Ben, 2 months old

Sweet, sweet Ben.

I don’t even know where the past 2 months went. Time has, of course, flown by with Elle. She is 2 and that’s… mind blowing… but the past 2 months have made the past two years seem almost reasonably paced, maybe even a little slow- but an enjoyable slow for sure. Now I feel like I just blinked and he’s 2 months already. What even happened?

He is wonderful. I just want to hold him and soak him up as much as possible, and with C off for the month (mostly… aside from the 2 weeks of training his new job is having him do starting in 2 weeks, but never mind that…), I find myself doing just that. C takes charge of all things E and gets a ton of one on one time playing with her, and I just, well, hold Ben. And snuggle him. And smell the top of his head because unlike with E, I actually notice that baby smell that everyone talks about. I adore him so, so much. I also adore E, obviously, but I do adore Ben every bit as much.

His little personality is slowly starting to show up, little by little. He is SO smiley. I mean, Elle of course smiled and all, but Ben? He will smile on command almost. And his smile is infectious. He seems to be much more… social. And by social I mean something that I’m not 100% sure how to explain. For instance, Elle would happily hang out in her car seat sleeping for the first three months of her life. We could take her anywhere, set her up under the table, and she’d camp out sleeping like a champion. Of course we assumed it’d be the same with Ben. It is not the same with Ben, my friends. Not at all. No way, no how does he want to be left in that car seat any more than he has to be. He can be sound asleep in there, and the minute we set it on the floor to let him keep sleeping (in a restaurant, for instance, or even in our house) he almost immediately wakes up and gets upset. TAKE ME OUT IMMEDIATELY AND SNUGGLE ME. We were a bit slow to learn this lesson, but I think we’ve got it now. He doesn’t need to be held at all times, but he most definitely desires to be snuggled a lot more than Elle did (that’s not to say we didn’t snuggle Elle a TON. We did, and she didn’t mind it. But he seems to need it and want it more, which is fine by me since the other one barely slows down for a hug these days). He likes to be around us and with us and close to us.

But gosh, you say. How does that work for sleep?!

Well, he isn’t the worst sleeper. I won’t go into details and I won’t get excited because we all know the first rule of baby sleep is that we DO NOT talk about baby sleep. But we manage. It’s not as great as Elle. At two months, Elle had given us a couple of 8.5 hr stretches, but generally was waking at 2 and 4. Ben is close-ish, but not quite. Some nights are awesome. Some are harder. I am still very, very tired a lot of days.

As for growth? Oh man. He’s a champion. I don’t have any official stats because his 2 month checkup isn’t until next week, but I unofficially weighed him at home the other day and he weighed about 10lbs 12-13oz. That’s 3lbs over his birth weight, which I know isn’t much for some people, but compared to Elle this is incredible. He solidly wears 3 month clothing already. Elle? She was just getting into 0-3 month clothes at 2 months. She didn’t start wearing 3 month clothes until almost exactly 3 months. Ben can even fit into a good number of the 3-6 month stuff we have. He’s pretty long looking as well, but I’m not sure how long. I can’t wait to find out on Thursday. I am so, so happy with all of this. Sure, it’s a little sad to see him growing so fast. I swear he’s going to be sitting up on his own before I know it, but it’s also such a good feeling after having one child who runs on the smaller side of things (and is perfect just the way she is, but it was hard for awhile with people constantly commenting about how little she is- which still happens, but I’m used to it).

He gurgles and coos and it melts my heart. He bats at toys and grabs the rings dangling from his activity mat easily and shakes them. He has a love/hate relationship with tummy time. Some days he happily lays there and sucks on his hand and falls asleep. Which, um, defeats the purpose of tummy time actually. Other days he gets mad as a hornet- turns his head from side to side a bit, which is a little more in tune with the purpose of the exercise but also sucks because… mad as a hornet. Despite his tummy time deficiencies, his head control is pretty great. He likes to be held up on my shoulder and lifts his head and looks around. He also likes to be pat on the back with significant force. And he is liking the pacifier more and more. We’ve been wishy washy about and he’s been wishy washy about taking it, but over the past week after a couple of incidents and him falling asleep sucking on my pinky, yet again (since we aren’t used to using a pacifier, we are the WORST at remembering to keep it with us), I decided I needed to just commit. He seems to have followed suit. We only use it for sleep and in the car, which is how we intend to keep it (though that was supposed to be how blankie worked for Elle too, and uh… yea).

I’m so grateful for this sweet boy. I’m so grateful for my sweet girl (who is absolutely a two year old these days, which I still need to post about). There are, as I’ve said in previous posts, most definitely hard days, but oh my they are worth it in the end.

Checking In

Oh hey there, blog. I’ve kind of missed you. I think of you often.

Here’s a quick rundown of random:

June felt like a whirlwind tornado of… EVERYTHING.

We had the very last residency retreat, then C’s parents arrived, then graduation from residency, then Father’s day, then my mom came, then our 5 year anniversary, then E’s 2nd birthday, then E’s 2nd birthday party, and then… we could finally stop for two seconds and breath again.

I still can’t believe residency is over. I mean, like, over. He woke up on June 30 (because even though they graduated on the 14th, they had to finish their last rotations) and, like, didn’t get up and go to the hospital. Instead he left to get fitted for multi-cam uniforms because he will deploy in the near future. The rest of last week was a smattering of him going up to the hospital to turn in his work computer and do some various other administrative things. He was also awarded another Army Achievement Medal for scoring ridiculously high on his last in-service training exam (something they- as in, every family medicine resident in the United States- take every year to evaluate their readiness for boards. C scored in the 99.99 percentile of ALL family medicine residents in the country. As usual, I have all the prouds.) He has this entire month on leave, which is only really half true because his new unit is stealing him away for some important training things- a tropical medicine course, some kind of conscious sedation training, and some other thing that involves shooting guns that he’s pretty excited about. I’m less than thrilled about his leave time being eaten up by training, but his new team leader is a pretty good guy and is trying to compensate by giving him a week in August to make up for some of the time he’s taking away this month. But all that aside? He’s a for real, licensed, board certified family medicine physician. That blows my mind. I’ve been with him since before he was even accepted to medical school. It’s been a long road, and it always felt like we’d be in the training phase of his career forever- which I was comfortable with. I think we still look at each other at least once every couple of days and are like: “Holy crap. We’re really on the other side now.” It feels good. I’m not looking forward to the deployment, but we have had several good conversations about it, and we have many plans in place for how we’re going to cope and help E through it, and I’m feeling a lot more capable than I did a few months ago.

To celebrate the end of the training era, he bought me a new car (I can’t even lie. He spoils me.) We did trade in my Mustang, and we are getting rid of our Escape to do it, but we purchased a new Explorer and I’m through the roof excited about it.

We are also celebrating by going to the beach. But instead of our usual penny pinching, budget friendly kind of trip that we’ve grown accustomed to, we have agreed that this trip will be a *not going to worry about the cost* kind of getaway. Granted… we’re only going for 2 nights, because we aren’t insane… but we are staying in a nicer hotel, not fretting about ordering overpriced drinks by the pool, and we have plans to order room service and sit on the balcony and stare at the ocean while we sip on wine after we put our kids to bed each night. I can hardly wait.

Which brings me to the kids!

E turned two. I die. TWO.

She’s brilliant, and beautiful, and sassy, and I love her so much. Another post on this to come I think, because there’s simply too much to put here.

B is doing so well as well. He’s just shy of 2 months right now, and I don’t even know where those 2 months went. In many ways, he reminds me of E, like how attentive and interested he is in everything, but in others, oh man. He’s obviously NOT her. For instance, I took for granted just how good of sleeper E was. Everything about sleep is different with him. And that’s not to say he’s a bad sleeper- he’s just way, way different in what he needs/prefers, etc. I vacillate between feeling positive about it all and really, really discouraged and exhausted.

