Babywearing and More

I don’t know why this memory just popped up out of the blue the other day, but it did, so now I must write.  I was remembering a trip to Target when Annabeth was around 2 or 3 months old.  As we were walking to the front door, another mother that was walking in the opposite direction noticed that I was wearing Annabeth in our fabulous Boba 4G, and exclaimed, “Yeah, Boba!” I smiled at her, and kept walking because Jonathan was in a hurry to get into his favorite store, and was dragging Paul as fast as his little legs would carry him.  There was another time when Annabeth was just a few weeks old when she was crying and didn’t want to go to sleep on a night that Paul had Staff Duty, so I had to wear her around to calm her down.  My arms hurt from holding her, so I threw her in the Boba and walked around the kitchen until she calmed down enough for me to feed her.  I posted a picture of it, and one of my nieces commented, “Babywearing FTW!” Indeed, because it calmed her down!

But now I’m realizing something.

I’ve somehow been initiated into a sisterhood that I had no real intention of joining.  This happened overnight, and all secret-like.  And I’m unclear on the rules of this sisterhood.  The babywearing sisterhood.  I seriously bought the Boba because I have a 2 year old, and I can’t fit two kids into a normal cart, so it’s just easier for me to wear one when we’re out.  We had a Baby Bjorn with Jonathan that I only used a handful of times.  I bought a Moby when I had him, too, and I hated that thing.  It’s not that it was hard to put on, though it was a pain in the ass working with those thousands of feet of fabric.  I ended up selling it when Jonathan was 2 or 3 months old because I just didn’t want to deal with it.  I really had no need to wear Jonathan, so I just didn’t.  With Annabeth, it makes sense to wear her when I have both kids out.  I’ve only used the Boba inside the house once, and that was the aforementioned time that she didn’t want to calm down.  So this is why I’m unclear on the rules.  What constitutes babywearing?  I know women who wear their babies whenever possible.  I just do it when we’re out because it’s less bulky than the stroller, but I still use the stroller for doctor appointments and the like.  I just wear the baby when we’re shopping.

Let’s make something clear here…I did not buy the Boba to wear the baby to bond with her or do that kangaroo care thing that everyone talks about.  I don’t wear her because it’s the norm in hundreds of different countries around the world.  And I’d wager a guess that most of the cultures that widely practice babywearing do it because it’s the easy way for them to still be able to get things done with a baby in the house, not because they’re looking to bond more with their child.  Anyway, I just think it’s weird that there seems to be a whole babywearing movement with a hashtag to go along with it (it’s #wearallthebabies, in case you were wondering), and that if you have an infant/toddler carrier, you’re automatically a part of this movement.  I’m seriously just doing it out of convenience, you guys.

In other kid-related news, Jonathan is speaking in sentences now.  And he is hilarious.  I told him to get his feet off the table a couple of nights ago, and his response was, “Crazy toes!” Because his toes apparently have a mind of their own, and they needed to be on the table for some reason.  I’m relishing this new communication, though, just because he didn’t want to talk for so long.  Before anyone gets all worried or anything, he did communicate non-verbally very well. And he’s always been a very good listener.  He just didn’t think he needed to talk, and now he talks all day long.  Last night, he had to recite every portion of Fantasia 2000 to me when I was giving him good night kisses.  He has amazing recall for music, too, and when one of those pieces comes on his iPod, he sings along.  I think he’s going to be musically inclined, which I know I’ll love as long as he doesn’t think about playing the drums.

Annabeth is now 6 months old (she’ll be 7 months old in 3 days), and very mobile.  She completely skipped the scooting stage, and went straight to crawling as soon as she could get up on all fours.  No rocking back and forth or anything like that either.  And she is fast!  She is also sitting well, and started doing that about a week after she figured out crawling.  And she is also starting to try to pull herself up to standing.  I want her to slow down!  She’s starting to repeat sounds that we’re making, and I am close to saying that “Mama” is her first word, but I want to wait and see if she says it with meaning or not.  I don’t count words unless it’s clear it actually means something to the kid instead of just babbling.  I just got done sleep training her a couple of weekends ago, and it took all of two days.  She cried 35 minutes the first night, and 2.5 minutes the second night.  Now she babbles and crawls around her crib until she falls asleep.  I usually have to go in once to rub her back a little bit, and then she goes to sleep on her own.  She really is a sleep angel because she’s just been so good with sleep from the get-go.  Still no teeth, but she’s chewing on everything she can grab.

This is from when I took her 6 month pictures.  Jonathan was looking out the window, and I got a couple of pictures of just him, and then Paul propped Annabeth up there, and we just got the perfect shot.  Also, a picture from Easter.  Because the funny shots should never be left out.

