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Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Two (Part 1)

You’ll have to excuse me for being a few days late with Xander’s Two Year movie (here’s Year One).

One of my very best friends and her little girl were staying with us last week, and we had a very busy time of taking naps when the kids did and eating ice cream and then going to bed by 8:30 PM. Clearly I can’t be expected to also blog with such a busy schedule.

In all seriousness, though, having them over was so fun. I love having people in my life that I’m just….completely relaxed around. Like, I could totally fart loudly infront of Paula and not even apologize for it. NOT THAT I DID. It’s just a hypothetical example. And while his behavior was not stellar, I have to brag that Xander handled having an extra kid in the house for six consecutive days and nights very well. There was fighting, yes, and an inordinate amount of time outs, but I expected much worse.

Tonks was not quite sure what she thought of two toddlers in the house, though.

They returned to Alabama on Saturday, and yesterday was Xander’s second birthday. I learned a little bit from Christmas and how I may or may not have gone overboard with the gifts and stimulation, and the birthday was a much smaller affair. We had a few family friends over, ate some frozen pizza and cupcakes, opened a handful of gifts, and just hung out. Xander ate up all of the attention and was in full show off mode the entire night. Which was perfect.

We got him a simple radio control train, a puzzle, and a book. So far he loves the puzzle (and the decorative balloon I attached to it) the most.

He was less impressed with this gift, though. Maybe because he won’t even get to see the actual gift until February.

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Redux

It’s hard to imagine that at this time last year, JS and I were only just beginning to tell people about our pregnancy. That Xander was still known as Ziggy and barely visible on our first ultrasound. (I totally didn’t see the “baby” with the first ultrasound. Seriously. I just lied and said I did because I felt like a crappy mom for not being able to recognize my own child on a blurry black and white screen.) That we had a few terrifying hours (days) of thinking that we had lost him when I had some spotting after the ultrasound. How glad I was when I starting throwing up again….and how quickly I stopped being glad about it. Ha ha.

It’s the end of a year, even if it’s not the end of Xander’s first year, and so naturally I’m reflecting on all that’s happened. If I were to do it all again (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. HAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA.) (HA!), here’s what I’d do differently.

  • Indulge in pregnancy cravings more. I did OK, but I was still concerned about Over Doing It and Getting Fat. But since I had months and months of forced bulimia, I would have eaten a hell of a lot more french fries and chocolate cake.
  • Relax more. Taking a hot shower. Having a (small) glass of red wine. Humans are a tough species, and I could have enjoyed those non puking moments a bit more if I had just relaxed.
  • Once the baby comes, again, RELAX. Especially about sleep. If the baby only sleeps on my chest for a few weeks or months? FINE. It’s great. Let him sleep there. Love every moment of it. We did this with Xander, yes, but I was so worried about bad habits that would last forever. You know what? Xander has learned to put himself to sleep (occasionally), and we had nothing to do with it. It’s the same with every other milestone. It happens when it happens. Now he’s outgrown the sleeping on me phase and I miss it.
  • I would do more to establish a milk supply in the early weeks – I think I could have avoided supplementing with formula if I had taken a few easy steps.
  • On the other hand – I wouldn’t care about giving the occasional bottle of formula. Especially if it meant getting a few more hours of sleep while someone else fed him.
  • I’d have a lactation consultant visit me in the hospital, just to make sure I had a good grasp on things. Also – I think if I had noticed and mentioned Xander’s tongue tie before we left, we could have gotten it fixed there. And yeah, it may not effect his speech later on, but my constantly scabby nipples (TMI? Sorry. HI DAD!) and I think that the snip would have been worth it.
  • I’d be kinder and more patient to myself, especially in the early weeks/months. Newborns are HARD. Wonderful and amazing and oh…so, so perfect. But hard. It’s OK to be sad and annoyed and frustrated and exhausted and question WHY you wanted a baby in the first place. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or mean that you love your kid any less.
  • I’d hire a housekeeper to come a few times in the early months. A week after Xander was born? I was vacuuming the stares because they grossed me out. That sucked. And hurt. A lot.
  • I’d buy the GD infant carseat….the kind that you just snap onto the stroller frame. Sure, it’s a lot of money for something you don’t use a lot, but not waking a sleeping baby while running errands to strap and unstrap him from the more economical, convertible seat? So worth it.
  • I’d join a mom’s group while still pregnant, to get a support network started. Making friends as an adult is hard. And you need SOMETHING when you’re overwhelmed and sleep deprived and feeling like an utter failure.

