Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bootylicious


Are these not the cutest cut out cookies you've ever seen? I took pictures of them at every angle, so here! Look again!



I baked these for my sister's baby shower two weeks ago, and then she and my mom and I decorated each individual baby booty. It's the tedious SLASH sticky kind of task that usually makes me want to stab my eyes out, frankly. But I couldn't help but have fun because they were turning out just so cute, and it's so rare that I experience either baking success or artistic design success, much less a combination of the two.

My sister Laura is officially thirty seven weeks along tomorrow, so baby watch begins again around here! It's her first baby, a boy, and I get to be there to help him be born (er, moral support only, no ripping sheets and boiling water scenarios.) I am beyond excited. Though I will be sad to no longer see her adorable baby bump. Seriously, it's the cutest pregnant belly I've ever seen. Like she swallowed a watermelon, no? My stomach NEVER looked this adorbs.



Jameson (i.e. Wubzy, in case anyone was curious about what ridiculous nom de plume we had stuck this particular child with) was very excited by the sight of his cousin in utero.


Friday, December 24, 2010

And To All A Good Night











Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not The Worst Mom EVER

This is a time of year when everyone is busy, I know. So while I am not COMPLAINING, I will say that if you have two preschoolers and a still technically in the newborn phase baby and are nonetheless trying to have a fun! and festive! and meaningful! holiday season, you might on occasion feel like your head is about to explode and that NO ONE has any idea how much behind the scenes work goes into keeping the family Christmas in the style to which it's become accustomed. You'll also have the Magical Memory moments, too, of course, and it makes the head-bursting worth it, but the fact remains that your head is no longer intact. (What was that one weird but also weirdly accurate little sing song rhyme I remember little girls saying when I was a kid? Something including the line, "Mama had a baby and her head popped off!" Anyone remember that? Anyways, now I understand the origins of that particular oddity perfectly.)

Jamie isn't sleeping well again, after a week in which he slept for five straight hours every night and I was starting to feel like a normal person again. One night he even slept SEVEN (7) hours in a row. When I woke up I felt like I'd been given crack cocaine or something. So! Much! Energy! But of course then I made the classic mistake of telling a few people that he was sleeping well, and now the last three nights we've been back to three feedings a night and Zombie Mommy in the mornings. Yay.

We're continuing to have a rough time with Eli, also, and my patience is seriously beginning to dwindle re: pooping in pull-ups without even an attempt to use the bathroom. Which happened THREE (3) times yesterday. Oh, and in the bathtub too! I've had a few days lately wherein I felt like between the two boys I did nothing but wipe butts and try to quiet screaming fits. Oh and soak dirty clothes of course.

Eli was being so obstinate at bedtime the other day, running naked from me and screaming, etc., all while Jameson wailed from his crib, that I finally lost it and broke my cardinal rule by smacking his butt to try to get his attention. Naturally, he just screamed even louder, then ran off and smacked his sister. Ah, the vicious cycle of poorly thought out and heat-of-the-moment corporal punishment! Then I sank to the floor of the nursery, trying to console Jamie while the other two ran wild, and cried for awhile, feeling like the worst, most inept mother ever.

I had that feeling in the store the other day, too, when Eli began tantrumming about a three dollar Nerf football identical to the one we have at home. I said no, explained that Christmas was coming and he'd get new toys then, and tried to move on, but he screamed about it the entire. time. we were in the store. He was still wailing at the check out counter when Addy asked if she could have her promised treat of Smarties. I said yes, but that Eli didn't get any since he hadn't been good in the store per the arrangement for treat-getting. I immediately wished I HAD just given him the dang candy when his screaming ramped up again, this time in fury over the candy. But, my auto-pilot parenting kicked in and I quietly explained that he could try for candy another day but wasn't getting any on this trip. Then I just ignored him as he wailed and thrashed in the cart. I was sure, though, that the entire store was thinking either a: I must be a mean mom since my poor kid had been crying for twenty minutes or b: my kid was a total brat and I was a lousy mother for not getting him to straighten up. My face was red and I stared straight ahead grimly as I waited my turn while the sounds of Eli's tantrum filled the air.

But! As I miserably collected my bags, two different people stopped to tell me I was doing a good job being consistent and not giving him the candy to hush him up. They both went on and on about how lots of parents are too lazy to foll through and that it made them happy to see people sticking to their rules even when it would be easier for everyone to give in. It honestly nearly made me cry. I had felt so sure everyone around me was wishing that my raggedy crew and I would just LEAVE already, and then they were telling me I was doing well! It was like a shot in the arm for my unraveling morale.

So yeah, it didn't make the rest of the day a ton easier, and Eli continues to struggle with the big-brother transition phase. But every time I feel that brain-exploding sensation, I try to remember the nice people in the grocery store who reminded me that for the most part, I am doing okay. My kids will be okay.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick, Hurry!

This is way last minute and I'm very sorry for that, but I'm sending out our holiday card tomorrow and I'd love to send one to any of you guys, if you want to email me your address speedy quick to semidesperatehousewife@gmail.com. Disclaimer: it's a CHRISTMAS card, since that is the holiday which our family and everyone to whom we are sending cards celebrates. But if you celebrate something else, I will still send you a card, and don't be offended that it says Christmas, ok?

I will just say, it's a pretty cute card. And a letter included! I'm pretty sure it meets almost all of Swistle's holiday card requirements for maximum points. Except the glitter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yes, This Site Is In My Reader. And It Should Totally Be In Yours.

This post of gift ideas is freaking hi-larious. Feel free to mail me any of the gifts on this list, for, sadly, it is all too true that I would love any of those items.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Pics

Here are some recent Eli shots I love. His expressions were very natural at this particular shoot; I know when I look at these pictures twenty years from now I'll think, "Oh yes, that was three year old Eli. The cheeky monkey." (Also, his hair: I KNOW. He needs a haircut. The shag has gotten a bit too shaggy for cuteness. But we are unsure how to cut it while still remaining true to the... integrity? of the long haired look. And I am way scared to take him to an actual stylist. I seriously think he'd lose an eye in the process.)










Sunday, December 12, 2010

Comparing Notes

Theoretically speaking, is it so wrong to wash kids' sheets only every two weeks in the winter, since their entire bodies are covered in socks and pj's and they're not really sweating much?

Also, should I be disturbed that every time I've baked Christmas cookies so far, they've only lasted about three days?

And here's a rhetorical one: Is it totally awesome that I looked up how much caffeine is safe while breastfeeding and it turned out to be a much more generous amount than I used to think?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

On Second Thought

Aw, my kids went and got all sweet after I posted my crankiness.

I was laying on the couch yesterday afternoon, since there was nothing else to do while I was holding the just-rocked-to-sleep and oh so irritable baby and knew better than to try to lay him down. I was feeling tired and bored and frustrated by the things I should be getting done instead of just laying there. Meanwhile, Eli wandered up and climbed into a blanket at my feet, sucking his thumb. Then he randomly leaned over and patted my thigh. "You're a good boy, Mom," he whispered comfortingly.

Later, at dinner, Adelay asked to say grace, which she did very well, complete with "and thank you for helping Mommy make our food." Afterward, she told us very seriously, "After I go to bed tonight and you guys leave, I am going to say more prayers. I am going to say thank you to Jesus for mommies and daddies and grandmas and nanas and papas and grandpas. Also cousins and aunts and uncles and doggies, and little brothers. I love my family!" Then she went on about everything else she was thankful for: toys, food, our house, her school, her teachers, while I sat there practically welling up at the sweetness. It was so nice to hear some gratitude after I had just been complaining about feeling invisible to my kids. It seems they do love me after all. :)

Luckily, The Baby's Head Still Smells Amazing

Boy, I'm just a real Pollyanna these last few days. Seriously though, there have been many omg-my-head-is-going-to-explode-with-frustration moments recently. The baby hasn't pooped in two days, so he's basically grinching and fussing nonstop all day. He only sleeps in little increments here and there, no real naps even in the car, and thrashes his angry little head into our shoulders and then bonks himself and screams and makes us feel terribly bad for him and also terribly sorry for ourselves. I am really dreading the diaper blowout that is inevitably coming, let me tell you. And hoping there isn't something WRONG with him. I don't remember the other two ever getting, er, backed up when they were this little.

