Monday, December 31, 2007

Life With Newborn

Because of my anxious tendencies, the first few months of my toddler's life were almost not enjoyable because of all the worrying that i did. Luckily, this time around, i have been able to really enjoy baby-ness. She has given me all the reasons to not enjoy it: She wakes every 1.5-2 hours through the night, she seems only content to be held and will scream if you dare put her down, she will even cry out when she passes gas instead of the cute smiles other babies do. Especially since this is most likely the last time we'll have a 3 week, 1 day-old baby, i am trying to enjoy my time with her at this stage.

I am still finding it frustrating and stressful getting both girls out by myself. This morning, doing the day care drop i had both girls half dressed for the day and both screaming bloody murder. By the time we actually loaded up in the car, all three of us were in tears and i was ready to give away the toddler to anyone with two arms.

My body is slowly taking back it's shape. Although my old jeans do fit, i find the non-elastic waistband uncomfortable and i'd rather continue to wear my maternity jeans even though they require me to hike them back up around my waist every 5 minutes. I'm almost tempted to adjust them--tighten up the elastic, but then i'd be one of those women who say, "After my second child i never wore regular jeans again."

Xmas Hangover

It always seems like the week after xmas is one long hangover. This year, the hangover was more hangy-overy due to the sleep deprivation created by my little newborn. Santa was good to everyone. This year, it was fun to talk up santa and see the excitement in toddler's eyes when she saw that santa did indeed come and ate the cookies and drank the beer that was left out for him.
The next day, the toddler looked at me and whined. "I want my stocking to have presents and treats in it again." How honest.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Toddler Tells A Story

"...grandma and grandpa were here and i said, 'grandma and grandpa, i need to go potty,' and they ?? and go there and ?? is good and after that eryn go'ed and then i didn't fall in so now, now we wash our hands then then we, and i, and then..."

"And then what happened?"

"...and then grandma said ????? and eat drink a little bit of coffee."

"Is that what--"

"And then we go go ??? jump in the car and drive to my house and then and then i drove to eryn's house and then we go *burb* to arizona, arizona again."

"That is a really good story."

Stepford Wife

Birth a second child, take me out of work and i turn into martha freakin' stewart. The toddler "helped" me make some xmas cookies, since it has been fairly consistant that when asked, santa would like cookies and milk for snack when he stops by. I had never made gingerbread cookies before, and thought men would be exciting to decorate, but shopping for a cookie cutter shaped like a man 3 days before xmas was a wash, and the best i could do was find a tree. The toddler didn't seem to mind, as you can see.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Enjoying the Second

My dad reminded me of how anxious i was with my first daughter in her early months of life by asking me, "Are you charting the new baby?" For the first 4 months (yes, four) of my toddler's life, my husband and i charted every single poop, pee, sleep, wake cycle that she experienced. Seriously. We had a chart. And codes. We'd try to find patterns in her behavior or consistancy. Being a baby, there was rarely any predictability. Before the toddler even came to be, my husband and i studied every book published about sleep as if we were preparing for boards. We made notes and decisions of how we'd handle any possible "problem" (or normal baby behavior) before we had even met her.

Luckily, our first child turned out to be extremely easy-going. Because we had studied so vigerously, it was rare that my husband and i would come across a situation that we didn't immediately know how the leading experts and authors would advise us to do.

All of the studying didn't calm my anxieties. While my husband spend hours losing sleep thinking of how to keep the baby from dying (he has become the safety expert), i was consumed with questions like "If she's swaddled all the time, how is she to establish range of motion of her arms?" and, "If the most interesting and developmentally appropriate thing for newborns to look at is a face, how can my face the there every time she opens her eyes?" and, " Will she become addicted to TV is i'm watching tv while i'm nursing her?"

Although i get small waves of anxiety with numero dos, i'm mostly calm. I am surprising myself by enjoying her babyness instead of worrying about it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kidding, Right?

