Wednesday, May 29, 2013

That Just Happened

I did something crazy this morning and told Peter that I'm addicted to having babies and I think we should have a third someday. He looked at me like I'd suddenly morphed into someone else overnight and told me I was dreaming. Maybe I am - certainly if you'd asked me in weeks 4 through 35 of this last pregnancy, I'd have sworn I was done. And, technically I'll be a higher risk next time (a preterm labor asterisk next to my name... grrr....). And we don't have space and really can't afford another. But, still. I like my babies so darn much.
group tummy time!
One of my babies is sleeping next to me right now. So's his daddy. Lucky boys. Poor Dash just projectile vomited all over me for the first time - down my arm, all over my chest, pooling on the floor. He finally settled down afterward, and fell into quite a slumber. Confession: he's sleeping on his tummy. He really, really prefers it, and sleeps SO much better. He doesn't sleep on his tummy during the night, but we are cosleeping for the moment. Call the sleeping police, I guess.

(Ugh. Just found vomit down my cleavage. Awesome!)
Dash had his first little cold this weekend. Talk about nervewracking. 6 weeks old, and a premature at that - too young for my comfort for sniffling and sneezing. I took him to the pediatrician (who assured me that it wasn't crazy to take a baby in for sniffles) who said that if he got a fever, we would need to head to Children's Hospital. Luckily, all was fine (but poor Dash didn't appreciate all the temperature taking...). And the good (unbelievable?) news is that he's gained 21 ounces in 8 days. Breastmilk for the win. Also - he's been wearing his 6 month old clothes today. And he's 6 weeks. But really only 1 week, adjusted. He would have been a record setter, weight-wise, had he gone to term. Ouch.

Speaking of being born, I finally got to see his birth pictures today. The really, really graphic ones that will never be shown to anyone who wasn't there to witness it for themselves. Except my mom, who promised she would cry, and really - why not. She was nice enough to never once ask to be let into the delivery room with either baby. Have at em, mom. But seriously though - seeing those pics. Leaves me speechless. Reminds me of the pain. Of the relief. It's incredible and amazing and awesome. But also, makes me feel a bit squirmy knowing just how intimate of an experience I shared with my husband, sister and best friend. Being on the other side, you're not really aware of what the whole thing is like for everyone else in the room. Now I am. Makes me squirmy. 

And proud. Because heck. Rockstar moment - pushing a baby out in 7 minutes. Not too humble to not grab that moment and hold it high on list of accomplishments. But it should not be left unstated that any way a baby exits a woman's body should be her rockstar moment, to hold high on life's Major Proud Accomplishments list.
can you tell who's who? I think they look alike!
Of course, my first Major Proud Accomplishment in life is my firstborn. She's such a funny nut lately.Two years old (how did we get here already??) and an exhausting, thrilling handful. Even if we didn't have a newborn right now, we'd be exhausted just keeping up with her. She talks from the time she wakes up to the time she (reluctantly) goes to bed. Her favorite things to talk about? Puppies, Babies, Pooping (in both the puppy and baby context) and New Puppy, who is a category all of his own.

she got into this situation all by herself...

We're really happy right now. I might be overstating it, because after all, I do have a sleeping baby on my chest (you may recall that earlier in this post, said baby was sleeping next to me. That's because this measly post took two days to write. Yeah.), but we're in a good place. I think happiness is right around the corner from gratitude, and it is so easy to look around lately and count our many blessings. Most importantly, we have the four of us, and really could never want a whole lot more than that. Although if I'm being honest, sleep would be nice.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

And Just Like That

My first baby is two.

It's been quite a year for her. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of the year she was hanging out with a sick and exhausted pregnant mama, but despite endless loops of Baby Einstein, Sesame Street and Curious George, she's become quite a little girl.

At two, we can say for sure that she is smart, curious, strong-willed, funny, soft-hearted, tough, athletic, energetic, independent, and very loving. Even still, after having had her around for more than 733 days, I can confidently say that I continue to love her more every day. How is that possible? When does that stop? She's my life's joy and my whole heart, and her daddy's as well.

We celebrated her actual birthday in a very low key way. After waking her up with balloons and singing, we took her to a bouncy play house in the morning with her best friend Jake. Came home, took a nap, and after nap we went on a family walk. Peter took her to the park after that, and we grabbed some burgers as a family of four for dinner. At the end of the day, a package arrived from her Gramma in North Carolina - a brand new double stroller, which we quickly assembled and took for a test ride. Of course, we told her this was a birthday present (having nothing to do with our new addition) and she absolutely loves it.