The worst thing about the fussing is that he also hates slings and carriers in general, so my hands are basically half tied all day long. I can't lay him down when he's awake, unless I'm sitting right beside him bouncing his chair and cooing at him, or he cries. So I basically spend all day trying and failing to get even the most basic things done, which makes me all kinds of crazy. Along with the general crazy of fatigue. He'll have good spells where he's not like this, but then every week or so he'll have a bad day and then it's back to Fuss Fest again for the next few days. There is no schedule, everything is unpredictable, and I basically count it a success if I manage a shower every other day. Bonus points if the shower occurs before noon.

Also, did I yet complain about how we had to get new tires and then of COURSE they found something else wrong the car? Never fails. At least my sister happens to be a rep for a tire company, so we could use her discounts. But seriously. Oh and they also discovered that we were completely out of power steering fluid, even though I JUST had the oil changed and they said that they had checked all the fluid levels and everything was fine. Nice.

OH and if anyone knows what to do about a three year old who was once completely potty trained and night trained and now requires a Pull Up all the time and is even sometimes POOPING in his pants again, do let me know. Something besides hiding in your room and screaming into a pillow, of course. I already know about that trick. Also: wine.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Ruminating

One of the occupational hazards of caring for a newish baby is frequent accosting in the supermarket or mall by middle aged or older folks (always, they themselves are shopping WITHOUT small people, I notice) warmly urging you to "Enjoy this, it goes so fast!" or "These are the best times of your life!" The worst, in my opinion, is when they ask YOU, "Aren't you just in heaven?" or "Is he a really good baby?" They always ask this so eagerly, so expectantly, that you know the only acceptable reply to send them on their way with their dreams intact is a radiant "Oh yes!"

And it's not that there aren't moments when I AM in heaven, or that Jameson is being calm and easygoing and could fall into that dubiously-named category of "good babies." But those moments, for one thing, are almost NEVER when I am out shopping in a hot, overcrowded supermarket worrying about budgets and milk letdown and my three year old escaping into women's lingerie. It's not a good time to compare my life to heaven and expect me to respond with other than a high pitched cackle.

I guess my point, which I have discussed ad nauseum with my husband, mom, friends, SIL and MIL is this: life with small children does provide probably the sweetest and most special MOMENTS upon which to look back fondly when your kids are grown and gone. But in general it is far from the most pleasant or fun phase of your life, and trying to pretend otherwise is disingenuous and sometimes downright dangerous. Certainly it is false advertising. I would not tell my friends, "Have a baby! It is so fun and fulfilling!" I would say, "Yes, have a baby! It is fun and fulfilling... And also confusing and discouraging and messy. It is expensive and all consuming and often a total buzzkill for your self esteem."

I would say that it is worth it, without question. I'm even still perfectly happy about my decision to have kids first, then go to school and decide what I want to, you know, BE when I grow up. If nothing else, given all the reproductive issues and pregnancy difficulties I've already had, I am very glad I got right on the baby having part of my life immediately, when I am (presumably) as healthy and fertile as I'm ever going to be. It's just that life as a stay at home parent, or ANY kind of parent, is not non-stop bliss and baby powder smells and story reading. It's also wet underpants and stickiness on everything and lost toys and inexplicable tantrums and feeling invisible to the very people into whom you are pouring the best of yourself every day. The view is breathtaking, yes, but the climb is all uphill.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keeping Our Standards High

Adelay to me, upon hugging me after my shower on Thursday: "Wow, you smell nice! Where are you going?"

Me: "Well, nowhere yet. But Daddy was here to watch Jamie, so I went ahead and got ready after breakfast."

Adelay: "But... it's MORNING. Why are you getting dressed already?"

Me: (thinks back fondly to a time when I didn't have to make a point of scheduling showers and teeth brushing into my day.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jameson's Birth- The End!

First Thing: Baby Grayden is continuing to respond well to his botulism treatment, thank goodness. It will still be a lengthy recovery process, unfortunately, and he'll probably go home on a feeding tube, but at least he will LIVE and be fine. Things were very tense there for awhile, and we all feel very relieved. Also, thank GOODNESS his grandparents could come and be with their kids while all that was going on, right? So they have and will continue to have help with the babies, at least.

Now they just need help with all the hospital bills! Did you know botulism in infants is so rare they have to make up the treatment solution (which I guess is actually kind of like a vaccination: they infuse the baby with a form of the bacteria that caused the initial illness? or something? and then that causes the body to fight off the initial bacteria) on an as-needed basis. It's only made in California, by the department of health, and then gets shipped out whenever a case arises. So each treatment costs- wait for it- forty thousand dollars. That's JUST the actual medicine, not the doctor's bills or the hospital stay or anything. Hello! So, you know, try not to ever get botulism, is the moral there. Scary AND expensive.

Now, back to the birth story. And this will be the LAST installation, I promise! Good grief. (Parts one and two are here.)

So my water was broken at about seven fifteen in the morning, and the tub was filling. I was feeling different and weird, but still the contractions didn't all of the sudden start coming fast and furious like I expected them to. Also, we had been told that the baby's head was coming down sideways, so Stacy advised me that the best position to be in to turn him around facing down was to sit on the ball. So that's basically what I did, just bounced on the ball for the next two hours. I even ate breakfast and had a couple of monitor checks while sitting on it.

If you can believe, I didn't get my first real, hurty contraction until forty five minutes after my water broke. After that, they did finally start coming on a pretty regular basis and were intense enough that I wanted a heating pad on my back and to hold someone's hand during them. Around nine I apparently said that I could feel the baby turning, so I guess the ball worked. I don't remember anyone saying that he came out sideways, anyways, so I assume it did!

My mom and my SIL Jenn had arrived by this point, so I had quite a support team to keep me entertained while things started picking up speed. Around nine thirty I had a contraction that literally took me to my knees- I just kind of rolled off the ball and hit the floor with my elbows on the bed. And I stayed there for quite a while, at least it seems like it to my memory. It felt like one non stop contraction for about twenty minutes. I think that was the point when I began making some noise, if I recall correctly!

At ten o clock in the morning I got into the birthing tub, finally. I was still at seven to eight cm, and the baby's head was at zero station. Same place it was at thirty weeks when I went on bedrest, but it certainly feels a lot different to have a three pound baby's head there than to have an almost seven pound baby's head there! I stayed on my hands and knees almost the entire time I was in the tub. Every time a contraction came, about every two minutes by then, Stacy would put pressure on my tailbone and Jim would stroke my head. I would just kind of arch my back and try to concentrate on what I was feeling, which was the baby literally moving down my spine as my cervix opened. I just kept reminding myself that it was a GOOD thing even though it felt excruciating! I definitely felt very aware of what was going on with my body and the baby during transition, rather it just being a big blur of pain, so that was cool.

I started pushing around eleven. I still vividly remember the contraction when the pain went from lots of pressure to an urgent, must push right now because the baby's pushing himself out pressure. I think that's what I said, even- "You guys, he's coming out! After the second or third time I yelled at them that no, really, I HAD to push right then- 'cause you know, the first time you say it, they're always like, "Yeah, I know, honey, it's going to be soon now!"- the nurses ran across the hall to get my doctor, who had another patient out-screaming me over there. (In what was supposed to be my recovery room, by the way, but they got so full I ended up staying in the birthing room the whole time.)

I think the first few pushes, which were totally involuntary, happened on my hands and knees. I didn't actually want to give birth in that position, because I wanted to see him come out and pick him up right away, but I kind of felt unable to move once that urge kicked in. They finally got me to roll over, though, primarily by yelling "Sarah! You have to turn over first!" and it was about fifteen minutes from then until he was born. I got to the point where everyone was cheering, "He's crowning! He's right there!" and that's when I kind of hit a wall and stopped pushing for awhile. I think I was almost numb by that point, and I also felt this strong need to wait a minute. I told them, "I need a break." (Possible TMI: I don't remember actually thinking it, but I imagine subconsciously I was remembering that I really really didn't want to tear, and that it would be better to give myself some time to stretch.) After a minute or two I finally did start pushing again, and then there he was, and without any tearing whatsoever, and only minimal screaming and shrieking.

