Thursday, January 29, 2009

In The Flesh

EEEEK!!! I saw a BABY get borned! AAAHHH!!! *jumping up and down wildly, with cheeks so flushed you'd think I'd been into the wine*

Okay. Deep breath. Give vital information in coherent sentences. My friend Jess's second son, David Nicholas, was born at 4:56 AM this morning, has tons of dark hair, weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 20 1/2 inches long. And did I mention I was THERE? (Hyperventilating again as I relive the excitement.)

I got to the hospital around two thirty this morning, jacked up on caffeine and adrenaline, and Jess's mom, doula and I just hung out with Jess and talked and walked the halls and did all the normal labor stuff for about two hours. Her midwife was really cooperative and didn't make her have an IV or stay on the monitor all the time, so she was pretty free to labor how she wanted. Jess stayed very centered and calm; it was impressive. But I remember after our final lap around the mother/baby hall, Jess's mom and I realized that her contractions had gotten really close together, and that she wasn't talking through them anymore.

When we got back to the room, at four thirty, we could tell she was transitioning, but her water still hadn't broken so we thought there was awhile yet to go. Still, I went to get her husband, who was resting in the waiting room, thinking Jess was in enough pain at this point that she'd probably appreciate his comfort as well as ours. As we reentered the room, I heard a nurse from inside scream out the name of the midwife, then saw her rather frantically push Jess back onto the bed and tell her, "Don't push yet! You're complete!" Apparently she had gone into the bathroom while I was gone, and as soon as she got there could feel David's head crowning. She yelled that she had to push, and a nurse came in to check, tsk-tsking all the way that it was IMPOSSIBLE she had to push yet, she had only been FOUR centimeters at last check, her WATER wasn't even broken, but then lo and behold... It was time to push!

The midwife came shoving past us, literally smashing into me as she was scrambling for her gown and mask and I was running to find the video camera. For a minute there it was all very movie-like and loud and surreal, especially to Jess, I think! But her doula was just wonderful, very soothing and encouraging. She just kept stroking her face and holding eye contact, reassuring Jess as she pushed and yelled and pushed some more. David came very fast once they got the bed set up; less than ten minutes, I think. It was a very intense and moving ten minutes, too, let me tell you. My hand was shaking so hard I had to steady it with my other hand in order to get the camera to hold still!

The moment they handed Baby David up to his mom was so amazing. I had chills all over, watching her laugh and cry and exclaim as she cradled her son. It was so crazy to think that literally moments before he had still been safely cocooned in his amniotic sac, oblivious to the roomful of people awaiting his arrival. He was so alert and peaceful, blinking his little blueberry eyes up at us all for awhile, then nuzzling into his mom again. He barely even cried after those few initial protests, just snuggled in his parents' arms as all the REST of us got a little teary.

David, you are just beautiful, just the sweetest little boy, and I am so thankful to your parents for letting me witness your arrival! Jess, you did a truly amazing job, and you have renewed my awe for the miracle of childbirth, painful though it is! I have never seen a birth live and in person like that, and it truly a rush like nothing else. Thank you for one of the best gifts anyone has ever given me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nothing Much

Good thing one of my new year's resolutions wasn't to update my blog daily, huh? I have been doing pretty good on the others, with the exception of getting my hair thinned. (State of hair: course and dry. Stubbornly unhelped by Matrix smoothing conditioner.) I also missed one gym session due to an illness which I won't name but will describe as being treated by chugging countless glasses of cranberry juice. Oh and ALSO, as long as we're sharing, I am very proud of myself, as this is the first month in... a few, that I have made it all the way to the end without once thinking or proposing to Jim that perhaps, somehow, I am pregnant OMG NO! Clearly in 2009 I will turn a new leaf and cease forever with being obsessive and fretful!

That's really all I've got; things quiet but good here. We're keeping mostly at home, as it's either frigidly cold or actively snowing lately. Adelay has stayed the course with potty training, and I almost forget what it's like to have two in diapers. The winter blues seem to have left me for the time being, though their cure, chocolate, has also left me with five pounds I had shed just a month before. Well. It's cold. I need insulation.

My current hobbies are doing Sudoku puzzles in the bathtub (hot baths are a great cure for winter depression too, I have found) and, of course, waiting on pins and needles for that momentous call from Jess that ze baby is on his way. Poor girl is now like three days overdue. I realized today that this is exactly four WEEKS longer than I was pregnant with Addy. Young man, you had better be one CUTE little small headed baby, you hear?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Three Questions

Well, that was fun, being awakened at four thirty in the morning by Adelay SCREAMING INCONSOLABLY because she had actually been woken up by her need to pee. I was trying to be happy and enthusiastic about it for her, despite the inconvenience- "That's great, sweetie, what a big girl! It's GOOD that you woke up!" but it was kind of hard to stay peppy while she sat on her potty chair, weeping and shrieking as though she was in the throes of a night terror or something. The sobbing made the process considerably lengthier, too, since it's kind of hard, apparently, to urinate when you're busy having a nervous breakdown.

