Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Bath Toys!

If you've ever labored and birthed in a hospital, you might have been given one of these bottles:

Lucky me -- I came home with two of them.

But, since I no longer need 'em, I gave them both to Zander to play with in the bath. He loves them, but it's a little strange.

Don't quite get this post? That's okay, don't ask.

* * * * * *

P.S. I promise I'll stop posting about labor and birth (as if I am the only woman who has done it) soon. There's just one or two more. I swear.

P.P.S. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Baby Burrito and the Evil Lord Voldemort

You can barely tell in the baby burrito photo above, but Cassie has some "stork bites" on her forehead and under her nose). A week or so after the birth, Brad and I had this conversation:

Me: "Did you notice how when she cries her stork bites really come out?"

Brad: "Yes and also when Voldemort is nearby."

Even in my post-partum, sleepless haze I laughed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hypocrisy?

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself and instead call it "ambivalence." Meh, I have to look up the spelling for both anyway.

Cassandra's cord stump fell off a few days ago and when I figured out what the heck it was, I made an involuntary, audible sad moan. Our little baby -- our newborn baby -- is just a tad less newborn now. As hard as these last two weeks or so have been for me, I realize that this time is fleeting and special.

Yeah, I know. Try living with me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Random Moments from Labor and Birth

Random moment #1:

OB would come in and turn up the pitocin (or direct someone to do so).

Nurse would watch the monitor and see the contractions coming every minute or so and then turn it down.

* * * * * *

Repeat above for random moments #2 and #3.

* * * * * *

Random moment #4 (while discussing whether or not I wanted -- and if there was still time for -- an epidural):

The OB: "Jill -- now is not the time to dawdle."

Me: "Dr. [insert name here]...If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." [Cue to me thinking I was incredibly clever quoting the lyrics of a very old Rush song somewhere between seven and nine centimeters dilated.]

The OB: [Blank stare.]

Me: "I have to push...NOW!"

* * * * * *

P.S. Happy holidays. ;)

Party of Two: Your Pitocin* is Ready!

* Pitocin, a synthetic version of oxytocin. is used to start or speed up labor.

When we showed up at the hospital for an induction of labor (more on why below) on Cassandra's due date, we checked in at "admissions" and were given one of these:

Not sure if you can tell from the photo or not, but it's one of those things that you get when you walk into a restaurant and they tell you how long you have to wait. It then (eventually) blinks and buzzes when your table is ready.

Having never been in quite this circumstance before (checking into a hospital at 6:30am), I was amused. Additionally amusing -- as far as I could tell -- I was the only person in the waiting area (Brad was parking the car)!

For the record, I was induced because my OB felt strongly that he didn't want this baby to get too large. Zander had a complication at his birth called shoulder dystocia, where his shoulder got 'stuck' on the way out. Luckily, the doctor was able to dislodge it and Zander had no lasting negative effects. However, having had one birth with a shoulder dystocia complication made me much more likely to have another. The OB thought that one way of preventing it was by inducing labor early.

Brad and I thought long and hard and spent many, many hours discussing the pros, cons, and risks of both inducing and waiting. And I'm not even going to mention the countless hours on the phone with friends discussing the same (that's you Lisa and Laura). We held the doctor off for a week and half, but decided to go ahead with the induction at 40 weeks.

Also for the record, Cassie's shoulder came out without any problems (even though a team of neonatologists were on hand in case something did occur). And contrary to what a sonogram estimated, she was a tad smaller than Zander (8 pounds exactly whereas Z was 8 pounds, four ounces.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Adjusting to two children

I feel like I need to clarify the "Dear Zander" post -- for the record. That was the first -- maybe the second -- time he even hinted verbally at not wanting the baby here. And I was proud of him for doing so too because there is so much pressure on him to be a perfect big brother. But, truth be told, it's me who is having a harder time adjusting to two children in this house -- not Z.

See, I miss him desperately. I'm used to spending significant amounts of time with him each day, especially on the weekends and I just haven't been able to do that while nursing a newborn and being up all hours of the night. Whereas we used to do things as a family, we are now under pediatrician's advisement to avoid crowds and public places for four to six weeks if newborn is in tow, so I'm at home for the most part and Brad is taking Zander to holiday gatherings, concerts, and play dates.

The majority of the time, Zander says and does the sweetest things in relation to Cassandra, including:

  • when he first gets home he sometimes runs around trying to find wherever she is sleeping;

  • he sings her songs;

  • he picked out, gave her, and brings her a Taggies blanket (although she is too young to sleep with it yet);

  • he sometimes affectionately calls her "Cashew;"

  • he likes to softly pet her head and cheek;

  • when I said I was going to put her in the Moby Wrap, he said, "No!" I asked, "Why not?" and he said, "because then only you get her."

Like I said, just thought I'd clarify how it is -- at least as of this moment in time. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Zander:

Last night at bedtime you cried, "I don't ever want to have a baby again." And I wanted to cry in return, "Me neither!" Instead I gave Cassie to your dad, followed you into your room and rubbed your back.

Not that I don't love this little girl and I know you will come to love her too. Just that I realize what a shock this all is to you and how much we have disrupted your (or my?) precious routine.

I also know that this very disruption is good for both of us -- that it will make us stronger and more adaptable -- once we get to the other side of it. But, knowing this doesn't make the 'now' part any easier.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Things I've heard in the last week that I never thought I would

From our labor and delivery nurse while trying to check my cervix for dilation/effacement:
"I can't reach. But, don't worry -- we'll get the nurse with long fingers."
(Gulp.)

