Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been thinking about how well I think things are going and wondering what role my expectations played in it. I'm a "be prepared for the worst" kind of person, which means I'm usually very pessimistic about situations. I figure if I'm ready for things to be as bad as they can be, I'll probably be pleasantly surprised at the way they actually turn out. Prior to Paul's birth I had pretty much convinced myself having a baby was going to RUIN MY LIFE for at least a few months. My expectation was life would immediately be so hard I almost couldn't handle it and then would slowly get better. Mainly because that's how it was after Meg was born and this time I was going to be doing the same thing, with the addition of a toddler.

I WAS just plain pessimistic about some things - I figured the baby wouldn't ever let me sleep for more than an hour at a time initially and that Meg would have terrible behavior issues. What I didn't know was that my assumption of a long and painful recovery from childbirth was pessimistic. My recovery after Meg's birth was very long and very, very painful. Apparently her birth was rather traumatic for me (I lost a LOT of blood and had a huge tear), but no one told me this wasn't normal. Thomas and my mom didn't tell me how worried they were about me after Meg's birth until after Paul's. I kept remarking how EASY this birth had been and my mom basically said, yeah, last time was NOT normal and everyone, including the nurses, was really worried about you. If I'd know this, perhaps I wouldn't have been so worried that life would be impossible with a newborn and a toddler. I assumed it was normal to feel like you'd been run over by a truck after giving birth. For the first two weeks or so, every time I was in bed and baby Meg would cry, I would about burst into tears. Not because I was tired and wanted more sleep (though I did), but because it hurt so badly to get up (even on vicoden). I assumed it would be the same this time.

So the fact I don't feel like I've been run over by a truck, the baby does (usually) let me sleep for longer than an hour at a time, and Meg (so far) hasn't turned into a little monster have combined to make me feel like life is freaking AWESOME. I like the feeling.

Are you a pessimist or optimist? Does that work well for you when preparing for the unknown or does it work against you? As I said, I'm pretty pessimistic about the future, but I'm almost always 'glass half full' about the present. The word "pessimist" brings to mind a whiny, complain-y, unhappy person, but I don't see myself that way. I'm usually thinking about how things COULD be worse in my present situation, but AREN'T and how great that is. It works pretty well for me. In fact, especially lately, it's made me really focus on enjoying the moment, because if everything is going to be worse soon I'd better enjoy the good times while they last.

P.S. Come to think of it, yesterday's post is a great example of what I'm talking about. I'm all "things are currently great, but I'm sure they'll start sucking any minute now."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two kids

People often say how after you have a new baby, your older child suddenly seems huge and older than before. I was prepared for this, but it didn't happen to me. Maybe because I was SO prepared? I spent the month before the baby was born watching Meg as much as I could and trying to memorize everything about her. I held her and thought about how little she seemed. I was sad about her turning into my big girl overnight. But when she came to visit after the baby was born, she seemed the same to me. She still does. Everyone else had talked about how big she suddenly seems, but she still looks little to me. Occasionally I'll pick her up after holding the baby for awhile and be surprised at how much bigger she is, but most of the time she seems the same as she's always been. She's my dainty little girl and I love her so much.

The only differene I've noticed is that suddenly she seems so precocious and advanced. Obviously the baby doesn't say anything and she's only two years older and speaks in full sentences. She says please and thank you. (When I put the baby's pacifier back in his mouth, she says "Thank you, mommy" on his behalf.) She knows all her colors and can count to ten, say the alphabet, and identify all of the letters (most of the time). She knows Meg starts with "M" and points out M's whenever she sees them. She knows "J" stands for Jessica (mommy!) and "T" stands for Thomas (daddy!). She plays independently. She puts her shoes on without help. She feeds herself. She even climbs into her booster chair and puts on her bib by herself. When compared to a newborn it suddenly seems like she's completely self-sufficient.

She loves to read to herself. "You my mother?" "No!" "You my mother?" "No!" "You my mother?" "I not you mother! I dog!"

That book is admittedly an easy one to memorize, but she has most of her books memorized - and she has a lot of them. Her favorite thing to do right now is to repeat every line of a book as we read it to her. Then she reads it to herself.

