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Update

It’s 2:40am. I just emptied the dishwasher and specifically put the cups back in incorrect spots in the cupboard because David didn’t wash my breast pump flange when doing the dishes. Tomorrow/later today we will have this discussion:

David: Hey, thanks for emptying the dishwasher! But this is not where the tea cups go. And the wine glasses go up here. You put two of them next to the tea cups.

Me: mhmm. Hey thanks for doing the dishes last night. Why didn’t you wash my pump?

Then we will stare at each other.

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To Do

Things I need to do:

1) Write down memories of my dad, pre-stroke. Also write down anecdotes and poems he shared.
2) Find a way for him to communicate his recipes to me and my mom. That’s pretty advanced for right now, but we should figure out something.
3) Eat again. My dad wanted me to lose the baby weight, but not like this, I’m pretty sure.
4) Get Power of Attorney.
5) Find a way to consolidate updates for friends and family. Updating people individually is a waste of time.

Edit: This blog is not the solution to #5. His friends and family do not need to know one daughter is insane.

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Not a Happy New Year

It occurred to me yesterday I may need therapy, but I don’t have the bandwidth for it. Any time I spend talking to a stranger is time and money spent away from family and child, so I will not bother. I will write things here at random times that suit my schedule. That will help.

My dad had a hemorrhagic stroke on December 27. And we’ve been at the hospital since then. So far he has survived the stroke, which is good. We were assigned a general practitioner group to coordinate recovery, and in our first meeting with them they made it sound like he would be on a surgically inserted feeding tube and we had to think through whether we wanted to end the whole thing. I quickly decided he was an idiot and was relieved when his rotation ended and we were assigned a different doctor. My dad is not on a feeding tube. He can’t feed himself or eat solids, but he’s not on a tube.

He can’t speak or understand words, they say. His intelligence is still there, but the communication portion of the brain is impaired. I think he understands and he communicates with me through expressions. But the therapists and doctors can’t read his expressions, plus they speak to him in English, which is unlikely to be the language he understands when he’s under duress. Initially he was still laughing at appropriate moments. Now he doesn’t laugh at all, and on Sunday he slept all day because he was so exhausted. His blood pressure is either high or low. He’s going to be discharged from the hospital today, which is good. I tried to get him discharged into a rehab facility instead of a nursing home, but we couldn’t. That was disappointing, especially because I had such
high hopes. Everyone we have talked to so far and the internet has shared recovery stories. People say you need to wait to see what his new baseline is. I need to remind myself that.

David shared on Day 4 he was exhausted from child care all day and we should look into getting help, which is fair. And he was wondering if we really had to cancel an upcoming trip, which is fair. I got really mad at him for both of these things though. I didn’t say I was mad. I think I just said, “That’s fair, I’m so sorry,” but in a tone that conveyed I was livid, it’s not fair, and I was not sorry. Then I apologized. It’s a lot, I know. He’s doing a great job. She has her vaccines today, so we’re both staying home.

I think I fluctuate between tears, optimism, and anger. I accused our new general practitioner today of not knowing anything about strokes. “How many stroke patients have you worked with? You’re not an expert in strokes,” I said in response to something he said that sounded condescending and demonstrated that he was not actually familiar with my dad’s file. He was a jerk. He looked taken aback and shot back “that’s medicare fraud” in reference to discharging someone to a rehab facility to see if they can make it and then if they can’t, to a nursing home. This is incorrect. When we toured the nursing facilities, who actually know about medicare, they explained that is a route people take, and medicare covers it. So I KNOW he was just saying that because his ego was bruised and he didn’t have the bedside manner to explain things to me well. This doctor had someone there he was training too, and I wanted to tell him right there his mentor was not good. The general practitioner last week had better bedside manner. Anyway, I was super upset Monday because my dad had been showing such progress Saturday. I hope seeing the skilled nursing facility today does not depress him. I hope my mom gets through this. I can’t lose them both. I wanted my daughter to get to know them.

I also hope my milk supply isn’t diminishing.

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It’s been a year

It’s been one year since implantation day. I’m so glad it worked.

I realized recently that I don’t know how to say “I’m proud of you,” in my native tongue. This is because my dad doesn’t say it (not going to read too much into that), and my mom only says it in English. But my mom says it too much. I am not an accomplished person. I don’t even make great decisions. For example, only two minutes ago, I had to choose between getting on the Peloton and doing a 15 minute bicycle ride or eating some cake. And as I sit here in my moment of free time, eating this delicious marble cake my mom made, because I cannot bake, I don’t even regret the choice I made. Every bite I think, “Yes, yes, this was the right choice.” I’m literally sitting right next to Peloton, eating marble cake.

Anyway, my mom is always telling me she’s proud of me. The bar for being proud of me seems very low, I used to think.