The scary part was that when he came out, he was more or less blue. The cord was wrapped around his abdomen four times, and it was also a really short cord, so we had a bit of struggle getting him unwrapped while also keeping his head above water. I didn't see that he was tangled at first, and was confused as to why the doctor wasn't letting go of him when I reached for him. When I saw what was going on I sort of panicked a bit and was trying to unwrap him myself. The doctor was like, "Just hang on a minute, let me get it!"

But then finally- really within just about sixty seconds- he was in my arms and looking up at me, crying and starting to pink up. He was just amazing. How could that moment ever be anything but amazing, holding this child who was inside of you one minute and in your arms the next? (Also amazing, and hysterical, is the picture of me, still holding Jamie in the water, when my doctor told me I wouldn't need any stitches. I seriously looked like a kid on Christmas morning; I was so delighted that I'd actually gotten what I was hoping for with the water birth!)

After a few minutes, once the cord had stopped pulsing and was cut, they took Jamie to put him under the lights and give him some oxygen, since his hands and feet were still pretty blue. I was helped out of the tub and delivered the placenta back in the bed. At that point I was glad I'd had the intravenous access port put in, because I bled quite a bit, just like in my previous births, and had to get a shot of Pitocin and a dose of it through an IV right away. I got pretty lightheaded and felt like crap for ten minutes or so, but then the bleeding slowed and I got to hold my baby again and all was well.

Jameson nursed right away then, and Stacy told me it was the best and fastest latch she'd ever seen on a newborn. He definitely has not had a moment's trouble figuring out nursing since then! It took us a few minutes to decide for sure on his name; it was still between Jameson and Isaac at that point. I let Jim get the final say since I'd pretty much named Eli all on my own, and he chose Jameson. The middle name, or names, rather, took quite a bit more hammering out, but we finally decided on Beckett Isaac.

After I got cleaned up and showered, we ordered a celebratory pizza, and man, doesn't your first meal after having a baby just taste like the best thing EVER? I still remember that pizza vividly. Then the kids came and met their little brother, and that half hour or so was just the sweetest thing. I want to remember it forever. It went so much better than I had ever dared hope. All in all, I really had a great hospital stay and the nurses were great about mostly leaving me be to rest and bond with my baby. I wish I had chosen to stay the extra night I could have, but I really wanted to get home to be with the older kids again.

And... I think that's it! Water birth was awesome, and I would totally recommend it, and I will definitely do it again if I have the chance. I don't know how much it helped with the actual pain level, but it definitely helped me cope with it better and feel more free to move around into positions that helped me work with the contractions the most effectively. And yeah, the no tearing part was amazing, compared with the thirty plus stitches from Eli's birth! I seriously could hardly even tell I'd HAD a baby the next day, the recovery was that easy. Two thumbs up for the birthing tub! (I know it doesn't always work for everyone, though, and some people straight up hate it, so you know, this is just MY experience. Don't sue me if you personally end up not liking it or needing stitches or whatever!)

Having a doula was also wonderful, yet again, and I also highly recommend that. Or, just hire my husband! He was a total rock star, to use a tired but appropriate expression. He did and said everything you would hope your partner would do and say during labor, and I definitely was never tempted to swear or throw things at him! And having my family and friend around me was wonderful. I was so happy they got to be there for such a special event in our family's life. Just knowing they were there really helped keep my spirits up when I would get bored, or scared, or freaked out. Also, of course, Jess took all those wonderful pictures for us! What an awesome gift.

And that is the end, really and truly, and thank you for hanging in there if you actually managed to read all of this! I feel very blessed that, after such a rough time trying to conceive and carry this sweet little boy, his birth went so smoothly and relatively easily. We are all very much in love with him, and he really does feel like a gift to our family. Sometimes when I look at him, sleeping in my arms with his solid, deeply breathing little body as real as my own, I still can't believe he's actually, finally here. He's actually ours. Our third baby.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Therapy. Also Known Less Kindly As Complaining.

At my ob/gyn's office they have these TV monitors in the exam rooms that endlessly loop through a Power Point presentation covering all possible female issues: UTI's, osteoperosis, STD's, PMS, pregnancy, preterm labor symptoms, and of course, post-partum depression. I have waited in those rooms so often that I pretty much have every screen shot burned into my brain. I could tell you exactly what to do if you experience a continuous trickle of fluid while pregnant, or what to take if you have vaginal burning and itching. Particularly, I have memorized the list of what to do to "manage" your stress. Exercise! Sleep! Don't eat crap! Hire a maid and a nanny so that you have time and energy to actually DO the above!

No, but seriously, one of the suggestions is actually a very good one, in my experience, and that is to write down every single thing that's currently frustrating you, rather than just letting random vexation to swirl around in your head all day. So um, here goes:

-MICE. Enough said. But I'll say more anyways. We've trapped three now, and it looks way more horrifying than I expected. Thank goodness Jim disposes of them and checks the traps. We also found one dazed and dying on the living room carpet, not even moving when Jim and the dog circled it. He had to carry it out and dispose of it while it was still half-alive. I feel just awful about all the death and poisoning and neck snapping and GAH, the poor little mouse MOMMIES whose babies are dying or who are leaving their babies orphans or whatever. But I couldn't find any of the humane kind of traps, and anyways, what's the point? Catch and release them so they can sneak back in next week? But it's still guilt inducing and also just downright grim. And I am so sick of feeling all nervous and jumpy in my own house. I basically live in the kitchen, den and bathroom right now, where thus far there has been no sign of mousal activity. Last night while (hastily and warily) changing clothes in my bedroom, I thought I felt a mouse dropping on my BED and just totally lost my shit. Jim went in to check it and found it to be a little wad of fruit snack, which he proceeded to EAT in front of me. And then I died, the end.

-Laundry. Oh my gosh, between Jamie's poo blowouts and Eli's constant accidents (yes, THAT'S still happening,) my washer is never free to do any of the regular stuff because I'm always rinsing and soaking someone's excrement or urine out of their rapidly fading clothing.

-The dog. The wily opportunist who runs away at every open door and free moment, refuses to even pee when on the leash, and likes to puke up violent green stomach acid at inopportune times which takes me a half hour to blot out of the rug. It's a fun new hobby.

-I was losing weight rapidly the first few weeks after Jamie was born, but I seem to have plateued and now, if it's possible, am getting fatter. Whatever happened to breastfeeding just MELTING away the fat?

-Eli. Is continuing to act out, some days worse than others. The last two have been just horrendous. In the last forty eight hours I've dealt with: approximately four pee accidents, five attempts to run away and hide while in various department stores, countless screaming and throwing himself on the floor fits (usually in public,) one setting off of the emergency exit alarm in Kohls, and more outfit changes than a Lady Gaga concert. Seriously, the kid is killing me with his passion for being either Spiderman, a "football guy," or a pirate, and he rotates between costumes all day long, until there are random clothing articles littering every floor. Sometimes I even think he wets his pants on purpose so he can change clothes again.

-Addy. Keeps hitting/physically bullying Eli, which is MADDENING to me.

-Odors. I swear between the dog, the diapers, and the constant wet laundry, the house smells funky no matter what I do.

But there are good things. The baby only woke up once last night, for instance, and is starting to coo and smile at us. I made a yummy lasagna AND pumpkin chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and both turned out well. Also, I just found out that a Cold Stone is coming to town soon. That's very good news, right there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grayden

I had planned on finishing up Endless Birth Saga today, but I'm taking another break to ask you to please keep my friend's little grandson in your thoughts. He and his twin sister were born just a few weeks after Jameson, and his mom had had health problems all through the pregnancy. They were born at thirty five weeks gestation, and initially were healthy, though the little girl had been much smaller than her brother. In the last week or so, though, little Grayden started refusing food and his cry was getting very weak. They first thought he had failure to thrive and were giving him nourishment through IV, but he's now been diagnosed with infant botulism. This is very serious and very scary, and also very very rare. They have no idea how he contracted it, but it's an illness that can actually be fatal if not caught in time.

