Wednesday, April 30, 2008


T and I are fascinated by a new series on PBS called "Carrier." It follows life on board the USS Nimitz. It is amazing the access the producers got. They follow the lives of the more than 5,000 people on the aircraft carrier heading toward the Persian Gulf. They touch on things as sensitive as doubts about the war, rape, and homosexuality and cover seemingly mundane things like sleeping arrangements, cliques, and meal choices. It is just incredibly intriguing. It is a 10-hour series airing on PBS right now. I highly recommend watching it if you get the chance.

I have also been reading a lot especially during the long hours at night when R and I are the only ones awake. I just buzzed through a James Patterson novel in two days that was pretty entertaining. It is called "The Quickie" and though it is a bit like the literary equivalent of fast food, sometimes you just crave the taste of french fries, you know? I also finished a slightly more intelligent book called "Then We Came To the End." It is sort of the like "The Office" in book form and will strike a chord with anyone in the working world. I am now just starting Jennifer Weiner's latest book. I'm sure I will get in some good hours of reading tonight whether I like it or not.


Monday, April 28, 2008


Q loves all things motorized, be it trains, boats, cars or planes. This weekend we went to the Railroad Park to indulge one of his interests. It is made up of old rail cars, toy trains, and even a mini-train you can ride. It was a beautiful day, so the park was PACKED. The line to ride the little train had hundreds of people, so we decided to skip it. Q enjoyed walking around the train cars though and watching the model trains go around the tracks. We will have to go back to actually ride the rails.

Though his toddler tantrums make me want to pull my hair out on a daily basis, little trips like these are what I love. He is getting to the age where he really appreciates things, and we delight in watching him experience them. He is a little boy through and through. We are excited about an upcoming event called "Touch a Truck" at the county fairgrounds. If it is a cool as its name implies, he is in for a treat!

Q decided to touch an SUV this morning. The door to the garage was open, and Q was out there rattling around. He eventually came in and proudly displayed to me to grease-covered arms! T went to investigate and discovered Q was placing refrigerator magnets inside the exhaust pipe of our car. I'm no mechanic, but that can't be good.

R and I are getting a little more in sync. I read extensively about how to perfect your "latch." And after being really diligent about it, I think R is eating better, and I am not as in pain. I am still sore, but am not bleeding, so we are getting there.

T goes back to work next week. My parents are coming this weekend, and my mom will stay here a few days next week. I am nervous about when T leaves me alone with the little devils, but at least my mom will help me transition.

I think you just have to get used to a lack of control. I like to know what to expect and to keep to a tightly-controlled schedule, but that is just not possible with a newborn and a toddler. Sometimes the baby will demand to eat while you are at a restaurant or spit up on your work shirt. Your toddler can spill his milk, or throw a tantrum, or tamper with your tailpipe! You just never know, and you have to learn to roll with it.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Target addiction

T and I have realized we go to Target almost everyday. There is just always something you need! Yesterday it was a prescription and lotion. The other day it was deodorant and face wash. We make constant trips for diapers, wipes, toiletries, and light bulbs. We often leave with a cart that is more full than we expected, as the aisles invariably offer more than we knew we needed!

T now has a loose friendship with a manager who pointed out our family's frequent visits. I find it slightly embarrassing, but I guess they appreciate our business.

Target is just a wonderful place! It has good, fairly cheap stuff, without the overwhelming feeling of Costco or the depressing mood at Wal-Mart. It is a fine establishment, and I refuse to give up our numerous trips!


I ran two miles on the treadmill tonight. It felt great!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

They're turning against me

To be honest, this is harder than I expected. I knew it would be challenging, but I thought we would just be adding a baby to our family as it is now. I didn't expect that it would change everything else.

