Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ha!

I told The Hubs that following my 6 week check-up next week, I want to start training for the half-marathon in January. To lose some of this baby weight, get healthy, and maybe get a little free time - even if it is in running shoes.

Then, today, I dropped the toddler at my cousin's to play and went grocery shopping to two stores with the babe.

My quads hurt. My arms hurt. My feet hurt. I'm more exhausted than I have been in months (and that's saying alot!) and the one armed drummer from Def Leppard has nothing on the pounding in my head.

Unless grocery shopping really is that taxing, I think I may need a little more training than I counted on!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Month

One month.

My little Peanut M&M is one month today.

One month ago, I was wondering if this little baby was a boy or a girl, with lots of hair or no hair, who would look like me or the Hubs or like neither of us, but her own little mix.

And then she was here.

And nothing has been the same since.

We've had our ups and downs already. (Re: Bedtime battles with the toddler and Acid Reflux in Peanut.) But I have to keep reminding myself that we are only 4 weeks into dealing with and learning to live with her. She is only one month into surviving outside of an environment that used to be consistently warm and snug. Now she has to deal with cold and hunger and waiting to be soothed. It's a different kind of life for all of us.

In the last month, she has:
  • Slept through the night once - from 11 pm until 5 am. And the one other time from 7 pm until 2 am. I consider both of these forms of 'sleeping through the night', as I consider any 5+ hour stretch of sleep.
  • Been diagnosed with acid reflux and put on Zantac. Things are MUCH smoother now. She has fits still - as any infant does. No longer are there 3 hour screaming banshee fits. Now we get the much sweeter 'La-la-la-la' cries of newborn hunger/sleep/comfort-needing. We like this better.
  • Put on at least 2 lbs from birth weight. At the doctors appointment last Monday, she weighed 9 lbs, 5 ounces. Woo hoo!! Go Mommy Milk!
  • Went from nursing well to nursing horribly to nursing okay. She nursed great in the hospital - of course. Latched on and went to town immediately, with no problems. Came home from the hospital and it went all downhill. She began 'chewing' her way on, leaving me bleeding and with gnaw marks. We got through that with the help of 'clear sombreros' (nipple shields), but now she has a problem latching and staying latched. I guess if it ain't one thing, it's another!
  • Been lifting her head pretty much since the second week. When holding her to your shoulder, she will push off, and arch back in order to better look at you. Or in order to burp or fart. It's really a toss up as to which it is.
  • A little bit of baby acne. Unfortunately, it is all on her face, upper back and chest. Apparently, its perfectly normal, but it doesn't look comfortable. It looks angry. I've been putting breast milk on it in order to try and ease it up a little.
I am recovering nicely. I am driving (woo hoo!) and I have taken the kids shopping by myself a few times. As well as taking them to the Children's Museum - which I could most definitely not have done if I hadn't gone with Nicole. There was no way I could have kept up with Bjorn while holding Peanut. He's too fast and climbs too high.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Officially a Bad Mom

Because instead of trying to teach my child to love his big boy bed, instead of fighting with him for two hours like we do every day about taking a nap, instead of making him sleep in his bed like he needs to do, instead of listening to him screech that he wants "mommy to sleep floor" next to his bed. . . .

I put on Toy Story. And will gladly let him fall asleep on the couch like he wants to.

Because the baby is finally sleeping. And I am exhausted. And there is only so much fighting and crying and screaming I can handle and this week's allotment is already up.

Whatever. He will sleep in his own bed eventually, right?!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"To you it sounds like crying, but to Jesus it's a wondrous sound"

Oh, the joys of newborn parenting.

This has been my week:

video

I know it looks like that's my boob in the shot. It's not. It's my fleshy arm. Just FYI.

This was at the end of an hour and half crying jag where they crying sounded like that the entire time. Seriously. I took the video for two reasons.

1) To prove to my friends that this was not normal newborn crying and there was a perfectly valid reason I call my beautiful baby girl a banshee. Point proven, I believe.

2) My Dad asked me to. I think it was something about sending it to my Grandma so she could hear the cries of her sweet great-granddaughter? 