As for me? I’m mostly doing better. The struggling has subsided quite a bit and I feel a little bit more in control most days. There are moments, however, that are still rough and I feel like a ticking time bomb of impatience and my wit has met it’s end. Like yesterday. Yesterday afternoon was one of those moments. One really long moment. B was wailing in his carseat and E was WHINING about… something. She wanted something that she’d thrown to the floor. Or something we didn’t even have in the car. Or something. But my word, the whining. So there was wailing and whining in unison and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even feel sad and concerned for B’s wailing because in all honesty I just wanted to turn around and yell, “STOP IT. STOP ALL OF IT. STOP CRYING. STOP WHINING. JUST SHUT. UP.” That sounds cruel and cold, I know. I know that. And I think that unless you been there, you can’t understand it (which I know, because I never, ever would’ve understood this a year ago. Or even 2 months ago. I would’ve been horrified at me. Appalled. Judge-y, even, if I’m really being honest.) Nothing feels worse to me than knowing that I should be feeling sad for my upset baby and wondering how I can help, but instead feeling frustrated by it. C was in the car with me and I told him that I just couldn’t deal so he attempted to talk to E, and eventually B passed out (this is new thing right now in the car seat. He gets unbelievably upset and then passes out. I can feed him up nicely, have him in a clean diaper in the perfect temperature, and make sure nothing is squeezing or pinching him wrong… it doesn’t matter. He just… gets super upset and then zonks out. Hurts my insides to hear him cry like that, but we’re in the car, you know? Not a lot of options in that moment.) I sat in the passenger seat feeling frustrated and powerless and out of control and unable to fix anything, and I cried behind my sunglasses and resisted the urge to yell at C for no good reason because I just wanted to yell and unleash on someone or something. Instead, I gripped his hand and cried. So you see… there are still moments of intense struggle. But they are less. Especially lately with C home so much. And I know that as B gets older and moves away from this fussy period and starts sleeping even more consistently and for longer periods, I will feel a little more sane and capable. It’s the tired, I think, that makes it so hard some days.

Those moments of struggling are decreasing, which is encouraging, and far, FAR more than the hard parts are the beautiful, wonderful moments. Like early in the morning when B is having tummy time while E eats breakfast and talks talks talks away while C and I sip on coffee and marvel at all her words and how precious B is. Then she wants down and she immediately goes to her brother and dances all around him while pointing out animals and colors on his play mat. She lays her baby dolls by him and talks to him, maybe brings him a book and shows him the pictures. He smiles SO big and coos and stares attentively with his big eyes at whatever it is that she is doing in that moment. I feel so grateful for my little family and our little life that we’ve built together. It’s not perfection, but its ours and I honestly thank God at least once a day for allowing me the privilege of these children and this husband and this life.

Ben, 1 month old

(2 posts today… because all the babies are napping and I’m playing catch up!)

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Benjamin:

You hit 1 month about a week and a half ago. I figure posting this a week and a half late is better than never at all. I haven’t been writing anything down, and I know I’m going to regret that, so I want to at least try to do this so your whole infancy doesn’t pass me by without me having recorded anything.

At one month (let’s go ahead and go with 5 weeks for now, since in the last week a lot has happened):

You have pretty solidly grown out of your newborn clothes. Some outfits no longer even snap at the bottom, others do, but are tight. All but two of your newborn sized pajamas don’t fit. This isn’t because you are chubby. You’re actually quite lean, like your sister, but you seem to be long. I’m not sure how long, but I know that 0-3 month clothes fit perfectly in terms of their length, but are pretty loose around your skinny torso and legs. E could wear newborn sized clothing almost all the way up to three months, along with her 0-3 month stuff, so already you are clearly different from one another.

We learned that you probably need a pacifier. You like to suck. We actually suspected from that first night in the hospital that we may need to give you a pacifier, but we fought it. Your sister never liked it, and we didn’t want to have to start something that we’d eventually have to take away, so we fought it. But after last Friday at your dad’s graduation dinner, when the only way you’d settle and go to sleep was by sucking on my pinky, I finally decided that we were wrong, and that we should give you a pacifier. You took to it immediately.

You prefer to be held upright, slightly over my shoulder, and having your back patted with medium force. E liked being rocked. You’re kind of meh about being rocked, but if I put you up on my shoulder and pat your back, it works most of the time to calm you.

Like your sister, you like it when I sing, “Baby Beluga.” Except I don’t sing all the words. Just the “Baby Beluga” part… over and over.

You nurse well, and unlike your sister I can actually tell when you’re hungry. She wasn’t big on hunger cues- we just fed her ALL THE TIME. You are very clear about when you’re hungry. I appreciate that SO MUCH.

You are starting *prays to God that this doesn’t jinx it* to consolidate your sleep a little bit. A 4-5.5 hour chunk at the beginning of the night, then a 2.5-3ish hour chunk, then 1.5-2hrs. If we could ever get a consistent bedtime down, I’d feel much better. Unfortunately, we have not been consistent with that. Maybe we weren’t consistent at this time with your sister yet either. Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be. I can’t remember.

You still sleep in our room, but I think we are close to trying to move you to your room. We are going to do it like we did with E- put you to bed in there for the first chunk of the night and bring you to our room for the rest of the night after the first wake up. The more consistent your sleep chunks become, the more we will leave you in your room. Bringing you to our room is purely for our benefit so we don’t have to groggily walk through the house to help you.

You nap in the swing, which doesn’t bother me, or on me, which also doesn’t bother me. This is what we did with your sister until after we had her sleeping in the crib at night, and it seems to also be working for you at the moment.

You hate baths so far. I’m not sure what to do about that right now.

I think you smiled- real, voluntary smiles!- for the first time today. First at me, which made my heart soar, and then at your sister.

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Your sister, Ben. She loves you so much. She has been more patient and understanding with having a new baby brother than I ever could’ve imagined. She lays on the floor with you EVERY. DAY. when you have tummy time. She’ll spend the whole time down there with you. Today I feel like she connected with your for the first time- though I’m not sure how- and she was giddy and kept getting right up in your face and saying, “HI!!” You just go with the flow. Later, I had you on your playmat on your back and she was laying next to you on her back playing with the hanging toys, and you genuinely looked… happy. Like you were having fun. She was babbling away to you and me, messing with the stuff with her feet and hands, and you were working on gripping one of the dangling rings and cooing and looking around. You turned towards her, as if you were listening. I could’ve sworn that in that 10 minutes you guys were somehow playing together, as much as a newborn can play, that is. In that moment right then, I felt like everything was going to be okay and that perhaps you two are going to be closer than I imagined. I sure hope so.

Already in these short 5 weeks you have been to a wedding, the beach, a graduation ceremony, a graduation dinner, to story time at the library. All you need is a plane ride. Just kidding. We don’t want a plane ride yet. Mama is tired.

I love you so, so much sweet boy. Know that I’m doing the best I can. I am trying to do the best I can for both you and your sister. Figuring out how to be mom to both of you is hard work. Especially since you are not your sister. You clearly have different opinions about things already, and different nuances in nearly every area of just merely existing, and we are trying hard to adapt and improvise. Be patient with us, Ben. We are still learning you.

We love you more than we could ever say.

 

Ah yes. There’s the other foot. It’s dropping.

I knew something was going to happen after I wrote the last post. I knew that you can’t just have a second kid and have it be a relatively easy transition all around. I *knew* my time was coming. Sure enough, it did.

Shortly after the last post, parenting two children started to take its toll on me. I don’t even know how to explain it’s difficulties and challenges other than it’s difficult and challenging. And I cry. A lot, some days (like, today, for instance). It’s not E and the baby together. They remain to be beautiful together. E can be a little overzealous with her affection and desire to help and hold, and that can stress me out on occasion, but mostly they are precious. I take about a zillion pictures of them. Every night before bed, immediately after C has finished reading to her and putting her into her sleep sack, her first word is a very insistent: BABY? BABY? She wants to kiss her brother goodnight. And just now, before I laid her down for her nap: BEN? BEN? She does love to love on him. Together, they make my heart melty.

Apart? Apart I have equally beautiful and trying moments with each of them. One minute I am all a-mush on the inside as I watch E point at and identify nearly all the letters in her alphabet puzzle. And listen to her say, “Pin-gin” while she points at the new stuffed penguin my aunt sent her. And watch her dance with pure joy and delight in her face to any and every kind of music. The next, I am frustrated and impatient and am finding myself having to work harder than I ever have to control my tone of voice as she stares at me with sheer defiance in her eyeballs as she tests my limits and boundaries. I have lost my cool on more than one occasion, which is something I rarely did before now.