Right now I'm loving spending each day focusing on the best parts of newbornhood and tooddlerhood. I feel like I'm in some sort of charmed transition period and keep waiting for the hellish transition period to show up. I know it will (probably soon!), but for now things are great. I have a snuggly newborn who is a champion breasfeeder and a happy, sweet two-year-old who I love to be around. I don't think life could get any better. (Although some more sleep wouldn't hurt.)

As I said, I fully expect things to get really hard any day now - if nothing else, I'm sure my mounting sleep deficit will make each day harder to get through - so I wanted to make sure I noted, for the record, that life with two kids was pretty awesome for at least the first week.

P.S. I do have to note I never would have made it this far without a lot of help from family.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paul's Birth Story

Thursday I had my final training class from 8:30 – 4:30.  During introductions we were supposed to say what project/work task we would have been working on if we weren’t in class.  I’d wrapped up all my work the week before, assuming I wouldn’t be back after the week of training. I said if I wasn’t there, I’d probably be having a baby.  The instructor joked she’d never had someone go into labor in one of her classes and maybe this would be the day! 

The class passed uneventfully.  I was pretty uncomfortable – it felt like the baby’s head was sitting directly on my pelvic bones and it really hurt.  I thought I was probably more dilated and effaced. I assumed each time I felt the pain it was because the baby’s head had shifted, not because of a contraction, since the pain was only down low, not in my entire belly.

That evening, as Thomas was grilling dinner, I started to load boxes in the car to drop off the next day at our church’s charity drive.  I had our donations and my sister’s which made for a lot of stuff, some of which was quite heavy.  Around 6:00, as I loaded the trunk, I started to have contractions.  They were painful, but I didn’t mention I was having them because all week any sort of physical activity had brought on contractions that went away as soon as I sat down.  I kept loading boxes, assuming as soon as I sat down for dinner they’d stop. The pain kept getting worse, so I complained to Thomas that the *&^% Braxton-Hicks contractions HURT. By the time I finished at 6:30 the contractions were VERY painful and every two minutes.  We started to panic a little.  When I sat down they slowed to every five minutes – still rather panic-inducing, though I half expected them to go away if I stayed sitting. They didn’t.  We ate quickly, while calling relatives to tell them it might be time.

By the time dinner was over at 7, they were every 2-3 minutes for 90 seconds each.  We started racing around the house throwing things in bags.  With Meg, I was in labor 32 hours before we went to the hospital.  I didn’t think it would be that long again, but I never expected to be leaving for the hospital ONE hour after contractions started.  I’d planned on having longer to get ready.  But we were able to leave by 7:30.

We got to the hospital and were put in labor triage.  When the nurse checked me at a little after 8:00, I was 6 cm dilated and completely effaced.  She admitted me, got an IV started, and said the anesthesiologist would be in to do the epidural when he finished with a c-section.  In the meantime, she gave me a fentanyl shot.  That was a little weird, since I didn’t ask for one and I swear she didn’t ask me.  She asked if I’d had one last time.  I said no.  She said it would probably make me dizzy, then went and got it.  I had plenty of time to refuse it, but I was in a lot of pain and figured why not? 

I loved it.  It took the edge off the pain without making me feel out of it.  I have no idea how often you can get a fentanyl shot, but if I could have gotten another one near the end of labor instead of trying for the epidural I think it would have been better.

The anesthesiologist didn’t come to do the epidural until 9:45.  Immediately after he placed it, the doctor checked me and said I was dilated to a 9+ and very close to being done.  She broke my water.  By 10:00 the contractions were killing me and the epidural still hadn’t kicked in.  Since I’d never expected to be feeling contractions at almost 10 centimeters, I was annoyed.  I fought the contractions, which only made them worse.  I tried to think of a way to relax and remembered people often say things like “ride the wave of the contraction,” which I’ve always thought was really dumb.  Seriously?  Ride the wave?  But it actually worked.   It worked so well, the nurse assumed the epidural had finally kicked in.  It had not. It might have taken a little bit of the edge off, but it didn’t help much.