Grayden has a feeding tube in now and began his treatment this afternoon. He had had high blood pressure going into it, so they were concerned about how he would tolerate it, but he did respond well and his blood pressure began to go down, too. So everyone's encouraged that he will hopefully make a full recovery, but things are still very scary for his parents and grandparents, who both flew up to be with their son and daughter in law. Grandma and Grandpa are staying at the house and taking care of Teagan, the little girl, while the mom and dad stay at the hospital with their son.

So please just keep the whole family in your thoughts and prayers the next few days, if you will. I can't imagine going through such a rough pregnancy, the scare of a premature delivery/nicu stay, etc., only to have to deal with this as well. It also makes a certain fussy but otherwise perfectly plump and healthy baby boy seem like the luckiest, most amazing thing in the world.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Day The Baby Came, Part Two

So where were we? It was around eight or nine at night, I think, and I'd been walking and walking and talking and walking some more, and I was still at five to six cm and still not having regular contractions, but the baby's head had moved lower at least. (Here's where I'm running to the baby's room to get the birth story our doula gave us, because I'm realizing that the timetable in my head is fuzzy at best, and if I have a hard copy available with exact details, I might as well go and fetch it.)

OK, I'm back! And I immediately found a significant detail I had neglected to mention previously: for once, I was group B strep NEGATIVE, so I didn't have to have an IV! I did have to get an INT so that they would have intravenous access if necessary, so the painful insertion process was the same as an IV, but then once it was over, I had no cumbersome pole to drag around with me for the next night and day! I was incredibly psyched about this.

And my timeline was definitely fuzzy, because according to the paperwork here I didn't get my second cervical check until a little after ten, not eight. I had also forgotten that somewhere in between checks I had decided to try bouncing on the birthing ball, but the hospital's was flat, and they had no clue where to find a pump. So Stacy had to go down to her car and get her own ball, which she fortunately brings with her just in case. That was kind of funny at the time, I remember. The nurse had shrugged when questioned about why the ball was flat and said, "Well, no one ever uses it!" So I was the crazy lady in the bathtub room bouncing away on a big red ball to help open her cervix instead of laying in bed, hooked to an IV like a good little patient. :) (I may also have been eating all night long, too, here and there, which I'm pretty sure was technically against their rules. No one said anything to me about it, though.)

It was around this time that I kicked everyone out for a few hours so I could rest in peace. I had kind of been assuming that my doctor would have suggested breaking my water by now, since I'd been at the hospital for four hours or so with hardly any progress, but when the nurse called her with the results of my check she just said, "Sounds good!" So I was feeling a little tired and frustrated- I'd thought that I would be close to pushing by now, given the fact that the nurse kept telling me how the water bag was bulging and all. I had been sure they would've just broken it, or that it would have broken on its own, and then in an hour or so the baby would be out! But things seemed in limbo for the night.

After my family and friends left, Jim and Stacy and I discussed requesting to have my water broken and whether it would be wiser to git 'er done, as it were, or try to sleep through the night and gather some energy, then have the baby in the morning. I was hoping to have a magical water-never-breaking until the pushing phase birth like my friend Jess did, but once again, as in my previous births, not much progress past five cm. seemed to be happening with the water bag intact.

When the nurse came back in to check my monitor (I had gotten in bed to rest for a bit, so they did a twenty minute strip to check on baby and contractions) she said that my doctor had another patient who would be arriving early the next morning for an induction, and that the plan was to hold off on breaking my water until then, assuming it didn't break on its own. My doctor was currently at home and wouldn't be in until the morning UNLESS I insisted on having my water broken right away, and I hated to be the jerk patient who dragged the doctor out of her bed. I also figured that if the doctor wasn't in any hurry to urge the baby out, I guessed I didn't need to be either. Plus that would give me a little extra time to labor him down with my water cushion still intact, which is always less painful, and also to see if maybe for once my water would pop on its own.

So all that to say, I didn't end up getting my water broken that night, and opted instead to try to get some sleep while the contractions were still mild and infrequent. Jim and Stacy stayed, obviously, and so did my sister Laura and friend Jess- the room across the hall was earmarked for me, as a recovery room, so we were allowed to use it as a hotel room of sorts that night as well. Jim, Laura and Jess crashed out on the bed and pull out sofa over there (after making a late night Arby's run) and Stacy stayed on the couch in my room to keep an eye on me and take notes.

I slept fitfully on and off, I think, but most of the time I was just laying there thinking. I was trying to figure out why I still felt hesitant about the labor and delivery process, why I was still a little freaked out at the idea that the baby was COMING and was actually going to be here. With my other two I was always desperate to be done with pregnancy and thrilled to finally be at the hospital, but right then I felt reluctant and wanting to stall, despite the physical discomfort. I kept thinking vaguely, "What if we just went home? Maybe we can wait a week or so still!"

I did a lot of praying and meditating kind of stuff those few hours, trying to relax into the role of mom of three and accept the new stage of life that was beginning. I think that was the problem- I was still so much enjoying just finally being off of bedrest and getting to live my normal life and take care of my family. Everything felt fun, and I knew once the baby came it was going to be a rough jolt into sleepless nights and lots of work all of the sudden, as well as possible jealousy issues from the two kiddos who were currently being so happy and sweet because I was finally off the couch and playing with them. I was reluctant for that post-bedrest bliss phase to end, I think.

I did finally feel at peace, more or less, and also pretty awake again. I hadn't really slept much, especially since they were monitoring me on and off through the night since I was in bed anyways. I barely felt like I had had any contractions. But Stacy said that she had been aware, throughout the two and a half hours I was quiet, of every time I had a contraction because of the way my breathing changed.

Around four fifteen I was awake for good, and Stacy got up and went for a walk with me. I also had a cereal and orange juice snack- I was ravenous again! I don't know how women make it through labor without eating! When we got back to the room we somehow got on the topic of churches, religion and spirituality, which was very interesting and a good distraction from nonstop labor thoughts. Around five fifteen Jim, Jess and Laura woke up, and we went for another lap around the maternity floor. I would have contractions, but nothing on a regular timetable, and nothing I couldn't talk through.

Finally around seven my doctor arrived and checked me. Amazingly, despite pretty much an utter lack of anything I could honestly describe as PAIN pain, I had reached seven to eight cm! When she broke my water bag, the fluid was clear, but there was not much water left in there. We discussed the possibility that I may have been leaking fluid for awhile now, What I had been sure was just constant urine leaks from a giant baby on my bladder may have actually been a small tear in the water sac. But I had had an ultrasound just a week earlier which showed plenty of fluid, so if things had gotten unhealthy in there, at least it hadn't been for too long. Still, it made me feel very relieved that he was coming out now! The doctor reminded me to keep drinking lots of fluids to keep up the water supply for him since I didn't have an IV running.

At this point I was informed that the baby's head was asynclitic, or cocked to one side. This made sense since most of the pain I HAD noticed was in my lower back and tailbone. I was actually relieved- I had guessed he was probably totally sunny-side up, as they say, and at least sideways left a greater chance for turning him around the right way. I had them start filling the birth tub after my water was broken; I figured the contractions were sure to get intense pretty soon and I would want to get in. My body definitely reacted to the change intensely: the first time I stood up after my water was broken, my legs were shaking violently and I could barely stand. And mentally I felt different- I could feel in my bones that real labor had commenced, and I started to panic a little bit. I was afraid of the pain getting suddenly huge, instead of building up gradually like in a normal labor, and I was afraid of the pushing phase, which was now looming.

I remember pulling Jim into the bathroom with me, shutting the door on everyone else, and telling him, "I need you to pray for me now to stay focused." I knew the only way I could have the birth I wanted was if I kept my brain in sync with what my body was doing, instead of letting it freak out at what my body was doing! So we prayed together and hugged for a little while, and I calmed back down and came out feeling ok again. Which, you know, is what you always hope for out of a bathroom trip.

