Monday, September 29, 2008

First & Last
Having two kids is a bittersweet experience so far. Each child comes with a very different & unique specialness to them. What I missed with one, I relish in the other. What future I looked forward to with one, I almost dread seeing come for the other. What once was a life of go, go, go is now switching to a mentality of slow, slow, slow.

With Logan being the first, my outlook was more along the lines of our life being an exciting adventure - everyday was new, uncharted territory. I was thrilled with every milestone reached, eagerly anticipating the next. I didn't really think about how fast things change or how quickly Logan grows. My frame of mind was much like his personality: energy driven, fearless & independent.

With Carter being our last, I want to make sure things move at a more steady pace, cherishing every last moment of newness & infancy. So far, each day is familiar & comfortable, like putting on a favorite pair of worn-in jeans. Life just "fits". But I'm sad to see each new milestone reached, like his newborn clothes fitting better & him being able to sleep in the bassinet for most of the night. Life is happening too fast already.

While I'm not disappointed that I'll never live nine months of life with hyperemesis again, I will miss having those familiar kicks of life come from within. It's a feeling like no other. Having a body sharing life with another has been replaced with the feeling of separateness & emptiness, the unexplainable closeness forever gone. And as intense as labor & delivery is, I'm almost heartbroken that I will never experience the exciting miracle of birth again. That part of life is over, never to be lived for a third time. That in itself brings tears to my eyes.

Logically, I know that a family of four is right for us. I realize this every time we go out together, with one parent wrangling a child each. The balance is perfect. Not only can we manage two kids equally (or individually), but financially it makes sense & emotionally it makes even more sense. I know that I can only handle two kids. The stress of dealing with three or more would kill me.

So, I cling to the new softness that Carter emits, the clean baby smell & precious look about him, his tiny scrunched up body - nose, eyes, hands & toes. Every grunt & squeak makes me smile because I know that soon enough they will change into screams, shrieks & finally words & sentences. I take the time to study his sleeping face, to caress his fragile head & cuddle his small, little person. The sweetness & innocence will fade into memories all too soon.

And I continue to live the adventure with Logan, full of curiosity & discovery, growing up faster than ever now. I try to take a step back & remember the funny things he says, the excitement he exudes when doing something fun & new. I know all too well that while today he's playing pretend with his cars & asking for his teddy bear at nap time, tomorrow he'll ride a bike, learn to read & all too soon begin a life of his own.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The things kids say
Yesterday afternoon when Logan woke up from his nap, he needed a diaper change. I was getting him cleaned up, pulled up his pants & he talked about a broken heart.

"Mommy, broken heart".

"What? What are you talking about. Broken heart?", I asked.

He then pointed to my cleavage (that I actually have now since I'm nursing, when normally I don't) & repeated himself. "See? Broken heart, Mommy".

Friday, September 26, 2008

This is the first day this week that I've been able to get both kids to take a nap at the same time. I haven't had a nap since the day we came home from the hospital. And now? I can't sleep. Talk about ironic. At least I get some quiet time to myself.

Logan has been protesting his naps ever since Bill went back to work & the combination of being over-tired & the transition has made him very difficult to deal with. This morning we met up with some friends in the Walking Group & rather than bring the stroller, I had Logan walk with me (because I wasn't going to be walking fast anyway) & I just put Carter in the wrap. We walked for a good 30 minutes & then played at the park afterward. I'm sure this is why he's passed out cold in his bed.

I'm fortunate that he's getting some rest because Bill might not come home until tomorrow morning. They're having some big party at work & he thinks he might get home by midnight, but he's not sure. There is the possibility that he'll be spending the night at the office if he can't find a safe ride home (since pretty much everyone will be drinking). This means that I'm taking care of both kids - meals (although we met up with Bill for lunch today), bath times & bed times, not to mention all of the entertainment in between. If he ends up crashing at the office, this means that I'll have to get up with Logan at 6am (which I'm up nursing Carter anyway). If Logan had not taken this nap, it would have been a suicide mission.

It sucks that I can't take a nap myself. I'm running on fumes & I have no idea how I'm doing it. I guess I'm following the advice of Nike & I "just do it". No naps for me & Carter nurses every two to three hours, so I'm not getting much sleep at night. Somehow, I manage to get showered & get make-up on, get the kids dressed & ready, get them fed (but rarely myself, if not just for a cup of coffee) & we're out of the house by 9 or 10 every morning. It's a miracle, I tell you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Transition tantrums
I think it's official. Logan's tantrums are worse this week, ever since Bill went back to work. He has been an absolute terror at the end of the day, especially since he's on a napping strike. Our mornings aren't that bad & we have been trying to get out regularly since it's good for him to run around with his friends & he's so happy doing so. Then as we are getting ready to leave, he turns into a little monster, screaming "No" at me & refusing to listen (more so than before). I make sure to give him plenty of notice so he's prepared for the transition, but it doesn't help. It takes every ounce of patience that I have just to get him back to the car to go home & have lunch.