One minute I am feeling puffy heart love for Ben as I watch his sweet little neck stretch out and adjust himself, and he reminds me of the sweetest looking baby turtle you’ll ever see. I want to squeeze him tight when I watch him peacefully sleeping. I want to lay with the unmatched comfort of him asleep on my chest forever and fall into a deep sleep myself. I also just want to sleep a solid eight hours again. The next minute though, I am frustrated and don’t know what else to do to soothe him as he fusses and turns and twists his body in the evening. Last night he cried for almost two solid hours before bedtime, with C and I each taking turns trying to soothe him. I can’t be sure, maybe it’s mom amnesia, but I feel certain that he is MUCH harder to get to sleep than E was. This, more than anything else, is hard for me. We broke down and gave him a pacifier. I remember getting to that point with E, right around this same time too- the point where we were like: LET’S TRY GIVING HER A PACIFIER, MAYBE IT WILL HELP THE SLEEPS. She never took it. Ben though? He latched right on to it. I waver back and forth between being completely okay with this, and feeling kind of bummed out about it. We were hoping so hard to get lucky enough to have two kids pacifier free.

Every kid is different, Lauren. Every kid is different. What worked for E may not work for him. What didn’t work for E may very well be the best thing for him.

Slowly, slowly learning and trying to adapt.

My biggest issue? It’s not them really. It’s me. I am impatient and frustrated and tired. I wake up with a headache every morning. I feel like I’m shortchanging both of them. Probably because I am. Today I actually acknowledged the fact that some days, I miss having just one child. I feel lot of guilt about that. The thing is though- I don’t wish to not have either of these children. I adore these children. I deeply love each of them. I do. So it’s not that I miss only having E. I love having both of them. What I actually miss is how much easier life was with only one child to care for. I miss how solid and smooth our routine was. I miss the ease with which we went through our days and nights. And I have to tell myself: that took time. It took time to establish that routine. I just don’t remember how much time and at almost 6 weeks in I’m like: WE’RE NOT THERE YET! SHOULDN’T WE BE THERE YET? And I feel all panicky about it. I am trying to tell myself to be patient and be kind to myself. But I have a hard time being kind to myself when I feel so tired. I MISS ALL THE PATIENCE I HAD, and believe me when I tell you that it was a lot.

Did I mention I came down with mastitis last week? The day before C graduated from residency? Because I did.

Did I mention it was caused by MRSA, so when I started taking antibiotics they didn’t work and I just kept getting worse? Because that, too.

The prescription strength ibuprofen wore off after 2 hours at the graduation dinner and I had chills and my fever rose to almost 102* and I was lightheaded and mildly delirious. I would’ve fallen down stairs if I had had to walk down them. And Ben wouldn’t go to sleep … only cry, unless he was sucking on some one’s finger, or his own fist (which someone had to help him hold up to his mouth), or nursing- which he wasn’t even actively doing- he would latch and then fall asleep, only to wake up once unlatched. I missed over half the dinner. This is when we decided to go all in on the pacifier.

And my lady part problems? Well, they’re at a standstill. Better, but not 100% and I’m not feeling/seeing a ton of improvement anymore. So I’m still broken and I feel completely discouraged with my 6 week postpartum check coming up.

I’m tired. And I’m tired of having things go wrong with my body. And I’m grateful that my physical appearance postpartum this time around is so much better than last time, but I’d happily trade it in order to not have any of the complications.

I think this month isn’t helping. This has been a doozy of a month. So much. Too much. Happening. All good, beautiful things that I should be nothing but grateful for, but it’s all happening now and I’m not in a good place physically (or emotionally, apparently). There was the residency retreat at the beach to start the month off. Then C’s parents arrived, which brought extra hands and help, which was nice I suppose, but also… stressful, as usual. Then graduation. HALLELUJAH, RESIDENCY IS OVER (well, after these last two weeks of this rotation, but technically he’s graduated).  But omg, wrangling a toddler and a newborn through all of it. The awards ceremony (which I had to do solo. Which… sucked.). The graduation ceremony. The graduation dinner. Last Friday literally sucked the life force out of me. That, and mastitis. My mom arrives next Wednesday. More hands, more help, but still… stressful. The house needs to be cleaned up before she gets here. Everyone says, “Ohhh don’t clean for us! No big deal! Just leave it as is.” But COME. ON. No one, at least not in my family, really means that. They want clean sheets and clean towels. Okay, maybe I won’t dust, but if I really just… left things as is? I’d be judged. Really. I would. And honestly I can’t let myself not clean. Call me OCD or whatever, but I like my house to be clean and picked up. It physically and emotionally pains me to not do it. So, I’m not always sure the extra hands and help are worth the work I have to put in to get ready for them to arrive. But nonetheless, mom is coming. I am excited overall, I just wish it weren’t during a month when ALL THE OTHER THINGS are happening too. Our 5th marriage anniversary (which is different than our wedding anniversary) is on the same day she arrives, immediately followed the next day by E’s SECOND birthday. Holy cow. And then, that weekend? Some kind of celebration for E’s birthday, which I’m thinking will be SMALL, because I don’t know that I have anything left in me to do anything bigger, which makes me feel sad, and guilty some more, because again E is getting the short end of the stick because I can’t handle this month. I shouldn’t be wishing this month away. There are so very many happy things happening in our lives this month. But I just want to make it to July. No more visitors. No more events. Just… nothing at all. Except C having almost the entire month off before he starts his new job.

So if you’re wondering where I am, or how it’s going? I’m right smack in the middle of struggling-ville, and probably drinking way too much caffeine, and praying for the day when I feel like I’ve got my life together again.

Postpartum Complications +Second Kid + Big Sister: A post about ALL THE THINGS

I’ve had about a zillion thoughts for blog posts bouncing around my head for the past couple of weeks. Blogging is… well… really low on the priority list these days, so I’m bundling them all into one post. It’s probably going to be longish, but it’s interesting… I promise (falling uterus ahead! Seriously!).

Postpartum Complications

So B was born. I still get all mushy feeling on the inside when I replay the scene in the delivery room in my head. I mean… C was the first person in this entire world to touch, hold Baby B. He literally brought his son into this world. It was one of the single most beautiful moments in my entire life. I was the second to touch him, and I held onto his perfect little self for at least an hour or more before anyone took him away for anything. Perfection. Truly.

And then we hit the ground running. When E was born, life moved slowly for a little while as we adjusted to being new parents. I took it easy as I recovered from delivery and the second degree tear. Days were long even though the weeks were fast. This time? No. No slowing moving time here. There’s a household to run and most importantly, a big sister that still needs to be cared for, loved on, have needs met. Not only that, but part of the recovery process for me personallyis getting back to relative “normal” as quickly as possible. That doesn’t mean not snuggling the fresh new baby- there is plenty of that- but it means taking care of my house and my girl on our own as quickly as possible. Some like a ton of help. I do not. I want to do my own dishes and read to my girl myself. I used to think it was a stubborn pride thing about me, but no. It’s not. It’s more of a mental health thing for me. Honestly. When someone was here trying to do all MY responsibilities, leaving me to “rest” and care for the new baby, it honestly made me anxious. Legitimate, panicky anxiety. As soon as I started doing as much of what I normally do as possible, the anxiety subsided quickly. I don’t necessarily want to rest all day. I want to live my life. And when you already have a toddler running around, you get back into gear fast. Or at least I did.

Which was awesome. I felt fantastic (as fantastic as one feels with a couple of first degree tears). I mean, there are times I forgot that it had only been a week or two since I’d… you know… labored and delivered a baby from my body. Until, well, it slapped me in the face. Uterine Prolapse, my friends. On the day B was 2 weeks old, I was feeling some weird feelings down there and finally at midnight I was like: “C. Something is NOT RIGHT down there. I need you to look at it. It feels like something is falling out of my v.ag.ina.” C, being the wonderful doctor husband he is, got out of bed and came to look. He sat there for a second before saying, “Well. Your cervix is bulging out of your vagina. I have to put it back.”

COME AGAIN, WHAT?!