Q is acting up A LOT. I took him to the park tonight to spend a little one-on-one time with him and give him the attention he is clearly craving. After half an hour, it was starting to get chilly and late, so I told him it was time to go. He collapsed to the ground. When I picked him up, he started pulling my hair and hitting me in the face. Nice, huh? He is just impossible to reason with when he is like that. It is frustrating and saddening. I think it is hard to deal with too when you are sleep-deprived. Sometimes I just ache with exhaustion. I can't wait till R sleeps through the night. T goes back to work in just over a week, plus he goes to school all day Saturdays, so I will be outnumbered six days a week. I just don't know how stay-at-home moms do it. I honestly don't.

Thankfully, T and I got a little break today. Our childcare provider took Q for a few hours. We went to lunch with the baby. Then I got my hair done, and we got cappuccinos afterward. It was a nice vacation from the tantrums. Q used to be such a sweet-natured little baby, and now he is a toddler terror. It is not a change for the better.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Too many babies

A word of advice: if you have a toddler and a baby on the way, do not get a puppy. Ours is driving me batty. I have been using a nipple shield to nurse R because he was causing a lot of pain and bleeding. The shield is this silicone cover to reduce the pain a bit. Ruby found it on the coffee table and shredded it. Great. Such a bad dog. We bought a new shield last night, and I am now storing it in a little Tupperware container. She has also shredded a baby hat. As long as she doesn't gnaw on the actual baby I guess.

I spent a few hours Saturday with a mom from my mom's group who also has two little boys. They are spaced exactly the same amount of time apart as Q and R, just three weeks older. It was nice to compare notes with her about long nights and tantrums. I was about 45 minutes late to her house. I have no sense yet of how long it takes me to get the three of us ready. I think I need to start about 2 hours before I have to get anywhere. Between feeding everyone and getting us all dressed, it is quite a long process. It is so much better when T is here, so we can each wrangle one child, but when it is all me, it is a major operation. T is getting his MBA on Saturdays right now, so I am on my own.


I have lost almost 20 pounds so far from my pregnancy weight gain of 35. I feel pretty good about that. I would like to lose another 25 or so, but we'll see how it goes. I have managed to squeeze into two pairs of pre-pregnancy pants. I think that is the worst part. It is so hard to dress yourself for the first month postpartum. The last thing you want to wear is maternity clothes, but your old clothes don't fit either. I recently cleaned out my closet and got rid of all the things that were slightly big. That was a mistake. Now I have to try on eight things before something fits well. It is a frustrating exercise that adds to my getting ready time. I actually tried to run a tiny bit on the treadmill this weekend, but it was pretty uncomfortable, so I am back to just walking. I am impatient about it, but it has only been two weeks. I must give my puffy body time to shrink again.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Helpful" big brother

Q is regressing. He throws little crying fits and wants to be carried everywhere. That's part of the reason T got his sciatica, because Q is getting heavy! He wants to sit in our lap to eat and does not like when baby R is getting all the attention. Poor little guy. I am trying to make sure he gets lots of one-on-one time. We sit with him and read, take him to the park, and tonight I sat with him for 20 minutes in the hall tossing around plastic bags as he giggled.

A mother of five advised me to ask Q to help with the baby by handing me a diaper or a hat. We asked Q to get out a diaper for R, and he happily complied, pulling the tiny diaper out and handing it to his dad. We praised him for being a great helper. That pleased him very much, and so he proceeded to pull out diaper after diaper. When I asked him to put them back, he dumped them in the garbage. A big help.


I tend to take many things in my life for granted like my good job, my health, my nice home. I usually just complain about them. But, lately I have been realizing I have a pretty great husband. I have had a few conversations lately with other women that have made me appreciate him. We split everything so equally. We make decisions together and both completely share the care of our children. He tells me I am beautiful even when I feel disgusting. He is supportive and loving. He listens when I am having a rough day, or week, or month. I hear about some painful marriages, and I realize I am pretty lucky. The challenge of introducing a new, tiny, helpless person into our lives coupled with the antics of the older child is just bringing us closer.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pregnancy pounds

Our society is obsessed with baby bumps and how quickly they disappear afterward. It is a sad thing.