From the time we get home until he goes to bed it is total madness. The defiance is just plain ridiculous with screaming "No", running away or ignoring me completely. But, it's mostly screaming "No". I hate the afternoons now & can't wait for Bill to come home, but even then, he's not much better & his meltdowns continue until he is in bed. At least I have some help, though.

This morning at playgroup a few of us were talking about how our kids are in the same phase. Logan has two other friends with little sisters (three months old & three weeks old) who are tantruming as well & having a difficult time with activity transitions. It's good to know that we're not alone. We commiserated together & sympathized with each other's stresses. This is one reason why I love MOMS Club & our playgroup so much. There's always someone there who understands what staying at home with difficult kids can be like.

So, I can't wait until this is over & hopefully it won't last too long. I'm going to make it a point to spend some more one-on-one time with Logan while Carter is sleeping & see if that helps. If not, well, I don't know then. I guess I'll just have to wait it out & hope I don't duct tape his mouth in the process.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Poop on the wall!!!
Today is the first day of "real life" with me being home with the kids all on my own. I was able to get showered & dressed, get the kids dressed, went to the store & then headed to a baby shower - all without incident. I wasn't too late for the shower either (about 15 minutes late which is my usual arrival time anyway). We had a great time at the shower, everyone drooling over the cuteness of Carter & Logan running off some steam playing with all of his friends. When it was time to go home, our day spiraled out of control from there & only got worse.

I told Logan it was time to go home & he had the freak out of all freak outs. Screaming at the top of his lungs, throwing himself around, the whole bit. I told him that he had a choice, he could leave the nice way or the mean way. Nice way is saying good-bye to friends & leaving at his own will. Mean way is refusing to leave & I physically remove him. He said he wanted to do it the mean way. So, I picked him up, practically bicep curling his entire body like a barbell & carried him out to the car. Photographer friend got Carter's car seat in the car for me while I buckled Logan in screaming & hitting me. I told him that due to his behavior, we were going home & he was to go straight to his room without lunch.

We get home, he goes to his room & I nurse Carter. I am flat out exhausted. All I want to do is take a nap because I had been up since 4 am because Carter thought it would be a good idea to stay awake from 4-6am again (I'm sensing a pattern here). I was able to close my eyes for about 30 minutes when I'm awaken to the calls of Logan needing a diaper change (I wish this kid would just potty train already). I put Carter in the swing (which is broken because Aunt Ju-Ju decided it would be nice to return our swing that that she borrowed for Cousin B with it trashed enough that it won't actually swing on it's own - don't even ask me about how dirty is was too). By this time, Logan is calling to me downstairs saying that he wants to wake up, even though he hasn't even slept. I open the door to find POOP ON HIS WALL.

He was fully clothed, so I'm sure he just grabbed some from the back of his pants & painted a spot on the wall. I was furious. Not only was there poop on the wall, but he hadn't slept, he pulled this massive tantrum all afternoon & now I just wanted to lock him in his closet for the rest of the day. I got him changed, cleaned the wall & sent him downstairs. He lost his cartoon privileges & had to entertain himself while I nursed Carter again. He played outside & I caught him poking Buddha's poop in the lawn. I am so grossed out, I bring him inside & sanitize his arms all the way up to his elbows. He plays inside after that & proceeds to pester Buddha the entire time. By this point, I'm sure my face is red & steam is coming from my ears. Since he refused to listen about leaving Buddha alone - AGAIN - he was sent to his room for the second time.

That's where he is now. And I can hear him throwing things at his door. And Carter isn't liking the stupid swing because it's not swinging & every few minutes I have to go over & give him a push. Thank God we're about to leave to pick Bill up from work in about 15 minutes. And thank God there's beer in the fridge, too. Because I'm going to need one to relax after an afternoon like this. Welcome to reality!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Night & Day
My newborn experience with Carter, granted it has only been a week, has been drastically different than with Logan. I've honestly never been happier in my entire life. Sure, it's still life & there are bills to pay, money is still tight & there have been times where Logan's constant whining & tantrums have driven me to think about hanging him by his toenails in the front yard tree (& have a beer once or twice this week), but over all - it's been pure joy.

This time I didn't even so much as have the baby blues let alone postpartum depression. I've shed some tears here & there, but it's been in the morning when I'm getting ready for the day & thinking about how lucky I am to have two healthy boys, great friends that I can count on & a husband who finally seems to be on the same page as I am about the difficult issues we have to deal with. So, they've been happy tears which I'll take any day. I've been on cloud nine, almost wondering to myself if there is such a thing as postpartum mania.

After Logan was born, I clearly remember the distinctive feeling of the hormone shift on the second night. The wash of feeling the need to cry from every cell in my body from my head to my toes. The hair loss - handfuls coming out in the shower, covering my bathroom floor & my clothes, another sign of the hormone shift (& stress). I know I started out having the baby blues, but now I know without a shadow of a doubt that Grandma L pushed me into postpartum depression.

