as it could have been Henry that hadn't implanted. Would it have had dark hair and eyes like Henry, or been blond like me? Was it a boy or a girl?

And then I think about the one that we opted to freeze. Is it a Henry, waiting in stasis? My husband and I have agreed to only have one baby, but this frozen embryo haunts me. Neither of us are ready to let it go. When the one-year free storage pass lapsed and the bill came to continue preservation, we paid it.

At the risk of sounding like a Veritas Society commercial, I wonder, if it isn't a baby, or a potential baby, frozen at a few days old, why do I feel such reluctance to dispose of it -- especially when the odds of one thawed embryo implanting are so slim anyway? Is it a baby before it has any consciousness?

Suddenly, the other arguments don't seem as compelling.

Because if that five-day old embryo is a baby, does it make any sense that the needs of the woman supersede the rights of the embryo? I keep thinking about the bunch of cells we saw on that screen. Abortions are done long after that stage, when the embryo is actually starting to look like a baby.

As for the kind of life some embryos may be destined for...don't some children overcome their miserable childhoods? Mine certainly wasn't the happiest. Do we have the right to validate such a permanent act based on conjecture?

And so while I'm still offended and disgusted by the gaudy pro-life display a neighbor a block away has in their front yard, and you won't catch me picketing outside Planned Parenthood, my feelings on the topic of abortion aren't as clear-cut as they used to be.

I guess having a baby really does change everything.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bird's Eye View

I recently installed a bird-feeder in the window in our play area. It has a one-way mirror so we can get close to the birds as they eat and they won't be scared away.

It's been a lot of fun, except that one of the species that visits the feeder attacks itself in the mirror as it's eating. I guess that's how the expression "bird-brained" came about.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter, Everybunny!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Spring!

Henry and I enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather today and hung out on the front porch. (We tried the grass, but apparently it's a bit too organic for Henry's taste.)

I realized that everything outside is new to Henry, since we've spent so much of his life inside. A leaf skittering across the porch. Birds chirping. Our neighbor raking.

All so fascinating.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Kodak

Last night I dreamed that Quentin Tarantino made a movie called "The Kodak" starring Jeff Daniels.

It was about co-sleeping.

Is this what it's come to, really? Even my potentially cool dreams now involve attachment parenting.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just Because He Can

Recently Henry has been sticking out his tongue a lot.

I think the pictures say it all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Boy in the Bubble

Last night I watched a documentary on PBS about David Vetter, the "boy in the bubble" (who coincidentally was born the same year I was). I missed the first fifteen minutes because Henry took longer to get to sleep than usual, but what I saw really disturbed me.

To a new mom practicing attachment parenting, seeing a little boy who never experienced human touch was distressing. Forget babywearing, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and all the other AP tenets mainstream American society finds extreme -- this child didn't even get to experience normal levels of attachment. To see him confined, like a lab rat, sucking his thumb and staring off into space, was heartbreaking.

One of the psychiatrists who worked with him said, "He certainly identifies [his parents] as special people," but compared to other three-year-olds, his attachment to his parents was "nowhere near as intense."

The ethics of this "experiment" were questioned at the time, but once he was contained in a sterile environment, to remove him was to condemn him to certain death. He finally passed away at the age of twelve after an experimental bone marrow transplant operation.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Eight Months and One Week Old

Henry turned eight months old last week and he's been really busy.

He now crawls on his hands and knees (as opposed to doing the army crawl) and he's incredibly fast at it, too. He pulls himself up to standing and can usually get himself back down again. He tries to climb up on things -- he surprised me the other day by climbing on top of a box of old diapers I had in his room. (I am afraid. I am very afraid.)

His favorite things are items he is not supposed to have -- electrical cords, the magazine I'm trying to read, the clock radio, etc.

He drops things from his highchair very deliberately, one right after another. And he loves books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I Kissed the Baby! and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? are favorites), turning the (board book) pages almost faster than I can read them.

He babbles constantly (and loudly!) now and makes clucking or smacking noises just to try them out. For some reason he also bleats like a little lamb, which is funny when he does it throughout an entire shopping trip. He's also making silly faces -- squishing up his eyes, pursing his lips, etc.

He wants Mama all the time and puts his head down on my shoulder or leans against my chest for comfort. When I make my morning smoothie I hold him and try to talk him through the loud noise of the blender, and he buries his face in my neck, then cautiously turns his head around to look at it, and then whips his head around to hide his face again.

He doesn't give me much time to myself. If I try to go around the corner to check e-mail while he's playing nicely by himself he cries and follows me. But this time is going so fast -- I try to keep in mind that this portion of his childhood will be over before I know it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's a Small World, After All

I have to share this with you, my internet public, because I don't think my husband fully appreciates this statement:

I am currently a SIZE FOUR.

I don't think I've ever been a size four: I went from wearing kids' clothes to wearing a size eight.

Was I fat before? I thought I was about average. But now I can't imagine being four sizes larger than I am now.

I'm smaller than I was when I used to run three or four times a week, and I don't exercise or watch what I eat (except for avoiding dairy -- which I never had much of anyway -- and soy).

I guess I have breastfeeding to thank.

Don't hate me because I'm skinny. I'm sure once Henry weans this will all be only a dream. A lovely, size four dream.