Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 years!

Annabella,

Two years ago today, I first held you in my arms. I kissed the top of your head, and fell in love with you instantly. You were my girl, and I was your Mommy. Just like that.

Those first few weeks with you were some of the hardest, and sweetest, times of my life. I remember being at the hospital, and just needing to hold you. You were such a noisy little sleeper, but I couldn't stand to have you away from me. And oh how you liked to be held. Nothing made you happier, it seemed. I remember lamenting to the pediatrician how you would wake up as soon as we laid you down, and I remember being aggravated when he remarked how that was a good thing, having a sure fire way to wake you up. I remember learning to nurse you, and watching the clock to make sure you were nursing enough, carefully documenting how much you ate and when. I remember delighting in dressing you in your little outfits, and seeing how cute you looked in each and every one of them. I remember being so sleepy that I fell asleep, for an instant, standing up while holding you. I remember forcing myself to stop staring at your eye lashes in the middle of the night and instead watch the TV, because I was so afraid to fall asleep holding you, and while your eye lashes were in fact enchanting, the TV would do a better job keeping me awake.

Over the next few months you morphed from newborn to infant, and soon you were rolling over, sitting up, and playing. We would sit you up and put your giant Winnie the Pooh behind you, so that you would land on it when you would inevitably tip over. It seemed that no matter the number of pillows we propped up, you would find a hard place to land. I think those thunks have stayed with me longer than they've stayed with you. Soon we bought squishy mats to put down, and you played on those for awhile. But you started to be able to get around, in a weird kind of scoot. You seemed unwilling to do anything that would get you into a crawl-like position, because you couldn't yet get back to a sitting position. But you would stretch out and go back to sitting, and somehow you would make progress across the room in this way.

Then came the crawling (soon after you learned how to sit from a laying down position.) For awhile, we thought you would just skip crawling. But then when you started crawling, you had a perfect little textbook crawl. I would sit back a few feet from you, and you would slowly crawl towards me, and my heart would swell. Soon you were a champion crawler, you'd move so fast. We have many pictures of you crawling towards us, with your hands moving up towards the camera, only inches away.

And soon you were walking. A few steps here and there(Dada got to see the first ones, of course). You had a push-toy, and you loved that thing. You weren't the best at steering it at first, but you would get behind it and go go go. And about a month later, on Halloween, Daddy and I were sitting about 5 feet from each other, and you would walk between us. Five feet was a bit much for you, and we were so proud when you'd make the distance. After making it a few times, you seemed to realize there was nothing stopping you, and you started to curve around in order to go farther. That night, you truly started walking. You went from something like 7 consecutive steps to 28 in one night. By the end of the weekend, we'd quit counting. I think we got to 63 before we decided that you were basically unstoppable.

Then came the talking. Watching you learn to talk has been so much fun. I love hearing you say new words. Yes, sometimes being Mommy to a toddler can be super frustrating. And now that you have words, you are always trying to exert your independence. So we battle over putting your toothbrush away or taking off your PJs or sitting while you eat or any number of other things. And while there are days that I just want to shake you and say that Mommy is trying really hard to do what you want if you could just figure out what it is that you want, I have to say that part of me loves the battles. I love seeing you express yourself, and say what you want. And the times I'm most frustrated are the times I see you struggle because you just don't know what it is that you want. (And no, you do not always get what you want... But those times are still easier than when you just can't decide.)

Now you are running, and learning to jump, and trying to skip, and climbing all over the furniture, and making me proud every day. I love you so much, and I'm so happy to be your Mommy.

And today, even though it was your birthday, I think you gave us the better present. Before today, you would sing along to a song, but only for one word (such as "ashes" in Ring Around the Rosie, or "Row" in Row Row Row Your Boat). You could express which song you wanted, but only because we have our language. Today you sang Happy Birthday, and it was awesome. You sang it to yourself, and you sang it to each of us.

You are my perfect little girl, and I love you so much my heart swells just thinking about you.

Love today and always,
Mommy

video

Friday, September 24, 2010

My week so far

Sorry I haven't been updating or returning phone calls and such. This week has been both really good and really hard. Giving birth to Genevieve has ravaged my body, and the subsequent blood loss has zapped all my reserves of strength. I appreciate all the good wishes people have been sending my way, but I really haven't had the energy to respond.

Genevieve is a great baby. And so far, it seems that she is a much better sleeper than Annabella was. She has so many periods of extended wakefulness, and she's so aware through them. She's also so strong. She lifts her head and moves it around and just looks around, taking it all in. She seems a couple weeks older than she is. Maybe this is because she spent an extra week baking inside Momma.

