Sunday, December 28, 2014

The state of my babies

"Is it okay if I pee?" Eli asks as he interrupts my bath for the fourth time. "And don't peek at my butt!"

My 8-month-old baby girl is asleep for the moment and Kenny is getting Eli to bed. Yesterday we got back from a marathon Missouri Hannukah/Christmas/mother-in-law birthday celebrating.

Eli is a wild and crazy almost five-year-old. He is full of energy, enthusiasm, and emotion. He is playing hard these days for attention. This often means throwing himself on top of one of us - particularly if we are holding Nora. Sometimes he acts helpless, and sometimes he's fiercely independent. He is also crazy smart. There's no more glossing over details with him. He wants to know exactly why something is the way it is, and he is quick to offer an solution to overcome some obstacle we've explained that is preventing him from getting what he wants.

And then there is Nora. Baby Girl, I am sorry I have blogged about you so much less than your brother at this age. There is just. Less time with two of you, and I usually choose playing with you two over writing about you. I am writing this post on my phone while nursing you.

Nora turned 8 months last Monday and has been crawling since 12/12 and pulling up since a bit before that. She is such a happy baby. She smiles so easily and at so many people. Taking her on a walk is like a public service because she spreads so much joy. 

She's also gotten snuggly lately and has been laying her head on my chest when I carry her. 

She's been babbling her Ms and said a "mom" to me on Christmas Eve. I'm counting it as her first word.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The 2-Month Update

We took Nora and Eli to the doc today for their 2-month and 4-year (whoops, just 5 months late there) check ups respectively. They each got roughly one million shots. Eli was super brave and oddly excited about getting his shots. I think he wanted to show off for Baby Sister. He used his doctor kit a few days ago to explain to her what was going to happen at the appointment. And he held her hand while the nurse gave her the shots.

Eli used to just sleep more when he got his as a babe. Just found out that Nora prefers to scream her head off. Who knew? I tried what I always try when she cries. I nursed her. She'd nurse for a few seconds and then scream bloody murder. Kenny swaddled her and held her against his body upright, facing out and started walking. About 50 laps around the couch later and she was out.

She weighed in at 11 pounds, 15 ounces (60th percentile) and measured at 24 inches long (95th percentile - confirming my firmly held believe that she's so loooong!).

She is not as awesome of a sleeper as she was at one month, but who is? She enjoys nursing, sleeping, a good Bjorn or Ergo walk, and watching Mom, Dad, or Big Brother do something from the comfort of her cradle. She has begun to insist on a certain amount of being held facing out and paraded around the house each day.

After a good nursing and milk snooze, she's generally a ridiculously smiley girl. Hard to get a clear picture of the phenomenon because she's always wiggling during these episodes.

This month she had her first significant period of time at home with Kenny (and not me). She took the bottle pretty well. Eli even helped (pretty sure this is not the recommended feeding position).

She also had her first plane ride. We flew to Denver and drove to Ogallala, NE for a wedding.  The most difficult part of navigating the airport is that we had to lug their car seats to the gate. We attached Eli's to a luggage cart and had him ride in it like a stroller.

Nora decided to have her diaper blow out on the way to the airport instead of on the plane because she's a courteous gal. Kenny thought we should talk this picture instead of changing her right away.

The plane ride was pretty uneventful. I'm not sure she understood the gravity of the day.

My adventures in being a temporary stay-at-home mom took a turn this month when Eli's school ended, and I began caring for two whole children by myself. Two children is a lot of children. But that's for another post.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baby Girl at One Month

So we've been getting to know this new little human for a little over a month now. She is such a Nora.

So far she's been a pretty easy baby. She sleeps a ridiculous amount through the night and takes good long naps during the day. She'll nap in her swing, on me on the couch or in a carrier.

She nurses like a champ and has been doing the growing to prove it. She'd lost just 5% of her birth weight in the hospital and had gained it all back and then some by her doc appointment at 1 week. I measured her yesterday and she's gained at least 2.5 inches in length since birth. Most newborn stuff is too small on her.

She has 5 to 10 minute periods of awake/alert/happy times throughout the day. She enjoys looking at posters and started smiling at people two weeks ago. Her changing table is her favorite place in the house.

On Tuesday she was an angry baby who demanded lots of Ergo time (and lots of walking from Mama). I was afraid it was to be our new normal, but she's back to being pleasant yesterday and today.

Sibling relations have been pretty great. Eli adores her. He wants to show baby sister how he does everything. When she's crying he'll tell me he thinks she's hungry or thinks she wants me. He has had a few problems at school and ploys for attention at home, but there are quite a few changes going on for a little 4-year-old boy to handle.

