Sunday, December 30, 2007

Almost there

If there were more leprechauns and rainbows, I might believe that it was an actual miracle.

Jack slept 6 hours straight last night. The baby who wouldn't sleep longer than 2 hours slept for 6 hours straight. I bow down at the altar of Prevacid. I adopt it as my personal hero.

Truthfully, I'm not sure what combination made the difference. He started on Prevacid the evening before he went 4.5 hours and then 6 hours the next night. But I also went off dairy, and also started sleeping him in the carseat (in his crib) that same night. Whatever it was, it was fantastic. We'll keep up all three and see if the sleep continues.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Forms of torture

I can totally see why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. Yesterday I gave out way more than just my name, rank and serial number! This country should be glad I don't know any more than the details about Brittany Spears' sister, or I would have absolutely spilled them.

We're still playing with the method to get Jack to sleep at night. I hate hate hate putting him on his belly, which is the only place I've ever gotten more than 2 hours of sleep. So every night I start off strong with a new plan, and then it deteriorates into weeping and stripping him of blankets and putting him on his belly and then angst the whole time.

Three nights ago, he went 3.5 hours on his belly. Then I switched him to his side and got 2.5 hours, 2 hours, 2 hours. Totally liveable.

Two nights ago, it took thirteen tries to get him to stay asleep after we put him down in the crib. Then he really didn't sleep anything continuous until 6 am. So I slept 6 am to 7:45 when Nate refused to let anyone but me take him out of his crib. Yay. Finally a Mama's boy, just at the wrong time!

At the pediatrician's suggestion, I tried having him sleep in his carseat, in his crib. Did the nightime routine, swaddled him, got him snug in the carseat with a paci. Eyes drowsy, so I left. 10 minutes later he's awake crying. Repeat above. Wakes up crying. Repeat above...silence. More silence. He slept from 10:30 to 3 am. I had been smart and gone to bed at 11:30, so I probably got 3 straight hours of sleep. Miracle.

After the 3 am wakeup, he went 3:30 to 6, and then 6:30 to 8. I feel fabulous.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yummy tuna?

Stewart took Nate for an outing on the bike this morning and wouldn't tell me where they were going. An hour or so later they returned.

Nate ran in the front door calling for Mommy, like always, with a little bag in his hand that he's trying to give to me. "Tuna, Mommy!" He's so proud of it. So I do my Mama duty: "Wow, Nate, tuna? That sounds yummy!" "Tuna, Mama!"

He finally gets to me, and I see little doughnuts in the bag he's holding. "Oh, donuts! That sounds a heck of a lot better than tuna!" Duna, tuna...sounds a lot the same. Thank goodness they don't taste the same.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jack's Monthly Newsletter, Month One!

Dear Jack,

Welcome to the world, buddy, and to our blog. I've written a monthly letter to your brother every month, and I'm going to do my best to do the same thing for you. Everyone keeps telling me that there's no way I'll have time to keep up with these, but they just don't know how super I am. I'm also going to do my best to keep your letter about you, and not just a comparison to how your brother did everything, though I expect that there'll be quite a bit of that.

With that said, I'll get this out of the way: you look a lot like your brother Nate. When you were first born, I was shocked by how much you looked like him. As the days went on, it struck me less and less. But we took this photo for your passport, and then I found this other photo of your brother, and well, they speak for themselves:

Jack's passport photo (20 days old):



Nate (11 days old):

20050918_Nate_02

Right now, you are a very crusty baby. You've got the classic cradle-cap, and the skin all over your face and head is peeling. You've also got a lovely rash under your chin and up the sides of your face. And your hair is falling out. I think you're adorable.



I was hoping for a cuddly baby this time, and it appears that I've gotten one! You love clutching on to our fingers, hair, shirt collars, and anything else you can wrap your little fingers around. I love it. I can't get enough of it. I guess I could do without the hair-pulling part, but it's worth it to get the finger-holding part. You're a total lover: your favorite thing is sleeping on top of us.

