Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2 week and 4 week Appointments

yeah, yeah... I just had a baby and moved across country into a decrepit (yet charming) house.  Cut me a little slack.  ;)

OK, a lot of slack, because I don't know where the info is that they gave us so you just get weights this time!

Birth: 9lb, 2oz
2 weeks: 9lb, 5oz
4 weeks: 9lb, 14oz

I think they said today that they like to see 1-2lb gains per month.  I told them about my slow-growing son, though, and that they shouldn't expect much from my kids in the weight gain department.  Ha!

Nora is beginning to smile for real!  She's always been pretty expressive, and starting Sunday, I'd say, I got some reactive smiles from her.  Tonight we almost had a "conversation".  We stuck our tongues out, smiled, raised our eyebrows, and I swear she almost laughed back at me!  We're BFF's already.

 Nora at 4 Weeks

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toddler Mysteries

After refusing the booster chair, Joseph is fine with sitting on the phone book for lunch.

Maybe he likes kickin' it old school?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Weeks Old!

Nora's accomplishments:
1. Survived first flight without any fussing
2. Lost umbilical cord stump
3. Practicing lifting her head (she loved IKEA today and wanted to look all over!)
4. Charming everyone within eyesight with her red hair and gentle demeanor. 

New Stuff in Nora's Life:
1. Enjoying her new state/city/house (and her swing as much as she can tolerate it so Mama can unpack)
2. She lost her umbilical cord stump last night (finally), but no first bath yet... how long can I get away with not bathing her?  I have NO desire to do so.  Her first bath might just be with big brother so I can kill two birds with one stone...
3. A pacifier.  I finally remembered to try one today for the car.  It worked for a little while to keep her occupied in the car.  She is not a huge fan of driving, though she seems to settle relatively easily right now.
4. Baby acne. :(  I'd almost convinced myself that she wouldn't get it, but it's starting to come up.  Just a little right now.  Maybe she won't get it quite as bad as Joseph.

A Day in the Life of Nora:
Nevermind, it's just eating and sleeping.  She had been super-angel-baby, sleeping anywhere we put her and staying that way to the point that I often woke her for feeding because I was so uncomfortable, but she's waking up now, and has a CLEAR preference for being held... just like her brother (and every other infant in the world, right!)  She's become very vocal about her desire to be held over the last couple of days.

I don't even know where my camera is, so new pictures are probably a few days away.  Moving sucks. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Birth of Nora Mae

After having some irregular contractions on Saturday, I woke up to contractions every 10 minutes at 2:30am on Sunday morning.  They were uncomfortable to lay down through, so I got out of bed around 3am and started timing them online.  I passed the time reading on the internet, listening to an NPR podcast, and watching "Sister Wives" on netflix (don't judge, I was distracting myself!  And the NPR balances it out, right?).  During contractions I would kneel and lay over my exercise ball, using my yoga breathing to manage the pain.

I watched as the contractions went from 9 minutes to 7 around 5am.  By then, I found using the mantra "open" to be helpful, envisioning my body opening up for the baby to come through.  I made "oh" sounds and "ah" sounds, depending on the strength of the contraction.  At this time I was just feeling tired and nervous.  I'd spent the last morning in much the same way, although these were a little more substantial.  I was scared that when daylight came the contractions would taper off again, and I'd be stuck pregnant yet another day, just getting exhausted every night by contractions that amounted to a hill of beans.

By 6:30am they were down to around 5-7 minutes apart.  They were lasting 40 seconds to about 80 seconds. I was so tired that I'd sort of fall asleep between contractions, and when another would come on I'd lean back over the ball and ride it out - then sit back and lean against the couch to doze for 5 more minutes.  Unbelievably, this did seem to get me a little bit of rest and energy back!

Joseph woke up around 8am, and I woke T..J. up to go take care of him.  I thought about making a "birth day cake" with Joseph, but I was still afraid that my contractions would go away, and then I'd be left with a birth day cake without a birth.  So I didn't mention it.  I moved to the rocking chair at this time to rest some more, and for the most part was able to labor through contractions in the chair. 

I called my doula, Laura, around 9:15am to see what she thought about these contractions, and she was equally cautious about calling it labor.  We'd seen this before with Joseph's birth, and heck, that was a 40 hour ordeal!  After talking with me through several contractions, we agreed that I'd try and rest and call her when I felt that I needed her.  I told T.J. that I was going to wait until 10am to call the midwife, Charlotte, and T.J. said he was going to take Joseph out to a golf store about 20 minutes away if I thought I was OK.  At first I thought that was fine, but about 10 minutes later I told him to stay closer to home.   I ended up calling Charlotte around 9:40am and talking with her for about 20 minutes through 4 or so contractions.  She said she'd grab a cup of coffee and call me back in an hour to see how I was.