On the other hand, I do think I did SOME things right. So let’s look at what I’d do the same:

  • Hire a doula. This is the best money I’ve ever spent. Sure, with my absurdly fast labor I didn’t use her a lot in terms of time, but the emotional support and preparations she offered? I never thought she wasn’t worth the price.
  • Buy cute, impractical things for Baby before s/he comes. It’s sort of like getting in the Christmas spirit before Christmas Day by listening to carols or decorating the tree. It’s FUN to buy things just because they’re irresistibly adorable! And it didn’t cost us a fortune thanks to sales and internet deals.
  • Get out of the house in the first week Baby is home. Even if it’s just to get the mail, or drive down the block. It helps ward off cabin fever AND it builds your confidence that you CAN do it.
  • Take as many pictures as you want. It’s fun!
  • Let your friends help. I didn’t think I’d want someone else to clean my filthy bathroom or cook me food….it seemed indulgent, somehow. But it was great. And I needed it.

And now the baby’s awake from his nap and not happy about it, so I’m going to leave this post as it is….all rambly and without a point!

Enjoy!

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Xander’s Birth

On his two week birthday, I decided to finally post the story of Xander’s birth.

I’m going to put a page break in, because it’s long without any pictures. And who wants to read about a baby without getting to look at pictures of it? Not me, that’ who.

The day of Xander’s birth, I had a checkup with my OB. After all those weeks and weeks of “false” labor, JS and I were thrilled to learn that I was already beginning the process. I was dilating and effacing and whatever other “ing” words one must do to have a baby.

“I think you won’t make it past the weekend!” my doctor said happily.

On our way home, JS looked over at me and said, “It’s going to be today, you know. We’ll be in the hospital sometime today.”

I may or may not have rolled my eyes because, well, I was tired of getting excited to have this baby when clearly he was very happy in his little cocoon.

Still, though. I went along with double checking our hospital bags, making sure our iPods had all the music on it that I’d want during my sure to be hours and hours of labor. I got some more vitamin waters to bring with us. I emailed my friend and our dog sitter directions for picking up Tonks should labor prove to be a middle of the night affair.

It all felt false, though. No matter how sure JS was, or how many times I thought about what the doctor had said, I wasn’t convinced. I was certain I’d be late, like my mom was with all three of her kids.

(more…)

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i knew before having xander that babies were time consuming. i mean, how can they not be. they can’t even hold the tivo remote by themselves yet. but man, i had no idea. none.

at yesterday’s pediatritian’s appointment, xander got slapped withe the “failure to thrive” label because he’s lost over 10% of his birth weight (note to doctors who name stuff: don’t use the word failure when dealing with 4 day postpartum moms, you sadistic jerks). so since then, we’ve been on a strict feeding every 2 hour routine. even at night. especially at night. and here’s how it breaks down.

  • 1AM: wake up. get xander up. change his diaper to make sure he’s awake. smirk a little at the idea of his screaming waking the neighbors who insist on setting their sub-woofer to “it’s the big one!” levels.
  • 1:10AM: shove boob in his face. imagine doing horrible things to the person who decided the official party line was “proper latching shouldn’t hurt!”
  • let xan-man pig out for 15-20 minutes. this proves challenging as he would rather sleep. make do by tickling his feet, stroking his chin, and rubbing his head with a cold cloth. feel like an ass for doing so.
  • 1:30AM: burp. switch sides. repeat.
  • 1:47AM: follow up with doctor mandated formula supplement, in case your milk is just totally defective.
  • 2AM: burp. change. swaddle.
  • 2:15AM: crawl into bed. ignore searing pain in back and arms from strain of holding your “underweight” baby. waste precious sleep time by praying for sleep to come.
  • 3 AM: OH MY GOD I HAVE TO DO THIS ALL OVER AGAIN

it’s even better in the day time, when i add 15-20 minutes of pumping after each nursing session.

