Thursday, August 30, 2012

For the record...

We're just a little smitten.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor well I do not

I have wondered, after my miscarriages, if my body is capable of contracting the way it is supposed to.  Doctors both times have told me that miscarriages are painful as you contract to pass the pregnancy, and each time I've done it, it didn't feel like such a big deal.

All my Braxton-Hicks contractions this time around were totally manageable, which always left me wondering whether my body could even produce strong enough contractions to move a baby.

Well, the waiting and wondering is officially over.  And the answer?  Definitively no.

It was a little unfortunate that labor began with my water breaking, because that put a time limit on the entire labor experience.  They were simply not going to let me go past 24 hours after my water breaking, so I had to get things moving, and quick.

I wasn't contracting at all when my water broke at 9:30 p.m., but contractions picked up around 11.  I wanted to labor at home, so we waited until they were about 5 minutes apart, meaning we  left for the hospital around 1:30 a.m.  I was in great spirits, and more than once commented that I had to be doing the whole labor thing wrong, because I kept laughing all the way to the hospital.

I was optimistic, because when we checked in I was already dilated to a 3.  Unfortunately, that was about the end of my laboring success.  After that, my contractions pretty much stopped.  By 9 a.m., I was only dilated to a 5 and the contractions were coming few and far between.

Since I was already 12 hours into my labor, the doctor wanted to give things a boost.  So - even though I have heard countless times through this pregnancy that VBAC patients never, ever get pitocin - I was hooked up to a low dose of pitocin to "help things along."

Let me just tell you: Pitocin sucks.

It's the difference between going for a run outside at a pace your body is comfortable with versus being forced to run on a treadmill at high speed.  My body couldn't keep up.

I labored on my own without any pain meds until about 2:00.  By then, not only was I exhausted, but it was looking more and more like we might be having a c-section after all.  I'd been told that I should be hooked up to an epidural; otherwise if I had to have an emergency c-section, I'd have to be given general anesthetic.  Between the pain of laboring with pitocin and the threat of being put out altogether, I elected to have an epidural.

And, if you ever have to labor with pitocin, just get the epidural.  Seriously.  I felt immensely better, and it was a good thing, because they upped my dose of pitocin from "boost" to "hyperdrive."

The first of several medical hiccups began, because my epidural wasn't complete.  They kept boosting my meds trying to cover the window where it wasn't working before simply deciding to put in a new port.  Which turned out to be kind of unfortunate, because by 6:00 I was 9 cm and 90% effaced, but not ready to push because my system was all jacked up by the massive amount of meds.

We waited until almost 8 when I finally had enough feeling back to push.  Unfortunately by that point, not only was I exhausted after 23 hours of labor, but I hadn't been allowed any food or water since 7 a.m.  Not to mention, I still couldn't feel the contractions to really know when to push effectively.

I kept it going for an hour before I was just too exhausted to go on on my own.  Poor little man, they had to use the vacuum to get him all the way out.  At 9:03 p.m., a sneeze short of 24 hours after it began, labor was over and my sweet little miracle finally arrived.  Logan Joshua, 7 lbs, 5 oz, and I was so shocked you could have blown me over with a feather.  He weighed less than Leah, and that giant head I'd worried about for months turned out to be downright, well, normal sized!

Everything else is totally worth it, and to be honest, there's a LOT of everything else.  I don't think I'll go into details, because they're not very pleasant.  The aftermath of this "natural" (ha, ha) labor has been every bit as tough as the aftermath of my c-section, and I think it's fair to say that I have been cured of my desire to have any more vaginal deliveries.

I'm good at making babies, but I stink at getting them out of me.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck and I look about the same.

But my beautiful little man is here, and there's nothing in the world I wouldn't go through to see that precious little face and smell his (bruised, cone-shaped) little head.  I'm absolutely in love with this boy we've created, and couldn't be more grateful to be his mommy.

Things I have in common with

**So I'm posting this now, even though it's totally ironic because I was writing this literally seconds before my water broke.  I finished writing this post, bent down to pick up the camera to take a last picture and discovered I'd sprung a very important leak... :) As it turns out, tons of it will go down in the books as totally inaccurate after my birth experience, but more to come on that later!

Today, the woman at the zoo informed me that elephants have a gestation of two years. 