And now, duty calls and I have to stop again. Holy excessive details, I can't believe this is going to take me three posts! (You: no kidding.) But I wanted to tell it the way it came to me, and this is how it's coming to me: in very specific detail. Whadda ya gonna do. Hopefully I'll be back to wrap this up tomorrow!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Freak Out

I interrupt this birth story flow to say that while I was doing remarkably well emotionally the last few weeks, I have finally had evidence of post partum insanity in the form of absolute hysterics re: mice. I mean, mice are gross and their feces can carry germs and all and no one likes finding evidence of them in their homes, but people, I am losing my damn MIND over the sudden mouse spotting in our house. Every closet has been dug through, every piece of furniture moved and cleaned under. I do not understand how, in a house that is pretty darn clean by most people's standards, we are suddenly having this problem. To the point that THREE times now I have actually SEEN a mouse dart out from around our wood stove. SEEN IT WITH MY EYES. And then sat on the couch, frozen in terror for a good ten minutes. This last time, today, just when I was beginning to relax and think that for sure the poison had finally done its work... well, I saw the mouse and then burst into tears. I cried for... a little while, let's just say.

There is poison in every non-kid accessible corner and there are traps in every spot we suspect there to be mouse activity. I don't know what else to do short of getting a few tomcats. But if I see one more effing mouse in my home, I may have to be committed. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It Only Took Six Weeks To Write This Post- Part One

SIDE NOTE: Before I launch into recounting my experience with water birth, I just want to mention in passing that having a new baby right before Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season, aka Pumpkin Flavored Everything season, is a terrible idea. Unless of course you're actually LOOKING for an inner tube of fat to cart around above your jeans. (I have to say though, if I could afford to go out and buy a whole new pants wardrobe, I wouldn't really even care right now. But I currently have only one pair of pants that fits me and that aren't maternity, and it's beginning to be embarrassing that I'm still wearing elastic waists. Or maybe not! If you can remember by the end of this sure to be lengthy post, comment and tell me how long it took you to get out of your maternity pants post baby!)

Ok, with that said, let us commence story telling while both boys are still magically sleeping! So if you recall- and you probably don't since even I barely recall it after six weeks- Sunday, September twenty sixth, which made me thirty seven weeks and one day pregnant, I had a lot of symptoms (some grosser than others, and I will leave it to your imagination and any standard pregnancy book to suggest them) that made me think I was going into labor. I laid down on the couch and tried to sleep, though, instead of rushing to the phone and then the hospital, since I'd had enough frustrating experience with false labor in my previous birth that I was determined not to jump the gun this time.

I kept thinking that the level of discomfort was such that if I just went to the hospital, I was sure they'd declare me in labor and let me stay. Keep in mind I was already four centimeters at this point. But I did, after a few hours and a lot of moaning and back pain, manage to go to sleep, and when I woke up there was no baby and no regular contractions. I did have a huge burst of nesting instinct that day, though, and got a ton accomplished from my Do Before Baby list.

Finally, on Tuesday afternoon I had my official thirty seven week check up, which revealed that the weekend's excitement had left me eighty percent effaced and five centimeters dilated. Or in other words, HALF WAY THROUGH LABOR by textbook standards. My doctor sat back, snapped off her glove and regarded me thoughtfully, then said, "So, what are you doing today?" And I looked at her face and said, "Uh... having a baby, I think?"

Then I back pedalled a little, freaking out at the idea that this was it, and also freaking out because I knew I couldn't have a water birth if I had to be on Pitocin, and going to the hospital before I was in an active contraction pattern made me much more likely to end up on Pit. However, I also knew that Addy's fifth birthday party was scheduled for that Saturday, and that I had all but promised her I would not go and have a baby on HER personal birthday. The fact was that if I dug in my heels and insisted on waiting for "real" labor, I was risking: a) going into labor during my daughter's party and/or having the baby on her actual birthday and b) never actually getting into a regular contraction pattern, having my water break suddenly, and then giving birth in my own bathroom while frantically trying to pack for the hospital.

On principle, though, I did weakly ask if I couldn't just wait another day or two and see what happened. My doctor basically said that yes, of course she couldn't DRAG me to the hospital or anything, but then said, "When you come in here five centimeters, I don't willingly send you back home, you know? You're having this baby SOON, one way or another. And if I strip your membranes, I think that should be enough to trigger more progress." I nervously started in with my concerns about Pitocin and still having a water birth, and she looked at me very seriously and said, "I promise there will be no Pitocin. We're not going to need it."

Well, that was good enough for me. I let her strip my membranes (which was a new experience for me! whee!) and then she sent me home to finish packing my bag, get the kids settled in with someone, and then return to the hospital within two hours. I couldn't believe how jittery I was as I got dressed and left the office on shaky legs. The nurse even gave me a hug and said reassuringly, "It's going to be great!" That drive home was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I couldn't believe it was actually happening, after all these weeks of lying around trying to keep this baby IN. Now he was coming OUT, and I still wasn't sure I was ready for labor or for the reality of three kids. I spent that ten minute drive alternately calling everyone who needed to know and taking deep cleansing breaths, muttering, "Here we go!"

When I got home, my brother in law, who had been watching the kids during my doctor's appointment and had agreed to stay with them until the baby came, took off to run a few errands while I packed and got my head on straight. I totally wandered around the house in a daze, loading random cups into the dishwasher, beginning and then abandoning little chores, and slowly packing the last of my things. I remember Addy basically packed my toiletries bag for me. If it hadn't been for her, I would have forgotten my glasses. Through all this, I was having mild contractions here and there, but still nothing different than the last few weeks.

When I had finished doing every last thing, including sterilizing the breast pump parts and packing the clearance-three-dollar-wearing-in-the-birthing-tub-and-then-throwing-away dress, Jim arrived home to drive me to the hospital and Brett got back to watch the kids. I had no excuse to not get in the car, so I kissed the kids goodbye and heaved my pregnant self into the passenger seat for the last time. I was still in a total daze.

At this point we were running a little late, but I hadn't had dinner yet and I knew I wanted to eat before we checked in. So we stopped at our family's coffee house on the way downtown, where I promptly had several humongous contractions that led me to call our doula and ask her to hurry. This was unfortunate, since she hurried so fast that she ended up beating us to the maternity ward. Whoops. But I partly blame the tripping of the fire alarm in the hospital lobby right when we got there to check in, which seriously slowed down the process. In hindsight it was kind of funny, but at the time, I was just nervous and annoyed and beginning to go deaf from the blaring alarm.

Anyhoo, so I got wheeled up to the birthing suite, hooked up to the monitors for the routine twenty minute strip, asked a bunch of questions, and checked. Five to six centimeters, is what the nurse said, so it seemed I had made some progress already. I was having only irregular contractions on the monitor, but they were happening, so I was officially in labor by hospital standards. I still felt no different than I had the last few weeks, though, and was talking and smiling. We spent lots of hours just walking around the halls and talking with our various visitors, including my mom and dad, sister, and Jess. By the next check I was still five to six centimeters, but the nurse said his head was lower.

...AND break.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mastitis

It really sucks. The end.

Oh and also, I am really sorry I'm barely commenting on anyone else's blogs since this bebe came along. I have yet to master the art of nursing while keeping my hands free, and basically every time I'm sitting down and free to read blogs, I'm nursing, so... I'm still reading you guys! And I miss you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Long, But There Are Baby Pictures!

So, I'm managing to post before another week is up. I also managed to clean out the fridge and grocery shop already this week, so I think I must be getting back to normal a bit.

We have a new dishwasher. Old one decided to break a week ago, so Jim tore it out, only for us to discover that despite living in a town with about five different appliance vendors, and despite requiring only a basic, run of the mill, nothing fancy dishwasher, no one had such a thing in stock and it would be at LEAST four days to order one. Um, no. House with newborn and two preschoolers needs a working dishwasher. Or a maid. Or someone with a system already in place for handwashing dishes. We don't even have a drying rack.

