Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I didn't think I would miss my husband so much. I spend a lot of my time cuddling someone else now and that's as it should be and I love every minute of those amazing baby cuddles but I really still need cuddles of my own and I miss it. I'm really hoping that once the two weeks of non stop Grandma time comes to an end we'll get some time to - I don't know, reconnect is the wrong word, but I miss just hanging out with Mr. E. My doctor said I was supposed to come in six weeks after giving birth for a check up and to discuss birth control options - I think I can just tell her we have a co sleeper and be done with that conversation.

I didn't know that I wouldn't be a baby talker. But I am so not. To the point where it kind of gets on my nerves when other people do it. Eli and I do have little chats - all the time, but not in ga ga goo goo speak.

I didn't think 5 pounds six ounces would be so very very tiny. Eli doesn't fit in any regular clothes. He doesn't even fit in preemie clothes. And when I see him out of his clothes I am struck every time but how tiny, and yet how perfect, this miniature child of mine is. He makes all the other babies I see look like great hulking beasts (but not YOURS, of course).

I didn't realize I would care so little about having my entire life taken over by this tiny creature. I have to feed him every three hours, sometimes more depending on how well he ate the time before, and even though it gets a little old because it takes him so long to eat each time, I really don't even care. We spend most of our time just hanging out and sleeping and eating and it's really my favorite time I've ever spent with anyone. If I had known how much fun it would be to be a mom, if I had known how little I would care that I can't go to the movies now or that I don't have any time to myself or I can't pee alone - I wouldn't have waited so long. I wouldn't have worried so much.

I never realized I would feel so lucky. I have moments where I look over at my husband whos been just incredible every moment of when I was pregnant and every moment since Eli's birth and I look at my tiny perfect son and I have moments like when our pediatrician said to me in her thick Indian accent "Oh, he has a BEAUTIFUL heart" and I just feel so lucky in those moments it feels almost dangerous, how wonderful and happy I am. I don't know that I deserve it.

I never expected to get over myself so quickly. Before I had Eli, I was really wrapped up, waaay too wrapped up, in everyone else, in what everyone else was doing, when they were having kids, what they thought of me, if they would have better baby furniture, if my sister in law would buy a pottery barn crib I couldn't afford, if someone else would take the names I wanted to use, if I would have an emotional breakdown when someone else had a girl before I did. And then once I had him I simply stopped caring about all that. It sounds weird but I just don't care anymore. It's not that I don't wish everyone else love and happiness and babies and puppies and rainbows, I do. It's just that it's irrelevant to my happiness. I've got mine. I hope they get theirs, but whether they do or don't doesn't add or subtract from my own.

I never expected that this tiny creature would make me feel so connected to everyone else that came before. It's more than just the stories of all the people who came before, of the grandfather who gave him his middle name or the great grandmother who raised nine kids on her own after her no good husband Beuxregard left her. It's glancing down at Eli's face and seeing my mom for an instant, it's my brother's chin in miniature, it's glimpses of Mr. E in a curl of hair or in Eli's long perfect fingers you know he didn't get from me, it's seeing my own nose right there on his tiny baby face and remembering my own mother teasing me about my pouty lower lip and seeing it all over again in my son.

The one thing I did expect, the one thing I was counting on? That indescribable new baby smell. It's there, and it's better than I ever expected.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Birth Story is in progress, but please note I have had headaches for which I took more pain medication. Until then enjoy this update in list form

-Have lost 20 pounds in nine days!!! Diet of chocolate and constant breastfeeding appears to be magic diet. Must work on marketing strategy and become millionaire. When not breastfeeding.

-Have already compromised all previously held morals as only place to buy preemie clothes in town is at Walmart. (please note: Child is not preemie, only preemie sized).

-Am forced to threaten Mr. Baby daily with ice cube hands and a lifetime of girls clothes from Walmart as Mr. Baby would rather poop than eat. Clearly takes after father.

-Will retrieve non maternity clothes from garage later today. Expect imminent emotional breakdown.

-Am strangely intrigued by that movie The Queen after having watched last half hour of Academy Awards. Am clearly huge loser.

-Child's umbilical cord just fell off. Is clearly genius.

-Thank you to all for congratulations and well wishes. Am feeling very very very lucky.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Welcome to the World, Baby Boy

Eli Green_w00d Ekd@hl
born February 17, 2007
5.6 pounds, 19 inches long

Friday, February 16, 2007

Everything is Fine

We had the non stress test and Thor performed beautifully...after looking at his heart rate and movement and various other printouts my doctor said everything looked great, and we're just going to have a small baby. Last night after the doctor's appointment I felt about ten thousand times better than I did the night before. We still have to have non stress tests twice a week as a precaution but it looks like other than that, now we just wait for the little stinker to decide when he wants to arrive. The doctor said it could be anytime now!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No Good Way

I tried to think of a fancy way or a nice story to tell this but there really isn't one. We had an ultrasound on Tuesday and the baby is measuring small for his gestational age, particularly in the abdomen, which is how they diagnose IUGR. (Intra Uterine Growth Restriction). I have to go in for twice weekly non stress tests to make sure everything is ok and our first one is today, so we won't know more until later on today. If Thor (our nickname for the baby) responds appropriately and doesn't appear to be in distress I would imagine they'll want to leave him in there so he can try to fatten up - but they did say that it wasn't likely he'll gain much at this point. I'm small and I was small at birth so that could be the reason - maybe he is just a small baby. At this point they think he is about five pounds, but that is give or take 13 ounces either way.