After you have a baby, you are asked by every OB, pediatrician, lactation consultant, nurse, counselor, everyone you meet in the hospital & well-baby appointments about postpartum depression & how you feel. I've talked to countless professionals over the last week about the difference in experiences & every single one of them agrees - I didn't have to feel the way I felt after Logan was born; hurt, violated, confused as to what to do about it all & medication wasn't the answer, either.

I never got the chance to recover in peace. I never got the chance to bond with Logan like I have with Carter since he was being held hostage. My feelings were never taken into consideration at all. After living the difference & knowing exactly what I was missing out on, there is greater resentment building towards her. I didn't like her after all that we've gone through & now I dislike her even more. I truly understand how toxic she has been to our family & what she took away from us.

The "no extended family for at least two weeks" rule that we enforced has been one of the best decisions we've made. I'm even lucky enough to not have to worry about their visit for a whole month since they decided to come out for Cousin B's second birthday on October 10th, killing two birds with one stone. The pieces of the happiness puzzle here (making a plan of action, enforcing boundaries & understanding what is important at the core) have all come together creating peace & harmony in our home, even amidst the temper tantrums & whining coming from Logan.

I hope the pieces hold up through their visit & the happiness in our home survives. If we keep doing what we're doing, I'm pretty sure we'll make out OK, no matter what gets thrown at us.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Mommy?
One thing I noticed since coming home with Carter was that Logan grew up over night. The very day we came home, he began the "Why" stage. I would ask him to do something & instead of his first response being "No", it was "Why?". At first I thought it was pretty cute. I would explain why to only be asked "why?" again. He was never satisfied with one answer, it was a circle of whys, going round & round for what seemed like forever. Then it wasn't so cute.

Not only has he been inquisitive, but he's also learning how to manipulate The System. Because our transition to a family of four has been one of the easiest changes our family has ever made, & Logan had been talking about potty training some more, Bill decided that he would take it upon himself to get Logan going on the potty again. He pulled out the "orange car" (a big General Lee that the grandparents bought for him that we've been saving for months). Now that Logan saw what his prize would be rather than just talking about it, he was all about pooping on the potty.

Yesterday afternoon, he told us that he had to poop on the potty during nap time. Well, that wasn't true & we knew it. He just didn't want to take a nap. We told him that he had to stay on the potty or he had to go up for his nap. The boy sat there for over an hour at his own will. Now, I've known parents that have forced their kids to sit there for hours because they were stubborn potty trainers, but I've never known of a kid sitting there for that long by choice. Eventually he got off & Bill took him upstairs which resulted in the meltdown of all meltdowns. Needless to say, we've halted potty training for a few weeks until I can really work with him on it for an extended period of time. But let me tell you, after changing newborn diapers for the last week, it's odd to change a two & a half year old's diaper. It's time he really moves forward with this & I hope he cooperates soon.

Logan is also getting easier to reason with, which is helping to bring down the intensity of his tantrums (thank God). He still has them, but at least they haven't been getting worse since being home & there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm looking forward to seeing these tantrums go away, even if it is a painfully slow process. Every little bit counts!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little weed
Since Carter's birth, I have so much to write about - more than just "what we did today" & stats stuff. I have some pretty interesting introspective posts that I'll try to write up this weekend, but today is all about Carter (go figure!).

This morning he had his first pediatric appointment & everything checked out OK. Since I wanted to get in sometime by the end of the week, it wasn't that important to me to see the same Doctor that has been treating Logan. The first appointment is all bout weight checks & a physical exam & I was fine with seeing whomever was available. Dr. G, a bent over old man with a very dry personality came in & went over Carter's delivery first. Even though we haven't had any issues, he wanted to let me know how serious Carter's Apgar scores were. Because of him swallowing the meconium with the combination of the cord wrapped around his neck, his first score was 1. I was told this in the hospital, but the nurses were great in staying calm & reassuring me that he was fine. I guess having scored a 1 was pretty serious. Dr. G said that we were very lucky that his next score was a 9, otherwise he could have had some long-term neurological damage. Why he decided to tell me this after Carter is perfectly healthy, I couldn't tell you.

Next, Carter was measured & weighed. At birth he weighted 6 pounds, 10 ounces & was 19 inches long. At discharge he weighed 6.3. After his weight check earlier this week, he dropped a little more to about 6.2ish. Well - nursing has done this boy good because in only two days, he's gone up to 6 pounds, 7 ounces (10%). He's 19 1/2 inches (25%) & his head was 13 1/2 (15%). We'll go back for a weight check in 3 to 4 days to make sure he gets to his birth weight before we go in for the second PKU blood testing.

After that I had Dr. G check out Carter's neck for tightness & range of motion because he has a more difficult time latching on to the left side - he was just fine. He also has a large dimple that looks like a second "exit hole" (if you know what I mean). Bill noticed this after he was born & the pediatric team was checking him out/resuscitating him. Apparently it's common, but Bill wanted me to make sure. I was also given the raised eye-brow when Dr. G brought up that I refused the Hep B shot for Carter at the hospital. After talking about Logan's vaccination reactions, he had a better understanding of why & said that he encourages Carter to get vaccinated but doesn't blame me for not following protocol.

