Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear Dexter (two week letter)

Dear Dexter,
Yesterday was my due date but you've been here with us for 2 whole weeks today.  I can't imagine having to wait another day to see you, forget waiting two extra weeks!  We were extremely lucky that your delivery went so smoothly and that you were/are so perfectly healthy.
We just got home from the pediatrician's office for your 2 week check-up. You weighed 7 pounds and 6.5 ounces, just an ounce and a half less than your birth weight. You've gained 8 ounces in just 9 days!  What a big boy and good eater you are!  You are hungry all throughout the day, eating anywhere from every hour to every three hours. You're sleeping well at night and you'll go for 4, sometimes 5 hours between feedings. I feel like we've gotten lucky because you've been such an easy newborn to take care of so far.
You're starting to be awake more now and I love to watch you watching the world around you. There's a lot to figure out, but just try to take it one day at a time. That's what I'm doing with you. I don't want to waste today by focusing too much on how big you'll be a few weeks, months, or years from now.  I'm just soaking up every second that you want to spend in my arms, lying on my chest, and staring into my eyes.
Knowing that you rely on me for everything makes me feel so honored and privileged. It's true, before you were born I had a lot of anxiety about how things would change and I worried about how hard things would be. You are the perfect addition to our family and I couldn't be happier that you're here. I know it won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the good and the bad

Little Dexter is 9 days old now and we've been home from the hospital for an entire week. The good, no...great news is that Dexter has been a fabulous baby so far.  He hasn't cried much (yet) and while he loves to be held, he can also be sat down and has been sleeping (fairly) well in the pack n' play next to our bed. Last night he had his longest stretch yet from 1:15am until 6am. I couldn't believe it when I woke up and looked at the clock. I think as a parent, your heart always leaps a little out of fear when that happens for the first time.

The even greater news is that Dexter has not (yet) woken Theo up at night. Theo has been sleeping like a champ. Dexter had a doctor's appointment last Wednesday so we took him to the babysitter's for the day. I was a little worried that it would hurt his feelings that we were leaving him behind but apparently not because he ran straight to the toy box and never looked back. He loves his babysitter and the other little boy there so I think it was some normalcy for him in a world that's pretty confusing right now.

Back to Dexter's doctor's appointment... everything was good. He weighed 7lb 8oz at birth and was 6lb 13oz the last time he got weighed at the hospital. At his appointment last Wednesday, he weighed 6lb 14.5oz so we are headed in the right direction. Last week was pretty rough for me physically. Pain from my tear, some continued uterine cramping, and engorgement made me kind of miserable. Luckily, my hormones have stayed in check thus far and I'm not feeling too crazy. 

More great news - breastfeeding is about a bazillion times easier this time around. Not to say it's painless, but that's to be expected when you've got someone latched on to a sensitive body part 10 different times a day. I don't dread feeding my baby. He has a great latch and I suppose I'm probably more relaxed with the whole scenario. Regardless of who gets the credit, I'm happy with the outcome.

Finally, the not so great stuff. I don't know what to make of Theo's behavior since we've been home. He goes from one extreme to the other. Half the time he totally ignores Dex and then when he does pay attention to him, he's either throwing a shoe in his face (yes, that happened) or laying his head down on him to give him a hug. I never know what he's going to do, so I find myself cupping Dexter's head and shielding his face anytime Theo walks by. I don't want to give Theo the impression that he can't touch his baby brother but I can't allow him to be mean to him. It's tough. Theo has thrown a few out of character fits for no apparent reason so of course I'm left to wonder if it has something to do with Dexter, being mad at me, his teeth hurting, or something else.  It's stressful not being able to drop what I'm doing to read Theo a book or play with him when he asks me to.

All in all, we're making the transition and so far it's gone okay. I'm not sure I'll ever leave the house with both babies, but going with a helper isn't so bad.

I kinda like living in a house full of cute guys.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dexter: a birth story

