Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Months!

This boy, he is a moose.

A happy, smiley, hungry MOOSE.  Today at the pediatrician, he weighed just over 14 pounds, and was something like 25 in long (I don't have it in front of me and poor little post-vax boy is sleeping on my lap and I do not want to disturb him).  At the edge of the chart for weight, off the chart for length.  He's a big dude.  Size of an average four month old.  And you know why?

He never, ever, ever stops eating.

True story: after my six-week postpartum visit, I thought, ok, this is just utterly ridiculous, I neeeeed to drop at least five baby pounds (which are actually breastfeeding pounds, as I gained an immense amount of weight AFTER he was born) before I go back to work so I don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe.  Except, to make a really long story short, after a long and crabby week, I figured out that even though he SEEMED satisfied, this boy was HUNGRY.  He wanted much more than I could make while eating a reasonable amount of food (or even a slightly-more-than-reasonable amount of food, because I tried that, too).  So whatever, I"ll go shopping at some point before I go back to work and James the Giant Leech can continue to grow at an alarming rate.

He is a terrible sleeper.  Try to hide your shock.  The  He still totally does not get that there is a day and a night, and nighttime is for sleeping.  He is an obligate bed-sharer, because I asked our pediatrician which he thought was safer, belly sleeping or bed sharing, and bed sharing won that odd calculus.  FINE.  Sigh.  Even at that, he wakes up at least every four hours, usually for several hours at a time, and fusses extensively from 5am until I have to face the day and get out of bed.  He's been getting much fussier in the evenings, and I don't know if this is him trying to figure out bedtime or just behaving like a two month old baby, but I am so hoping he's figuring out a bedtime.  Little dude is seriously high maintenance in the evenings and if he's gonna wake up for the day at 5, he needs to sleep at SOME point.

I am totally failing at tummy time with this boy.  Oops.  In my defense, it's seriously almost impossible, because Katie is convinced we are totally lying to her and she can continue to use him as a punching bag and it will not hurt him one single bit.  Two separate times today, I pushed her away right as she was going to either kick him in the face or stomp on his stomach.  Soooo, yeah, tummy time not really an option during her waking hours. And then she's in bed and, seriously, I am TIRED.  I don't WANNA.

The other thing I am failing at: blogging this little boy's infancy.  Seriously, seriously, I keep saying it but SERIOUSLY: three is a lot of kids.  Three is especially a lot of kids when one of them is both hell-bent on twisting her baby brother's ears off his head and also oh yeah what the heck, decided now would be a good time to INSIST on potty training.  (eff you, potty training.  eff you forever.)  I swear, though: this little boy is adorable and perfect and I spend as much time as humanly possible staring at his little face and kissing his pudding cheeks and playing with his hair and holding him close because the days are long but the years are short and so are the months so my sorry ass is going back to work in two weeks and that is BULLSHIT (US maternity leave fucking sucks.  And I'm spoiled and get three months.  US maternity leave fucking sucks.)  The lack of blogging, though, is by no means an indication of how enamored I am with this child and his firsts and his little SELF.  I used to think when people joked about documenting everything your first kid did and nothing your later kids did, that they meant the people decided it didn't matter.  That's really  just not true.  You just have no more time.  Every single time he grows or changes or does something new, I feel the same way I did when Gracie did it, except with an additional ache that I will never, ever watch another child of my own do that for the first time.  And I don't really need to document it to remember, anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The One Universal Truth of Girlhood

No two girls are alike.  Some girls love tea parties and princesses.  Some girls love dirt and soccer.  Some girls love dirt and princesses but not soccer or tea parties.  We are a diverse bunch.  However, there is one thing that is true for every single girl across this great nation:

Groups of three do not work.

Never.  Ever. 

It is not until adolescence, or really, adulthood, that we are able to handle the complex social dance of three girls in a group.  And even then, it is fraught.  There are always two who are better friends than the third- it is a matter of being old enough not to care.  Social status is power, not size or strength, and within a group of three, the social power does not work.  The grid explodes.  Except, not.  The grid turns on itself.  The grid becomes HAL 9000.

Gracie takes gymnastics with two other little friends.  This did not initially occur to me as a problem, because there are eight girls in the class, and because her own sister is there, and one of the other girls also has a little sister, who will be three in a few months.  I didn't see it as a threesome until today- of course it is a threesome.  They are the ones who are friends outside class. The little sisters are, well, little.  They are their own group.  The group in class is a group of three.  It hit me like a bolt today.  I turned to one mom and said, "Oh my god, they're a threesome.  How did we miss that?!"  And her face fell, and she said, "Oh god, how DID we miss that?"  Because it. never. works.  And sure enough, the coach today came over to chat and said, "you know, they always get cliquey.  It happens every week. This week it was Gracie on the outs, and there was a lot of unhappiness."  So maybe I noticed that without knowing I did, and that was what finally made it click? Because it won't always be Gracie on the outs.  Sometimes it will be another girl's turn. That's how it works.  But maybe I sensed she was on the outs and that was how I figured it out?  I don't know.

I know that I have multiple very vivid memories of playdates with two other girls, and they always, always ended badly.  I don't remember a single playdate with two girls that ended well, except the ones I spent with my friend Katie and her sister, and that worked because they were sisters, so the same social power dynamic wasn't there.  I have always sworn I would not set up threesome play dates for my daughters, and I wouldn't send her on them either, and here we are, set up in a threesome.  I mean, we're not going to quit gymnastics over it or anything, I just can't believe I didn't notice it.