but, hey, i’m learning how to type with one hand and i have very few errrors, which is a bragging right i will gladly take. and the scheduled feeding seems to agree with the baby as now he only seems to cry when he’s hungry. or when tonks licks his head when he was about to fall asleep.

here’s hoping that at today’s appointment, xander has gained enough weight that i can maybe add 30 minutes of free time to my regimen. imagine what i could do with that! brush my teeth. shower. find that other sock that i dropped somewhere last night. endless possiblities, my friends. endless.

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38+ Weeks

Today was weekly check up day.

Today’s went better than last week’s went.

Today I learned that all the false labor from last week, those long horrible nights of contractions that got my hopes up and then crushed them into a fine powder, were not completely useless. I’m 2 centimeters dilated, 75% effaced, and my fundal height dropped by at least 2 inches, meaning Ziggy’s head is moving down towards the light.

My doctor then made me fall a little bit in love with him when he predicted that Ziggy would be out in the world no later than this weekend.

It’s not a surefire prediction, no. It’s a guess. But he seems pretty smart, and he wears scrubs, so I’m going to go ahead and get a little bit excited about this news.

Now I really have to make up my mind about his middle name, though. We had one picked, but I’ve been waffling, and JS told me I can pick from a few of our other options if I need to. But it’s SO HARD! Ha ha. What if I pick the wrong middle name and, like, he decides to go to Glenn Beck University instead of Brown?! WHAT THEN, INTERNET?!

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The Name Game

Instead of talking about how there’s still no baby up in the hizzy (Ziggy just rolled his eyes at me in the womb for trying (and failing) to be cool), let’s talk about something more fun: baby names!!!

I am a baby name freak. I’ve been collecting them since I was a a wee little tot myself…not just for future babies (even a 3 year old knows that 324802 kids is WAY too many, no matter how many names are your favorite), but also for characters in my orphan centric short stories I used to write on a weekly basis. (I had a thing for orphans; no offense to my loving parents.) My family says that my first name obsession was “Flamingo.” I named my doll Flamingo and demanded they all tell me what a lovely name it was.

Naturally, one of the first things I did once I saw the second line on the pregnancy test was to start a list of potential names. At one point I had about 50 in each the boy and girl category. My taste in names is all over the place: I like the unusual (though not TOO weird), literary, classical, and ones that sound pretty. I don’t discount popular names (even top 10 ones) unless they seem more trendy than established.

Here are some of the top names that we’re not using this time around.

BOY:

  • Atticus: To Kill a Mockingbird is my all time favorite book, and Atticus is such an amazing character to have as a namesake.
  • Ansel: for Ansel Adams. JS is an artist, and I dabble in photography, so I liked the idea of an artistic name.
  • Eliot: The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot has been a favorite poem of mine since high school.
  • Lennon: The Beatles, of course, but also because it’d be a roundabout way of naming our boy after his dad. There are way too many Johns in our lives to go the direct route.
  • Strider: Nice sound, and also a Lord of the Rings tie in.

GIRL:

  • Abra: from East of Eden, another favorite book of mine.
  • Carys: It’s pretty and it means “love,” which is cheesy, yes,  but sweet.
  • Harper: another Harper Lee homage.
  • Lyra: a star, and also the heroine from the His Dark Materials trilogy.
  • Viola: I love the sound, and I love the Shakespeare connection.

I am holding back a few of our top ones, just in case we change our minds about Ziggy’s name and/or he mysteriously turns into a girl on his journey to the outside world, but these names remain on the Big List of ones I love. What are some of your favorite names?

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Still Here

And still pregnant!