When I was pregnant, I constantly heard comments about how I looked or where I was putting on weight. I gained 35 pounds during each of my pregnancies, but I am also tall so I spread it around a little. Now that I have had the baby, everyone has to comment on how quickly you are bouncing back.

I was talking to a lady today who said she had a friend who wouldn't leave her house until she got back into her size 4 jeans. She just got on the treadmill and wouldn't get off until the weight was gone. Why spend time with your new baby when there is weight to lose, right?

A friend of mine is pregnant now and worried about weight gain. I understand wanting to rein it in, and obviously gaining 80 pounds or something is also unhealthy. But, I figure it is better to err slightly on the side of eating too much rather than over-restricting and depriving your baby.

When I feel myself starting to obsess about the number on the scale, whether I am pregnant or not, I just put it away. It is just not worth it. It is sad that when you are in the process of bringing a new life into the world, the size of your butt is a main focus.


T has been having some pain in his back and leg. He went to the doctor today and found out he has sciatica, which is very common during pregnancy, and I did have a little pain in that area. I'm glad he gets to experience a taste of the discomfort. Now if only he would get a hemorrhoid.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sibling rivalry

I'm not sure Q is exactly excited about being a big brother. He asks where the baby is and gives him nice kisses on the head, but other than that he is not too enthused about someone edging into his spotlight. Q has had several breakdowns in the last week that left him gasping for air at the end. He also is hitting quite often; me, T, and even poor little R.

We have been getting into a rut where I take care of R while T tends to Q. It's almost like we each have our own child, but it makes me sad when Q reaches for T first. I have been trying to make an extra effort to spend more time with him. Q walked over while I was nursing on the couch and ran away crying. Poor little thing. It's a big adjustment for all of us.

Physically and mentally, I am feeling much better. My stitches are improving though going to the bathroom is still a monumental effort. Breast-feeding is getting slightly better. I now have a prescription cream and special pads and shells. The poor mangled things are healing little by little.

Today was a wonderful respite for all of us. Our childcare provider took Q for five hours. They played hard together and Q was worn out. T and I went to lunch and got cappuccinos. I had this wonderful grape and brie cheese pizza. We went to the farmer's market and then picked out scrapbook stuff for R. It is MUCH easier to do that stuff with a dozing newborn rather than a loud, wriggly toddler.

This afternoon we all took naps, but Q unfortunately woke up first. He found a bottle of foot powder and dumped it all over himself, our bed, and most of the upstairs. I came up to find T and R asleep in the midst of this white blanket of powder with a sickeningly sweet smell hanging in the air. Not a good idea to let toddlers explore unsupervised.

Tonight we spent sometime watching a tractor in the yard behind us. Q was transfixed. It was precious.


Monday, April 14, 2008

One week down

R is now one-week-old, and whew, it has been a trying one. Two years ago at this time, Q was still in the hospital, so I am thankful R is at home with us, and we are not making trips back and forth to the hospital.

Before I went on maternity leave, some men and other childless people at work asked if I was "looking forward to my time off." Some people are so clueless. It's not exactly a sabbatical. It is much harder work, and you aren't paid.

Nursing is about the same. I was gushing blood again last night. I just don't see how they are going to heal. Every time a scab forms, it just comes off at the next feeding. It is incredibly frustrating. The poor little things are just raw at the ends. Skin can't form over them! I will keep at it though. I just think it is so worth it, and after nursing Q for 13 months, I don't want to short-change R.

My stitches are feeling a bit better. I have gone back to taking ibuprofen on a regular schedule, because I was just getting tired of being in pain.

R could not fall asleep last night. He just seemed to want to nurse constantly, but for obvious reasons that is not my idea of a good time. He just seems to want to suck on something and be held. I ended up just taking him downstairs and letting him rest on my chest. That bought be almost four hours of sleep in a row and actually made me feel much more rejuvenated.