I started pushing around 10:15 (maybe a little after?)  3 contractions later (5-6 pushes), at 10:21 p.m., he was out!  I actually regret getting the epidural (something I never thought I’d say), since I basically gave birth without it but don’t get credit for doing so. I honestly didn’t think I could do it without an epidural, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong – it really, really hurt, but I pictured it as unsurvivable pain (at least for me, the pain wimp), but, when I had to, I found a way to survive it. If we have another baby, I’ll definitely consider not getting an epidural (I’d probably get the fentanyl again, though).

Looking back, the pains I’d felt all day were definitely contractions, but they were far apart and not in a pattern.  At 6:00, when I started having “serious” contractions, I hadn’t had one in over two hours.  So I think it’s fair to say labor started at 6, making it less than 4 ½ hours total. A fast labor is a surreal experience.  Around midnight I thought: six hours ago, we thought we were going to have a normal, uneventful evening, and now I’m breastfeeding a baby that’s already an hour and a half old.  This is so weird!

Paul’s birth was a million times easier than Meg’s.  After her birth I lost a lot of blood.  I was woozy and throwing up for several hours afterward.  When they sent me home two days later I honestly didn’t know how I’d survive without a hospital bed and nurses. I was still weak from blood loss and felt like I’d been through a war.  Every time I moved a muscle I was in a lot of pain. This time I felt great and have continued to.  I haven’t taken anything stronger than ibuprofen.  This birth went about as well as a birth can.  Since the only thing I wish had gone differently was the epidural, I don’t think I have any reason to complain!


Paul Thom@s

Born Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm.  7 lbs 15 oz, 20 inches.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

38 weeks

I went to the doctor on Thursday. He said I was a "solid" 4 cm, maybe a little more, and about 80% effaced, which is maybe a little more than the week before. He predicted the baby would be born in the next week. I go to a group practice and saw different doctors at my 36, 37, and 38 week appointments. They all predicted the baby would be born between 38 and 39 weeks. I'm 38 weeks today, so it's not exactly a shocker I haven't had the baby yet.

However, despite the fact I just now entered the predicted range of dates for delivery, everyone is really sick of waiting for this kid to come. For two weeks now, we've been trying to be as ready as possible, just in case - doing laundry every couple days, running the dishwasher often, making sure the kitchen is clean EVERY night, having someone lined up to watch Meg, etc. It's exhuasting and I don't want to keep it up.

Also, its nice to feel like you're working towards something, but I feel like I've done everything that can be done and now we just sit around, bored. I've had my hair cut and highlighted. I had a mani/pedi. I shaved my legs today. The laundry is done. The dishes are all clean. We've watched more movies we wanted to see in the last week than we did in the last few months. My mom has all of HER laundry done, all of her dishes washed, and her house cleaned.

Like every other pregnant woman, I just want to know when it's going to be. I wish we hadn't spent the last two weeks on high alert just in case. I wish I wasn't at the COME OUT ALREAY, KID point at 38 weeks. Just tell me when its going to be!

P.S. You know what else I don't like? Hospital bags. Last time I packed a bunch of crap and used almost none of it, so this time I'm packing light. Which means I can't pack, because everything going in the bag I use on a daily basis. The impossibility of having my bag ready in advance is frustrating the heck out of me.

P.P.S. I do have to say I'm grateful I haven't had very many Braxton-Hicks contractions. If I'd spent the last two weeks being ready "just in case" AND constantly timing contractions, I probably would have gone completely crazy by now.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I didn’t get too worked up about being 3 cm at 36 weeks.  All I took that to mean is what the doctor explicitly said it means:  it’s extremely unlikely I’ll go overdue.  But when I was 4 cm and 70% effaced the next week, I felt like the progress must mean something.  My body is moving full speed ahead.  We’d better get ready.  So we did.

Thomas worked like a madman this weekend.  He changed the oil in my car (which we hoped would take care of the check engine light, but unfortunately didn’t).  He cleaned the gutters.  He power washed the deck.  He trimmed the hedges.  He installed the infant car seat.  He made a batch of chili and froze it.  He barely sat down all weekend.

And then there’s my mother.  If you follow me on Twitter, you know that when she found out I was 4 cm and 70%, she booked a flight out of China.  A week early.  She got home last night.