Waking up at 2 am is no biggie these days, since our little new addition has decided she likes to wake every 1-2 hours through the night. It is a big deal for our toddler--who woke up in a pool of her own vomit this particular morning at 2am. The vomiting continued through the early morning hours. My husband and i had a few bad flashbacks to last year when our toddler brought a particularly nasty gastroenteritis bug that caused us all to fall (complete with a trip to the ER for me). From what i've heard from my friends with kids, this particular bug is short-lasting and is rarely accompanied with diarrhea. She was done vomiting by 9am, but was feeling tired and energy-less for the rest of the day.

Of course, all my years of education and nurse practitioner knowledge promptly went out the window as soon as she started vomiting. I had no clue how to protect my newborn or if the toddler should eat or not eat or drink or rest or what. All i knew is that i didn't want the toddler to touch me or the baby, which lead to some mommy-guilt. She would come to me wanting a snuggle, and i'd give her the awkward hug you give your great uncle--you know, at arms reach, with lots of patting and no actual body contact.

I'm hoping she's done vomiting and that no one else in the clan will fall. Here's to hoping!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Goes On

To my shock and surprise, xmas is still coming--even though we had a baby. We did the yearly LissyJo family visit to Jackson Street Roundhouse to see santa last weekend. The toddler got hopped up on popcorn and candy canes and had a great time. Here we are waiting to get on the train. The train pulled up with santa and mrs. clause on it--they have just walked by and the toddler is adjusting to the idea that santa is not scary. You can't really see in this picture, but she has strapped around her neck my old cabbage patch purse that she has claimed as her own. Inside it has a too-small bathing suit that she insisted she wanted to show santa.

After the train ride, we got to have a visit with santa and mrs. clause. The toddler asked him what he wanted for snack and decided against showing him her bathing suit. After the picture was taken, i was taking the baby back and mrs. claus asked me how old the baby was. I told her six days. She said, "OOoooohh, Santa! The baby is 6 days old! Be careful, give her back!"

Breastfeeding Culture

I am glad i have prepared my toddler for all the breastfeeding that happens with a newborn. I do a fair amount of breastfeeding promotion and education in my job, and was able to provide the toddler with pictures, art, books and breastfeeding friends to prepare her for what to expect. Every time the baby cries, the toddler pronounces, "MOM: The baby needs to breastfeed!" She told the baby yesterday to not bite me and she insists that her nipples need to be moisturized by lanolin as well (yesterday she needed lanolin on her nipples AND belly button).

When the toddler came to visit me at the hospital, i was feeding the baby. She insisted she feed her "baby" as well. There is a very cute picture of both of us breastfeeding our babies. It will not be posted here.

Speaking of public acts of breastfeeding, now that i am feeling a little more comfortable getting the baby latched i have been reminded of how uncommon it is to see breastfeeding women in public. Because i was immersed in breastfeeding education and promotion prior to having the toddler, i was aware of this issue in our culture when it came time to breastfeed my own child. I always felt it important to not hide in the bathroom or the corner of the room to feed my baby. I also felt like it was my duty as a breastfeeding mother to show people that it is ok to breastfeed in public and there should be no shame. I almost snapped at the man sitting next to me on a flight when i was feeding my first. She was kicking him as she was nursing and i apologized, but he couldn't even look in my direction less acknowledge my apology.

It is strange how our culture can be so tolerant of all-but-nipple-breastage everywhere--on TV, movies, tween idols--but to see a woman breastfeeding her child is somehow crude and perverted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finally Here!

After getting my cervix checked on Wed and learning it was at 4, i decided to stop working, thinking the baby would come at any moment. I walked, ate spicy food and squatted trying to get the kid to come out, but had nothing. On fri, i decided to let my friend/midwife strip my membranes. She did, and told me i had 'progressed' to 5 cm dilated. We went home, made the final additions to my bag and waited. I had mild contractions every 5 minutes, but much to my disappointment, nothing more. On sat, we went to a friend's bday party and i started feeling my contractions were stronger. We alerted the troops--my toddler went to a friend's house and we hunkered down at home, waiting for labor to progress. But it didn't. I continued to contract every 5 minutes and my bag of waters continued to be intact. Since we had a "babysitter," we decided to go to our favorite bar and eat and went for a late, winter walk--but still nothing.