Once she finished, she was remarkably cheerful, though, and demanded her mini candy cane as per usual, a potty reward which I am strongly considering ditching pretty soon here. This leads me to question one: At what point is it safe to stop excessively praising and rewarding a child for using the toilet? I mean, I worry about the sugar intake from all the treats, but on the other hand, I would hook her up to a glucose drip for a month if that's what it took to keep her on the path to Toilet Independence. Do you think two weeks has been long enough?

Question two: How do you get a kid who's doing really well on her potty chair to transition to the actual toilet? I mean, she's only had about three accidents in the last week or so, and those were all incidents of not getting there fast enough rather than totally forgetting and just peeing all over the sofa or something. So is she far enough on the path, do you think, that we could kind of insist on her trying to use the big potty without putting her off the process altogether? Emptying the little one is getting REALLY old...

Question three: Does anyone have any of the LeapFrog systems? We have an older one that was given to us, but it's been discontinued and we'd have to buy the cartridges on eBay. We also checked out some of the newer ones and they SEEM great, but it also seems like it could be one of those overhyped but little used type of things. So if any of you have had actual experience with them, I'd love to hear what your kids (and you) thought of them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Has it really been over a week since I wrote last? I feel a little disconnected lately. Floaty, like I am here but not really. I will be doing the dishes, but looking out the window instead of down to the task at hand. Looking out at the new snow, which falls fresh every night, it seems, and which is deceptively beautiful to gaze at, with no suggestion in its sparkling, crystalline blankets of the slushy puddles it will leave on the floor and the chapped ankles from where it will sneak in between your boots and your jeans.

I'm also doing things in excess lately, I notice. Drinking too much coffee, so that I feel a constant, jittery unease in the pit of my stomach. Eating too much chocolate (see previous post) and even dipping into Jim's beers, for which I rarely feel any desire. I've even been somewhat overzealous in exercise, mindlessly doing leg presses until the screen on the Nautilus machine warns me that I've completed the maximum number of reps and should either stop or lower the weight (which is embarrassingly low to begin with, so this is more an example of my compulsiveness than of my fitness.)

I seem to be wallowing in some sort of melancholy, or perhaps more succinctly, some sort of disinterest in the dailiness of life, the dishes and the laundry and the errands by which I generally mark my time. Instead, I keep rereading Anita Shreve books- Where or When, The Last Time They Met- which are perhaps unwise choices when one is feeling a little off, as they tend to be pensive and sad and on the theme of impossible love. Jim found an old Sarah McLachlan CD of mine when he was cleaning out his desk last week, and I've been listening to it almost daily, as some sort of soundtrack. Also, most alarmingly, I seem not to care much about dusting lately, which heretofore has been my favorite chore, though I suppose this could likely be attributed to an inevitable resignation to the constant presence of dust in our lives at this stage of remodeling.

It is somewhat depressing to realize how easily I am felled by such a common and cliched affliction as the winter blues.

Also, incidentally, flaky winter skin. Le sigh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sixth Day's The Charm

Both kids have colds now, so I'm awfully glad Jim's been home the last few days. It helps to have another adult to talk to when you're handing out tissues twice a minute and washing crusty layers of snot off the sleeves of kids' clothing.

Despite being ill, Adelay has made it through her first day without a single accident. Both of them napped frequently and at odd times today, so she slept until seven and is currently still awake, splashing away in a bath (mission: remove mucous from hair.) Which means that from eight thirty this morning (when she woke up DRY) to nine PM tonight, I have not had one disappointing incident of peeling wet underpants off and administering the dreaded let's-quickly-wash-your-bum bath! Whoo hoo!

In other news, I have resisted the urge to snort down in one sitting the massive amounts of clearanced Christmas chocolates which my husband once again purchased in the first week of the New Year, in a gesture of apparent kindness and generosity, but which I secretly suspect to be an act of sabotage. Exhibit A:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Two And A Half Out Of Four's Not Bad

Jim had scheduled this week off work a month ago. It was slated as the great Get All Those Pesky Monkeys Off Our Back week: potty training, finishing of the den (progress had been put to an agreed-upon halt during soccer season and the holidays,) figuring out of our old/new insurance and medical crapola (because I am crippled with panic about such things and require another adult around as moral support,) and the sorting of all of the soccer jerseys, warm-ups, balls and duffel bags that had been stashed around our house and garage from last year's season.

So far the soccer sorting is practically done: the enormous piles of clothes and bags and balls and are neatly organized and stacked into Rubbermaid tubs in the garage, and all the phone calls nagging the girls to turn in the rest of their stuff have been made. Also, a huge stack of bills has been paid and a worrying insurance claim has been figured out.