I would ask if anyone had ideas on how to make a little girl threesome work, but you know what?  You can't.  It can't be done.  It is the great unsolvable problem of female childhood.  Right there.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Faster and Faster and Faster

You know how, the older you get, the faster time seems to go?  Like, when you're seven, and you're waiting to turn eight, it feels like a million years, but when you're seventeen and waiting to turn eighteen, it happens in the blink of an eye?

I feel like the same thing happens with kids.  I swear, the first month of Gracie's life lasted a year.  And even though my maternity leave felt too short, it also felt like I was away from work for five years.  And even after the colic passed and she became the sweetest, most amazing little thing, I swear the first year of her life was an eternity.  It just felt so. very. long.  Not always in a bad way, but long.  Then Katie was born, and five minutes later, she was a month old.  I went back to work ten minutes after that.  Jimmy, shoot, don't even get me started.  I swear I'm still in labor or something, and he's rapidly aging in the delivery room.

I just thought of it because I was looking at a picture of my friend's daughter on Facebook- her first, and a formerly fussy newborn.  I thought she must be nearing a year old, but she's not, she's only six months old.  And I think maybe that is how we experience firstborn children.  Everything is so monumental, and gets so much of our focus, every milestone, every month, it just happens more slowly.  And then we get busier, and we know what to expect, and so it's a combination of less focus and that same thing as when you're driving somewhere new and it seems like it takes a million years longer than the drive home?  I don't know.  IT'S TOO FAST IS ALL, OKAY???

There are others like me.  I KNEW I WASN'T CRAZY.  (Check out the comments.  There are LOTS of us.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It Goes Like This

Jimmy is our first baby to actually tolerate being put down while he's sleeping.  Well, I mean, Grace would eventually give up each night, but it took hooours of holding her and many, many trips back in when she woke up.  Katie was like, bitch, please, you WILL hold me, and if your eyes are open, they will be gazing upon me adoringly.  Jimmy, well, he prefers strongly to be held, but you can get him in the right mood and put him down.  Thank god, because it turns out three is a lot of kids. 

He does not usually tolerate such insolence at night.  He strongly prefers to co-sleep and be snuggled at night.  Every once in awhile, though, I can get him down in the cradle until his first waking.  Last night, he woke up around 11:30ish, so it did not last long.  I nursed him and snuggled him, and noticed that he was REALLY asleep.  And I could probably put him back in the cradle and he'd do pretty well.  And then I looked at his pudding cheeks, and his tiny fingers and his fluffy hair, and I thought, I won't be able to do this much longer.  He's going to need a bedtime (for my own sake), he's going to get too restless, he's going to be too big and he'll need to learn to sleep on his own.  You know, like they say, babies don't keep.    So I curled him up next to me and went back to sleep.  And totally, totally do not regret it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Five Year Family

Today is the five year anniversary of this:

When I look at that picture, I still get the same feeling in my chest that I got the very first time I saw it.  It's not as immediate, or as strong, but it's there.  I remember feeling like all the air sucked out of the room, that I was never more shocked in my life, but also never thought any other result was possible.  I remember bursting out laughing for no reason two hours later.  I remember a week or so later, stopping into Gymb0ree and buying a package of onesies, because I was so excited to buy something for my Very Own Baby.

Tomorrow is the very last OB appointment of my life.  (How perfect would it have been if it were today?  so close...only I would think about something so stupid.)

Five years, three kids, two houses later, here we are.  This is our family. This is how we will always look.  No more unknowns.  Well, okay, yes there are.  Of course there are!  But in terms of who makes up our family: this is it.  Two girls and a baby boy, which is exactly what I always wanted (embarassment of riches is the phrase you're looking for.)  (well.  Not really.  Close, though.  I bet there's a perfect word for it in German.  They have the best words.)

Five years is a really long time, and I can hardly even remember the person I was before these three nuggets dropped into our laps.  But I look at that picture, and I totally cannot believe it's been that long.  For five years, I have been pregnant or breastfeeding.  Eleven months from now, I will wean my last baby, and my body will be mine and mine alone for the rest of my life.  And most of all?

I really, really need to buy new clothes.  Seriously.  Damn.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One Midnight Gone

grr.  I fixed this in photobucket.  it's still messed up.  you get the idea.
I said it before, but I'll say it again: I know I'm supposed to say, "OMG, I can't believe it's been a month, where did they time go?!!"  But.  Yeah.  it's been a month.  It's definitely been a month.

Don't get me wrong.  James is a giant peach.  He is snuggly and lovely and his cheeks, ohhhh man, those cheeks.

Like all the members of our team, he is rather fussy- he must be held at all times, and occasionally, you must be upright, preferably walking around.  Occasionally, in the early evening, he just wants to sit and look around, and he doesn't much care what you do.  He is...not a great sleeper.  Not terrible, but not great.  He is usually awake from at least 10-11:30 in the evening, and when he wakes up a little after 4, I know he's up for at least an hour, if not longer.  He is an obligate bed-sharer, which is sooo not my favorite thing, but it's that, let him sleep overnight on his stomach, or die of exhaustion.  It seems like the least of all evils, but I do let him nap on his stomach (I don't let him play with forks and electric sockets...YET), and I have seen him turn his head from side to side and even lift his head and shoulders off the bed, so we'll see how long the bed-sharing lasts. 