I also happen to know, through random bits of trivia, that a giraffe holds onto its little ones for over a year before dropping them. 

So I'm feeling quite fond of these animals.  A kinship, if you will, bonded in knowing that at least there are a few animals out there who bake 'em longer than I do. 

Katy Perry asked me today if I felt paper thin, like a deck of cards one blow from caving in.

Thanks for asking, Katy, but I must admit to feeling quite the opposite.  Round, robust, lumbering and just plain heavy are a few of the adjectives that come to mind.

I'm half way through my 39th week of pregnancy, and it strikes me as odd every time I realize that the comically large pregnant lady I sometimes catch sight of in shiny, reflective things is actually me. 

I'm still coming to terms with the idea of a "due" date - particularly as I remember my first OB who laughed cavallierly when I told him that the August 28th due date he "calculated" (aka pulled out of his... nevermind) was "close enough" even though I insisted it didn't track with the date of conception.

Haha, pregnant women.  Evidently "close enough" will have to do when it comes to this small thing called birthing a human.  Because, at the end, it's not like there's anything to be anxious/eager/excited about...

But, whatever else happens, his eviction date is set.  We scheduled a c-section for the 5th of September, so I know for sure I'll be meeting my little buddy by then. 

It's certainly not the way I'd like to do it, but an induction is out of the question.  Evidently past c-section patients don't get along with pitocin.  My OB suggested we could try manually dialating me (it involves a balloon.  Shudder.), but I couldn't quite stomach that thought.  So it's back to wait, hope and have faith.  The three things I'm best at in this world. 

Wait.  Hope.  Have faith.  And try a bunch of random stuff suggested by birthing books, the internet and everyone who's ever had an opinion.  Such as...
  • Chew fresh basil (gross.  And also?  Still pregnant.)
  • Cold plain yogurt (what exactly was this supposed to do?)
  • Pedicures (two so far.  Still pregnant.)
  • Chiropractor (thought I was suffocating the baby, but back felt better.  Still pregnant.)
  • Eggplant! (Parmesean?  Awesome.  And still pregnant.)
  • Sex. (Hah.)
  • Spicy food (Delicious!  But still pregnant.)
  • Balance ball (Bounce, bounce, bounce.  Still pregnant.)
  • Acupressure (nightly by my wonderful husband.  Not so much as dilated.)
  • Castor oil (No.  Just no.)
  • A wide variety of positions (see: slightly more limber.  See also: Pregnant.)
  • Acupuncture (may try this one.  Still a little timid.)
It's very reminiscent of two and a half years ago when I went through all kinds of crazy hijinks trying to get my breech baby flipped.  It didn't work then, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that it probably won't work now.  These kids, they come how and when they're good and ready. 

That planner in me has so much pent up anxiety it's getting a little ridiculous.  Want to make plans next week?  Sure!  You know, assuming I'm not in labor.  What's for dinner?  Stuffed zucchini, unless of course I'm pushing out a person.  What are you doing tomorrow?  Who knows!  But I could be birthing a human. 

On the bright side, I'm guaranteed to beat those elephants.  And more than likely the giraffes, too. 

Besides, there's never been one yet to stay in.  So there's that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spoiler alert: There will be a baby

We're leaving for the hospital. 
1:25 a.m., August 28th
A baby boy is on his way, and we can't wait to meet him!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Wow" isn't a good term in the doctor's office

So I'm still here, and still pregnant. 

I'm not dialated, and my son has the same gestational condition his sister had.  It's called, I'm not leaving till I'm 30 and you can't make me.   

No, he's not breech.  But he's not exactly ready to come out, either.  In the words of my doctor mid-check yesterday, "Wow! That boy is really high up there!" (Emphasis not mine, by the way.)

It was immediately followed by more exciting news: "It could just be that he's quite robust." 

Oh, super!  Two pieces of good news in one visit: my gigantic son is no where close to making his way down the canal so he can be born.  Good times.  Have I mentioned that no one likes to hear the word "Wow!" in the doctor's office?

It's not a big deal exactly, just one more layer of anxiety.  It means his 14 day eviction notice has arrived, because if he's not in better position at this time next week, we'll have to schedule a c-section.

Schedule and use are still two different things, but it's one more ticking clock that makes me a little nervous.  I know that a c-section isn't the worst thing in the world, but I'd sure like to get to do it a different way this time around.  It's completely secondary to a healthy, happy baby boy, but it's not exactly preferable, either. 