Annabella is quickly turning into a great big sister. I still see flashes of panic/stress/unhappiness, but all in all, she's taking having a new little sister in stride. The first night was admittedly rough, and she had a couple meltdowns. But at the end of the night she blew Genevieve a kiss and said "Bye bye baby". Jason and I almost cried, the moment was so sweet. Since then, she's given the baby kisses and petted her head and been really pretty great. Annabella's also poked at her eyes, elbowed her head, and tossed her leg over Genevieve's neck. All of these were unintentional or at least without malice, and she looks troubled when she realizes she's upset the baby. So I'm hoping that things continue to get better, and that Annabella gets more and more comfortable realizing that Mommy or Daddy can't always hold her, and that sometimes we have to spend time with the baby. Annabella also lights up with excitement whenever she first sees or hears the baby when she gets home from daycare. I'm sure this will not continue forever, but it's sweet to see.

I will probably post a birth story at some point in the future, but the summary is that it was pretty uneventful overall. I was given pitocin to start labor, made pretty good progress through the night, opted for an epidural at some point, had my water manually broken, labored for a few hours longer, then had the baby. Pretty standard stuff, labor-wise. The scariest parts were at the end, when Genevieve was showing some signs of being unhappy. I'm somewhat afraid that I might have made her stay in longer than I should have, because at one point I wanted to be checked, but my water had already been broken. After your water breaks, they don't like to check you very often because it increases the risks of infection. I had a feeling I'd made progress and was feeling urges to push (and in fact was sort of pushing with each contraction, just a little). But the time before I'd been checked I hadn't made progress when I thought I had; so I decided to ride it out for awhile. When I finally decided it was time to be checked, the nurse gave a look of surprise when she realized I was fully good to go. She let me labor without pushing for just a couple minutes longer (letting my body do some work without too much effort thanks to the powers of the epidural), but soon came in and said it looked like Genevieve wanted to come out already (meaning her heart rate monitor was showing more signs of unhappiness.) So my fear is that I should have persisted in being checked the hour or so before, and that poor Genevieve was struggling inside me. Of course, I could have been checked and found that once again I'd made no progress, but I doubt it. I think I knew magic was happening, but was a little afraid in case I was wrong. That I regret.

When Genevieve was actually born, she was pretty blue and silent. She had to be rubbed down with towels for several minutes before she would pink up and start crying. Her 1-minute Apgar was a 6, and she only got up to an 8 at the 5-minute mark. I had assumed that since she was such a big, active baby that she would come out strong and screaming. I think we were all a little panicked for a few minutes there, at least I was. I just wanted to hold my baby, but every nurse and doctor around was rubbing her down vigorously. Once she finally did cry, it was pretty relieving. The doctor assured us that she was fine, and that some babies just take a little longer to recover from being born. The cord was wrapped once around her body, and apparently it was a short cord; so my guess is that she didn't get the happy amount of oxygen for a few minutes. Knowing that, and knowing that some responsibility for that might lie with me is pretty hard. I also have a bit of a hard time knowing that my one baby had a cord that was too skinny, and my other had a cord that was too short. I feel a little defective when I think about it.

After delivery, I was really weak and light-headed. Some of this is normal. But I didn't feel like I was recovering as I expected to. They took my blood pressure, and it was fine. Looking back, I remember thinking that maybe I was losing blood somewhere that they didn't know. And apparently, that is exactly what was happening. My uterus was filling with blood clots. Finally, about 6 hours after labor, the blood clots were so big that the contractions caused by nursing Genevieve forced some of them out. What happened next I can best describe as an avalanche of blood, or at least that's my perception. They massaged my uterus externally, and blood started pouring from my body. It was honestly a little terrifying. (The details for how they stopped the blood flow are not fun. Let's just say it was stopped.)

Hmm, I don't know that there's much left to write, birth-story wise. So that might be all you get.

In other scary news (if you made it this far), we learned today that Genevieve has a heart murmur. Right now we don't have any reason to believe that we should be scared, but that doesn't stop me (or Jason). We have a follow-up with a pediatric cardiologist on the 4th. (I hate that what feels like an emergency to me is like standard practice for them, and that the wait is so terribly long.) For now, we're holding our breath, hoping to learn that our perfect Genevieve is perfect inside as well as outside.

