When you find out you’re pregnant, if you’re anything like me, one of the first things you do is start looking up baby products. I asked about a million people what their registry “must-haves” were, and compared and contrasted almost every baby brand out there to build what I hoped was the perfect registry. It wasn’t, of course. One month in, and there are things that I was convinced I would use every day that I don’t think I have ever touched. Then, there are things that I didn’t buy that I have wound up making a mad dash to the store for. Every baby is different, so what Critter loves, your baby may hate. But I’ve put together a list of my registry must-haves as a Spoonie mom. Don’t base your entire registry off of my list, obviously. But if you’re a chronically ill parent, hopefully I can give you a good starting point for your own baby necessities.
Last week, Critter and I took an unexpected trip to Myrtle Beach. My parents had this trip planned for months, but when the time came, I was having some unexpected postpartum complications and couldn’t be home alone all the time while Justin was at work. To top it off, I have pretty seriously injured my tailbone. Traveling with a 3 week old baby is obviously not optimal, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
All in all, the trip went better than any of us could have imagined. Critter is an extremely laid back baby most of the time, which helped a lot. But other than that, my mom had plenty of useful tips for traveling both postpartum and with a baby, and what she didn’t tell me, I learned on the fly. Here’s what I learned this past week:
It’s been a while since I’ve written a book post. Not that I’ve stopped reading, of course, but it’s been harder lately. Not only that, but I just couldn’t find any books that I honestly felt were worth writing about. I don’t know if it’s me or the books that I was trying to read, but they just weren’t drawing me in. This month changed that, and I found some books I would actually be excited to recommend.
Since I have very specific taste in books, I decided to include Justin and Critter’s book recommendations as well. After all, you can never have too many options, right?
So, it turns out my serious complications weren’t destined to hit until about a week after Critter’s arrival. I had some healing issues, got so anemic that I turned grey, and I’ve a rough bout of the “baby blues” that I suspect may be bordering on actual Postpartum Depression. Luckily, between all of my great doctors, we’ve got me on the mend for now. So I’m back to writing posts about whatever crosses my mind, and hopefully, you’re back to reading them.
I expected that becoming a mom was going to turn my world upside down. And while it’s true in the ways I expected— fractured sleep patterns, hormonal issues, needing to sit on a hemorrhoid cushion 90% of the time— there were plenty of things that I didn’t expect, too. Here’s five of them.
Don’t worry, there is no gore in this story. There was gore in real life, but there’s none in this story.
I spent months and months dreading labor. I had been having regular, painful contractions for a long time. So long, in fact, that the doctors had been monitoring me for preterm labor based on contractions alone. Contractions suck. How was I going to deal with even worse contractions when the time actually came to pop out a baby?
I was stalled at 3 centimeters and 70% effaced when I arrived at the hospital. I was contracting, but it wasn’t doing anything, so we hooked me up to pitocin and waited. And waited.
“Tell us when you start to feel uncomfortable and we’ll start the epidural. Don’t worry about asking for it too early, we can always redose you. You don’t have to be in pain.”
That was reassuring.
When someone hears that I’m gluten free, there are three pretty standard reactions I’ve come to expect.
- “I’m sorry, I don’t think I could ever live without bread!”
- “What is gluten? What can you eat?”
- “Oh yeah, me too, it’s sooooo much healthier for you.”
I’m not going to be one of those celiacs that claims I never miss bread or pizza. I would probably chew off a man’s arm for a real pizza, and I’m not even kidding. As for the people who tell me, while I’m buying a gluten-free brownie the size of my face and eating it in one sitting, how healthy my diet must be? Well, yes and no. Yes, I am no longer literally starving to death because my body has decided gluten is the bad guy. No, I’m not some magical paragon of healthy living and eating. Sure, I eat a lot of salads and healthy, balanced meals. But you’re going to pry my baked goods and sodas out of my cold, dead hands. A girl’s gotta have balance, right?
The “so what can you eat” question is the only one that throws me. I mean…..everything y’all eat, except without the gluten?
When you think of Cinco de Mayo, you probably think of two things: food and booze. Endless margaritas, beer, tacos, and all the Mexican food you can stomach. No wonder it’s such a popular holiday, right? Despite the misconceptions surrounding it (no, it isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day), Cinco de Mayo remains a favorite holiday for many. And why not? Who doesn’t love Mexican Food?
When Food Should Taste Good reached out and asked if I’d like to collaborate with them for a Cinco de Mayo recipe, of course I said yes. They sent me several flavors of their tortilla chips, and after perusing the offerings (including blue corn, my favorite!), I decided to make something that would well with any chip I chose: guacamole.
Guacamole is a simple dip that’s endlessly customizable. My favorite guacamole recipe is incredibly simple, so I’ve included a list of my favorite “add-ins” for when you want to mix things up a bit.
Taco’s entrance into our lives was unusual, to say the least. Justin was up early for a prayer service that started well before dawn. While he was driving to the church, fighting the cold and the rain, he noticed a little furball sitting pathetically on the side of the road. Always having a heart for animals, he stopped and wrangled the young feline into his car. The cat dried off and drank water in the car during the prayer service, and when Justin got home, he stuck the cat into the bathroom and waited for me to wake up.
When he couldn’t take the suspense anymore, he burst into the bedroom, where I was clinging onto the last bits of sleep. “I have a big surprise for you in the bathroom,” he blurted out, which is never a good way to start a morning. Still, I know Justin.
“It’s a cat, isn’t it?” I asked.
In the attachment parenting world, which I am not a part of, there’s a phrase. “Touched out.” When you’re done breastfeeding, you’re done with little hands wanting to hold yours, and the next person to touch you might just be getting locked outdoors for the wolves. Sorry kids. Sorry husband. Sorry cats.
I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be “touched out” until you’re actually a parent. It’s a symptom of postpartum depression, and it’s a sign that you’re overworked, overtired, and pouring from an empty cup. Here’s my confession: I’ve been “touched out” since the first trimester.
Pregnancy is a weird time in anyone’s life. The things that are happening to your body are totally new and beyond freaky, and since everyone is different, it’s hard to get a baseline of “yeah, that’s fairly normal.” For example, most women have morning sickness. It varies for everyone. Some people are sick until the end of the first trimester. Some people are sick to between fifteen and twenty weeks. Some people are like me and develop hyperemesis gravidarum, remaining sick until (or even after) the baby is born.
When you have a rare disease, pregnancy becomes even more complicated. There are more doctors on your case than some people will see in their entire life. Even better, none of these doctors will communicate. That would be way too hard for these busy doctors, who have never seen a patient with your disease or illness before.
I could easily write a post about “weird things that happen when you’re pregnant,” and I might some day. But let’s start with the weird things that happen when you’re pregnant and have a rare disease. (In my case, I actually have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Myasthenia Gravis, which are both rare.)