Spying on the neighbors, as usual.

Spying on the neighbors, as usual.

The best Easter picture in the world...who needs the Easter Bunny?!

The best Easter picture in the world…who needs the Easter Bunny?!

In other family news, Paul has made the decision to retire from the Army.  He’ll have 20 years in January, and, as he puts it, he’s “done Armying.” We’re looking forward to this new chapter in our lives, even though it’s often a difficult transition.  We both know how to be resilient and roll with the punches, though, so here’s hoping for a smooth transition for us and the kids.

This is Why Moms Go Crazy

It’s 11:30 at night.  Let me give you a rundown of my day.

I fell asleep around 12:30 last night.  Thankfully, Annabeth is an excellent sleeper, and didn’t wake up at all last night.  When she does wake up, I just have to stick the pacifier back in her mouth, and she’s usually good.  Jonathan used to stay up for hours when he went through his 4-month sleep regression, so I will take this.  I’m still going to sleep train her next month, but it’s mostly to get her to fall asleep on her own without the pacifier.  She was falling asleep on her own before the 4-month sleep regression because she is apparently an angel sent from heaven, but that has disappeared.  Anyway.

I get up at 7:10ish, so I can get Annabeth up at 7:30.  She wakes up, I feed her, everything’s cool.  I put her in her bouncer so I can get Jonathan up.  He’s still trying to sleep, but if I let him sleep in, it’ll mess up his sleep for the next week.  So he gets up, he eats breakfast while I unload the dishwasher, and have a cup of coffee, toast, and yogurt for breakfast.  He finishes eating, we go in the playroom, and then it’s time to put Annabeth down for her nap.  While I am upstairs walking around her room to get her to fall asleep as she flails because I’m apparently not holding her right, Jonathan climbs over the gate, comes up the stairs, and decides to wreak havoc in our room.  So of course, Annabeth takes longer to fall asleep because she can probably sense my anxiety about him breaking the monitor or spraying shaving cream all over our bedroom.  I hear a whirring sound, and it’s him deciding to take a little look-see around Annabeth’s room.  She finally falls asleep, I finally get him back downstairs, but now he wants the iPad, so I give it to him so he won’t start dumping toys out of all the bins, which will definitely wake his sister up.

Annabeth wakes up about an hour and a half later, and I got into the kitchen to make her bottle.  She’s already crying.  I hear, “Uh oh! Ohhh, noooo!”  I look around the corner, and Jonathan has peed on the floor.  At least it was on the laminate and not on the carpet.  And this time, he’s not splashing around in it like it’s a puddle, which is good.  So Annabeth is now screaming, I’m trying to clean up his pee mess, and he’s grabbing paper towels off the roll and shredding them.  Because I don’t already have enough to clean.  I finally get everything cleaned up, and get upstairs to get Annabeth.  I feed her, and it’s time for lunch. Jonathan eats his lunch without incident, which is also good, but then freaks the fuck out when I take the iPad away because it’s time for his nap.  Annabeth is in her bouncer, and now she starts crying.  Fabulous.  I need to get him in bed, and she’s not screaming, so I head upstairs to put him down for his nap.  Thank God for the talk back feature on this monitor because he actually listens when I tell him to get back into bed.  I then spend another half hour trying to get Annabeth to fall asleep.

It’s now 1:30, and I need to eat, so I eat some lunch (buffalo summer sausage, and some delicious Washington State University Viking Dill Garlic cheese with Beaver brand Hot Mustard).  As soon as I finish eating, I hear Jonathan running around like a herd of elephants.  It’s 2:00.  So far today, I have only had 1 hour to myself without kids.  He’s awake because we put a pull up on him for his naps, and he has pooped.  His running has also woken his sister up, so nice bonus.  That’s sarcasm in case you didn’t pick that up.  No wipes upstairs, and no toilet paper in our bathroom, so I sit him on the toilet, and go on the hunt for toilet paper.  I find some, wipe him, he flushes, and I get him downstairs. Annabeth is now screaming.  I get her bottle ready, and go up and get her.  Jonathan has decided to run around the playroom like a crazy person, and throws himself onto the couch, accidentally stepping on Annabeth at the same time.