But now that I have a daughter, I get it. I’m constantly beaming with pride: when she burps, when she pees BEFORE I finish closing up the diaper, when she projectile poops, when she laughs – oh my when she looks happy, when she gets upset and then is quickly less upset because the issue is resolved, when she’s interested in things, even more so when she’s interested in people. When she yells out, either because shes’s trying to communicate something or because she just realized she can yell. When she tries to sit up. When she’s irritated we have taken her to a store and are shopping, and she doesn’t say anything but glares angrily the entire time. I get it.

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Week 15

I’m on my period. I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS EVEN POSSIBLE.

You know how I mentioned my baby was sleeping through the night? Well apparently, according to the internets, if your baby sleeps through the night, your period comes back even if you are breastfeeding. Initially I was so sure it wasn’t a real period that I didn’t bother putting on a pad. That was a mistake, and I learned from it, rather quickly.

Also a week before my period, David and I resumed our, shall we say, marital duties, and it was the best. On Friday I did stand-up and strangers laughed at my work, and on Saturday the aforementioned happened, so it turned out to be an amazing weekend. I had read about the first post-natal you-know-what in Like A Mother and thank goodness my/our experience was nothing like the nightmare she described. I mean, the author didn’t seem to think her experience was nightmarish, but I remember thinking, “Oh, no no no.” But I did appreciate her writing about it, so it set some kind of expectation, which we surpassed.

I’ve also resumed some exercise. I do a Peloton ride every few days. I’m hesitant to exercise too much, because I don’t want to affect milk supply. Also I’ve accepted my larger body size as the new me. When I proclaim my newfound body positivity to David, he does not display enthusiastic support.

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Week 14

We received a delightful Christmas card this year. It included the following sentence:

We have enjoyed reading some of your blog!

I perceived this sentence as I suspect they intended it: a compliment AND a challenge. Challenge accepted. Mark my words. This time next year the card will read, “We have enjoyed reading your blog!” Maybe. Or they might just omit mention of the blog entirely. I’ll get that message loud and clear too.

Anyway! Quite a bit happened after my last post. My mom went to the hospital, and so David was watching our perfect *knock on wood* baby for a week while I was in and out. I cried in the shower twice while this was going on. I did this because when the baby was four days old, I received unsolicited advice about not conveying weakness or insecurity to the baby. I wouldn’t have cried in front of her anyway. But tears or no tears, I think kids can tell when something is wrong. Down the road I think if something is wrong I might mention it and then explain we are working through it by researching/googling and then trying different things, no matter what it is. “Mom’s googling again,” they’ll say.

My mom’s better now *knock on wood* so we can look back on that time and be grateful for more time. When I’m done breastfeeding I plan to become a regular blood donor.

We also went to New York, twice. Once for a week in November, and then again for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t ready for travel, but David’s good at pushing us to resume normal activities as much as possible. People told us that the baby gets easier as time goes on, and I’m happy to report they’re right. She started sleeping through the night relatively early, like Week 7/8 I think, and the pattern seems to have stuck. *Knock on wood.”

Some milestones that have happened since my last post:

1) Improved tummy time.
2) Enjoys diaper changes.
3) LAUGHS OUT LOUD (but not at my jokes). She laughed on December 1, 2019. She was delighted by David’s step-father. I’ve gotten some amazing smiles, but no laughs, and I’m totally fine with that. I’ve gotten some amazing glares, and I love those too. Sometimes when I laugh during feeding, she will pull back and look up me with the most irritated face. “Compose yourself, that’s not lady-like,” her eyes and furrowed brow seem to say.
4) Likes music. On November 24 she heard some cover songs performed live and loved them or the musician. Probably both. Also we’re learning new songs! I was showing my dad the new songs we were learning, and he pointed out that it looked more like _I_ was learning new songs, and he said that was good for me.
5) Likes our dog, which happens to be a robot, but she’s into him. The first time they played she was so distracted she forgot to yell angrily that I had made her do tummy time for 20 minutes! This was a real misstep on her part though – now I know her grievance with tummy time is not physical *knock on wood*.

Also she has been exposed to more news and hearing coverage than she probably expected. Our current faves are Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Swalwell, and Jamie Raskin. I also read Catch and Kill, so I love Rachel Maddow even more and plan to continue our New Yorker subscription.

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Week 9

Week 8 involved the two month check up, vaccines, and a panic that our child doesn’t hold her head up at 45 degrees like other kids we saw on the internet. Also she sleeps through the night, so I am worried my milk supply is going to dry up, but I’m also sleeping more. And her poop is green. I’ve always been interested in poop texture and colors based on health and diet, but I’m concerned, because she ONLY EATS ONE THING. The pediatrician didn’t seem too concerned about the green poop, but that pediatrician also doesn’t seem interested in kids. I really need to be more clear with the receptionist when I am scheduling that I want any doctor in the practice but her. Like maybe I name all the other doctors when she asks if there is someone we would like the appointment to be with, even though I haven’t met them.