Yea, you read that right. You haven’t lived until your husband has had to push your cervix/uterus back into your body in the middle of the night. I was horrified and googling made it worse, of course. We didn’t go to the emergency room because, as C said, all they would do is put the cervix back and consult OB/GYN who would tell me to make an appointment to come in next week. As long as there was no significant bleeding or pain (I had no pain whatsoever), then there was no need to go into the emergency room (since he put things back together for me at home.) I spent the weekend freaking out and laying/sitting down. What if they wanted to operate? What if they wanted to remove my uterus? What if what if what if! C talked to my doctor on Saturday who echoed what he had already told me about the emergency room- sit tight and take it easy at home unless there was significant pain or bleeding. She would see me first thing Tuesday morning (it was Memorial Day weekend, of course). At the appointment my doctor examined all the things and called over to OB/GYN to see what they wanted to do with me. They talked to their UroGyn (doctor trained in urology and gynecology- also considered pelvic floor specialists). The good news? None of them were worried. This is a complication for 2-5% of postpartum women, and for most it resolves itself by 6 weeks.  The other good news? My eagerness to jump back into normal life didn’t cause the problem. They said if it was going to happen, it was going to happen regardless of what I was doing. I did probably exacerbate it, however. The bad news? No one was going to do any kind of treatment for it until my 6 week appointment, at which point they will reexamine things and see if anything has improved/healed itself, or if further treatment is indicated. I was relieved to hear that this is something that can happen and that is expected to heal as the tissues down there heal and hormones balance out. Not relieved to walk around uncomfortably have to have things pushed back up every once in awhile, but hey! Better than being told they need to remove my uterus. Already things are healing up- my cervix is back in position and is no longer falling down. The v.ag.inal wall is still weak, but my uterus is no longer falling. Hurrah! Words I thought I’d never write.  (And? I did kegels while pregnant. I did pregnancy pilates. I DID ALL THE THINGS. But still, word to the wise? Do those pelvic floor exercises everyone talks about. Certainly can’t hurt.)

The Second Kid

Everyone always talks about how difficult it is to go from one kid to two (or at least people around me did). I don’t know that I agree with everything I heard about it. Maybe that’s because mine are only 22 months apart. Maybe it’s because of the kind of personality E has and how. freaking. hard. I worked to prepare her for this transition. Maybe it’s because my uterus fell down and I was too busy worrying about that to pay attention to however difficult having a second kid would be. I don’t know. And that’s also not to say it’s been EASY PEASY. It has stressful moments. Stressful days. Times when I want to lock myself away and just BE ALONE. Most of those are when both kids are crying at me and each of them needs something RIGHT THEN and I feel utterly overwhelmed and pulled in 60 directions. I haven’t been at my best the entire time. I’ve snapped and yelled at E when I shouldn’t have. I’ve had to let the new baby cry longer than E probably ever had to cry when she was new because mama is giving E a bath and SHE JUST CAN’T WALK AWAY FROM THAT RIGHT THIS SECOND. So there have been moments that haven’t been great.

But mostly?

It feels like Benjamin was always meant to be in our family. Like he’s always been here. Like our family is whole. Genuinely. People ask if we want more kids, if we’re done, etc. The non-cheesy answer is that yes, we’re done, we’ve only ever wanted 2 kids. If we got surprised somewhere along the line, then of course, we’d accept that gift and adjust our mentality, but as far as we have control over it, two is our limit. The sappy response? The first three sentences in this paragraph. Something about our household feels different. I truly feel in my heart like our family is whole and complete. I thought that I’d FOR SURE miss being pregnant. This pregnancy was such a gift- very easy and enjoyable- and I loved it. I thought I’d be sad to not be pregnant anymore, knowing that I most likely would never be pregnant again, but no. I feel no sadness, or longing, for pregnancy. I feel done, and I feel at peace with that.

One of my biggest worries when I found out I was pregnant with our second was: What if I don’t love him as much as I love E?! How could I ever love anyone as much as I love E?! I was reassured time and again that somehow, you just… do. That your heart stretches or grows or something or another and you immediately adore your subsequent children as much as your first. I’m going to be honest with you. I was a little let down. You see, he was born and C placed him onto my belly and instinctively I immediately knew that I loved him and I had a duty to care for him and protect him. But the mushy gushy lovey feelings? Like what I feel when I look at E? I didn’t feel that. This terrified me, of course. OMG I’M A FAILURE AS A MOTHER. HE DESERVES BETTER. I DON’T FEEL THE OOEY GOOEY LOVE FEELINGS LIKE I DO WITH E!!!! I cried all those things at three in the morning to C on our first night home. C was quick to remind me that when E was born, I felt the same and worried about the same thing. The instinctive motherly love came, but not the overwhelming puffy heart love right away. It takes me a day or two. I have to hold them, and stare into their face, and get to know them. And then I’m inundated with all the puffy heart love. This time was no different.

But I will say this. I don’t think I love B exactly the same as I love E. I think I love them equally- as much as one another- but the love does feel different somehow. I mean, I’ve had two years with E. Two years of caring for her, watching her grow and develop and learn and blossom into this real person with thoughts and feelings and emotions and words to express them (most of the time) and a desire for independence. Two years of building a relationship with her. That makes for a different kind of relationship and different feelings than the ones I have with my sweet, delicate 3 week old boy who depends on me entirely. The love I feel is the same, but different.

Being the second kid is interesting I think. You get more experienced parents. I don’t worry about nearly as much as I did in the first weeks with E. Breast feeding? Bam. Champions. He hasn’t pooped in a couple of days? No big deal. It’ll come. C and I handle middle of the night wakings like pros these days. B wakes up. We turn NO lights on. C dons a headlamp and changes the diaper, hands him off to me, I feed him up good, swaddle him, top him off, and back to bed we go. We still have WTF moments where we’re like: WHAT IS HAPPENING HOW DO WE MAKE YOU HAPPY?! And WTF? You spit up?! E never spit up?! What am I supposed to do with this?! But overall? The mechanics of caring for a baby are second nature this time around. It took me a lifetime to leave the house ALONE for the first time with E. This time? A week. I think. And since then I’ve left the house plenty more. It’s a heck of a lot more work, but life keeps going and I can’t afford to keep my toddler holed up in the house all day every day. Nursing in public? I was a nervous wreck about doing this with E. This time? No big deal. Not at all. I so very much love the confidence we have this time around. Are we perfect? No. Do we still have clueless moments? Absolutely. But it’s nothing like being a first time mom and I’m so grateful for that.

With experienced parents, though, come some… flaws? Maybe? I don’t know what to call it. Like how it took us over 2 weeks to give him his first bath at home. Sorry kiddo. Life is busy with two of you. Taking care of a messy, emotional near 2 year old is a lot more work than caring for you, actually, and some things get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Like your first bath at home. Honestly, we are not daily bathers in this house anyway (go ahead, gasp in horror), but adding a second kid to the mix further inhibited our bathing habits. I have no doubt we will find a routine with this and get back to a normal bathing schedule, one that includes bathing Benjamin regularly, but first we’re working on finding routine in just the basics like eating and sleeping.

Second kid also has much less… personal space. E is ALL. ABOUT. her baby brother. She wants to hold him. Kiss him. Lay on the floor with him. “Help” him with tummy time. “Pat” him. There is obviously a large amount of supervision going on here, as a well-meaning older sibling is one of the biggest dangers to a newborn baby. But man. This kid does not get … well… anything… to himself. Everything that’s been given to him has already been played with/touched by his sister. Even the things that I’ve tried hard to keep separate, just for him. At a point I just gave up and decided to be okay with it. Second kid is trooper, for sure, and I can’t wait until he is a little bit older and can interact more with E. I have a good feeling about the two of them together. <3

Which brings me to…

Big Sister

I’ve gotten a lot of question about how E is handling the new baby. Honestly? Way better than I expected. Even more honestly? She’s kind of a champion. I do take a little bit of credit here. I worked my butt off trying to prepare her for this. We have five… yes, five… books about being a big sister. We Have a Baby, by Cathryn Falwell; I’m a Big Sister, by Joanna Cole; On Mother’s Lap, by Ann Herbert Scott; Big Sisters are the Best, by Fran Manushkin, and My New Baby, by Rachel Fuller. There are a ton of other books out there, but I like these five the best (my MOST favorites are We Have a Baby, On Mother’s Lap, and My New Baby- the other two are very, very similar to one another, but still good overall). When we read these books I would talk extensively about what the book was saying- pointing out expressions on the parent’s faces, or how much they clearly still loved the big sister and how important she is to them. I talked about how the big sister is a helper. These books became fast favorites and she requested to read them over and over (and over and over and over and over… ad nauseaum. For real.) But we never turned down her requests and always talked about what an important job being a big sister was, but more importantly how loved the big sister is.

