Damn Itchy

At a week before the end of my leave from work, I thought I’d gotten into a good groove of things. Mastitis was seemingly at bay, I was getting back into sprinting and some easy jogging, and we had several good days in a row.

Alas, it was not meant to last. I suddenly developed some hive-like rashes that itched like all hell. They started out small, and I’ve had hives before, so I was not too concerned. However, they quickly expanded, and exploded out of my stretch marks in numerous, patchy, bumps. It was the worst itch I’d ever had, and I didn’t want to use anything that would interfere with breastfeeding.

I Googled these horrible bumps and it sounded and looked (Google images, shudder) exactly like PUPPS, which strangely typically occurs in women pregnant with boys, entails pretty much the worst imaginable itch (a woman on a forum said she’d rather experience labor 5 times over than deal with this again), and is only resolved with time. Just my luck. Not pregnant anymore, and had a girl, and breaking out in this horror less than a week before returning to work. I emailed my doc and she didn’t think it was PUPPS but suggested cortisone and making sure to wipe it off before feeding, along with a low dose of Benadryl.

I’ve always been a little hesitant when it comes to using medications, probably owing partly to the fact I’ve never been seriously ill, but I’ve gotten so much worse after having a kid. It’s worrisome to put random shit on my skin when I know she’s going to eat right off of it. I caved one night and used cortisone, making sure to wipe it off thoroughly in the morning before Little V ate, but I wasn’t too keen on it, so I started googling “home remedies” and “natural” ways of dealing with horrible rashes.

This led me to sending poor husband on a hunt for Witch Hazel (easy to find) and pine tar soap, which I had never heard of, and which was not readily available at Wal-Mart or any nearby pharmacy. After making some calls and consulting the internet, we discovered GNC carries it (how fortunate that we live close to a GNC store!) I scrubbed with pine tar soap, which smells like campfire, and then slathered myself with tons of coconut oil and globs of aloe, which I had previously purchased for making homemade charcoal masks.

The combination of these substances helped somewhat, and I’m crossing my fingers it clears up sufficiently before I go back to work. Please oh please…

Huggies Diapers Are The Worst

Huggies diapers are the fucking worst. Literally the worst. I make fun of Honest diapers for being all crunchy and organic but Huggies are so much worse. I do not know how they have managed to stay in business all these years. I know they have been around at least since my brother was a baby; how a  company that makes such incompetent diapers can be around for at least three decades is totally beyond me.

When she peed while sleeping next to me and it soaked through a receiving blanket and two towels? Huggies.

When she was sitting in my lap eating, gave a little poo and it shot out of the diaper, and got on my shirt, the bed, and the carpet? Huggies.

When a young guy was shopping for diapers for a baby shower in the baby section at Wal-Mart asked me my recommendations for diapers? I said not Huggies. Go for the Pampers.

You think you got me with those cute Winnie the Pooh designs? Get outta here!

 

Dirty Hippie

I had visions of being a carefree glam-hippie mom, clad in boho skirts, big sun glasses, with a happy, naked baby in tow, whisking about braless in the warm glow of the California sun.

It has not quite worked out that way.

I wake up every morning harried and confused, wishing I had 4 hands instead of 2, a kangaroo pouch – or alternatively, and more realistically, some kind of mom utility belt to avoid three trips up and down the stairs to transport this mish mash of stuff – bottles, glasses, phone, baby, receiving blankets, ice packs, and pump accessories.

I have not worn any boho skirts in a couple of weeks, though I own many, because it has been an extremely hot October, and my body is doing something weird post-pregnancy, possibly because of breastfeeding. I used to be cold constantly; I was the person who turned her space heater on in the middle of July once the air conditioning started running in the office. People would start sweating when they entered my office; my boss regularly referred to my work space as a sauna.

Now, I am constantly hot: I sweat in my sleep the first two weeks after Little V was born. I first noticed it in the hospital, and it rather took me by surprise, especially since there is always a nice flow of air conditioning in the hospital. Literally, this night sweating thing has never happened to me unless it was over 90 degrees or I was seriously ill. However, even after that horribleness has ceased, I continue to run hot. Last weekend, I actually sweat a little bit walking around in 80 degree weather. I’m Asian. I don’t usually sweat noticeably unless it’s 90 degrees or I’m exercising, and this new phenomenon irritates me to no end. I pray it is not permanent.

I don’t tow her anywhere for long as of yet, because she is a fatty little baby, gaining a bit more than the normal 1 ounce a day, and while I have decent arm and upper body strength, I get uncomfortable after holding her for just five minutes. I also have not mastered use of the ring sling, so that baby-wearing thing isn’t working out for me yet. As soon as the doctor clears me, I’ve got to get back on those pushups and ab roller exercises.

