Sorry for the absence last Monday, ReaderFriends … If you didn't catch the news on Facebook or the Jaunty Quills blog, Arizona and I were in the process of welcoming Baby H into the world (I'm still working on an online pseudonym, bear with me … What do we think of Wallaby?). And as he turned out to be a big baby, it was a bit of a process. But I've got good drugs, Arizona is doing lots of 'let me get that for you', and over the course of the week, we've gone from happy but shellshocked:
To glimmers of a new normal:
So far, I'm grateful for a whole lot of things--my wonderful hubby; our strapping son who's already sleeping three or four hours at a time (bless him); the happy accident that we're not living in, say, the 1700s, when things probably would've had a very different outcome last Monday … and the fact that Baby H came a little early, which means that a) he didn't get any bigger before attempting to exit stage I-don't-think-you-fit-through-there; and b) we're not staring down the barrel of doing a mad dash to the hospital into the teeth of Winter Storm Juno.
Yeppers, here on the east coast of the US of A, we're looking at our first big snow event (snowpocalypse?) of the winter. The weather hens are flapping around on the telly, telling us the sky is falling, and those of us who know the routine are doing the usual prepping. Gas for the generator, check. Full charges on all phones and computers, check. Lots of candles and lighters, check. Plenty of food, including canned stuff that will heat easily on the Coleman stove or George Foreman, check. But we've also got the added challenge of a New Baby, and not really being sure what he needs on a day to day basis yet.
Yesterday, the three of us ventured out to do errands. I managed to pack and forget the awesome tri-fold changing-pad-slash-carry-purse that a dear friend made for me (shout out, Donna!), but we at least remembered the baby and managed to time his feedings so he was a happy, sleepy thing for the duration. (This as opposed to a couple of days earlier when I whipped out an emergency boob in the pediatrician's parking lot, thereby quelling an impending riot.) We got gas, hit the bank, and then pulled into the grocery store, where the parking lot was already packed by midmorning two days before the crap weather was scheduled to hit. Arizona visibly girded his loins and said, 'Do you want to stay in the car with Baby while I do the shopping?'
At least I think that was what he said. I was already out the door and halfway across the parking lot.
See, he would cheerfully live on a mountaintop and venture into the nearest town only when our supplies ran low. Me? I occasionally need me some noise, lights, rude people, nice people, chai latte and two-for-one sales on English Muffins. So in I plunged to Stop and Shop, which has all of the above, and I started working my way down the daunting list that Arizona and I had put together that morning. In doing so, I completely skipped the baby aisle, not realizing it until I was well past the frozen pizza.
When you're doing the infertility dance with a side of I-waited-too-long-and-now-am-too-damn-old, you come up with some pretty whacky coping strategies (or was that just me?). I didn't obsess about seeing babies out and about with their moms (too much) or put on my judgy pants when I saw parents doing things different from how I thought I would (mostly). I did, however, avoid going through the baby aisle of whatever store we might be in. I just didn't need to see all the mysterious stuff I might never use, like snot suckers, tiny nail clippers, and fourteen different kinds of wet wipes, each designated for a different body part. Never mind the things that parents speak of with such reverence, like the Diaper Genie and the Boppy.
I still stayed out of those areas once the doctors started saying things like 'you've got a happy baby in there' and 'we'll see you in a week', not wanting to jinx it. So you'd think that my first official venture into Aisle 4 would be a momentous occasion, right? Angels would sing, some appropriately kicky theme song would pour from the overhead speakers, and my fellow shoppers (even the rude ones) would spontaneously burst into applause because Arizona and I had Gotten It Done, Dammit.
In reality, I abandoned my cart next to the beer and waddle-bolted back to the aisle in question, dodging other bodies and carts, and doing a lot of the 'ooh, ouch, eek, ack' that currently accompanies my attempts at perambulation with a whole lot of stitches in tender places. Down Aisle 4 I went, past the wipey things, washy things, sucky things, and liquid food things that I haven't yet felt myself lacking, down to the diapers.
Where I froze, confronted by entirely Too Many Choices.
And then I, who routinely ignores the suggestions from Amazon and Netflix as to what I might like based on my past purchases, preferring instead to do my own research and form my own opinions, grabbed a familiar bag like it was a lifeline in the midst of Winter Storm Juno, going with the same brand and size (not newborn, see above re: big baby) that the hospital had provided. And, sweating like I had thrown on a heavy parka and twenty extra pounds and gone for an awkward jog (because, well, that's pretty accurate), I returned to my cart, panicked briefly when I didn't see it next to the pizza, located it next to the beer, and continued onward, triumphantly in possession of a storm's worth of Pampers.