20071210_4

When you were first born, your eyes were slightly mis-aligned - the opposite of cross-eyed. In the last few days, I've noticed that you're looking at me normally now. Your eyes are very dark, but not brown. We think you might have gotten Daddy's, and Grandpa's, hazel eyes. You have a dimple in your left cheek like Daddy and I do; Nate has one in his right cheek.



You have figured out night from day now, and have very long, alert, awake periods during the day. You gaze around at the lights, windows, and blank walls. Sometimes I'll sit you in the boppy, or the swing, and you'll sit there placidly, sometimes sucking on your pacifier, for long stretches. I took you to an infant massage workshop, and you totally kicked the other babies butts. You were the youngest there, but honestly the most alert and calm - you were awake and content for almost two hours!



I think we really lucked out with having such a content baby. You're even calm during diaper changes, though you may be expressing some subliminal discontent - you pee on me almost every time. You really do like the changing table. Sometimes when you're in your evening cranky period, I'll just lay you on the mat and let you stare at the dining-room lights. I do your evening massage on the changing table, too, since you're clearly so comfortable there.

You do "sleep" most of the night, but you're damned if you're going to do it on your back like you're supposed to. I've tried everything - the swaddle, the miracle-blanket swaddle, the side sleep, letting you sleep in the swing, letting you sleep in your carseat...it fails. You'll sleep for a short stretch, wake up, nurse, fall asleep, let me put you back down in whatever position we're trying, and then you wait. You give me just enough time to make sure you're asleep, head back to bed, pull the covers up, and fall asleep for 3 seconds. Then you start crying again. It's awful. I have spent lots of nights crying, and banging fists on the bed. Very mature. Every now and then Daddy would take you away and get you to sleep any way he can manage:



So I tried you on your stomach, and you were in heaven. I tried it again, hoping it was a fluke, but it wasn't. You take 3 hours naps, and often give me 3 hour stretches at night. I've given up, and you're now sleeping on your belly. I'm so scared that something's going to happen to you, and I'm just crazy-hoping that you end up okay.



I feel like I'm really getting to know you. Sometimes you'll be cranky and fussy, and I know now that if you're fed the only reason for cranky is that you're tired. I'll pop in the paci, walk you around a bit, and you're usually off to sleep. It's very satisfying to know what's wrong with your kid, and how to fix it.



I wish I could always fix what's wrong for you, Jack. I know I won't be able to, but if I could I would. I hope you always know that.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Milestone Moment!

Jack smiled at me, or around me at the wall behind me, four times this morning!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Milestone Moment

Jack is spending his first night in his own crib, waaaayy down the hall from us. The sleeping has not been going well.

My friend Kara suggested that I try having him sleep in his crib before selling him to the Gypsies (well, giving him to the Gypsies or even paying the Gypsies to take him, more accurately), but conceded that if he's not sleeping better by Sunday, she will be happy to contact the Gypsies directly for me since I will be too tired to lift the phone.

He's been asleep for a whole hour now. I know that the minute I get into bed, he will awaken screaming and desperate. And yet...I will now try to sleep. Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's working!

Operation "Sleep In Your Comfortable Bloody Bassinet, Damnit" is in place, and seems to be seeing some success. Put Jack down for a nap at 2, he woke up immediately, got him back down, woke up again, back down again, and now asleep for over an hour and a half. I'm sure it's really hard to get used to sleeping there, so I'm making him nap there during the day so that nights stand a chance at improvement.

The last three nights I've gotten an initial 3 hour stretch when he goes down for the "night", and I haven't yet been smart enough to go to bed at that same time. Then he's up and down all night. He wakes up, nurses, falls asleep, all very promising. But when I put him back in the bassinet, he wakes up repeatedly. Poor baby, and poor mama too.

But he's awake during the day a lot now, and I see progress. We're getting there.

Jack, ready for a walk in his Phil and Teds cocoon:

Is it normal to be so cheerful?

Tonight we were watching A Goofy Movie for Nate's 30 minutes before bed because if I had to watch another episode of Go Diego Go ("Diegogo" in Nate-speak) I was going to start screaming.

