Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life Is Precious

Today Emma turned 2 weeks old and attended her first funeral.

We didn't know the deceased well. She is a neighbor that we got to know after their home was broken into this past winter. We actually know her husband much better since he seemed to be the more outgoing of the two.

The real tragedy is that she was only 33 and the death was unexpected and quite sudden. She complained of chest pains and not feeling well on Tuesday evening, so her husband took her to a walk in clinic just down the street. The doctor examined her and felt she was having a heart attack. He went to get the paperwork started for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. While he was out of the room, she went into cardiac arrest and died with her husband and seven year old daughter sitting there right next to her. They still transferred her to the hospital, but there was nothing that could be done for her.

As expected, the funeral was sad. Her husband and daughter seem to be in a state of denial. Both seemed in good spirits and they have lots of family and friends by to offer them a lot of love and support. Even so, it is hard to think about that little girl growing up without her mother.

I cradled my own little girl, so sweet and brand new, and thought about the grief that this woman's mother must feel. You don't expect to bury your own child. I thought about my own mortality and the possibility of not seeing my babies grow up. It was ironic holding the beginning of life at a ceremony honoring someone whose life had just ended. It was a reminder that life is truly precious and to make sure that those around me know how much I love and appreciate them.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Two Weeks Out

I had my two week incision check today. Dr. S's nurse couldn't get over how "fantastic" I looked. I was pretty pleased with the 24 lb. weight drop that we recorded as well as the proclamation that I am healing "beautifully" from Dr. S. I am doing so well that he said I could even start lifting Will occasionally when the need arises. He did say that I shouldn't do it unncessarily and to still have M do most of the heavy lifting, but what a relief to know that I am not going to hurt myself if I do occasionally lift him. With M headed back to work Monday, this will make my life much easier.

The best news I heard at today's appointment, however, is that I am cleared for a tub bath! This is excellent news. I am going to be sinking into a HOT bath after Will is in bed tonight. I don't allow myself hot baths when I am pregnant, so this one has been a long time coming. Although I wouldn't say I have any pain any more, I do have some achiness, and the idea of soaking in the tub sounds marvelous right now.

We discussed birth control, which always seems like such a weird topic to me. But seeing as I have gotten pregnant on birth control three times (even taking it religiously), it is not reliable enough for me. So, we are looking at an IUD, specifically this one. Any experience or thoughts with this?

Other than that, we are kind of chugging along here. Emma continues to do well and is being a pretty easy baby for the most part. She sleeps well at night, waking up every 3 -4 hours to eat. She hates, and I mean HATES, her carseat and screams like a banshee during most car rides which is tough to listen to (and keeps us close to home).

Will is doing better on the tantrum front but still is fighting bedtime. I have decided to just go with the flow until M goes back to work. Then, Mama is in charge again and we are going to put him back on a schedule if it's the last thing I do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The birth story doesn't end with the snip of the umbilical cord. Much of the story of Emma's birth happened after we were shipped off to recovery. I didn't write much about my recovery with Will and always wish I had put a bit more down on paper (or screen, in this case) as those memories are long buried under a haze of narcotics and mommy brain. If you need to catch up, here are the other parts of the birth story.

Part One

Part Two

Now, to the recovery room and beyond. . .

At one point in the recovery room, I was so overjoyed by the peace and tranquility of Emma' birth, that I couldn't see why everyone in the world wouldn't want to have a c-section. I had kind of forgotten about one teensy, tiny little detail. . . recovery.

Will and Emma's births were very similar in some ways. We were up early, driving to the hospital, squeezing each others' hands in mixed fear, awe, and delight of what we were about to face. We ended up in the OR. Our children came out perfectly healthy and crying loud and proud.

They were very different in most other ways, and my time in recovery probably is the most pronounced example. With Will, I was a mess in recovery. My pain was uncontrolled, I was so out of it that I couldn't have told you what day it was or maybe even my name. I didn't want to touch anything or anyone, and that, unfortunately, included Will. At one point, M tried to give him to me and I pushed him away. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to touch him, it's just that I knew I was out of control and didn't want to hurt him. I was still shaking so much from surgery and was incredibly loopy. M's entire family had been waiting all day and M brought them in, one-by-one, to meet Will. I remember his 14 year old cousin leaning in and making scary faces at me, and I was so doped up on morphine, that I was actually frightened of him but powerless to "defend" myself. It was a chaotic and disturbing chunk of time.

With Emma, it seriously could not have been more peaceful. It was just the three of us, she nursed for practically the entire time we were in recovery. We had asked families to give us the day for just us, so we had all day back in our room to just count her tiny fingers and toes and marvel at the miracle of this second blessing. My pain was still largely controlled and when I started having some breakthrough pain, a quick dose of morphine through my IV took care of it quickly.

If I could change one small detail, and my advice to you, is if you want visitors to come to the hospital, have them come later on the day of the c-section. You will still be working off of the birth adrenaline and also the wonderful dose of dermamorph (long acting morphine) that the anesthesiologist gave you as a parting gift in the OR. This lasts for about 12 - 20 hours, depending on your tolerance and the dose. In addition, you will get the best pain medications for the first 12 - 24 hours after your procedure, so if you are in pain, you only have to speak up and the nurses should help you out. After that, they are trying to move you to discharge, so they are a little less giving with the medications. You can't even have certain ones any more and you can't have them very often. Also, they do not make you get out of bed right away and you have your catheter in, so you don't have to risk leaving a bloody trail to and from the bathroom in front of any guests.

The day of Emma's birth, I felt pretty great. I even told M that we could call my MIL and ask her to come down. He said that he'd rather just keep to the original plan. I also asked for our computer several times so that I could update here, but he was worried that I would be too out of it to post coherently. He told me that I could have the computer the next day.

Ah, the next day.

The next day is when several cruel things happen. First off, if your newborn is like Emma, they will have kept you up half the night, nursing and crying. Even if your baby sleeps for you, the nurses will keep you up with constant visits into the room. There will be vitals checks for you and then vitals checks for the baby, which seem to be timed at juust the moment when everyone has finally fallen asleep. Housekeeping will be in (yes, at 3 AM), the lab will come draw your blood at 5 AM with a chipper, "Good morning!", and breakfast will be delivered at 6 AM. So, when the lovely nurses assistant came in at 6:15 to tell me it was time to remove my catheter and get out of bed, I cried.

Yes, I cried. Don't judge me. It worked on the assistant. Or so I thought! Instead, the traitor ran off to report my behavior to my nurse, who then came in and firmly told me that I had to get up. As a concession, they would allow me to keep my catheter, but I had to get up and walk to the bathroom. I should have sensed the trick, because once in the bathroom, they took out the catheter and then I had to try to pee on my own.

Yeah. Right.

I used the bottle of warm water, I flushed the toilet, the nurse turned out the shower, all in the futile hopes of making this happen. My bladder had taken a vacation and was not coming back. It is the weirdest feeling and a little scary, too. I was worried that I would never be able to pee on my own again. The nurse assured me that this would not be the case and allowed me back into bed with a reward of two precious pain pills.

The pain pills worked to dull the pain, but they also made me very nauseous, so I got something through the IV for that. And thus began the cycle of pain pills, anti nausea meds, and me basically being in semi-passed-out state for the rest of the day. My inlaws arrived around 1 and didn't leave until 6 and I had to drag myself out of bed several times to try and go to the bathroom during their stay. I consider myself very close to my mother, sister, and grandmother-in-law, but I have to confess that I am still a little embarassed by the things they saw and probably heard, too.

I did not have bad post-op gas with Will. With Emma? Oh, boy. I would be pretty comfortable and then BAM! I would be at a 7 or 8 on the pain scale and pretty sure an alien baby had taken up residence in my stomach and was trying to push its way out. I couldn't take any of the usual medications that they give to relieve gas because they also could work against my platelet count. This was also the case with any sort of anti-inflammatory drug. Ibuprofen was my best friend during my recovery with Will and I think that it made a huge difference this time not to be able to take it. I never was completely pain free in the hospital, where with Will, I remember being pretty comfortable until I tried to move.