We went to a friend's house last night and Q played with their little boys. T and I had beer and sangria and chatted. We were 45 minutes late, but it was nice to have some social interaction. It is hard to estimate how long it will take you to get out the door when you have another person in the mix! I imagine I will be late to work for the first few days until I figure that out.

Today we had newborn pictures taken. R peed on both T and me. It was challenging to get Q in any of the photos, and I had to take a 45-minute break to feed a fussing R. She snapped dozens of pictures though so there have to be a few good ones.

Q has taken to hitting lately and actually hit R in the head today. Nice, huh? Then when we correct him, even if we don't raise our voices, he cries and demands to be picked up. Then he proceeds to hit us. I am hoping this is a short-lived phase. I bet R is too!

Tomorrow our childcare provider is working for 5 hours. She will take Q, while T and I keep R. We want to make sure we can retain her, and also I think it will be good for Q,T, and me. We are planning to have a relaxing few hours to ourselves and our new little man while Q gets the undivided attention he craves right now.

All right, R is whimpering, so it is time for another feeding torture session.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Slow improvement

T was in class all day, so I was alone with both of them. This is when it would be nice to have some people who live closer to lend a hand.

R got up at 4 last night and then both woke up around 8. It took an hour to get both changed and R fed. Poor Q was just playing and waiting patiently for his breakfast.

It seemed like by the time Q and I ate, both were ready to be changed and R ready to eat again. Craziness.

We did go to the park for about an hour and then Q went down for a nap. I think I figured it out pretty well for my first day on my own, but it is overwhelming when your body is still hurting as well.

When T was at school today he ran into a nurse who told him the lactation consultant said my nipples were some the worst she had ever seen. At least I know I am not overreacting! I am utterly determined to make this work and will not switch to formula, but I did have tears come to my eyes a few times today. Not just from the pain, though it is agonizing, but also from the sheer frustration and disappointment. Why can't it just be easier? It seems like it will be so hard for them to heal when he is nursing every three hours. The lactation consultant did recommend some gel pads that I am wearing in between feedings, and those seem to be helping.

My stitches are also irritating me. They are drying out and make it uncomfortable to sit or walk. I am basically constantly uncomfortable right now.

I hate to sound ungrateful or not to realize how lucky I am, but it is hard to not be frustrated. It does make me feel better to look at R's tiny feet or his little furrowed brow and to know he depends on me. I am anxious to see just what he will look like and to find out if he prefers dinosaurs or trains. He is so innocent and pure and full of possibility. He is his own little person, and T and I created him.

That makes the suffering worth it.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Baby bliss??

Whoever thinks life with a newborn is like a Pampers commercial is dead wrong. If you are considering having a child some day, you might not want to read this! :)

As I mentioned before, I suffered a terrible tear during birth. I received tons of stitches and have been on laxatives and stool softeners. Even with that, I managed not to poop for four days! Crazy, huh? I think I was too nervous. I have since gone number 2 twice, though it is a slow, painful process. I have trouble sitting down and have now added a hemorrhoid to the mix. Hey, I warned you this wasn't going to be pretty.

So that end of me is all battered and painful. But, the top half isn't much better. R is a strong eater. He latches right on and goes to town. My nipples quickly started to get sore, but by today they were cracked and bleeding. When I finished on one side, I was horrified to see this bloody chunk hanging off me! I called in T and he looked like he was going to throw up. Then R started spitting up blood...from me! Yikes!

We called the lactation consultant at the hospital and our pediatrician's office. When no one returned our calls, and R was getting close to his next feeding, we just showed up to the hospital lactation office. When I unveiled my scabby nipples, she understood my urgency! She determined he was latching on with his lips turned in and his tongue up. She showed me how to get him latched on correctly, and I am using a nipple shield device until they heal. I am all about breast-feeding, but bottles sure look appealing right about now!