The transition from one to two babies has been easier than the transition from zero to one though I keep getting freak illnesses. I got PUPPPs right after her birth and for a couple of weeks after. Then I got a bad allergy attack or a cold. Then I got an ear infection and ruptured ear drum. Then the PUPPPs or some other hives came back with a vengeance. I've been trying to take it easier and amcurrently well (knock on wood). 

I'm loving my time home with her. We go on walks, go shopping, go visit Daddy for lunch, have mommy dates with other mommies and watch lots and lots of TV (AKA nursing and napping). I take about a thousand pictures of her a day because how could you not?

She's super noisy. She's sleeping in her swing right now and it sounds like a puppy growling during a tug-of-war game over there.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nora's Birth Story

Despite our best efforts, we ended up at the hospital at 9:00 a.m. for an induction. We were in very good moods - happy that the wait was finally over. You have to be buzzed into the family birthing center so I picked up the phone and said, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby!"

They showed us to our room and told me to put on a gown. It was so very weird to arrive at the hospital not in labor. I felt like they were gonna tell me I needed to go back home. Last time I totally came in labor and they still sent me home once.

We got settled and met our nurse and nurse-in-training. We went through a bazillion registration questions.

Our midwife, Kim came down to the room. The first thing she asked was if I was sure I wanted to get induced. That kind of threw me. She said she'd talked to the midwife I saw the day before, and she didn't think I wanted to get induced. Sure I would have preferred to have gone into labor naturally, but I was there to get myself a baby damn it. She did an ultrasound and baby was in a good position.

She ran through the possible complications with using pitocin and went over the general plan. She checked me and said that I was 3 cm (up .5 from the day before!) and the baby was at -3 station (up a notch from the day before unfortunately).

After one failed attempt at putting in my IV, they got it in and the pitocin-a-thon began. We started at 11:35 at level 2. As you can see, I was super happy.

I tried to eat while I could.  

This is me at level 7, still in rather good spirits. Valerie, our doula (who was there for Eli's birth and the births of several friends's children) arrived somewhere around here. By 7 they were every 2-3 minutes which was the goal frequency but they weren't at the goal intensity so the upping of the pitocin continued.

I think this is where I started being able to feel the contractions but not really be in pain yet. We thought walking might help things.  I've got a bunch of monitors all over my stomach so I look even more comically huge.

At level 8, around 3:00, they started hurting and we went one more level to 9. That's when stuff got real. We'd been walking a bit and I decided it was to go pee again (while I still could) and listen to my hypnobirth thingies (guided relaxations and affirmations).

I listened to those and then it was time for some standing over the bed and getting counter pressure from Kenny and Valerie.

The thing about this whole pitocin/induction thing is that it was not the gradual build up that I'd had with Eli's labor. One moment I had no real pain and then the pain was there and they were already 2-3 minutes apart. I quickly, quietly started questions my whole "no drugs" plan. 

I decided to delay thinking about that and kept just moving to different techniques for relief. After a while of doing counter-pressure with Kenny and Valerie (and the two magic electric massager things we've been stockpiling since the last labor) I decided to go for the shower. Valerie asked me if I wanted a bathing suit. I told her I was over that and stripped down. I got in the shower and sent them away. I stayed there for what I think was 45 minutes to an hour. The shower felt awesome but I was getting too light headed and shaky to stay in there. I called the team to dry me off and get me a gown and then went back to a semi-upright position on the bed. It wasn't the best position for pain relief but it was the best position for resting in between contractions. I did my deep breath through the nose in and strong breaths out. Valerie kept reminding me to relax my hands which reminded me of the advice my mom had given me before Eli's birth - to wiggle my fingers and toes. That helped a ton. I did just those two things and started moaning and making animal noises. 

The midwife came to check on me and said she'd like to check my progress since it was an induction and all. When she checked me I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. 

I knew its was time to change positions again. I went back to standing and leaning over the raised bed with the counter-pressure team pushing on my hips and back. I started feeling pushy with the contractions. The midwife came back to check on me. She said she had another mother in labor who was having her third child and having similar feelings. She'd called her back-up midwife and let me know that it might be either of them. Of course the back up one was the one midwife I've never met. 

She checked me and I was 8 cm and my bag of waters was bulging. I was super-duper feeling like pushing and was pushing a little bit on each contraction at this point. We decided we'd break the bag to try to finish things up. I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder as that can impede progress as well. And that's when my water broke on its own (or with the force of a push I couldn't hold back).  Kim told me not to push and practically yanked me out of the bathroom and got me over to the bed area where all of the birthing tools and such had been laid out. 