(why can't I get those side by side?  someone smarter than me chime in here.)
His sisters both love him.  Really, they do.  One of them is having a much harder time appropriately demonstrating that than the other.  Three guesses which one...yeah.  Gracie sees him open his eyes and oohs and ahhs and says, "ohhh, look at that little boy, he's so cute!!"  and gently strokes his hair.  Katie is...well.  You know how you can't read the newspaper with a cat in the room because they will obsessively, compulsively step on it, knock it away, sprawl out in the middle of it?  That's Katie.  No matter what she's doing, if Jimmy is in my lap, she will fling herself between us, pick at his face, tug on his eyelids, pull at his ears, pinch him, poke him, try to kick and hit him.  She cannot and WILL NOT be stopped without physical force.  Time out has become a game for her.  It's...a pickle.  This morning, he napped in the pack n play for an hour or so after the girls woke up and she was her little angelic self, sitting on my lap, talking to me and telling me stories, snuggling up with me and watching tv.  But the minute he woke up, it was the return of Angelica.  Poor kid.  It'll get better.  Or, I mean, it won't, and they'll fight until one of them leaves for college.  It'll EVENTUALLY get better, though.

He is nursing like a champ and growing like a weed, and I know that I am going to blink and he will be four years old, with long muscle-y legs and a tremendous vocabulary and I will wonder what the hell happened to all the time.  For now, though, a month seems about right.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

That One Time James Had Impending Respiratory Failure

For reals.

So last night, Jimmy was awake allll night long.  He woke up every few hours, and then woke at 4:15 and would. not. go back to sleep.  He was fussy, nursing poorly, and generally full of piss and vinegar.  He's been pretty fussy lately- nothing we can't handle, being the seasoned fussy baby veterans that we are (no wimps in this house), but generally crabby.  Still, this was unusual.  He slept poorly the night before, and then was wide awake through the girls' naps, so I was pretty wrecked when I got out of bed this morning.

Stephen got G off to school, and shortly afterwards, MIL came to get Katie, because the girls were spending the day with her.  J was still really fussy, and sounding congested, so I tried to bulb suction him and didn't get anything.  I passed him off to Stephen and went to get in the shower.  It passed through my mind that I should bring him in the bathroom with me, and maybe the steam would loosen something up, but I sort of forgot it as soon as I thought it (I should also mention it was his second night in a row of not sleeping AND for the last two days, he has decided to wake up right when the girls go down for their naps.  So, you know, me = not the sharpest knife today.)

I was about 3/4 through my shower when Stephen came in and told me he was worried about J's breathing.  I finished up and went to check on him, but by the time I got out he was sleeping comfortably.  Stephen said, yeah, he's fine now, but when he wakes up, he makes a ton of noise.  A few minutes later, sure enough, he woke up and was panting, snoring (even though he was wide awake), head-bobbing, and generally looking distressed.  Ummmm, okay. I don't like this.  I decided to watch him awhile.  And it didn't get better.  And when I peeked under his shirt, I could see him sucking in his ribs, which is no good.  At all.  Sigh.  So after a few minutes of total denial, I made a pediatrician appointment for a few hours later.  In the meantime, I sat on the couch with him, watching him like a hawk.  He didn't change- didn't get worse, but also didn't get better.  Until, oh, five minutes before we left for the doctor, when he fell asleep was completely and totally fine.  Really, kid?  REALLY?  I told Stephen, they will tell us we are crazy and I really don't care, because he will start up with this crap again tonight and then I won't know WHAT to do.  Bonus: I've known the doctor we were seeing today since her residency, and we always got along really well, so I can flat-out tell her I know I'm crazy.  And honestly, it's really hard to think of horses when you already have a zebra at home.

Initially, as we told her our story, she was kind of smiling at me, like, awww, yes, third time around, you're still a new mom, and patiently said a few times, "It's okay!  Babies do funny things!"  Then she opened his t shirt and sort of quietly said, "Yeah.  He's working pretty hard," when she saw him sucking in his ribs.  She left the room for saline and suction.  Squirted some saline in his nose and let it sit.  When she came back, she suctioned his nose and said, "Whoa!!!  That's adult-sized!"  And held up a chunk of mucous the size of a cheerio.  Yay!  We celebrated.  She left to get a nurse and a pulse ox, and Stephen said, "So....we brought him to the doctor for a booger?"  And I said, "Um.  Well, no, I mean, he...*sigh*...yeah.  We did."  "well," he joked, "I have a feeling she just left to call Children's and question your employment."  Snerk.

When they brought in the pulse ox, he was initially registering about 94%, which is genuinely fine, but really?  Too low for a healthy baby.  So we waited a minute and eventually he rose to 99%, where he should be.  But obviously, that boogie was giving him some trouble.

Once they were done, poor little dude nursed like he'd never been fed and promptly passed the heck out, staying asleep for the next, like, five hours, waking only to nurse one more time.  He's gonna be up all night again, but whatever.  Just glad it was a horse.  In the form of a booger.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When Maternity Leave and Furlough Collide

Overheard in our house three times today:

S: Is today Saturday?

me: Um.  I think so?


So far, life with three is good.  I remember when Katie was born, it was a long time before two felt like more work than one.  I mean, no, it was a long time before two felt like a LOT more work than one.  And that is mostly true here, but not as much, simply because I don't have enough hands.  I'm feeling a little like Goldilocks these days.  When Katie was born, if you could have bottled my mood and sold it, it would put every antidepressant in existence off the market.  If you could bottle my mood when Gracie was born, you could destroy nations.  This time, I am somewhere in between.  I am a lot, lot, LOT more hormonal than I was when Katie was born, but not as crushed as I was when Gracie was born.  He does not sleep as well as Katie did, but better than Gracie did (this is largely a function of willingness to bedshare, really)- that is actually okay, even though it is hard right now, because Katie then grew up to be the Worst Sleeper In The History of Ever OMFG, and Gracie did really well until a few months ago when she started having night terrors (and let's be real here, girlfriend has had a ridiculous year, she's entitled to some choppy waters).  He cries more than Katie did, but not as much as Gracie did.  The whole experience just feels very in the middle, so to speak.