So, Carter is as healthy as they come & growing like a little weed. I probably wouldn't see Dr. G again & would make sure to schedule with a different Doctor if our regular pediatrician isn't available, but it was still a good check-up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And the beat goes on
Today is playgroup day & last night I was still deciding if we were going to go or not. It really all depended on how our morning went. It ended up being a rough night with Carter not sleeping well between the 4-6am hours, cluster feeding & needing repeated diaper changing. We've been co-sleeping more than I intended to because he doesn't like his bassinet & at this point in the game, sleep is more important than "what I did with Logan". I was so exhausted by 6:00 that I woke Bill up to change Carter's diaper again (to which he huffed & gruffed about). Shortly there after, Logan woke up & Bill got up to get his breakfast while I tried to stay in bed with Carter to get some more sleep. It wasn't that much more & we ended up starting our day at about 8:00. Plenty of time to make it to playgroup.

I'm so glad we were able to make it! Logan had a good time playing with his friends, catching bugs & eating their snacks (he's such a snack thief). I had a great time chit-chatting with friends (who were surprised that we even attempted to make it) & showing off Carter, who was the perfect tag-along, sleeping the whole time & nursed well being hidden under a blanket. I even had my morning coffee before going & so far, it doesn't seem to bother Carter at all since he's been conked out ever since then. Talk about a huge relief! If we continue to have nights like we did last night, I'm going to need all the coffee I can get.

We got home & Bill took the car to work a half day for the rest of the afternoon, so this is my first time taking care of both kids on my own for an extended period of time. Logan was good eating his lunch & going up for a nap without a fight, which was awesome. Carter just kept on sleeping. After Logan wakes up, I'm going to attempt wearing Carter in a couple of wraps that a training client let me borrow & we'll go out for a walk or to the neighborhood park for a bit. This transition seems to be really easy. I even trained a session yesterday afternoon since having Carter five days ago (granted it was in our house & Bill took care of Logan & Carter). It's great to get back to "normal", or really, our new normal.

And now that Bill found a better version of Photoshop, here are some gratuitous pictures of Carter since we've been home. I'm still working on getting some of the two boys together or one of the three of us (good luck on that, huh).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fill'er up
This afternoon Carter had his first weight check appointment. This was different than with Logan - with him, an in-home nurse came to check-up on us for a couple of days, rather than us having to going to a small clinic (due to different insurance plans, I'm sure). It wasn't too bad though, because Logan stayed at home with Bill. I just had to show up with Carter ready to nurse.

We got there & a nurse/lactation specialist asked me a bunch of different questions about Carter & his eating/elimination habits. He's scored an A+ on all fronts there. Breastfeeding is super easy for us again & actually even easier than with Logan because I'm not having a fast letdown & drowning Carter with my breast milk. So, he's eating well & having more than enough wet & poopy diapers. The nurse put him on the scale & he weighed a little less than he did at discharge from the hospital. He weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces at birth & dropped to 6 pounds 3 ounces the day after (which was within normal limits). He weighed a little less today, but nothing that was concerning. I nursed him & then he was weighed again. The nurse was very pleased that he was getting plenty to eat (2 & a half ounces, maybe a little more) & was very confident that Carter would be back up in weight by tomorrow.

I thought this was a great appointment because it was just concrete proof that everything was going as it should. I know I'm very lucky that breastfeeding comes naturally for me & my kids when it's not that way for so many other moms. I don't mind the sacrifices that I have to make for my kids to be exclusively breastfed. Sure, I'm the only one that's getting up in the middle of the night or "on tap" every three hours all day for a year (or a little more). I won't be able to eat or drink anything without thinking about how it will effect Carter, but it's worth it to me in my book. Especially because it is so easy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Recovery & adjustment
Things are going pretty well so far. Recovery isn't that bad, considering the only medication I've had is ibuprofen & I haven't had any since being home. The stitches are going to take some time, though. I'm a little stiff all over, but nothing like I was after Logan was born. It feels great to stretch, touch my toes again & lay flat on my back (this feels sooooo good). My milk came in the day we came home & the engorgement isn't even as bad as I remember going through the first time. I hate to say it, but the second go around is a piece of cake.

Emotionally, I'm doing great. I don't even think I have the baby blues (granted, this is only the third day postpartum). I got a little choked up being wheeled into the recovery unit when they played a lullaby for Carter, I shed some tears when Logan came to visit us in the hospital for the first time & after typing & reading Carter's birth story to really take it all in, I got a little weepy - but that's it. I still don't have any patience for Logan's tantrums & whining, but that's not anything new. I think based on our efforts to make sure stress levels were under control before Carter was born (marriage counseling & no visits from Grandma & Grandpa L for a few weeks), I might not only escape postpartum depression, but even the baby blues. We'll see!