I was all set to be induced at 10am on Thursday 5/12/11. Bags packed, house cleaned, baby dropped off at the babysitter. They had instructed me to call an hour in advance to confirm that there was a bed for me in Labor & Delivery.  No biggie, I had to do the same thing when Theo was born.
I called at exactly 9am and there was a pause. And a "um, actually we doooon't have a bed at this time. We'll call you at 11 to let you know what's going on."  So devastated. I was so ready to get the show on the road. Everything was ready and waiting. I sat down and got caught up on some DVR'd shows. 
At 11:20 I called them. "Oh I was just getting ready to call you."  Uh huh. Sure. Still no bed, still depressed. Skip past 2 more phone calls like this to when they did actually call me at 3pm to say they were ready for me.
We got to the hospital and got checked in. I think my Pitocin was started around 4:30pm. 6.5 hours past the scheduled time. And thoughts and fears were already dancing around my brain about what time my doctor went off call and whether she would be there for this much anticipated, much planned event. I never even saw another doctor during the entire pregnancy.
I was checked around 5:30 and was shocked to learn that I was 2-3cm dilated, which they rounded up to 3cm, and 80% effaced. That was quite a change from one week earlier and made me wonder when I would've gone into labor on my own.  The problem was that my cervix was super high and posterior (the opening was behind the baby's head) and checking it for dilation was painful. They said since I still had a way to go, they wouldn't do routine 2 hour checks.
I was crampy and anxious and watched the clock and the pitocin pump as the nurse cranked it up to the max drip (20mL/whatever).  The contractions were steady and strong and I was sure they were super productive. The nurse checked me again around 10pm and said that I was at 4cm. FOUR measly centimeters. And the cervix was still super high. I started to get paranoid that the cervix would not come down and that I was going to end up on the operating table.  With Theo, I got my epidural at 4cm and had my bag of waters popped shortly thereafter. I asked if my doc would break my water and learned that #1 - this doctor doesn't like to break water because of a higher risk of complications and #2 - it wasn't even an option because with my cervix still so high, it could cause the umbilical cord to come out first. I was disappointed because with Theo, as soon as my water broke I went from 4cm to 8cm in less than 2 hrs. I guess I should have stopped comparing the two babies then.
She said she'd be back to check me in a couple of hours. Midnight came and went. The contractions were getting stronger and more painful and more irritating. Basically the worst pms cramps imaginable, so not like something that you'd go to the ER for but not something you want to endure for hours and hours with no end in sight. I finally gave up and hit the call button, asking for my epidural. I think I got it around 1am or shortly thereafter. I was kind of nervous because it wasn't taking effect immediately like I remembered with Theo's. The nurse checked me around 1:30. FIVE. Cervix still high. Are you freaking kidding me?
I was trying to tell myself that it wasn't a big deal if my doctor didn't deliver the baby. At this rate, I was sure that it would be noon before I saw my babe. I started getting numb and decided to try and get some sleep. The nurse came in and cath'd me at 3 and stayed in the room until 330. Other than that 30 minutes, I pretty much slept from 130ish until 6am. I woke up at 6 sooo uncomfortable from lying on my side with these crazy heavy, numb legs. I couldn't move from the waist down. I called for the nurse to come help me roll to my other side.
She came quickly and checked me. While she was trying to gauge my progress, we both heard a gush and I knew that my water had finally broken. She said I was 8cm. She said she'd check me again at 7am. With only an hour from 7am until my doctor left for the day, I asked the nurse how likely she thought it was that I'd have the baby before 8. She predicted we'd have a baby by 730. She was more optimistic than I was, but I went ahead and told my husband to call his mom and dad and tell them to be at the hospital with Theo by 8am.
The nurse started to leave the room to call the doctor at about 620 and decided to just check me again. NINE!  I couldn't believe it. She called the doctor and checked me again at 645 just before the doctor came in the room.
I was so happy at that point that I could have cried. Contraptions started coming out of the ceiling and the day nurse arrived just before 7. She told me to give one tiny push for practice to see how low the head was. She said the baby had lots of hair, as I expected that he or she would. By 7, it was all systems go and everyone was in their place. The doctor told me to put my chin to chest, take a deep breath, and push. A few seconds later, I opened my eyes and saw a head as the doc exclaimed "not so fast!"  Seconds later, a gooey, pink, beautiful baby was plopped down on my chest. There was noise and excitement but I never heard anyone say what the gender was. The cord was between the baby's legs so I picked it up and saw that my little one was indeed a boy. I had a strong sense all night that it would be a boy, but I don't know if that was legit or if I was just trying to prepare myself for whatever happened. My husband thought it would be a girl and I didn't want there to be the slightest hint of disappointment, either way.
All I remember at that point was laughing. I couldn't stop laughing.  I think after the baby was born in one little push, I said "that's it!?"  I was overcome with happiness that the delivery went so smoothly and that my second born baby was a little boy.  It was a beautiful moment.  I wish I could experience that euphoria again.  Well, you know, without having another baby.
We had spent a good part of my labor discussing what this child's name would be and were still not decided when he was born. My initial reaction was "he looks like a Crosby," but for whatever reason, it didn't seem liike the name I wanted to live with.  He was born at 705am and we didn't settle on his name - Dexter Jay - until after 12pm.  Even then, it felt fake. My first instinct when someone asks "what's his name?" is to say "Theodore, but he goes by Theo," and I had to stop myself and then pause to think "what DID we decide?" for about the first 24 hours. Now, the name feels like a perfect fit (and I've only called him "Theo" once or twice so far)! 
Dexter laid on my chest for most of his first hour, nursing sporadically and looking at me, putting a face to the voice I suppose. Theo was whisked away to the warming table because he wouldn't cry. Ryan got to cut the cord this time. Looking back, everything kind of happened in a magical, Hollywood kind of way. Of course the movies never talk about second degree tears or post-natal uterine cramps from hell. But that's a post for another day.
The moral of the story ... it couldn't have gone better and I couldn't be happier.
So much more to come,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