After that I called the 2nd doula, Jill, whose job was to care for Joseph during the birth - whether that meant keeping him near or far from us.  She was on her way to church, but said she'd bring everything with her and I should call if I needed her.

Well, about 10:40 I was calling EVERYONE to come as soon as they could!  I'd had 4 hard contractions that convinced me that it didn't matter if I was "wrong" about being in labor - I needed some support.  When I hung up with the last person, I was going to start the water in the birth tub, but I felt another contraction come on and just had to cling to the exercise ball for dear life! 

T.J. and Joseph arrived at the same time as Jill about 10 minutes later, and I'd already had 2 "pushy" contractions.  Jill stayed with me so that I wasn't alone, while T.J. worked quickly to do everything I was telling him between contractions (get me a drink, get me a hair band, get me a towel, fill the birth tub...).  He didn't realize how imminent things were, and to some extent I didn't either.  I felt pushy with Joseph for about 6 hours before I was at 10cm with him, so I was afraid to push.  But my body just didn't give me a choice - it was expelling that baby!

Jill, being very SMART, grabbed some waterproof pads and towels from the birth kit in the bedroom and put them under me minutes before my water broke (I was still fully clothed).  While she was gone, Joseph came over and rubbed my arm, telling me it was OK.  He was such a darling, and a trooper!  After my water broke, it took her another couple of contractions to convince me to take off my pants so she could make sure the amniotic fluid was clear and that there wasn't a head already poking out!  Haha.  Not funny, though, as I could feel the baby in my pelvis at that point.  This was about 11:50.

At this point I was just surviving contractions - still using my sounds and trying to not push any more than my body was making me.  It was pretty hard to keep control of myself and my emotions.  There was some mild swearing, and once I simply said "I'm frightened".  Mostly I was frightened of having the baby before the midwife arrived! 

Soon T.J. said the tub was filled enough for me to get in, so I quickly moved there to help get some relief - Oh my, it worked!  The tub was horrible with Joseph, but it was such a relief this time.  Still, the baby was on its way out, and Laura and Charlotte were still en route!  I told T.J. to call Charlotte and see how far she was, but after that it was just a matter of survival.  T.J. had put a towel on the edge for me to lean over, and I took to biting that at the end of contractions to make it through the pain.  Joseph came in at one point at the height of a contraction and I heard him run toward me and then stop when I let out a particularly strange noise.  But he just ran back out again - no tears or anything.  He was amazing.  I think he mostly stuck with Daddy at this time.

The baby began to crown, and oh my it was painful!  I can safely say that pushing is the worst part of giving birth.  The "ring of fire", of course, but I felt like my clitoris was going to tear!  That was terrifying enough to get me to breathe and hold verrry still while the baby stretched things out a bit. 

Charlotte arrived at this time (12:05pm), and I told Jill to holler at her to hurry.  I heard Jill yell "Charlotte, I'm holding a head!" and Charlotte came bounding in ready to get down to business.  T.J. was behind her with her gear, getting things opened up and ready to use if needed. 

The head was out to about the brow now, but I was taking it slowly.  Charlotte was concerned since she hadn't had any time to listen for the heartbeat, and wanted me to push to make sure the cord wasn't wrapped and pulling tight around the neck, but it wasn't really physically possible at that point.  I was just following what my body was telling me.  Luckily another contraction came and the head was out, and I was yelling at Charlotte to get away from me as she was poking all around down there and it was so uncomfortable!  She was just checking for the cord, but I didn't care.  The next contraction came and I was able to push out the shoulders and the rest of the body!

Charlotte caught the baby and passed her through my legs under the water (the baby was fully submerged the whole time, which prevents them from breathing).  I reached down and picked up the baby, like it was the easiest, most natural thing in the world (it was)!  And then I sat down in the tub.  It was 12:16pm.

The baby was quiet, but seemed pretty rosy quickly.  It took her a few seconds to get her first breath, but it wasn't scary.  I just rubbed her.  Charlotte suctioned her briefly around the cheeks to help clear out what she coughed up, and that was that!  She scored an 8 and 10 on her APGARs. 

Right after the baby was born, my doula, Laura, arrived!  I sat and "relaxed" and I let the baby try and latch on and nurse while Charlotte did her thing and everyone exclaimed at the craziness of it all.  About 20 minutes later the assistant midwife got there, as well.  We stayed in the tub for about 30 minutes, while we waited for the placenta.  After it came out, T.J. cut the cord while Joseph watched, and then we got out of the tub and into bed.