So, fingers crossed and legs uncrossed, and we'll hope that this baby decides to head on down (too many puns in one sentence? Nah.).

And, as a blanket statement to all medical professionals: please leave your wow!s out of the exam room, kay?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Full term.

There is full grown human in me who could come out tomorrow and become president in 35 years. 

Full term - the most beautiful words second only to he's healthy!  For the record, I hope to be hearing those words very soon, too.

The scariest and most difficult questions of pregnancy - the will it stick? and will he be safe? ones mostly - are officially behind me.  Whether he comes out tomorrow or three weeks from now, it doesn't really matter.  (Although the mess of big, hot, swollen-ankles pregnant lady part of me screams it does too matter!)

My how things have changed!
The biggest part now is the waiting, and the surprise... both of which I've never really done before.  At very nearly this time two and a half years ago, I knew the exact date and time of her arrival.  The suspense and surprise are killing me.

Could my water break in line at the grocery store?  Will I give a room full of 8th graders a lasting first week of school memory?  Maybe I'll suddenly sit up in the middle of the night with that "I just know" feeling and have to whisper, "it's time!" to my sleeping husband.  (But really, no thanks on the second option, in case anyone is keeping track.)

And, you guys?  I can't wait. 

Thanks for sticking with me through this journey.  Cheers to the end beginning.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A letter to my very pregnant self.

Dear Melissa,

You're down to the final hurdle with this little one you've longed so deeply for.  You've done a pretty awesome job at treasuring this time; I know how hard it's been for you to wait patiently after already waiting patiently.  Added to that have been some pretty huge other life stresses, not to mention a beastly, record-breakingly hot summer which all make you even more eager to press the evict button.

Patience, as they say, is a virtue.  In other words... just hang in there.  There hasn't been one yet to stay in forever. 

I know just how many hours you've spent fantasizing about the delicious scent of that little head, and holding that tiny body close to yours.  This baby thing won't be easy the second time around.  You've gotten pretty accustomed to your independent little buddy who sleeps through the night and isn't completely afraid of strangers, whether they actually deserve that title or not.  Do you remember the first few weeks of breastfeeding (um, chapped what?!)?  Do you remember the crazy anxiety?  His current accommodations are pretty cozy, and completely choking-hazard free... I'm just sayin'.

Look, I know that you're already worried about the after.  You didn't really bother to lose the weight the first time around, which made lots of sense at the time.  Priority?  Drinking in as much time as possible with that little lady.  And, while we both know it was worth it at the time, that's not going to fly this time through. 

But listen: don't hate that post-baby body.  Those three little stretch marks that cropped up?  Don't forget that they were forged making the two biggest miracles you could ask for.  Your squishy places make for fantastic snuggling for tiny bodies.  Those giant thighs have hefted you, thirty pounds of baby boy and thirty pounds of big girl, all at the same time.  Cut your body some slack, okay?

Finally, the greatest of your worries.  How will you balance it all this time round? 

I'm not going to lie, there is no easy answer here.  You finally feel like you've achieved some balance in your life, and it's going to be thrown right back into chaos.  I know you pretty well, and I know that the many directions you'll be pulled in will leave you feeling like you're failing in most of them.  Know that it's not true.  That myth of "having it all" is just that. 

You won't have enough time with Leah.  You won't have enough time with Casey.  You won't have a clean (or possibly even unpacked) house and nutritious dinners on the table every night.  You will lose your temper and feel overwhelmed, and there will be tears from pretty much everyone involved.  IT IS OKAY. 

Did you hear that?  I yelled it for a reason. 

This love is big.  Really, really big, and it will be more than enough to carry you all through.  The little time goes so fast - don't roll your eyes at me, you know it's true - and there will again come a day when all your laundry is folded and put away and you feel "together."  Nipples can only stay bloody for so long, and even crying babies have to sleep sometime.  And you know that husband of yours isn't going anywhere, no matter how many days in a row you forget to shower.  Or shave. 

So enjoy these last few weeks, and treasure every moment that boy moves inside you.  Don't worry too much about the hour long drive that stands between you and the hospital OR your water breaking in a room full of 8th graders; that will work itself out.  Kiss your hubby and rock your big girl a little longer.  Nap.  Forgive yourself.  Take your own advice, and have a little faith.