Sorry for the sporadic posting the past few weeks, I really just can’t think of much to say other than “no baby.”  It has now been a week of nearly nightly contractions, though I have gotten a few breaks that allowed me some sleep, which is great. One night had me on the phone with my doula because I just didn’t know, you know? I assumed, silly me, that labor would be easy to detect, but some time last week, when the contractions were between 3-4 minutes apart, and it was hard to breathe through them, I had to ask someone. Someone who wouldn’t immediately begin squealing and say “you’re gonna have the baby  now!” because it’s hard enough to not get my expectations high with each wave. But she agreed that I should wait, and, as usual, the contractions eased up enough to let me sleep, and were gone by morning.

I’m getting somewhat used to it, but it’s still hard. I don’t know if the process has started yet or not, so I’m really looking forward to this week’s check in where I’ll learn if I’m at all dilated yet. It’d be encouraging to know that it’s not all for nothing right now. Not that it’s nothing, but you know what I mean.

We had a fun and quiet 4th of July. Our friend gave us his grill because he’s moving and can’t take it with him, so we grilled some chicken and corn, and I made PW’s Strawberry Shortcake Cake. We watched the fireworks from a hill in our neighborhood, but it was more like a laser light-show in the fog, which was also pretty rad.

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More of the Same

Spent another night timing contractions. I got excited when they seemed to be averaging about 4.5 minutes apart. But then, of course, they stopped being any sort of regular and went from 4 minutes to 9 to 2 to 6. I’m still having a few here and there, but nothing even regular enough to time.

I always thought false labor was shorter: a few hours of contractions that didn’t progress. But this? This is killer. The contractions match the checklist my doctor gave me to distinguish between real and false, and yet nada.

I’m determined to stay positive. I did manage to sleep, since I was more sure of this being another false round. And today I have a checkup, anyway, so maybe I’ll get some good news and find out that I’m just in very, very, very early labor.

There are no cases of women being pregnant, like, forever, are there?

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Just For Kicks

While waiting for Hailey to arrive, Kate over on Five Blondes posted this wives-tales based quiz to guess the sex of her baby. Yeah, look, I know that we already know Ziggy is a boy (“without a doubt” says my doctor), but I thought it’d be fun to see if the quiz thinks I’m having a boy, too. Also? I’m out of things to blog about at the moment.

So, here we go!

Boy or Girl? 21 Old Wives’ Tales That May Tell You

Sleep Position
Pay attention to which way you lay down in bed tonight. If you prefer sleeping on your left side, you’ll have a boy. Right side? You’re pregnant with a girl.

BOY-  I definitely prefer to start off on my left side. Though, I only stay in one position for about 2 hours before I change it.  Right now I also really like piling up all of my pillows and sleeping reclined on them.

Upset Stomach
Little girls aren’t always sweet. Extreme nausea means you are having a daughter.

GIRL- Oh, Lordy, yes. To the tune of -10 pounds in the first trimester.

Soft or Dry Hands
If your hands are dry during pregnancy, you are having a boy; soft—expect a girl.

BOY

Food Cravings
Your favorite pregnancy foods may tell you what sex the baby is. If you’re craving citrus while pregnant, you’re having a girl.

No idea. I did eat a ton of fruit at first, lots of mangos and berries. But chocolate has also been a mainstay, as have Rubio’s chicken tacos. So let’s go with “boy,” since none of those items are technically citrus.

Adult Acne
If altering hormones makes your skin break out, expect a girl.

BOY-  lucked out here.

Graceful or Clumsy Pregnancy
If you feel as though you’re gliding through they day, you’ll have a girl. Stumbling? It’s a boy.

BOY- The mysterious purple bruises all over my legs and arms inform me I’m a giant clutz!

Face Weight Gain
If your face gets fuller, it means you’re having a girl.

BOY- JS says the only things that looks different is my belly. I feel rounder all around, but I’m guessing I’m not very objective.

Sugar and Spice Food Cravings
Craving salt during pregnancy? Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn means a boy is on the way. Need a little something sweet? Ice cream, chocolate, and candy means you’re having a girl.

GIRL- Chocolate with a side of chocolate, please.

