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Six months is a good run, right? No judgment if I leave her with wolves? She’s clearly feral. A tiny, feral beast.

I kid, I kid.

My little baby turned six months old yesterday. I spent the morning looking over birth photos and marveling at how much she’s grown. At her smallest, she was 5lbs 11oz and now she’s a roly-poly 18lbs squish. She sat up straight at five months, rolled over from back to front and back again with the help of her cousin on Christmas Eve, she has amazing hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and she has the most captivating smile. She’s added in a little nose crinkle recently that melts me.

It’s amazing, looking back on ultrasounds. I can’t believe that a year ago, she was still inside of me, hardly big enough to notice but with perfectly formed little parts. We had an ultrasound done exactly six months before she was born. We were able to see that we’d be having a girl even though I was less than 14 weeks pregnant. Six months after that, she entered the world in a dramatic fashion that I will never forget. And today, she is her own little person with such a big personality that brings immeasurable joy to our lives. It’s hard to remember life without her now.

I was hoping that her half birthday would be more celebratory – we’d wake up and she’d have her first solid foods, we’d go to the park as a family and hit the swings (she LOVES baby swings), we’d do a little six month photo shoot with the Chewbacca doll to track her growth, and we’d have lots of nice family memories on what feels like her first milestone birthday. Our little peanut’s been sick for a week though, so instead we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office after we’d already been to the ER and Pediatric Urgent Care in the days leading up to yesterday. She’s at the tail end of her illness now but decided to go out with a bang – two bad ear infections. Maybe it was perfect timing after all though – we’ve been reminded of how difficult parenting can be, and with that we’ve been reminded of all of the rewards. Every tiny smile feels like the biggest victory. Hearing her laugh today nearly made me cry. I feel with a depth and intensity I didn’t know I was capable of. At times, it’s overwhelming. I can’t begin to imagine how this love will grow and change as she gets older and interacts in new ways – talking, kissing, hugging..! I can’t wait.

6 months

As most of you know, I had complications with my incision. The right side felt hot to the touch while still in the hospital. I also felt a hard lump under that side. I mentioned it to doctors and nurses a few times but everyone told me not to worry, that it was most likely scar tissue. We went home without them doing much other than visually checking my incision.

A few days after we came home from the hospital, we realized it wasn’t scar tissue. My incision opened and started to drain in the warm spot with the lump.

The Daddy and I packed up baby and headed to triage. There, the resident stuck a very long cotton swab into my abdomen and swept it side-to-side to make a larger hole. You know what really hurts? Having a fresh incision opened up with a q-tip. The Daddy calmed me down by whispering in my ear and the attending physician held my hand and stroked my arm. Then they pressed on my abdomen to expel the contents of the abscess that had formed underneath my incision. Quite a bit of blood and pus drained out. The spot that had been sore and painful for a week felt better immediately.

Then they delivered the bad news – The Daddy would have to irrigate the wound morning and night, and then using one of the same long cotton swabs, he’d have to pack the hole in my incision with a special gauze tape that looks like a shoelace. This would need to be done until the wound closed. We’d need to irrigate so that infection didn’t pool in the open wound. The packing was to wick out the moisture, for the same reason. With irrigating and packing supplies and a 10-day script for Clindamycin, we were sent on our way.

For about a week, The Daddy did the irrigating and packing. I’m not a very good patient though – I freak out when I feel like I’m not self-sufficient – so I eventually took over. Below the cut is an explanation of the process, and some pictures.

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Tomorrow will be 12 weeks postpartum. My goal was to make one post a week. Considering I haven’t posted in a month…yeah. We’ll call that a fail. I’ve gotten into this bad habit of starting entries in Google Docs and then never returning because it’s either something requiring research/citations (PCOS Awareness Month post), something that ended up too long (c-section recovery post), something that requires more pictures/less modesty (post about recovery complications, incision scar, etc) or something that felt too personal in retrospect (PTSD to C-PTSD shift and body disassociation).

Anyway. Here’s a quick-y throwback to the State of the Uterus posts.

12 Week State of the…I don’t know. Mom? Family? Stuff.

First, the happy.

-The Daddy’s mostly back to work and I’m doing the stay-at-home-mom thing. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, sometimes it’s isolating. Mostly, I love seeing my baby all day, every day without worrying about childcare stuff, job hunting, missing her, etc.
-There are no longer pieces of suture randomly coming out of my vagina. Not gonna lie, that could also go in the “sad” section because it was fun-gross, like a really good nose blow or pimple.
-FSR is growing like a weed. Her lowest weight was 5lbs 11oz and now she’s 13lbs. Kid likes to eat.
-We’re doing that thing that people tend to do when they have kids – we’re entertaining the thought of leaving the city. I would like to stay here forever, but the desire to give my kid a yard with dirt to play in is much more important, and that’s not really an attainable thing in the city. I’m a little sad about the idea of leaving, but I think that if/when it happens, it will be good for us all.
-Tomorrow is mine and The Daddy’s seven year anniversary. Holy shit.
-FSR laughed! A big, real laugh on the 21st. I was tickling her under her chin. Ticklishness! That’s a thing that’s happening! Yesssss.
-It’s almost Halloween, which means ridiculous things like CUPCAKE COSTUMES are on sale. And I buy them. FSR is not sure what to think.

-Friends are having babies! Two this week and more on the way.

