Monday, June 30, 2014

The 2-Month Update

We took Nora and Eli to the doc today for their 2-month and 4-year (whoops, just 5 months late there) check ups respectively. They each got roughly one million shots. Eli was super brave and oddly excited about getting his shots. I think he wanted to show off for Baby Sister. He used his doctor kit a few days ago to explain to her what was going to happen at the appointment. And he held her hand while the nurse gave her the shots.

Eli used to just sleep more when he got his as a babe. Just found out that Nora prefers to scream her head off. Who knew? I tried what I always try when she cries. I nursed her. She'd nurse for a few seconds and then scream bloody murder. Kenny swaddled her and held her against his body upright, facing out and started walking. About 50 laps around the couch later and she was out.

She weighed in at 11 pounds, 15 ounces (60th percentile) and measured at 24 inches long (95th percentile - confirming my firmly held believe that she's so loooong!).

She is not as awesome of a sleeper as she was at one month, but who is? She enjoys nursing, sleeping, a good Bjorn or Ergo walk, and watching Mom, Dad, or Big Brother do something from the comfort of her cradle. She has begun to insist on a certain amount of being held facing out and paraded around the house each day.

After a good nursing and milk snooze, she's generally a ridiculously smiley girl. Hard to get a clear picture of the phenomenon because she's always wiggling during these episodes.

This month she had her first significant period of time at home with Kenny (and not me). She took the bottle pretty well. Eli even helped (pretty sure this is not the recommended feeding position).

She also had her first plane ride. We flew to Denver and drove to Ogallala, NE for a wedding.  The most difficult part of navigating the airport is that we had to lug their car seats to the gate. We attached Eli's to a luggage cart and had him ride in it like a stroller.

Nora decided to have her diaper blow out on the way to the airport instead of on the plane because she's a courteous gal. Kenny thought we should talk this picture instead of changing her right away.

The plane ride was pretty uneventful. I'm not sure she understood the gravity of the day.

My adventures in being a temporary stay-at-home mom took a turn this month when Eli's school ended, and I began caring for two whole children by myself. Two children is a lot of children. But that's for another post.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baby Girl at One Month

So we've been getting to know this new little human for a little over a month now. She is such a Nora.

So far she's been a pretty easy baby. She sleeps a ridiculous amount through the night and takes good long naps during the day. She'll nap in her swing, on me on the couch or in a carrier.

She nurses like a champ and has been doing the growing to prove it. She'd lost just 5% of her birth weight in the hospital and had gained it all back and then some by her doc appointment at 1 week. I measured her yesterday and she's gained at least 2.5 inches in length since birth. Most newborn stuff is too small on her.

She has 5 to 10 minute periods of awake/alert/happy times throughout the day. She enjoys looking at posters and started smiling at people two weeks ago. Her changing table is her favorite place in the house.

On Tuesday she was an angry baby who demanded lots of Ergo time (and lots of walking from Mama). I was afraid it was to be our new normal, but she's back to being pleasant yesterday and today.

Sibling relations have been pretty great. Eli adores her. He wants to show baby sister how he does everything. When she's crying he'll tell me he thinks she's hungry or thinks she wants me. He has had a few problems at school and ploys for attention at home, but there are quite a few changes going on for a little 4-year-old boy to handle.

The transition from one to two babies has been easier than the transition from zero to one though I keep getting freak illnesses. I got PUPPPs right after her birth and for a couple of weeks after. Then I got a bad allergy attack or a cold. Then I got an ear infection and ruptured ear drum. Then the PUPPPs or some other hives came back with a vengeance. I've been trying to take it easier and amcurrently well (knock on wood). 

I'm loving my time home with her. We go on walks, go shopping, go visit Daddy for lunch, have mommy dates with other mommies and watch lots and lots of TV (AKA nursing and napping). I take about a thousand pictures of her a day because how could you not?

She's super noisy. She's sleeping in her swing right now and it sounds like a puppy growling during a tug-of-war game over there.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nora's Birth Story

Despite our best efforts, we ended up at the hospital at 9:00 a.m. for an induction. We were in very good moods - happy that the wait was finally over. You have to be buzzed into the family birthing center so I picked up the phone and said, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby!"

They showed us to our room and told me to put on a gown. It was so very weird to arrive at the hospital not in labor. I felt like they were gonna tell me I needed to go back home. Last time I totally came in labor and they still sent me home once.

We got settled and met our nurse and nurse-in-training. We went through a bazillion registration questions.