it's a ...

BOY!  Theo has a sweet baby brother. Birth story to come, but for now, here's a cute picture of precious Dexter Jay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

almost time

I'll be at the hospital in less than 24 hours getting ready to welcome the mystery baby into our arms and lives. I can't believe the time has already come. That afternoon in September when we learned about this baby seems like so long ago - Theo was barely 6 months old. So much has changed since then. At the same time, it feels like this pregnancy has zoomed by.
I'm ready to feel normal again. I'm ready to tie my shoes and bend over. I'm ready to get up off the floor and out of bed without feeling pain.  I'm ready to wear pants that zip.
I'm not ready to get only stolen moments of sleep here and there. I'm not ready to spend 50% of my day breastfeeding. I'm not ready to look at my jello belly that used to hold a baby and wonder if it will ever be normal again (the answer is no). 
Ready or not, here he or she comes.
The next time I blog, it will be as a mother of 2.
Wish me luck,

Monday, May 9, 2011

birthday/mother's day weekend

I don't mind having my special days lumped into one fabulous weekend.  Not one bit.  It just means having a whole weekend all about me.  :)

Thursday I started off my weekend by taking Theo over to his friend's house and watched the two little boys and their girlfriend playing on his friend's new playset.  These babies are all just weeks apart and it has been an amazing journey so far to watch them grow together.  I can't wait until we can overhear their little conversations and arguments and see the products of their imaginations while they play.  We sit around and marvel at how much they can do now and how grown up they are (and they can't even really talk yet, aside from a word here and there).  I'm so thankful I had friends that were pregnant pretty much the exact same time that I was.  Not only was it great sharing our pregnancies, our babies have bonded us for what I hope is a very long time. 

On Friday, Theo and I played, relaxed, ran a couple of errands, and when the hubs got home we met another family of friends for dinner to celebrate my birthday a day early.  Theo, predictably, threw everything from toys to food on the floor, which drives me insane.  I don't know if scolding him reinforces or deters the behavior so unfortunately, I'm very inconsistent.  Sometimes I pretend not to notice so that he won't feel like he won a reaction out of me.  Other times I tell him "no" very sternly.  Being wishy-washy is probably not the best approach...

Saturday we woke up to rain.  Surprise, surprise, surprise.  I keep waiting for the April showers to end but apparently they are over a week late in getting the memo that it is now MAY.  I had a haircut scheduled for 9:15, so we were up and at 'em bright and early.  I'm very happy with the results!  As always...I  haven't had time to upload any pictures (yet) but I plan to do that soon.  After my haircut, we went to the outlet mall for a bit in search of plain, solid colored 12 or 18 months onesies with no luck.  I'm so frustrated by this!

I got these adorable shortalls for Theo to wear this Spring and Summer:
And I want to get this 5-pack set of Carter's onesies so that he can wear the solid colored ones underneath:

Is that too much to ask?  Everywhere I look, they either don't have them or they only have them up to 9 months.  I saw them in 12 and 18 months a few weeks ago.  I see them online now.  I just want to go to the flippin' store and buy them.  I guess I'll have to order them online, but I refuse to pay shipping for baby t-shirts.  Anyway, once I went on a mission to find these shirts, I realized that it's nearly impossible to find PLAIN solid-colored onesies for babies.  Everything has some kind of print on it.  What's up with that?  Okay, rant/tangent over.

After failing at the outlet mall, we went to my in-laws for a birthday dinner.  Pork chops, a mock-up of my favorite salad (the Summer Berry Salad from Paradise Cafe), asparagus, and angel food cake with strawberries.  What. A. Feast.  I was one happy girl with one full belly.  I could have just eaten the salad.  I have been craving cold, sliced strawberries for the last couple of weeks.  I think I've eaten about 4 pounds of them...this baby is going to come out with strawberry seeds on its skin.