Anyway, we were watching for a few minutes when Nate turned to me and said "Who 'dat, Mama?" I told him it was Goofy. He responded "Ooooooh! Gooti! Oooh!" and happily went back to watching.

Just about everything makes this kid happy. He's so cheerful so much of the time. Cannot count my blessings often enough.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

This may never happen again.

Both of my kids are asleep, alone, upstairs, in their cribs (Jack's in the bassinet). Holy crow. I hardly know what to do with myself!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Two Years Three Months

Dear, Dear Nate,

This has been a very long month, and I'm full to bursting with things to tell you about yourself. I know we're enormously lucky to be able to say this, but so far your two-year-old self is a ton of fun to be around.



You've started to get a sense of humor, and have developed a funny little deep voice that you use to point out anything BIG. "The big peach" you growl as you take a bite, and you point to the "big giraffe" toy. We've enjoyed it so much that we use it now, pointing out the "big big poop" you had. We take our fun where we can find it, I guess!



You're becoming the master of your domain, ordering us around all day. "Play, Mama!" and "Help me, Mama!" are big ones, and the new one is "Get! Up!" when you want us to go somewhere with you. You were spending time with Grandma and Grandpa at their house last week, and Daddy drove to pick you up. He was chatting with Grandma while you were trying to get him to see the magnetic letters on the fridge that you'd been playing with. Evidentially he didn't pay the kind of attention that the letters on the fridge deserved. You demanded Daddy's hat, then his gloves, and then his jacket. You then took him by the hand, led him to the fridge, pulled him to the floor, and said "Play!" I assume he obeyed.



We stopped letting you have milk in your crib because it's just nasty. "Juice" only now (mostly water with a drop or two of apple juice, you don't seem to know the difference). The other night after your TV show, I was getting your things ready to go upstairs and went into the kitchen to make your juice. You asked me, very hopefully, "mukabuh?" We went back and forth a few times, me trying to figure out what the hell you were talking about and you repeating, very earnestly, "Mukabuh? MUKABUH?" I just couldn't get it. You finally stopped, looked at me, and very slowly said "MUK. BED." Ah, milk in bed. Got it. Answer is still no, but very good try.



We do spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you're saying these days, and we usually get it at some point. Sometimes I have to ask you to show me what you mean, and we wend our way to the right answer. When we finally do get what you're saying, you always respond with "Ohhh!" like you've figured something out. Really, it's us that figured something out, and you're just being polite. We appreciate it.

You've gotten a little bit shy, and you're sometimes overwhelmed when you walk into a room with other people in it. You've taken to putting your forearm across your eyes and just hanging out like that for a minute until you've adjusted. You adjust very quickly, but I'm glad that you feel comfortable being "by yourself" until you're ready to meet and greet.



You love helping and doing things with us, and you can really stick with a task until it's done. You help me sort the silverware and put it away after it comes out of the dishwasher, and you can peel a hard-boiled egg like nobody's business. Every last little flake of shell comes off of that thing! Last week you helped Grandma make applesauce, and you really put your whole self into spinning the foley mill:



The things you love the most these days:

* The ABC song (I hear you singing it to yourself from your crib at night sometimes)
* Blocks, building towers, and knocking them down
* Your choo-choo train
* Jumping off of the couch
* Flash cards - you like to identify colors (you know red, blue, green, yellow, pink, black, white, purple, and sometimes brown) and animals
* The new kitchen that Grandma and Grandpa got your for Chanukah



Most of all, you love baby Jack. Oh yes, baby Jack! You are responding to him exactly the way that I thought and hoped that you would. It's amazing. You are completely enamored of him, and you were from the start. You love to touch him softly and have him put in your lap to hold. The best part is that you're not obsessed with him, and I don't have to spend all day making sure you don't squish him with love - you're off doing your own thing. You haven't yet minded if I have to nurse Jack, or tend to him - even when it keeps me from being with you. The very first day we were home from the hospital you fell and hurt yourself, and wanted to snuggle next to me on the couch, which we did. A few minutes later, Jack was crying and needed a feed. I said "Nate, I need to hold Jack now" and you very happily just moved down the sofa to make room for Jack. No issue at all. I couldn't ask for anything more, truly. You've made this transition very easy and joyful.