Our midwife, Kim came down to the room. The first thing she asked was if I was sure I wanted to get induced. That kind of threw me. She said she'd talked to the midwife I saw the day before, and she didn't think I wanted to get induced. Sure I would have preferred to have gone into labor naturally, but I was there to get myself a baby damn it. She did an ultrasound and baby was in a good position.

She ran through the possible complications with using pitocin and went over the general plan. She checked me and said that I was 3 cm (up .5 from the day before!) and the baby was at -3 station (up a notch from the day before unfortunately).

After one failed attempt at putting in my IV, they got it in and the pitocin-a-thon began. We started at 11:35 at level 2. As you can see, I was super happy.

I tried to eat while I could.  

This is me at level 7, still in rather good spirits. Valerie, our doula (who was there for Eli's birth and the births of several friends's children) arrived somewhere around here. By 7 they were every 2-3 minutes which was the goal frequency but they weren't at the goal intensity so the upping of the pitocin continued.

I think this is where I started being able to feel the contractions but not really be in pain yet. We thought walking might help things.  I've got a bunch of monitors all over my stomach so I look even more comically huge.

At level 8, around 3:00, they started hurting and we went one more level to 9. That's when stuff got real. We'd been walking a bit and I decided it was to go pee again (while I still could) and listen to my hypnobirth thingies (guided relaxations and affirmations).

I listened to those and then it was time for some standing over the bed and getting counter pressure from Kenny and Valerie.

The thing about this whole pitocin/induction thing is that it was not the gradual build up that I'd had with Eli's labor. One moment I had no real pain and then the pain was there and they were already 2-3 minutes apart. I quickly, quietly started questions my whole "no drugs" plan. 

I decided to delay thinking about that and kept just moving to different techniques for relief. After a while of doing counter-pressure with Kenny and Valerie (and the two magic electric massager things we've been stockpiling since the last labor) I decided to go for the shower. Valerie asked me if I wanted a bathing suit. I told her I was over that and stripped down. I got in the shower and sent them away. I stayed there for what I think was 45 minutes to an hour. The shower felt awesome but I was getting too light headed and shaky to stay in there. I called the team to dry me off and get me a gown and then went back to a semi-upright position on the bed. It wasn't the best position for pain relief but it was the best position for resting in between contractions. I did my deep breath through the nose in and strong breaths out. Valerie kept reminding me to relax my hands which reminded me of the advice my mom had given me before Eli's birth - to wiggle my fingers and toes. That helped a ton. I did just those two things and started moaning and making animal noises. 

The midwife came to check on me and said she'd like to check my progress since it was an induction and all. When she checked me I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. 

I knew its was time to change positions again. I went back to standing and leaning over the raised bed with the counter-pressure team pushing on my hips and back. I started feeling pushy with the contractions. The midwife came back to check on me. She said she had another mother in labor who was having her third child and having similar feelings. She'd called her back-up midwife and let me know that it might be either of them. Of course the back up one was the one midwife I've never met. 

She checked me and I was 8 cm and my bag of waters was bulging. I was super-duper feeling like pushing and was pushing a little bit on each contraction at this point. We decided we'd break the bag to try to finish things up. I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder as that can impede progress as well. And that's when my water broke on its own (or with the force of a push I couldn't hold back).  Kim told me not to push and practically yanked me out of the bathroom and got me over to the bed area where all of the birthing tools and such had been laid out. 

I got on the bed and was so confused about what was going on. She checked me and I still had a bit of cervix. She said she'd try to push it out of the way at the next contraction. That of course hurt real bad, but I guess it worked because next time I asked I was allowed to push. I'd requested the birthing stool, but I was already on the bed and moving seemed hard. I pushed for a while on my left side with me and a team of people holding my other leg and Kenny spooning me and supporting me from behind. We then switched sides. I remember one of the nurses calling somebody and telling them to bring bracelets or something else that would be needed for the baby. She said, "I think one or two more pushes." Hearing that was rather encouraging.

Another push or two and her head was out. I think Kim had me wait for her to turn herself. With the next push she came out, apparently with her little hand up by her shoulder just to make it a bit rougher on Mama. I think the cord was wrapped around her neck one time.

I reached for her and they put her up on my belly and chest. I was so surprised she had dark hair.  She looked rather gray and puffy.  It's strange to not recognize somebody who has been sharing your body for so long.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, and then Kenny cut it.  She began nursing almost immediately and stayed on me for about two hours before we finally let the pediatrician examine her. The midwife was surprised by her size. At least 4 midwives had guessed her to be 7 something pounds. She weighed in at 8 lb, 5 oz. That's almost two pounds bigger than her brother and accounts for the myriad of stretch marks she's given me.