Saturday, February 26, 2011

....or maybe not.

February baby, huh? Ohhh, Kaitlyn Mae...you little stinker:)

What's more shocking- that she came a week and a half early, or that we finally settled on a name as soon as the epidural was in?

I...yeah. I'm not sure!

So far, it's a totally different experience, in some good ways and some less than pleasant. With Grace, I got to the hospital and got the epidural immediately. It numbed me completely and removed any and all urge to push, and I labored and labored afterwards. Pushing Grace out took 22 minutes and felt like a breeze. Her little 8-lb self finally came out, looking like she'd been through ten rounds, and ohhhhh, was she PISSED OFF. A feeling that did not change for, um, a few months, we'll say:) with Katie, I labored at home much, much longer, and then when we finally got to the hospital, had to wait for approximately a week and a half for the epidural. (ok, or maybe an hour and a half or something like that.) People. I do NOT do pain. I don't know how anyone does that completely natural, but it is never, ever in the cards for me. But the differences didnt' stop there- when I finally got this epi, it was absolutely *perfect*. Took away all the pain, but none of the pressure from the contractions. I immediately knew when I was ready to push, and was able to use that as a guide. Katie popped out after five minutes of the most intense pushing I can possibly imagine, so tiny she was barely swollen at all, so quiet they took her away for a few minutes to wake her up a bit. She never did scream, though- they decided not to worry about it when she pinked up anyway. Nursed like she'd been doing it for ages, and drifted back to sleep, which ended up being our pattern for the entire night.

Our little peanut, our second daughter.


Grace made us parents, and Katie made Grace a big sister. Each girl changing our family in the most amazing way.

I can't wait for them to meet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Uno Punto Cinco Por Segundo

It's really funny how different the whole OB visit is between baby number one and baby number two.

With Grace, I went to every appointment between 36 and 40 weeks praying for some change, ANY change. I never got it until the very, very end. They stressed that I would have to go ten days past my due date for induction (which, on the one hand, I did not want, but on the other hand, I did NOT want to stay pregnant forever and ever). They assured me that I shouldn't be expecting cervical changes, that it meant nothing that I wasn't having them.

This time, I've been going to each appointment hoping to be told, "Ohhh, you have awhile yet! Nothing going on down here!" And until today, I got just that. Today the doctor said I'm dilated to 1.5cm, which shocked me a bit (but only a little, after I woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago with some intensely weird feelings that made me wonder if something was going on). The doctor was also shocked- that I wasn't dilated more. She said a second-time mom at 38 weeks and change is usually dilated further. I explained that I have a cervix of steel so she should not be surprised (left out the part about leaping buildings in a single bound). She asked me what my plan is- am I getting induced, or waiting? I was really taken aback, especially after getting the opposite spiel with Grace. I told her I'm waiting. She stressed that she would not induce me today, as I am not favorable at this point, but that it could be different by next week. I told her no thank you. (Role reversal, much?) We talked a bit more about it, and it turns out I can only go seven days, not ten, past my due date this time. I'm really okay with that, it's only a three-day difference and as much as I don't want to go early, I have my own worries about aging placentas.

Oh, and it wasn't my imagination or the angle of the pictures- Segundo measured 37cm this week, a 3cm growth from last week. Packing on the fat for life in the world:)

Of course, last week, when I was sick as a dog, the weather was slightly warmer (aka downright balmy for February in Chicago) and the snow melted and everything. Now that I am healthy, it's turning cold and snowy and hideous. FIGURES. I would've LOVED to get one last outdoor run in before this baby comes, but I guess it's not in the cards. Though I guess we'll have to see what the cervix of steel is doing next week before I decide that for sure;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

38 weeks

Hello, I am Segundo, and I gained fifty pounds this week:


compare that to last week, when I was still wee:


I still think s/he's just as high as ever, though my friend Jessica thinks s/he's lower. I honestly feel like I am no closer to having this baby than I was a month ago, and for the record: still fine with that. I mean, obviously I don't KNOW, but I just don't feel like anything is happening. I've had a hideous cold (hi, I'm 35 years old and I have CROUP, wtf?) for the last week month, and I'd really like that gone before this baby is born. I'm pretty sure it's sinusitis at this point, so although I don't really care what the doctor has to say about my progress (or lack thereof) on thursday (I never had cervical changes with Grace until three days before I went into labor, and even then, they were crazy-minor, so whatever, they can't tell me anything!), I am DYING to get hooked up with a z-pack or some other better living through chemistry.