Paul gets home a little after 3.  Someone please explain this to me.  I get maybe 10 minutes a day to go to the bathroom without interruption, but he’ll easily spend 20 minutes in the bathroom.  I don’t get it.  Why does it take so long for men to get everything out?!  We’re out of fresh fruit and a few other things, so I need to run to the commissary, but Paul wants me to put Annabeth down for her last nap, so I do that.  I go to the Commissary, and right as I’m pulling into the parking lot, they start playing Retreat, so I do what any good Army wife does, get out of my car, stand at attention with my hand over my heart while facing the flag, and wait patiently for it to end.  The Commissary isn’t busy, so I’m winning this shopping trip.  I get home, Paul unloads the groceries, and Annabeth wakes up.  I feed her, and hand her off because I need some time to myself without a kid touching me.

Paul makes the first part of dinner, and I make the 2nd part.  We eat.  I bathe Annabeth and Paul bathes Jonathan.  I come downstairs to feed her her bottle, and she’s spitting it out and crying every 3 sucks.  She’s not falling asleep, so I decide to wait until we’re done reading Jonathan his stories and put him to bed.  We go upstairs, put Jonathan in bed, and then I walk around Annabeth’s room for half an hour trying to get her to fall asleep.  She’s asleep, and it’s before 9:30, so that’s good.  Paul is in charge of keeping Jonathan in line at bedtime.

I come downstairs, do the dishes, and sit down to balance the checkbook and pay the bills since tomorrow’s the 1st.  Of course, one of the websites is doing maintenance, so now I have to hope I don’t forget to pay it tomorrow.  And then I wasted half an hour writing this post.

When I worked, I used to think I would be bored out of my mind staying at home.  Today wasn’t even a busy day.  Now I don’t know how I’d fit in time to work!

In other news, Annabeth turned 5 months old last Friday.  I haven’t posted pics in a while, so here are her 4 month and 5 month pics, and a couple of Jonathan because he’s awesome.  More to come, I’ve actually done non-Mom things in the past couple of months, and I want to talk about it!

4 Months Old, and so strong!

4 Months Old, and so strong!

That smile is infectious!

That smile is infectious!

What a creeper.

What a creeper.

Always so handsome!

Always so handsome!

Parenting a Terorrist and a Newborn

Those of you who know me know that I like to tag all of Jonathan’s pictures with #toddlerterrorism.  Because, well, he’s a freaking terrorist.  Anyway, he’s been changing his game, man.  Just as an example, let me give you a breakdown of my morning.  Annabeth and Jonathan wake up at the exact same time.  So I will be able to expedite her feeding, I get her bottle ready, change her diaper, give her some gas drops, and we head upstairs to get Jonathan.  We thought we’d keep his Christmas pajamas in the rotation because he freaking loves them.  That, my friends, was a mistake.  He loves those pajamas so much that he never wants to take them off once we put them on him.  This morning, he peed out of his diaper, so those pajamas were ruined.  I laid Annabeth on the ground next to where I change Jonathan, and she’s screaming bloody murder because she’s hungry, dammit, and now Jonathan is pissed off because I took his pee-soaked pajamas off of him.  So within 15 minutes of waking, I’ve got two kids crying in cacophonous harmony, and I already want to shoot myself.  (I didn’t shoot myself, I’m still here.)  Once I got Jonathan his breakfast, and stuck a bottle in Annabeth’s mouth, though, I had blissful silence.  Just not the best way to wake up, if you catch my drift.

Jonathan has been truly amazing with Annabeth.  He has moments of jealousy, but I try to make sure that he gets one-on-one attention from me a lot when she’s napping.  Speaking of sleeping – and I know that every time I mention this, I’ve added 2 wake-ups to every night of Annabeth’s upcoming 4-month sleep regression – Annabeth is SUCH a great sleeper.  Maybe it’s because I have her in the Pack and Play still, but she sleeps so good, and has already started sleeping through the night.  She usually sleeps for a 6-7 hour stretch, wakes up and eats, and goes back to sleep for another 3-4 hours, so sleep is getting better, but I’m getting really fucking tired of my couch.  I need to transition her to her crib, but I also need Jonathan to not kick his wall and jump around everywhere every single time we put him to bed because that will just wake her up.  So we’re working on that.  I’ve been sleeping on the couch for almost 3 months now, and I just really miss my bed.  Back to Jonathan, though, he’ll come downstairs, and say, “Hi, Sissy!” when he sees her, and it just makes me so happy that he took a shine to her so fast.  He also gives her kisses and likes to hold her hand or feet while I’m feeding her, and it’s the cutest thing in the world.

Jonathan’s language explosion continues.  He’s finally starting to put sentences together, and repeats things that surprises us because we don’t remember where he heard it, but it’s probably from some cartoon on Disney, Jr.  Mickey Mouse still reigns supreme as his favorite cartoon character, but Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates is now a close second, and he loves Doc McStuffins, too.  His Duplo collection is growing exponentially, and he loves building all kinds of things, which I think is wonderful.  However, it’s not so wonderful when I’m not paying attention and step square on a Lego block.  Touche, Dad, revenge is yours.

