In 2000, the year DH and I met in Paris and later began our trans-Atlantic relationship (him in Connecticut, me in London), I kept a diary where I wrote something every single day. Just a line or two, enough to remind me what I did that day. Fourteen years later, it’s fascinating to read what I did on this day in 2000.
I’m sort of doing the same for the first year of V’s life. I say ‘sort of’ because I don’t have much time to do anything these days. I do manage a weekly summary of firsts — our first walk (felt wonderful), first trip running errands (took twice as long as expected), first trip to the beach (so cold!) — because V isn’t so interactive that there’s something new to report every day. That said, there have been a few moments of note.
Tingling boobs feels like the surge in your mouth when you taste something sour. To me, this is the perfect description because in both instances fluid (milk or saliva) floods your nipple or your mouth. When my boobs tingle, I know I have a few minutes to wrap up whatever I’m doing before retreating to somewhere comfortable to nurse V with my phone to hand. (I use the Total Baby app to record feedings, diaper changes, and other stuff.) Between feedings I have a couple of hours during which time I can do one thing: prepare dinner, cook dinner, write a blog post, pay bills, even do a little design work, because I don’t get maternity leave. One afternoon, when V was six weeks old, I rushed to IKEA for a couple of hours leaving her at home with DH with some pumped milk. As I was waiting in the checkout line, my boobs began to tingle — a sign that V was hungry. Sure enough, when I texted DH to ask if she was okay, he said she had just finished eating. I smiled, delighted with the timing and missing her terribly. The reliability, the hormonal psychic bond is fascinating to me. When I got home, it was longest we’d spent apart from each other and I smelled her for the first time. I drank it in deeply, suddenly understanding what my friend, D, had meant when he talked about that newborn smell. V always smells good to me. Her pee-saturated diaper smells sweet, her poop buttery. Even when she covered in spit up, the strongest smell is that of a wet, raw potato. But I hadn’t been able to smell her before — not consciously — until we’d been apart.
How much easier it is to notice changes in people when we haven’t seen them in a while. It was only in the company of a three-week-old baby that I realised that she no longer has the squeaking kitten cry of a newborn. When did that happen? I wondered. And my mum, who has so far only met her via FaceTime, commented that her hair is longer and thicker, she is chubbier, and more alert.
I knew she was more alert, though. If you’re familiar with The Wonder Weeks, you’ll know what I mean when I say that she’s been through the first developmental leap. She can almost hold her head up unsupported, she is more interested in her surroundings, and, best of all, she smiles often and is beginning to laugh, a hnnng!
We’re so lucky in that, so far, V isn’t a very fussy baby. She’s actually very easy-going, especially if she’s in my arms, fed, and diapered. When she’s hungry, she turns her head and squints out of one eye as she opens and closes her nouth. I call it her Popeye look. If she has to wait, she yowls, a nnnnn-NEH! punctuated with inhaled snorts, before rooting with a bobbing head, pouncing on my tit. The snorts and her curly mohawk atop little fat apple cheeks has led to the nickname ‘Piranha Pig’. After a few minutes of gulping, she exhales with a three contented shudders, and her body goes limp in my arms.
Putting her to bed is easy. She hates being swaddled, but around 11:30pm is tired enough that after a minute of struggling she passes out. Most nights she won’t wake until about 4am. Sometimes it’s 3am, sometimes it’s 5am. Once it was 6:30 and I woke up feeling like I could conquer the world, not having had that much sleep in one stretch since April (because I was peeing every 2-3 hours during my pregnancy, even in the second trimester).
I know these are early days and there will be plenty of times when I am at my wits’ end, but right now my biggest problems are money (I’m not working full-time and don’t get paid maternity leave) and how to get all the household things done with a baby in my arms. (Any one-handed recipes out there?)
So this makes me wonder about the future of this blog. I don’t see myself as a mommy blogger per se, nor do I want to be the poster child for DEIVF. I want to write about the conversations we’ve already started to have with her because egg donation is part of V’s story but it doesn’t define her.
Mostly, I have to consider why I’m writing if not many people read it. My readership dwindled when I password-protected this blog. It shrank further after I got pregnant. It has surprised me how few people these days to let me know that they read and enjoyed something I wrote. Especially my fellow donor egg mamas — there are so few of us, shouldn’t we gals stick together? But I enjoy writing, so even if only my best friends read it I’ll continue to write. For my pleasure, to exercise my brain, for posterity. Perhaps a new blog with a new name is the answer. Food for thought… but now — no exaggeration — I have to change my top and V’s onesie because she just spat up!