And if Segundo DOES choose to come sometime around his/her actual due date, it looks like there might actually be a room waiting for him/her, which is nice. Stephen's putting the crib back together tonight, hopefully we'll get stuff up on the walls, and then the only really big tasks left are getting the electrician out for the fans and finding/assembling the swing and bouncie seat. Totally doable.

One sticky wicket: Grace's transition to her big girl bed is going pretty smoothly, with the exception of reading stories in bed instead of the glider. I mean, she DID it last night, but not happily, and it took her a lot longer to fall asleep, with a LOT more tears (HATE). It still seems ridiculous to have two gliders in the house, but I also feel like good sleep has no price...we'll see. I want to give it another day or two and see what happens. Today is her first nap in her big-girl bed. We need to go to Costco, and she will surely sleep in the car, so it's a little iffy.

(On a completely and totally unrelated note: Is Professor Wiseman the most annoying character in children's television or WHAT? Ok, no, she's obviously not, but she is damn close.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tales from the Bronchioles

One of the things I've learned during this pregnancy: I am just one of those women who's going to spend her pregnancy fighting one virus after another. In the grand scheme of things, it could be worse. I could be a woman whose body is convinced the baby is a foreign invader, or whose body are pretty sure 24 weeks is enough time to cook a baby...but it's kind of unpleasant.

With Gracie, it was sinuses, and it was nine months straight. I do have to say that I made it through most of this pregnancy without the non-stop viral invaders. With the exception of a really awful head cold back in October, I made it to the very end before my entire respiratory tract decided to lay down their weapons and cede to the enemy. That's great, but seriously? I have been sick for the last month, solid. Mostly head colds and sore throats, the kind that wake you up all night long, as you swallow razor blades and marvel at the amount of snot one human being can produce. The last cold finally seemed to be clearing, with the exception of a lingering bad sore throat, until last thursday, when my sinuses were suddenly filled with lead weights and I developed a funny tickle in my throat. Within a few days, my sinuses cleared, but my larynx was suddenly filled with tiny particles of dust, hell-bent on choking me to death. Or something like that. Last night, I coughed and spluttered and choked until well after midnight. I tried EVERYTHING- I took a hot shower, I drank water, I sucked on Halls, I cranked up the humidifier. Nada. At one point, I was reminded of that really amazing Atul Gawande article in the New Yorker about the need for improved palliative care in the US (this one, not the one where he acts like that doctor had a revolutionary idea when he started practicing medicine like a nurse. that one was monkey crap. anyway.), because the article centered on this woman who found out she had terminal lung cancer when she was 37 weeks pregnant and oh my god what if I don't have a cold at all, what if I have lung cancer and I'm going to die?

(ignoring, of course, the fact that Stephen is also sick and the fact that I have plenty of other viral symptoms to explain this hideous cough. I never claimed to be a rational person under the best of circumstances. Throw in pregnant hormones, sleep deprivation, and hypoxia, and I can't be held responsible for my train of thought.)

Dudes. I am miserable. I am really trying hard to enjoy the end of this pregnancy, the last kicks and shifts and the final preparations (and by final preparations, you know I mean preparations, right? Since I just put the cradle together two nights ago and dug out the pack n play today, and Stephen's doing the rest of the furniture today...picky, picky), but various viruses are thwarting these efforts. I've been trying to make up for it by eating everything that isn't nailed down, but so far that just makes me queasy. Don't worry though, I' m not one to give up easily. I'll keep on trying.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh. yes. there's that...

Every once in awhile, I will randomly come to a terrible realization about parenthood. Like when I realized I would never, ever spend a whole day on the couch ever again, or when I realized it would be years before I could nap at will.

Today I realized something horrible: one day, in the not-so-distant future, I will have to play board games with my kids.

I frigging HATE board games. I'm talking Madeline Kahn in Clue, "flames on the sides of my face"-style hatred. They irritate me in a way I can't fully articulate. The thought of endless rounds of Chutes and Ladders and Candyland...well. Let's just say it wasn't one of my bucolic fantasies about motherhood.

And for the very first time in my life since I became a mother, I thought to myself, "This. This right here, I have finally found a reason to be sad about not having twins."

Confidential to Segundo:
My sacrum is not an exit. No matter how hard you push there...it's still bone. Though I appreciate your dedication, this early tendency to tilt at windmills has me a bit worried about your future prospects. Best to live in reality. Bones are hard and unyielding, and mama doesn't want to play Parcheesi.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Which I Am Skurred

So, I keep saying with an air of mocking authority that I will be having my baby late. And really, objectively, I do believe that. The Cervix of Steel will not fail me, and I also know, no matter how uncomfortable I get, it's still easier than having a newborn- having a newborn and a two-year-old, well, that's uncharted territory for me, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it isn't going to be easy. So, even if I don't *know* I'm going to have the baby late, I know what I am hoping for, is what I'm saying.