Joseph did so well through the entire labor.  He was never frightened by my laboring.  When I'd have a contraction and close my eyes, he would say that I was sleeping.  Haha!  Not quite, darling!  The poor kid got a little forgotten about in the fray.  I remembered that he was probably hungry an hour after Nora was born, and he got to eat some eggs and banana bread for lunch in bed with us!  By 4pm he was asking to go to sleep, and resorted to bringing his pajamas out to the living room at 6:30pm.  Haha.  He didn't have ONE meltdown the entire day, though.  Completely in awe of him!

The whole experience was amazing, empowering, and just a tiny bit scary!  Thank goodness that Jill was able to get there so fast, or it would probably have been pretty terrifying!  And a little messy. Ha!

The amazing part of this birth is that I didn't realize just how negatively I had been viewing Joseph's birth.  I always had pretty bad feelings about it, but this birth instantly healed me of those negative thoughts.  I can see now that my body works just fine.  I was capable of having a "normal" birth, and I have never felt stronger or more capable.

I've felt great physically this time around, as well.  After a day of general soreness, I'd felt good enough to go out almost daily, do housework and prepare for our move, play with Joseph on the floor, wear Nora while getting things done, etc...

I also think that I really did suffer from PPD from the beginning with Joseph.  I feel SO different mentally this time around.  And I don't have this general "who is this alien" feeling about Nora like I did with Joseph.  She fit right into our family immediately and we all just hit the ground running.

Nora is a beautiful little thing.  She is so mellow and sweet, preferring to rest and nurse her days away!  It's early yet, but her disposition seems to by typical of 2nd borns - very go-with-the-flow. 

I do have some thoughts as to why I'm feeling better all around this time, but I think that's another post, as this one has gone on quite long enough!  Sorry there aren't any labor pictures this time... it wasn't on our minds (though one of my commands to T.J. during labor was to get the camera out for the birth!).  I did post several birth photos on smugmug and in this blog post

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Then and Now

Joseph at 3 weeks old:

Nora at 6 days old:

The blanket, sweater, and hat were a gift from T.J.'s Godmother Marilyn.  So lovely!

Joseph at 8 days:

Nora at 6 days:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Newborn Photo Shoot

I tried my hand at taking some newborn photos of Nora the other day.  I got a few good ones, which is I suppose all you need, right?  I think this is out of about 150 or so photos.  She was a very good sport!


A busy week

Things have been busy here.  And I don't really mean like, typical "have a new baby" busy.  I mean "you are somewhat insane" busy!

Nora was born on Sunday, and we spent monday at home, of course. 

Oh my is Joseph big compared to Nora!

Chillin' in front of the fire.  What, don't you nap in baskets?

Enjoying being a big brother

On Tuesday we took Nora to the pediatrician, had some visitors, and our midwife came back to check us both over. 

First time outside
First car ride.  She was a champ!

 Not a fan of rectal thermometers, though.

Hey, a picture with Mama!

Wednesday I took Nora to her first La Leche League meeting while T.J. and Joseph rode the train to get some lunch.  That afternoon Auntie Debbie arrived, and that evening she and I took both of the kids to music class (hey, we had a couple to make up!)

Every once in a while Daddy even gets to hold her!

But he has to fight Auntie for her. Ha!

On Thursday, we took Nora to get her newborn hearing screen done (she's fine) and had a visit from my doula, Laura.  Joseph and Auntie baked that birthday cake I meant to do when I was in early labor.  Except that I didn't get around to it because I wasn't sure I was in labor.  (more on that soon!)
The rest of the day, Joseph kept busy reading books...
Nora napped
Joseph played with Nora's hair bows
Nora ate, and napped...
Joseph wanted more hair bows...
Nora wanted more naps...

Joseph played in the infant car seat
and pretended to be Cookie Monster (he does a good impression!)
And today to cap off our "inappropriate places we take our newborn" we rode the train downtown to vital records to get Nora her birth certificate made up before we leave.  When I called a couple of days ago, they said mornings were best.  I said, "is Friday morning OK?" and they said yes, any morning.  So we showed up a little after 9.  The person (there is apparently only one) who processes home births was at a meeting.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally after two hours she got back, and we made it home around noon.  

Whew!  What a week!  Tomorrow we are having a few friends over to say goodbye, Auntie leaves on Sunday, and on Monday we'll be packing up for my flight out with the 2 kiddos on Tuesday!  T.J. and his dad will be driving up on Wednesday and Thursday with all of our things.  

So, to say the least, we've been "busy". 

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