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.