So I had a minor meltdown basically summed up by THIS SITUATION IS UNACCEPTABLE AND NOT MY FAULT THEREFORE IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT BECAUSE I NEED TO BE MAD AT SOMEONE. Then I went to a little locally owned appliance store at eight o' clock at night, found one close to the one we had chosen online but pricier, went to Lowe's and procured a signed copy of their sale price on said model (which would've taken two weeks to order from them) and then went back to local store and got it price matched. Next day, the dishwasher was ours!

And dang it, it still doesn't dry plastic stuff very well. Stupid high efficiency, energy saving b.s. But at least I have a sanitize cycle now in case, say, we have company for dinner and then find out the next day that they all have come down with flu.

What else... Oh! We had our follow up meeting with our doula, and it went really well. She gave me the birth story she recorded, and I also watched the birth video finally, so I feel like the experience is clear in my mind again and I will be able to do it justice in writing now. She gave me some breastfeeding advise and sympathy (because holy cluster feedings, Batman!) and we took pictures together. I was so happy to see her again. It's a strange relationship; someone becomes so important to you in this very specific way, and after a third baby, I'm thinking, "It's possible I might never see her again!"

Even though I DO think I want at least one more eventually, I'm not counting on anything. My record of pregnancy success is still three out of six, so I am very grateful and content right now with what we have. I also like to end on a high note, so to speak, so the idea of trying again feels kind of like... tempting fate, and messing up the happy ending. But seriously. I'm twenty six years old, and have a condition which doesn't allow me to take hormonal birth control. What are the odds I never get pregnant again, even if we don't technically "try" anymore? Yeah. So I kind of imagine I WILL see our doula again, is what I'm saying. :) I just really hope the streak of failed pregnancies has ended. Even now, with a chubby cheeked newborn beside me, the memory of the night I thought I was losing him to miscarriage is vivid in my mind. It was the most horrified I've ever felt, I think, and I never want to feel that way again.

Um, whoops! Totally had no intention of going down that particular rabbit trail today. But that's where my mind went, so I guess in the interest of honesty I'll leave it. But here's what I sat down intending to share today, so without further ado:











This was immediately after the sibling photo shoot. Just wanted you to know he didn't suffer for long. But yeah, that was a failed attempt at a photo op, over all. Eli was furious at being forced to wear a collared shirt, and the baby was just plain furious, as he often and randomly is, so that shot was the best we could do.

Eli's been quite... difficult lately, to be frank. Every time we go to a store he ends up running from me. He's fighting with Addy constantly. And the last week or so he has been having accidents on a daily basis, most of them very obviously intentional. Like yesterday, when I told him he couldn't have Halloween candy for breakfast, and he sat down on Addy's rug, peed, and then looked up at me angrily.

I mostly am at a loss. I know pottying is one of the most common ways toddlers act out after a new baby arrives. I know that with a (coughcoughkind of grouchy and needycoughcough) newborn in the house, he's getting less attention and probably feels like the only time anyone talks to him is to scold him. I know I'm holding him less than I was just a few weeks ago, and that must feel very abrupt and confusing to him. Sigh. I also know that there is a limit to how much crazy I can tolerate in one house before I go straight out of my mind, so I need this phase to cease very quickly. Beyond being hard to deal with, it makes me very sad for him. I just want him to feel better.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

There Is No Possible Title For This Nonsense

Here's what I can't believe: Jameson is three weeks old and I haven't even attempted to tell any sort of official birth story, not even in the baby journal I keep for each kid while I'm pregnant. I especially can't believe it because I think he has such a cool birth story and it went beautifully and there is no reason I would be reluctant to tell it. I'm just so.darn. tired. is all. But I swear to you, one of these days my post is going to be called "I'm A Total Hippie Who Had A Baby In A Bathtub" or something like that, and it will be essay-length at the least and will have every detail I can remember. Because I really do want to write about it. Just as soon as I sleep for about twenty four hours straight.

I have gotten a grand total of two (2) naps since the baby was born, and he is just as rotten a sleeper as his brother before him was, so during the daytime I often feel like I'm just slogging through on autopilot. It takes me half an hour to get around to simple tasks like wiping a counter or switching a load of laundry, because about seventy five percent of the time I lay the sleepy little Jamie James down, he wakes back up and starts screeching for me.

He also doesn't sleep well at nighttime unless he is physically on my body, which has been very difficult because I am not comfortable with bedsharing and therefore spend half the night propped on the couch, dozing lightly, with the baby swaddled and wedged in my elbow as safely as I can figure out. The other half is when I actually get him into his bouncy seat without waking him, then lay rigid on the couch, trying not to get TOO comfortable just yet on the very good chance that he will start wailing within five minutes and I, having just fallen asleep only to be awakened, will then want to kill myself/roll over and ignore him/barf from sheer exhaustion.

Also, Eli has wet the bed every night for a week. He doesn't react well to this, or to the resultant clothing/bedding changes, but he still adamantly resists the wearing of a Pull Up, and I certainly don't want to force him to wear what he equates with a diaper. On the other hand, I don't like that laundry has apparently become my new hobby.

But! Once I am actually awake and functioning again in the morning (usually by eleven, if we're being honest) things are okay. Jameson sleeps in his carseat pretty well, at least, though he still wakes up every two hours to eat, which has already led to two public nursing sessions. Interestingly, both were in TJMaxx, which leads me to think I'm spending too much time there. It's one of my favorite places to kill time/get out of the house before picking up Addy from preschool. I'm not actually spending much MONEY there though, because I just keep buying wall art and then returning it. I'm terrible at visualizing things, so I have to actually take the thing home and hang it up before I realize it doesn't match at all. Plus, obviously, I'm delirious, so that doesn't help. But at least I'm not spending all day at home in my pajamas, right? Just nursing a baby in the front seat of my car or in a dirty bathroom stall while my son plays with the feminine hygiene product disposal box. That's MUCH better.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Incidentally

-I've had several pumpkin spice lattes in the last few weeks (half caf! most of the time!) and have noticed that sometimes they taste SCRUMPTIOUS and I think that I have never had a yummier coffee drink, and then other times they taste exactly like sipping on a gaggy-smelling scented candle. I think I'm going to chalk this up to my weird olfactory senses due to my worst case of hay fever ever, rather than assuming there is really that much inconsistency in the way the drinks are being made.

-Between me, the dog and Jameson, our family has made a grand total of six doctor visits in the last two weeks, and that's not counting the four bilirubin draws. When I was little and fantasizing about having babies, I had no idea how much of my job as a mother would be simply ferrying people to various medical facilities and signing under "guardian" on various forms for them.

-The one visit that was for me was for an injury I sustained during Jameson's birth- to my BICEP. Yes, that's correct, I have been diagnosed with bicep tendonitis, which presumably occured during the pushing part of baby's birth, when I was gripping metal bars on the walls above the sides of the tub. The bars are at kind of a high, awkward angle (you can actually see it in one of the pictures in the black and white slideshow, I think) and my doula and one of the nurses both warned me that some moms find them uncomfortable. I found it helpful at the time to have something to grab on to, though, and didn't notice any pain in my right shoulder/arm until about three days later, which not coincidentally is when I began weaning off the prescription-strength Motrin my doctor gave for cramping.

At first I thought I was having a bad reaction to the TDaP booster I got at the hospital (we've had some nasty pertussis outbreaks in our area recently) but when it didn't get better and was in fact getting worse, I finally went in to have it checked out. Bad news. Also, bad luck, 'cause there's not much to do for tendonitis issues other than physical therapy (don't have time for THAT right now,) steroid shots (can't do while nursing,) strong painkillers (ditto w/ the nursing issue,) and resting the effected muscle (kinda tricky with a newborn that constantly needs carried and breastfed!) So I'm just taking Advil round the clock, trying to ice it when I remember, and favoring my left arm as much as possible.

-We are finally running out of leftovers from all the food the Church Ladies brought us, which means... I will soon have to do a real grocery trip (as opposed to quick runs for necessities like Kotex and Peanut M and M's.) I am anticipating it with about the same mentality as I did labor: an extreme challenge both physically and mentally, and one which I have not undertaken for awhile, but from which afterwards I will hopefully emerge feeling spent and exhausted but triumphant and fulfilled.