Sunday, for Mother's Day, we went out to lunch and did a little shopping (after waking up again to gloomy skies).  Biggest gift of all was that Theo actually slept until just after 9am.  I couldn't believe it.  That never happens.  I took a little nap in the afternoon and then went to the grocery store to stock up on freezer and microwave friendly meals for the first couple weeks after the baby is born.  While I was lying down, a couple of things happened.  The sun came out and I got this picture from my hubby:

Here he is in the non-striped version of the Osh Kosh shortalls.

Isn't he just the cutest?  Truth be told, my hubby's not too shabby either.  I think one of the best gifts you can have as a mom is a great dad for your kids. 

I told him to hold off on my Mother's Day present this year, because I want something special with both of my babies' names from Lisa Leonard Designs.  Have you heard of this lady and seen her work?  She does some of the cutest jewelry I've seen in a long time.  Big fan.  Big, big fan.  Here are a couple of her pieces that I like a lot, to give you an idea.  And they are completely customizable! 

You get the idea - but there are several pieces that I just love.  Super excited to find out in 3 short days if my necklace or bracelet will have 2 little boys' names or a boy's and a girl's name on it. 

happy monday,

Friday, May 6, 2011

37 week check-up check-in: my last prenatal appointment

Ever? It's kind of weird being at the end of this pregnancy, knowing that I'm full term now, that the baby could come at any time and be perfectly fine, and that I may never be in this spot again.  We haven't decided for sure if we'll be done at two or if one more child will complete our family. Right now (at full term) I'm pretty much feeling I could be completely content with two children.
Who knows how I'll feel when this sweet, tiny baby turns into a little toddler that no longer wants to be held. One thing I know is that you can't just keep having babies in hopes that one will stay a baby forever.
Regardless, I've been feeling okay...kinda. I guess as well as you could expect to feel at this point. I finally got desperate and filled my prescription for 5 of the Ambien CRs to see if they would help me sleep. I don't know if they are worth $5 apiece, but I have probably slept a little better overall since I started taking them.  
My blood sugars are still good - I only had one high one in the last week. They have been better this time around than they were with Theo. My weight gain I kind of missed because it was a different scale this week and it was the kind with the slide-y thing. I'm pretty sure it was the same as last week or maybe +1 lb.  Blood pressure was 100/60. Heartbeat was in the 130s and my stomach was measuring between 36 and 37 weeks. No change with my cervix, so it doesn't look like I'll be going into labor on my own or anything before next Thursday. One never knows though! 
The only thing that was new/interesting/different from last time was that I had an ultrasound and the baby's estimated weight was 6lbs 8oz. If that is accurate, then this baby should be about the same size Theo was at birth by next Thursday (7lb 1oz). Luckily (or hopefully I guess I should say), the estimates have been a little high lately according to Dr. D. We want a smaller (or at least narrower) baby this time.  The ultrasound tech didn't give away any clues as to the gender, so that was a relief. If I was her though, I would totally look so I could have a "I know something you don't know" party in my head. I bet she looked.
Since I'm not scheduled to arrive at the hospital until 10am Thursday, I'm starting to think the baby might not arrive until Friday the 13th!  By the time I get admitted and IV'd and all that, I'm sure they won't start my Pitocin until 11 at the earliest.  Of course I'd gladly accept a less-than-twelve-hour labor, but I'm not counting on it with an induction. Everything right now is based on speculation and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for a smooth delivery that results in a healthy baby.
In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my 31st birthday tomorrow, my 2nd Mother's Day on Sunday, my last 3 days of work until August (it might be a bit of a stretch to say 'enjoy' at this uncomfortable stage), and my last few days of having a busy little low-maintenance baby in my belly.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

or maybe?

Start with the post before this one. 


Or maybe, just maybe, having our babies this close together will be the best thing we've ever done.  Maybe one day we'll look back and say that we couldn't have imagined it any other way.  Maybe one or both of us would have lost our fertility otherwise or maybe, just maybe, we would have never "decided" that the time was right to have another baby.  Maybe the babies will be the best of buddies and provide each other with years and years of companionship.  Maybe Theo will take to the baby right away and somehow understand that he or she requires a gentler touch.  Maybe it will be no time at all before having a baby brother or sister is all Theo can remember.  Maybe one day he will appreciate that we gave him a sibling close enough in age to be his very best friend. 

Maybe this (vaginal) birth will go smoother than the last one.  Maybe the shoulder dystocia last time had nothing to do with my gestational diabetes and this baby will decide to come out less...traumatically (for both of us).  Maybe this baby will latch right on and I won't have to go through the torture of teaching a newborn (and myself) how to breastfeed.  Maybe this baby will have a calm, happy personality and will sleep through the night at a young age like Theo did.  Maybe we will get lucky (again).  Or maybe we already have.