As for going braless, I’ve got that part down, but not quite in the way I imagined. I got sick of fussing around with clasps, pads, and straps. I also read that milk stains can be hard to get out, and I don’t want to ruin any of my nice clothes. I have thus resorted to wearing shitty ass tank tops I bought from Walmart for $4, without a bra. If I drip milk, so be it, as long as it’s not getting on furniture or the floor.  If I end up with some amount of milk on me after the 8-10 feeding sessions a day anyway, so what’s the point? No one is going to shower or rinse 8-10 times a day.

I’ve also got the naked baby part down, even though people think it’s weird. As I write this, I’m about to take her to Daddy’s soccer game wearing only a diaper. It will get cold, but she has a really nice hot pink fleece blanket. In this stage of our lives, neither of us like clothes, and I am convinced clothing on babies in warm weather is more for other people than it is for the baby.

To my credit, I have not entirely abandoned my boundaries, and begrudgingly put on a bra when going out to meet with people, or attend doctor’s appointments. I also have not degenerated to the point where I neglect showers, although that would be quite in line with the hippie theme. Do I get a gold star for this?

But MuH CLotHeS

At week 35, finding clothes to wear is a constant pain in the ass because I’m outgrowing stuff on a weekly basis, but I’m still trying to avoid maternity clothes by making use of empire waist dresses I already own. I actually wore the tribal print dress below to a wedding in 2015. The extremely high slits had to be adjusted with a quick needle and thread job, but it did just fine for our baby shower (at week 33). The yellow dress (week 32) is actually something I took from a friend some 7+ years ago when she was cleaning out her closet. Hey, sometimes it pays to hoard stuff.

I also picked up some cheap ass leggings in larger sizes Wal-Mart for $3.99 a pair (see above) and also am still squeezing some final usage out of my regular skinny jeans with the help of a belly band (at week 35, this really is probably the last time I can do this). But… I did cave and bought a maternity dress from H&M. It was leopard print and I could not resist.

 

Furniture Project Part 2

We thought we were being frugal by acquiring all this free furniture and repainting it ourselves, but it turns out Wal-Mart works some kind of devil magic and manages to sell brand new, satisfactorily functional, and somewhat stylish bassinets with mattresses for as little as $35. Obviously, a $35 bassinet is not going to be as classic or unique as our finished product, but it’s a fair point for anyone assuming that DIY is always cheaper. We spent about $60 on paint, primer, and sandpaper (though this was for the dresser, nightstand, cradle, and a filing cabinet, with almost half a gallon paint remaining). This was husband’s cradle from when he was born way back in 1983.

It is a sturdy, natural wood, but the color is from 1983, and thus is quite dated. It has served husband and his 3 nephews well, and earned a makeover. Here it is before and after our sanding, priming, and coating it with a lovely bone or eggshell:

 

I ordered some decals online, but they were not sticking to the paint very well, so the next step may be some super glue or double-sided tape.

 

 

 

 

Amazon’s Expensive Ass “Baby Bargains”

We do not plan on having our baby shower until early July, but I’ve been browsing items just to get an idea of the various items and gear needed (versus totally not necessary) for Fetus. I’ve been throwing bags full of stuff out recently, and it feels good. It’s not that we don’t have some extra space for baby items, but it feels great to cut down on clothes, accessories, and other random household items that haven’t seen any use or even the light of day for months or years. Even though I’ve created some extra space, I am not particularly interested in turning around and filling it right back up with useless shit, so I’m trying to be highly selective in baby necessities, as opposed to neat gadgets that seem helpful but in reality won’t be regularly useful.

I’ve found in my research that Wal-Mart has the best bargains, and Amazon is not far behind. Their websites also provide helpful checklists of different categories of items, though I will not end up getting nearly close to what they recommend. They have long lists because they want my money; I have a short list because I want to keep my money. Overall, I’m a pretty big fan of both these companies, but today I came across quite the absurdity by Amazon, in the form of their “Baby Bargains” section (under Ideas and Inspiration > Starter Checklists > Baby Bargains – wait, why am I telling you this? Do NOT go here).

I clicked on some of the top links in this “bargain” section, only to find some expensive ass shit. For example, I give you Exhibit A, “Chicco Nextfit Convertible Carseat” in purple, which costs $299.99. First of all, that’s not purple; it’s obviously magenta or fuchsia. But more importantly, as much as I love purple, magenta, and fuchsia, I don’t give a rat’s ass what kind of bells and whistles it has or how it compares to any other car seat; in what world does this constitute a bargain? Especially when you can buy what appears to be perfectly competent, functional car seats for $40 or so?