Annabeth is growing so fast!  She started smiling about 3 weeks ago, and every day we get more smiles out of her.  I tried to tickle her yesterday and got some surprised grunts, so she’s starting to get ticklish, too.  At her 2 month appointment, she was 22.25 inches and 11 lbs., 10 oz.  I thought for sure she was going to be a full 12 lbs. because she started sleeping through the night about a week before her appointment.  Right after she was born, we were concerned she might have a milk protein allergy.  She got mostly breast milk for her first 7 weeks (way more than Jonathan did, and longer), but I just can’t be a present mom for Jonathan if she’s nursing all the time, so we switched to formula.  Her stools had blood in them for a little while, and were really loose and mucusy, but that thankfully just disappeared one day, and now she’s tolerating her formula just fine.  She was having trouble gaining weight in the beginning, but that has fixed itself, so we are now in the clear.  She looks more like me than Jonathan did, especially in the eyes!

2 Months Old!

We had a decent, but tight, Christmas.  We had a 3 month stretch where we didn’t have tenants in our house again, which always puts us back financially.  Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to worry about it.  Their lease is through the end of next December, and we should know if we’re returning to Washington by then.  If we are, and they don’t want to stay on month for month, I’ll just go back to WA with the kids, and we’ll just have to be apart for 5 or 6 months until Paul can come back, too.  The kids looked adorable for their Santa picture!  And I loved taking Christmas pictures with both of them!

I liked the Santa we had last year better, but we can't always get what we want!

I liked the Santa we had last year better, but we can’t always get what we want!

It's so hard to get him to look at the camera now!

It’s so hard to get him to look at the camera now!

I’m starting to ramble now because I’m tired, but I’ll update again soon.

Long Overdue Annabeth Update

Wow, I haven’t posted since August.  To be fair, the 3rd trimester kicked my ass.  I was so tired that an hour after I woke up, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  Anyway, Annabeth has made her debut, so here’s her lovely birth story!

On October 24th, I was starting to feel intense Braxton Hicks contractions.  I started timing them, and they were lasting around a minute to a minute and a half, and were about 3-5 minutes apart, so I had my friend Amanda come over after Jonathan went to bed, and we headed to L&D Triage.  I was only 1cm dilated, so they sent me home.

On the 26th, I was making enchiladas, and making an extra batch to freeze to start getting some freezer meals together for when Annabeth arrived, and I started feeling really intense contractions.  I was actually on the phone with one of my sisters-in-law, and I told her that I felt in my gut that Annabeth was going to come early because I’d been feeling so many Braxton Hicks contractions, some of which were almost immobilizing due to their strength.  So we ate dinner, and I did the dishes.  Around 10:30 p.m., the contractions started to get stronger and more regular.  I thought that maybe I just did too much, so I tried to go to bed, hoping the contractions would go away.  After being woken up every few minutes by painful contractions, I decided to just get up at 4 a.m. since Paul was going to get up for work soon anyway.  Paul woke up, and I said, “You’re not going to work today,” and we started to get everything around to head to the hospital, but we were trying to let Jonathan sleep as long as possible.  Of course, I had nothing packed, but I packed as fast as I could given how painful the contractions were becoming, and at 6:00 a.m., I finally decided that I couldn’t wait any longer, and we had to get Jonathan out of bed.  I called the doula-in-training that I hired to let her know that we were heading to the hospital, and off we went.

Of course, in true Hawaii Monday morning fashion, traffic was in full force.  It wasn’t so bad on H2 or H1, but getting onto the Tripler campus (where, by the way, there is only ONE GATE to get in) was backed up all the way to the off ramp.  So by this point, I’m writhing in pain and cussing up a storm during my contractions while trying to breathe through them, and trying to relax in between.  Before I go any further, I just want to describe the way this place is set up really quick because it really makes no sense to me.  The hospital is on top of this huge hill in Honolulu.  There are two parking lots.  On the makai (ocean) side, and mauka (mountain) side.  The oceanside parking lot is always full.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen an open parking spot anywhere in that lot.  The mountainside, where most of my appointments have been since moving here, has a small parking lot, a parking lot for the VA hospital that is attached to Tripler, and a small parking garage.  There is also valet parking.  Along the back of the hospital is one strip of about 50 spaces that are handicapped and stork parking for expectant mothers, weeks 34 (I think) and on.  I got my stork pass at my 36 week appointment, had two non-stress tests, and a growth scan, and until this day, was never able to use the stork parking because, surprise surprise, people just park in those spaces willy nilly without any thought for pregnant women who might actually need this parking.  Well, on the 27th, we happened to get there at the right time because the security guard was still out there ensuring that the people who were attempting to park there had a stork pass.  So, yay us.

