Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 15

I suppose that Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day will always be overshadowed by Sprout's birthday. But it's still an extra special day when I will think of my birthday boy and my boy whose birthday never came to be.

I didn't remember to light a candle at 7pm last night. But very shortly after, we lit the candles on Sprout's cake. I have to admit I was not really thinking about his older brother, but was instead worrying about the junk-drawer-esque quality of the background to his blowing-out-the-candles photos. Maybe in my sleep-deprived state I just do not have enough brain capacity to think of more than one thing at once. I am feeling some remorse today. I forgot about Blue yesterday. I forgot about the other babies who were here and then they weren't.

I don't have the energy today to be sad...or remorseful. It seems inappropriate then to segue into lighter topics, but, onto lighter topics:

Sprout is 2! We took him to story time at a local bookstore for a treat. His cousins often go and all three were there yesterday as well. His cousin M, who is a month older, was sitting quietly, paying attention, while Sprout was pulling books off the shelves, pretending to read them, casting them aside, getting up, whining and crying, sitting down, wandering around, etc. etc. There were 2 unrelated children (1 boy, 1 girl) there who were also generally behaving. I was thinking my kid will be slapped with an ADHD diagnosis before pre-K, but the nanny said that yesterday was the first time that M actually paid attention. That was a relief, but I'm also pretty sure that after story time Sprout annoyed the crap out of the dad of the girl, who was reading her a book at a small table in the kids' area while Sprout stacked Frozen-themed notepads and a wind-up toy on the same table. It vaguely occurred to me that the dad found Sprout's behavior "inappropriate," and that I should have told Sprout to find another place to play, that he was too close to their space and was being disruptive, but I really didn't see the value in that. I suppose I should start looking into alternative schools now.

Oh yeah, so thanks to sleep deprivation, this happened while on the way/at the bookstore:
Me: [looking in console of Mr. E's car] Oh good, we have quarters for the parking meter.
[10 minutes later; it starts to rain; all exit car and enter bookstore].
[40 minutes later] Mr. E: Did you put quarters in the meter? Me: No, did you? Mr. E: I thought you were. Me: I totally forgot.
[5 minutes later; exit bookstore to feed meter; find ticket on windshield; do not feed meter; walk to bagel store for snack to keep Sprout awake in the car on the drive home; Mr. E opens mouth to speak] Me: I refuse to be angry about this. Do not talk about it.
[15minutes later; Sprout falls asleep for TWO SECONDS in the car holding onto the bagel; refuses nap]

Eventually Sprout had a late nap so I could bake his birthday cake and feed the baby in peace. I made Monkey Cake because I call Sprout "monkey" a lot and because he loves bananas. This cake is FOR REAL, and I highly recommend making it. It's also pretty easy because it calls for oil instead of butter, so you can mix it by hand, which is great for me with my missing-paddle-attachment stand mixer (that was somehow lost in our old apartment and not actually during the move). When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted--of course he wouldn't really know what he was asking for--he said he wanted "happy" cake. I'd never heard of Happy Cake, but figured the Internet had, so I googled it and found a disgusting recipe calling for boxed yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, Cool Whip, and some other offensive "food" items. (Not to say I don't actually love all of those things.) Sprout loved the cake, and especially the cream cheese icing, so I was glad to have spared everyone from the atrocity that is Happy Cake (OK, it's really not that bad.) If you want to make cream cheese icing, the Internet is abound with recipes with all sorts of varying ratios and amounts of ingredients. Here is my recipe that was quite a hit: 2 8-oz packages plain cream cheese, softened; 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened; approx. 1 tsp vanilla (just free-style it!); powdered sugar to taste and desired texture, but in this case about a pound. The recipe I was working from actually called for about 2 pounds of sugar! This made more than enough to frost a 2-layer 9-inch round cake, so I now have an additional baking responsibility this week. I'm thinking carrot cake with the Asian pears that I do not like for some reason, and the one over-ripe banana that has a really brown spot where Sprout ate the peel (WTF?).