Don't get me wrong, I am trying to soak in every moment and I fight hard not to wish the days away (though I will be honest, when 4pm rolls around, I get really antsy for bedtime- the girls are both crabby and out of sorts and bored and it's hard to think of things to do to fill the late afternoons while the weather is still so crappy).  Knowing he is my last baby is so hard.  I really, really did try to savor the pregnancy, and that was just not happening, between all the stress we had and how utterly horrendous I felt for nine straight months, but I really am just basking in his babyhood.  He's more alert every day and I just stare at his little eyes and try to memorize every little expression on his little nugget face and I nuzzle his fuzzy hair a billion times a day and his cheeks are so chubby and soft and warm and have I mentioned, the little turd already outgrew his newborn clothes?!?!  I WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER NEWBORN-SIZED BABY EVER.  I knew it would be hard, in that sense, but I had no idea how hard- I had an unpleasant pregnancy (it was not difficult, but it was not the blissed-out 38 weeks of love I had with Katie, either, not by a long shot), an absolutely miserable labor and recovery, and I have never in the history of ever had an easy newborn.  But then his duck fluff hair brushes my cheek and he bobs his head, struggling to lift it up and look around and tries to latch onto my shoulder and makes his funny robot noises and finishes nursing and rests his cheek on my bewb and his whole face is completely relaxed and content and ohhhhh....I want to do this every two years from now until menopause.  

I never said I was rational.  But come on, can you blame me?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Once She Was Our Only

Stephen was cleaning out the basement today and found this old picture.  I'm not really sure why it struck me so much, because my screensaver is a slideshow of all the pictures I have of the girls, starting when Gracie was a newborn, so I look at her baby pictures every day.  Maybe because this picture isn't so posed or perfect?  It's off-center and she's not smiling, but then, she was such a serious baby, it really captures her in a way that the more perfect pictures don't.  And that, combined with some serious postpartum hormones, sort smacked me a little on the nose.  Because I remember those days- we were the first people ever to have a baby.  We would have that baby forever and ever.  We would be living those first months for the rest of our lives.  Just like you think you'll always be in college, you'll always be young, we would just always be there.  A combination of taking it for granted and worrying that things would never change.

And then one became two and two became three and then I found myself cuddling the last newborn I would ever have, wondering where the hell all the time went, with Fiddler on the Roof perpetually stuck in my head.  How did this happen?  Who ALLOWED this to happen?  When did we stop being that brand-new family?

I'm trying to focus on the positive and not be so hung up on the mostly-hormonal nonsense I have running through my head about not making any more babies ever.  The things I never have to worry about again- miscarriage, late fetal loss, genetic/congenital problems, micropreemies, ohhh, all kinds of things.  It's not really working, in case you're wondering.  But I'm trying.  I totally don't want to be a drama queen and obsess over stupid crap.

And anyway.  Things haven't actually changed that much.

Monday, February 25, 2013

To Katie on her Second Birthday

What can I say about Katie, my poor stuck-in-the-middle child, who had the good fortune to be born second (and was my only child with the good manners to be born during daylight hours), on her second birthday?

She is sweet and happy and silly and feisty and mischievous.  I would say she's nothing but trouble, but she's so much more than just that (though that is certainly a big chunk of who she is).
She is CRAZY coordinated.  She could have pedaled a trike at 19 or 20 months if her feet could have reached the pedals, but she's a peanut, so no matter how hard she tried, they kept slipping away from her.  She's been holding a pencil properly since she was 18 months old.  She draws circles and faces.  She spins around and around and chants "circles...circles...circles..."  I turned on an Irish dancing video for the girls yesterday and she immediately started stomping her feet in time to the music.  This kid LOVES to dance.
(and spin in circles.)

She knows shapes, and is working on colors (but isn't quite there yet- everything is usually purple on the first guess).  She THINKS she can count, but unless they changed the order of the numbers and they now go "twooo....six!....twoooo...." she isn't quite there yet, either. 
Just ten days before her second birthday, she became a big sister.  I was worried about her- G handled the transition like a champ two years ago when Katie was born, but Katie...Katie is a bit more of a firecracker.  But so far, she really loves her brother.  She asks to hold him all the time, strokes his face, kisses him, and puts her cheek next to his face and bats her eyelashes at him like a total goofball.  One day he'll drive her crazy, but so far, she's smitten.  And still completely obsessed with Gracie (who she is only starting to call by name, and is so far more often known as "sisteh!!!")  If she's supposed to be bothered by being the middle child, nobody's told her yet.  (I know, give her time.)
No way has it been two years since I woke up just before five am and thought, aw crap, I'm not gonna have a March baby after all!  I'm not the person who has early babies!  My babies come LATE!  I'm not ready for this!!  It's either been two weeks, or two decades.  One of those.  But not two years.  No way.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ice: Works Wonders

When Katie was born, while the doctor was, ah, cleaning things up?  She warned me that the after pains would be worse that time.  She also said that, if I went on to have a third, they would be even worse that time.  I did notice they were worse that time, but nothing I couldn't handle.  I sort of filed it away and didn't think about it all that much.

When the discharging doc came to chat with me the day I came home after Jimmy was born, she asked if I wanted a N0rc0 script.  I had taken the script with both girls and never filled it, so it seemed silly to even ask for it and I said no.  (FORESHADOWING.)