I also just talked to her about the baby in my belly. I let her feel the baby move. I talked over and over about her baby brother, and what it was going to be like once he arrived. I told her how he would need a lot of attention from mama and dada, but that no matter what we still love her so much and how she is so important to us. I talked about how babies eat from their mama (because we breast feed), and how that will take a lot of mama’s time, but that I would always make time for her. I talked about how we would have to go away for a couple of days when her baby brother was coming, but that we would miss her so much and couldn’t wait to be with her again. SO. MUCH. TALKING. I was told by some that I was a bit over the top. “She’s fine!” “She doesn’t know!” etc. I disagree. She might not have all the words we do, and she might be young, but kids are observant. They know. And for a child who has been the sole recipient of all of our love and attention to suddenly have that attention drastically split? Well, I don’t think I could’ve ever talked to her about it enough- explaining to her what was going to happen and how it would change our daily life.

THEN, I wrote two letters to her for my mother in law to read to her while C and I were at the hospital having the baby. One to be read the morning she woke up and we were gone, and one for the next morning (which was the day we came home). Then I had a small present for her that was “from” her new baby brother, along with a note “from” her new baby brother. We gave her the present and read her the note the day we came home from the hospital with him.

I don’t know which, if any, of these was the just the right thing to help her adjust. But she’s adjusted beautifully. I think that’s also in part to the fact we’ve worked hard to continue to love on her as much as possible. C did a lot of this in the early days home. She didn’t seem phased by how much I needed to be with the baby, and I think this is because C loved on her so much during that time. I also worked hard to include her in everything as much as possible. We read books together a lot while I nurse the baby. I made her a “baby box” which is a box that only comes out when I’m nursing- it has special toys, special books, etc. in it that she only gets to play with while the baby eats. We still take her to do things- library story time, the park, play dates with friends. It also helps that we had such a solid daily routine before the baby arrived and we maintained that daily routine even after he came. We’ve worked to keep as much of the rest of her life as normal as possible while we introduced this MAJOR change of having a brother.

It hasn’t been perfect. She threw a toy at his head on his first day home. She has needier days and moments, and I try to be patient with her during them. She sees me holding the baby all the time, so if she has an afternoon that she is glued to my side and wants me to hold her/snuggle her more, then I do it, because a) one day she won’t want to snuggle at all, and b) I don’t ever want her to feel unloved or loved any less than she ever has been.

It’s been an adjustment for sure. The hardest days for me, and for E I think, were those first days home. The falling uterus threw a wrench in some things. But mostly it’s been beautiful and wonderful and, for right now, I feel confident that I can parent both these children well (it’s been a good day… maybe ask me on a bad day and the answer will obviously be different). I feel incredibly fortunate to have two beautiful, healthy babies, and my heart and family is complete.

*cue everything falling apart now that I’ve talked about how relatively painless the transition has been so far*

*braces self for fallout*

The Birth Story (of Baby Bunny 2.0)

Last I posted I was 40 weeks pregnant, and a little bit annoyed that the latent labor I had experienced the day before had fizzled into nothing. I spent the first part of that day just being… angry. Mostly because I had had all these expectations and they were all crushed. If I hadn’t had the expectations, I am certain I wouldn’t have been nearly as upset. But alas. There I was. I went for a walk by myself. I took a long shower and did my hair in what we call “big curls,” which really just means I blow dried it with a round brush which creates… um… big curls. We left C’s mom at home with E for nap time and C took me to a movie at noon. It’s funny, because I suddenly can’t even remember what it is that we saw. I liked it a lot though. (OH! DIVERGENT! We saw Divergent!) It was the perfect thing to get my mind off my unmet expectations and help me be alright with the situation. We took his Mustang, which has a much bumpier/more rumbly ride than any other vehicle we have thanks to after market modifications, and it was a fun midday escape from reality. After that we spent the afternoon doing… I can’t remember? I know I spent some time reading to E, which I’m grateful I did, and then… I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. At some point, C and his mom decided to start working on projects that C has had on hold forever and they ended up in the garage cleaning and organizing while I made dinner. All through the day, I had barely any contractions worth noting. It seemed we might be waiting for awhile.

After dinner and after C and I put E to bed, we all went to the garage. I bounced on the exercise ball while C’s mom facetimed with family in Argentina and showed them my bouncing, and C continued cleaning out the garage. C’s mom made many a comment about how “this baby could hang out for even another week!” which… wasn’t super helpful. Meanwhile, as I had been bouncing on the ball I noticed that contractions were kind of coming when I would bounce and do hip circles. So I did them.  Eventually the garage project hit a stopping point and we were tired, so everyone decided to go to bed. Since I’d had some painful-ish contractions on the ball, I decided to bounce some more while watching the season finale of New Girl on Hulu before laying down. Sure enough, the uncomfortable/painful contractions kept coming, but I couldn’t be sure if they were legit so I laid back down to see if they’d keep coming. At 11:38pm, I had the first real and pretty painful contraction while resting that I’d had so far. I felt hopeful and waited. Not too long after, I felt another one while resting. I got up and commenced more bouncing and started using the timer on my phone. They kept coming anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart. After the third one, I woke C up and told him we should get ready to leave. That I’d only had 3 painful contractions, but they were legit painful and if I remembered correctly, they amped up FAST and I didn’t want to be writhing in pain in the car, so could we, uh, just go ahead and start getting ready to go since we knew I was at 4cm already. He agreed pretty much without debate after he saw me lean on the bathroom counter and breath through one particularly long and painful contraction. He packed the car and right before we headed out I snuck into E’s room and carefully picked her up and squeezed her. She had gotten in a little bit of trouble (but really more like, had logical consequences for her choices) that night before dinner, and while it was obviously resolved well before bedtime, I was suddenly aware that our (potentially) last night as a family of three was marked with her wailing upset after I took her stroller away because she slammed it into my legs while throwing a fit because her grandma went back out to the garage with the cup of water she (MIL)  had been letting her (E) sip from. I held her tight, and kissed her, and didn’t want to leave her room despite the continued contractions. I did though, and we were soon out the door.

The issue was, however, that I was TOTALLY fine in between contractions and even during some of the contractions themselves. I was walking and talking- honestly, I was SUPER chatty the whole way there- and while some of them stopped me in my tracks, through others I could manage to waddle very, very slowly and kind of talk. Because of this, after we were already on our way, I got nervous that I had jumped the gun too quickly and that maybe this wasn’t the real deal and ARGH I didn’t want to look like a fool. SO. C and I devised a plan. Instead of going up to Labor and Delivery triage, we’d… do something else. Like maybe walk the hospital a little bit. Or something. When we arrived, I decided that I wanted to go to his office in the family medicine clinic. In retrospect, I probably could’ve gone to L&D. I was stopping and leaning and breathing through every contraction at this point, and for SOME REASON, the hospital was SO EFFING CROWDED for 1am. I was mildly aware of people staring at me as I stopped and survived each wave of pain. People also kept saying congratulations to C, which I found interesting and annoying at the same time.

So we went to his office. I set myself up on the exercise ball, set up my portable bluetooth speaker and starting playing the Labor playlist I had aimlessly made in the previous week. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Just songs I like. I told C he should work, but that he needed to stop and tend to me with each contraction (he would rub my back through each one at this point as I leaned forward onto the desk). I bounced and omg you guys, let’s talk about the exercise ball for a second. People always say that bouncing on these things is a great thing to do when you’re in labor. I always assumed it was because maybe it somehow eased the pain, but no you guys. No. That’s not actually what it does. I know this because I googled it while I was doing it. The point is ACTUALLY to optimize each contraction- gravity, opening your pelvis, blah blah blah…- it basically kind of intensifies the contractions and makes them SUPER productive. So, this bouncing is good to do because it speeds labor along in a way… not because it eases the pain necessarily. For me, it certainly did not ease the pain, but as it turns out it CERTAINLY DID MAKE THEM PRODUCTIVE.

I lasted an hour in the office before I was like: YEA. WE NEED TO GO UPSTAIRS. We finally made it up there, where I had to wait another WHAT FELT LIKE FOREVER for my doctor to arrive. Luckily C and my doctor had been texting all day/night, so he was already on his way in when we got up there. The nurse was not super friendly and I wanted to punch her, to be honest with you guys. I love nurses. I do. But this one looked peeved that I was there, laboring and disrupting her night somehow. She also was very brisk with almost every instruction she gave me. It should be a rule to be nice to laboring women. BUT ANYWAY.