Anyway, around 5:30 we had my brother and his family--the same cousins from story time--one set of friends and their baby, one set of neighbors, and three sets of parents over for pizza and cake. The kids ate each other's pizza, drank from each other's cups, ran around like maniacs, but were generally pleasantly unsupervised. Since I baked the cake too late for adequate cooling time, I quickly frosted it while everyone finished up eating and we put on some star-shaped candles that said happy birthday because though I had been at the store for an hour the night before I did not buy a "2" candle. When it came time to blow out the candles Sprout was very serious, and even cried a little at the end, but I was impressed that he was actually able to blow out his candles without much prompting or instruction. Everyone but my mother in law left by about 7:30, and she helped clean up and give Sprout a bath while I fed LJ again. Since it was his birthday, we let Sprout stay up a little late and watch 10 minutes of Frozen (he has requested to watch it, along with Yo Gabba Gabba, every day, and it's so cute they way he says both titles that I have a hard time saying no). Then Mr. E, my MIL and I opened a bottle of Prosecco and watched Ridiculousness on DVR. Not a bad way to end the day. (Did I forget to DVR the Teen Mom 2 Reunion? Damn it!)

Finally, some photo evidence:

See what I mean about the junk?
My little GQ is 2!

I continue to refuse to cut his hair (even if it casts a shadow on his face, making him appear to be wearing makeup a la a Kiss band member).
A few days prior, with an expression that resembles a smile.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Best Laid Plans...

...Just don't matter at all when you end up with this:

Welcome LJ, born September 27, 2014 at 1:37 a.m. 7 pounds, 15 ounces. The nurse measured him at 22", but I have to say after putting him in a few outfits I did not agree. I measured him the other day and came up with 20.5, which was confirmed at the doctor's office last Thursday.

I love my sweet, sweet, new little monkey. He has probably spent at least 50% of his life so far asleep on my chest (or Mr. E's), and I wouldn't change a thing. Sprout, who will be 2 on Oct 15, gave LJ a kiss on the head today that was not followed by an act of violence. He's a little, um, NOT NICE to babies smaller than he is. We have to keep a sharp eye on him. But today he was pretty good overall, didn't pay too much attention to LJ and hasn't been throwing extra tantrums, really. He helped Mr. E mow the lawn today and it was just the cutest thing.

I've heard people say they couldn't imagine loving their second child as much as their first, until the second child is born. I feel like I need to be careful to love my first (second) as much as my second (third). I have always loved the baby stage, and I am not as much a fan of the toddler stage, so maybe this has something to do with it? Maybe because my first born was here and gone before I got to experience the love you feel when you stare at your sleeping baby, and yet I still loved him more than anyone else? Do I really love Sprout less now that LJ is here? Of course not. But I can't help thinking how nice it would be to not have to chase after a toddler, or watch him like a hawk around the baby. You know, having your first baby is really hard...until you have your second baby and the hard part is still the first baby.

. . .

OK, so here's what happened. My due date is actually October 11. I thought it would be kind of cool for the babies to share a birthday. Not cool for them, maybe, but for me. But I also kind of felt like this one would be a September baby, and that that would be nice for the kiddos because they would have their own birthday month. Call it mother's intuition. My water broke last Thursday night about 8:00. I stood up from the couch and just felt something funny happening. Mr. E was at the store and I was trying to get Sprout to bed, a little late that night (not sure why). I went to the powder room and thought I just lost the mucus plug. But then I realized that my pants were wet in a little spot too. So at this point I kind of know what is happening, but I wasn't aware that it would KEEP HAPPENING for the next few hours. I knew better than to call the doctor. I just wanted to eat dinner, take a shower and sleep in my own bed, rather than spend the night in the hospital having my vagina unnecessarily probed. I assured family members I would call the doctor in the morning. I obliged and called in the morning, and of course they wanted me to come into the office immediately to "get checked," i.e. unnecessarily probed. I rejected the probe repeatedly until the nurse said that if I was not further dilated, she would let me go home for awhile and check in hours later. So I relented, and no, I was not further dilated, because duh, I did not have ANY contractions, and before I could leave we had to check fluid levels via ultrasound and have a non-stress test. Apparently my fluid level was really low, because the tech was quite serious while doing the scan and then opened the door to tell the nurse that I was at 1.8. I did not--and still do not, really--know what that meant, but to the nurse it meant go immediately to the hospital. If your water has not broken, fluid levels are normal within the wide range of 7-24. I think this is centimeters, so the amount that might be sitting in the bottom of a glass if you could measure that way. What I sort of understand from blogs and such, though it was not fully explained to me, is that under 2cm is not so good for the baby. Oh, yes, and the whole time I lied to the nurses and doctors and such, telling them that my water broke around 10pm, instead of 8. What is two hours, really? I just wanted to make it seem more plausible that I would not have called the doctor the night before.