Our marriage is okay. I speak to our baby in my native tongue so that she learns it, and David has resumed his vigorous Japanese studies…which to be clear is not the language I speak with our baby, my relatives and at all the family gatherings. “When she asks why daddy doesn’t speak the language I’m just going to have to tell her he didn’t love us enough to learn it,” I said yesterday, which I regret now. I wouldn’t say that to her for real. I think instead I’ll tell her that it’s important to diversify when it comes to speaking different languages in a household, and if we ever have an emergency that requires negotiations with the Japanese at a second grade reading level, daddy can help.

I saw Seth Myers’ stand up special on Netflix, and it was inspiring. I am planning to watch it again so I can study it and start writing my own jokes.

I’m also thinking about resuming meeting with my comedy group. Right now I’m in the doctor’s office waiting for my final blood draw to see if I still have diabetes. Let’s hope not because let’s just say I certainly haven’t been eating as if I have diabetes.

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Week 7

Last week my baby quietly wept as she ate. Having a person latched to your breast and weeping can be pretty devastating, I realized. Gentle sobs are much worse than the loud, angry cries. There is no way to know what is wrong: is it my milk, is it the way I’m holding her, is it that I’m not wearing deodorant? I stopped wearing deodorant after labor because I didn’t know if it was toxic for her to inhale all day. She has been taking in my natural musk, which admittedly is unpleasant.
I don’t think David has noticed the scent change, but he’s not tethered to me. He remains free.

She is tracking objects now, which is super neat. She also seems to pay attention when I hold books in front of her and turn the page. She doesn’t hold things for long yet. She does have long nails and scratches. That’s on me: I’m scared to file her nails. I have scratch marks all over, and I’m fine with that. I do need to file her nails though.

I have no idea if she’s eating enough. She has generous bowel movements, so I assume she is eating well. She also casually spits up milk, which I have read is normal. I do suspect she has acid reflux. I can smell it on her breath sometimes! Other times the smell of her breath is perfect. Any kind of discomfort she experiences or might experience (is she cold? warm? damp? is this shirt material going to bother her? she just farted – but maybe it was a shart and she needs to be changed?) is deeply upsetting to me. Now I know why my parents were/are so empathetic every time I had/have a cold, immediately giving me soothing remedies and checking in nonstop.

I’m super paranoid about her getting a UTI or bladder infection. She poops all the time and sometimes just hangs out in a deeply soiled diaper. She won’t tolerate a wet diaper, but she seems content to sit in her poop so it’s harder to figure out when it has occurred.

Also the Nationals won the World Series! We watched every post season game together, and I can’t wait to tell her when she is older that I only started learning about baseball when she was born, but now I care deeply about it. Three Nationals players also had newborns around her age and delivered at the same hospital! More on that later.

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Week 6 Part 2

To be fair, we are both sick.

Here’s what happened: we went to a wedding on Sunday. That is the only time I was really out in public. We also went to a restaurant Saturday, but I feel we were pretty isolated there. Anyway we went to a wedding on Sunday. Then I stayed home with our beloved while David continued living his best life, playing D&D, working out, playing tennis, going to a baseball game, etc. Tuesday night, I was exhausted and thought, “When David gets home, I will ask David to give her a bottle of expressed milk for her middle of the night feeding.” I was really excited about this plan. David got home after baby and I fell asleep, and when I woke to give him the good news, before I could even say it, he told me his throat hurt and he had bought cover guards to help prevent him from giving the baby a cold. I was really glad he bought guards, but I was not ready for the baby to have a cold. I also got sick soon after David broke the news of his impending cold, so I don’t know if I caught the cold from David or if we caught the cold from the wedding. Our immune systems are compromised, so it was only a matter of time. David keeps repeating how rare it is that we have coughs and runny noses at the same time.

Also yesterday she was really fussy after an excursion to the park. Nothing I did would calm her down. While David napped, I tried feeding her, rocking her, skin to skin, changed her diaper twice, fed again. I was worried this meant she had caught a cold, but I think she might be in a growth spurt.  Anyway, when David woke up from almost a TWO HOUR NAP, I said, “David I don’t know what’s wrong,” and he said something to try to be soothing, but I think I heard “Calm down, she’s totally fine,” and I can’t remember how I replied, but it was with extreme displeasure.

Anyway now I have a different dilemma! If she is in a growth spurt, I should wake her up to feed her, but I’m not supposed to wake her up at night. WHAT AM I TO DO!

Also I have to write Thank You notes for all the gifts we have received. Yesterday I tried posing her with one of the toys she received to include with the note, but I can’t decide whether to send the picture. She is propped up (you can see our hand in the photo), with one hand on the toy and her face looking away from the toy in disdain. I feel like the toy is a bit of a nuisance, and her expression seems to reflect that sentiment. We are so on the same page. She is literally the best.

 

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