Logan is doing great as a Big Brother! He is very interested in Carter & has been excited to see him every day. He gets even more excited when Carter wakes up. He likes to help with diaper changes & burping & anything I ask his help with. He's incredibly sweet & caring for his little brother. Last night I gave Carter a sponge bath while Logan was in bed. Carter hates to be cold & wet & cried pretty loud about it all. Logan was so concerned he broke down the baby gate we have in front of his door. I was so surprised that he was so worried about him! He's already been trying to play cars & catch with him or asking if he's coming to the store (Carter & I have been staying home while Logan & Bill go out). He even loves to hold him periodically. It's so heart warming. I'm relieved that so far, there isn't even a hint of jealousy & I hope this trend continues. Other than being a little stir-crazy because we've been off our regular schedule & routine, Logan has been his usual self without any new/different behavioral issues at all. Yea!

Carter is a perfect baby, so easy going & content. He rarely cries other than during diaper changes - which are the most difficult part of caring for him. He tucks his legs up so tight, it's a wrestling match to pull them down to get his diaper on. It makes me squirm because his circumcision is still healing & I'm afraid he's going to get hurt. Nursing came easy for him, just as it did for Logan. I thought he would be a spit up kid too because he was spitting up a lot in the hospital, but apparently he swallowed a bunch of gunk & since he came out so fast, he didn't have a chance to have it squeezed out of him. He narrowly escaped needing to have his stomach pumped. He's also a little jaundiced, but I hope this resolves itself in the next day or two. Overall, he's very snuggly & cuddly, sweet & precious. He's just so small, all of his newborn clothes are too big on him. I am thrilled that I get to enjoy his newborn days like this.

Bill has been a big help in keeping Logan occupied & taken care of. He still gets up with him in the morning for breakfast & has been doing all of his diaper changes. He does get a bit of a break because all of my friends from MOMS club are bringing dinners over every other night for the next two weeks starting with tonight (how awesome is that!?). He's taking the whole week off to stay home with us, even though I don't feel like he has to (it's really nice though).

Our transition has been so easy, nice, normal - I could go on with how great it's been. We are so lucky that it's been this way & I couldn't have asked for anything more. We're probably going to be in our regular groove by the end of the week if not sooner. I really feel an intense amount of joy - I don't think I could be happier. Seriously.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the raw
I usually photoshop all of the pictures before posting them (crop, remove red-eye, etc) but we still haven't revived our desktop from the dead & the new photoshop program Bill got for the laptop is crap & we'll need to find another. So, these few pictures that we have are unedited. Logan isn't too keen on the idea of taking family picture & we've still been getting settled in to where we haven't made picture taking a priority (this should change soon!).

Carter Liam

My two boys!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Carter is here!
Wow. What a crazy experience that was! I'm still trying to process all that happened & I hope I can remember all of the details. I was in shock for quite a while (maybe I still am). But Carter's arrival into the world was something I never will forget.

Shortly after the last post at 11:30pm, I tried to get as much done as I could. I had this burst of energy & although I knew I needed to save it for labor, I couldn't. The contractions were getting stronger by the minute & at 12:30am, I knew this was the real deal. I labored in bed on my hands & knees, but that didn't feel too great. It felt much better if I leaned over the kitchen counter or something of that height. I decided to walk around in the kitchen for a bit. By 1:00am, I thought that the shower might be a good place to relax. While this made me clean, it only made the contractions worse & I couldn't take it any longer. By 1:30am, I was on the phone with my OB's office so they could call the hospital to let them know I was on my way.

From 1:30-2:00am it was a mad rush of preparation at home. Bill got Logan up, who upon wakening, told Bill in an irritated tone "I don't want to sleep at Little M's house". As Bill took care of Logan, my contractions were painful enough that I was now moaning & screaming & writhing in pain in the kitchen. I had been throwing up. We were just about to head out of the door at 2:00am when my water broke in the kitchen. I was in shock. There was a huge gush of fluid & I just looked at Bill in a panic. "SHIT! MY WATER JUST BROKE! WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!". I knew the contractions were only going to get stronger from that. Bill practically threw Logan in the car as I changed my pants. We drove to photographer friend's house with contractions being about every 2-3 minutes apart. She only lives 3 minutes away.

As Bill took Logan into her house, the contractions were killing me. I was screaming & hanging on for dear life. I felt pain shoot down the front of my legs. I felt the urge to push - in my friends driveway. Bill ran back to the car & put the pedal to the metal. He ran every red light & every stop sign. Thankfully being in a smaller town at 2:00am, there was no traffic. We got to the hospital in 5 minutes where I tried to fight the urge to push. Bill parked the car at the ER entrance & I literally ran through the doors to the security guard running to me with the wheel chair. "Do you have any knives or weapons?", he asked. "WHAT? NO! I'M IN LABOR!", I screamed through contractions.