Saturday was her party, and I use the word "party" pretty loosely. There was no decorations to speak of, no party planning stress on me, the one balloon we had was actually a birthday gift, and only one party guest her age (best friend Jake, once again came through!) but she had a blast, and so did the rest of us. We gathered at my mom's house with only immediate family and might-as-well-be-family close friends and watched the toddlers play with New Puppy for entertainment. I was willing to do the food, but my mom came through (as she always does, above and beyond) with burgers for the crowd, and my aunt provided some great side salads. We tested out the new blender my mom got by making pina coladas (yum!), the guys drank some beer, and I made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It was perfect, and the kids had so much fun. Pretty sure New Puppy had fun too - he was exhausted by the time we left, as were we all.

Thankfully, once again, Kelli brought her fabulous camera and took some amazing pictures. She's a wonderful friend to me for more reasons than I can count, but one pretty great perk is that she's got a great camera and a great eye, and has taken pictures for us on some pretty monumental occasions (Ellie's First Birthday, Dash's actual birthday, etc). I'm so grateful for her - and the photos too! And because I couldn't decide which ones to use, forgive the photo overload. :) (also, it appears the lack of sleep is catching up to me, by way of bags under my eyes. Please forgive, and remember, I do have a newborn....)

Great Grandma Jean is the perfect baby-holder. She likes to sit, and Dash likes to be held!
I hope they're friends forever
The Entertainment
My mom's the best. Seriously.
Best friends. Again - please remember: I'm only slightly postpartum.
cracks me up. put her in a soccer jersey, and you have one of those little league trading card shots!
New Puppy love
Beautiful girl
Just pondering life
Likewise, pondering life
Believe it or not, it only took 4 weeks and 5 days to get a family pic of the four of us!
All in all, a great way to celebrate our great girl. Here's to starting our third year with her!

Friday, May 10, 2013


It's been a quiet Friday night. My husband has taken a rare night off to go out on the town. I'm watching the kids.

Side note: how grownup does it sound to say, "I'm watching the kids." Yeah. If that doesn't reek of being a grown up, nothing does.

So I've spent the evening indulging in things I can never do when he's around: watching shows about shopping for wedding dresses while eating dark chocolate covered cherries. And, I'm getting quality snuggles in with my little guy, who I'm falling so in love with every day. He's just perfection: so deliciously sweet, so soft and all mine. I adore this baby. With Ellie, it was an intense and immediate attachment. With Dash, it's been a more gradual process of getting to know each other. I mean, it was three days until he was in my arms, and quite a few more than that before I was able to breastfeed, and even more until I felt like I could just be his mama in my own way. It took me time to learn what his cries even sounded like. But, we're there now. He can't even cry without my milk letting down immediately in a primal mothering response. Anyway, I digress.

I went back to the hospital today to return a breastpump that I'd rented while Dash was in the NICU. It was the first time I'd been back since we left (and seeing how many appointments I'd be going to before he was born, this was the longest I'd been away from those familiar sliding doors in quite a few months!) and it was strangely comforting. Like stepping into an old home. I know we were only there for 11 days, but once you go through that kind of initiation, it sticks with you.

I saw a dad wearing a NICU sticker, and the look in his eye was one that luckily, Peter and I'd been able to avoid during our stay. He looked stresses to the max, but worse, he looked scared. I tried to make small talk, and asked how he was doing. He implied that he wasn't doing so well, and I asked if he had a baby in the NICU. He then told me that she was being transferred shortly to Children's.

Children's is never where you want to have a child, but having an infant transferred from a level III NICU (meaning, the highest level of care available) to Children's means your baby is very, very critical. I can't imagine.

When I left the hospital, I saw the Children's ambulance outside the loading area, and said a prayer for the baby and her family. I've thought about them all day. Will you say a prayer too, or send some positive thoughts for them? I'll never see them again, but they've been weighing on my heart. And the contrast between our experiences was highlighted in such a way that at that moment, any sadness I had that we had a rocky start went out the door. Yes, it was rough. But we were never scared.

I spent some time tonight researching what Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Dash's diagnosis) really means, and the treatment of it, the long-term effects and the drawbacks of the therapy he received (obviously the benefits far outweigh the draw-backs, but apparently the medication he needed is not without controversy). My takeaway is that Dash was sicker than we realized, and much sicker than a typical 35 weeker "should" be. So I'm basking in thankful reflectiveness tonight. For my babies and their health and this gift I've somehow received.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Drawing a Blank

I've been trying to blog off and on throughout the day. And yet, I made zero progress. Like, the page was totally blank until just now. I guess that's how it's going to be for a little while, while I do anything but attend to the most urgent need of whichever family member is displaying said need. Meaning, I've found myself going from feeding one person, to getting another to sleep, to changing a diaper, to feeding another person.... you get it. The good news is, I do get to shower once it gets to the point that even a dirty diaper isn't as urgent as my third or fourth day shower. :) And we all get fed eventually!