I knew that this pregnancy had gone too smoothly, that things had been too easy. I'm sad and terrified that I was right. But everything ended up great with Annabella, and I'm trying to believe that it will with Genevieve as well. It's hard to love somebody so much so quickly and then be so terrified in an instant. I guess that's just a part of parenthood. And we've really been blessed. We have 2 beautiful, perfect little girls. Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Genevieve Claire

Wanted to update everyone with the name.  She still an aggressive feeder and doing really well.

We're back at home now and Amber has even more energy than yesterday.  I'll let her post later with details about how Annabella and Genevieve are getting along and maybe a couple more pictures.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update and Pictures

So far this baby has been very different personality wise than Annabella.  She doesn't really want to sleep at all and has instead been constantly feeding.  She is very awake and aware, lifting and moving her head around and searching for nipples.

Yesterday afternoon amber had postpartum hemorrhaging and lost around a liter of blood.  They have given her some meds and the bleeding seems to be under control now.  Her blood cell count is a bit low, but borderline for needing a transfusion so the docs have so far decided against it.  Besides feeling tired and occasionally lightheaded she is doing really well.

As promised, here are some pictures of our beautiful new daughter from yesterday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

She's here!

Our second baby girl made her grand entrance today at 11:28am. She weighed in at 9 lb 1 oz, and she is 20 inches long.

We're all doing well, but we're all very tired.

I will try to post pictures in a few days.

We still don't have a name :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Checked in to the hospital

We're at the hospital for the induction tonight. If you don't want any of the possibly gross details, stop here. :)

I was just checked, and my body has finally made some progress on its own. I'm 50% effaced, my cervix is dilated to 2 or 3 cm, and I'm at station -2. (Effaced has to do with how thinned out or soft everything is. Station deals with position of baby.)

This is awesome news, as it means I do not need the Foley bulb (or any other kind of cervix ripening)! They just started me on pitocin (at 10:20).

So I'm anticipating virtually no sleep tonight, but I'm still going to try while I'm sleepy.

Hopefully my next update will be with news of a healthy baby.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Still no baby

I'm still hoping to go into labor naturally, but I'm excited that I'll get to meet my new little girl in the next few days either way.

I don't remember what I've told people or what I've posted where, but I'm pretty certain that I actually have not dropped. I think I was just using really wishful thinking when I posted that. The baby's butt felt a little lower to me, but she's moved several times since that day that made me think I was completely wrong, and the doctors never said anything about her being lower.

Also, Friday's appointment made it clear that the doctor on Tuesday had been generous when he said I was dilated 1cm, which makes sense in retrospect. He was alluding to something like that with his comments, but I didn't catch on because I didn't know what 1cm should be like. The doctor Friday said I'm not dilated at all.

So that's all there is. I have to run. Bedtime routine calls for my big girl.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A trying night

Annabella didn't sleep all that well last night. Then she woke up earlier than normal and took a shorter nap at daycare. Maybe this is why she was a royal pain tonight. I don't know. I think she also got over-hungry at one point, which certainly contributed. But tonight was a "no" night. We finally just now got her to bed, after a lot of continuous screaming.

I'm wondering if she's sensing the change that's about to happen. Besides being in an altogether terrible mood all evening long, she's flip flopped from being in a Daddy phase to suddenly being in a complete Mommy phase. She screams when I put her down, when I can't carry her, when I have to leave her for even a couple minutes. She screams even when Jason is there to play with or hold her. It's tough for both of us, I'm sure.

I've long known that the terrible twos could bring lots of temper tantrums and such, but I didn't realize how heart-breaking those tantrums would be. Often times we just have to let her work through them. Sure we can comfort her, but that doesn't mean that it's suddenly okay for her to run into the street or not brush her teeth or any number of things. So there's only so much we can do to help her through it, really. And that is hard for me. I hate to hear my baby scream and struggle with her emotions. I know it's part of growing up, and she has to learn to control her feelings. But I wish it were easier for her.

I'm really nervous about my stay in the hospital, and a huge amount of this anxiety stems from me never having spent the night away from Annabella before. I don't know how she'll take having me gone for 3 nights in a row, and maybe more. Especially since Jason will also be gone part of those nights. And if I do go into labor at this point, I'm worried about being away from her all day long over the weekend. So while I'd love to go into labor naturally, part of me just wants to be induced Sunday night so that at least Annabella will have a substantial part of her normal routine in place (daycare) through the week while I'm at the hospital.