Hopefully in a week my poor body will be bouncing back.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

R's Birth Story

R was due April 13, 2008, but he arrived six days early. I had been dilated for five weeks, and with a prior premature birth; we had been expecting him for some time!

I had a doctor’s appointment on the morning of April 7, 2008. The doctor found that I was 5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and my cervix was very soft and anterior. Things were ready to go! We had discussed scheduling her to break my bag of waters that Wednesday, but I decided against it opting to let nature take its course. Little did I know I wouldn’t make it through the day.

I returned home from the doctor around noon and rested for a while. Within half an hour, I felt an unfamiliar pain low in my abdomen and radiating down my legs. I had been having Braxton-Hicks or practice contractions for months, but this felt different. They were very short though and not very painful, so I wasn’t sure if this was the real thing. I showered and got completely ready for work. I called T and said I might be having contractions, but I wasn’t sure. They were a good ten minutes apart and short and easy, so it was just hard to tell.

Our childcare provider arrived, and I called T and asked him to come home, so we could decide what to do. We sat upstairs for a while and then decided to go into work. But, as I was sitting in the car, I had a feeling I should just stay home. T went in at 3:00 p.m., and I went upstairs to nap an hour or so and see if the contractions got stronger.

G, our childcare provider, kept the boys busy downstairs. When I woke up around 4:30, I started obsessively searching the Internet trying to figure out if these were labor contractions. After having a few false alarms, I wanted to be sure!

Shortly after 5:00 pm, the contractions jumped from ten minutes apart, to six, and then very quickly to two to three minutes apart. They got much more intense as well. I had to stop and wait for them to pass. I was finally convinced and called T around 5:30 to come home. I changed and quickly finished packing.

We talked to G and arranged for her to take Q for the night. We left the house shortly after 6:00 p.m. for the hospital. The car ride was uncomfortable, sitting in an awkward position, bumping along, with contractions coming every few minutes. Thankfully the drive was less than 15 minutes.

We pulled up between contractions at 6:30 p.m., so T parked the car, and I ran in. I talked to the nurses quickly explaining I only had a minute or two before the next one would hit. I sat on the couch breathing deeply while they readied a room for me.

The nurse didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry as she went through the routine to get me checked in. But, then she checked my cervix and found that I was 7-8 centimeters and my bag of waters was bulging. That kicked her into action, and she rushed around preparing for delivery. It wasn’t going to be long!

I had studied a program called “Hypnobabies” and was trying for a natural delivery, though I didn’t rule out an epidural if necessary. I had one when I delivered Q, though that was with the intense contractions Pitocin creates. So far, I was feeling okay and managing. Then as I moved into the transition phase around 7:00 p.m., the pain started getting very intense. My water broke in a gush, and I was clutching on to the side of the bed. I asked for pain medication, and they started to put in an IV, but by then I was ready to push, and it was too late. It was around 7:15, and there wasn’t even a doctor there! The on-call doctor had left, and they hadn’t yet been able to get a hold of my doctor. A midwife came in, and I started pushing. My doctor walked in a few minutes later and took over.

The pushing actually brought some relief. I didn’t feel that desperate pain from the transition phase, and I felt again that I could do it naturally not that I had a choice at that point!

I pushed for about 35 minutes or so. It seemed to take forever just to get him down in to position. There was a ton of pressure toward the end as he crowned, and I gave a powerful push and out he slipped at 7:54 pm! The doctor immediately plopped him on my belly, and it was a bit mind-boggling to think that wriggling thing had been living inside of me! We told the nurses his name, and they rubbed him to get a few good cries going.

He had a full cone-shaped head of dark hair and was healthy and vibrant at birth. It was a wonderfully different experience from delivering Q in the operating room and watching his unresponsive body being whisked immediately into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This experience felt much more celebratory rather than like an emergency.