If Thor fails the non stress test either I will start on steroids or they will deliver the baby if they think it's better for him to just come on out now.

Like I said right now we don't know much. I spent much of yesterday freaking out and blaming myself and crying and calling my mom but now I'm feeling better. After all everything else on the ultrasound was fine and Thor is still moving around and all that. I'm frantically cleaning my house in case we're about to have a new baby around here - and the dryer is fixed, thank god. I don't have all the stuff I need for my hospital bag and we don't have any diapers but at this point I don't care, I just want my boy to be ok. That's really all I care about. That and a clean toilet.

Like I said I am doing ok most of the time. I am used to having horrible valentines days (aren't we all?). We skipped our last childbirth class because I just wasn't up to it and I watched American Idol with Mr. E and some heart shaped Junior Mints and I felt better. Of course everyone tells me things will be fine and this is very normal and this happens all the time and to relax and not stress and don't be nervous and don't be scared but really unfortunately it is not something I can just turn off.

This might sound stupid but I finally just covered up the ultrasound pictures that we got on Tuesday of Thor and his little face and that I had put on the refrigerator. I just couldn't look at my little baby and his tiny chubby baby face and think that there was something wrong with him and not break down so I just covered up the pictures and now I feel much better.

Will let you all know what we hear from the doctor today.
Send good thoughts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Think She's Here

There was no one else like my Grandma Jackson.

She was, from start to finish, a class act.

Because I am named for her she is inextricably tied up in my birth story, the one my mom used to tell me every year on my birthday. How my mom called up my grandmother when I was born to give her the news… and she asked who was calling and my mom said “the mother of Elizabeth Jackson” and at first my grandmother didn’t understand because that was HER name and then she figured out that her first grandchild had been born and had been named for her and she went and had a moment and then began bragging wildly to all her friends who were over at her house playing bridge.

When my brother was born my frandmother came to our house to help out and she taught me to make scalloped potatoes and I still make them today, the same way she did.

We didn't always live nearby but we used to visit her every year in the summer and to me her little stucco house in LA was paradise on earth. It was always sunny and she would have made me a new dress and her backyard would be full of the roses she grew and she’d make her famous lemon meringue pie from lemons she grew in her yard and I still remember a time she took me to the grocery store and when I asked her if I could get some Klondike bars, she said sure and put them in the cart. I’d never had a Klondike bar before. I still remember that day and how it felt. It felt like pure love. Because it was, I think.

When my sister was born and my mother called people to tell them that Annie had Down Syndrome my Grandmother Jackson was the one person who didn’t act as if some sort of death sentence had been handed down. She reacted as she had to the news of all her other grandchildren – with congratulations and love. My mother still talks about it and how much it meant to her.

No one was ever a greater advocate for my sister than my grandmother – no one was ever more patient. It’s a cliché and old fashioned but my grandmother tried hard to teach both me and my sister what it meant to be a lady and a decent human being, in the best of ways.

She always wrote thank you notes. She wrapped packages without any tape, so the paper could be reused. She wouldn’t buy grapes. Whenever I would come to visit she would just “happen” to have three or four desserts on hand to offer me. She taught me to make Christmas ornaments out of Lifesavers and she loved to play Rummikub.

My Grandma Jackson died about five years ago from lung cancer. I still think of her all the time. I still sleep under a king size quilt she made by hand. She never owned a sewing machine. This weekend I made some very simple baby blankets for our impending arrival because I was just plain sick of blue fleece and as I was stitching and pinning and folding I thought of my grandmother and I wished, purely and simply, that she were here. I wish she knew that her great grandson was about to be born.

And then I thought maybe, in some small way, in the stitch of a baby blanket, in the fold of a seam, maybe she is here after all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'd Like to File a Formal Complaint...

...I just got out of the shower and it seems all the towels in our house shrank!

Must be all that line drying.

37 Weeks

Monday, February 12, 2007

Making the Best of Things

So ever since I started to wonder if our house was centered on some kind of ancient Indian burial ground or maybe a localized power inversion or perhaps the Hellmouth? I decided that maybe I should stop announcing to the world that I just couldn't take it anymore and I should instead try to make the best of things. Because you know what? There is no point to annoucing that you need a break and that you can't take it anymore. Things happen and you can't control that and you try to learn from them as best you can and then you soldier on. You take it. You have no choice, announcements or not. You hang your laundry out to dry and think of Antonia hanging her laundry out to dry back in the day on some prairie in the middle of Nebraska and you think of all the power you're saving and you transport yourself into a summer's eve commercial and tell yourself things like "fresh!" and "clean with the power of the sun!" and try not to notice that your pillowcases smell actually quite a bit like exhaust and your towels have this new exfoliant quality they never had before.