In other news, if it wasn't completely obvious, I'm still pregnant.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No change

Jason told me that a few weeks ago he looked at me and thought "wow, she's huge". He said he'd never seen me bigger, that with Annabella's pregnancy I carried differently and this time my stomach just looks bigger. (I actually weighed more when I was pregnant with Annabella. But he's right, my stomach is huge this time.) He said yesterday he was blown away by how much huger I look now compared with just a few weeks back.

I'm big enough now that it's physically uncomfortable to have Annabella leaning back against me. The pressure from the outside combines with the internal pressure and is just too much.

I'm so ready to meet this little girl and get my body back. I don't know how women who carry twins do it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A discouraging visit with the doctor

I had my OB appointment today. I am only 1 cm dilated, although my cervix is soft. When the doctor was checking me out, he said that it seemed like my uterus just didn't want to give up the baby yet. (He explained something about the positioning of the cervix and such to explain this.)

My induction is scheduled for this Sunday at 8pm. We'll be starting at night because my cervix will have to be ripened, unless my body makes some progress between now and then. I had to start my induction with Annabella the same way; so at least I know what to expect.

At this point I'm relatively resigned to the idea of induction. A few months ago I would have said that I'd like to wait until the last possible day to induce, but now I'm happy with being induced this Sunday. Besides being the best scenario for Annabella (because she'll be at during the daycare for the duration of my stay at the hospital), I just don't really care to be pregnant anymore. My midsection feels stretched to capacity, and I fear this baby is huge.

Annabella actually went to this appointment with me. She threw up yesterday and acted really sick for all of 2 or 3 hours. Then she was back to her normal chipper self. But the throwing up keeps her out of daycare for 24 hours; so we spent the day together. She was pretty cute during the appointment, very protective of me. She didn't like it at all when the nurse took my blood pressure for instance. I had to keep reassuring her that they weren't hurting me.

I have one more appointment scheduled before Sunday. They will do a non-stress test of the baby, to make sure it's safe to wait till Sunday for the induction. I think they will check my cervix again to verify that the ripening is necessary. This appointment is Friday; so I'll try to update the blog again when it's over.

So the countdown starts again. 120 hours until my induction starts, unless magic happens first.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Family of Three

We spent a lot of the weekend doing things Annabella likes to do.

Saturday morning we went to a park we hadn't been to before. They had little cars and a tricycle there, as well as a big sand box are and some slides and such. The weather was great, and Annabella loved it.

After a super long nap (over 2 hours!) we took her out to the lake with the ducks. It's been too hot and I've been too pregnant to attempt this lake for awhile, but we found out about a back entrance that dumps you right by where all the ducks gather. Since Saturday was the first not-oppressively-hot day we've had in awhile, we couldn't resist taking her out to see the ducks again. We were a little afraid they'd be gone for the season, but there were probably 30 or so ducks, and Annabella loved it! She was laughing as she was throwing her bread to the ducks. So much fun.

Jason took Annabella to our local park Sunday morning while I slept; so it was a good morning for all. Then after a super short nap (~45 minutes, she has an average to maintain afterall...) Annabella headed out to meet Dada, Uncle Jacob, and Aunt Lynn at a local bar to watch some of the Browns game. The bar was great. Since NC passed the law to prevent smoking in public restaurants, we haven't had to worry about places like that being smoke pits. The food was good, the restaurant was clean, and we had a great view for the game. Plus, everybody there was super welcoming to Annabella (and it was less than 1 mile from home in case she got fussy.)

After the game was over, we took Annabella to the "Big Pool" (as opposed to the little baby pool we keep out back.) We hadn't been to the big pool in 2 weeks, but I was surprised at the drastic difference. Two weeks ago it was packed, with kids everywhere. Yesterday it was empty. And even though the temperature was mid 80s, the water was a little too cold for the Boo and she was quickly shivering. We asked if she wanted to go home and she said no through her shivers. After trying the kiddie pool and splash areas and being cold through all of them, we called it a day even though Annabella did not want to give up the good fight.

I love my little family of three. I know I'm going to miss it once we're a family of four. I just hope that we're still able to give Annabella the love and attention she craves and deserves, even with the competing needs of the little one.

It was a nice weekend. A good last weekend spent with just our Boo, that is if her sister starts cooperating and makes her grand entrance.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ahh, deeper breaths

I seem to have dropped a little bit. For those of you who haven't had babies, this means that it appears and feels like the baby is sitting a little lower in my midsection.