R quickly took to nursing. With tiny Q, that was a struggle for weeks. R was a big guy at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20.75 inches. His head was 14 inches around, a full inch larger than average. That helps to explain my third-degree tear (fourth degree is the worst). The doctor took quite awhile stitching me up. That was not my favorite part of the experience.

After a bath for both of us and a change of clothes, we moved into a room with a double bed. R was a great eater and rested peacefully. It was wonderful to welcome a healthy baby and to have him at our bedside. I have been taking painkillers for the severe cramping that accompanies nursing as your uterus gets back down to size and for the pain from my tear.

I feel strong and proud for making it through without any pain medication. I know women have been doing it for millennia, and I knew I could too, though I doubted myself right at the end. I was glad to experience it in all its raw pain and excitement, just as nature intended.

We are a lucky little family.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

He's here!

The new baby arrived last night at 7:54 p.m. Little R was 8 lbs. 4 ounces, 20.75 inches. The delivery was quick and without any pain medicine. I did request some at the last moment, but it was too late. Now I am glad I did it that way, just to prove to myself that I could and to fully experience it.

He's nursing like a champ and looks great. I am recovering from a pretty severe tear and am taking Percocet and Ibuprofen.

We hope to go home later today. I will write out the whole birth story while it is still fresh in my mind a little later.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Stinky boys

Q used to be a tiny, sweet-smelling bundle. His fuzzy head emitted notes of baby powder and soap. Until of course, he spit up on himself. But, even that had the almost sickening sweet smell of sour milk.

Now, much has changed. Q went to two parks yesterday and ended the day covered in dust with dirt embedded under his tiny fingernails. Last night we plunged him into the bath and soaped him up from head to toe. We tried to distract him with bubbles, but he still squealed at the injustice of being washed.

Despite the struggle, he was soon glowing and sweet-smelling. T coated him in lotion and put some fresh pajamas on him. He was as good as new, clean and gleaming. But, by this evening, all evidence of cleanliness was gone.

When we came home, our childcare provider was just returning from a long day at the park with Q and her little boy. As I nuzzled in to give him a kiss, I got a strong whiff of dirty little boy. My mom calls it the puppy dog smell, and that is an apt description. Once again, his clothes are dusty and his fingernails grimy. We just can't make that fresh-from-the-bath smell stick.

Tonight, T reminded me I will have many, many years of stinky boys returning home, probably with scratches, scrapes, and other boo-boos and maybe even a jar of bugs or a dead frog. Lucky me. Why did the fates decide I would make a good mother to boys? Maybe my next son will be a neat freak and not like to get his shoes dirty. That would be nice.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Status quo

I had a doctor's appointment today, and am holding steady at 4-5 centimeters dilated and am now up to 80-90% effaced. The doctor said she once had a patient who stuck at around 6 cm for awhile.

She was leaning toward breaking my bag of waters next Wednesday. But, she said I could need some pitocin to get the contractions really going. I am aiming for a natural birth and from my last experience with pitocin, that would make it very difficult. I am sure I could get through it if I had to, but knowing that epidural is just a call away makes that less likely. So, I entertained the thought for awhile, but now I am thinking again I will just let nature take its course.

There certainly would be advantages to just scheduling the procedure next Wednesday morning. No more wondering. We could drop off Q and the dog, call the photographer, and head in to the hospital. But, something about it just doesn't feel right. I am not overdue, I am healthy, I am doing fine. Should we really just decide his birth date based on my doctor's on-call schedule? I certainly might change my mind if I start going far past my due date, but for now, I think having a little patience will be good for me.

Now I sort of wish I never knew my dilation. Then I would be going blissfully along now, not thinking I am just millimeters away from active labor. Dilation really doesn't mean anything. Some people go into labor without being dilated at all. Other weirdoes like me spend a month dilated. It is frustrating to know and speculate. Maybe we should all just let things happen as they are supposed to and not meddle so much.

I keep reminding myself it will happen sooner or later. It's not like it will or won't come. I just have to wait, because eventually my giant belly will be gone and a little baby will be here.