What finally helped the gas situation was a lovely nurse whose name has unfortunately faded into the drug-induced-abyss. I seriously wanted to hug her. She laid my bed flat and helped roll me onto my left side. She tucked pillows in all around me and between my legs, pulling my left hip back. Something in this particular situation was both extremely comfortable and effective in getting things going. I slept for several hours that night (the first good sleep I'd had since Emma's arrival and probably long before given my whale-like status).

My platelets dropped further following surgery and they were very concerned with my swollen feet and headaches, but nothing else seemed amiss. Due to the lab results and the fact that I was still having issues with the gas and pain management, we stayed until Tuesday. I was grateful when the OB made this decision on Monday morning, because I was by no means ready to go home at that point and I do believe the extra time in the hospital made a huge difference.

And by Tuesday, I was ready to go home! I missed Will so much that it hurt. The night nurse shift had said that since we had so many things already done, discharge should be easy. Emma was fine, it was me that had caused an extra day's stay, so we just needed to see the on-call OB, get my staples removed, and we'd be good to go. So, we were packed and tapping our toes by 11 AM. The on-call OB was then called in to do an emergency c-section, so we were put on hold.

Will arrived with his Gramma around noon and he got to meet his sister. He gave her the Glow Worm we had picked out together and sat next to M to hold her. Then the on-call OB finally arrived and things got a bit hectic again. M took Will for a walk while my staples were removed and my MIL held Emma, who screamed the entire time. The nurse seemed timid about pulling the staples out and made a face with each once, which didn't help. For the record, it doesn't hurt to have the staples removed more than it pinches, but when the person doing it is wincing, it makes it seem a little less comfortable.

After that, I had to feed Emma, and then it was time to hit the road. The medical assistant came with a big gray cart to wheel all of our stuff down to the parking lot. M and Will went ahead to get the cart and my MIL and I stayed with Emma and our things. We got everything in the car, including our two children. Looking at them both in the back seat was amazing. Will kept looking over to his sister, who sat quietly in her chair for about five minutes. Fortunately, our trip home was only about fifteen minutes, but those last ten seemed like an eternity.

We got home and my MIL arrived a bit later to give us some privacy as a family for the first few minutes. Since getting home, I would say that I have been recovering well. I stopped taking pain pills my third day at home and have just been taking Tylenol as needed, which has been more for headaches rather than any sort of surgery pain. I didn't deal with post-operative constipation this time like last time for several reasons:

1) I didn't eat like a freakin' pig in the hospital. I wasn't gonna shove too much down until I knew that all systems were go.

2) I took my stool softeners religiously (I did last time, too) but I also added something that I highly recommend. . . fruit paste. Every single time that the food services people came to take my order, I added fruit paste to my meal. Now, fruit paste is not appetizing in look, smell, or taste. It is a concentrate of fibrous fruit in a paste form. It's not that bad, but it's not the best thing you'll ever eat. I didn't care. After the last time and the worst constipation (9 days after surgery I still hadn't gone) EVER, I was taking no chances. I ate my fruit paste. When I got home, I drank a glass of prune juice instead. I was a woman on a mission.

3) I got a suppository and used it when we were at home. Again, this isn't fun, but I don't care. Nine days without the plumbing working was way worse. These made things so much better. It was an OTC thing that the doctor actually did write me a prescription for (at my request)/

The result of all of this was that it was no big deal to go to the bathroom. I mean, to me, it was a very big deal. I cannot tell you how awful it was last time and it was my single greatest fear going into the surgery this time (I know. That's how bad it was).

Occasionally, I get a twinge or pulling feeling, but other than that, at 10 days out, I feel pretty normal physically. Of course, I am tired, but I don't have much (any, really) pain. I still have to have my incision check on Friday and I am still pulling off the steri-strips a few at a time after each shower, but all in all, I think I am doing pretty well. I definitely have not had the luxury to stay in bed like I did last time. Will keeps me moving and I would say I didn't really have (or need) much recovery time after I got home from the hospital.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Calm and Collected

I about spit the water I was drinking out with laughter when I read the last comment from Hollie about sounding calm and collected.

I was a mess yesterday. A hormonal, sobbing, pile of jumbled emotions that changed as quickly as the wind. Seriously, I was a basket case.

It wasn't even really about the jaundice, though it didn't help matters. I was definitely way more upset about Will and his jaundice and it was never this high. I think I just learned a lesson with Will's bout with bilirubin that it isn't the end of the world if the baby gets a bit of formula. I sobbed when I had to stop breastfeeding for 24 hours with Will because I thought the very worst thing that could. ever. happen to me is if we didn't get to go back to nursing. I guess little bit of parenting has seasoned me a bit, because I have come to see that if Emma didn't go back to the breast, life would go on. Now, I would be disappointed, don't get me wrong, but I would pump, she would get a my breastmilk in a bottle and we'd all move on.

That being said. . . I think the reality of having two small children is hitting me. As any of you who have been reading this blog know only too well, it's not as if I went into this blindly or with visions of sunshine and roses. I've been freaking since about 7 months pregnant about how I would be everything to everybody (realizing, of course, that I can't and won't be but still knowing I'll try).

My relationship with Will has changed already. The tantrums that have suddenly started are far worse with me than with M. He knows that I can't lift him and is refusing to do things that normally would not even been an issue (like put on his shoes or go upstairs to brush his teeth). He will give me this look and then refuse to do something. . . because he knows that I don't have the ability to physcially make him do something. M is here this week to help with those moments, but he heads back to work on Monday and I started to feel just a bit of panic thinking about being alone with the both of them and still not being 100% back to normal. Now, to be fair to Will, it's not as if he is doing this all of the time, but with my hormones already on a wild ride, I find that what would normally not even phase me practially has me in tears. I miss my sweet little boy and I miss being able to do everything he needs.

Yesterday, we all went to the grocery store and I realized the sheer logistics of shopping with two small children. We just don't fit in one standard grocery cart anymore. There are those nifty car carts that most grocery stores now have and one of those worked great yesterday, but as any mom knows, those are not always available. I consider myself a very independent, on-the-go Mommy. I was able to do all of our grocery shopping and errands done with Will in tow and now I have no clue how I will get those things done. I told M I am going to have to start doing grocery shopping at night, after the kids are in bed, but I know it will be awhile before I have time in the evening to do that.

Then, there is my guilt toward Emma. I feel as if she is the easier one to set down when all heck breaks loose. I am definitely not jumping at her every cry. I don't sit on the couch and nurse her for hours and stare at her beautiful little face as I did with her older brother. I am far more businesslike and likely to set her down so I can get some crackers for Will or five minutes to shower. I don't even know that this is necessarily a bad thing, it just makes me sad that I don't get the same time to just marinate in these newborn days.

Logically, I know all of these emotions are very normal. There are moments when I do feel calm and collected and I do feel in control of things. Actually, today, I have been much better and not feeling as panicked, so I attribute a lot of this to the Great Hormone Crash of '10. I know that in time, I will find a new rhythm, a new normal. I will learn to navigate the grocery store with two kids. I will learn how to be a mommy-on-the-go-with-two. . . or I will have to learn to stay at home more. . . or a combination of both.

Emotionally, I am trying to be patient with myself. I am 9 days out from surgery, juggling life and sleeping schedules, and of course, readjusting hormonally following pregnancy. I just need to take one day. . . one smile. . . one cuddle at a time. These two make it pretty hard to ignore the cuteness that life with two children bring.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nore More Bed. . . Wait A Minute

I wanted to post a quick update on Emma. Her bilirubin levels climbed for a third time after a day on the bed, which was a little alarming, but we just kept doing the prescribed care. Yesterday, they dropped to 14. This is below the level that they would even treat an infant for (above normal, but not at all dangerous), but since we were already all set up, they are having us do a third draw this morning and keeping her on the bed until we know that the number is still going down.

The bed hasn't been awful, but I will be very glad to be done with it. It seems so wrong to hold a newborn so little. We literally take her out to feed her, hold her for a few precious minutes, and tuck her back in. I know it is what she needs, so I do it, but very reluctantly. I just want to snuggle her all of the time.

