Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slowly Emerging

We've been in this bizarro world of newborn time for 12 days now...  It's amazing how things that used to take 10 minutes (like getting out the door) now take 30 minutes.  (We're those ridiculous people loaded down with 50 tons of stuff at the store.  It's hard to keep a newborn warm.)  Entire days (and nights) go by in a blur of diapers, nursing, ham and turkey and present opening and sugar.  I've lost all track of what day it is today, and what I'm supposed to be doing other than treading water.

It's wonderful.

Jack is SUCH a great baby.  He is nursing like a champ, and he's content and snuggly and just awesome.  He smiles, sometimes, and it melts my heart.  I know it's not a "true" smile, but it's true enough for me.  I call him "Mister Baby."  Switching to male pronouns after five and a half years of "she," "her," and "the girls" is kind of hard. 

His head smells so good.

I've managed to keep up with thank you notes - which is insane because all of our friends and relatives are still waiting on them from when Claire was born.  I'm keeping up with the laundry.  The kitchen is clean.  We have enough festive holiday leftovers to keep us fed for another week.  Ham keeps for ten days, did you know that? 

We survived Claire's stomach virus by quarantining Jack and me in the bedroom.  It was hard to not snuggle Claire through the worst of her sickness, but her daddy took very good care of her.  Jack and I didn't get sick, thank goodness.

My favorite sling is now too big, so I need to figure out what we're going to do about that.  I tried to buy a stroller today at Sears, but no one was at work at Sears today, and the few people who were there didn't want my money.  Next task on the computer is to write a strongly worded letter to Sears corporate about their completely shitty customer service.  I ended up deciding (after 30 minutes of waiting for someone to help me, and no help arriving) that I'd rather chew off my feet than buy a stroller at Sears. I was literally standing in the infant/toddler section yelling "DOES ANYONE WORK HERE?  I WOULD LIKE TO SPEND SOME MONEY!"  No one came.  I took a pair of jeans and waved them past the exterior door, hoping to set off a security alarm which would summon someone.  No alarm went off.  I called the store FOUR times from my phone and tried four different departments to locate someone with a pulse - no luck.  It was absurd.  I felt like I was on candid camera.  I almost stole the stroller...  I figured I could take it and no one would notice, then I could just mail them a check.  In the end, though, I figured was less likely to get me arrested.

Well, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about Sears, but I'm feeling a little too tired for anything but stream-of-consciousness, so that's just what this will be today.

I actually managed to send Christmas cards/birth announcements this year!  I KNOW!  That picture up there was my favorite of the ones I used on the card.  He flipped his tiny lid right after it was taken, so it's a good thing we got one good shot.

The bruising on Jack's face is almost gone.  He looks much less like a boxer and much more like a baby. 

I'm having some of those horrid thoughts that I've had before, but whether it's due to Dr. Dave's good influence, the Zoloft, or both I'm able to ignore them or laugh them off most of the time.  This time I know that it doesn't mean that I'm going to do anything to hurt anyone.  This time I know that it doesn't mean I'm a rotten mother.  It's just a broken wire in my head.  Maybe it's how my brain deals with being completely responsible for another human being.  Maybe everyone has these thoughts - BJ says it's like when you're up really high and you think, "Just a step to one side and I'm a goner," even though you have no intention of taking that step.  It's comforting that he's had horrid thoughts too, and that he's able to blow them off.  It makes me feel less nuts.  It's comforting to be able to look at MG and C and say, "See, they're fine!"  I didn't have that comfort when MG was a baby and I went through this.  I may not be at the optimum level of anxiety, on a ten point scale I'd rate myself at a 6, maybe 6.5, but it's far better than the 8 or 9 level I was at before he was born.  Dr. Dave says that 4 is optimal.  I'll get there when I've had some sleep.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I already received the present I was wishing for! I hope that your Christmas is full of love, laughter, and family.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zone Defense

First, a couple more cute stories:

During a particularly grouchy diaper change, I stuck my pinkie in Jack's mouth to soothe him.  I told the girls that they couldn't stick their pinkies in his mouth (fearing that they'd do it with less-than-clean hands) because Mommy's pinkies are special.

"Mommy," Claire said, "do your pinkies make milk too?"


Grandpa:  Mary Grace, how long did it take you and Daddy to make that giant snowman?

Mary Grace:  I don't know, I can't tell time.