At this point I feel that I should pat myself on the back and let you guys know that I wasn’t a wailing out of control woman this time around. I was in serious pain and I did serious breathing that did need to be slowed down a time or two, but I was doing this. I spent every minute of labor either standing up, or sitting straight up in bed with as little recline as possible. I realized that even though each contraction was painful and there was pressure, it was a HECK of a lot better than what it would feel like if I was laying back. Sitting up through all of labor seemed to be crucial.  With each contraction I gripped C’s hand, closed my eyes, forced myself to breath in and out slowly and intentionally, and said over and over again in my mind: This does not last forever. I even said it out loud. I had a picture that I had taken of E and myself that morning pulled up on my phone to stare at in between contractions. A reminder, if you will, of the end result of this process. When the contractions were really bad and it was becoming clear that my own inner voice was choking on the pain, C started talking for me. He quietly told me that I was doing great, talked me through the peak of the contraction,  reminded me that it would not last forever, and quietly talk me through the decrescendo, if you will, as the contraction faded out. Steady and slow breathing. Quiet endurance. You guys. I was rocking it. I really was. This is something that I will probably always feel proud of.

My doctor arrived around 2:15am-ish? 2:30am? He checked me. I was at 8cm. 8 CENTIMETERS YOU GUYS. I NEVER MEANT TO LABOR ALL THE WAY TO 8 CENTIMETERS AU NATURALE. I was not planning on doing this sans pain relief. C had checked me around 10pm. I was still just a 4. 4 hours later and I was an 8?! The first time around, I only went from 4cm to 5cm over the span of 3 hours. This time I doubled my progress basically. I honestly credit the ball and the bouncing. I was pretty proud, but then I was all: I DO NOT WANT TO PUSH THIS BABY OUT WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL. I DO NOT. I JUST DON’T. NO. I WANT THE EPIDURAL. STAT.

But then they were all like, okay cool. Well, we have to draw this blood and do XYZ AND A ZILLION OTHER THINGS BEFORE THAT CAN HAPPEN. I was disheartened. I knew it’d be a couple hours and quite honestly I was afraid he was going to come well before the epidural man came to see me. So they drew blood. Except they didn’t do a very good job of finding a vein and now my left arm looks pretty horrific (even though, I kid you not, I really do have GREAT veins. The phlebotomists in the main lab used to tell me ALL the time and they never, ever sent me out looking like I’d lost a fight). Once that was done I had to wait in triage more because they were finishing getting a delivery room ready. Then I had to WALK to my room. Walk. Which I know is probably a good thing overall for the labor and what not, but ayeee. I had to stop a bunch to contract and whatnot… in hallways with, like, people, including C’s co-residents. This is me…mostly not caring because I was in labor, but also kind of caring way far in the back of my mind. I finally made it to the room and I was seriously wondering how much longer for the epidural because pressure

My doctor came in and reassured me that I was next on epidural man’s list just as soon as he finished with the woman he was helping right that minute. The nurse (a new one! A much, much nicer and more enjoyable one) reassured me that the bag of IV fluids I had to go through before he could place it would go through much quicker than I expected (it did, thank God and her). At 4:30am, after 2 more hours of the most controlled managing of pain I’ve ever done, epidural man finally walked through the door to my room. Shortly after I was feeling some pressure with each contraction, but oh my word the relief. It was welcome. My doctor came in next and checked me. 9 centimeters and the baby was still high, so I said he could break the bag of waters. Still sitting straight up, I labored the baby down, half-snoozing. At around 6am I was feeling pretty significant pressure with each contraction and there were some decelerations on the fetal heart rate monitor, so the nurse and my doctor came in to check things out. At this point I was complete and the baby was close to being at the correct station. Another few minutes and they suggested some trial pushes. I did two contractions worth of trial pushes (so 6 pushes total- 3x/contraction) and it was go time.

Last time, the room burst alive with energy at this point. A whole team of people had crowded in and were standing by (there had been meconium when they broke my water and so they had to call in pediatrics just in case, apparently). This time, there was no sudden bustle. It was just C, my doctor, and my nurse. They broke down the table. C gowned and gloved up. My doctor gowned and gloved up. It was all very quiet and kind of peaceful, actually, while I waited. Once it was all set up, C sat at the end of the bed and my doctor held my left leg. C very calmly talked me through everything he was doing and we got ready for my next contraction. It was 6:20am and I made a joke about how if I could push this baby out in 5 minutes he’d be born at the same time as E.

The next contraction came and C and the nurse talked me through pushing. C describing what he was doing (guiding the baby’s head, axillary shoulder, etc. etc.) in the most calm and even voice I think I’ve ever heard, and the nurse counting out each push. One contraction, 3 strong pushes, and Benjamin came very calmly and smoothly into this world at 6:24am, delivered by the hands of his father. It was incredible.

C immediately flopped him over onto my belly, a joy that I didn’t get to experience with E’s birth, and I saw him for the first time covered in white goop and crying a relatively calm cry for a baby who hasn’t seen the light of day before. A baby nurse was called into the room (and much to my chagrin it was the SAME brisk nurse from triage!!) and the nurses began to towel off the baby while he lay on my skin. C waited to clamp the cord a bit, cut the cord, and then joined the nurses by my side in toweling off his son. My doctor took over delivering the placenta and stitching up the very small 1st degree laceration. Benjamin latched on about half an hour after birth and while it wasn’t a fantastic latch 9w, he nursed on and off for the next hour pretty steadily. He received his first bath and first vaccines a little over an hour after delivery.

I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better labor and delivery, to be honest.

We’re one week out and so far things have been going fairly well. I’ll have to post another day about E and meeting her brother and how that adjustment is going, but honestly? Overall? It’s gone as well as I could’ve wanted it to. It’s not perfect. We’re not having perfect times all the time. But for what this is- a huge change and addition to our family- I am very, very grateful for how the transition has been (although yes, I do know it’s only been a week, and C HAS been home for that entire week, aside from a few 2-4 hour periods when he’s had to go in for quick things and I’ve had both kids on my own. I do anticipate more challenges when he goes back to work on Monday). Tomorrow C is on call, actually, so it’s kind of a trial run of a full day on my own with both kids. I know we will make it through. I am confident that I can do this. It might not be pretty for awhile, but we will all make it to the end of the day, alive and well. : )

 

40 Weeks

(picture forthcoming)

So here’s the thing:

If today were my due date, and I hadn’t thought I was going into labor prior to now, I have no doubt I’d feel a little bit disappointed and frustrated, but disappointed and frustrated seem like small words for what I’m feeling today.

You see… yesterday? I had a near identical experience to how labor started with E. (LOTS of labor-y TMI ahead. Be forewarned.)

The day before I had my membranes stirred at my 39 week appointment. I started losing my mucus plug, tinged with blood, that very night. I woke up with uncomfortable, but not painful, contractions early in the morning and lost more bloody show. They came consistently every 10-12 minutes for many, many hours, and soon were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and slightly more uncomfortable, but still not obviously wretchedly painful. LATENT LABOR!! I thought. This is exactly what happened with E. I had spent a whole day like that, it puttered out in the late afternoon (which frustrated me so much then too), only for C to come home, check me, me to have dilated to 4cm in that time, and then for active labor to come on hard and fast around 10pm that night. E was born at 6:25 the next morning. It was textbook labor and delivery.

So yesterday started the same. The course of the day even progressed the same- maybe even better- than last time. These contractions were more uncomfortable than the ones I had with latent labor before, they were also closer together. I was anticipating that they would wane in the afternoon, and sure enough, they did. I didn’t panic. C checked me. 4 centimeters. A solid 4 centimeters, not even a barely. No. This was an obvious, no doubt 4 cm. Happy times! Just like last time he said, “As soon as these get painful and consistently close, let’s go.” More bloody mucus plug (possibly the rest of it. So gross you guys.) I finished packing up our bags. We made brownies together. Contractions had picked back up and were even more uncomfortable, though still not wretchedly painful. When we put E to bed that night we squeezed her tightly and told her that maybe she’d be a big sister in the morning/the next day. We ran out of things to do, and we were both tired, so C suggested we get some rest because it could be a long night.

As soon as I laid down, everything stopped. Everything. No contractions. No nothing. I started feeling suspicious. Now that I thought about it, my contractions only held steady when I was standing or moving around. Whenever I had sat down throughout the day, they slowed or stopped. W.T.F. I had been duped by my own body. Oh well. Surely something would pick up in the night.

