This was a blog about my adventures with Joe. Then, along came Nia. Four years later, along came Stage 3 breast cancer. Fast forward two years, and I'm now caring for my dad while he fights his own cancer battle.
Tonight Joe and I left Nia home with Pam (aka Bama) for a little over an hour while we went and had dinner together. A huge milestone for us, and just what Joe and I needed. We've been so focused on Nia for 4 months now that we needed a little bit of time to focus on each other. We had a blast and came home so refreshed. Pam said Nia did really well with her, but after an hour had past Nia was wanting me. Just as we were paying and heading home we got a call from Pam: "Ok, she's done." Perfect timing as I was missing my sweet girl anyway! :)
4 months old! And what a month it's been!! I'm looking back through pictures and my journal and it seems like there were so many milestones. Here we go:
-- Met her Uncle Kyle & Auntie Whitney -- Had her first cold (just a quick 36-hour mild one) -- Went in the hot tub for the first time (and many times since) -- Went to two memorials for her great grandparents Gunnar Hafstad & Kay Stearns, so met TONS of extended family -- Went to her first restaurant (the Crepe Place) -- Held on to a toy when it was placed in her hands, which lead to reaching for and grasping a toy 9 days later -- now she holds on to toys and puts them in her mouth -- Seemed to start teething -- Laughed! -- Went to the downtown Farmers' Market -- Tasted her first non-breastmilk food: An organic strawberry (which lead to licking a half dozen other fruits) -- Grasped her feet with her hands -- First long car trip -- Blew raspberries -- Went on a swing at the playground (and loved it!) -- Rolled in order to get to an out-of-reach-toy
I know what your thinkin', and I totally agree: She's a freakin' genius!! ;)
Alternative title: The Time I Nursed My Baby on Asphault in a Parking Lot
Well, now we have one like so many other parents: Now we, too, have the horrifying, nightmare story of our first long car trip with our newborn.
Back in August Joe's Grandma Kay died in Illinois. So yesterday was the California celebration of Kay's life, held in Roseville at Joe's Uncle Steve's house. Roseville is ordinarily 3 hours from Santa Cruz. With a restless newborn, it took 5 hours. She slept the first 60 miles, so it was the next 120 that took 4 hours, with 4 stops! (The trip home took 4 hours, but it wasn't much better as you'll soon read.)
I should interupt myself right here to say in all honestly that Nia acted perfectly reasonably for a newborn. She was restless and angry in the car, but for the most part, a pure delight at the party. She was very curious about all the people, and when she was tired or hungry or overstimulated there at Steve's it was very easy to take quiet nursing/napping breaks in a bedroom. In the car, it was much harder to entertain her and she was too distracted to nurse well.
"Highlights" of our car trip:
-- Nia woke up extra early Sunday morning, at 6a. So Joe and I got up, too, and began getting ready to leave. The idea was to leave once she got drowsy, which worked. At 8 she was sleepy and we were in the car by 8:15 or so. She was alseep 15 miles or so down the road and slept for 45 minutes.
-- Concord: Our first Nia Stop. After napping she was hungry. We found an empty parking lot with shade right off the freeway. Nia nursed a little but was mostly very curious about this new place we'd brought her. Around 10a the little parking lot started filling up with Shane Co. employees so we got back on the road.
-- Vacaville: From Concord to Vacaville, I drove and Joe entertained Nia with books, chew toys and her favorite stuffed animal, the Lion. But by Vacaville (which really isn't that far), she was fussy and unimpressed. I pulled off the road and quickly parked in the first shade I found, which turned out to be across from a busy church and in front of a closed dentist office. Next to the road there was some grass and an oak tree. We spread out Nia's blankets and she happily gazed up at the oak tree for awhile. I tried to nurse her again, but still, she was too distracted. We were still in good spirits and optomistic about how the car ride was going and decided to try to move on.
-- Davis: Just passed Davis, Nia went from a little fussiness to full-blown panic and hiccuppy sobbing. I was driving again and got off the freeway as fast as possible. This time I parked in a deserted office building parking lot. After comforting Nia for awhile in the shade, she settled down and started looking and acting like herself again. Still didn't want to nurse, though. So Joe strapped on the Snugli and we took our little sunglassed bug for a walk. We ended up finding a nice paved bike path, and although it was pretty hot, we were all very happy to be out walking around. We saw a big bird nest and a wild turkey foraging in the leaves by the trail. Before long, Nia was asleep. We debated and decided to try to put her back in the car and push on.