Also, I wanted to address the supply issue and feeding her formula. The nurse that came the second day weighed Emma before a feeding (eight minutes, one breast) and Emma gained three ounces in that single sided feeding. The nurse said this is fantastic. I am still pumping after most feedings to gain an ounce of milk here and there, so after feedings where she still doesn't seem satisfied, she gets a bottle of breastmilk. If there was no breastmilk and she was still hungry, I would give her formula in a heartbeat. I do not think there is anything wrong with formula and wouldn't hesitate to give it to any of my children. Will had it exclusively for a day at this age when they suspected breastmilk jaundice.

Edited: Ugh. SO frustrating. This morning, the nurse came and announced that we were all done with the bed. She packed it up and took it with her and I said a not-so-fond farewell to it. The nurse just called a few minutes ago and her bilirubin numbers went back up to 15.9. This is still not a dangerous level, but it does mean that the nurse has to come back in the morning for yet another draw out of my poor baby's little foot. Then if the numbers go back up again, they'll have to come back with the bed later on tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We Interrupt This Birth Story With A Current Update

It's been a busy few days here in the World of Two Kids.

Emma has jaundice. Will had jaundice as well, but we were able to avoid the phototherapy. Not so this time. Right now, she is in her little "sun bed." It's great that we can do it at home and not be readmitted, but it is hard to keep in her that contraption all of the time. The home health nurse that came last night also has me paranoid about my milk supply, so I am fighting the urge to supplement with formula right now. I have no problem with formula! Will had formula at this age and he is just fine today, but I just don't think she really needs it.

She isn't losing weight, she is audibly swallowing when she eats, and she is making plenty of wet and poopy diapers each day. She does want to eat pretty frequently, but I think that's just how she is. She loves to be held close and snuggled, just like her brother did. I am hoping she has gained a bit more when they weigh her today so that I can rest a bit easier. She is still at her discharge weight, which is also part of why the nurse thinks she isn't getting enough to eat. This is the one part of breastfeeding that I really don't like - that you can't see what is going into their bodies and it's easy to start losing your confidence that you are feeding your baby enough.

Will is doing. . . well, 90% of the time, he is doing great. He seems his normal little self. He is interested in Emma and when she cries he will ask her, "Emma, you okay?" or "Emma, why you crying?" He seems to be a bit confused about the fact that she is not in my belly anymore. He will hug my belly or pat it and say, "Hi, Emma" and I tell him that she isn't in my belly anymore and then point her out to him. He will spontaneously ask to hold or hug her. He will bring her toys. He is generally a very sweet big brother.

Then, there is that 10% of the time. He is still good with his sister, but he is clearly testing his limits with M and me. He is throwing more tantrums and he definitely has more attitude. I will freely admit here that I was exhausted in the final weeks of my pregnancy. I let a lot of things slide. I was not as firm with if he could have special treats (chocolate milk for example) or how often. Bedtime started sliding backward and I got to the point where it seemed pointless to re-train him when he would just be spending four or five days with my MIL, who usually doesn't get him into bed until almost 10. So, I think we are dealing with the trifecta of new baby sister, having to re-train some bad habits, and the fact that he is about to turn two and a lot of his would have happened developmentally anyway.

I feel a lot of guilt towards him. I know that this is silly. He is loved, well-taken-care-of, and given more attention that a lot of only kids, but his little world has still been rocked. I want to be as patient as I can be with this transition, but I also don't want to overcompensate and turn him into a brat. Last night, when he fought bedtime until almost 10, I was almost as distraught as he was, crying right along with him.

Speaking of which. . . ah, the hormonal crash. My hormones are all over the board. Generally speaking, I think I am handling this post partum period much better than I did last time. However, I definitely have my moments when Crazy Post Partum Lady takes full residence in me. I have moments where I tell M I can't wait to have another baby (he doesn't even respond to that) and other moments where I am in tears because I don't know where I will get the time/energy/arms to give both of my children what they need and I almost get panicky. I am trying to just ride the rollercoaster. When we were in the hospital, one of the pediatricians that checked Emma out asked me if I wanted to get any resources on post partum depression. I am still not sure if she asked me this out of routine or if there was something that I said or did that flagged me as a high risk for the depression, but I never turn down a resource.

Well, the resource was a visit from a social worker who sat down with M and me and talked about the risks and warning signs and what to do if I experience any issues again this time. It was a good reminder for both of us and then it went into my file that she visited with us and my OB will follow up with me about it, so I feel as if we have an extra little check point later on. Right now, I feel that my feelings about things are very normal. I mostly feel very in control and like myself, with just moments of "woah, I want off this roller coaster" thrown in for good measure.

I am also in the "sweat it out" phase where I wake up with soaked bedsheets and night gown every time I lay down. I had this will Will, too. It's annoying, but the payoff is in the scale. I have lost 19 pounds today (1 week post surgery). I gained 30 pounds altogether, so I am well on my way to pre-pregnancy weight. That being said, I lost 25 pounds really quickly with Will, too, and then had a devil of a time with the final five while I was breastfeeding. But hey, a girl can celebrate a major weight loss any time!

I also have feet bones again! My legs and feet were so puffy for so long that I am admiring my "skinny" legs again (for the record, I have always hated my legs and called them my stumps, but I am in love with them right now).

So, that's where we are right now. Lots of yellow baby, tantrums, sweating, and crying. I didn't make it sound very fun in this post, but I also have to say, there are moments when it's all wonderful and those moments are worth everything.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Emma's Birthday

We had the alarm clock set for 4:45 on Saturday, July 17. I woke up long before the alarm and tossed and turned for awhile before giving up and getting up. I wanted to take a shower and put on my makeup . . . you know, so I could look all "glamorous" in the OR!

We got to the hospital and it was very quiet. We were the only patients in triage and had four nurses attending to us. It was during the intitial hook up and monitoring that the nurse let us know that we still weren't sure if we were doing the surgery today.


Yeah, the blood work from the day before had shown my platelet levels had dropped even further. The nurse asked me what the next step was if they couldn't do the surgery. I just looked at her in confusion. How was I supposed to know? Yeah, I mean I know am a Google Queen, but I clearly am no medical doctor. Apparently, my doctor wasn't even up for the day yet, so we were kind of in a holding pattern. They didn't want to start the IV without knowing we were doing surgery for sure.

They eventually decided that they would do the IV anyway, so they started that. It took three tries and two blown veins to get it in, but they managed. I usually don't have problems with IVs, but it HURT when they blew those veins.

They then decided that they needed to do a third blood draw before proceeding with the surgery, so I got yet another needle stick. Through out all of this, however, I got to listen to the soothing lull of my daughter's heartbeat, so it wasn't too bad. And an interesting side note is that I was having contractions at a very regular 3 minutes apart. I never got an internal exam to see if I was dilating, but the nurse was pretty sure that I was already in labor on my own. She said that was really good for Emma, since the natural contractions of the uterus start squeezing fluids from the lungs, and that it's ideal if a woman can go into natural labor prior to a c-section.

The third blood draw revealed that my platelets were slipping even lower. Dr. S had been contacted and said that he would definitely be going ahead with the surgery with my counts being what they were, so it was time to move to from triage to our pre-op room. We shuffled down the hallway, me with my IV bag of fluids, M with our camera stuff, and the nurse with my paperwork.

In our pre-op room, I took the nasty antacid in a cup and got a dose of antibiotics through the IV. We sat there, watching the clock tick closer to 8. Dr. S came in about ten minutes before to check in with us. He joked about being there to do my knee replacement surgery, helped M tie on his surgical garb, and then shook our hands and told us he'd see us in a few minutes. After that, I hugged M and we said goodbye, me starting to tear up as we walked across the hall and into the OR. As I had been for weeks, leading up to this moment, I was emotional, but it seemed out of place. The lights are bright, the air is cold, and everyone is acting as if this happens every day, because it does. But for you, this is a monumental occasiona and yet it is so cold and clinical and just plain weird. One moment, you are a pregnant woman and very soon, you will not be pregnant any more and the baby will be here. Crazy.

I sat on the edge of the table with a stool under my feet. My pre-op nurse (who was amazing) held my hands as I sat hunched over with my shoulders slumped down. The spinal was quick and relatively painless and as soon as it was in, they had me lay down very quickly. I felt dizzy right away and then the shaking started very soon after. It took awhile for them to do the rest of the prep, like getting my catheter in and wiping the area with iodine. Dr. S came in, walked over, and took my hand and said, "It'll be okay. I just looked at your latest labs. It's a very good thing we are getting the baby out today." [I found out later that my actual diagnosis that day was HELLP syndrome.]