No you guys. No. I slept. No contractions, except of course, every time I got up to pee… because standing/moving. Towards the end of the night I had one, maybe two, contractions while lying down that were more uncomfortable/painful and even woke me up. But overall nothing. I felt/feel so angry and out of control. At this point, 8:42am on my due date, after all of yesterday, there are no contractions to speak of.  All I can think of is how it could stay like this for days and the thought of that seriously brings me to tears. Not because I’m uncomfortable, because I’m still not uncomfortable, but because disappointment. Crushed expectationsGot my hopes up. If I had never done this before, maybe I’d feel slightly less teary about it. But I have, and it was so similar to yesterday that it was hard not to have expectations.

So here I am now. 40 weeks. My due date. What looked like some solid latent labor yesterday, only to be sitting here again, 4 cm, no mucus plug, and contraction free. I made a half-serious joke last time about having broken womanly intuition after latent labor puttered out with E, only to be pleasantly surprised that maybe it wasn’t broken after all. But this time I was way wrong. Way off. Totally defunct womanly intuition and I’m kind of pissed off about it. I’m in a terrible mood.

Since I’ve run out of nesting things to do, today I’ve decided to do nothing (with the exception of walking and my hair). I’m making C take me to the movies in the middle of the day. And I’m for sure doing my very best not to get my hopes or expectations up for anything other than nothing happening any time soon.

 

*update: some positive things because it’s good to try to look on the bright side even though all I feel is all the negative feelings right now*

- At least we’re not at the hospital. If we had gone in (which, we wouldn’t of because there was never a reason to), and my labor had puttered out like this, they would’ve likely wanted to start pitocin or break my bag of waters to get things moving, and quite honestly I really prefer to let things take their course naturally as much as possible. So I’m glad I’m doing this at home.

- At least I’m at 4cm already.

- It’s better to be late than early, in terms of babies, and I know that and am grateful that we’re at least at this point.

39 weeks (and one day… technically)

39 weeks!

39 weeks!

Well, friends, I made it! 39 weeks! Full term! This was my goal. At this point BoyBunny is now free to come whenever, though I’d really, really appreciate it if he’d do so within the next week. If not within the next week, then for sure within the next 2 weeks. I really, really don’t want to go longer than 41 weeks and I don’t want to be induced. So. Please, BoyBunny… feel free to come in the next week.

So, because I’m a BIG fan of TMI when it comes to all this stuff, be forewarned that the rest of this will have a good amount of TMI. Feel free to click away.

I’m still feeling pretty good. The end of this pregnancy has been so different than my first in that I’ve had so few braxton-hicks contractions and random cramping. Last time I was braxton-hicks-ing ALL. THE. TIME. I constantly thought I might be starting labor. This time… ehhh… not so much. I had a couple of  interesting occurrences prior to 37 weeks but then nothing. So. Yea. All is quiet, it seems. Because I’m, well, me, and I can’t handle curiosity or suspense, I caved and begged C to check me at 38w5d (yea, my doctor definitely sends him home with sterile equipment to do this. The point is for when I’m actually having contractions so that he can check me before we even leave for the hospital thus saving us the pain of showing up only to be sent home, however, both last time and this time I have inevitably begged him to do one just to see if anything is happening.) He was hesitant, knowing that checking doesn’t really mean anything because you can sit at the same place FOR-EV-ER (and I know this too… but I WAAAANNNTED TO KNOW SOOOOO BADLY IF ANYTHING WAS HAPPENING!), but he humored me anyway. And like last time, it was a terrible decision on my part. When the baby hasn’t dropped down, things remain… posterior… and the more posterior things are, the more these things hurt. So yea. Not super comfy. But I was dilated to a 2. That was surprising to me since I don’t even know how, what with all the nothing happening.

Then today was my 39 week appointment (technically, actually it was my 38 week appointment, but my appointment dates are off by a week because my doctor was out of town for a week… lols). I’ve been debating all week whether I’d even agree to a cervical check since C just had checked on Tuesday, but I was ALSO debating the stripping of membranes, which is supposedly super uncomfortable/painful, but I wouldn’t know because last time my doctor barely did it because the bag of waters was bulging and I was GBS positive. I made a snap decision while sitting in the doctor’s office this afternoon to just go for it. There’s no guarantee it does anything at all, but it can’t hurt and I’m GBS negative, so…. ehhh. Why not, I thought. SO. My doctor checked me, and fortunately there must have been some change because it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable and my doctor said that I wasn’t all that posterior at this point, confirmed that I’m at 2- almost 3- centimeters, and did a very light stripping- light enough that it wasn’t really all that bad. So we’ll see what happens from here. Last time after my appointment at 39 weeks I lost my mucus plug (grossest. thing. ever.) 2 days later, and then 3 days after that is when I went into labor. I know every pregnancy and every labor is different, so I’m not expecting this to go exactly the same, but it would be cool if something could happen within the next week or so. Really.

Some fun coincidentals….

C has one. last. OB. patient for residency. This patient hit 40 weeks this week. I obviously hit 39 weeks this week. This is… fun? So if she goes into labor, no matter when, C gets paged and has to head in to the hospital to manage her labor/deliver her baby. Unless of course, I’m already in labor in which case the team will cover for him and do her stuff. The concern is that he will have to go in for her labor and then I’ll go into labor while he’s… you know… GONE already. At least he’s already at my final destination? The other concern is that I will have our baby first, we’ll be discharged and getting home and THEN he’ll get paged and have to go back to the hospital for the duration of her labor and delivery, thus leaving myself and newborn and toddler (and in all likelihood, MIL, which is a saving factor here I suppose) on our own just after delivering a baby. NOT IDEAL.

My doctor is playing in a residency vs. residency softball game tomorrow that is 1.5 hours away. He’s also running a half-marathon on Sunday, which fortunately is at least around the actual hospital.

C is working the medical tent for said marathon on Sunday too.

So I mean… there’s a lot going on. But I don’t even care. We’re ready when you are, baby bunny 2.0.

My MIL arrives tomorrow, early afternoon. She’s driving from Texas so she’s staying until this baby is HERE (another reason why, you know, within the week would be a good time for him to arrive. Not that I don’t love and appreciate her. I do. But a longer than a week stay would be… well… LONG. And that goes for anyone, I think.)

I mean, I cleaned our whole house today (not even nesting… MIL prepping) and did ALL of our laundry and put it away. This is a prime time for a kid to show up because… BAM. Things around here are looking pretty good.

Other bits:

Weight gain is around 19lbs (dressed, after lunch. First thing in the AM it’s more like 15-16lbs). Third trimester has been rough with keeping food down between odd stomach pain so bad it induces vomiting, a stomach virus, stress/anxiety induced nausea/vomiting, and then what seem to be random episodes where I’m totally fine one minute and then the next I’m like OMGIMGOINGTOTHROWUP and I do… then I’m fine again? I don’t even understand what that is. Doctor isn’t worried so I’m not worried.

Belly button is decidedly out-ish, but not super out. Just slightly out.

Stretch marks, true to form, just like last time, appeared in these past 2 weeks. Slightly more of them than last time. Arg. But whatever.

I spend a lot of time wavering between being PUMPED to start labor, and TERRIFIED to start labor. PUMPED to have a newborn again, and then TERRIFIED to have a newborn again. PUMPED for E to be a big sister, and then SAD because I just want to squeeze her and love her and for her to know that no one will ever take her place and I’m worried she’ll feel marginalized with a new baby getting a ton of attention (despite our extreme efforts to help prepare her for this, which believe me, have been EXTENSIVE). So if you wonder what I’m doing, just figure that I’m either spending all my time feeling super excited, or feeling horribly anxious.

38 Weeks

38 weeks. Moving to weekly photos since each week could the last at this point.

38 weeks. 

38 weeks.

I’m switching to weekly photos now for the remainder of the pregnancy since each week could be the last.

And when I say last, I mean my last week pregnant, probably for the rest of my life.

That’s a little (okay, a lot) sad for me.