Well, I guess that, "...and then everything was fine," would be a boring story.  Claire came down with a stomach flu last night.  We brought the kids downstairs and BJ slept in the family room with Claire (good thing we have two couches in there now!) while I slept in our room with MG and Jack.  Loft beds are fun, except when someone's puking, and if we'd left MG upstairs alone she would've spazzed.  She was up most of the night, anyway, even before her sister got sick.  By some miracle I slept from about 5:30 until 9:45, so I'm feeling a little more rested.  Unfortunately, I was up almost constantly from 1:30 until 5:30. 

I frantically called the doctor once we got everyone settled at 5 am (luckily our doctor was on call), and he reassured me that I didn't need to take the baby to a hotel.  BJ wanted me to take Jack to my mom's today, but I don't want to drive that far alone with him, and I don't want to pack up all our gear, and if we go to Grammaland everyone's going to want to see him, which will expose him to more germs than if we just stay home, and if he does get sick, I don't want to be 90 minutes from our doctor... so instead we've quarantined ourselves in my room and his room while the girlies and BJ are in the family room.  The girls have been bickering a little more the last hour or so, so Claire must be feeling better.

I'll tell you what, it KILLED me to tell her I couldn't snuggle with her.  Poor baby.  I know Daddy's taking good care of her, but it was so hard to say, "I can't give you what you need, because I have to stay healthy for your brother."  I did go in for a quick cuddle right before I changed my clothes, then I washed my hands for like 20 minutes.

Daytime TV sucks.

So I'm working on thank you notes and laundry and wrapping gifts today (of that list, so far I've managed two whole thank you notes!).  Maybe this is the universe's way of making sure that I rest.  The last couple of days have been pretty busy and tiring, between visitors and getting ready for Christmas.  But today I've pretty much been in bed with my baby, and if I weren't so worried about all my little ones, it would almost be nice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Things They Say, part 2, now with more Daddy

Claire is having trouble with the term "hand sanitizer."  Yesterday it was "appetizer."  Today it's "hamentizer."


I was wearing this top (in green - LOVE it) yesterday at Dairy Queen.  We stopped there on the way home from the doctor because BJ got his pertussis shot* and he was very brave.  By the way, the Reindeer Bites Blizzard (lizard?) is awesome.  I already want another.  Anyway, I mentioned that the top wasn't optimal for breastfeeding, because it's tight under the chest.  BJ said, "Maybe, but it is optimal for getting out of speeding tickets."  I guess I was having kind of a Pamela Anderson day, considering that my milk came in.  Hee!

(*I had my pertussis - DTAP - shot before we left the hospital.  I also got an MMR.  I said a very bad word, but it's totally worth it.  Thanks, J.Lo!)


Speaking of nursing, after I nurse Jack when I break his latch, he'll usually try to suck a couple more times.  It sounds like he's blowing kisses, so I choose to interpret it as, "Love ya, Mom, thanks for the snack!"


Mary Grace lost another tooth, and the very unprepared Tooth Fairies were fortunate enough to find a Sacajawea dollar in a jar of coins on Daddy's desk (PHEW!).  When she got up we were trying to explain who Sacajawea was.  I told her that she was a Native American, but I couldn't remember what she did.  BJ said, "She helped Lois and Clark..." then he and I busted up laughing.  I guess sleep deprivation is setting in!


 This one is more serious than funny, but I don't want to forget it...  Mary Grace and BJ went shopping yesterday.  On the way into the store she asked BJ for some coins for the Salvation Army.  Last time we gave them something, they gave her a candy cane.  She excitedly said, "Maybe I'll get another candy cane!" as they approached, but when she put the money in the bucket the bell ringer didn't offer her a candy cane.  Instead of throwing a fit, she just said, "Merry Christmas!" to him and went into the store with her daddy.  (At this point in the story, as BJ was telling me, I started crying.  My good girl!)

So they go through Walmart half a dozen times, and she didn't ask for a single thing until they got to the check out and she asked for an 88 cent box of candy canes.  Did my girl get candy canes?  You betcha.  And she came home and shared them with her sister.  What a love. 

I guess we're doing something right.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Things They Say

On Thursday afternoon, before we went to the hospital, Claire yelled, "COME OUT AND PLAY!" at my tummy.  Mary Grace came running in and said, "Yeah, come out!  You have presents!"


A couple of days before Jack was born, Claire came to me and very seriously said, "So Mommy, are we going to have to put this baby in a manger?"


So of course, at the hospital, Baby Jack's crib was "the manger."


This is probably going to embarrass everyone involved someday, but it's too funny not to share.