You're going to do awesome.  You'll see. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Battleground 2012

One conversation on our way up to Vail in the fall of 2009 lead to Peanut's name. 

That was pretty much the only conversation we've ever had about boys' names; back before we knew we were expecting a girl and wouldn't need to use for another three years.  It just stuck, and we've both been set on it for our little boy. 

Leah's name was easy too: we each made a separate list of our top girls' names.  Turns out, Leah was at the top of both.  Madeline came about within about 24 hours, although it was totally random and to be completely honest, I can't even remember how we landed on it.  We both agreed that it fit perfectly.

So far, we're three for three on selecting names without any dissent. 

Except for one thing: most people have middle names, too. 

Ooooooh, right.  And we can't quite agree on what that middle name should be. 

It's a crossroads we're not totally sure how to bridge.  Who is the tie breaker?  Should we flip a coin?  Rock-paper-scissors?  I'm in favor of a weight contest, but that might be a teensy bit biased. 

We're down to two, and so far, no one is backing down. 

You'll be getting my political adds slandering my husband with things that aren't really true.  Pop culture has taught me nothing if not that this is how to change someone's mind.

Have you heard that he kicks puppies?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Game on again

Here's the scoop on our house:

We know we're buying a HUD home.  Maybe a wee bit crazy of a proposition, given the fact that we're simultaneously having a baby, but some of the best times of our life were the first year we spent turning neglected house into beautiful home.  If you've never worked together, I either highly recommend it or insist you stay away from it.  It will give you a tough-as-nails marriage and make you appreciate the heck out of your partner, or you'll call the divorce lawyer.  We're category A, thankfully.  

We were all set to go until inspection, when we discovered that darn near everything is wrong with that house, down to the fact that it's already occupied.  By animals, not homeless people or carnies. 

When we tried to negotiate the price of the home, given all the crazy repairs and work needed to bring it up to speed, we were informed that, in typical government-fashion, HUD doesn't negotiate - terrorist or otherwise.  Our only option was to let it go back on the market and keep our fingers crossed that no one out-bid us a second time around. 

So... we did.  And it was sucky.  I love that house, and feel in my heart that it's "the One" we're supposed to raise our family in.  Besides that, we all know how much I rock the waiting patiently gig.

As of yesterday... 

I'm happy to report that no one did out-bid us, and we were able to negotiate with HUD (at least a little) to get the house at a price we can manage.  (YAAAAAAY!!!!!)

It's definitely more of an investment than we had initially anticipated; the work isn't going to go as quickly and we're going to have to settle for doing things a piece at a time.  There are so many big projects that have to be addressed before we even move in (critter control, I'm looking at you) that we won't be able to tend to some of the more aesthetic things I'd like to do right away.  It took us five years to get our first house truly "finished;" I'm not sure the five year plan is going to be quite enough to tackle all the projects this house has in store for us. 

In the mean time, though, we get to live in a neighborhood we adore, in a house that fits our family and our lifestyle, with good schools nearby and a *FREE* community pool right down the street. For us, the decision is an easy one: that heaping helping of piece of mind is worth a little delayed gratification on the refinishing front.
And I have to go a direction that might make some uncomfortable, so if this isn't cool with you, please just read another blog.  My memories and all. 

I know it's not cool to talk about money, so I'll make it quick... but most of the folks we know have gotten some kind of financial help from their parents on things like weddings and houses.  I don't usually begrudge my help-getting friends that priviledge, but I've never before wished it was a priviledge extended to us.  It would be so.much.easier if we had any degree of parental cushion.

I've felt the weight of this choice so heavily, because the truth is that we don't have any colored-parachutes to rely on.  Whatever happens, we're on our own, and that can be a scary prospect.  Especially as we've tried to navigate three massive life decisions at the same time: new house, new baby, and me staying home.  There is a whole lot of faith going on in our house right now. 

That being said, there is a HUGE part of me that appreciates what it does for a couple to have to truly rely on one another and God rather than knowing that mom and dad can bail them out.  It's a pretty cool feeling to know that if it weren't for the fact that we made quite a hefty sum of money off our last house, this literally wouldn't be possible.  WE made it happen.  I have to brag (what?  Humility is over-rated!): that house sold for substantially more than any other house in our neighborhood, and there is no doubt that it's due at least in part to the work we put in and wise choices we made.  And some seriously lucky timing.