I really enjoy being pregnant. Aside from first trimester yuck, I really, really enjoy being pregnant. Not for any one reason that I can pinpoint exactly, but maybe for ALL the reasons: growing a human, feeling them move, having a good excuse to eat ice cream for dinner (okay, technically it’s not really a good excuse, but no one questions a pregnant woman when she’s like: hey. I’m eating this ice cream for dinner.), the belly (gosh, I LOVE the belly! One of my favorite parts)… I mean really, there isn’t a lot I don’t like about it. I don’t like the acne I get because of it. I don’t like peeing every 5 seconds during first and third trimester. But beyond that, I can’t complain too much. In terms of pregnancy pains/complications, I am utterly aware that both of my pregnancies have been textbook easy, and I’m so grateful. With that kind of situation, it’s hard to not love being pregnant. I know I’d probably feel differently if I had different circumstances. I also (and I know I say this a lot, but I really mean it) know that being able to get pregnant is something not to be taken for granted. It doesn’t just magically happen for a lot of women. It most certainly didn’t *just happen* for me the first time around. I think that knowing this and knowing so many beautiful, wonderful women for whom it hasn’t *just happened*, gives me pause and helps me appreciate even more that this isn’t to be taken for granted or to be taken lightly.

I’m really going to miss being pregnant.

We have only ever wanted two children. We are beyond fortunate  that we have them. While I do love being pregnant, I do not have a desire for any more children beyond these two. Obviously, life being life, anything can happen (though we will do our part to take steps to prevent any whoops! scenarios), and if that were the case and we were to somehow miraculously end up pregnant again… well, then we’d count our blessings and adjust our “plans.” But I can most assuredly say that, at this point, that we are done. This will be the last pregnancy as far as we have control over that.

So these final weeks and days are bittersweet. I’m in no hurry to end this. No hurry to start labor. No hurry to be done. At the same time? I’m also excited to start labor. I’m excited to meet this baby. I’m excited to not ache all over when I move at the end of the day. But none of those things makes me feel like I want this to be over ASAP. Because I’m just not quite ready. I mean, maybe knowing that this is our last planned pregnancy has made me love pregnancy even more and cherish every little thing, now that I’m thinking about it. I’m trying to soak up the belly and the movements and the eating ice cream for dinner. I’m also soaking up playing with E and giving her my undivided attention because that’s about to be over too. So much bittersweet all around. Sweet, exciting times to bring our new baby into this world, and I cannot wait.  Yet also sad to know that this is likely the last time I will experience this miracle of carrying another life within me.

 

In non-serious things? I have a cold. This is funny to me (and probably only me) because I had a cold when E was born. How… something… would it be if I had a cold this time around too? I don’t know why I think that’s so fascinating, but I do. Besides that though? I hate this cold. I don’t wish to have a cold when I’m in labor, and I definitely don’t wish to have a cold postpartum. After E was born that cold became the malingering cold that wouldn’t quit, because we all know you need adequate rest for your body to heal itself and you know what you don’t get when you have a newborn? Adequate rest. So if this cold could just make it’s way on out of my body, I’d appreciate it.

So there we have it. 38 weeks. A cold. No signs or symptoms of impending labor. I don’t even feel remotely close. So we’ll see how it goes.

 

Early Term: 37 weeks

37 weeks

37 weeks

Oh hey there, end of pregnancy. WHEN DID YOU GET HERE?!

Yesterday’s milestone was 37 weeks, a time that used to be called “full term” but has recently been renamed “early term” by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Early term implying, of course, that the baby could arrive and they won’t stop labor, but that it’s still a wee early and some significant growth and development still happens in utero for the next 2 weeks. 39 weeks is now officially called “full term.” So yea. We’ve made it to early term. Technically speaking, this baby could begin to make his appearance any day now.

HOWEVER, kind sir in utero,

Please please please please PLEAAAASE do not chose that time to be any point within the next 48 hours (at the very least! Even better, wait until 39 weeks!). Your dad is taking his family medicine board exam tomorrow. This is an incredibly important exam. This is the last medicine related exam, actually, for the next 10 years of his life (until he takes boards again, every 10 years for the rest of his career/life). The testing site is over an hour away from home so he and a couple of his co-residents are leaving this afternoon and staying in a hotel just down the street from the testing center. Tomorrow, he will have no access to his phone at any point in the day, so if I go into labor… well… I’m on my own here. He won’t know about anything happening with us until he’s released from the exam at the end of the day. So please, BoyBunny, keep holding out in there for a later, greater date than any time within the next 48 hours. This exam is MONUMENTAL in your dad’s medical career. You joining us is MONUMENTAL in our lives as well, and your dad doesn’t want to miss that and I definitely don’t want to have to go through the process of getting you here without him. So hey. Just keep on keepin’ on with what we’re doing here. 

Love, your mom

I’ve got nothing spectacular to say other than that about 37 weeks. It’s a tremendous gift to have made it here. I’m both so excited, and also terrified, about welcoming a new baby into our family. Every day I say to C, “Can you believe that within the next month we will have a newborn again. A NEWBORN! THAT WAKES UP ALL NIGHT! WE’VE BEEN SLEEPING ALL NIGHT FOR OVER A YEAR NOW! WE’RE GOING TO BE SO TIRED!” Then I consider everything else that comes with a newborn (in this house), like bre.ast feeding. Thoughts like, “Gosh I hope he latches well like E did,” and, “Man those first days of nursing are hard. I hope we can get it down quickly,” and, “It’s been nice to have my body to myself for the past 7 months. I can’t believe I’m about to start another (hopefully!) year or more of being a critical food source.”  I am constantly thinking about how I will approach every part of my day with E with a newborn in the mix, like E and I’s morning routine and how I might be able to accommodate nursing the baby and getting E’s breakfast ready and eating with her. I think about things like this all day. Constantly creating scenarios and options for how to deal with them. Some people might tell me that I shouldn’t do this. Whatever, I say. It helps me feel prepared. Even if nothing goes according to how I’ve thought about it, it makes me feel like I’m capable of facing anything that comes our way and that? That makes me feel peace about becoming a parent to two young children. I’m not by any means an A-type personality, but I do like to have a plan- even if nothing goes according to it.

In terms of how I’m feeling? I feel good. The worst thing going for me right now is a strained muscle in my abdomen, which is… kind of painful, to say the least. I should be taking it easy and not lifting anything over 10 lbs, but that’s just not realistic for me right now. So I deal. I mostly have a lot of energy (except, say, on mornings like this one when I steal a quick 10 minutes of snoozing on E’s bedroom floor while she plays), which is nice. I’ve somehow managed to keep up with cleaning and doing my hair at least once a week. I’m running out of energy to actually care enough to make real dinners, but I figure something has to give. I am 37 weeks pregnant, after all.

At my doctor’s appointment this week we went over our birth plan. All looks good and as long as things are/remain uncomplicated, it looks like C will get to deliver his son into this world. I also had the GBS swab done- but am still waiting on hearing back on that. i was GBS positive with E and it wasn’t a huge deal, so I’m not really stressed about how this comes out. Ideally, of course, it’ll be negative. It’s nice to not have to have the extra hassle of IV antibiotics to deal with on top of, you know, labor. My doctor also felt the baby’s position and did a quick ultrasound to confirm it. BoyBunny is hanging out, head down, with lots of fluid around him. I asked for a guess of the baby’s weight (I did this when I was 37 weeks w/E too). He said that it feels like he’s about 6-6.5lbs right now, and will probably be a comparable birth weight to E (which was 7lbs 3oz). I’m excited to find out. We didn’t discuss my weight, but I’m assuming that I’m doing okay because despite last week’s illness, my efforts to make up some weight have been overall successful and I put on 4 lbs since my last appointment.

The ONE hiccup? The ONLY downside/bummer/worry? My doctor is going on leave… for 6 days… next week. As are all my first choice backup doctors. *blank, terrified stare* I’m not mad, of course. I’m not even a little irritated. Doctors have families and lives outside of their patients. They desperately need time away. They desperately need time with their families. Their families desperately need time with them when they actually have the doctor’s undivided attention. I can most assuredly appreciate this, because I am/have been that family. I just hope that, again, BoyBunny holds out. Basically, between C’s board exam tomorrow, and my doctor being out of town for a week, and my MIL not arriving until I’m 39 weeks, it’s REALLY BEST FOR ALL INVOLVED if he waits on making his appearance until 39 weeks or later.

So… yea. I think that’s it. 37 weeks. Belly button is flat/out, but not protruding or anything. Feeling pretty good- good energy overall, not super uncomfortable, aside from my strained belly muscle. Still in denial about it being any day(ish)(but hopefully not). Our world is basically about to get flipped upside down, and that’s totally fine, because it seems that in some ways it’s already starting to (hello, almost 2 year old? What on earth prompted this meltdown again?!).