lezbemoms

Raising a Blended Family

ALTE

So we’re home. They sent us home last night after doing a trillion and one tests while we were there and coming up with basically nothing. It wasn’t a virus. He seems like a perfectly healthy baby boy- except that perfectly healthy infants don’t just stop breathing, twice.

They’re calling it an ALTE- stands for Apparent Life-Threatening Event. Life threatening. Yeah, that’s scary as hell. Apparently 50% of all ALTEs in babies are never explained, although they think it was probably somehow related to his reflux- which they said is on the more severe end of things. According to one doctor, they see about 3-4 infant ALTE cases per week and more often than not the baby usually has reflux too. They sent us home with some reflux meds and instructions to “watch him” and, of course, come back if it happens again.

PleasedontletithappenagainEVER.

I feel like I’m in a hypervigilant state now. Pax slept ON us last night because we were too nervous to swaddle him and put him down in his cosleeper a foot away from us. The hospital didn’t send us home with monitors because they didn’t want us to be “slaves to the monitor”… I would’ve rather been a slave and KNOWN my kid was breathing at night! So instead, we ordered the angelcare monitor as soon as we got home last night, and thanks to local express delivery it will be here today. Tonight should be a better night.

The upside of all of this, if there is one, is that Pax is otherwise perfectly healthy, and so are the other two kids. That’s a blessing, considering that during our short 24 hour stay, we were surrounded by children of all ages who WEREN’T healthy and didn’t get to go home that day. Also, the hospital staff was amazingly sweet, considerate, and reassuring. On our way to the hospital Shorty and I were afraid that they were going to look at us like we were crazy when we gave them our very-much-by-that-point-BREATHING baby and told them he had stopped breathing less than half an hour ago. That never happened and instead, when I started bawling as I was relaying what had happened or when Shorty and I got emotional at all during our stay there, they were kind and compassionate and understanding, and for that I can’t thank them enough. Also- not that I EVER want to be staying overnight in a children’s hospital again- but the rooms were really nice! They had two flat screen Tvs and a wii in every room, plus two fold out beds and were very supportive of me as a breastfeeding mom. So that was good.

Overall I’m thankful we’re home and that we still have our boy… And I’m praying nothing like this ever happens again.

The pictures below are Pax on the ambulance stretcher and in his hospital bed. He looks so tiny! The last one is of him at home this morning, sleeping peacefully on his mommy.

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Emergency hospital visit

So this afternoon, Pax decided to stop breathing. Twice. He was in his swing and Shorty looked over and he was gasping for air and his lips were blue. Holy fucking shit. She grabbed him up and turned him over on his stomach and patted him on the back, hard. After thirty seconds or so he drooled a bit and gasped for air. Thank god. I was running around frantically grabbing shoes and Addie for a trip to the hospital when he did it again, sitting in shorty’s lap. Thirty seconds of open mouth gulping like a fish but no breathing. And then he started again.

Needless to say, we are at the children’s hospital here. They have poked, prodded, drawn blood and made him scream multiple times but they’re not sure what caused it yet. The primary candidate is a virus- apparently there are viruses out there which can cause babies younger than 2 months to stop breathing and those same viruses mimic the symptoms of a cold (which he has). They’re doing cultures but the results won’t be back until tomorrow. In the meantime, they’re keeping him here overnight.

If you could pray for us, or send good juju, or positive energy, or whatever it is you do, we’d really appreciate it. Seeing my newborn baby with blue lips not breathing… I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. We need all the help we can get.

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You light up a room

The boy… He’s finally smiling.

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Pictures!!!!

So over the weekend we went and got pictures done. They were combination family/Christmas/Paxton’s-baby-pictures pictures, and I am in LOVE with how they turned out.

 

We also got some newborn pics of Pax done while he was still in the hospital. I don’t think I’ve shared those here so I’m tacking a few onto the end of this… we haven’t gotten our hard copies of these yet but the company did put them on their website finally, yay!

 

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Seeking Advice on Reflux

So I had a picture post planned for tonight but that will have to wait, as I’d really like to get ya’lls advice on some things.

We think Pax has reflux and silent reflux.  We haven’t taken him yet to the Dr’s for it (appointment on Tuesday) since we only recently realized this is what it could be, but… The poor boy spits up a loooot (a lot, a lot, a lot) and at this point I’m not even sure it can be termed “spit up,” since the quantities that come out are certainly more than just a tiny dribble and more akin to a raging waterfall.  I’m not even sure he’s keeping anything down, but he seems to be gaining weight (in fact, he’s a chubby boy) so he must be keeping some down.  He spits up even at night in his sleep, and I have woken up several times to him choking on his own vomit. Scares me to death.