I came home feeling mostly okay.  Jimmy was relatively big, but unlike with the girls, I did not have an (entirely stupid, unnecessary, don't get me started) episiotomy, so I felt pretty okay.  Aaaand then a day passed.  And I found myself sitting in the bathroom, sobbing in pain, in spite of taking Motrin like candy for the previous 24 hours.  I could not even believe how much it hurt.  I could barely walk without holding myself, and stairs, forget it.  Then that night, as I was nursing Jimmy, I found myself writhing on the couch with after pains as bad as some of my worst contractions. 

And I felt like a weenie, because this is my third baby, so isn't this supposed to be a walk in the park?  And I felt stupid, because I had no N0rc0.  And I had to decide, call my doctor's office with my tail between my leg and ask for the drugs, or suck it up and deal?  I chose to suck it up and deal.  Because I felt like a weenie. 

In the meantime, my BFF the L&D nurse, kept asking me, are you icing?  Are you icing?  Are you icing?  And I kept ignoring her, because I had stopped icing, but the bad pain started when i was still using the hospital ice packs (and seriously?  Why do they not sell those in stores?  Or on the internet?  Or, like, ANYWHERE outside the hospital????)  But desperate times call for desperate measures, and after three or four serious crying jags, SOMETHING had to change, and I found myself sitting on the Boppy, draped with an ice pack.  And something really weird happened.

It didn't hurt as much.  I didn't want to die.  I wasn't sobbing hysterically every time I was alone in the bathroom.  And then the next day, I felt nearly normal.

ICE: Worker of Miracles.  People should know about its powers to reduce swelling.  I shall spread the word!

(however: ice doesn't do shit for after pains.  don't be a hero.  take the damn n0rc0 script.  seriously.  there is no valor in pain.)

Now if I could get time to stand still, I'd be all set, because it turns out the last baby I will ever have in my entire life is going to be a week old in less than twelve hours and that is really not cool.

Back when he was still wee, at three days old, already plotting to age rapidly and break my heart.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

40 weeks and done

It amazed me from the beginning how much this pregnancy resembled Gracie...but harder.  So I figured Stosh would be born on or just past his due date, most of the time.  When I went for my 39 week appointment and I still had no change from my 37 week appt, I started to get reeeeally nervous, and think that I really just might be making it to induction.  For the rest of the day, I felt uncomfortable and strange, and thought, hmm, maybe something is brewing?  But woke up the next morning feeling 100% normal, and that was that.

My due date came and went without incident, and my 40 week appointment was the next day.  I went in with really mixed feelings- I was achy and sore and irritable.  I hadn't slept in days.  My hips hurt.  I had horrible sciatica.  I couldn't breathe.  But I also wanted the ultrasound to show that everything was fine, because I really, really didn't want to be induced.  REALLY did not want to be induced. 

The ultrasound was impossibly, adorably perfect.  He was sucking away on his little fingers, fluid levels were good, and his weight was estimated at 8 lbs, 3 oz.  He measured fine and his heart rate was fine.  I told my doctor  I didn't expect her to find any change, but she brightened and told me, "No! You're at just over 3 cm!"  So we talked and decided to schedule induction, but she was optimistic he would come on his own.  "Tell him to come tonight," she said, "I'm on call!"

(Funny side note: my doctor is part of a huge practice, and I always, always hoped she'd be the one to deliver me, and always had this funny feeling she would deliver our caboose.)

I left telling her I'd see her later that night. Ha ha ha, of course.

And for the rest of the day, felt just awful.  Tons of pressure, cramping, hip spasms, you name it.  But not a single contraction.  I attempted a belly shot while the girls were in the tub, and just couldn't even do it.   Stephen came home from work, sighed sympathetically, and we watched tv and went to bed.

I woke up at 1am to go to the bathroom, and realized about three seconds later, aw shit.  I don't have to go to the bathroom.  I'm in labor.  I'm gonna labor through the goddamn night again.  SUCK.  But then I looked at the clock and thought, ooh!  My doctor is on call!  Game. ON.

(this is where probably this is boring to everyone on earth but me but I really need to remember all the details so feel free to skip ahead to the adorable picture at the end.)

Stephen woke up shortly after me, and we were at the hospital by 4:15.  There wasn't that much progress from earlier in the day, but the nurse assured me that if I was in pain, no worries, we'll watch awhile and I'm sure we'll admit you.  Stephen asked, after she left the room, if we were getting sent home.  I knew we weren't- this ain't my first rodeo, I AM in labor- but I bet we'll be down here awhile.  And after three contractions, the nurse came back and said she'd talked to my doc- admit, epidural, break water, baby!  Relief!  ...Except not.  Because we sat in triage, with me on a narrow, hard stretcher, unable to really move, until 6:30 in the morning.  By the time they came to take us upstairs, I was arching off the stretcher and puking.  Not cool.

It didn't really look up that much when we first got to labor and delivery- the nurse couldn't get the IV, anesthesia wasn't coming, I was having contractions on top of contractions, and I could feel them changing and started to SERIOUSLY panic- I cannot have this baby without an epidural.  I cannot do this.  The nurse is calling and calling and calling, and I'm leaning forward on Stephen, which is helping with the pain, but not enough, so I did what anyone would do in that situation, and I bit him.

I.  Bit. Him.

What?!??!?!  I don't know.  I mean, the minute my teeth hit flesh, I actually stopped and thought, dude.  I just bit him.  What is wrong with me???  The nurse THEN tells me anesthesia went to another room first, and that is when I gave up and just started openly sobbing.  Shut up, I was in PAIN, I had been awake all night long, and I was DONE. 