And now, it’s important to understand how the mountainside of this hospital is laid out.  I want to preface this with how Madigan (where I had Jonathan) is laid out to give you an idea of what efficient vs. inefficient looks like.  At Madigan, labor and delivery is in the nursing tower.  There is tons of stork pass parking right in front of the nursing tower, and ample space to pull up to the front doors to drop someone off or pick them up if need be.  You walk into the lobby, the elevators are right there, you take the elevator to the third floor, get off, take a right, and you’re at labor and delivery.  Super easy.  Here’s how it is at Tripler.  After praying that you can find parking within eyesight of the door, you walk into the back lobby, take a right, take a left down a long ass hallway, find a small elevator, take it up to the 6th floor, take a left and a right, and you’ll see the triage desk.  This is a lot of walking.  It might not sound like it, but that long hallway is what does it.  The security guard can see that I’m in labor, so he offers to call for a wheelchair.  Guess what?  NONE ARE AVAILABLE.  No one knows where one might be.  Again, back to Madigan, there are a metric shit ton of wheelchairs just hanging out in that lobby, waiting to be used for, you know, people who might be in labor or whatever.  So I say, “That’s fine, we’ll just walk,” and we do.  I’m a little gobsmacked that there isn’t a wheelchair in sight.  I’m not one that looks for help everywhere I go or anything like that, but damn, I was in a lot of pain, and it would have been nice to have a wheelchair.

So we get up to Labor and Delivery triage.  Speaking of, another thing that was a little disconcerting to me…I could have walked off of either labor and delivery or labor and delivery recovery with someone else’s child, and no one would have known.  Madigan has a locked door with a security guard that checks everyone’s bracelets when they’re leaving.  You have to get buzzed in, must have some form of ID, and have to sign in and out.  When I had Jonathan, a friend came to visit with her daughter, and they gave her and her daughter a bracelet to make sure the parent left with the right kid.  Those security measures comforted me.  Jonathan didn’t have to wear a bracelet even though he was on the floor with us.  So that was a little weird.

Anyway, at around 7:30, they got us into a triage room, take my vitals, put me on the monitors, and start looking for the midwife on duty, who they tell me they CAN’T FIND.  After half an hour, they finally found her, she checked me, I was at 4cm, so they admitted me into a room.  My doula is still looking for child care for her daughter at this point, but I let them know she’s on her way.  I’m also in enough pain that the first thing I tell them is that I want drugs now!  So they’re trying to find an anesthesiologist, but both are in the OR with another patient, so I got some good narcotics to take the edge off the contractions, and then they finally placed my epidural.  By the time they got there for the epidural, my doula had finally arrived, and she was SUCH a huge help in just soothing me and keeping me calm.  I leaned against her for the epidural, and once it was placed, I felt so much better…until we discovered it was only working on my right side.  I rolled over onto my left side because I remembered from my labor with Jonathan that you have to move from side to side to keep all the medication from pooling on one side or the other, but when I rolled over, Annabeth decided to move her entire body to my left side, and THAT is the pain that every woman talks about during labor.  I could tell I was in transition at this point because I was still feeling everything on the left half of my body, and it felt like Annabeth was just digging into my pelvic bone on that side, but my right leg was completely numb.  At around 10:45ish a.m., my water broke, and there was a lot of meconium in it, so they weren’t able to put her on me right away, but that’s okay because it’s more important to make sure she didn’t aspirate any of it.  At 11ish, the midwife told me I was ready to push, but wanted me to do a practice push to see how effective I was, and that practice push resulted in Annabeth crowning.  Two more pushes, and she was completely out, and born at 11:11 a.m., weighing 7 lbs., 2.8 oz., and 20 inches long.  I. FELT. ALL. OF. IT.  But I will say that the greatest sense of relief I’ve ever felt in my life was probably when I finally got her completely out.  All the pain in my pelvis disappeared immediately, and I could breathe deep for the first time in hours.  From the time that I started really feeling contractions to Annabeth’s birth was about 13 hours, so definitely much better than the 34 hours of labor that I had with Jonathan!