They ran (more like sprinted) me up to the labor & delivery unit. They tried to get me on the scale. "PLEASE! NO!!", I screamed. As we were running past the nurses station, I began to wretch again. Someone grabbed something for me to throw-up in. I was puking & contracting & trying to tell them to call for an epidural at the same time. As we ran through the doors of the delivery suite, I begged. "PLEASE SOMEONE CALL THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST NOW! I HAVE TO PUSH!" I got on the bed & took off my pants, then threw my jacket & chapstick at Bill. "She's complete. Everyone get in here now", one of the nurses said. "You're not going to have time for an epidural. You're going to have to do this naturally", the head nurse said. "SHIT!", I screamed in a panic. "It's OK, you can do this", she reassure me.

So, without having changed into a gown, still in my pajama top, no IV's or drugs, I held on to the headboard of the bed with a white knuckle grip & screamed bloody murder at the top of my lungs with every contraction. The nurse was awesome telling me that Carter was almost here. "Do you want to feel his head?", she asked. I shook my head No because I couldn't let go of the headboard. The room filled with nurses (8 of them Bill later told me) & Bill slowly sunk back into the background of the room on my right side behind the headboard (probably in more shock that I was). Three or four pushes later, Carter was born.

He had the cord wrapped around his neck & they had to do a double clamp to cut him out. He also swallowed/breathed in some meconium, so he didn't cry after being delivered. They whisked him away to clear him out & get him on oxygen. It seemed to take forever, but I wasn't worried or really had any emotion at all other than pure shock & disbelief, trying to process all that just occurred. That's the only thing I could say after asking if he was alright - "I can't belive this just happened & I can't belive I didn't have an epidural". Bill joked about how I got the birth plan I wrote almost 3 years ago with Logan. I watched them work on him as the OB tried to dig out the placenta & stictch me up - I had a 2nd degree tear because the delivery was so fast & furious. Finally, he cried. I was all cleaned up & ready for him to nurse so I took off my pajama shirt & we cuddled for a good hour our more while the nurses took care of the paperwork that we would have done beforehand if we had time.

Arriving at the hopital at 2:25am, Carter was born on September 12th at 2:41am, 6 pounds & 10 ounces, 19 inches long. A little more than 24 hours later, we are getting settled in at home as a family of four.

Pictures to come tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let the laboring begin
I think this is it. Contractions have been pretty strong all evening & they've really started to pick up in intensity for the last hour or so. If this is the real deal, I'm going to try & labor at home as long as I can so Logan can stay & sleep in his own bed tonight. I haven't begun timing contractions yet, but I've frantically begun packing the rest of the hospital bag. I'm getting Carter's coming home outfit washed (as well as a load of Logan's clothes) & I never got to making the cupcakes (damn it!). I've canceled my training session for the morning & emailed photographer friend to let her know to be "on call" just in case I can't hold out until the morning. I knew this would happen in the middle of the night!!!!!

So, I'm contracting, doing laundry & hopefully getting ready to go to the hospital at sunrise. This has to be it, because if it's not - damn. I'm in for a long ride.
Change is in the air
Things are beginning to happen. Whether it will be fast or continue to be painfully slow, only time will tell. We had another pajama day & I was going to make the family celebration cupcakes with Logan earlier (I'll probably get started on them here in a few minutes), but I haven't been too motivated to do anything really.

I lost what I hope is the rest of my mucous plug this morning (I don't think I had a membrane sweep at my last OB appointment, but she sure did get things moving out) & to top it all off, I've been having more deep menstrual-like cramps after I showered. It's nothing I can time yet, but things are different today...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where is your mom at?
This morning we had playgroup at the park & it was a super nice morning for it too. Logan & I had just been at the gym where I walked on the treadmill for an hour with photographer friend (who woke up feeling gross being 12 weeks pregnant herself & decided lifting was out of the picture), so I was already tired before we got there. The park that we met at is one of the newest parks in town & really quite fun - for older kids. It can be a pain if you have a younger one because it's very difficult to keep track of them there. I've had many heart attacks because Logan has run off somewhere & hid or played in some part of the structure where I couldn't see him. Being the slow, waddling whale that I feel like, it was even more difficult to keep up with him.

When we first got there, Logan was content to eat his snacks & sit on the rocking bench "ride". I was talking with some of the other playgroup moms for a bit while we all sat there & enjoyed each other's company. Soon enough we were interrupted by a very annoying & obviously starved for attention boy (who was about 5 or 6 years old, maybe? I don't know). He got on the swing with us, which was fine because there was plenty of room (there are actually 2 benches attached to a rocking swing thing - it's difficult to explain), but he would interrupt our conversations & wanted us to follow him around the park so he could show us the "gold" in the rocky hill. I told him that Logan wanted to stay there & eat his snacks & I had to stay there with him because I was his mom. This kid didn't give up.