I guess I never mentioned to Mary Grace that there's a way to tell the difference between boys and girls that has nothing to do with hair style or color preference.  We were changing Jack's diaper yesterday and she said, "Baby has a stick coming out of his bottom!"

"Yes," I said, "That's his penis.  That's where his pee comes out.  That's how we know he's a boy."

She ran out into the dining room where Uncle Chuck, Aunt Mimi and Grandpa Bob were, and said, "Baby Jack has a peanut!!!"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jack's First Three Days in Words

Thursday I had a headache all day, and I felt like someone had taken all the air out of my tires.  Around 4 pm I got up (for pretty much the first time all day) to fold some laundry.  Half a load in I felt really bad, so I took my blood pressure.  It was 158/92.  I laid down and took it again ten minutes later, and it was still high, so I called BJ, my dad, and the midwife's office.  The midwife sent me to the hospital for monitoring.

It took us a while to get everyone together.  We finally arrived at the hospital around 6 pm.  I honestly thought I was being a big dork, and that they'd send me home and tell me to quit bugging them on Thursdays.  They got us to the L&D floor and into a labor room, which was a little surprising, since we'd had the tour and we knew that they had monitoring rooms up there.  I got gowned, they started the IV and did all the tests, and they put me on monitors and started taking my BP regularly.  It stayed high, even though I was laying down and calm and not doing anything it was still in the 150s over 90s.  I'll admit that I was a bit relieved that I wasn't just being a hypochondriac, at that point.  My midwife came in and we all decided to induce.

At that point BJ and I called my mom and sister and told them to head down.  My dad was still with the kids, and he didn't have to work that night, so that worked out nicely.  We called his parents and told them what was going on.  It was all very surreal.  We couldn't quite believe that we were having a baby that night!

They started the Pitocin at 10 pm.  If you have the choice between Pitocin and Cytotec, take the Pitocin.  The baby did not come shooting out of me like a midget out of a cannon the way Claire did (when I was induced with Cytotec).  Things were much more calm and controlled.  I was in labor for about 3-1/2 hours, total.  The first 2 hours were very easy and manageable.  We laughed and talked and joked and made guesses as to when the baby would be born and what his measurements would be.  Things started to get real around midnight or so.  I kind of went "inside myself," which is the best I can do to describe what it's like to give birth.  I kept my eyes shut and concentrated on BJ's voice.  I said "ok" a lot.  I told everyone that this was a bad idea and we should go home and try again tomorrow.  At one point the midwife was wiping off my cheeks, and I said, "I forgot to take off my mascara.  I'll bet I look like the guy from KISS," and I stuck out my tongue. 

I only pushed for about ten minutes.  I distinctly remember pushing, and feeling something emerge, experiencing a great deal of relief, and thinking it was over.  Well, I must have just delivered his head at that point, because BJ said, "I can see the head!" and I thought, "WHAT?  Where's the rest of him?  I thought I was DONE!"  It made me so mad that I pushed him the rest of the way out on the next contraction.

My sister said she almost missed the birth because it was so quiet, she didn't realize that it was happening right then.  It was very much a calmer birth than my birth with Claire.  The midwife stayed with us the entire time, which was really nice.  She didn't check me unless I asked to be checked.  I asked her if I should push, and she said to do what my body told me to do.  Labor makes me shake like crazy (probably from the adrenaline) so I didn't get to try standing up, but I was kind of seated upright in the bed, and they lowered the bottom half of the bed so they could catch the baby.  Being upright with my feet on the lower part of the bed below me, as opposed to being on my back with my knees held up, really helped. 

Jack weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 20.25 inches long at birth.  He's lost a bit of weight, of course.  His face is all bruised from coming out so fast, but it's getting better.  So far he has a little jaundice, but not much.  We expected quite a bit with all the bruising.  He's nursing like a champ.

I ended up having to stay in the hospital until today because my blood pressure wouldn't cooperate and come down, but we're home now.  The girls are over the moon.  I kind of hope the newness wears off a bit this week, because they're a little too enthusiastic - fighting over who gets to help me change dirty diapers and stuff.  We're working on "safety tips" for how to take care of the baby.  I got the idea from a book we have called "Officer Buckle and Gloria" - Officer Buckle gives safety tip speeches to schools, and Gloria is his police dog.  The tips are things like, "Tip #52 - Never stand on a swivel chair!"  So ours is "Safety Tip #1 - Never leave toys on the floor where someone could trip and drop baby."  We hope that by including the kids in making the rules, and by making it fun, we'll make them more likely to be followed.  We'll do some more Safety Tips tomorrow.