Like Jonathan, Annabeth was a little jaundiced, so she had to be under phototherapy lights for a little while, but we were still able to get out of there a little over 24 hours after being admitted into recovery.  A couple of friends came by to say hi, which was really nice, and Paul and Jonathan got to be there with me almost the entire time with very little change to Jonathan’s schedule.  We are adjusting well at home, and I’m thankful to report that I am not feeling the baby blues like I did after I had Jonathan.  I’m sure that Paul’s impending departure for Texas had a huge role to play in the baby blues, but luckily, Paul is able to be home for his paternity leave, and is also able to take 3 weeks of use or lose leave in conjunction with his paternity leave, so I have lots of help at home.  My sister-in-law was also able to come out and visit and help out with Jonathan the weekend after Annabeth was born, and it was so nice to have her here!  I still need to get around to getting some good newborn pictures of Annabeth, but here are a few I wanted to share until I get around to getting those pictures done.  We are all adjusting very nicely, and Annabeth is an excellent sleeper.  Jonathan knows how to say, “Sissy,” now, and likes to count her toes and fingers, and point out her eyes and nose, and we’re not seeing a ton of jealousy, though he has his moments.  Overall, welcoming our second child has been a ton easier than our first, and I’m so happy with our little family!

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Looking at Mama, and my heart melts!

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Hanging out, getting ready to go home.

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Taking a nap on Daddy.

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Jonathan meets his sissy, and wants to help her put on her hat!

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The big bow had to happen!

Things that You Don’t Forget About Previous Births

I have heard many MANY women say things like, “It’s amazing how you forget the pain of childbirth within a few months, right?”  Or, “I don’t remember being this tired after having my first.”  LIES.  All of them.  As I gear up to welcome our second little bundle of joy into our lives, here are the things that I was hoping I’d forget, but are still crystal clear in my mind.

1.  The Pain of Childbirth.

Yup, this one will always rank as #1.  When I went into labor with Jonathan, my water broke at home.  Not a pleasant feeling, by the way, and I’m almost envious of all the moms out there who had to have the doctor break their water while in the hospital because they had that nice absorbent pad underneath them to catch that gush.  Paul and I were just finishing a lovely dinner of lasagna, and watching Wedding Crashers, I laughed, and felt a gush.  By this point in my pregnancy (well past my due date), I was wearing Poise pads all the time because, really, who knew that urine would leak out of me all the time.  So that caught most of it.  But what most women don’t tell you is that you feel a gush, and then nothing for about five minutes, and then another gush.  Repeat ad nauseum.  It’s uncomfortable and gross, and I don’t know how women labor at home after their water breaks.  I didn’t feel anything in the way of contractions at all, but, just to be safe, I took a shower and went to the hospital because I tested positive for Group B Strep.  I had no idea how long I was going to be in labor, and I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time to run the course of antibiotics I needed.  Which, by the way, felt like someone was inserting liquid fire into my veins.  I count that as part of the pains of childbirth.  The worst part is that the epidural didn’t stop me from feeling it.  We went ahead and made the decision to induce because I was already a week past my due date, and only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced, which I had been at for the past four weeks.  So we started the pitocin, and HOLY CRAP.  I was cool for about 20 minutes because they started it slow, but once they kicked in…let’s just say pitocin contractions are no joke.  After about an hour and a half of contractions, I asked for some pain relief, and was given the option of either narcotic pain relief or place the epidural, and I went with the narcotics.  And then those wore off, so I asked for the epidural.  Needless to say, I don’t have any desire to feel that pain again, and since modern medicine has done so well with coming up with such an effective pain reliever during childbirth, I will be taking full advantage of it with this next baby when I go into labor, assuming I have enough time to get there since I hear stories all the time that the second baby comes way faster.

2.  The Sleep Deprivation.

One of the most common things I heard from various people before I ever went into labor with Jonathan, especially if I was foolish enough to announce that I was about to take a nap was, “Get all the rest you can now because you won’t be getting any for the next 18 years!”  Which is bullshit in and of itself, but does, unfortunately, hold true for at least the first six months.  I got lucky with Jonathan, and he was a relatively good sleeper.  He started sleeping for five- to six-hour stretches at around the six week mark, and slept really well at night until he was right around three and a half months old, at which time the four-month sleep regression hit with a vengeance, and he started waking up at night again, which prompted sleep training at six months (he has slept wonderfully with very few hiccups since then).  So you DO eventually get sleep again, but those first few weeks are really REALLY rough.  I ran into a friend of mine at the hospital when we took Jonathan in for his two-day appointment, and the first thing she said to me was, “Are we a little tired?” because it was THAT obvious.  But I love her, and she had a little girl (her third kid) about a month and a half or two months before I had Jonathan, so she was well aware of what I was going through.  That time is tough, though.  You start to get delirious, wondering if you’re ever going to sleep again, especially if you have no help at home at night like I did.  Once Paul left for Texas for school and couldn’t get up with Jonathan at night occasionally, sleep deprivation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’m just thankful that it appears that Paul will not be going anywhere for a while after we have this baby, so we’ll see if it’s easier.  I remember repeatedly saying during that time, “This is why children are meant to have two parents.”