Really, this crying has been going on all week. Oh yeah - and this was my first week at home alone with the kids. Shivers.

When she's not sleeping, she's eating. When she's not eating, she's screaming. (Hell, even sometimes when she is eating, she's screaming!) And when she's not sleeping, eating or screaming, she's grunting and throwing herself around her crib, scaring me into thinking that the banshee might soon be awakening.

These screaming fits last anywhere from 45 minutes to forever x infinity. (Actually, to about 3 hours - and these ones always seem to come in the middle of the night. . . . of course.) And they drive us bonkers.

Our first thought was the dreaded 'colic'. The disease that strikes newborns for no reason, with no discernible cause, at any time and for any length of time with absolutely no cure. The disease that strikes fear into the heart of parents everywhere.

Finally, after a week of listening to her cries, and seeing her distress when she couldn't be soothed, I called the pediatrician for advice.

Their advice sucked.

Since I'm nursing, I am to cut out all spicy food, gas-inducing food, caffeine, and dairy. There goes my ice cream in the evening, my creamer in my coffee (and the coffee, for that matter!), my daily string cheese snacks, the yogurt I just bought, my milk and cereal in the morning and oh so much more! Sigh. . . . .

Appointment tomorrow afternoon to see if this has actually helped my Peanut. I'll let you know how it goes.

**EDIT**

Peanut had her pediatrician appointment today and I gotta say. I LOVE our pediatrician! At least, I love the RN's and NP's at the practice. Gotta love your nursing staff!!

She listened to everything I said, didn't dismiss even the slightest concern and spent the appointment really talking to me about everything Peanut and I are going through. I feel well informed and taken care of. Exactly what you want from your Ped.

Bad news? I have to keep dairy out of my diet for another week or two and then maybe, maybe add it back gradually.

Good news? She doesn't have a protein imbalance or total milk intolerance, so it may just be a immature digestive system combined with my eating too much dairy (ahem, those gallons of Blue Bell!) and her having acid reflux/baby heartburn. She is on Zantac now, and we should **cross your fingers** see an improvement in the next few days.

Here's hoping!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Diary of a Big Boy Bed. . . .

I would be perfectly content keeping Bjorn in his crib until college. It's easy, it's there and he has yet to realize that he can climb out. And when Mama needs a break, I can put him in there and he can't escape. I kinda like that.

The Hubs, on the other hand, has been itching to get him out of his crib practically since the first day he went in there. Something about growing into a man and getting chest hair or something. I don't understand. But since I feel like I hold the parental reins most of the time (since I'm the one that googles things, reads the books and talks it out with other mommies and parents), I decided to step back on this decision and let The Hubs lead the way on this.

Even though Bjorn's grandparents were here playing for two weeks and just left. Even though he has a new baby sister. Even though Mama and Daddy are exhausted and don't have the energy or patience to play with him as usual. Even though the last time was a complete and total disastrous mess.

So we are trying this Big Boy Bed thing all over again. Here's how it's been going so far.

Day 1:

The Hubs took the fourth side of his crib off right after he woke up. He left it leaning against the wall and when Bjorn asked about it, he told him 'Your bed is broken.' and since we tell him that all the time with toys with dead batteries, he said 'Oh, ok.' Then The Hubs (Bless him!!) spent about two hours playing with Bjorn and his bed. Climbing in. Climbing out. Putting his animals to bed. And his cars. Getting the dog to go to bed with him. Anything he could think of to make Bjorn more comfortable.

And as a special added bonus, we took the Cars obsessed toddler to Target and bought him FOUR "Night Night" cars. (He has about 30 "inside cars", 10 "outside" cars and now the "Night Night" cars. The kid loves his friggin' cars!!) We thought having these plush pillow cars to go to bed with him might make him actually want to go to bed.

He fell asleep in the car on the way back from Target and woke up in the transfer to his bed. Then wouldn't go back to sleep, so. . . no nap in his bed on Day One.