In reality though, what we're doing right now isn't exactly hard. It's certainly time consuming, but the difficulty comes in trying to go in a hundred directions while sleep deprived. Nothing gets our full attention it seems, but the work isn't particularly difficult. Unless you count me giving up cow's milk dairy. That's no milk, yogurt, CHEESE, butter, etc. That's hard. But it appears that Dash may have a sensitivity to the dairy in my diet, so out they go. I will miss them sincerely.

In Dash news, he is literally changing every day. It's amazing to think about the cellular development taking place in that little body. He's gaining 1-2 ounces a day, and it's very visible. Every night he looks a little rounder and fuller, not to mention cuter. :) He's got a bit of a diaper rash, which is frustrating, and his sleep seems to be rocky at night. He seems to sleep best when held by me (of course, I do not sleep best while holding a baby), but we're both compromising some and making do. His tummy seems to bother him too, which is sad to see (he gets writhy and red-faced and very vocal, even in his sleep). He's nursing like a champ, and we've entered one of my favorite nursing stages: he's still little enough to curl around my body, but he's aware enough that he gets this little barracuda look in his eyes as he looks side to side quickly right before he latches on and starts the sweet "suck, suck, swallow" rhythm that is just so intoxicating to us both. And he places his little hands on me, and I want to melt into him as his eyes roll back and he drifts into sleep. I adore this.

In Ellie news, she'll be TWO next week. I can't hardly believe that we're about to enter our third year with her - I never thought I'd be so lucky in all my life to have someone like her as mine. She's just wonderful, even when she makes me want to scream in the frustration that comes from the attempts to parent and re-direct a strong willed two year old. She's magic though, and she's getting a bike for her birthday. And, my parents got a new puppy, who she believes is a playmate just for her. And the puppy (Knute!) seems to think that it's his responsibility to look after the little blonde toddler. He's already so gentle and protective - we're all hopeful that this is going to be the start of a lifelong friendship.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Settling In

I'm no parenting expert, but I've figured out that as soon as you start to understand your child in any particular phase of life, and develop a strategy for dealing with it, they pull a switcheroo on you and throw a new curveball your way. Keeping that in mind, I'm sure with two kids we'll be reevaluating our status-quo almost daily. BUT, for the time being, we're settling in pretty nicely. Dash has been home 1 week and 1 day, and while I don't remember being this exhausted, well... ever, the family unit is running pretty smoothly.

morning snuggles with two babies
why yes, her finger is up her nose!
we like to challenge gender stereotypes in clothing. also: Dash's habit of peeing on his clothing means he frequently wear's Ellies' old clothes...
I will admit though - I may just be saying this because it was an unheard of 70 degrees and sunny today, and we had a super fun afternoon complete with mini-pony rides and toy train rides for Eleanor. All four of us were happy today, so the world felt like all was right. Even though when we came home from the park, and changed four dirty diapers in 30 minutes, gave an impromptu sink bath to Dash, and took a full hour to cook pasta (I think I boiled and turned off the water a total of four times thanks to the aforementioned diaper changes and whatnot), we are so happy tonight.

But, back to my point - things are going pretty smoothly. Most importantly, and most relieving to see, is that Ellie seems quite taken with her little brother. She rushes to "hug" and "kiss" him when he fusses (and by this, I mean putting her whole head on top of his and leaning in saying, "ooohhh...." in a rather crushing kind of way), always wants to see him, watch us change his diapers, etc. She hates when he pees on things (and apparently, being a boy, he pees on everything ALL THE TIME! He'll go through four changes of clothes by noon, and yes, we are "tucking it down") and hates having to share her old baby gear with him. Seeing him in the stroller or baby swing sets her off, but otherwise, she seems to really like the little guy. We haven't seen any big behavioral disruption from her (although we did see her climb out of her crib. three times in one day. looks like it's big girl bed transition time...) but are wary that they could come.

Dash is doing great. He's a great little eater and is pretty much on a 2 1/2 to 3 hour schedule. That means sleep is pretty interrupted, but he's still pre-term (38 weeks tomorrow) so I'm going to feed him as often as he appears interested. He had his first pediatrician appointment this week and we found out he'd gained 7 ounces in the 5 days since he'd been discharged, so our pediatrician assured us that we had nothing to worry about in that sense. He does seem to have some fussy/uncomfortable period in the evening before bed (gas maybe? reflux?) which results in him taking forever to settle down. Of course, this coincides with exactly when I start to find it impossible to keep my eyes open, so that's a nice challenge. He'll sleep fine in his bassinet throughout the day, but won't want to at all in the night, so the last couple nights he's ended up in bed with me while Peter moves to the couch. I miss my husband, but need the sleep, and the attachment time with my baby certainly is useful.

First Pediatrician checkup! Results: "a star"
As far as attachment goes, I think we're all progressing. He felt pretty foreign to me at first (certainly he did while he was in the hospital), but we're getting there. He is definitely the sweetest little boy I've ever laid my eyes on, and complete perfection in every way.