By the time i went to bed, i had decided we should just continue with life. Get the toddler back on sunday. Go to my nephew's bday party. Have an ob visit on monday (my actual due date) and continue on. After all, my first daughter was 8 days late. Who is to say this one wouldn't be late too? My inner hippie would not allow an induction and stripping my membranes was as far as a medical intervention i wanted to go. Sunday night my contractions were just strong enough to keep me up all night long. I called my midwife on sunday and she convinced me to go in and get some monitoring and....break my waters. As i said before, my inner-hippie didn't want to do much medical intervention. After being admited (and still dilating at a lazy 5 minute interval), my husband asked the midwife if this is what they'd do in the tribe. You know, the tribe with the midwife and the red tent. My friend assured us that this is what they'd do in that tribe, so that convinced my inner hippie that it was the way to go.

After my bag was broken and i leaked one quatrillion liters of water, my contractions came one on top of another and hard. I was overcome by pain and fear. In one hour, i decided i couldn't take any more and wanted intrathecal fentanyl which covers uterine contraction pain, but not perineal pain (for those really interested). I was dilated to 8 at this point and thought about that self contract i had with myself that if i was dilated to 8 or more, i'd try to go with nothing--but forgot about that contract with the next contraction. The ITF (pain med) took the edge off, but still had to work through the contractions. In one hour, it was time to push. After 29 minutes of that, the baby was placed on my chest and it was all over. I had to look three times before i would believe it was truly a girl. I was convinced i was having a boy.

The stats: 7 pounds 12 oz (one pound bigger than my first!), 10 toes 10 fingers. If you're clever, you'll find her name out there. Postpartum recovery went smoothly. It helps that i used to work where i delivered, so i have many friends to take care of me. She is a master breastfeeder and i'm feeling just fine. I might even feel really good. It's nice to be able to bend over and walk and move without the 40 week aches and pains.

My toddler approves of her little sister and appears to be adjusting well. I have spent some time worrying about how she'll do and how to give her attention and love with the new addition. The first 24 hours home have been smooth although i'm sure all days won't go this way. It helps having my husband home to entertain the toddler. I'm being spoiled--When he's not entertaining the toddler, he's making my lunch and making sure i've had a chance to take a nap.

Everyone is up from their nap--time to go!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm Still Standing

I am finally crawling out of rough 2 weeks. I caught a nasty bug of some sort (croup? bronchitis?) and have been s-l-o-w-l-y recovering. I'm not all the way there yet, but getting there. I have been fairly firm about not giving out antibiotics before 10-14 days of being sick and as i approach 14 days of being sick myself, i have new appreciation of what that feels like. It has only proven the fact that most get better (or *start* getting better) in 2 weeks with or without antibiotics.

In the middle of this illness, my toddler decided to go nuts. She started waking in the night with what i now believe to be night terrors. She also decided to have huge toddler meltdowns at the most inopportune times. Granted, my fuse has been short considering my illness and the last few weeks of pregnancy. I reached a new parenting low point last week and just as quickly as the toddler storm flew in, my daughter turned on a dime into the most lovely, charming, interesting little girl i have met. The best advice that i received was from my husband asking me to not take it personally. I realize this is my problem. I find it difficult to not get emotionally involved with toddler craziness and i'm sure the prego hormones don't help.

And now we await the baby's arrival any day now. Because i have been in bed when not at work for the past 2 weeks, i am finding a list a mile long of things i wanted to get done before s/he comes. I realize that all i really need before the baby comes is boobs and those come attached and that time and life will go on if i have the baby without doing the list of things, but i'm feeling the need. Perhaps it's my way of 'nesting' or whatever the craziness that proceeds the baby is called.