Finally they came.  And the epidural numbed my legs but not my contractions.  And I started sobbing again.  After three redoses, finally, I may survive this after all.  My doctor came in and told the nurse she had a meeting so the midwife would break my water, but she was close by, so call if things happen quickly.  Then she said, "Oh, and I"m not on call anymore, but I'm staying for this one."  Which, because I am a dork, made me really happy. 

Midwife comes and breaks my water.  And oh yes, I am complete, except a small anterior lip.  Let me just tell you, in case you needed to know: I never, ever, in my whole life, had any intention of laboring to complete without an epidural.  I see no valor in pain.  THAT SUCKED.

So the nurses change shift and my nurse is chatting with me and reminds me to tell her if I feel the urge to push, which I'm a little worried about because of all the epidural doses, and so I ask if I can sit up yet, and she says, "Nooo....and actually I need you more on your side right now," and I look up at the monitor and it says the baby's heart rate is in the 50s.  And my first thought is equipment malfuction, it happens all the time.  And then I listen, and his heart rate is clearly in the 50s.  And it's not budging.  And I get really, really scared.  And the nurse says, "Okaaay, we're calling for OB assess..." and reaches back and pushes a button on the wall that, in my world, is called a code button.  Eight million people come running in, and as they're coming, she's telling me to flip on my other side but I can't because I"m dead from the waist down so she actually bodily lifts me off the bed and flips me over and that seems to do it.  Everyone starts flashing us those huge "everything is fine! move along! nothing to see here!" smiles at us, and one person perkily informs us that the anterior lip is compressing his head too much, but changing position helped and everything is fine!  In the exact same tone of voice I have used a million times at work when I am also internally thinking, you have no idea how close you just came to disaster and I have no time to explain it to you because i need to go change my underwear.  So it was a relief to see my doctor walk in, to say the least.

And, you know, wow.  I really did enjoy the girls' deliveries at the time, but this was like night and day.  She kept the lights down, kept everything really calm, was really guiding pushing to prevent tearing, chatting between contractions, and then she motioned to the nurse to reposition the monitor.  "Just want to see if that's her or the baby...and it's him...yeah, ok, we need to get him out," but said with such complete control and assurance, it completely focused me.  And I am telling you, that was some primal shit right there, because all I could think was, there is not enough time to get him out any other way, he's halfway out already, just get him OUT, and with one big huge push, there he was.  Screaming bloody murder, 8 pounds, 1 ounce, quickly turning pink and checking us out. 

As they were cleaning him up, my doctor had them turn up the lights and look, and was quietly assessing things and pronounced a second degree tear- "I'm so sorry," she said, "You were not going to tear, I know you weren't.  But he really had to get out."  Sorry?!  Good night.

His name is James Jarett.  He is perfect. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

39 weeks and let's just not talk about it, 'kay?

So I have a belly picture, but you know, I have nothing to compare it to, because I did not take a 39 week picture and I did not get to 39 weeks with Katie and so I am not posting it because it's gross and also I am too crabby to even bother.  I at least forced myself to take the picture because I figure maybe one day, I will be happy to have it.  Or maybe one day I will delete all of the belly pictures and wonder what on earth possessed me to take all those pictures of my swollen, misshapen belly?  I really don't know.  I know that I also have a big fat stash of pee stick pictures that I swore I would be happy to have one day and that I referenced ad nauseum when I was trying to get pregnant with Katie, and now I look at them and think, yes.  A faint pink line that gets darker.  And?  But I am also super weird and I don't know, maybe the girls will like those pictures, one day thirty years from now?  They didn't have pee sticks when my mom was pregnant with me so I guess I don't know.  I do know I asked her once how she knew she was pregnant without a peestick and she looked at me like I was impossibly simple and said, "Um.  Because I didn't get my period?" And I was once again extremely, profoundly grateful for pee sticks, because I could make a list of fifty or sixty reasons why I might not get my period and only one of them is being pregnant. 

ANYWAY.  39 weeks pregnant.  Here's the thing: with the exception of one panic-stricken weekend, when I was frantically making sure I was ready just. in. case., I have known all along this baby would come late.  It is just exactly like Gracie and nothing at all like Katie.  Which is to say, irritable, uncomfortable, miserable, bowling ball in the pelvis, creature trying to dig a hole through my right hip, black hole opening in my know.  Walking around with a full-size human in your body.  It is how it is supposed to be.  And so I really should not complain.  This ain't my first rodeo.  I don't really have any excuse to be surprised, and also, I know that in a week or so, shit's about to get REAL, and I'll long for the days when my only problem was severe discomfort.  And yet, I can't seem to stop whining.  Incessantly. 

So while I'm whining?  The INSOMNIA.  Jeebus criminy.  Last night I was awake for two and a half hours.  Why?  Oh, no reason.  Why sleep?  I'll sleep again in two years or so.  Why not lie awake all night, staring at the ceiling?  GRRRBITTER.

Stephen's called February 15th.  I'm calling the 17th.  Or never.  One or the other.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

38 weeks: PSYCH.

So.  The thing is (actually, the things are):

1- I have said from the first trimester, this pregnancy is identical to Gracie, nothing like Katie.  This baby will be late.

2- I also always, always roll my eyes when people say their doctor has told them to expect an early baby, because THEY DO NOT KNOW, and I think it is really kind of mean to tell a woman that when she's in some of the more miserable weeks of her life.  "It will end early!  oh wait ha ha I do not actually know that." 

And yet.  I panicked!  because I was not ready!  And I thought, ho shit, I need my hair cut and the baby has no place to sleep and I was going to get my toes prettied!  and I want a February baby! 