I got on the bed and was so confused about what was going on. She checked me and I still had a bit of cervix. She said she'd try to push it out of the way at the next contraction. That of course hurt real bad, but I guess it worked because next time I asked I was allowed to push. I'd requested the birthing stool, but I was already on the bed and moving seemed hard. I pushed for a while on my left side with me and a team of people holding my other leg and Kenny spooning me and supporting me from behind. We then switched sides. I remember one of the nurses calling somebody and telling them to bring bracelets or something else that would be needed for the baby. She said, "I think one or two more pushes." Hearing that was rather encouraging.

Another push or two and her head was out. I think Kim had me wait for her to turn herself. With the next push she came out, apparently with her little hand up by her shoulder just to make it a bit rougher on Mama. I think the cord was wrapped around her neck one time.

I reached for her and they put her up on my belly and chest. I was so surprised she had dark hair.  She looked rather gray and puffy.  It's strange to not recognize somebody who has been sharing your body for so long.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, and then Kenny cut it.  She began nursing almost immediately and stayed on me for about two hours before we finally let the pediatrician examine her. The midwife was surprised by her size. At least 4 midwives had guessed her to be 7 something pounds. She weighed in at 8 lb, 5 oz. That's almost two pounds bigger than her brother and accounts for the myriad of stretch marks she's given me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The tenth month of pregnancy

So. I'm 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. That's 10 days past my due date.

I've tried everything. Evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, pineapple, eggplant, walking, relaxing, visualization, other things I don't care to discuss with you. Friday I went to the midwife and had my membranes swept and then we went to the acupuncturist. I've never done acupuncture before. It was so very relaxing. She also sold me a bottle of magic potion (a tincture) and gave me some magic stickers to help my heartburn. The stickers totally worked. I had buffalo chicken last night with no side effects. Today I went back to the acupuncturist and back to the midwife for another sweeping.

Tomorrow we get induced. Originally, we were going to go today (Monday), but the midwife called me later and said that today was already booked. Apparently this is the first time that has ever happened.

I know many people think I've waited too long. Some people think that she'll come when she is ready and I should wait longer. I don't really know what the right time is, but hopefully we're making the right choice.  Births typically happen between 37 and 42 weeks. The due date is at the 40 mark. It's very likely that she would (heck, still could) come on her own some time this week. After 42 weeks the risks to baby go up. Inductions at 42 weeks are more likely to end up in c-sections. Inductions carry plenty of their own risks. All of the options stink.

I'm 2.5 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. It took me a day of labor last time to be that dilated so I feel good about that progress. The midwife thinks that the induction should go well.

I just really want to meet Baby Girl and know that she's healthy and wonderful. I also really want to find out her name. We have a list, but I have no idea which name it will be.

It's going to be so weird to have my whole labor in a hospital (unless of course, I go into spontaneous labor sometime before tomorrow morning - still holding out hope).  We've been planning for it to happen at any given time for almost 5 weeks now.  We packed our hospital bag so long ago that I have no idea what is in it anymore.  Assuming nothing happens ahead of time, it's all going to be very orderly. We'll drop Eli off at school with his overnight bag (sitter to pick him up from school). We'll take Leroy to get boarded, and then we'll go check in and get the show started.  Hopefully the next post is a picture of my beautiful little baby.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Part the second

I'm 39 weeks and 3 days and so freaking huge. I think I was the size I was when I gave birth to Eli about 3 or 4 weeks ago. The web of stretch marks she hath wrought is impressive if not terrifying. They're like the commemorative tattoo she's given me to remember my pregnancy with her by. Nothing fits. I wore a pair of maternity jeans to work the other day (instead of the tights or leggings I've been doing because I didn't think I could do another day in tights or leggings), and it nearly killed me. Won't be making that mistake again.

Her movements are much different than Eli's were. She's active all day long. Eli was most active when I went to bed. This could be a good sign. Maybe she'll sleep at night. She flips from side to side all the time. Eli hung out with his butt pressed up and under my ribs on the right side all the time. Her movements are visible from the outside quite frequently. That can be quite amusing for my co-workers during meetings.

I'm having an easier time sleeping at this stage than I did with Eli. Mostly it's because I've not forced myself to sleep every night all night on my left side, because she's not so crazy rowdy at night, and because we have a better mattress than we had before.

She likes sweets a lot. Particularly chocolate. It's totally a stereotype but true.  Favorites this time around include chocolate pudding, cookies, and apples with cheese on crackers. Also meat.

My immune system has been terrible. I got at least 4 bad colds including 2 really bad coughs this winter. Apparently that's a pregnancy thing.