Mr. E assured me that despite my new pioneer spirit we needed a new dryer but I was caught up in making the best of things and so we did not get a new dryer, and then he went away for a work thingee and simultaneously it rained for a week. I don't know if you know this but pioneer spirit or no, large scale flood type raining isn't really conducive to laundry drying and really who I am not to support the local economy with my hard earned tax refund? So this weekend Mr. E and I went to Lowe's and bought a dryer and when a dark bitterness at having to spend a shitload of money on something I already had one of instead of something I wanted and had been dreaming about buying for a year I again made the best of things and told myself I was lucky to be able to afford a new dryer when we needed one and besides think of the soft soft towels, and I actually kind of got excited about my dryer, and the lovely folks at Lowe's promised to bring it the next day, a SUNDAY! So even when the Lowe's man called at 7 am ON A SUNDAY to tell us they would bring it by at noon I looked on the bright side and thought "Eh, now we are up early, we can get so much done, and now we will have our dryer and tonight I will wear soft fluffy pajama pants and sleep on clean sheets and we will once again have soft towels and yea! A new dryer."

Oh friends.

We do, in fact, have a new dryer, sitting dead, unworkable, in our kitchen, on this fine and gray February morning. We also have an appointment with an electrician, so he can come look at the wiring in our kitchen and tell us why, two dryers and three power cords later, NO DRYERS WILL WORK IN THIS HOUSE.

And try as I might to look on the bright side there is something that happens when you find yourself outside in the cold at nine oclock on Sunday night hanging out the very laundry you just naively assumed you'd be pulling from your BRAND NEW $500 dryer that sits useless in your house that demoralizes you just a little.

On the bright side, it isn't raining. Yet.

Which is lucky, because the new roof?


Friday, February 02, 2007

When It Rains

I’m not a big believer in luck. I think maybe there’s too much chance to it – I like to think most good things that happen in my life happen because I worked hard for them, and I also blame myself when bad things happen – like the dryer broke because I’m bad at managing money and so it’s my fault that I don’t have savings and can’t run right out and buy a new dryer right now.

But I have to tell you I’m having a run of something and I just need a break. When we moved into this house it was partially because Mr. E had to two days in which to find us a place to live and partially because it really is a cute house, it’s very nice and it’s to our taste. We usually end up living in older houses because more than anything else I need high ceilings and wood floors and there’s just a certain aesthetic that I’m more into and that means an older house, which is fine, but never in my life have I lived somewhere more prone to random collapse than this house. And the luck seems to be spreading to all of us, our dog and our cat and our car and I hope you don’t get contaminated simply by reading my blog.

So this house. It’s safe to say it’s not well constructed and I think it’s had a lot of amateurish home repair - we notice small random glitches every day. Cabinet doors open the wrong way. Light switches are reversed. The bedroom door was installed slightly off kilter and would never shut all the way. This fall the house filled with thousands of mayflies that bred in the hundreds of rotting walnuts littering the lawn – the bugs are so small they can come right in through the screens. Some of the electric outlets are put in backwards, which means you can’t use a night light in them. The heat vents all face the wrong way. None of the sink stoppers work. Cell phones fail – anywhere in the house. The windows and roof both leaked like sieves and had to be replaced in days long projects involving a multitude of banging and lots of loud, bad construction worker music - heavy on the Creed.

Then there are all the things that simply break. Every time the toilet flushed, nasty water leaked out of it onto the floor, so that had to be fixed. The kitchen sink backed up and had to be snaked twice – I think the garbage disposal is a pretense at best. And we learned that in desperate situations, a bucket of hot water can sometimes unclog a toilet that won’t plunge.

Our dryer broke. The microwave caught on fire. The oven died.

And it spread. The dog gave us all ringworm. Our car wouldn’t start, for the first time since we’ve owned it. It’s freezing cold inside, all the time. Our electricity bill for the month of December was $315 dollars. And yesterday while I was taking a shower, the cold water knob snapped off in my hand, and when Mr. E went to take a look at it, the entire business at the end of the pipe flew apart and out of the wall, and a stream of icy water shot out of the hole that remained – for an hour and half, while all concerned searched frantically for a way to turn off the water to the house.

A plumber just now came by to take a look at the faucet and wanted $500 to tear out the whole wall and replace everything, which our landlords declined to pay. So…here I sit. Nine months pregnant, no water, save two five gallon jugs we bought yesterday at the grocery store.

This morning my doctor told me I was measuring small, and that she was ordering another ultrasound. And then Mr. E and I drove home - in the fog - to our house of many disasters – but not before noticing a mysterious and oily substance leaking out of the vents of the car and coating the insides of all the windows.

Now it’s almost like a game. What will go wrong next?

The computer appears to be making a high pitched whining noise, but Mr. E also reports a mysterious ticking emanating from his barely over a year old and just slightly past the warranty IPOD.

The race is on!