He will also randomly burst out crying in a scream that sounds like “I’m-in-pain.” Sometimes, this scream is followed by throw up, othertimes not, but it is always followed by more fussing even when we previously had a calm, happy boy.  He in general is very grumpy these days and seems like something is hurting him.  Also, he has a rash all over his face that we at first thought was baby acne, but it has spread and no longer resembles anything like baby milk bumps, but instead seems like an allergen rash maybe? It’s ALLLL over his face and some on his scalp, ears, chin as well.  I’ve been putting breastmilk on it, as that was suggested as a remedy when we thought it was acne, but that doesn’t seem to be working and he looks worse than a teenage boy with pizza-face. 😦

We’ve done some googling on reflux and everything I’ve read says to keep him upright 30 minutes after every feeding? So we tried that today… he still spat up just as much as normal, which didn’t surprise me because usually he is at the very least semi-inclined after feeding as he lounges on my chest as I’m sitting upright in the chair, and he still throws up then, too.

I also read that cutting out dairy can be helpful- I’m going to try this starting tomorrow, though honestly I have no idea what there is in this house to eat that’s not got dairy in it! It seems like everything does. =( If anyone has any nondairy meal or menu tips to share, those would be appreciated!

I also read that having them sleep slightly elevated can help, and we do have a rock n play sleeper that seems like it would be perfect for that, until I read something scary about how those sleepers can cause flat head in babies who sleep in them too much?! Doesn’t seem like a very good long term sleep solution… but the mattress on our cosleeper seems too flimsy to prop up or elevate, so clearly, something needs to be done as I would very much like my child to stop choking on his own barf in the middle of the night.

Overall, we’re just sad that our boy is in pain and concerned about how to fix it. We just want him to feel good, you know? ‘Cause look at that beautiful face… just want him happy and healthy!

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Lessons Learned At 5 Weeks In- Or, How I’ve Survived This Far

The title says it all… I wanted to summarize what I’ve learned from 5 weeks of parenting twinfants. It’s funny how many preconceived notions I had about how this parenting multiples thing was going to work went flying out the window the minute Pax made landing. For instance, I have learned:

  • A shower is not an essential part of my day. Sure, ideally I would be showered, clean and dressed each and every day; I would also have supper on the table by five and the house would be spotless at all times. Ha. What I’ve found is that when it comes to choosing between pacifying the screaming infants, grabbing something to eat, or hell-  doing any one of the million other things that need doing every day, and showering…. showering usually loses.  That’s not to say that I’m a stank ass ALL the time- I never let it get to a truly offensive level, and sometimes the babies have to scream while I shower as quickly as humanely possible with the door closed, the fan running, and the music turned up.  But I have to pick and choose my battles now and a lot of times, that means my morning shower gets put on the back burner. Don’t judge me.
  • Brush your teeth and go pee as SOON as you get up, or it ain’t happening. It does not matter if the babes are already awake and wailing, the seven year old is knocking on your door asking for breakfast, or the phone is ringing from the neighbor down the street calling to ask if the kids have school that day… ignore it all and take 5 minutes for a bathroom break, otherwise it will NOT happen until two hours later when your mouth is rank and you’re about to BURST.
  • Getting out of the house is essential for sanity. Even if it’s just for an hour. Even if all you do is drive to meet someone to buy something that you saw on an online garage sale website, chat it up for two minutes with said person, and then turn around and drive home. Word.
  • Do not expect to get out of the house every day. It’s just waaaaay too much work. Plus, it requires showering, which as we all saw above, can’t always happen.
  • Things you thought would gross you out, won’t.  It amazes me how blase I have become about pee, poo, and vomit.  Pre-pregnancy, I thought that holding a baby while it freaking shat into its diaper which you were, in turn, holding in your hands as you held the kid was the grossest.thing.ever.  Now, it doesn’t even phase me- in fact, my first reaction to noticing a kid taking a crap in my lap now is to wonder how much longer they’ll be so I can change them, or bicycle their legs to help move things along. Same goes with pee. Vomit was one of my personal horrors pre-babies, but that too, has come to an end.  Pax is a vomit-every-meal kind of guy, and sometimes a sneak-attack-vomit-down-your-bra kind of guy… it isn’t pleasant, but I’ve learned to deal with it.  One thing that does still gross me out: formula-fed baby poo. Cause that crap is just foul smelling.
  • Laundry is never-ending. Learn to be okay with piles of unfolded laundry piling up in your living room, and fold them when you can.  Also, babies go through waaaaaay more laundry than you ever thought possible.  “An outfit a day and a pair of PJs per night” type thinking quickly changed into “Three or four or five outfits per day, depending on how often you spitup/pee/drool on yourself and how quickly we change you, and usually just one pair of pjs per night unless we’re especially unlucky.”  Laundry adds up.
  • Momguilt is also never-ending.  It is HARD to hold two squiggly babies at once, and even harder to keep them both happy while you do it.  Lap space is limited, Pax’s head is still all floppy and needs support, Addie would prefer to be standing up at.all.times thankyouverymuch, and it’s just HARD.  Thus, usually only one baby gets held at a time while the other chills out in a swing, rock n play, or on the play mat next to me. I feel constantly bad about this, and try to be mindful of how much I’ve held each baby per day and who I held last so I can alternate which baby I hold and thus spend more quality-time with. I also try to interact with the non-held baby even while they’re not being held (dangling toys above their head while they sit next to me, talking at them while they’re in the swing, etc) but sometimes, my time just doesn’t get distributed equally, because…
  • The squeaky wheel will always get the grease. Period. If you are screaming, I am going to attempt to shut you up first before I mess with the smiley, happy baby over there who hasn’t made a one single noise of discontent. Even if it’s the happy smiley baby’s turn to be held/rocked/whatever, and not yours. Screaming or otherwise making a ruckus MAKES it your turn.  Rules of life, kids.
  • Cloth diaper laundry isn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. Sure, pre-Pax when people would look at us like we were crazy when we announced our intentions to swathe their little butts in cloth, we would use oothing voices and reassure them that it really wasn’t that bad, for X, Y, and Z reasons.  But deep down, I always thought that it probably would be yuck and I just wouldn’t complain to any of the naysayers, lest they break out with an “I told you so” or something.  In reality, however, it truly isn’t bad. Dump diaper into dipe pail, dump dipe pail into washing machine. Easy-peasey. The biggest problem we’ve had so far is keeping up with refolding our cloth wipes after every load to fit into the wipes container.

