Friday, December 18, 2009

Going Places

Jasper is three weeks old today. We are sleep-deprived and in love. While most of life revolves around our warm little house, we have had to venture out a few times. Here's what we did, and how we did it:

First, a trip to the lactation consultant, the first in what will turn out to be many trips to try to resolve some painful and ongoing nursing issues. This was .4 miles away, and we got there by slinging the baby to Dave and walking. Bonus extra trip: across the street for lunch out with my mom! A mile is about the limit of what I was capable of walking at 5 days postpartum, and the hardness of the seats at the cafe was an unpleasant surprise, but it was beautiful weather and nice to get out of the house.

That trip ended with a referral to an ENT specialist in NW Portland, about 4 miles away, the next day. We got there via the Trimet bus system with Jasper in a sling on his dad, and it took two buses and about 40 minutes each way. The way out was ok, but by the trip home the baby and I were both pretty fussy, and the buses were packed with rush-hour and Civil War game traffic (Go Ducks!). While we were able to find seats, the crowds made the bus feel grimy and germy and like a terrible place to take a newborn. In site of this, we made it home and no one contracted any terrible diseases. Maybe the sling wrapped around the baby kept flu-y water droplets off?

Then we were exhausted, and spent the next week hiding out inside, gratefully accepting food and visits from friends and neighbors while moving as little as possible.

The following weekend, two weeks postpartum, Dave's folks were in town, and we ventured out for lunch with the baby on me in a sling, on foot. It was .3 miles. The baby and I both had a nice long nap afterward.

Two days later, our neighborhood association had its annual Christmas Party, and we decided to be sociable and go. I wore the baby and we walked up, met a few folks, went on a horse-drawn caroling ride, drank hot cider, and generally Made Merry. .4 miles each way.

The following day Jasper had his two week appointment at the Birth Center. Unfortunately, the infant bucket for the Yuba remains conceptual-- so how to move the baby 1.25 miles each way with no pedicab? We took a simple, though I'm afraid questionably-legal, approach: I wore Jasper, and we rode on the back of the Yuba just like we did while I was pregnant. Traveling only at low speeds and on traffic-calmed bike boulevards this felt perfectly safe; I would certainly NOT want to ride this way without infrastructure, or indeed even on one of the busier bike lanes (say, Hawthorne or Vancouver).

The midwives referred us to a pediatric chiropractor a few blocks over to try to resolve the continuing nursing trouble. We've made that trip twice now, also with me and baby on the back of the Yuba. It's a mile and a half over there, and so far this approach is working fine. I button my coat over the top of the sling when it's raining, and Jasper falls right asleep once we get moving.

I have less feedback from the baby than I'd like when he's in the sling and we're moving, because the vibration from the bike makes it hard for me to check in with him without opening up the coat and the top of the sling, which gets him wet and (understandably) irritates him. But I think this will be true of any baby carrier we put on the Yuba as the baby will eventually be behind the rider, and so still difficult to check on. And eventually, I'll learn that I don't need to check on him every minute and a half to see if he's ok (hello, new mama paranoia!) so that will matter less.

I'm thrilled that we're three weeks into this parenting adventure and haven't yet had occasion to use the car seat. I'm not sure when we will. Maybe if we go visit my cousins in Vancouver (hi Lyn!) or my great aunt in Lake Oswego. Maybe if we need to get somewhere in a particular hurry, or in the middle of the night. But so far, I feel we're getting where we need to be, safely, and under our own power. And I feel great about that.