Night 1:

Bjorn was completely exhausted, so The Hubs took him in his room. There was a little bit of kicking and screaming involved, but The Hubs laid on the floor with a pillow and blanket, and Bjorn laid next to him, crying softly. A few minutes later, he was asleep. (And by HE, I mean both my boys.) When The Hubs woke up, he left Bjorn to sleep on his floor, covered in a blanket. Which is where he slept until 2 am, when he woke up. Terrified, probably.

The Hubs groggily went to his room, and thinking that it was almost time to wake up anyways, got him and brought him back to our room, where he proceeded to cry and throw tantrums and fits. (Bjorn, not The Hubs.) Finally at 4 am, we got him to sleep in our bed. . . . . and then Peanut M&M (who is sleeping in a bassinet in our room and slept through Bjorn's entire fit) woke up at 4:30 with her own two hour fit. It was a loooooong night.

Day 2:

About 2 pm, when Bjorn was nice and tired and snuggly, we asked if he wanted to take a nap. Of course, the standard 'No, no, no!' commenced, but quickly turned into 'Mommy come?'. I grabbed Bjorn's hand, walked into his room and laid on the floor next to his bed. He spent about 15 minutes climbing in and out of the bed, playing with his cars and generally being a nuisance. But, finally, he laid down and fell fast asleep. I snuck out, traded places with The Hubs so I could feed the Peanut and he could sleep next to Bjorn.

And sleep he did.

Two hours later, I hear the pitter patter of little toddler feet as Bjorn comes out to the couch, saying 'I down. I down.' Turns out he likes being able to get down by himself. As a reward for sleeping so well in his bed, I gave him a Popsicle. Ok . . . . . I gave him two Popsicles. I'm a sucker, and I really want this bed thing to work out well now that we've got it started. I need to go buy more Popsicles. . . .

Night 2:

When we told Bjorn it was night night time, the typical "No!" response was loud and clear, but, again, two minutes later, he grabbed my hand. 'Mommy come?' he asked.  This time, though, I was already feeding Peanut, so The Hubs went instead. He laid on the floor next to his bed, Bjorn crawled in and fell fast asleep. (Well, he fell asleep after playing with The Hubs a little bit. Apparently the nightlight we have changes colors and Bjorn thought it was like watching fireworks. "Oooh, red. Ahhhhh, blue. Ohhhh, green. Ahhhhh, yellow." Finally, The Hubs had to tell him to close his eyes and go to sleep!)

The Hubs left after Bjorn fell asleep, and the kiddo slept in his Big Boy bed until 6:30 am when we heard him stirring. I sent The Hubs in right away so Bjorn wouldn't get scared when he woke up, but Bjorn was already walking out the door. He likes his new found freedom. Me? It scares the heck out of me!

Day 3:

Naptime was a success - again, with The Hubs laying on the floor next to the bed until Bjorn fell asleep. Two hours later, the kid was up and out the door. Happy as can be.

Night 3:

My turn to lie on the floor next to the kiddo. After only 3 nights of this, it's already getting kind of old. But I am prepared to do this as long as is necessary to get the kid comfortable in his bed. Whether it takes one week or 3 months, the most important thing is that he is adjusting, happy and feels safe. And if that means The Hubs or I have to lay on the floor until he falls asleep, so be it. It's a small price to pay for the happiness of my child.

He fell asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed. Yes!

But it didn't last.

Three hours later he was up, screaming into our bedroom. I scooped his slobbering self up into our bed, where he fell fast asleep in our bed until Peanut woke up hungry at 6.

Night 4:

Same thing. Fell asleep fine in his BBBed and then - BAM! - four hours later he comes screaming into our room. We had a plan this time, though, and The Hubs calmly took him back into his own room and laid on the floor next to his bed. This worked fine until 5 am, when he jumped down, ran past his dad and came into our bedroom looking for me. Which is when we scooped him up and let him sleep with us until 7.

Not sure if letting him sleep with us is the right thing to do in the long run, but it is definitely a short term gain. Because we are all getting some sleep this way. I have the feeling it is going to hurt us later though. . . . . .