I did all the laundry (at one point there was literally nothing in the house that needed washed).  I became obsessive about loading the dishwasher and running it the instant it got full (this is actually part of my ant-reduction plan.  I am now a freak about the kitchen counters being clear of dishes, crumbs, or anything else besides ant traps).  Then I started on what Thomas said was my job for the weekend:  resting.

Which is when time stopped moving.  At all. I have no attention span and give up most tasks after a few minutes.  The only things I did for any length of time this weekend were Sudoku puzzles and watching TV.  It’s not because I found those things interesting, just that I had to do something and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.  I was actually looking forward to going to work today, because then I’d have something to do.  Being at work isn’t helping, though.  I do have things to do and time is going a little faster, but basically I’m still bored out of my mind.  Each day seems to take a week.  It feels like this baby is never going to come, which is ridiculous since I’m only 37w2d, but I also feel like I have to be prepared for him to come on any given day.  At the end of every day I’m left thinking:  will it be tomorrow?

I still don’t want him to come until next week, but I would like the time between now and then to go much faster.

Maybe I won't have to wait, though. Meg seems to be getting sick, which pretty much guarantees I'll go in to labor, right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

37 weeks

I'm technically 36w6d, but this morning was my "37 week" appointment. I'm now 4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. The doctor said "I'll see you next week! If you make it to next week..."

The morning before I went into labor with Meg, I was 4 cm, 80%. Logically, we all know that doesn't mean anything, but its a little disconcerting.

My parents don't get back from China for another 10 days.

In other news, I found dozens of ants in the kitchen this morning and the check engine light came on in my car. There's been a lot of "Oh, crap" around the house today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

36 weeks

I wrote this Monday, but apparently forgot to hit "post."

I went to the OB last Friday (at 35w6d) and found out I was already 3 cm dilated.  Before he checked, the doctor said 2cm is pretty normal for a second-time mom around 36 weeks, but that it would mean I’m on track to give birth around 39 weeks again.  When he determined I was 3cm, he said I definitely wouldn’t make it to my due date.  I was so shocked he had used the word “definitely” (OBs never say that!!) I didn’t ask any follow up questions.  By the time I got home I had a bunch of questions.  Does this mean the doctor thinks the baby is coming a minimum of a week early?  Maybe even two weeks early?

I texted the news to Thomas and my mom.  Thomas’ response:  I’m ordering a crib mattress right now.  My mom’s response:  PLEASE DON’T HAVE THE BABY WHILE I’M IN CHINA.  My mom and dad left today for China and don’t get back for two weeks, when I’ll be 38w2d.

I’m still kind of stunned.  I’d been coasting along thinking that, if I was lucky, I only had 3 weeks left.  If unlucky, up to 6.  Two didn’t even seem to be a possibility.  Plus, since I want to avoid having the baby on the 4th of July, I thought that’s when he was most likely to come.  Instead of the least preferable time to go into labor (and thus the one I have to prepare myself for) being mid-July, it has become mid-June, while my parents are still in China.  Also, I have training at work June 20th and 21st.  If I miss it, I’ll have to make it up when I come back from maternity leave.  I missed this same training when Meg was born (they have it every June) and it was a major pain.

Of course, now that we’re planning on the baby coming two weeks early, just in case, he probably won’t.  Maybe he'll make it his mission to prove the doctor wrong and stay put well past my due date.

P.S.  We’ve all been nervous about the timing this China trip for a while (cutting it close, much?), but it’s a business trip for my Dad and he didn’t have any control over the timing.  My mom didn’t think the risk of the baby coming two weeks early was worth giving up a chance to go to China.  She’s not quite so sure now, since the risk of the baby coming two weeks early has gone up significantly.  But even if the baby DOES come while she’s gone, I still think going was the right decision.

P.P.S.  After Meg was born, my Dad came in and proceeded to take 500 pictures of her.  FIVE HUNDRED.  If he’s not there this time, I can see baby boy claiming this as another example of second child unfairness someday.  Think: “you have 500 pictures of Meg’s first day and only 50 of mine?” said in an incredulous/whiny voice.