This is a good sign that labor will come, at some point. Unfortunately, there's no rule about when babies drop. Sometimes it's weeks in advance. Sometimes babies stay up high until you are well into labor.

I'm afraid that I might be making this up, because I can't really feel where the baby's head is. But I can feel her butt, and it seems lower. Plus, breathing feels a little easier, which hopefully indicates that my lungs have more room for air.

If she is lower, then I'm hoping she's low enough to have her head by my cervix. The Foley Bulb imitates the baby's head resting on your cervix; so if she's sitting there already, there should be no need for cervix ripening, even if I am induced. So hopefully my cervix will get the message and do its thing.

I'm trying (and failing) to not get overly excited by this new development. But every little thing I feel makes me wonder if it is something labor related, when in reality, it's most likely just her moving around.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FAQ

I've been getting asked a lot of the same questions lately...

1) Still pregnant? Yep.

2) How are you feeling? (This is usually a thinly masked question meaning do I feel any labor symptoms...) I feel like I'd like to have this baby already. But I also have no reason to believe that she's coming anytime particularly soon. I have been cramping and having some Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, but if anything, I think those have slowed down the past few days. Hopefully all that cramping has started my cervix dilating, but I haven't been checked yet; so I don't know.

3) When are you due again? Sunday. As in 3 days from now (or approximately 62 hours from now...)

4) So what happens then? Well, if she still refuses to make her grand entrance, I continue to wait. The doctors won't let me go past 42 weeks as the health of the baby tends to decline after 42 weeks. So if I'm still pregnant at 41 weeks, I will most likely be induced that Monday or Tuesday (the 20th or 21st). My next OB appointment is Tuesday, and I will schedule an induction date then. I will also have my cervix checked at this appointment. If I am dilated enough, then my induction will be scheduled for the morning. If not, then I will need to go the the hospital the previous night so that my cervix can be ripened with a Foley Bulb. I'm still really hoping to just go into labor naturally though.

5) How big is that baby? The doctor estimated she weighed 8 or 8.5 pounds this past Tuesday.

6) How's Annabella going to take having a new baby sister? My guess is not well. Jason and I have a babydoll to give her (from the baby) when she meets her sister at the hospital. We're hoping that Annabella will take care of her baby while Mommy takes care of her new sister. We're also planning to get as much help from Annabella as possible so that she feels involved, and we're going to make sure to spend alone time with her each day. We're going to continue to send her to daycare because we want to keep as much of her routine in place as possible to make this easier for her. Plus she's likely to get bored at home since we won't be able to spend as much time taking her to parks or playing with her.

7) Have you guys chosen a name yet? Nope. But we packed our baby names book in the hospital bag.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Still pregnant

I owe a bunch of people phone calls. I'm sure some of them are thinking I've gone into labor. If only... I really just need to do a better job of returning phone calls.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September is finally here!

Some of you know that my being pregnant through the heat of summer wasn't unintentional. When Jason and I were discussing when we wanted to try for number 2, we decided that we'd work around the cutoff date for entering kindergarten, figuring that we'd rather our child be the oldest in the class than the youngest. In North Carolina, a child has to turn 5 on or by August 31st to enter kindergarten; so we decided aiming for another September baby would be a good way to go. Plus, we thought it might take a few months of trying this time around, and then our child would be in the middle of the class as far as age is concerned.

Of course it didn't take multiple months. And this baby's due date is September 12. So while I've been complaining that I'm ready for this baby to come, I've also been counting down the hours until September, sweating bullets that this baby would be born in August and I'd be mad that I'd been pregnant all summer long for nothing. (If I'd been smarter, we would have waited 1 more month before trying so that I wouldn't have been worried about that. Oh well.) And I've been superstitious about saying that on the blog, thinking it would basically cement an August birthday. Now that September is here, I can breathe easy.

But after literally counting down the hours till September (at least for the past 10 days or so...), I'm feeling a little bit of let down now that September is here. I've been so stoked to get here, thinking, she can come anytime now. And of course, she will still take her time, coming when she's ready. So while I feel like I'm ready to jet off to the hospital and meet this baby, she seems perfectly content to stay where she is.

So now I'm counting down the hours till my due date. This countdown just doesn't feel as exciting though, and I'm not sure I'll even stick with it.

I was a little bit embarrassed to admit to Jason that I was counting down hours until September 1st. But he wasn't the least bit surprised and just made some comment about my OCD. So I guess I should be a little embarrassed to admit it on the blog, but I've already confessed my OCD. So I guess I'm just providing a little more evidence :)