But really, it's more than just that.

I try to operate under the assumption that this baby will be as angry and overwrought as Grace was as a newborn. That s/he will spend weeks upon weeks refusing to sleep, staying awake for hours, screaming every time one of us dares to sit down whilst holding him/her. Hating the car, hating the bouncie seat, hating everything except motion and lights and stimulation, and sometimes hating that, too. It's not me being a pessimist, it's me knowing that it's always better to be prepared and then pleasantly surprised if you're wrong. And while I would not change a single thing about Grace, all hyperbole and sarcasm aside: those were three to five of the absolute hardest months of our lives. And I just don't know how we'll manage if we have another baby with such high needs on top of a toddler. How we'll give the baby what s/he needs and Gracie was she needs, let alone meet our most basic needs. And if we're not meeting our most basic needs, it just adds to the spiral of not being able to meet the kids' needs.

I am TOTALLY aware of the fact that we are far from being the first people to add a child to their family. I am TOTALLY aware of the fact that we are also far from being the first people ever to parent a high-needs infant. And yes, sometimes people DO get two high-needs infants, and they manage just fine. I get it. I also get the fact that we are incredibly, indescribably lucky because both of our families are here, and they're involved and they want to help us in any way they can. So we'll manage. We'll be FINE.

It's just the knowledge of what we're getting into. I'm not afraid of labor. I have no delusions about having this baby without an epidural. I know my limits, and they involve very prompt epidurals. Even the laboring before the epidural, eh, whatever, ends quickly. It's the newborn period, the crushing, seemingly-endless sleep deprivation, that makes me practically tremble with fear.

I think we need a copy of The Little Engine That Could in this house.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

oh no, THERE'S the payback for the good luck.

Our power went out today for six hours.

well, no, first it browned out for an hour, and during that time, I was able to poach someone else's unsecured network. then it went out all the way, as did the unsecured network. Curses!

On the plus side, it was unseasonably warm today, so we didn't really get uncomfortable until right when the power came back on. But, it IS me, and you know, I'm not one to dwell on the positive (I mean, BLECH.)

First of all, G was napping, and I was juuust drifting off into that really great, comatose nap state- you know what I'm talking about, right? When I was jolted awake by the tv shutting off, and that click-followed-by-eerie-silence that always happens when the power goes out.

Secondly, the initial estimate for the power to come back on was 5:45. That came and went with no power, so I called again and got a new estimate of 7:45. Because, seriously, what am I going to do, take my electricity needs elsewhere? Gimme a break, they'll say whatever is going to get me off the phone. So, there was that whole sense of "will the power come back on at all? Should we put Grace to bed, or keep her up because we won't be sleeping here anyway? If we leave, will the power come back on five seconds after we do?" And so on. (I'm good at that particular game and can carry it out forever. It's an extension/symptom/cause of my total inability to make any decision, EVER.)

Thirdly, we had no flashlights. I mean, no. We did. But the batteries were dying, so they were not producing any actual light. Stephen cruised out to Home Depot and bought a really sweet lantern that could light an auditorium, and a few flashlights. At least we're prepared for next time!

So, with nothing else to do, we put Curious George on the laptop for Grace (alternating between them when the batteries died)and let her play with one of the flashlights. She was weirded out, but actually handled it all really, really well. Finally, we decided to put her to bed, since the temperature in the house was holding relatively well. When we got upstairs with the lantern, it lit her whole room. She hadn't seen anything that brightly lit since the sun went down (and totally did not understand WHY), and it was making some weird shadows, so she stood in the middle of her room saying, "Wow. WOOOOW! Wow!!!!!"

Freakin' Pollyanna.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

finally!

It is done.

and GREEN.

I don't really think the picture does it justice, it's really green, but here it is anyway:



now all we have to do is move all the furniture back and forth between the two rooms so that Gracie's room houses a bed and a white dresser (in opposite locations from where they are now, of course) and a crib, changing table, brown dresser, glider and foot stool in Segundo's room. oh, and hang stuff on the walls. and put the clothes in the right dressers. And assemble the cradle. And finish digging out the boppies, the bouncie seat (and hope it gets some actual use this time), the swing, the pack n play...not much, really.