I just smiled at him and said, "I'm excited!" And I clearly was (or was it the bolus dose of dermamorph that I believe they give you right before surgery?).

Just like last time, they actually do the first incision before they bring your support person in. I was very glad when I saw M through the door and then he sat by my head. He rubbed it and I leaned into the gesture. I looked at him and said, "I'm so glad you are here."

Then, I got caught up in the feelings of the surgery. The funny thing is that I didn't feel woozy or out of it at all during the entire procedure. I was very awake and very aware. There was a lot of tugging and pressure, even some feelings of being "unzipped" (no pain, just an odd sensation). My shaking continued so much that I was having trouble keeping my arms steady on the table. The anesthesiologist told me not to fight the shaking and it actually seemed to help to relax into it. M asked if I was cold, but the anesthesiologist said it was a combination of nerves and the medication. He predicted I would fall asleep after Emma was born and I knew she was okay.

A few minutes later, he told M to stand up and get a picture of the baby. I heard M say, "She's so tiny!" and I was worried that she was too small. And then we heard her crying and of course, I started to cry myself. I could see her being put on the warming table and a flurry of activity around her. As we had talked about prior, M left my side to go to our daughter's. I heard her APGAR being called out and then I asked about weight, but the anesthesiologist said they wouldn't weigh her for a bit. I asked him if she was okay and he responded that she looked and sounded great. And she did sound good! She had (and still does!) a very enthusiastic cry - though M said it was not as angry as Will's.
Soon, she was being wrapped up and M brought her to me. I was still shaking and had thrown up a few times by this point, so I wasn't able to do much but look, but right away, I could see that she looked a lot like her brother. But M said she had my eyes.

After I had gotten a good look, she was taken back to the warmer. I could hear that her weight was a healthy 7 lbs., 9 oz. so I knew she was a good size. Dr. S was just finished stitching me up and then they had to lift me from the table to the gurney to get me back to post-op. There is usually a machine that does this, but because I was a "light" patient (nice of them to say, but didn't feel that way when it took four people to lift me to and from), they did it manually. They rolled me to the right, which felt very scary, but it was quick and then we were rolling back to what was now my post-op room.

One thing that I am so thankful for with Emma's birth is that I was able to have skin to skin contact and nurse her within a half hour of delivery. With Will, I did not attempt to nurse until almost five hours had gone by and I think it made latching more difficult (though we didn't really have any feeding problems, my nipples took a major beating). I did start to feel fuzzy in recovery, but the nurse was able to help me and Emma latched right on. She then nursed for almost a half hour on each breast, which I guess is pretty rare, since several nurses commented on it during our stay.

Dr. S came to talk to us and told the nurse that I would be unable to take any sort of anti-inflammatories for pain management. He declared that Emma was beautiful, shook M's hand, and was gone.

Recovery was really a peaceful time for us. It was just us three (plus my nurse, but she wasn't very intrusive) and I felt absolutely no pain. Nursing her was amazing, counting her tiny baby fingers and toes, and seeing that, when her eyes were open, she definitely resembled me. I loved her right away, as you had all told me that I would. I actually find that my love for her has deepened my love for Will in some ways, too. I find myself remembering his babyhood and it just seems my heart will explode from all of the love stuffed inside of it.

I looked at M and told him that I was really glad we hadn't tied my tubes because I was going to want another baby. He just looked at me and didn't say a word. He knows that morphine makes me say and do weird things!

We would soon get settled back in our room and get to know our sweet Emma Grace.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Emma's Birth Story

When I think of Emma's birth and our hospital stay, it is already growing fuzzy, at only 5 days post partum! I want to get the details down because I know that by two years out, those fuzzy details are but mere whispers in my mind. I will do it in three sections so it doesn't get too long for any one read. That being said, I am sure most of the mundane details will be pretty boring and you are under no obligation to read it all (well, obviously!). I just want to get it all down for posterity and also because I always have a few "pearls of wisdom" to pass along for those of you with planned c-sections in your future.

The Day Before

Friday was our final day to get things done. I had a pretty jammed packed morning planned and a call from the doctor's office needing an "urgent" call back was not on my list. I called them back right away and they told me that some issues had been uncovered with my presurgical bloodwork and that I would need to come in immediately for a follow up blood draw. The results from that bloodwork would determine whether or not we could go through with the c-section as planned.
Basically, my blood platelet count was low. Not horribly low, but far below the lowest "normal" value. With low platelets, your blood will not clot normally. Now, this is always a problem, but when you are about to undergo surgery it becomes even more so. Vaginal births can also be dangerous for the same reasons, so the baby would still likely be taken by c-section, but a general would be used and it would be delayed so coagulating agents could be used first. So, this was potentiall a pretty serious issue.

I threw Will in the car and most of my To Do List went right out the window. Of course, the lab was backed up, so it took awhile to get it done. My OB's nurse also had a few questions for me. It turns out that thrombocytopenia can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia, so they had to get some other vitals for me as well. I asked the nurse what our chances of having the surgery delayed would be and she was unable to say, only that she would proceed as planned unless I heard otherwise. We never heard from the doctor for the rest of the day, so we assumed all was fine.

Meanwhile, I finished packing Will (he had been packed for three weeks, but I had to pack and repack him - nesting is a nasty business sometimes) and get things in the car. M got home from work, we had another flurry of things to do, and then we took our dogs to the kennel and headed up to my MIL's.
I was having more of those irritating contractions all day. They were pretty uncomfortable by the time we were at my inlaws'. We got Will settled and then just hung out in the sunny backyard for awhile. My SIL was there and was amazing with Will, especially since he got a little sad when we talked about leaving, and she kept distracting him. We finally left and he was okay, but I was a mess. I sobbed for about ten minutes after we drove away. I was such a jumble of emotions, mostly fear about the upcoming surgery and sadness to be leaving my Little Man. He was fine not two seconds after we pulled away and I was fine, too, it just took Mommy a bit longer.

It felt surreal as we headed home. We each had some last minute things we wanted to get done, silly, boring stuff like water the plants and change the sheets on the bed. Then, we took advantage of our last "kid free" night for what will probably be a long time and went out to dinner. I was too nervous to eat much, but it was still nice to get some last minutes with my hubby before it all changed again.
We ended up chatting with a couple at the next table and when it came up that we were having a baby the next day, they remarked how calm we seemed. It may have seemed that way on the outside, but I was trembling on the inside, on perpetual pins and needles. I know I have used the word surreal already (probably more than once), but there is really not another word that captures the feelings of that night so well.
I kept wanting to implant pieces of the day in my mind's eye. I knew time was passing and I wanted it to both speed up (and be done with the surgery) and slow down (so that I wouldn't have to have the surgery at all!). I made sure to stop several times and really take it all in. M kept teasing me, but folks, these are the days our lives.
We got home at bit before nine and I took a final warm bath. I chugged some water (none allowed after midnight) and went to bed. I was tired but my mind was racing. I was worried about so many things (mostly sleeping through the three alarms we had set) and nostalgic about so many things and basically just a lump of pregnant hormones. It took awhile for me to go to sleep, and of course, I woke many times during the night.

And soon, it was morning! Emma's birthday. ..
One last look at Da Belly (and da Back Fat, but that isn't as cute to say).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coming Home

Last night could not have gone better. I am realistic and I know that there will be many, many hard times to come. However, I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. We had an amazing first night with Emma at home and I am so thankful for it. When I say amazing, it wasn't perfect. There were a couple of moments when I got a bit nervous and one where I wanted to cry, but it was overall very peaceful and the very fact that we were bringing our children home together was surreal and incredible. And other than that, it all went surprisingly smoothly.

M's mom had Will while we were in the hospital and brought him down to us right before discharge for the big introduction. We had gone together with Will to buy Emma a present before she was born and then we had Gramma wrap it with him before they came.