We had a little birthday party for Jack at home this afternoon, with cake and balloons.  His sisters helped him blow out his little "0" candle.  He slept through most of it.

My aunt Julie and her family stopped on their way home for a little while, too.  We don't see them often, so that was really nice.  They're coming back next week to celebrate Christmas with us, too.

Jack has slept all day, so he'll probably be up all night.  I should definitely go rest while I can.  I may be light on the text for the next few weeks, but I'll try to keep up with the pictures.  Thanks so much for your well wishes on the previous posts, and all the awesome comments on Facebook!  They mean so much to me.

Jack's First Three Days in Pictures

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a boy!

John Paul, who we'll call Jack, was born at 1:32 this morning. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, 20.25 in long. 3-1/2 hours of labor. We're all doing great!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's baby time!

Blood pressure spiked this afternoon so we are at the hospital being induced! Stay tuned! I'm SO glad to not be writing that it's baby time from the side of the road!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dinner with Santa

Monday night we went to LBC for the Dinner with Santa.  It was truly a last minute decision because MG had been sick all day Sunday with a pukey flu.  I am SO glad we went!

When we arrived, they seated us with a Christmas ornament craft.  It was a Christmas tree with sticker ornaments.  Then we went up to tell Santa what we want for Christmas.  MG drew a picture for him, which I thought was so sweet.  After that, there was a nice buffet dinner.  The best part, though, was the dancing.  A woman played the keyboard and sang Christmas songs - Santa even danced with the kids for one song.  He must have been hot in that suit!  It was a great time.

I clouded up because my Papa and my uncles used to take me to the Kiwanis Lunch with Santa, and I was about MG's age the last time I went with Papa.  Being there with my own kids was a real "circle of life" moment, and it brought back that memory (one of the few authentic memories of him that I have - he died when I was 6) so clearly.  I told one of the waitresses, as I choked up, that attending Dinner with Santa was one of the best things we ever did.  She must have thought I was nuts!

Anyway, if you're local you'll know what LBC is (e-mail me if you don't), and if you have kids I HIGHLY recommend that you go next year.  It was only $5 for kids and $13 for adults - what a deal!  It's definitely going to be a Pretty Baby Family Tradition.

Later, this boy gave his big candy cane to Claire.  She's already a heartbreaker at age 3!

SO excited to dance with Santa!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frightful Weather!

My bonus mom, my siblings, and their significant others were supposed to come down from Grammaland today, but couldn't because of the weather. 

Claire is all worried because she thinks they can't come down because of a lizard.  Hahaha!

MG seems to be coming down sick, so it's probably for the best.

Nothing goes according to plan.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Christmas Song

(I am not in labor!  But I heard this song and I got to thinking about the snowstorm that might be coming this weekend, and how fast my labors are, and how far away the hospital is, and this is what happened in my head.  Now I'll have something to sing on the way to the hospital!  :) )

To the tune of Baby It's Cold Outside

(Baby's voice - Mommy's voice)

I want to be born - Baby it's cold outside
So get on the horn - Baby it's cold outside
Gestation has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - But please don't fall out on the ice!
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry?
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the ambulance roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just one hour more - Get the bags, let's get out the door!

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
I'm blue or I'm pink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Please God, send the snowplow now!
To slow things more - A blizzard is no good time to be born!
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Contractions are getting closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - Why is it such a long ****ing ride?
I really can't stay - Baby don't come out
Baby it's cold outside

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - Not lucky the weather's grim
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
My sisters will be suspicious - Road birth is against my wishes
My midwife will be there at the door - Wait till we get to the 5th floor
I know that labor is vicious - This birth could be more auspicious
Well maybe just a half an hour more - Never such a blizzard before.

I've got to come out - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out here
So Mommy don't shout - It's up to my knees out here
You've really been grand - Stay in, my child, I command
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
If you have me on the hospital ride - If you caught pneumonia and died *
I really can't stay - So baby don't come out
Baby it's cold outside

*That's in the original song - I'm not being morbid.  No one's going to die, even if there is a blizzard.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It could be a long month...

My Uncle Doug called me today, for no particular reason, just cause he was thinking about me.  He mentioned that he thought today might be The Big Day.

I didn't tell him that I had passed some mucus earlier in the day, because uncles don't want to hear about mucus (now that I think about it, you probably don't either... I promise that's the last time I'll mention it).  I also didn't mention that I'd been having some interesting tightenings - not necessarily real contractions because they weren't painful, but they were making it hard to breathe.  And I'd been super emotional all day.  And my back hurt like crazy last night, and I made BJ rub it forever...