The den is going to get there, too, I'm thinking. It's all cleared out of any removable furniture and toys now, leaving only the TV, giant computer desk, and one pretty hefty loveseat. The rest of our house overfloweth a bit with toys and tables right now, but I can live with that when the promise of fresh paint and pictures being hung is glowing on the horizon. Today: spackling and sanding. Tomorrow: the sky's the limit.

But the potty training... Ah, the potty training. This will be day three of Mission: Underpants, and so far we've had only two successes, one of which happened at the gym childcare center, of all places. They don't even have a potty chair, just a regular old toilet, which she refuses to touch at home, and yet she willingly sat and peed on it for Miss Ashley! This solidifies my belief that she could, in fact, physically control herself if she HAD to, but she's just kind of too lazy to care when she's at home and isn't going to be embarrassed about wet pants.

So yeah, for going on three days now, she has cheerfully been wetting her pants and running to tell us about it, despite sitting on the potty at half hour intervals all day long. Fortunately she is okay with wearing rubber pants over the panties, otherwise our house would now be thoroughly saturated with urine, but even as it is I have done countless loads of soaking and washing and drying of said underwear and rubber pants. And in spite of my beliefs that potty training should be natural and child-led and not motivated by guilt or fear of accidents, I have to admit that our patience is wearing mightily thin. There has been much lecturing and nagging and reminders about being a big girl now, then feelings of guilt about the nagging, and subsequent hugging, praising, begging, purchasing of bribery items and offers of dance classes and Dora the Explorer games and leftover candy canes if Addy will just PEE PEE ON THE POTTY FOR THE LOVE OF MOMMY'S SANITY!

Monday, January 05, 2009


My friend Jess is currently about thirty seven and a half weeks pregnant with Boy #2. Since she had her first son at thirty seven weeks to the day, and since her doctor told her that the baby is about seven and a half pounds now and that she's beginning to dilate and efface, and, you know, since she's got a giant watermelon wedged in her pelvis, directly on top of her bladder, she's feeling very READY for this baby to come out. Especially after two nights ago, when she had regular, timeable, fifty second long contractions for like SIX HOURS or so before they just up and went away as soon as she laid down for a rest. (Sound familiar?) She had even called her doula over and everything, called ME even, and then nothing.

Anyway, I am so feeling her pain right now, and I thought maybe we could all just leave her little cheering-up type comments. To clarify, though: nothing that's supposedly cheer-upy but is actually a huge buzz kill, such as, "Honey, just relax! It could be weeks and WEEKS still!"

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Oh, Why Not?

Resolutions for 2009:

-Stop wasting inordinate amounts of time rearranging picture frames and candles every time I dust, thereby leaving a lack of time in which to do things of actual importance, like dishes and laundry and emptying the eye-wateringly pungent diaper pails.

-Stop buying and then throwing away, rotted and unopened, bags of produce such as asparagus and winter squash.

-Keep alive the five houseplants in my care. One of them belongs to my mother, so even though it LOOKS fine I have every reason to believe it will up and die right before I'm supposed to return it, just to spite me. Another is a pot of ivy that has seemed, over the past few months, to be resignedly giving up its will to live on top of my refrigerator. I keep expecting to come into the kitchen one morning and find it has jumped to its death.

-GET MY HAIR THINNED. Really, my head should be counted as a sixth houseplant. An out of control houseplant that needs sternly pruned back.

-Cook a from-scratch type of dinner at least three nights a week. I was embarrassed over the holidays when several out of town guests, after hanging out at our house for awhile, remarked on the large number of pizza boxes stacked in the garage.

-Stop leaving my contacts in overnight. Honestly. Who does that? Frequently, even?

-To not have let the yard go to hell in a hand basket by mid-July, which is what has always happened heretofore.

-To stay on top of medical/insurance stuff, which always overwhelms me. And which is bound to overwhelm me further for awhile, as Jim's company is switching plans this year. Just as we're about to start filling prescriptions for Clomid and paying for weekly progesterone shots. Also, the new OB practice doesn't accept debit cards, which is what our flexible spending account used the last couple of years, so I either have to make sure we can get checks written from the new flexible account or just file claims for reimbursement each and every time I or the kids go to the doctor. Which is like, twice a day.

-Make summer dog grooming appointment in February, rather than waiting until April or May, when Fonzie starts shedding alarming clumps of hair onto every surface, and then making a frantic call only to find out that their next available time slot is at the end of September.

-Get my pretty winter coat mended before yet another year goes by in which I don't get to wear it due to the giant rip in the seam.

-And, of course, go to the Y at least three times a week! Lose at least five more pounds! And then get pregnant! And gain at least thirty pounds! (Brings to mind that Lifehouse song, "Sick Cycle Carousel"...)

Well, there. That seems like a long enough list to briefly feel energized about and then ignore completely, doesn't it?