-- Roseville, 10 miles from the party: She woke right up, unfortunately, so her nap was only about 15 minutes long, which bought us a little bit of time, but not much. She was only happy for a few minutes, and then her fussing coincided with sudden stop and go traffic so Joe ditched the freeway and pulled into the first parking lot, which turned out to be Kaiser. We parked in the shade and as soon as she was out of the car seat, Nia was happy again. I tried to nurse her again, but she was clearily just sick of the car seat and felt no need to nurse. We changed her diaper and put on her party dress. All day we'd been changing her diaper in the trunk because it was a good flat surface. Looking at her lying there in the trunk, I got the idea that maybe I could nurse her in the trunk (I was stuck on the nursing thing because by now she hadn't eaten in several hours and I was feeling pretty full and uncomforable!). Joe thought it was a crazy idea, but I tried it anyway (I thought maybe she wasn't nursing because she wanted to be lying down, like we do at home). So I climbed in with her. But she wasn't interested in nursing. I wonder what I looked like to passers-by when I climbed out of the trunk and lifted my baby out!
Again, we decided to push on, and this time she was pissed from the moment we strapped her back into the carseat until we finally arrived at the party. That last 15 minutes or so were the hardest of the drive up. She was clearily done with the car. Good thing we had made it to our destination!169 miles over 5 hours...
The thing was, though, after the party we had to drive all the way home again. I think Joe & I thought about that several times during the afternoon, with dread. When the time came to leave, Nia was asleep, which we thought would be perfect, but of course, she woke right up when we put her in the car seat. She only lasted a few minutes in the car before getting annoyed. This time she was upset because it was bedtime and while she really, really wanted to be asleep, it was difficult because she wasn't in her bed.
-- Lincoln: We pulled off the road and parked at the deserted Lincoln library with a very upset baby and two exhausted parents (this was maybe only 15 minutes after leaving Roseville, too). It was sunset & 87 degrees out.
This is where things got nightmarish. Joe would tell you this is where things got a bit psychotic.
I tried to nurse her in the backseat. No luck. I tried to rock her in my arms standing by the car. No luck. We turned on her sleepy time CD, turned it up loudly and Joe and I both hung on to her carseat and swung it through the air with her inside, crying (not to freak her out, though that is how it sounds in the re-telling -- we were just trying to sway her to sleep with the movement). At that point the mosquitos were coming out and a car drove by slowly, clearily rubbernecking -- probably phoning Child Protective Services! Next I tried to nurse her again. This time she stayed in the car seat, on the ground by the car, and I tried to lean in to her as far as I could, which meant I was lying on the asphalt. When I couldn't lean far enough in, Joe tilted the seat and Nia toward me. No luck. (That car should have stuck around as this probably looked far stranger than us swinging her through the air!)
This was when I walked with her to the far edge of the parking lot, trying to get away from the bright parking lot lights. As I looked out across the dark open space, at the full moon rising, feeling a million miles from home, I thought, "This is it. We are going to have to stay here. We are never going to get her back in the car seat."
She continued to cry. Next I thought I should try lying down to nurse her again. Joe thought I should use the back seat, but it was totally covered in all our stuff and I felt desperate, so I yelled at him to make a "nest" out of blankets, pillows and sweatshirts on the ground by the car. "Quickly!" He did it, but later told me that he thought I'd gone totally psychotic by then. Of course, she only kind of nursed in this so-called nest. She was crying way too hard at that point.
So I got up and just rocked her in my arms and shushed in her ear until it finally worked. Joe stood by us and kept the mosquitos from eating us alive. When she was finally sleep, I put her quickly into her car seat and hissed, "Drive!!" to Joe and he drove out of that parking lot like we were robbers fleeing a bank, me shutting my door after we were already moving. For the next two hours we listened to Nia's sleepytime CD over and over again. Every time I took my hand off her head, she stirred and even opened her eyes. So, as uncomfortable as it was, I didn't move my hand, and she stayed asleep all the way to our house. (After Nia's CD nearly put Joe to sleep even though he was guzzling Coke, I let him change it to The Beta Band, but still he and I didn't dare talk to each other for fear of waking Nia -- it was a long 3 hours home.)
Today, we are all doing fine. Nia is recovering though, a bit, I've noticed. She was sleepy and hungry most of today, but doesn't seem to be damaged otherwise. :) I think Joe and I are fine, too, and we'll stay married. After we got home and got into bed, while Nia nursed in her sleep, Joe and I whispered and laughed over her head at how totally crazy and bad things got in that Lincoln Library parking lot. I'm so glad we are able to laugh about it. At the time, I think we were both kind of hating each other, simply because our Nia was so upset and it was so hot and we were so far from home. (Any one else can relate?)
Yeah. It'll be awhile before we take another long roadtrip. But, seriously, we are glad we were able to go and participate in Kay's celebration with the family. It was great seeing everyone and introducing Nia to all her family!
I'm a little overdue in the picture-posting department, so I thought it would be fun to watch some trashy TV tonight while my little one sleeps and sort through some pictures of her. Really, could you think of a more fun Thursday night? A glass of Pinot, dark chocolate, "Project Runway," adorable Nia pictures, and a live sleeping Nia nearby. :)