Or I might just flee the store, covered in milk leaks and hormone sweat, and get takeout Chinese. Like an epidural, it's an option that I never like to ENTIRELY rule out. Just in case.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Oh, You Wanted PICTURES, Did You?

In preface let me just say, this is a whole lotta pictures right here. This is kind of for family, too, this blog, so I figure occasionally I owe everybody a post without my rambling and WITH plenty of pictures.



Probably never saw a woman look so downright cheerful in labor, huh? This was after being sent from the doctor's office over to the hospital, at five centimeters with a bulging water bag, but still not regularly contracting. So it was kind of party time for a while yet.


Belly parade: me, 37 wks. and 3 days; my sister Laura, 24 weeks; and Jess, 17 wks.


My water is broken now. Much less enthusiastic smile.










My mom.


First family photo shoot... Addy was not in the mood. But there's always one, right?


Our doula, Stacy.


Jim's dad.


Laura



Sadly, the mohawk has gone down now.


My sister Rachel.


Jim's sister Jenn.







She seems to have forgiven him for stealing her thunder at the birthday party.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Not A Birth Story

...Because wow, having three kids can really take it out of you, even with a wonderful support system and a super helpful husband and very nice friends bringing so much food that Jim finally catalogued it all in a list so that we could REMEMBER what we had to choose from without staring into the fridge for a full five minutes.

It appears, upon rereading that paragraph, that it is the world's longest run-on sentence. Ah well. No time for rewrites!

We are all doing quite well, overall, except for our poor dog, who chose this point in time to develop a raging eye infection that we first assumed to be a cataract. By the time we'd noticed he was having trouble, he was half the time not even using his bad eye, just letting it close or roll back in his head. Ack. But vet says its just a bad infection (well, actually something else besides a run of the mill infection that neither of us can remember the name of, but) and that he should recover with vigilant eye-dropping three times daily. Because we're not doing enough disgusting things round the clock right now; additional thrice daily dog-face wrestling sessions were exactly what we were hoping for.

Anyways! Enough about the dog, GEEZ. The BABY is so adorable and smells so scrumptious, and the kids are being so gentle and sweet with him. The only moment of detectable jealousy I've seen so far is when Addy's friends from down the road came over for a belated birthday tea party, but spent most of their time ogling the new baby and ignoring the birthday girl's requests (ahemwhinyDEMANDScoughcough) to play dress up with her. It got a bit ugly, frankly, and by the time they left Adelay was actively crying. "It is MY birthday and they just want to look at that BABY!" she sobbed. It was very very sad, and I was very sad for her. There just wasn't much to do to make it better, though. So Jim took her for ice cream, which turned out to be pretty healing.

But yeah, relatedly, Addy's birthday was Sunday, and we had a family party planned for Saturday and went ahead with it... Which was maybe crazy but everybody brought food over, and my MIL cleaned my house and my sister made the cake and overall that went off pretty well, though having a house full of new baby paraphernalia AND new birthday stuff makes for a very cluttery house, let me tell you.

Addy also started dance class last night, and everyone yelled at me for being out and about after just giving birth a week ago. They were kind of right, but also, kind of wrong, 'cause dang if I don't feel pretty ok most of the time already. Not to spoil The Birth Story or anything, and also not to put too fine a point on it (sorry guys and squeamish girls,) but there's a big difference between going home with a newborn AND a giant rip in your body and going home with just the newborn part. You might feel so shockingly normal you find yourself crazily asking to go home from the hospital a day early, which is in hindsight SUPER DUMB of you now that you're remembering what tired really feels like.

Not that Jameson is so fussy or such a dreadful sleeper, but his bilirubin levels were high and rising, so each morning for four days after we got home I had to take him BACK to the hospital to get a heel prick blood draw, which is an excruciating process on a newborn, especially one with the skinniest feet you've ever seen, not an ounce of cushiony fat to spare. I'd have to sit in another room and wait while he screamed, and then they'd bring him to me to nurse him back to sleep. Four days in a row, plus two doctor's appointments already. So between that and the girl's birthday parties and dance class and preschool and the dog's eye, my brain and body are both a bit taxed. But thankfully his levels finally started going down, right before we were about to start the dreaded lights.

We're also weaning him off the formula supplements, which we were offering at the doctor's insistence to try to help flush the bili out. Now that he's without those occasional ounces of formula, baby has been nursing like a rabid wolverine, hours at a time sometimes, so that's fun too. I honestly don't know how I'd be managing right now if Jim weren't working half days still and my mom wasn't available to drop Addy off at her preschool. I sort of feel pinned to the couch much of the time, which is totally normal of course, and I love the snuggle time and the fact that he's such an eager nurser, but it's a little stressful with two wily opportunists lurking around, bent on killing each other or eating jumbo bags of M and Ms every time they see you sit down and pop the boob out.

Speaking of, just had to go rescue the saddest little newborn ever (seriously, I forgot how their little cries actually sound just like they're saying, "Waaah!") and am now typing one handed, so that's it for now. More from the frontlines soon!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Birthday

Jameson Beckett Isaac arrived on Wednesday morning at 11:15! He was 6 lbs, 11 ozs, and 20 inches long. His birth and all the details of the first day (and never ending night!) at home will follow soon, but for now there is this awesomeness, thanks to my wonderful friend Jess:

Monday, September 27, 2010

About Last Night

Yesterday evening around nine, things started happening exactly how they happened the night I went into labor with Eli: I was bleeding; my legs felt shaky and my lower back was suddenly killing me; my hips were getting that suspicious, coming-apart feeling; the contractions were feeling a lot more intense; more pulling and pressure.... I was sure I was starting to have this baby, and instead of being excited, I freaked a little. Mentally I hadn't expected it to be that soon; I've been trying so hard not to get impatient this time, to just take every day at a time and to ignore all labor symptoms until they get un-ignorable. So instead of flying around the house trying to speed up the contractions, I was puttering around slowly, doing housework in a daze and trying to distract myself. Maybe if I just pick up toys and wipe counters like usual, the pain will go away!

It didn't, but after an hour or so (and after coming out of my denial and realizing I needed to choose some kind of mental framework for the evening) I decided that whether or not it was the real thing, the best decision would be to lay down and try to sleep. If it was false labor, I would relax eventually and it would go away. If it was real, I was going to need my rest, and laying down wasn't going to stop anything for very long anyways. This had been my biggest fear the night I started to have Eli: that if I laid down to rest at all, labor would halt permanently and I would have just wasted the whole night of work and excitement. Look at me, older and wiser now.

Anyways, I laid down and quickly felt very sleepy, but my hips and back were hurting so badly I couldn't get comfortable or relax. I was actually moaning every time I had a contraction, which is pretty weird for me that early in labor. Jim brought me a hot pack, and that plus some counter pressure behind me on the couch finally let me drift off to sleep. Whereupon the "labor" disappeared, more or less. When morning came, I mostly just felt relieved. It just hadn't seemed like it was time yet, even though if you had asked me around dinner time the day before I would have said, "Bring it on!"

Thinking I was maybe in labor totally sent that nesting instinct into overdrive, though. I was up at seven this morning assembling the swing, and then went crazy with housework and projects all day long: finally preregistering at the hospital, which I'd been putting off, since I wasn't sure until Saturday which one I'd be delivering at; making annoying medical bill phone calls; cleaning out the front closet for the coat drive at Addy's school and then delivering said coats; going through all the kids' clothes from this summer, sorting some to donate, some to save, and some to throw away (holy stains, Batman); washing and putting away all the fall clothes; doing general laundry; vacuuming the entire house; making a trip to Goodwill with all the "to donate" stuff; doing three different errands with Eli during preschool hours; washing the stroller cover and reassembling it (which requires SCREWS and SNAPS and oh my gosh why must be it so HARD to remove a stroller cover!?) and basically doing any and everything I could to take advantage of another day before the baby comes to get stuff done.