He kept wanting me to play with him, away from Logan. He would run over to the rocks with the "gold" & talk about them from across the playground. At one point he hit his head (I don't know how, because I wasn't watching him) & he came running over to me rather than his mom. I felt like we had just picked up a lost puppy dog & it was all because I humored this kid with conversation when he came to share the ride. We soon relocated to a regular park bench to watch our kids & this kid followed us there, actually taking up the spot of one of my friends. We all began to ask him where his mom was. We had been asking him every now & then, but we didn't get a response. Finally, he pointed to the picnic pavilion where a woman was sitting alone, far away from her son. The other moms & myself began to look at each other & roll our eyes because we knew we had just been "suckered" into being a babysitter for this kid while his mom paid no attention to him at all, or even cared that he was talking to strangers (let alone bothering them) for long periods of time. He ran off from her unsupervised & tagged along with us even though he was uninvited.

We continued to play with our kids on the playground. I followed Logan around as best as I could & he had fun sliding down the slides. At one point, this kid lured him away from the playgroup & over to some large rocks. I could still see Logan from a distance, but in the blink of an eye, he was gone. I figured he was on the other side of the rocks & waddled over there to check. He wasn't there. No, he was running across the soccer field with this kid on the other side of the playground. I yelled to Logan to run back over & that he wasn't supposed to play on the field. He came running back with this lost kid behind him. The kid pipes up about them playing over there, to which I quickly cut him off mid-sentence. "Logan isn't supposed to play over there. He's supposed to stay on the playground where I can see him."

I was shocked that his mom didn't care at all that her son was out of sight & running off far, far away hanging out with strangers. He could have easily been abducted. She would have never known until it was too late. Fortunately, he left shortly there after explaining that he had a dental appointment. "I said good-bye", he told us sternly because once again, he was interrupting our conversation & we didn't immediately respond to him. "Oh, have fun. Bye!", we said relieved that he wouldn't be bothering us anymore.

On on hand, this kid was annoying - like a pesky mosquito. On the other hand, I felt bad for him because he clearly didn't get the social interaction that he desperately needed or the basic discipline & instruction about "stranger danger" & polite communication skills from his own mom. The experience made me so glad that Logan, while having his moments, is a well behaved little kid. Sometimes it takes days like today to remind me of that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Like molasses in the dead of winter
I had my 38th week check-up this afternoon & as much as I hate to say it - not much progress. I've dilated to 2cms, maybe 2.5 if we're being generous. So, nothing too different from last week. The Doctor that I saw (a sub because my OB is on vacation) said that I've thinned out a bit more, but didn't give me specifics & I didn't care to ask. She also seemed to be digging for gold in there when she was checking my progress & I'm certain she dislodged some of my mucous plug (which I know is TMI, but get over it - this is pregnancy. It's not glamorous). So, that may get things moving along, right? Right...

Meanwhile, the painful contractions continue, I feel like garbage - tired & often nauseous (even with zofran still), just over all uncomfortable. Sleeping sucks & every time I try to flip I feel like my pelvis is going to split in half. Carter is still all up in my ribs & contorting into odd positions to where I have to keep my arms raised above my head if I want relief or oxygen - you know, the important things.

Boy, aren't I just rainbows & unicorns over here!

Monday, September 08, 2008

We needed this
It's been another gray Monday without much to do (outside the house - I've been swamped with MOMS Club stuff via email). Logan & I have had another nice day cuddling on the couch watching TV, reading books & playing with cars. Too many days like this tend to make us both stir-crazy, but not today. Today has been awesome & so relaxing. We both needed this.

I don't know how many more days Logan & I will have together with it just being the two of us snuggled up. I don't know how more days I'll have to just hang out & sleep the 3 hours during Logan's nap time. Sure, there's a pile of laundry that needs to be folded (more like 6 piles) but at least it's all clean. The dishes are done & our house cleaner comes tomorrow (when we get back to busy schedule life). Right now, it's all about the big, white, fuzzy robe & all the cuddles we can get in.

I don't know why today has been the way it has since Logan is usually too wild to cuddle for long periods of time. He usually gets bored & causes trouble, causing my blood to boil. I usually have to yell at him a million times about leaving Buddha alone or to stop running around with food in his mouth. I can count on one hand how many times I've had to raise my voice today (once, maybe twice?). He hasn't even had a temper tantrum today (except for the mini melt down before nap that was really nothing). The rest of the time has been spent hugging - me, Carter, the cat - & laughing at him being cute.

This is how I want to remember our last days of it being just the two of us. Calm, loving, relaxing, cute. I hope it lasts a bit longer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

38 weeks today
Mellow, gloomy, overcast day. Coffee, naps & pajamas. Another Portland-type Friday. I've been catching up on laundry, watching ungodly amounts of cartoons with Logan & just getting the house put together. Moving slowly in every way, making the term "a watched pot never boils" ring true. A watched uterus never dilates.

It also feels kind of strange to have most of our home projects completed. Our "home days", while relaxing, are incredibly boring & I find myself almost twiddling my thumbs. When procrastinating on house work, I'm getting pre-occupied with politics & discussions being had all around. My blood pressure rises a bit. Maybe that will get the contractions to do something!