3. The Postpartum Bleeding.

I don’t know what’s normal here.  I’ve heard some ladies say they only bled for two weeks, and some say that they bled for months.  At the risk of revealing too much (oh, wait, no, I don’t care), I bled for about 6 weeks after Jonathan.  It was the worst for the first two weeks, and then started to taper off, but didn’t really stop for a long time.  And once menstruation starts getting on a normal schedule again, it’s heavier than it ever was before.  One thing I did notice, though, was that I didn’t have cramps as badly, which was nice.  I wasn’t a fan of the sanitary napkins given to me by the hospital, so I went and bought the Always Infinity Overnight Extra Long pads.  Those things work so well, so I at least know to bring those with me in my hospital bag this time.  The unfortunate thing is that they are also scented.  Strongly scented.  And every time I catch a whiff of that smell, it gives me a little PTSD.  With being pregnant, my sense of smell right now is a little more acute than normal, so let’s just say that if I’m, say, grocery shopping and I walk by a woman, and that smell is emanating from her, I know what’s going on.

4.  Your Postpartum Body.

For about the first six weeks after having the baby, your body is just a weird shape.  The most frightening thing for me was the dreaded belly flap.  By the time you hit 40 weeks, you look like you’re carrying an extra large watermelon in your belly, and then you suddenly empty all the contents of your uterus.  Your inner organs start to fall back into place, and your skin doesn’t have time to tighten up as fast as you want it to, so you’re left with this disgusting belly flap.  The powder bath in our house in Washington has the toilet facing the sink and mirror, so there was no avoiding it.  I’d stand up after going to the bathroom to pull my pants up, and there it was, just staring at me.  I showed my mom, and she was naturally horrified by it, but I’m guessing she didn’t have a belly flap after birthing me or my brother since she also got away with having two babies with no stretch marks to be found, but I wasn’t so lucky.  And THEN you still look like you’re six months pregnant for a little while after, too.  I think I started to look “normal” again (aside from the aforementioned belly flap) about a week after giving birth, and by a week and a half, I was already below my prepregnancy weight.  Which actually doesn’t say much for me; just that my metabolism was better while I was pregnant, and I actually lost body fat while I was pregnant.  During that time, your normal clothes don’t fit, but you’re not filling out your maternity clothes like you did while you were pregnant, so you start wishing you could just walk around naked all the time.  I’m going to recommend buying sweats and/or gym shorts since they have elastic waistbands.  Things do get back to normal eventually, but it’s tough right at the beginning.

5. Hormones.  Oh, God, the Hormones.

Hands down, the worst part of giving birth for me came about three days after the actual birth when all my hormones were out of whack, and I started crying at everything for absolutely no reason at all.  My parents brought over dinner for us, and I just started bawling in the middle of dinner.  My dad looked scared because he doesn’t know how to deal with crying women, and my mom looked worried.  Paul was amazingly understanding, which makes me wonder if he actually read up on this before I came home, but he knew it was because my hormones were out of control.  I’d hand Jonathan off to him whenever I had a crying spell because I was so worried Jonathan would pick up on my mood and think I hated him or something even though that wasn’t the case at all.  I loved him deeply already, but I was overwhelmed by my new role as a mother.  I didn’t have that strong bond that you always hear about with him right away.  It took about three months before we really bonded, but I did love him and felt very protective of him, and I was worried about traumatizing him all the time.  But there were days – no, MONTHS – that I felt like I was just babysitting for a really long period of time (wasn’t this kid’s parents EVER going to come get him?), and thoughts of leaving him on someone’s doorstep crossed my mind more than once.  Thankfully, I’m a pretty rational person, and I did not, in fact, leave him on anyone’s doorstep because as soon as I thought of being away from him, I freaked out.  Which cued more crying.  But the point is that we stuck it out together and the terrorist still wreaks havoc with me every day.