While I wouldn't turn down the lottery or a long-lost benefactor, I am sincerely grateful for the path we've had to walk.  There is an accomplishment and sense of pride in independence that I'm not sure we'd have otherwise, not to mention a deep appreciation of one another and the skills we each bring to the table.  I don't take for granted the financial position we're in, and my job is to be a good steward of all the things we're fortunate enough to have.  I think that point is driven home when nothing stands between your family and potential financial pitfalls except... you. 

Besides, it makes me all the more grateful for those rare occurrences when I can, say, move my family into my mother's house, rather than having to pay top-dollar for a month to month in a small apartment. 

And as to the three life decisions we're making right now?  I don't know how to express my gratitude that, at least for now, all three seem to be coming true in the foreseeable future.  That's pretty incredible.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What I know about cloth diapering

1. It always helps to have an assistant when washing diapers for the first time.  Especially if that assistant has new Dora underware she picked out all by herself and wants thrown into the mix.  Because, you know, it's important to be included, and two year olds are great at keeping things organized.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to text Auntie Jessica in the middle of her work day to ask her 17 questions about how to wash cloth diapers.  When she doesn't text back (um, what could possibly be more important?) right away, the next step is to call the store where they were purchased and bother them (twice).

3. The polka dots are my favorite.

4. I won the daughter jackpot, because Leah is a great helper and helped me organize, fold and put away the diapers once they were washed.  No, that really happened - to the very best of her two-year-old ability.  She was totally stoked about it. 

5. Cloth diapers are ridiculously soft.  If they made them in  adult sizes, I'd wear them instead of undeware.  Like, for reals.  I may or may not have tried to bring one or two to bed with me, before my husband informed me that was a little weird. 

6. It feels really, really good to know that Peanut has clean diapers.  Washed, put away, ready for his tiny tushy. 

So, to sum up: going into this cloth diapering thing, I know pretty much squat

Casey keeps laughing at me, 'cause I'm a little anxious about making this switch.  I don't know why I've convinced myself that I can ruin either the diapers or the baby, but I'm pretty sure catastrophe is not out of the question on the butt-covering front. 

Stick with me kids, because we're going to do a little on-the-job learning! 

(And I can't really ruin the baby, right?  I hear they're pretty durable; I'm 1 for 1 on that front so far...)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Things I loved the month you were born

Cheese, cucumber and avocado sandwiches.  Toasted, not melted.

Afternoon rain, bringing our 21 days of 90+ temperatures (that's nearly record setting, 'cause my timing is awesome) into the 70's by evening time.  Tolerable?  Totally.

A black nightie.  I've never, ever worn nighties in my life - I'm a dedicated pants and tank top gal - but this one is awe-some.  Like, most comfortable thing I own awesome.  I'd wear it everywhere if it weren't slightly see-through on top.  Come to think of it, it might even be worth it to show my ta-tas if it means I get to be that comfortable.

Pink lemonade.  Gotta be pink.

Your sweet big sister, who is so excited to meet you.  And who fills me with joy, makes me laugh and feel infinitely grateful (again) to be doing this whole thing a second time.

Naps.  Oh, and also?  Naps.

Your big, belly-rumbling log rolls, and the moments I think you're going to break out through my stomach.  Someday, we'll watch Alien and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Icecream.  Any size.  Almost any flavor.  From anywhere.  Tonight's fav?  One scoop pralines and cream, one scoop cookies and cream.  Go 31 flavors all the way.

The fact that I'm packing my hospital bag this week.  And washing your diapers, and all the clothes from Auntie Jessica.  And setting up the pack and play.  Oh, how I can't wait to hold, diaper and clothe you!

Your absolutely awesome, mind-blowingly cool daddy.  I don't know where we'd all be without him.  For the record, he has been so ridiculously good to us this last month.  We've been a little worthless as we've gotten bigger, and he has reminded me every day why I love him so much.  I have two emotions when it comes to Daddy: the days I'm glad I picked him to be your daddy, and the days I'm really, really glad. 
(Plus, how do you think we're getting all that icecream I talked about before??)

Happy birthday month, my baby boy.
We'll see you soon.

I changed my font at