Now I am about dead with fatigue, but I feel very accomplished and a little more ready. The camera and video camera are both ready now (Jim took care of those while thinking I was maybe in labor!) and I do indeed even have a bag packed. I think the only baby thing left to do is get out the breast pump, which I don't even want to LOOK at, but I suppose I'd better have it ready since I'm sure to need it at some point.

Okay, time to sleep now... Let's hope Eli doesn't wake Jim and me up six times tonight like he did last night. Yep, no exaggeration. Peed the bed twice, peed on his shorts and the bathroom rug once, and yelled for his blankets/stuffed animals/the very molecules of AIR around his bed to be rearranged three other times in between. I'm not sure if a night of labor could really have been worse, actually.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thirty Seven Weeks



Let's hope this is the last update picture needed until the baby makes his arrival.
(Also, let's hope one of these days I learn to slap on at least a LITTLE bit of makeup before I decide to put a picture of my puffy pregnant face on teh internetz.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Still Pregnant, But Now With Pictoral Updates!

First off, I would just like to remind God or Nature or Global Warming or whomever is responsible for the mid-nineties temps we've been having the last few days that it is September twenty fourth. For the love of giant pregnant women everywhere, enough with the sweltering heat. Also, there's just something weird about seeing people raking leaves shirtless because summer and fall are still duking it out.

If anyone's reading this on my actual site and not through a reader, you'll notice that on my baby ticker up there, I am thirty six weeks and six days pregnant. I'm gonna make it, you guys! I'm gonna make it to term, and I'm gonna get my water tub, though whether I use it for actual delivery is still totally up in the air. But I can if I want to, and that's all I asked for, so I'm happy.

So yeah, as of tomorrow I am good to go. I've met with our doula twice, got the birth plan okayed by the doctor, and set up the cosleeper. The adorable newborn dress up outfits and the cloth cover for the swing are currently in the washer, and the carseat is all cleaned and ready to go. We haven't installed it yet though because it will require moving Addy all the way to the back of the van and I'm reluctant to do it until we HAVE to, as she still isn't able to buckle herself in despite repeated tutorials. I've done all kinds of random cleaning projects that have absolutely nothing to do with the baby but which I felt compelled to get done before his arrival, like purchase new doormats, sweep the front porch, wash the front door, shower off all the houseplants, and dust the door frames. There are other, more practical things I still haven't done, like dig out the breast pump and pack a bag for the hospital, but I have to leave something to do in case I'm still pregnant for weeks, right? Plus the bag packing is way overrated, I think. All you really need is toiletries, one outfit for you and baby, and maybe your slippers. Anything else someone can go get you later.

The things we really should be getting ready and haven't yet are the camera and video camera. Must get to that this weekend. Though again, this is totally something that could be done by Jim while I'm pacing around timing contractions early on, but just in case we have some kind of emergent, water breaking and sudden baby head crowning situation, I suppose that stuff should be done ahead of time.

Speaking of baby head crowning, did I mention I'm four centimeters now? Yeps. And contracting just constantly, whenever I'm on my feet. It's ever so slightly uncomfortable. Also, anytime I go anywhere, I know people think I'm actually IN early labor and walking around to get things moving, because of how I shuffle painfully and then pause every five minutes or so. I guess technically I am in early labor, except that mine may last for weeks yet. I have determinedly resisted timing anything, and the doula and I agreed, based on my last labor, that barring water breakage or the sudden need to push or whatever, I should assume it's all false labor until things really start to hurt. Regular contractions don't necessarily mean anything, as long as I can still breathe through them and talk a little.


(This was actually taken about seven weeks ago- just thought I'd throw it up for comparison's sake and then tomorrow I'll post one of the current Bellah.)

My left foot is still being a pain, and gets a lot more swollen than the right one by the end of the day. Also I've given up wearing my ring, since I always have to take it off by dinnertime. This puffiness is weird for me. The other times it was always just my face that swelled up. Again, thanks for the heat and humidity, Stubbornly Lingering Summer!

Addy's finished her second full week of preschool, and so far I think it's been wonderful for everyone. She is always excited to go, and I've been doing at least one little errand or shopping trip or ice cream date with Eli every day during those hours. It's so nice to be out with just one kid, and I think it's important for him to get in some alone time with mama before the baby comes. He's been behaving himself MUCH better since I've been off bedrest, and I am so glad we've had these days to get back to normal before baby arrives. Obviously, I can't plan on shopping every preschool day, but it is a good chance to break up annoying errands and get them done a little at a time when I actually have a chance to enjoy one kid instead of, you know, corraling the herd.



As for the girl herself, we hear mostly about snack time and the playground, of course, but she's bringing home lots of correctly filled in worksheets, so that's nice to see. She also came home the other day with a bracelet, which I mistakenly assumed to have been a craft project, but which, as it turns out, one of the little boys had made for her at home- in pink, because it's her favorite! "He just likes me," she shrugged when I asked her about it. Well, and who wouldn't.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

La La La

Whew, it's been a busy week! To start with, Wednesday was my first official day off of bed rest, and I spent it happily cleaning my kitchen. Oh, it was glorious. I think I spent twenty minutes just on the sink. Not that it was THAT awful, don't get me wrong, I was just in my element and kind of couldn't make myself stop scrubbing even when it was, in fact, technically probably clean. The rest of the day was spent puttering around putting things where they belonged, and then, that evening, I actually got to attend my first of Addy's soccer games. It was just awesome to get to watch how she literally skips and frolics around the whole time. Is she the team's secret weapon in terms of defense or scoring? Not exactly. But she is without doubt enjoying herself utterly, and it was pure pleasure to watch.

Thursday was my birthday (twenty sixth if anyone's counting- oh and I am! I'm now closer to thirty than twenty.) I took myself shopping, somehow injured my left foot while walking around, came home and had a nap, and then Jim and I had a great dinner out and did some more shopping, this time for Adelay's upcoming birthday. It would have been a fantastic birthday start to finish if not for the foot thing, which honestly sucked a lot and continues to suck. If I'm on it for more than an hour or so I literally can't stand to put weight on it anymore. All the sudden puffiness from being up and around again isn't helping it, I imagine. Practically overnight, my legs went from being generally stocky to being total bratwursts about to explode out of their casings. Also, I can't tell anymore if my feet have bones in them. They just look like... pads of flesh with chubby little toes stuck at the end. Gag. And also, ouch.

But anyways! Physical miseries aside I am in such a good mood the last few days, and have been way too busy enjoying my real life again to feel like blogging. Sorry. I've been to every store in town, I think, just for the fun of it, and also to stock up on last minute baby stuff! Squee! I got a prenatal massage on Friday which was heavenly, and did a lot to help my messed up spine and hips after all the laying around. The therapist informed me that my sacrum was completely open and that she'd "be surprised" if I didn't give birth within days. I just laughed and told her, "I've heard that before."

And then you know what I did Saturday? I went to a fall festival/art fair thingie with my mom and sister, had lunch out, and then got a pedicure! And you know what happened while I was doing all that fun stuff? My house was being cleaned top to bottom by someone who was not me, i.e. someone who didn't have a thirty pound watermelon in front of her and who had enough energy to do more than ten minutes of housework before needing a nap! She did a great job and the house felt so weirdly clean I almost didn't want to let anyone back into it for fear of wrecking the perfection. (Addy, when she entered the house: "What is that nice smell?" Me: "That's clean, honey.")

So anyways, I have had a great first week back in the real world; everyone was so thoughtful (thank you again!) in making sure all my wishes came true- a giant steak dinner, a German chocolate cake, A CLEAN HOUSE, etc. I feel very spoiled and also very relieved, and I feel more or less ready now for the baby to make his arrival whenever. Though I'd still really like him to hold out until Saturday so I have the option of water birth. But, I stopped the contraction meds today and have since been having pretty regular balling up and pressure, so, he may have other plans. Got another delightful cervix check tomorrow, so we'll see if all that discomfort did anything! Or, you know, he may follow in big brother's footsteps and just tease me for two weeks with false labor. That would be adorable.