Maybe this baby will make our family complete.  (Maybe not).  Maybe sharing the responsibility and honor of parenting two children will bring us closer.  Maybe things will all work out (because really, what's the alternative?).  Maybe we'll find that living in that tiny house for just a bit longer opened doors that we would've otherwise missed.  Maybe, amidst all the chaos, we will take family vacations and lots of pictures and relish the fleeting moments that we have to spend with our kids.

Maybe, just maybe, we'll realize what a gift it is to be parents.  (Maybe we already do).  Maybe we'll make the most of each experience, agonizing and rewarding alike.  Maybe we'll look at this baby, just like we look at Theo, and think proudly to ourselves we did that...we made that...we're like...magical sorcerers who can make the bestest, cutest, coolest kids ever

Just maybe,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

what if?

What if the baby has colic and cries ALL the time?

What if everyone's disappointed with his or her gender?

What if the baby doesn't sleep through the night at 8 weeks like Theo did?  What if it's 8 months or 3 years?

What if Theo wakes up every time the baby wakes up and can't go back to sleep?

What if I (physically? emotionally?) can't handle two babies?  Not just two kids, two babies.

What if he or she gets stuck coming out?  And breaks a shoulder or has brain damage or worse?

What if I have to have a c-section this time?

What if my recovery is a lot worse than last time?

What if this baby changes Theo somehow?  What if he doesn't like the baby and is always mean to it? 

What if he thinks I love him less because I'm always with a new baby? 

What if I have to tell him "no" when he wants me to play with him or read him a book? What if he hates me?

What if I'm sad and crazy after the baby is born because my hormones are out of control and I'm feeling overwhelmed and alone?

What if we never get the time (and nerve) to list our house so we never sell it and are squished like sardines forever?

What if I never fix my hair or put on make up or brush my teeth or leave the house again?

What if my friends forget about me and I become completely irrelevant?

What if the baby won't latch on and I have to go through the same nightmare to establish breastfeeding this one that I did with Theo? 

What if my husband and I never take or make time for each other anymore and turn into just friends?  Or worse, co-parents?

What if I'm never, ever well-rested again?

What if I don't get rid of all these pre-baby jitters before next Thursday?

to be continued,

Monday, May 2, 2011

falling behind

Seems like I am falling behind on everything these days, and why should the blog be any exception?  I have some pictures on my camera that I have been wanting to edit and upload - others that I just want to put on cds for friends - and I can't seem to make time for any of it.  That makes me sad.  I got a super awesome camera for Christmas and I haven't even been able to make time to read the instruction guide so that I can start taking better pictures with it.  Part of the problem is our computer - it's 6 years old and a piece of junk.  The battery does not work at all, so it has to be plugged into the wall.  You have to wiggle the cord and get it just right and then hold you've basically got one hand to work with while hoping for all hope that the thing doesn't just zap out and shut off on you while you're in mid-transfer or mid-edit or mid-whatever. 

My cell phone is about to give me an anxiety attack.  I got it on New Year's know, the one 4 months ago, and we have gotten 3 (refurbished) replacements and replaced the battery twice.  Still, half the time when the battery gets low, it absolutely will not charge and then it's dead, and then I'm in a panic because (like most of the people we know) we don't have a home phone.  The babysitter can't get in touch with me.  I can't get in touch with my husband.  The only way I can reach my husband is to get on the computer (you understand how trying that can be) and instant message him (if he is at his desk at work).  Troublesome.  We are not getting the solutions we deserve (and are paying for) from Verizon, but that's a story for another day.

We are having a baby in 10 days (eeeeeeeee!) and our camcorder is on the fritz.  Unacceptable.

I miss the way it used to be.  I know everything is so much better now, but the more I rely on technology, the more helpless I feel.  I want a new breast pump ($300).  I want/need a double stroller ($300).  Now does not seem like the time to buy a new computer or video camera or this or that. 

Everything costs money and nothing is reliable.  It's so frustrating.  On top of having issues with everything, there's never any time to deal with any of it to make it right.  My husband would add to the list that the television of his dreams that is less than 2 years old now has random vertical blue lines that come and go from time to time.  Does everyone have these problems or are we really just that lucky? 

At least I have a nice camera - no complaints about that (yet).  I'm excited to take pictures of my new (calm, still, sleeping) baby.  Theo is harder to capture.  Hopefully I'll get some time to upload some pictures from Easter and a few of the one year pics I took of him myself (don't laugh...I said I haven't had time to study and hone my skills).