The meeting itself was pretty precious. He was uncertain but sweet and very glad to get hugs from me and Daddy, then both of us again. He gave Emma a kiss, told her he loved her, and then wanted to play with the remote for the hospital bed - LOL! It went pretty much as I expected. For the most part, he ignores her and continues on as he did before. But when she cries, he will bring her a little toy is he is playing with or a binky all on his own, no urging from us.

Things got a bit hectic with discharge but we were on our way home soon. We had Will show Emma all around the house, including her room, his room, and their bathroom as tour highlights. Then M took Will to the park and to pick up my prescriptions while I fed Emma and took a nap. M's mom got here a bit later after a stop at the store (and to give us a bit of family time alone). She settled in, making dinner and putting some things away while I rested.

Will has definitely been more defiant and disagreeable at moments, but I expected that. Right now, we are just trying to be as patient and consistent as possible. Of course, this is a bit easier said than done at times, and I know it's only going to get more challenging, especially if we let things slide right now. We are trying to still be firm with him, but also compassionate, knowing that he's had a lot of changes and things to adjust to. Overall, I'd say he is adjusting exactly as one would expect an almost-two-year-old to.

We got him in bed, rotated holding the baby as we ate a later dinner, then got "stocked" up for the night ahead. I figured we were in for a doozy as Will went down a bit rough for bedtime and then woke up about an hour later, absolutely distraught and wanting Mommy to "rock rock" him. Of course, I can't lift him, so M had to help. It was kind of heartbreaking to not be able to do exactly what he needed at the the moment he needed it, but we got it figured out.

However, once we were all tucked in for the night, things went. . . amazingly. I have really been relaxing a lot more about everything with her, most especially sleeping. Rather than "fight" having her sleep on her own, as I did with Will from minute one, I am just going with the flow. She slept the first half of the night in our co-sleeper and then in my arms for the rest of the night. I will worry about sleep training and all of that when she is older. For now, everyone getting rest is the priority, so where and how that happens isn't the issue. With her in her co-sleeper, I can just roll over and get her when she whimpers, nurse her, and roll her right back. I was up to feed her several times, but it felt so natural and cuddly. I don't really think I am waking up 100% and still felt rested when I woke up this morning.

Today, we all slept in until around 9. I nursed Emma right ater she nursed and when Will woke up, M went and got him and we spent some time in bed as a family. We unswaddled Emma and let Will touch her tiny fingers and toes. The word that keeps coming to mind is peaceful. It was just exactly as I would have planned it if you could plan a night like this. I plan to tuck this memory away for the nights ahead that don't go quite as smoothly.

M's mom is still here through the evening and made us a nice breakfast. One of my girlfriends stopped by with her little boy and brought some treats for us. We have other friends stopping by this afternoon. It is so lovely to have all of this love and support around us.

Of course, I have more pictures (but the camera is downstairs and I am not) as well as the complete birth story and some other random thoughts to post soon. Thank you for all of the loving comments and well-wishes. They mean so much to our family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Emma Is Here!

I am so sorry that it's taken me a few days to get to updating here! I have been under the influence of some really good pharmaceutical agents and not enough sleep. In fact, I hope this entry makes some sense as it is, but I figured I definitely owed you all some details and pictures.

After an uneventful c-section, our daughter was born at 8:24 AM on Saturday, July 17. She weighed 7 lbs., 9 oz. and was 19 inches long. She had a nice, healthy cry and her APGAR was 9/9. We were able to do skin to skin contact and nurse in recovery. . . for over an hour! The nurse couldn't believe what a little piggy she was!

We've been recovering in the hospital and they are taking good care of us. Emma is a rockstar with eating so far. She does have her days and nights switched and has given us a run for our money both of these past two nights - I definitely see a lot of sleepless nights ahead with my Little Princess. But her blood levels all look perfect and three pediatricians have declared her to be 100% healthy. What a miracle!

I am not doing quite as well (though I am still fine, just having a bit of a rougher recovery than last time). Turns out I have something called thrombocytopenia which has to do with the platelet counts in my blood. Fortunately, my levels are not dangerous and have already started rebounding, but unfortunately, I cannot have any sort of ibuprofen and my other oral pain medications are rather limited. The ibuprofen helps with swelling and inflammation, so I am left feeling a lot more pain than last time. I also ran a temperature last night, which means they are watching for infection. So, we'll be here another day, just getting my pain managed and following my labs.

Thank you again for the love and support. I can't wait to get settled in at home and give you the down and dirty birth story! In the meantime, here are more pictures to tide you over.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

And We're Off

Will is with my MIL.

The dogs are boarded.

The cat has a plate of food, a bowl of water, and a clean litter box.

Our neighbor has a key.

The house is clean.

The laundry hampers are empty.

The freezer is stocked with easy foods for M to prepare.

The pantry has lots of Will-friendly snacks.

The To Do List is as done as it's gonna get (I got everything essential done and life is one giant to do this anyway. . . right? Right!).

The bags are in the car (last thing to pack is this computer).

I haven't had anything to eat or drink since before midnight.

I am nervous.

I am excited.

I am overwhelmed.

I am happy.

I am so many emotions packed into one person that I feel as if I might explode.

I am about to officially become a mother to two. This is such a miracle. After so many disappointments getting started on our parenting journey, I once wondered if I would ever get the chance to be a mom to one. Now, I am somehow being doubly blessed.

Thank you for following us on this journey. I look foward to your support and guidance on this next chapter. You mean more to me than words can say.

I will update when I can. . . with pictures!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I had to get my pre-op bloodwork done yesterday. I drove to the hospital, stocked Will up with snacks, plopped him in his stroller, and headed to the lab.

Boy, is the paperwork thorough for all of the blood. The kind gentleman who took my blood did not speak English as a first language, so it was painstaking work going through each form that needed to filled out. We were there for quite awhile for just two vials of blood, but I am glad that he was thorough, since we don't need any mistakes!

It was while I was sitting there, with Will in his stroller next to me, that it happened. The tech looked at me and asked, "How many pregnancies have you had?"

Well. . . usually, to keep it simple, I would just answer two. That's really what most people want to know anyway. But he went on. "How many miscarriages have you had?"

"Nine," came my response.

"One?" he echoed, clearly not thinking he heard me correctly.

"Nine," I repeated.

His eyebrows raised and he wrote the number down with his ballpoint pen. It looked so stark on the paper. Then he went on and asked how many live births, last rhogam shot, etc.

I do not ever forget my lost babies, but part of dealing with my miscarriages has been to move forward in many senses. I try not to dwell on everything that we don't have and instead focus on the miracles that we have been blessed with. We went through a lot to get to where we are, and I am certainly affected by it, but try not to let it overshadow my life as it once did.

But there are moments when the reality hits me and I really start to think about it. It makes me even more grateful for this moment. I know so many of you are still waiting for your first miracle while I get to have a second one. I am sure my fears about the transition, my nerves about the preparation, may have made it seems at times as if I have forgotten where I came from.

It is quite the oppositive, however. You see, I know what a gift we have been given. Twice. I know that we are blessed beyond measure and I never want to fail these children. I want to be the mother that they deserve and I constantly fear falling short of that. My preparation and nerves are just me wanting to try and make everything "perfect" for these children that we love so very much.

Will changed everything and now Emma will, too. Those nine other souls also changed everything. They made me realize that life is so precarious and precious and not to take any of it for granted. They are with me every single day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Last Day, Just Us Two

Technically, tomorrow will be my last day with Will before Emma's arrival. But M gets off work at noon tomorrow so we can head north to my MIL's, where Will is going to be staying while we have Emma. So, this is our last full, "normal" Will-and-Mommy Day Together.

I have definitely been sentimental this week, both looking backwards (where has the time gone?!?) and peering anxiously forward (how will I love another one this much?!?!). I am ready to get past all of of this anticipation and just dig in to making our new "normal" life together.

But today? Today is just for Will and me.
We are going to a free concert series at a local park this morning, for a children's artist that I saw in concert as a child myself, more than 20 years ago (as an interesting side note, no one else I know has ever heard of Tim Noah. . . have any of you? I still have all of the words to "Going to the Country Store" memorized). We are going to play out in our backyard when he gets up from a nap. M and I are taking him someplace fun for dinner.