You are, altogether, an absolutely sweet kid. You always want to share whatever you have with everyone around you. Frankly, you insist on it. I'll give you your snack and then sit down next to you, and you'll look at me with a sly grin and ask "Want to?" and push your plate towards me. You handle a "no thank you!" very well, but you're back asking again moments later. If anyone else is over, you "Want to?" them, also, over and over. You seem truly happy if we take whatever it is you're offering. I'm just waiting for the day when you realize that you now have less of whatever it is because you've shared it!

You've also become very concerned with people being okay. If I cough, or make any weird noise, you ask "Mama K?" When Jack's crying, you'll ask "Baby K?" A few weeks ago, you were running around the house and fell down. I heard you ask yourself "Nate K?" and then answer "yeah..." and get right back to running around.



I feel like we're really in a wonderful place right now. We have so much fun together, but there's a lot of teaching and discipline, too. You seem to love me anyway, which makes me feel like I must be doing okay at this parenting thing. I try really hard to make sure to get on the floor and play with you every day, to do crafts with you, to keep the TV off when it'd be easier to turn it on, and to look you in the eyes and answer you when you talk to me. My friend Bess told me, years ago, that when your teenage child wants to talk to you, you talk. No matter what time of day it is, no matter how boring the conversation is - if they want to talk to you about peanuts, you talk. It really hit home for me. I'll be trying to get something done, and you'll be trying to get my attention, and my instinct will be to placate you so I can get back to doing whatever it is I'm doing. And then I hear Bess, and I realize that I can unload the dishwasher later, and I stop and spend time with you. I also try so hard to be consistent with discipline, to make sure you're growing up WELL and obedient and polite, into a boy and man that I can be proud of. So far, so very good.



A few days before Jack came, I took you out for one last outing together and treated you to a morning at Chuck E Cheeses. We ran around and played games, ate some pizza, and enjoyed a rainy morning together. I took this photo of us on our way out, and it makes me feel good every time I see your happy face.



I hope you always have such a sweet, caring, fun, and slightly sassy heart. We just can't get over you, and we wouldn't change a thing.

Love,
Mama

Getting better all the time

So Jack's been killing us with the sleep thing (how novel, right? A blog entry about a newborn keeping his parents up at night! Next thing I'll be telling you that we have a lot of laundry to do, or that there are toys all over the floor these days! Crazy.)

And I get to say that he's killing US with the sleep thing because this time Stewart's on paternity leave, so I'm not sleeping somewhere else in order to let him get his sleep before work the next day. He may not have to nurse Jack when he wakes, but I'll be damned if I'm the only one getting woken up with the crying.

So anyway, he cries a lot at night. He wakes up and cries a lot at night, often mere seconds after he's been nursed, swaddled, and put back in his comfy bassinet. A few nights ago I was actually crying and saying "I don't know what to do" over and over. I think I actually banged my fist on the bed a few times.

I tried almost everything. Swaddled, swaddled in a bouncy seat, swaddled in his carseat, and on and on. He mostly liked to sleep on us, or in our arms, or lying next to us, which made me crazy nervous. I padded the bassinet to make it more comfy. No luck.

A few days ago I tried letting him sleep on his side, which was tough with the swaddle. He did okay. So two nights ago I tried letting him sleep on his side without the swaddle, and he finally started doing some short stretches of sleep - two and a half hours was the longest, but I can work with anything longer than an hour. Last night he went two hours, nursed, one hour, nursed, two hours, nursed and fussy for about 45 minutes, and then another 2 hours. I can totally work with that.

He wakes up for the "day" around 7, and has a nice long awake stretch until at least 9. Then napping off and on throughout the day, and another long awake stretch in the evening - last night it was 7 - 10. Then off to "bed." It's the beginning of a routine, and that makes me very very happy.