And not only did he not come, he did not even pretend he was going to come.  Which is, seriously, GOOD.  Great, even.  But I am totally annoyed that I let myself worry about it and stress about it, and I'm EXTRA annoyed because, naturally, this week I crossed the border from "hmmm.  this pregnancy is not terribly fun" to "dear god deliver me from the restless legs and lumbago and the xiphoid process that has been set on fire with a 10 lb weight hanging from it and bees that spit fire attacking the weight". 

And seriously.  I hate to complain.  It's really annoying when pregnant women complain.  Pregnancy is difficult.  You are growing a human.  IN YOUR BODY.  It's supposed to suck a little bit.  And anyway, complaining never changed any of it.  And babies come when babies come.  Or they don't, and they're eventually forced out.  And I have never gotten that far...

....but I'm actually thinking I might get that far this time.  I mean, sigh.  I wish I had a 38 week picture from Gracie for comparison, because check out the bullet this week:

curled up slightly on his side, somewhere near my esophagus
Compared to 38 weeks with Katie, the last picture I have because she came out a few days after this picture was taken.

OK, so it's a slightly different angle? I think?  I dunno.  I am pretty sure Stosh is snuggled in til some of the snow melts. I scheduled an ultrasound for my 40 week appt, and they'll schedule an induction for 7-10 days post-dates, just in case.  I was calling the 17th and Stephen chose the 15th.  Then one of my friends pointed out he'll probably come on Valentine's Day, because leave it to a boy to make sure we never celebrate that again. Heh.  Hard to argue against that.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

That's how it FEELS, but it doesn't make it true.

So for the last week or so, I find that when I stand up and start walking, my legs are really, really sore.  Like the way they feel after a really long run, when I've really pushed myself.  And because I am nothing if not Pavlovian, I then feel smug/satisfied/proud, and start to wonder if there's any chocolate for me to eat as a reward.

Except I haven't worked out in a week.

And I'm just sore because I have a bowling ball in my pelvis. 

And then I get really annoyed. 

And I start to wonder what I could eat to make me feel better.

Friday, January 25, 2013

37 weeks and whaaaa???

We bought a minivan yesterday.  I know I was supposed to be all sad and woeful about moving from SUV to minivan, and I really, really loved my Escape, but srsly: BIG PIMPIN IN THE SIENNA.  I am ridiculously excited about this.  When it's cold?  And we're in the Y's parking lot? (Which, as much as I am the world's biggest YMCA fan, especially our Y, the parking lot is a terrifying gauntlet.)  I can get both of the girls in the car, close the door, and THEN strap each of them in!  ZOMG! Exclamation point!


Of course, that means we spent five hours at the dealership last night, negotiating (which went very smoothly, actually, which shocked and amazed me), filling out paperwork, waiting, waiting, waiting.  And as we sat there, I thought, wow.  These are some seriously intense Braxton-Hicks.  Wow.  Not painful, per se, but yes, INTENSE.  And I tried to ignore them.  But they didn't seem to be going away.  After about an hour of that, I mentioned to Stephen that I maybe did not feel so hot.  But as soon as I said it, we were up and moving around, and it got better.  When we finally got home and I ate and drank and went to the bathroom, I felt totally normal and fine.

Fast forward to today at the doctor, when she finished her exam and I said, "So, closed? long?"  And she wrinkled her nose at me and said, "Um.  No.  You're at a, more like a centimeter and a half.  But...still high?"  And my heart rate tripled, because: yes.  it is true that you can walk around for WEEKS dilated much more than that.  But I never have.  In fact, with both of the girls, they were born within days of starting to dilate.  Will that pattern hold? Who knows.  True.  I mentioned that Gracie was born at 40w2d and Katie was born at 38w3d, and was that significant?  And she said, "Well.  On AVERAGE, third babies tend to come right around the same time as the prior babies, if not a few days earlier.  So you really need to be ready around 38 weeks." At which point I told her that he would have to ride home on the floor of the van and sleep in a drawer, so let's hope he follows Gracie's pattern and not Katie's.

I am not ready.  I could list all the ways I am not ready, but it is not particularly interesting and the moral of the story is: Not. Ready.

I really want to make it to February.  Really, really, really.  And if I can't do that, I want to make it through the weekend, during which time I am getting a MUCH anticipated pedicure, and my first haircut in four months.  If I don't make it to sunday's hair cut, I will probably be hitting the six month mark before I ever get my damn hair cut.  So I am willing to compromise and accept Sunday.  OK, Stosh?  YOU HEAR THAT?

And since I am obsessed with comparison, here's Stosh this week:

weird angle, crappy picture, BIG BELLY
Compared with Katie at 37 weeks (no 37 week picture of Gracie, bummer):

better picture, smaller belly
The is clearly more flattering, but also: Katie = tiny.  Still.  I think Stosh looks lower than Katie did at that point, but meh, for whatever that is worth.

Sunday afternoon.  Preferably February.  I really, really think I should get a vote in this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree. But it DEFINITELY falls.

We had a routine neurology appointment today.  Gracie's last known seizure was in July, and her face is looking pretty strong these days (excepting the bad flare-up she had in October), so I was expecting smooth sailing.  Thankfully, that's exactly what we got.