I know our lives are going to change. I know that it's going to be scary, exciting, wonderful, and amazing. I know we have plenty of love to go around for 100 babies. Just for today, I want to hold on to these last few moments with the Little Man who changed everything.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wrapping Up

Today was my final OB/pre-op appointment. Dr. S thinks I might have a UTI based on my urine test today, but other than that, everything looks pretty good. BP is good, swelling is still swelling, but nothing too concerning (although he did warn me that I will swell even more from the fluids during my hospital stay - this I knew from Will's delivery, I looked like the Michelin Man). I signed away my life on the consent forms, got my blood work paperwork, joked with Dr. S about him getting plenty of sleep on Friday night, and Will got to hear the "heartbeep" one final time.

His face is priceless when he gets to hear the thump-thump-thump. He smiles so big, it makes my heart melt. We have been telling him that he will get to meet Emma "soon," which means that every time he asks about her he says, "I see Emma soon" and "I excited. Emma excited?" It's so precious.

I am not going to lie; I am nervous about the c-section. But I would be nervous about birth no matter what and I have made my peace with the fact that this is best for our family. Dr. S reviewed my previous c-section again today and reiterated that Will was not coming out vaginally. It's time to let go and go with the flow.

I can hardly believe that she will be here so soon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Organizing Is SUCH A Headache

If you've been following my blog for a bit, then you know I am not that organized. I have been making a concerted effort to be more organized, both for the simple fact that I don't like being disorganized and also because I want my life to be easier.

I had a few what I guess flylady would call "hot zones" in my house and I called Closets of Death. These were closets that I really didn't want people to open, mostly for the embarassment factor of how messy they were, and also for the very small fact that you could get beaned on the head from something flying out at you. Yeah, they were that bad.

Over the course of the last five months, I have done some major work on these hot zones. I am very proud of myself for the strides I have made. This is a big deal for me. One closet, in particular, has been troublesome to me because the builder-installed (ie, cheap) organizer fell apart as I was organizing it, so three of the five shelves were tilting downward. This is the hallway linen closet, so mostly, it still worked for its purposes as towels can sit crookedly and still be okay. But I still wanted to fix it and it was on my list of things to do before Emma arrived. I looked high and low to find brackets that would solve the problem and finally did. Then, of course, other projects loomed and I finally found my way back to this closet today.

I grabbed my trusty screw driver, emptied the shelves I was working on, and started to work on the first bracket. Now, remember, this is a cheap unit and the reason it wasn't working in the first place is because the brackets snap off easily. Well, perhaps I should have remembered this. On the top shelf (which wasn't broken) I was storing some jewelry boxes. It was all carefully organized, so I didn't want to take the time to take it all down. Well. . .


As I was working on the bracket below, it jostled the post, snapping the bracket off the top shelf, which caused that shelf to slide sideways and the jewelry boxes to fall off the shelf. . . and onto me. I only got smacked square on the head by one, but it happened to be the heaviest, of course.

My Closet of Death finally got me! I am glad that I was the only serious victim of my own madness. I had teased about this condition for so long that I guess it was high time I realized it was no laughing matter. And I didn't laugh. Not at all. Nope, in full fledged hormonal overdrive, I cried instead. Great big heaving, gulping sobs. I was angry because now I have an even bigger mess on my hands and also a headache. I didn't accomplish anything during Will's nap time and I only have three naptimes left, people. Three.

So, I came to the only logical conclusion. I shoved everything back on the now extremely sideways shelves, went into my bedroom, climbed into bed, and took a nap. I'll figure this one out later.

Second Time Jitters

I am not a first timer when it comes to this whole L&D thing. So you'd think I'd be less worried about going into labor this time than last. That would make sense, of course.

Well, you'd be wrong.

With Will, I wanted to go into labor early (well, past 37 weeks), but honestly thought I'd be one of those 41-weekers that ended up needing an induction. When I had him at 38 weeks, 3 days, I was pretty surprised. I had Braxton Hicks contractions regularly throughout my pregnancy, starting pretty early on (in the second trimester). I really didn't look for signs of impending labor and, to be honest, I wasn't that worried about it.

We had our bag packed, we had back-up care for our dogs, and we live less than 15 minutes from our birthing center. As pretty much the very last of my friends to have a baby, I'd heard all the delivery stories, and I expected many false alarms and perhaps even a trip or two to L&D and being sent home before the Real Deal happened.

This time, it's different in a big way. . . we have Will to consider. My MIL is an hour away. Her bags are packed and she is ready to come get Will if the need arises, but of course, it will take at least an hour. Now, I know we'll have an hour but I also don't have time to sit around wondering "is this it?" I don't want to be all Chicken Little about it, either, and have her come down for no reason. So, I feel a bit of pressure there (oh, and we do have a back up plan with local friends if we need to get to the hospital faster).

Also, a couple of weeks ago, M told me point blank that if I did "what I did last time" then he would be really angry. "What I did last time" was let him sleep after my water broke. To be honest, this really hurt my feelings when he said it as i felt as if I was doing him a favor. Since I wasn't sure if it was the Real Deal, I waited until I was sure my water had broken and my contractions were a predictable 5 - 6 minutes apart before I woke him. He then felt very rushed as he got ready, because by that point, I was getting uncomfortable and distracted. But I did it with his very best interests at heart and I never knew how much it bothered him until now. So, more pressure to let him know earlier this time.

I have had a few times this past week where I thought things might be getting started. One was last night. I had really painful contractions that were coming pretty regularly and quickly for over an hour, even when I was resting. I couldn't get to sleep at all until after they stopped at midnight. I hated to tell M, because I don't want him to get to the point where he doesn't listen, but I am kind of afraid to not tell him in case it ends up being labor. Obviously, as I am sitting here typing this from my house, it didn't turn out to be anything.

I feel more antsy this time than I did last time, more "ready" to go. With Will, I was "ready," but we still had lots of things to do and I had just started my maternity leave and was looking forward to relaxing and lounging around a bit. This time, we are far more "ready." The few things left on my To Do List are honestly silly things that don't need to get done. I will always have things that I want to get done, baby or not. And lounging around with a toddler? Ha! Plus, I am just ready to get my body and energy back. I know I will still be tired from the c-section, nursing, and of course, nightly sojourns with Emma, but I remember feeling pretty darn good after having Will, despite all of that, so I am hoping for the same this time around. Also, I have a good friend who is three weeks postpartum (also after a c-section) and I can see her old pre-pregnancy spark returning. I am eager for my own and to actually PLAY with Will again and get in our new "normal" life.

So, all of this to say, I am eager to get the show on the road, and also trying to treasure these last days with Will. I also still have a few things that I would "like" to get done, including a haircut tomorrow morning while a friend watches Will for me. It's an exciting time to be sure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Like Ross On Friends

Did you ever see the Friends episode where Ross takes everything from the hotel. He tries to explain his philosophy of what is okay to take vs. not okay to take. For example, the remote control? Not okay. The batteries in the remote control? Okay.

I am not as bad as Ross when it comes to hotels. I will take the toiletries for tossing in our guest bathroom at home, but I don't take the lightbulbs or free Bible. I did accidentally take a washcloth once (which even under Ross's liberal guidelines would have been a not okay, but I have learned to live with the guilt).

However, I have to confess that I was a veritable Ross when we stayed in the hospital with Will. I wore their nightgowns (and took one home), I used their gargantuan undies (and took a couple of pairs home), and I don't think I touched my suitcase that I had carefully packed until it was time to put on my clothes at discharge (I did use my own toothbrush, but that was it). We also used everything they had at our disposal for Will. . . diapers, swaddling blankets, nasal aspirator, wipes, kimonos, you name it. And many of those things ended up in our suitcase going home.

I have a pile of things to toss in a hospital bag (no, it's not packed, I like to live dangerously). It's a small pile with an outfit to wear home, two nursing bras, some nursing pads, a pair of slippers, my hooter hider, a diaper bag for Emma (that is packed), and. . . that's about it. I need to toss the camera and my toiletries in when it's actually Go Time, but I am not planning on bringing a lot. Is there anything absolutely essential that I am forgetting? And am I weird that I prefer to use the hospital-issued stuff instead of bringing my own?