Well done, baby.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My odd toddler

Nate's just not into the destructive thing, or the "climb all of the furniture" thing that most toddlers seem to be into. But he does do some odd things.

Last week, he was playing with a box of gallon-sized plastic bags. I checked on him, and he had zipped up one foot into each bag and was strolling around the house like that. I took a ton of pictures, and this was the worst of the bunch but the only one that came out:



Funny boy.

The little things

Of all the things I'm enjoying about having this baby out, right at the top is the ability to cross my legs without thinking about it.

For most of the last four months of the pregnancy, my knees never came within a foot of each other. If I wanted to cross my legs, I had to literally pull one ankle up with my hands (usually by tugging on my pants) and cross it over the opposite knee. Dainty, huh?

Now I just look down and they're nicely crossed - knee over knee! Magic!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jack's birth story; very long and boring.

It occurs to me that I've alluded to quite a lot, but haven't taken the time to sit down and write out our grand adventure.

Repeat c-section was scheduled for Friday, November 23rd. We were organized and ready - everyone had their marching orders. Favorite doc was scheduled to cut, plan for Nate was perfect. I had my packing list ready for my bag, and for Nate's (to stay with grandma and grandpa).

Monday the 19th, I went out to dinner with my neighbor and friend Sara. Had a wonderful time, late into the evening, and lots of wonderful food. The wonderful food is important to the story, so bear with me.

Came home around midnight, puttered around, and off to bed. Woke up at 5 am needing my traditional pregnancy trip to the potty. Remember the wonderful food part? Let's just say that the chickens came home to roost. So I spent a little while in there, reading through our baby-names book for some last-minute second-guessing of our choice, and trying to figure out how to sneak Jack's middle-name-to-be past his Daddy.

Around 5:30, I realized that something seriously bad was going on. The pain was getting worse and worse, and I started vomiting. The pain didn't feel anything like I've ever read about contractions. I'd figured they'd feel like the Braxton Hicks contractions with pain involved, but there was no "contracting" that I could feel. I'd also heard it could feel like very strong menstrual cramps, but it didn't feel like that either.

It felt like a burning pain, like the worst urinary tract infection ever, that only briefly abated before starting up again. I had a break of maybe 20 or 30 seconds in between the burning coming back, and I was embarrassingly unable to control what I was saying or doing. This included a lot of moaning and occasional yelling, and a lot of slumping to the floor. Not my best show.

Woke Stewart around 5:45, and told him that I thought I was in labor. Asked him to call my Mom and have her come to take care of Nate, and then changed my mind to say we'd just meet her at the hospital - with the frequency of the "contractions" I didn't think we had enough time to wait at the house for her, and then drive the 40 minutes to the hospital.

Called the OB and explained what was going on. Had two "contractions" while I was on the phone with her, and she said I should head straight to the hospital and that she'd meet me there. I was initially a bit worried - she's the newest and youngest OB at our practice, and I'd only met her once before. She handled the phone call very well, though, and I was hopeful.

Threw some random items into a bag for me and for Nate, and put Stewart in charge of getting Nate up and packed into the car. I was really scared at how frequently the "contractions" were coming - I'd been timing them at around every 2 minutes - and considered calling an ambulance. I decided that if my water broke, we were calling an ambulance; otherwise, we'd try to make it to "our" hospital where my OB was waiting.

It took longer than it seemed possible to get out of the house, but we eventually found ourselves in the car. My sweet boy handled the situation so well, and seemed barely phased by being put into the car in his pjs, with his Mom moaning and yelling the whole time. I tried to mitigate the stress for him by pretending to be kidding with the yelling - in the short spaces between pain, I'd turn to him and do a big pretend yell with a smile on my face, hoping that he'd think it was all a game.

My manly husband blew my mind at the first red light we came to - he drove around the cars waiting on our side by driving on the wrong side of the road, and then drove right through the red light honking the horn the whole time. Wow. If you've ever been in a car with my manly but very sensible husband, you'd know how crazy those actions were.