*Taking belly pictures this afternoon, but will need Bill's help with editing on the laptop since our desktop took a dirt nap earlier this week*

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

For months now I've been having contractions. They started out as Braxton Hicks, then at around 30-31 weeks, they turned into pre-term labor contractions that needed to be stopped. After weeks of having these contractions due to stress, having an "irritable uterus" & needing Carter to stay in, the gears have switched & now I want these crazy contractions to do what they are supposed to. GET HIM OUT.

Everyday I have painful contractions that make me think, "this is it!" only to have my hopes dashed by their inconsistency. This morning I was up at 3:00am with painful contractions that did nothing. I trained two clients this morning & dealt with contractions during both sessions. During photographer friend's session, I walked with her on the treadmill for about 20 minutes & was SO SURE my water would break right there in the gym. Guess not, huh.

This kind of stuff happens all day long, every day. I have no clue when it's really going to happen since I've been plagued with False Labor for so long. My uterus cramps, Carter fights it & kicks my ribs at the same time & they are so strong they suck the breath out of me. Really - I get this hollow feeling like all of the air is being drawn out of my lungs even though I can still breath. It's the craziest feeling ever. So, yeah. A little bit stronger than your typical Braxton Hicks contractions. And between the pain of the contraction & the force of Carter's resistance, I feel like I'm always wincing in pain, yelping, gasping & trying to get comfortable (which never happens).

I am tired of contractions that do nothing. I'm also tired of this sharp stabbing pain in my cervix that makes me think I'm dilating, but I'm not. I'm tired of feeling like things are changing when they aren't! UGH!

Yeah, I'm over this pregnancy now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Equal to bigamy?
Throughout the entire pregnancy with Carter, I never once felt guilty that Logan would have to share his time with us or that his world would change. I always thought that he would adjust very well since he is really good about sharing, is independent & has been fascinated with babies. I planned on keeping him involved by being my little helper, which he loves to do anyway. I thought being a Big Brother would make him feel important & special, even though he's only two. And then I heard this piece of conversation today...

"My sister was reading a book that said that bringing home a new baby is to the older sibling what you'd feel like if bigamy was legal and your husband brought home another wife. I never thought of it like that!"

Well. I never thought about it like that either. It makes a lot of sense. After taking that in, my stomach dropped & for the first time I felt an intense wash of guilt flow through my blood. An irrational thought of "Holy crap! What did I do? I can't take this back!" popped out of the recesses of my sporadically functioning pregnancy-brain. I know how jealous I would be if the tables were turned & I had to "share" & for some unknown reason, it never clicked with me on how Logan might feel until now. Until we are virtually days away from expecting Carter's birth.

Maybe I was blinded by optimism & refused to believe that Logan would be emotionally hurt by the arrival of his brother. As I watched him play out in the backyard by himself, swinging on his stomach on the swings, driving his cars across the fence, relentlessly chasing Buddha around & playing pretend with his dinosaurs, I felt sorry that he was alone. I always imagined how much fun he would have with his little brother & never imagined that he might dislike him just because of his existence in our home.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that not all of us like our siblings. Some of us had intense sibling rivalry as kids that we grew out of (my sisters & I had daily hair-pulling fights) & some of us grew to dislike our brothers or sisters as adults (Bill might feel this way now, but I can't speak for him). As mothers, we always dream of the perfect family - kids playing together peacefully & lovingly. I think mothers of boys even take it a step farther & dream about the brotherly love their kids will share - a sibling connection that is stronger than one can fathom. Now I am afraid that I have unrealistic expectations or dreams of the relationship that Logan & Carter may have.

I can only hope that Bill & I express to Logan effectively (for a two year old) that Carter is not a subtraction from him or us, but an addition to our family. That even though our time will be divided, our happiness will double. I want to keep thinking that things will work out as I had hoped them to.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor day
And no labor. Well, no baby labor but a whole lot of physical labor. We are 98% finished with all of our major home projects & I have to admit, I am quite impressed (not with myself, because I really didn't do squat - it was all Bill's hard work).

When we moved into this house, I was sick as you could be without dying & Bill had the flu. We basically just left everything in boxes until now (six months later). The closets were a huge mess with nothing hung up, but massive piles on the floor. Thankfully we have gigantic walk-in's & you would never notice unless you looked. The garage was lined with piles of boxes & random junk that needed to be organized. It was so cramped that we often couldn't open the doors to the car all the way - in our two car garage.

But! All of the baby gear is out of the garage & getting washed, the clutter is gone & it looks not only clean, but spacious. We have plenty of room to open the car doors. The closets are almost done - it won't take much to finish. We have pretty much everything that we need for Carter & set up, but I still need to decorate the nursery (which honestly, isn't top priority right now). He has his pac n' play set up in our room, his crib is put together, the changing table is built & everything is washed & put away. There are just ugly curtains in his room with bare walls. He doesn't know the difference.

So, a lot of hard work & very productive at that. At least we got these projects completed before the real Labor Day.