Her doctor took her in the hall while I reviewed things with the nurse and had her run and skip, then brought her back in the room and asked her a bunch of questions.  She told me she was thrilled with her progress, that she seems much more focused and calm, and I definitely agree.  We talked about her face a bit, too- at this point, the working diagnosis is something auto-immune.  Her MRI is too normal for any kind of demyelinating disease, and her symptoms are too inconsistent to be due to a tumor (which was also ruled out by the MRI, but of course there's the worry we missed something, especially when your mom works in neurosurgery, and especially when it literally does not get any worse than the type of tumor that would cause a facial weakness and I can't even get into it lalalallaa let's talk about something else now).  There's one specific diagnosis we suspect, very rare, but there are no diagnostic tests to definitively tell us if that's it, and given the nature of her symptoms, the neurologist also reminded me that it may always just be a nebulous, "we don't know what this is but we know what it's not and it is good that it's not that"-type diagnosis.  I already knew that, and even though I don't always like it, it is much, much better than some of the alternatives, so I'll take it (as if I have a choice.  but you know what I mean.)  As far as meds are concerned, if she gains more than five pounds before July, we'll have to increase her dose, regardless of whether or not she's having seizures.  If we can make it until July without gaining that much weight, and without any seizures, then we can let her outgrow her current dose and see how she does.  We can talk about weaning meds in 2014, which is the next time the neurologist wants to see her, as long as she keeps doing as well as she's been doing.  All good news!

But my favorite part of the appointment came when her neurologist was talking to her, and turned to me and said, in her calm, measured voice, "I think Gracie is going to be a neurologist when she grows up.  She's very thoughtful.  And...well.  It's nice to be a neurosurgeon (she knows I work in neurosurgery), but.  Well.  Gracie has the, ah, motor planning skills of a neurologist."  At which point I could not help laughing, because ZOMG.  The child could trip over a strand of hair.  I did tell her, I sometimes have trouble figuring out whether it's just Gracie being like her poor, unfortunate mother, or if it's something I should worry about, and she said, "You know, when I was in high school, I had to take some stupid test, and afterwards, they told me I had the motor planning skills of a mental vegetable.  Which I STILL THINK was an exaggeration!  But regardless, I don't think it matters."  Heh.  Excellent point. 

And anyway, she can crank the ball off the tee, all the way to the back of the yard.  I think she's all good.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

36 weeks

Holy crap, not ready, etc etc etc, yawn.

Look at this big boy:

Compared to his oldest sister:

and his petite middle sis:

I actually think they're finally pretty much all comparable.  Maybe because of the HORRIBLE AWFUL PLAGUE that hit our house this week?  Oh my GOD, you guys.  So horrible.  The girls are back to 100%, while I am in that post-sickness daze, worsened by serious dehydration (you know how you're always insanely thirsty when you're pregnant?  And then on top of that, you add post-puking dehydration and oh my god I'm a walking raisin), but at least the room has stopped spinning and I sat and played with the girls during tubbies instead of lying on the cool, sweet tile floor of the bathroom and praying for deliverance.

We spent the whole first half of the week sitting on the couch and watching tv, which was a necessary evil, because seriously, would YOU try to take this poor child in the basement to make puzzles?

And to add insult to injury, it was her week to be the star student at school, and she missed half of it:(  It would have been great if she didn't notice, but we spent the whole night before, filling out her Star Student questionnaire.  When she was lying pathetically on the couch, she said, "I want to go to be the star student today but I keep frowing up."  Poor baby:(  I was actually sort of hoping she'd be too sick to go back to school today so she could get a full week some other time, but she was really, really feeling quite healthy today, whereas I was not, so OFF TO SCHOOL WITH HER.  And she had a ton of fun and didn't really seem to notice that she missed out on a day of being the star student, so it's all good.  After school, we made up for lost time by playing outside and making arts and crafts and playing in the basement and having as much fun as humanly possible.

I'm really trying to enjoy all of these days even more than usual, because in four short weeks, it won't be as easy as all this.   I keep thinking of the days after Katie was born, when I wanted to get on the floor and play with Gracie, or snuggle with her in my lap, and how hard it was because Katie had her own ideas about how things were going to be, and it was so hard.  And I also try to remember that it was a lot harder for me than it was for Gracie, and how we found a new way to do things, one that involved Katie, and how much they love playing together and how much BETTER everything is with two of them, and I know all of that is true- they will love their baby brother and he will bring so much fun into their lives, but right now I think I'm in a melancholy phase.  Because, well.   It's me we're talking about.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

No Resolution New Year

I am normally a huge fan of new years resolutions.  I know there are a lot of people who like to sniff and get fussy in their seats and say that THEY do not need it to be new years to improve upon themselves, THEY like to identify things they should improve as they arise and just fix them as they discover them.  These people tend to be rather sanctimonious and not at all fun so I try not to worry about them.  I like the idea of a new year and a clean slate and twelve months ahead of me to work on a goal, which is usually something like training for a distance run or cooking more or something that I want to fix, but is also kinda fun, because I do see how silly it is to say I'm going to fix something and then a week later, just be sitting on the couch eating Cheetos.

This year, one of my friends asked on Facebook what people's resolutions were.  And it occurred to me that I genuinely had not given it a moment's thought.  And it also occurred to me that I genuinely think, eff that.  I did the best I could for this last year.  I am not interested in fixing anything or being a better person or really any form of self-improvement.  In fact?  I think the universe should resolve to not be an asshole to my oldest child this year, or, in fact, any of my children.

This is dramatic.  There are kids who are really, really much sicker, suffering much more, and families facing much more difficult situations.  But you know, if those people were ever to find this, I would tell them: you should resolve the same thing.  You should just enjoy yourself.  Eat too much ice cream, sit on the couch too much, buy yourself too many new books, stop clipping coupons, whatever the hell you want.

Maybe next year I'll work on being a better person.  This year, my only resolution is to have a good time, enjoy my family, and spend less time bringing G to see various doctors. 

Sigh.  I guess that is a resolution.  Whatever.  You get my point.

Oh yes.  I also resolve to eat more cake straight off the cake round.