In the meantime, Grace decided all that stressing and prep work is for chumps and engaged in some painting of her own.


(that was my absolute favorite shirt in college. I dug it out this time around to wear around the house, but Stephen kept asking me where my Docs were and if picked up the Indigo Girls tickets he asked for and har har, yes, I have terrible fashion sense. so now it's Gracie's art smock instead. I am jealous.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aaaand now back to our regularly scheduld programming

I knew too many wins in one day would lead to this.

Of the many, many issues in this crapshack, we have, in the last two years, addressed about half of them. Another half remained, and we had to get them addressed before Segundo comes. We needed the electrician to finish rewiring the house and install some fans, I needed to strip wallpaper, and we needed to get carpeting upstairs on the gross, unfinished hardwood floors. Back in November, I called the electrician and the painter, thinking we'd get that done and THEN get the carpet, so we wouldn't have to worry about the floors with all those people working.

It immediately became clear the work wouldn't be getting done in any kind of timely fashion. The electrician couldn't fit us in until after the first of the year. The painter told us mid-January. We scrapped the previous plans and got the carpet (Thank GOD). The electrician got in around the time he thought he would, but due to crapshack-related reasons too boring to recount, he could finish about 80% of the work, and will finish the rest after the painter comes back and plasters the ceiling.

....the painter. Jiminy Christmas, for the love of all that is good and holy, the PAINTER. I've used this painter before. Twice, actually. Nice guy. Does a great job. Can be unreliable- he's a single dad and has zero back-up childcare, so it gets dicey. But he does a nice job. So, okay.

Except this time, we just kept getting pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. Finally, he's supposed to come over at the end of January. He called the day he was supposed to start to say his daughter was sick and he couldn't come until the following week. EVERYONE said I should fire him at that point, he's unreliable, we NEED this work done, call someone else. But being the stupid bleeding-heart that I am, I couldn't do it. How do you fire a single dad because his kid got sick? So I gave him another chance.

He came and did the estimate and was supposed to start today.

He called at 7:45 this morning to say his truck got booted and he can't start until tomorrow. Aside from the fact that it is entirely unacceptable, less than a month before this baby is DUE, to be postponing his start date again, I am working twelve hours tomorrow and can't be here to let him. SO, I'm done being nice. I told him I will see him at some point today to pick up a key and make sure he won't need anything from us tomorrow. If he doesn't get this boot business straightened out until after school is out, his daughter can come with him, but I expect to see him today. I didn't tell him that he's fired if he doesn't show up, but that's the plan. The only problem is, I have no idea who will do this work if he gets fired.

But hey. I have a cradle, and Segundo can sleep there for a few months while we find someone to, you know, give him/her a bedroom. And hell, if s/he's anything like Gracie, s/he won't be sleeping during that time, anyway.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Win Upon Win

You know how some days, you just keep stepping in it, no matter how hard you try? And how, on those days, it feels like you're never gonna win again? That was, uh, pretty much the month of January for me.

Today, the universe made it up to me.

I had all kinds of things planned for today, but I never actually believed it would all happen.

I dropped Grace off at MIL's in the morning and went to my first stop, an oil change. Except I forgot to bring a magazine with me. Luckily, I passed Barnes and Noble on the way there, and I remembered I had a gift card in my wallet. Grabbed a book, handed it to the cashier with the gift card and told her I wasn't sure how much was on there, figuring it'd only be a dollar or two. Nope, had just over twenty bucks left after I got my book. Score!

Next stop- oil change. Saw as I pulled in that I was early enough for the early bird special- $10 off! I already had a coupon for $5 off, courtesy of The Internets, so that was another bonus. I am fully aware of the little scam that a lot of oil change places run, where they show you a grubby old air filter, tell you it's yours and you need a new one...but it's not your air filter! It's a PROP! This isn't my first rodeo, boys...unfortunately, I hadn't had my oil changed in, um, a long time, and from what I read, I was going to need a new air filter. so I was all annoyed, because I was going to get a new air filter because *I* thought I needed one, not because of their little scam!! (and since everyone reading this knows me, there is, of course, no need to explain that I do always overthink things this much). So I said to the guy, once my hood was popped, "OH, and I know I need a new air filter." And?!?!? He wrinkled his nose and said, "...really? I dunno. This looks pretty good to me. I would hang on to that one, personally." ...whaaa? Okay! I sat and read my book in peace while they changed my oil, and was on my way in twenty minutes.

Next stop- get glasses fixed. easy peasy, five minute stop.