I'll Have A SANDwich, Please

I have heard about pica and the odd non-food cravings. With Will, I did have a phase of wanting ice, but it was never overwhelming and I didn't feel bad crunching away on a few cubes here and there.

The past two days, however, I have been wanting. . . dreaming. . . fantasizing. . . about eating SAND.

That's right. Beach sand.

And not just any sand. What I really want is Columbia River beach sand. The type of salty, tangy, gritty stuff I used to get in my mouth (accidentally) as a small child on trips to the river. Now, back then, I didn't get the sand in my mouth on purpose, and it was never very much, but I can clearly remember the feel and taste of it. And I want it again. Bad.

I'd take some sandbox sand right about now, but I seriously cannot stop thinking about eating sand. Of course, I googled it. Normal pica, folks, and they don't know what causes it or how to stop it, but this is definitely one pregnancy craving that I won't be indulging.

I guess I'll have to settle for one of my other loves. Red Vines. In a large tub. It ain't sand, but it'll do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just Call Me Cankles

Blah blah blah. It's hot.

It's still 90+ degrees here in Seattle. Under the very best of circumstances, I think this heat would have me wilted. At 37 weeks pregnant, I am beyond wilting and have gone the opposite direction. I am retaining water like it's my job. I am almost tempted to take a picture of the Cankles, because they are truly grotesque and almost begging to be shared with the world. Will and I went to a farmer's market this morning and I overheard two women talking about my swollen limbs. They gave me sympathetic smiles as I waddled away.

M asked what I was doing at a farmer's market and my only answer is that the heat has addled my brain. That and Will loves this particular market (free bread, balloons, chocolate milk, and face painting - how can you go wrong?) and I wanted to make sure we went before Emma's arrival, in case we don't make it after.

One thing I regret very much when I had Will is that I did a lot of prepping everything and everyone else for his arrival, but did little for myself. My pedi was a mess and I about died when the doctor announced I would need a "suprapubic shave" after we made the decision for a c-section. It's difficult to get the netherregions right now, as I am sure you can imagine. I can clearly recall looking at my chipped toenails in recovery. I had those compression booties on and my toes were out there for everyone - nurses, doctors, friends, and family - to see. Now, I know the medical professionals have "seen it all," but a girl should have some pride.

This time, I have lined up a bunch of appointments for myself. Not only so that I can have some pride in the OR, but also because it feels good to take care of myself. I am 30 lbs heavier, have legendary cankles, and vericose veins in places they really do not belong (although is there a place that one of those belongs?). A tune up is most definitely in order.

So, my Darling Daughter needs to stay put through the weekend, and let Mama get all pampered and pretty for her big arrival. It's gonna take some work so she needs to be patient.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wah-Wah-Wah It's 90 Degrees In Seattle

Now I realize that the rest of the country is baking right now, so my wah-wah-wah, it's 90 degrees in Seattle post is not gonna garner much sympathy from the rest of you. But wah-wah-wah, it's 90 degrees in Seattle and mah feet are swollen!

Even with swollen feet, I am glad for the sunny, hot temperatures that have finally arrived this week. Someone, somewhere cleverly nicknamed this past month Junuary, and it could not have been more appropriate. We've had a wet, rainy, cold spring and early summer and it hasn't been fun or easy keeping Will entertained inside. "Outside!" is his favorite place to be and playing with him on our smallish covered front porch is only fun for so long, and huddling on our uncovered really tiny back deck while he splashes in soggy rain puddles is fun for even less. One bonus, he does know when it's sunny or rainy outside and that even if he tries to convince me that it's sunny, it's still raining, and no, he can't go outside.

Yesterday was a lot of fun, playing over at a good friend's house. Is it any coincidence that I picked her house to play out when she has central air (very rare in these parts)? I just thought everyone else was nuts who wanted to be outside. Unfortunately, that group included my son, so I was outside, too. I even got a bit of a tan.

Fortunately, M was smarter this time around and did not wait for the heatwave to actually arrive. When the weather forecaster just whispered at 90 degree temperatures (and I whimpered and threatened to move to the Extended Stay down the road), he took me to Lowe's and let me pick the portable A/C of my dreams. Good man. We do still have the one from right before Will was born, but being the "great" parents that we are, we give that one to Will for his room.

It was 88 degrees downstairs when we arrived home from our playdate. But upstairs where it usually averages about five degrees hotter? My bedroom was a very pleasant 69 degrees and Will's room was 70. I was a happy pregnant woman indeed, sprawled out on my bed where I proceeded to take one of the best naps of my life. Seriously, it was a decadent treat, since that air conditioner was not in the budget right now. But worth every, single penny.

Especially since it never got below 80 last night and our downstairs is still sweltering. I seem to be unable to sleep past 5 AM these days and my restless tossing and turning does little to help M get the last precious bits of sleep that he needs. It's pretty warm downstairs and the minute his alarm goes off, I'm heading back up.

We have another playdate today (unforunately at a sans a/c house) and I am excited to watch Will enjoy his friends, a kiddie pool, and more popsicles. Ahhhh, summer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birthday Plans

Well, Emma has a new birthdate. Saturday, July 17, just ten days from now.

The contractions have really settled down the past day. She is being really active all of a sudden, too, which makes me think that she isn't coming out anytime soon. Dr. S didn't even do an internal exam today to check for dilation. I was surprised but didn't push it. Knowing if I am (or am not dilated) really won't change much. She'll be here, one way or another, by the 17th.

These last few days have brought a new level of exhaustion to me, but it is as much of an emotional depletion as it is a physical one. I am desperately trying to enjoy these final days of my pregnancy. M and I feel "done" with our family, at least for now, so this is very likely the last days I will carry life within me. After such a long journey of pregnancy, loss, and birth, it feels so strange to be "done". I have a lot of mixed emotions, so please bear with me.

When K gave us the new date and then left the room before Dr. S came in, M noted that this will be our last weekend with "just Will." It was then that I really started to feel panicky and sad. I know these emotions are normal and to be expected. I am so excited to meet our sweet baby girl and get started on this journey of three becoming four. But I also wish that I could cling to these final days with my first baby, instead of wishing they would pass faster because I am hot, swollen, uncomfortable, and impatient.

Will is getting his two year molars, which means that he is also swollen, uncomfortable, and impatient. We got on each others' nerves today. And I kept thinking, "I should be doing these last few days so much better than this." I was in tears so many times today. Oh, hormones.

Okay, now for some good news, because for goodness sakes, I am depressing myself with this entry!!

It is finally seeming like summer here in Seattle and we were able to get a portable a/c unit on Sunday before the mad rush began. With 90 degree weather in the forecast, I am a very grateful pregnant woman indeed!

We are having a pool party playdate with some friends tomorrow. A fun, relaxing day together is just what Will and I need!

My big "to do" list has really gotten pretty short. I don't think much else is going to get done on it before she arrives, so that's a very good thing. But I do feel that we are ready for her to arrive, even though I didn't check every last thing off. The important things are taken care of, and right now, I think resting and conserving what little energy I have left is the most important thing that I can "do."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You'd Think I'd Learn

My mom gets "weird" when I have a baby... or get married... or buy a house... or really, anytime there is a Big, New Thing in my life, she gets weird. By weird, I mean she tries her best to make it as difficult as possible for me and is less than supportive. I could go on and on with concrete examples of this, but if you are really interested, you can read this post, which does a good job illustrating what I mean. Or this one is probably the best example of a time in which her antics were really hurtful. If you don't want to click back, let me just say, I know I can be as hormonal as the next gal, but my mom really likes to push my buttons and chooses just the right time to do it.

I am a 31 year old woman, a mother myself, and this still sets me off balance. When Will was born, she had a nervous breakdown and so I have been trying to prepare myself for it to happen again. Even though she has been a fantastic grandmother for the past year, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I specifically did not include my parents in any of our plans for watching Will or anything that had to be done and felt as if I had prepared myself much better this time around. Unfortunately, I have once again gotten burned.

Back in late May, my mom sent an e-mail, saying that she and my dad wanted to come for a week before Emma was born and help me with Will. I was all for it and asked them to just let me know when they were coming. Next thing I knew, they were heading for a couple of weeks to California instead of coming here.