Any hints? Suggestions? He actually seems to like his bed now. Goes to it willingly and asks for it. But when he wakes up - whether we are still in there or not - he gets scared. He has a night light. His door is cracked so he can get in and out (when it was shut, he would blood-curdingly SCREAM. Cracked is much better!). So, now what? Is it just a waiting game?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Finally: The Birth of a Peanut M&M

It’s different walking in for a scheduled c-section.

It’s different walking down the hall in two paper thin hospital-issue robes and light blue non-slip thick socks rather than being rushed down a hallway, strapped to a hospital bed next to nurses holding IV poles while nervously clutching your husbands hand.

It’s different walking into the operating room yourself, seeing the various surgical implements, knowing that some of these are about to be used on you, but not knowing exactly which ones rather than being wheeled in, already slightly drugged after 14 hours of labor, not really seeing anything.

It’s different being prepped on the OR table joking around with the anesthesiologist about how his choice of music (Boyz 2 Men ‘I’ll make Love to You’. No joke.) is pretty much the reason we are all there in the first place rather than being prepped on the OR table asking the nurses and doctors repeatedly, ‘You’re not going to forget my husband, right? You’re going to go get my husband from outside, right?’

It’s different the second time around.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

Since a scheduled c-section requires 8 hours of food-and-drink fasting beforehand, and since my surgery was scheduled for 11:30 am, we decided to have a Last Supper the night before, my choice. I chose Cracker Barrel and I went.to.town. Ordered one of the largest breakfast meals they had, two additional side choices and a hot chocolate. If I’m not going to eat for 8 hours, I’m going to do it up right, dammit!

Next morning, we woke up leisurely (translation: when the toddler woke us up at 7ish), showered, grabbed our stuff and were on the way to the hospital by 8 am, on schedule.

We were ushered into a pre-op room, where I was required to shower and change into the standard backless gown. There is nothing like a backless hospital gown to make a humongous pregnant woman feel beautiful. When I become president, I am requiring all hospitals to provide robes (backless if they have to be, whatever) comparable to luxury hotel robes. I mean, I think my final bill submitted to insurance was around $35000 for four days. what’s another $500 for a robe to make you feel pretty?

I’m just sayin’.

This is the point in the story when it becomes a whole lot of hurry up and wait. We had to be at the hospital at 9:30 for a scheduled 11:30 surgery. Then, some emergency situations came up in postpartum and the one OR was in use for a while and we kept getting pushed further and further back. Whatever. We were anxious to see our Peanut, but I was not anxious at all to go through surgery. I was scared.

Because lets be honest, no one wants to go through surgery. I talk sometimes about someday getting a “mommy makeover” - tummy tuck and boob job. But I really don’t think I will. I can’t imagine putting myself through that much pain just to look a little better. It’s just not worth it.

But I digress.

They finally call us to the OR and I do take that long walk down the hall in my backless gown and non-slip socks. And the hardest part? I had to walk through those doors, watch them close behind me, and leave my husband on the other side. Nothing has ever been harder than to let those doors close between us.

I’ll spare you all the minor details, but let’s just say that I had a very friendly and competent nursing and anesthetic crew who, while prepping and dressing me, made me feel as comfortable as one can when one’s who-haa is hanging out. I’ll also say that nothing can beat a supportive and loving husband. Because without him in there, I was over-thinking, hyper-ventilating and threw up twice. (Which apparently is pretty hard to do, considering I was numb from the chest down and had no way of forcing it up. But somehow I did!) Thank God for supportive husbands who hold their wives hands even when their designer hospital gowns smell like vomit.

When The Hubs came in, he grabbed my hand, leaned over and whispered “Wanna hear a funny story?’
Sure, I thought, I’ve got nothing else going on!
I took a picture in the hallway while waiting for you. And. . . . . My camera said “Card Full.”
“What?!”
“Don’t worry. I just started erasing everything on there! So we’re good now!”

Whew.

I had the nursing staff move the overhead light (they wouldn’t let me have a mirror) so I could see at least a little bit of the gory stuff - mostly just a lot of blue (gowns) and reds (I’ll let you guess what that was).