We have crossed all of the nesting tasks off of the list. We have our hospital bag packed and Eli's overnight bag packed. I'm most stressed about how we're getting him properly shipped off when the time comes. Everybody says the second labor is shorter, and I just hope it all goes down while he's not already asleep and that we don't have to wake up his sitter in the middle of the night.

I'm due on April 11. My current prediction is that she'll come on April 15. That's a full moon, an eclipse, and a Tuesday. Apparently that's the most common day of the week to be born. I did have Eli on a Tuesday. Prepare to face a grumpy still-pregnant Emo on the 16th.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy birthday to me

I am in the midst of a day of Emo. We get our birthdays off of work.  Me and my giant belly are at a coffee shop enjoying a rainy day.  In a few weeks it will be a hassle to do anything by myself so I'm going to take advantage today.

Funny enough, there's a group of older women at the table next to me discussing content strategy (a big part of what I do for a living) non-stop. One thinks blogs are aptly named because they're all "blah, blah, blah." One just writes a blog because they drive traffic to her site. One is discussing her "professionally designed site" like it's a designer purse ("I had mine professionally designed by so-and-so. He's not taking on anymore work right now.").  They all would like their sites optimized for mobile and tablet and are discussing the best ways to send mass emails.

Kenny started a new job at a great place this week.  Several months ago when he raised the idea of quitting his job to go to the Startup Institute, I was supportive and a little nervous.  It drives me crazy when people are unhappy but refuse to do anything about it. It's also a bit terrifying to lose an income. Thankfully, it all looks like it was the right move. We're both breathing a bit of a sigh of relief.

Eli continues to be hilarious and exhausting. The three of us drive home from work and school each day and if Kenny or I try to open our doors, he says, "Wait. Listen for directions! I'm going to choose who opens the door. I choose, ummm..." Everything is a race and if he makes it to a door first he says, "I win. Third place!" He likes to "cuddle up with mommy (not daddy)." He holds hands with and hugs all of his friends at school. Especially a few of the girls.

Baby girl is rowdy and much more into changing positions than Eli ever was. You can watch her butt flip from side to side of my belly. I'm giant. I was bigger at 36 weeks than I was at 41 with Eli (verified through the thorough collection of belly photos). For the most part, I've still been able to sleep so far. Getting comfortable is not easy, but I haven't been crazy about staying on my left side like I was last time. We met with our doula last week, and I brought my Hypnobirthing book with me today. I have good intentions about reading it. The other day the midwife said that it was my intentions that matter. It's okay to gain 6 pounds in 10 days as long as I have good intentions about eating and exercise.

We've done a pretty good job on the nesting front. Kenny got a bee in his bonnet last week to try to kill the to do list before today. He got most of it done. I've been most concerned about getting everything washed and put away. Kenny's been fixing all of the little things around the house that need fixing. I'm not totally sure what we're doing with the dogs or Eli when I go into labor, but we've got some loose ideas.

I'm full term tomorrow but trying to not get to anxious for labor to come. It would be good for Kenny to get a few more weeks of work under his belt for before taking off. And I'm trying to enjoy pregnancy (if that's even a thing) since it's probably my last. I know I'll miss feeling her wiggle around in there. And soon I'll just be fat instead of adorable ;-).


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's Catch Up Time

So, I'm 34 weeks pregnant and it's time my blog found out about it.  Whoops. Baby girl is going to be so mad about having such an under-documented pregnancy (or fetushood?).

After several months of trying, this pregnancy was brought to you by a really expensive trip to Whole Foods.

And chocolate martinis.

The first test I took had a faint blue line, and I'd just read a million (totally credible) forum posts about how cheap blue dye tests have false positives. I ran and told Kenny that the test was..inconclusive!

I went out and got the fancy digital test. Came home and took a second blue line test which was slightly less faint but still faint and waited for the morning. I woke up at 4 am and took the fancy test which was clearly positive :-).  It's a little gross to show you pictures of things I've peed on, but apparently that's not going to stop me.

This pregnancy has been in many ways different than my first. 

The first trimester


The sickness started pretty immediately. With Eli, I puked my way through most of the first trimester. With baby girl, I stayed up many nights with horrible indigestion. All of the things that helped the first time (bagels with cream cheese, mac n cheese) hurt me this time. I ate a lot of chicken noodle soup and dry cereal. Anything remotely fatty or spicy risked hours of pain.  Luckily that subsided around 14 weeks.


 The second trimester


The second trimester was full of rainbows and sunshine. And I knew this time to enjoy it.

To be continued...