Around 2:30 pm I started paying a bit more attention to these tightenings.  I noticed that they were coming at even intervals - about every 12 minutes.  I chatted to BJ, "ummmm... I think maybe you should come home..."  He took a wait and see approach.  When I was able to predict when it would happen within 2 minutes based on the timing of the last two, I said, "do you think you should come home?"  "I'm already gathering my stuff," he said.

I called the midwife's office and described everything that had been happening.  "Can you get here by 3:30?" they said.  "Yes, I can make that happen..."

I called my friend Karen, but she didn't answer her phone, so I called our friends down the street and they agreed to take the kids for us.  I started gathering my hospital bag, my make up bag, my "oh shit, we're having this baby on the highway" bag (which contains a blanket, a shower curtain, two towels, and two receiving blankets), the cord blood collection kit (we're donating our cord blood for Huntington's Disease research), and my purse.  I even remembered the camera and the charger - there's a first time for everything!  I grabbed my cell phone charger just as our neighbor arrived to get the girls and BJ got home a few minutes after that.

We called BJ's mom and my mom and sister from the road and told them to be on high alert.  We made it to the midwife's office in excellent time, without a police escort and/or paramedics.

The midwife checked me.

No change since Tuesday.

Still at 3 cm and 80%.

I'm trying not to feel silly, because I did have several good reasons to think things might be happening, and because it's better to get checked and be sent home than to have the baby unassisted at home (actually, our friend down the street - the one who took the kids - is a postpartum nurse, so she's totally qualified to help me birth this baby if it comes down to it).  It was an excellent dress rehearsal.  I stayed remarkably calm in the face of what I thought might be imminent labor and a couple of things-that-didn't-go-according-to-plan.  BJ stayed calm too, but he's always calm.

It was a good trial run.  There's no reason to feel silly.

But it's going to be a long month.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

via Wikimedia Commons
Oh Universe, you just LOVE messing with me, don't you?

The extended forecast for our area is calling for 5.5 inches of snow on Saturday, and an additional 1.5 inches of snow on Sunday.


Guess who just made an extra appointment to get checked late Friday.

Does anyone have any polar camping gear?  Maybe I should just set up a tent in the parking lot of the hospital.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


36 weeks tomorrow.  I went to see my midwife today.  She did the Group B Strep test and checked me (why not, as long as I'm already in the stirrups?) and I'm 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced.

There go all my plans to go to out of town parties between now and baby. 

If I had ever been in labor for more than 4 hours, I might take the chance, but since I have rocket powered babies, I'm going to be staying close to home.  If it weren't so cold, I'd just camp out in the field next to the hospital. 

I know that it's not predictive, especially in a 3rd pregnancy, of when I'll go into labor.  I could totally walk around and not dilate any more than this for the next month...  Or I could go into labor in 5 minutes.  Not knowing is hard. 

Anyone want to revise their guesstimate?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Yesterday I managed to draw upon some reserve of energy that I didn't know existed (which was mostly composed of guilt), and I took the kids to the Children's Museum after school. 

You should have seen me going down the holiday slide with Claire on my lap.  I thought we were going to go careening into the cafeteria. 

Mary Grace's favorite activity was "ice skating" in her socks on what looked like a big piece of whiteboard.  Claire's was making dresses for our Barbies.  Mine was sitting down.  Often.  Luckily it wasn't crowded at all, so I could position myself at the front of each room and let them roam around.  They know better than to leave an area without me, which makes things a lot easier, too.

We can totally paint the bunkbeds like this...
We managed to stay until 5:00.  I was the last person down the slide.  The kids went down first without me.  Fortunately I looked funny enough that they stuck around to see if I'd be able to get back up at the bottom.  I was able, but it wasn't graceful. 

The first real snow of the year is falling now.  The driving was terrible this morning.  I guess no one expected it to stick.  When BJ came home for lunch he got the Christmas tree out and assembled, and the girls and I are going to fluff up the branches so that we can decorate it when he gets home.  I have a pot roast in the crock pot, which is good, because I'm not likely to have the energy to cook later.

I guess as long as I take advantage of the good days, I can give myself permission to crash on the tired days, right?  I'm really ready to be all done with this pregnancy.  35 weeks today.  Post your guesses for gender, height, weight, and most importantly BIRTHDAY in the comments!