Mood Changes
If you’re experiencing pregnant mood-swings, expect a baby girl to arrive soon.

BOY- This is sort of like the weight gain thing. I FEEL more hormonal than I act, I guess, because JS swears that I’ve been pretty even keel throughout. A few meltdowns here and there, but less than a handful in 9 months.

High or Low Pregnant Belly
If you’re carrying the baby low on your stomach, expect a boy. If it’s high, you’re having a girl.

GIRL

Baby Weight
If you’re carrying baby in front, it’s a boy. Is the baby weight spaced all around your middle? It’s a girl.

BOY- All in front, all in the belly.

Pendulum Test
Dangle a chain with a charm over your palm. If it swings back and forth: boy. In a circle: girl.

GIRL- but it was hard to tell if it was going in circles or back and forth.

Model Your Hands
“Show me your hands.” If you would hold your hands palms up it’s a girl. Down? You’re having a boy.

GIRL

Toddler Advice
Get baby advice from a nephew or friend’s little boy. If a toddler boy shows interest in your belly, you’ll have a girl. If he ignores you, it’s a boy.

GIRL – the only time I was around a toddler boy, he pretty much just screamed and cried when I was near him, so I’m kind of guessing on this one..

Eat Garlic
Guess the baby’s sex by eating garlic. If the smell seeps out of your pores it’s a boy. If there’s no scent it’s a little girl.

BOY- I guess.

Key to Pregnancy
If you pick up a key by the round end, you’re having a boy. If it’s by the long end? A girl.

GIRL

Even and Odd Numbers
If your age and year of conception are both even or odd, it’s girl. One even, one odd means a boy.

BOY- 30, 2009

Baby’s Heartbeat
If the baby’s heart beats more than 150 times per minute, you’re pregnant with a girl. Less than 150, it’s a boy.

BOTH- it’s typically between 140-160, but it changes.

Stress Test
A child tends to be of the same sex as the parent who is less stressed at the time of conception.

BOY- JS is much more mellow than I am in general.

Dream Meanings
If you dream about having a girl while pregnant, you will wind up having a boy and vice versa.

GIRL-  all of my baby dreams (that are about HUMAN babies) have been about boys.

Breast Size
If your right breast is larger than the left while pregnant, you are having a girl. If the left is larger, it’s a baby boy.

Um…Not sure? I feel rather proportionate, thanks for asking.

My Score:

  • GIRL: 8
  • BOY: 11
  • Unknown: 2

Hey, wuddya know? It worked out! I wonder if I didn’t know the sex if all the answers would be the same?

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37 Weeks

Today Ziggy is officially considered full term. Meaning: he can make his appearance any damn time now, KID, don’t be a mooch! While I know that he does better the longer he’s in there, blah blah blah lung development blah, I am just so ready to be done. So ready. The backaches, Braxton-Hicks contractions, the inability to sleep for more than 3 hours a stretch, swollen feet, heartburn from DRINKING WATER, River Dance kicks to my lungs….I’ve had enough of this Very Special Time, thankyouverymuch.

Last night was the real kicker. I started getting some contractions while making dinner. I noted it, but didn’t pay much attention, because, hey, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before. They kept going, though. Starting in my back and wrapping around my lower abdomen. I walked around, drank lots of water, stretched. The only thing that temporarily helped was taking a bath. Eventually, JS and I started timing them. Hey! We had a pattern! It was exciting! We scrambled around making sure we had everything together for the hospital while the contractions kept coming every 5-7 minutes. Sometime after midnight, I was too tired to keep timing anything and we went to bed. Not that I slept much. The contractions kept coming, and my mind was racing. Still every 5 minutes or so. Until 8AM this morning when. Nada. All done. Over 12 hours of regular contractions turned out to be more damn false labor.

I’m exhausted and disappointed. JS is exhausted and more than likely a little relieved. Tonks. Well, she’s still sleeping spread eagle on the bed, so I think her feeeelings are just fine.

I really hope there’s enough ice cream in the state to get me through 3 more weeks of false alarms.

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