At this point, it was still too early for lunch, but I didn't have anything else to do out in the 'burbs. I texted my BFF from college to explain my dilemma, as I was totally paralyzed by indecision (again, everyone knows me, no surprise there...) She texted back and told me to go to our favorite burrito place from college, which was about halfway between the mall and my next stop. SCORE. yes!

I was worried about finding parking, and I was right to worry...but somehow? I found the one open parking spot nearby- dug out and everything. Amazing. And the burrito...was heaven. The thing is, I lived within a mile of there for four years (when we lived in the condo). I pass it every night on my way home from work. I could stop all the time, but I don't. I don't stop because everything about the place reminds me of college- the inside looks the same, the menu is the same, the food tastes the same, and the whole place smells the same. It just...makes me happy. And it makes me think of college, FUN times in college, and I don't want to stop feeling that way when I'm there, and I'm afraid if I go there too often, I'll start to make different memories, and the smells and sights and sounds won't knock me over when I walk in the door. So I avoid it, for the most part...and today, not only was my burrito awesome, but I left with a great, warm, fuzzy feeling (which is no small feat since it was about eighty bajillion degrees below zero in Chicago today).

Next stop- massage!!! At my favorite spa downtown! Aaaaand, I turned onto the street in front of the hotel, was just about to turn into the drive for valet, when what did I see but an open spot on the street! Steps from the door! Unreal, SERIOUSLY. The massage was amazing, the spa was amazing, it was all fabulous. They had a special belly pillow so I could lie on my stomach, and an adjustable table to put the head up so I wasn't lying flat on back. The weird part? They piped in music with lyrics instead of funny rainforest sounds. To be honest, it was kind of annoying, until the very last song they played at the end of my massage was our first dance from our wedding:)

Ok, and THEN?! When I got back to my car, my meter had expired, but I did not have a parking ticket. For those keeping track at home, this is where I started to worry about getting run over by a truck or hit by a falling anvil.

Final stop- doctor's office. Gained less than half a pound in two weeks! Doctor walked in the room at 2pm on the dot! ...aaaand was promptly stopped by the head of the practice, while in the doorway, and sent to the hospital for a delivery. GAH. Here endeth the winning streak. I was looking forward to seeing my regular doctor, and whenever that happens, it always leads to a ninety-year long wait. And I was already nakey!! But the wins continued, because my favorite nurse practitioner popped in ten minutes later. And?! Told me I'm closed, long, and posterior. Hurrah! Way to go, Cervix of Steel. Way to go.

I also had no traffic driving out to pick up Gracie, OR on the way home.

We're celebrating tonight with pizza. And possibly salad. Mama's STARVING.

Monday, February 7, 2011

36

36 weeks with Grace:


and Segundo:


I dunno, I think it mostly looks the same. Mayyybe a teeny bit bigger with Grace, the shape is a little different, but it's also a different angle, so it's hard to say for sure.

In other news, I feel like an OVEN. It is snowing and, like, 8 million degrees below zero and I am sitting on the couch in a tank top. I *do* still get cold, I hate going outside, winter still sucks, etc etc etc...but man alive, I get hot like never before, and once I do, I canNOT cool off. I was standing around the OR today, waiting for the resident, in a bunny suit, OR cap, and face mask, and I seriously thought my organs were cooking. I had actual beads of sweat on my upper lip. It's less than pleasant. I mean, not that I enjoy shivering and hugging my arms to my chest in an attempt to keep from freezing to death, but at least I'm used to that. This is less than pleasant.

In addition to being an oven, I am also still a garbage disposal. I vacillate between thinking, ah, screw it, I give up, and eating everything in sight, and remembering that one day (in a MONTH OR SO), I will not be pregnant anymore, and do I REALLY want to make it any harder than it needs to be? No, I do not.

...though the bag of flamin' hot cheetos I ate last night would beg to differ.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perspective

Train of thought when I was 35 weeks pregnant with Grace:

I can't sleep. I can't breathe. I can barely walk up the stairs without feeling like I'm gonna have a heart attack. I am insane with rage all the time. I want this baby OUT OF ME NOOOOOOOOOW.

Train of thought at 35 weeks with Segundo:

I can't sleep. I can't breathe. I can barely walk up the stairs without feeling likee I'm gonna have a heart attack. I am insane with rage a lot of the time (though not always.) but please dear God in heaven, let this baby stay inside and cook for as long as possible because I DO KNOW that it is only going to get worse.



confidential to sleep: I don't know why you keep leaving me when I'm so good to you, but I can't stay mad at you. I'll see you again in a year. I HOPE. love you, baby.