So. Yeah. There’s the good stuff. Motherhood and family life in general is great and I love my little girl so much. I would not trade it for the world. Not everything is sunshine and roses, though. Some things are hard. Real hard.

On to the sad/bad:

-PCOS is back full-swing. Oh hello, adult acne! Has it been a year since you left already?! I’m having the worst breakout since…I don’t know when. I literally have zits on top of zits, and cystic acne. It hurts so bad, I want to claw my face off. Hopefully birth control will knock that shit out ASAP.
-SPD, still a thing.
-Baby weight, also still a thing. I decided that 2.5 months of legit disability means that the “9 months on, 9 months off” thing doesn’t apply. I get 11.5 months. May as well round that up to a year. This is bumming me out not because of a number on a scale or size on my pants but because I don’t feel like myself. My body shape changed. My old clothes that fit look different now. I have to re-learn my body, and that’s hard. So. Favorite jeans? I will see you next September. Maybe. I might not see you again at all and if that’s the case, hopefully I will be ok with that over time.
-I feel generally unwell/unhealthy because I’ve been more inactive than I have ever been in my life because of limitations brought on by recovery and complications. It’s seriously so bad, I gave up my initial goal of joining a boxing class and instead have actually been looking into mall walking because air conditioned walking on a flat surface is seriously the only thing that doesn’t sound horribly painful. Oh, god.
-Hole in my abdomen? Still got it.

There you go, folks. That’s where we are right now. I really do want to get on some of those other posts soon, but…yeah. Parenthood. Time constraints. Brain fog. We’ll see how it goes.

Until then, I’ll be over here…doing this.

Lots has changed in the last 3-4 weeks! The biggest change? I am no longer seeing a perinatologist. I’ve always felt deep down that I’m not high risk. I’ve had a very easy pregnancy and my only issues are endocrine disorders that are under control. I made the decision a few weeks ago to ditch the peri and finish out my pregnancy with midwife care. She comes to my house! I get my blood pressure taken on my couch! The difference is mind-blowing. I can’t fully express the magnitude of the change without finally going back and publishing some backdated PTSD and hospital entries. Gah. I will someday, but not yet. They’re not deep or dark or anything; I just don’t want to deal right now. On to bullet points.

  • When I sneeze, my bellybutton pops out. WHAT?!
  • The area below my bellybutton, previously free of stretch marks, has blossomed into what looks like a toddler’s art project. Pink and purple scribbles all over. All of the pregnancy apps talked about stretch marks appearing in the second trimester. If you make it into the 30-something weeks with no stretch marks, don’t expect to stay unmarred. They can strike at any time! Most of mine have appeared in the last two weeks. Some appeared overnight. Seriously. I had fewer stretch marks when I went to bed last night.
  • Baby still doesn’t have a name. We are bad at names.
  • Baby has started dropping. I don’t feel that bowling ball pressure lots of women talk about. For me, it’s only been awesome – I can breathe and eat again!
  • So. Many. Baby. Things. We finally caved and bought all of the things that we need. This doesn’t include carseat and changing supplies:
  • Third trimester lesson: parenting starts in pregnancy. Nothing is about me anymore, I’m tired, and I have no time for anything. 99% of the time, I’m ok with that. The other 1% stings a little but that’s ok.
  • 2-7 weeks. That’s all that’s left. Oh god.
  • A lot of people ask me how I’m doing. A LOT. I thought that this stage of pregnancy would be annoying, but it’s not! It’s nice to know that people are thinking of me and wishing me well.
  • To answer the “How are you doing?” question: I’m doing great. Overall, I feel better while pregnant than prior to pregnancy. Crazy, I know.
  • The exception to feeling better: I now wheeze going uphill/up stairs and my pelvis feels like it’s being pried apart by a crowbar by about 7pm on days when I’m active, which is still most days. It hurts less than my daily ovary pain when not pregnant though, so even pain-wise, I’m still getting benefits despite crowbar crotch.
  • Stretch marks are equal parts sad-making and fascinating. Part of me is having trouble accepting that I will have a permanently marred belly and part of me feels a sense of pride when I look down at them and trace the new marks with my fingers.
  • The other day, I decided to see if I could figure out where the baby was in my uterus. I accidentally pushed her head down into my bladder. Add that to the list of things that make me pee a little.
  • Sometimes, my boobs leak. Hopefully that means they’ll work. More on boobs later.
  • I CAN SEE THE BABY MOVE. She moves the most when I’m relaxing, so it tends to coincide with evening TV-watching. The Daddy gets a lot of “What did s/he say? Can you rewind that?” during our favorite shows.
  • Speaking of The Daddy, he’s an amazing partner and soon-to-be dad. I seriously can not imagine any way in which he could be better throughout this process.
  • My belly, it is huge.

Call me crazy, but this 3-hour glucose tolerance test is kind of nice. I’m sitting outside the hospital in the sunshine, nice breeze, low 60s, and a nice view of the city. You can’t see in this picture but the Golden Gate Bridge is off in the distance. 3 hours of forced relaxation – I’ll take it.

UCSF

I was having trouble with the idea that I’d have to give up my creature comforts in order to make room for baby. Half of my personal room is now a guest room. I’ve given up the unblemished skin on my belly. I’ve given up coffee and drinking and the occasional edible. I will soon be surrendering my breasts. Sleep will be a thing of the past. WHY OH WHY DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY TV AND XBOX, TOO?!

…well. Maybe I don’t. Look what’s hiding in the nursery closet.