He took us all the way up Georgia Avenue like this - we ran about 12 red lights before making it to Holy Cross. Met my parents out front and handed off the car and Nate to them. Stewart wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery, where I threw myself on their mercy. They had me back in a room in no time flat, and the nurses were absolutely incredible. I was a very nice patient, but not an easy one. The pain was excruciating, and I spent most of my time begging for some help or relief.

They put me on the monitor, and it showed very frequent, very long contractions. Exam showed me dilated to 2 centimeters, and 80% effaced. I was shocked - I'd never done either with Nate, and it seemed like something that happened to other people. We still didn't know how big the baby was, so I decided to go ahead with the c-section instead of attempting a vaginal delivery. I'm very grateful that I did, for reasons to come.

Got my IV, got prepped for surgery. Dr. Potts came, and I explained that I needed some pain relief. They didn't have access to any, so they gave me a shot of Terbutaline which is designed to stop contractions in women who are having pre-term labor. Best shot I ever got. Heaven. I'm still giddy from the relief.

In all the rush, we'd forgotten to bring a camera. I had planned on taking a belly shot before having the baby so I'd have one to compare with my first pregnnacy, but we hadn't gotten around to that either. So Stewart took a little video footage while they were transferring me to a wheelchair, and they carted me off for surgery. The nurses continued to be wonderful, and I met the guy who would assist Dr. Potts - adorable, professional, and very gay. Made me feel very comfortable.

They got me into the operating room, and started preparing everything. I told everyone that I really wanted to know what was going on every step of the way - the more information the better. Everyone was so respectful to that need, and it made the whole experience so much less scary for me. Dr. Potts held me while the anestesiologist gave me the spinal which was shockingly painless. They got me settled onto the table, and offset me with a towel under one side - it kept my belly from pushing down so hard on me and really helped me be comfortable. There were 4 people working on / around me, and every single one of them was giving me a blow-by-blow of what they were doing to / around me. It was funny and great. I kept waiting to panic, but never did. I had asked the anesteologist to make sure to keep me calm, and I was also very very very happy that the hours of pain were over, and I think the combination carried the day. I remember staring at the ceiling and thinking "This is going to happen no matter what. Don't miss it. Stay calm." I did.

They brought Stewart in, and he started taking photos with my cell phone camera. They turned out far, far better than I could have ever hoped for. I told him to try to catch everything I was going to miss, and he tried so hard to do that for me.

They got started, and it went very smoothly. I don't remember the feeling of them pulling Jack out, like I do with Nate, but this time I got to stay awake and hear everything else. They worked on him for a while, and then I finally heard him cry. Stewart hung out with him for a bit, and someone finally brought him over for me to see. My first response was shock at how much he looked like Nate!

Dr. Potts talked to me at this point, telling me that there was a hole in my bladder from an adhesion, and that they needed to repair it. She sounded calm and normal, and I stayed that way, too. It took a while, but they got a urologist in to make sure he was happy with her repair job, and then they finally closed me up. My only real feeling at this point was boredom from lying on my back, unable to see anyone or anything! The urologist came and went without my ever seeing his face, which I find very weird and funny.

The pediatrician checked Jack out, and said that he might have an umbillical hernia. They were able to do the Viacord donation without any problem, so that's stored away safely.

They wheeled me into recovery, and I got to show the baby to Deborah and my parents. Told them the name, and tried to get my legs to work so that I could get to my room. The doctors told me that the only complication consequence was that I'd have to keep my catheter in for a week, instead of overnight, and it mostly turned out to be so. And the bladder problem explains much of the excruciating pain of the initial "contractions" - my bladder had adhered to my uterus with scar tissue from my first c-section. So each contraction literally pulled on my bladder, contributing to the tear. I'm very grateful that I weenied out of considering a vaginal delivery - the bladder would still have likely ended up with a tear, but I wouldn't have been open for them to see it. Bad.

Anyhoodle, that's how I got my Jack!