Okaaaay. I was disappointed, but I got it. Head to a swimming pool and 80+ degree weather to lounge around and do nothing or come sit in 60 degree rain and help your very pregnant daughter manager her toddler? Yeah, I think we all know what we'd choose.

The next plan was for them to come up the day M goes back to work, when I am two weeks post-surgery. Now, they have decided to keep a puppy from the litter one of their other dogs just had. So, they are up to four dogs. That's two large dogs, one geriatric poodle who has lost bladder control, and a 10 week old puppy. Oh, plus our two, of course.

When Will and I went to visit them last, they asked us not to bring our dogs because. . . wait for it. . . it would be unsettling for their dogs with newborn puppies in the house. Now, I am a dog person. I love my furbabies. But it's perfectly okay for them to bring four dogs to our house when we have a newborn human?!?!

My parents will not consider leaving the dogs at home, however, so I am forced to choose between them not seeing their granddaughter and feeling like a total b!tch or letting the circus come to town. I have worked really hard to get this house in order, and even if it wasn't for that. . . we simply do not have the room for seven animals. I'm sorry, we just don't. Our three are overwhelming enough.

So, now, my parents are saying they will come for just one night, when M is still home from work, stay at our house or a nearby hotel, and just bring the puppy. They'll leave my brother home to watch the other dogs. This is a good compromise, except I was kind of counting on their assistance when M goes back to work. I know that at two weeks out, I will be pretty well on the road to recovery, but still. . . two under two, recovering from a c-section, and no family right in the area? It's gonna be rough.

To be honest, there is every possibility that their plans will change yet again, so I need to not get riled about it. But the combination of pregnancy hormones, plus the very real fact that this behavior is just irritating, has me riled. To be honest, I am not sure what my mom wants from me. Does she want me to beg for her to come? That's not my style. I will pull up my big girl boots and do things myself (even if I shouldn't) rather than feel as if I am asking too much of them. They raised me to be independent, but there is still a part of me that kind of wanted my parents.

You'd think I'd learn.

Edited: Thank you for your support and suggestions. My wonderful friends have put together a calendar to help with meals and some playdates for Will and we are trying to get to know some teenaged girls down the street who could come and watch Will for a few hours two or three times a week. We can't afford much more than that.

My parents are uncomfortable leaving my brother alone for more than a night or two and I can't say that I blame them. He is only 17 and a very immature 17 at that (not trying to be mean, it's just a fact). He has never been alone for a night before and we live 3 hours from them, so leaving him longer is probably not a great idea. My sister does live in their town, but she can also be unreliable and they are not close.

And my mom doesn't drive (!) so they can't really switch off, although my dad has made mention of coming on his own. But that's when my mom started talking about hurting herself last time, when he was going to come solo. I couldn't live with myself if something happened while he was away. To be clear, she hasn't made any of those threats this time, but then again, there was little warning last time that she would have such a reaction to me having a baby.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Street Rat Crazy

I started to get a bit excited yesterday. Some moderate contractions woke me up early and continued throughout the morning. They were pretty strong and very regular at 20 minutes apart. By the early afternoon, they had moved to about 12 minutes apart. We were about to call my MIL and have her head down to get Will.

And then, they slowed down. They didn't stop, but they went back to their 20 minute intervals.

Now, I am just a contracting mess. Everywhere from once an hour to every 20 minutes, I have a contraction that is pretty strong and painful (not horribly, unbearably painful, but catch my breath painful). A few have taken my breath away. They don't stop when I lay down, they wake me up when I am sleeping, so I don't think they are Braxton Hicks. But I also don't think I am in "labor." They have not gotten to the point where they are close enough together to warrant a trip to L&D and since I am now 37 weeks and considered full term, they will do nothing to stop them. They are really quite annoying and between them and the sleep they are costing me, I am a wee bit grumpy today (M and Will might have a different description of my grumpy state).

My next OB appointment is tomorrow, so I will be interested to see if all of this contracting has lead to any sort of dilation. We never heard from the surgery schedulers on a final c-section date, but perhaps Miss Emma will not wait for whatever date that is. Or I will go street-rat crazy with contractions like these for the next two weeks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Party Time

There are a lot of things crossed off of my list, but one major thing that I haven't checked off is deciding what to do about Will's 2nd birthday. Yes, I realize it is two months away, but in the next two months, I will not have a lot of time for party planning.

Last year's party was a labor of love and turned out perfectly. We had almost 40 people show up to celebrate Will's 1st birthday. The amount of preparation that I put into it was ridiculous (though worth it, the party couldn't have been better, in my not-so-humble-opinion). We also spent more money than I would have liked. I feel like parties are always that way, no matter what intentions I have going into it, at the last minute, I always justify spending more than I planned.

I promised myself last year that we wouldn't have a big to do this year. And I still want to stick to that, but I also don't want his birthday to get lost in the newborn craze. I know he is only two and won't know the difference, but I still want to make sure we celebrate his second birthday, if only for posterity. Here are my thoughts so far:

1) Have a small and simple playdate here.

We would invite just a few of his friends and their parents for a brunch on the Saturday following his birthday. I would decorate with balloons and construction vehicles (we have so many) and the cake could be a "digger." I would serve some make ahead casseroles, fruit, and some purchased pastries, just to make things as easy as possible. Pros? Breakfast food is cheap, we can keep it small, and we can decorate with things that he already has. Cons? I will have a one month old. Any sort of efforts on my part to pull together this party scare the bejeesus out of me. Yes, I will have my housecleaners still, but I will still to touch up clean and make food.

2) Have it someplace else.

We have looked at all sorts of venues, from our local kids' museum to parks. They are booking up fast, but there are still openings for the indoor locations. Pros? Well, I wouldn't have to do a thing except bring the cake and the birthday boy. This is very appealing to me. Cons? Expense. The cheapest place I've found will set us back $150 just for the basic party. If I do a cake and any other sort of snack, it only goes up from there.

So, I am still in thinking mode about this. I have found one venue that I think would be a lot of fun. And unlike most places, they charge per child. In most cases, that wouldn't be cost effective, but since we only have 8 kids coming, it would cost less to pay individually. Most places allow 15 - 20 kids for one flat rate, which is kind of a waste on a smaller group. The place is a bakery and the owner will make a cake in whatever theme you want, decorate the room with balloons, and the kids get to decorate cookies and then take a train ride. I think Will would enjoy it and it would be something different. It's still a little pricier than I would have wanted, but it does take all of the planning, cleanup, and food preparation off of my hands, which might be worth it.

But then I think, gah, I should just save the money and have it at our house. What great ideas do you have for me?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Party Time

This weekend will be my "sprinkle" for Emma. I really didn't want a shower. If you looked in our daughter's bedroom - especially her closet - you would know why. We don't need a thing for this Little Lady. I mean, I guess we could use diapers and wipes, that type of stuff, but to be honest, I am uncomfortable asking for gifts from people at this point. And we already have a box of newborn and 2 boxes of size 1 diapers, as well as a gargantuan sized box of wipes. We are all set.

But my girlfriends absolutely insisted that we do something. Truth be told, I am excited for it. I am also happy to get some pictures of a celebration in her honor for her baby book. We had a ridiculous (five) amount of showers for Will, so I was feeling kind of bad comparing and contrasting the pregnancy parts of the albums. Not only do we literally have ten times the ultrasound pictures of Will, but now, the page for shower was completely blank? So, I agreed to a "sprinkle" with a "no gifts, please" on the invitation.

Of course, by the time I agreed to a little get together, we were running low on weekends. One of my friends had a baby two weeks ago, another had a camping trip, yaddayaddayadda. You know the drill in summer. So, this weekend was the only one that worked for the girls that were throwing it. Which means that there won't be anyone else there! LOL! With the holiday weekend, pretty much everyone is out of town. It's going to be a pretty intimate little gathering, but I actually prefer it that way. It's going to be very kid-centric as well, which makes me happy. My last "big" shower for Will was kids-free (at the hostesses' request) and had over 30 people there. It made it hard to talk to anyone or really relax. This one is going to be lowkey and I like it that way. There will be about fifteen people there, kids included, and I just know Will is going to have a blast!

I am jus so blessed that we have friends that want to go out of their way for us like this. What's going on for your holiday weekend?