Then came the actual c-section, which started with the standard ‘You might feel a little pressure and a bit of tugging.’ and ended with ‘Wow. This baby will not let go! I can’t get it out! What is he wrapped around or holding onto?’ as they tugged and pulled and put all their muscle into getting Peanut out. Apparently, even though I was having steady contractions about 7 minutes apart all morning, this baby still hadn’t completely decided to come out. Until Doc came to wrench her from her warm, happy little home. Both her and I were pretty bruised up from the fight - mine are still all over my tummy but her cheek bruise has since faded.

We still didn’t know at this point if Peanut was a boy or a girl and when they held her up, they told The Hubs “You call it!” to which he poignantly said “Uhh. . . . Ummm. . it’s a . . . .ummm. . . “ because when everything is swollen and there is blood everywhere and an umbilical cord hanging in the way, it can be hard to figure out just what IT is. So Doc finally told me Peanut was a girl.

And I was shocked. Crying shocked. Didn’t believe him shocked. (Like he would make something up like that?!) But, me? With a girl? I didn’t think it was possible.

All this time I had thought that I wanted a boy. Another boy to be rambunctious and silly and wild. Another boy so close in age to Bjorn, to play with and fight with and learn to hunt and fish and drive together. But when I heard Peanut was a girl, I knew right away that that was perfect. That a girl was exactly what I had wanted the whole time - and didn’t even know.

The Hubs left with Peanut to get her weight (7 lbs 5 oz) and height (19inches), leaving me to cry and be excited while Doc finished his work on me - which included a complimentary mini tummy tuck. Woo hoo!!

My little Peanut was crying across the room and then heard one of the nurses say ‘I’ve never seen a 10 before!’ I already knew my girl was a perfect 10, but how did this nurse know? Because her APGAR scores were a 9 and then a 10. Perfect 10.

And Bjorn was a 9 and 9 (I think). Which means we are going to liquidate their college funds for an Hawaiian vacation because both my kids are getting scholarships to Harvard!!!

Since we named her Madalan Marie, we nicknamed her our little Peanut M&M. I smell a certain Halloween costume that would be perfect for her. . . .

The recovery has been much easier this time around. Sure, it has been no picnic in the park. And I’ve decided that even though Doc has cleared me to drive once I can stomp, (which I can do now - we “march” Bjorn to bed most nights), I’m going to take it easy and put it off as long as possible. I’ve got some precious cargo in the car and I don’t want to chance it. Besides, it’s not very often that I can give The Hubs a list and the coupons and send him off to the grocery store. Or Walgreens. Or to do the laundry. I’m going to milk this recovery for all it’s worth.

All in all, the repeat c-section was not a horrible thing. Of course, I would have liked to have had a VBAC, but I also would have liked to have a designer robe instead of a hospital gown, pizza right away instead of Jell-O 8 hours later when I finally could fart (which is the requirement after a c-section before you can eat ANYTHING. Total torture!) and a baby that consistently sleeps through the night. So we don’t always get everything we want, but what we get can sometimes be what we need.

And I got my little Peanut. So I’m happy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kick it Like Beckham: Take Two

OK, so I know that I owe you a birth story, and I will get to it eventually, but the birth story takes a while. And I don't have a while to think and sit and write right now. I'll get to it. . . . later. But for now? Snippets. That's all you get. Oh yeah - our little Peanut M & M was a GIRL!!

Yeah, surprised the heck out of me, too!!

I wrote a few weeks ago that she never stopped moving. That she was kicking and rolling and generally being a nuisance of herself in the womb.

Now The Hubs knows what I meant.

She sleeps all day (and all night, too. Woo-hoo!!). But when sleeping, she wriggles like mad. She squirms when she gets a diaper change. Moves around when nursing and burping. She can't just sit there.

Even the nurses at the hospital commented on it. The nurse for her first appointment pointed it out. Everyone who holds her mentions her moving her head around, waving her arms (like she just don't care) and squirming.

Yeah, people, I know. I've dealt with it since I felt those first kicks at 17ish weeks. Trust me, I know. She's a kicker.