I agreed that I would get to the hospital "in about an hour," and then I went to work for an hour to tie up loose ends (so glad I did that, actually), and then went home to spend some time with Sprout, pack a bag, have some lunch, and finally head over. It's a five-minute drive to the hospital, so I suppose that was also comforting to me, knowing that I would be there in moments when it was time to go. Still not a single contraction, but I could feel the baby moving quite a bit, which was also reassuring. I should also point out that from the time my water broke I was keenly aware that the baby was still moving well, that the fluid was clear and odorless, and that I was GBS negative. So aside from the low fluid issue, I do not see that I was at risk just because my water broke early. Of course at the hospital they have other ideas, which is why I didn't want to go until I absolutely had to. We arrived at 1:00, about 2 hours later than I promised the nurse. Actually, my plan for initially calling the doctor was going to be to wait until 2:00 that day (Friday), since that would be 18 hours after water breaking with no progress. I guess in the end I simply lost an hour and increased the risk of infection by having one unnecessary probe (the one at the office, which would not have changed anything if we had just checked fluid and had the non-stress test first, which I now know to do should there be a future repeat occurrence). Skip to the end, no one got an infection.

So where are we? The hospital was expecting me, so I went right to a delivery room and started the admitting process. The anesthesiologist came to go over all the releases in case I opted for the epidural. He asked when I ate last and said "of course you did" when I replied "right before I showed up." This was not my first rodeo, yeah, of course I did because you people are going to starve me for the next 17 hours. Unfortunately I had had three bites of Sprout's leftover hotdog and a handful of grapes. But I packed snacks, and let me tell you, I was sneaking them up until we started the--spoiler alert--induction.

Basically, I asked to go home to wait for labor to start on its own, the doctor was very serious and said I would have to sign a waiver that would read that the baby could die and since that didn't seem like a worthwhile risk, I finally said, let's start the pitocin and have a baby! And at that point I also said to bring on the pain relief. Which by the way, arrived a little late and I was not prepared this time to go through so many painful contractions. We started pit at 7:30, so about 24 hours after water breaking, and LJ was born 6 hours later. The contractions started picking up about 11, and were really hurting at 11:30, and I don't think I got the epidural until midnight or even after? Who knows? I feel like the anesthesiologist was barely out of the room before I was pushing and delivering the baby. Apparently that is what a good epidural is supposed to do. I could feel and move my legs the whole time, I felt enormous pressure and was unable to keep from pushing a little bit with the contractions, but the cervical pain was not there. I still needed a lidocain shot for the stitches, though, so maybe the epidural didn't quite go far enough? Again, whatever, I much preferred being able to feel and push than with Sprout when I could detect the contractions but that was basically it. Also, I thought you weren't supposed to tear the second time around? Same spot.

What else? Ah yes, there was some drama. I guess when it was time to deliver everything went so fast, the doctor was barely scrubbed in and they did not have time to break the bed, i.e. lower the lower half and put up stirrups. So when LJ's head popped out unaccompanied by the rest of his body, they had to quickly break the bed so the doctor could wiggle his shoulders out. I confirmed with the doctor, who I guess was working the entire weekend because she did the rounds on Sunday morning, that he was without oxygen for only about 20 seconds. But in the meantime they were yelling about breaking the bed, and then yelling at me to push, and I think at one point I didn't even push but I thought I was, then quickly got it back together and just pushed even though there wasn't a contraction and there he was. They placed him on my naked chest, blue and silent, but after rubbing him with the blanket and suctioning his nose and mouth he was breathing and crying and back to being perfect in a matter of moments. Also, in the midst of this, Mr. E shouted "I see balls!": his way of saying, "It's a boy!" What a class act. Makes me laugh though.

I think that covers the birth story. I have a whole new appreciation for intervened-upon birth. I mean, was it really that important that I sit around waiting for labor to start on its own? Clearly my body was not doing it right--only 10% or so of women have their water break before contractions, and then the median time to active labor is 16-17 hours after water breaking. I don't feel bad about this. Sometimes things don't go "right," and that is what medical intervention is for. I do not feel weak that my body didn't it "do it right" this time, I do not feel like something failed me, I do not feel like I should have done something differently. I think I personally could have waited longer for labor to start, and maybe could have avoided the epidural, but again, for what? Healthy mom, healthy baby is an outcome that is hard to have second thoughts about.

. . .

There is so much more to write about...the house, leaving the hospital, maternity leave, a 39-week bump picture (haha)...but I've got to save something for future posts. And, while Sprout still naps, get back to this:

P.S. I totally splurged on this lounge chair ($215 on Wayfair). I couldn't imagine nursing outside in warm and dry fall weather without a comfy place to lounge. This is where I spent most of September 28.