Next, I give you Exhibit B, “BOB Revolution Flex Stroller,” a $450 jogging stroller:

You can get a car seat/carrier jogger combo set on Amazon for $120 (albeit in a rather hideous color combination – $130+ if you want a prettier color theme), but apparently the $450 jogger alone is Amazon’s choice for one of the spots at the top of the “bargains” list. I don’t care if this thing tracks your running speed or injects you with Red Bull while you run. I like bargains, I don’t even pay for a gym membership anymore, and I am not looking to spend almost $500 after taxes on a jogging stroller. More accurately, it would be about $486 after taxes. Let that sink in for a second. My 24 Hour Fitness membership used to be about $22/month before I canceled it. This stroller would pay for almost 2 years of my 24 Hour membership. Or it’s 280 or so bottles of craft beer. However you want to look at it, this is not a “bargain.”

Exhibit C is a baby monitor that costs $229.99. Again, even assuming this thing has a bunch of amazing features and is a great value compared to competitive products, I don’t think bargain hunters are looking for a $230 baby monitor when you can get a basic and functional one for $30 (or $50$60 if you want video).

Thanks, but no thanks, Amazon.

Work and Pregnancy: Be Careful With Your Professional Wardrobe

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling great. It was not awful, like it can be for some women, but I tired easily and would without fail start to feel nauseous in the early afternoon each day. Thus, unless I had to be at court or in a deposition, I started rolling into work in yoga pants and T-shirts. I’d like to say this is something I have only done in pregnancy, but that would not be true. However, the frequency of this certainly increased when I was pregnant. That’s one of the best parts about working in a law office 2 blocks from the beach – the casual atmosphere.

This worked out quite well for a couple of weeks. The night before I had a big conference to attend, I decided to try on my suits, just in case. Good thing I tried, because I found that in the 2 weeks I’d exclusively been wearing yoga pants, I had grown a belly in what felt like overnight. While I could zip up most my skirt suits and pants, I could not breathe in them if I sat down, which is not good for attending a conference during which you are sitting down 90 percent of the time. My shirts could be buttoned, but I was also pushing the limits in this regard.

I grew momentarily a bit frantic. Not only did I have a 2-day conference, I had an oral argument in court right after. Being suitless was not an option! Fortunately, I recalled a cheap suit I had from law school days, made of a stretchy polyester, which was up for the task. Lesson learned. This shit creeps up on you fast.

“I could barely button this shirt, but at least the skirt fits!”

Once I made it through the week, I immediately booked my ass to Ross and Target to buy some pencil skirts and larger shirts before the next stage in expansion caught me unawares. I found from browsing online that professional maternity wear is a rip-off, especially considering the fact I will be constantly growing for several months and will hardly get much use out of these items. I ended up supplementing my professional clothes with a mish-mash of shirts, dresses, and skirts from Target, Ross, and Wal-Mart. Some of these items were actually maternity clothes, while others I ordered were either a loose-fitting style or a larger size than I normally wear.

So far so good, but we’ll see what I’ll have to adjust once I get to 8-9 months. Or maybe it will be a good excuse to avoid court appearances and depositions? Just kidding.

Biking To San Diego Beer Works

A couple of weekends ago, we took a nice bike down Pacific Coast Highway and stopped at San Diego Beer Works. I’d been wanting to check this place out for some time now. On our way, we stopped at the beach in Cardiff and took a dip. The weather was beautiful and perfect. The flat, coastal terrain was also perfect because my bike is a piece of crap from Wal-Mart.

My flight of tasters at San Diego Beer Works –

Batch #1 IPA: Brewed by 21st Amendment. 7.2% ABV. The tart hits you first. Then some citrus. Full-bodied, and a malty finish.

Hop Shovel IPA: Brewed by Bear Republic. 7.5% ABV. Hoppy, very floral, and crisp. The color is light for an IPA. There’s something about it that stings a bit, is almost spicy.

Summer IIPA: Didn’t catch the name of this IIPA. It’s by Bottle Logic. 9.0% ABV. It was an orangey golden color. The flavor was almost syrupy, and there was something in there that was slightly reminiscent of rubber bands.

Nitro Milk Stout: By Artifex Brewing. OMG, so amazing. Smooth like water. Smooth like cream. A beautiful, light, puffy, head. I was really in love with this one despite my usual preference for IPA’s.

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As beautiful as that beach is, it’s not actually the beach we biked by. This is actually some 10 miles up the 101. Close enough though.