6.  That First Moment.

The very first thing I said to Jonathan (if my memory can be trusted) was, “Hi, baby boy, I’m your mommy!”  I saw his sweet little face, and I loved him from the moment I saw him.  I spent nine months wondering what he was going to look like, and here was this little boy with super chubby, very kissable cheeks placed on my chest just moments after birth, and I was just in love.  I still remember how sweet he smelled, and I was actually a little leery of them putting him on me right away because I was worried he was going to be covered in goo!  The midwife had to talk me into it, but I gave in quickly.  Because he was so late, he was pretty “clean,” so to speak.  No vernix caseosa that I could see, and they wiped him off while he was on my chest.  There is a reason why babies are so intoxicating.  His breath was the sweetest thing I’ve ever smelled in my life.  I would sit there and hold him, and just smell his breath while he breathed in and out, and I thought to myself, “So that’s why they call those flowers baby’s breath,” even though they smell nothing like a real baby’s breath.  The day we brought him home from the hospital, I tried to sleep, but couldn’t.  I just wanted to stare at him sleeping all day, marveling over his tiny toes and fingers.

The day we brought Jonathan home from the hospital.

The day we brought Jonathan home from the hospital.

Did that first moment (and all the sweet moments after) erase all the discomfort, pain, and sleep deprivation?  No.  But it certainly made all of it worth it.  So even though I definitely didn’t forget all these things, I know that the reward is far greater than the less desirable stuff, and I can’t wait to meet this little girl of ours!

Regrets

Don’t laugh.

My biggest regret in life right now is buying shitty, cheap-ass bras.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Wait.  Yes, I do.  I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll save some money, I’m sure these will be just as good as the ones I normally get.

WRONG.

I normally buy my bras at Victoria’s Secret.  I love their Body by Victoria demi bras.  They’re the only ones that fit right, they have the perfect amount of padding, and the underwire doesn’t cut into my armpits like I wronged the bra designer in some way.  They also make my boobs look flattering.  Just to give you an example of how horrible the bra is that I’m wearing at the moment, my boobs are literally pointing in two different directions right now, and the underwire is digging into my side.

So the moral of the story is don’t skimp on quality for a good price.  I’ll be buying new bras, STAT, because I can’t handle the discomfort anymore.  First world problems, I know, but I need to be comfortable while I chase my terrorist around all day!

Toddler Terrorist Development

My little terrorist has been in rare form lately.  I think he’s starting to understand that there’s a big change coming with the new baby.  I’ll pull up my shirt to show him my belly, and say, “Where’s the baby?”  He pats my belly, and pulls my shirt down again.  Sooo…I don’t know if he knows that a little sister is about to invade this house in 3 months or what, but it’s kind of funny that he does that like, “Yeah, Mom, there’s a baby in there, let’s keep her there.”

He’s also been a nightmare the past few days with getting him to go to sleep for naps and bedtime.  Up until today, naps were the easiest.  He’d fall asleep in about 15 minutes without even sitting up in his bed, but today was a whole different story.  He wanted to kick all the covers off, and then go, “Uh oh!”, over and over until one of us went in there.  He then proceeded to madly babble to himself, so that was fun.  At bedtime, it’s taking him an hour to go to sleep!  He has the “no getting out of bed” part down, so he stays in bed, and then jumps to his little heart’s content while screaming at the top of his lungs.  The good news is that he does eventually tire out and goes to sleep on his own, but I wish it would take him an hour to do that.

So after Jonathan finally went to bed tonight, I asked Paul if he thought Jonathan might be going through another developmental leap.  I know the huge speech explosion is coming soon.  He’s saying more and more each week, but he’s recently really learned how to listen (unless we’re telling him not to do something he really wants to do, like climbing on the couch), and he’s starting mimic more stuff that he sees us and characters on his cartoons do.  His speech comprehension is pretty amazing.  He follows two to three step directions, and really surprises us with some of the stuff he’s starting to say.  He just doesn’t want to talk to us yet.  Today he was counting along with something on TV.  And if we say, “one,” he’ll say, “twooo, theee!”  We’re still working on him saying, “One,” but he just doesn’t seem interested in it yet.  He’s always loved singing along with songs in his favorite movies and shows, and we’re starting to make out more words.  He was watching Monster’s Inc. today, and the part in the beginning where Mike wakes Sully up, and they start their morning workout routine is Jonathan’s favorite.  Paul will say, “Scary feet, scary feet, scary feet, scary feet, kid’s in the bathroom!”, and Jonathan does the scary feet, and hits the floor at the appropriate time.  And THEN after he got out of the bathtub today, he kept doing this thing where he’d lift one leg up in the air, and say, “Aaaaaaah!”, and then stomp his foot, and say, “Dah!”  No clue what that’s from, so we’ll have to investigate further, but he did it like 15 times before he’d let me put his lotion on him.

Either way, it’s a fun time period, but also very exhausting.  This kid just wants to climb on me all day long, which I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t pregnant, but my belly and poor Annabeth are not fans of him bouncing on my belly every chance he gets!