From a post-partum recovery nurse:
"Not a hemorrhoid in sight!"
(Note from JCB: What a job those folks have.)

From a lactation consultant:
"You have pendulous breasts."
(Note from JCB: Pendulous? I'm pretty sure this was not a compliment.)

From same lactation consultant:
"You have flexible nipples."
(Alrighty then.)

From different lactation consultant:
"You have great breasts for breastfeeding."
(Cue to me -- beaming -- since I tried so hard to make them that way!?? Although it begs the question...WHY am I meeting with a lactation consultant?)

Zander (referring to Cassie's umbilical cord stump):
"I don't like her cord."

Zander (to me while simultaneously moving a few feet away during bedtime book reading):
"You smell like my baby's poop."
(He refers to Cassie as his baby.)

And here's a picture of our little girl looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It was probably 4:00am at the time, but who is paying attention:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Update

Not really sure what to say, but want to respond to the comments, well-wishes, and offers to help. I/we really appreciate them. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel most of the time -- like this morning when I was able to read Zander a book before school -- little things like I used to take such joy in. It has, after all, only been a week as of this afternoon. So, I'm feeling a bit like a drama queen.

Zander seems to be adjusting remarkably well to the new addition. Knock on something -- fast. I keep expecting the worst and I know something will come eventually, but right now, he is as sweet as can be. Brad has managed to keep life pretty normal for him, so I'm sure that's helping.

I've got all sorts of pent up blogging in my bones, but it doesn't seem appropriate to jump right in. But, then again, appropriateness might have disappeared from this here blog when I posted things like this. So, on that front, expect some "odd/funny moments from labor and birth" coming soon...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

.

I am hoping that by posting this, I get some kind of relief. And if Dooce can do it, maybe I can too.

Everyone says how wonderful these first few weeks are – well, some people say that at least. And I’m sure that it’s true for them. For me, not so much. And that’s probably the last little bit of humor you’ll get from me in this post.

Just like I experienced after Zander’s birth, I have the most intense anxiety and emotions that I have ever had in my life. Coupled with an inability to sleep, they are far beyond what is considered normal post-birth. We know that. Last time, I muscled it out for six weeks until my first postpartum checkup when my OB said something along the lines of, “This isn’t just the baby blues. You need help.” This time, we took precautions and I started medication the day after Cassie was born. And it can’t kick in fast enough. Thing is, it hasn’t yet. Or maybe it has and life would be so much harder without it.

And it’s a misnomer to say that “*I* muscled through it,” because Brad was right there by my side, just as he is this time, doing everything humanly possible to help. He’s here with me, home from work, up at night, changing diapers, guiding me on the best latch, carrying Cassie in a Moby Wrap, and taking care of Zander at the same time. So, basically he’s doing triple duty – Cassie, Zander, and me.

Overall, things should be great. The labor and birth, although not exactly what I would have wanted, went relatively well. We have a full-term, healthy baby who is thriving. In fact, she had her first check-up and is gaining weight nicely. Lots of wet and dirty diapers, etc. (For those of you who read this blog and do not have children, those are one of a handful of ways that you can tell a new baby is thriving. It’s not that I have penchant for reporting TMI here. Not at all.)

So there you have it. I sit here with this beautiful, sleeping baby wrapped up close to me and I just can’t stop crying and worrying and most of all, I can’t sleep.

Yes, she has a name...

Cassandra! (Cassie for short.)

Zander and his Uncle Kevin (who was kind enough to drive down from Pennsylvania to help out when we came home from the hospital) penned this little ditty about her:

Cassie O'lassie...
She doesn't do much right now,
but when she gets older,
she'll learn how to say moo like cow.

Her hair is brown.
Her eyes are blue.
Cassie -- I love you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This IS our baby...

...with her big brother:


Born on December 11, 2008.
8 pounds, 20 inches.

More info to follow soon. First, sleep. And nurse. And sleep. And nurse.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This is not our baby:

Nor is this our baby:

And this, well this better not be our baby:

Our baby is still snuggled up, warm and cozy in my 3,000 pound belly!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Testing out our new camera...

...on four-and-half-year-old boy energy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cirque du Soleil

We went to Cirque du Soleil on Saturday in hopes that just watching the contortionists would somehow jump start my body into labor, but alas, it did not. The show (called Kooza) was fantastic though. Photos and video were not allowed, so here's a YouTube promo which shows it better than I ever could have done anyway.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh, say, can you see?

My mom was in town visiting and we took Zander to the National Museum of American History for the day yesterday. (I've started a modified maternity leave of sorts --working from home, dropping into the office as needed, etc.). The museum was closed for two years and just re-opened this Thanksgiving. There were lots of hands-on activities for children -- in addition to be able to see Dorothy's Ruby Slippers (worn in the Wizard of Oz) and The Star-Spangled Banner (the flag that inspired the song).

This photo is from the "cafe" (the cafeteria is still closed for remodeling), where Zander got an American flag cookie for dessert. Yummmm.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I got nothin'

Nothing, but "no baby yet." And we don't anticipate one anytime soon, as much as we'd like the little one to make an appearance. Zander came the day beofre his due date -- actually just a few hours before, so nothing suggests that this baby will come earlier than that.

Related, I think 'due dates' in general are somewhat hooey and that babies are like fruit -- they all ripen at different times. (I did not come up with that, but read it somewhere.) Go ahead and try to tell that to my OB though!