Anyways, life really isn’t as bad as maybe some of these anecdotes make it sound.  I actually really feel like I’ve finally gotten into a pattern of stay-at-home-twinfant parenting and like maybe, perhaps I rule the roost instead of the babies (stop laughing, please).  But I also stand behind every single one of these lessons learned! They’re all true and they’re definitely the new rules I live by.

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{{ The babies, they grow: TD’s 3mo letter }}

Dear Addiekins,

Little love, you’re three months old today, and officially no longer a newborn.  We officially have an infant on our hands, and OH how I love you!!!  Over the past two months, you have charmed us and deeply embedded yourself into our hearts. It has been such a joy and a privilege to watch you growing.

When you first came to us, you were just over 4 weeks old. You were the same age Pax is now, all small and squirmy and not able to hold your own head up.  My dear, you are still squirmy and relatively small but that’s about all that is the same for you.  You have grown so much- it’s hard to remember you being so little and helpless. Physically, you are growing bigger and stronger! We’re not entirely sure of your weight or length right now, since your next pediatrician appointment is not for a month, but we can tell you’re getting more solid and you can hold your head and shoulders up with gusto now.  You also love to stand and can do so (with support, of course) for a minute or so before getting tired and s-l-o-w-l-y sinking back down into a crouch.  You are so coordinated with your body, reaching and grabbing things that only a few weeks ago, were frustratingly out of your ability to reach for.  You frequently like to suck on your fists, because glory of glories, you can actually put your hands in your mouth now, on purpose! You’re so coordinated that we are waiting for you to realize you can roll over any minute now- though hopefully not a minute where you’re unguarded on the couch or changing table, though we do our very best to never ever leave you in any situation where you could hurt yourself if you chose to roll over in that instant.

Now, my darling, you are a fiercely independent little girl… as long as independence can be had from the comfort of an auntie’s arms! By this, I mean that you like to be held a lot but while being held you would prefer to do your own thing. You definitely have your preferences for how you want to sit, which direction you want to face, and what you want to do! We affectionately call you our Tiny Dictator because frequently you screech your demands with your tiny little fist held up in the air. It’s basically adorable.  While in our arms, you always always always prefer to be sitting up (and generally burst into angry tears if we lay you down, even for two seconds, even in our arms), and will often nestle quietly in the crook of our arms, surveying your domain and trying to decide what to dictate next.

When you first came to us, we were basically mandated to hold you 24/7- any attempts to put you down were met with angry (or maybe sad) cries within the first few seconds.  Now darling, not that holding you is not an absolute joy, but aunties do have needs you know- like using the bathroom, for instance! There is nothing quite so futile as trying to relieve yourself while simultaneously trying to soothe and reassure the shrieking baby in the next room with just the sound of your voice.  It just doesn’t work and it’s stressful for everyone involved.  Luckily, you have grown since then, and so has your capacity to entertain yourself for short periods of time.  Your play mat is now a favorite activity- you love to swipe at all the toys we hang from it, and are particularly fond of this stuffed elephant toy we have that has all these rings and rattles attached for you to grab and play with.  Similarly, you are growing more tolerant of your swing (I think it helps that we got a newer, faster one) and have even been known to- gasp- fall asleep in it for a half hour or so!  Two months ago, this would have been unheard of (believe me, we tried- and failed).  I am so amazed at your ever-growing independence!

Other developments- you have started giggling, baby girl, and it is soooo much fun to listen to!  It is impossible to see your big wide-mouth tongue-out grin and hear your rolling little giggle and not grin back at you. Your laughter and your smiles are infectious and I would do anything to earn one! Luckily for me, it’s not hard to get a grin out of you- most of the time all we have to do is talk to you or look you in the eye! You’re very generous with your smiles, though we’re working on the frequency of the giggles.  You are a very happy baby in general- you don’t cry very much and you always wake up with a smile in the morning. So sweet!

Perhaps most endearingly, you are showing signs now that you recognize us and are bonded with us.  You stop crying when we pick you up, you grin when we enter the room, and if you’re crying and I’m in another room, I can generally talk soothingly to you and you’ll stop your fussing to listen to me.  It’s beautiful to know that you know you can rely on us and trust us, and that maybe you even love us- because, baby girl, we love you soooooo much! It is an honor and a privilege to be in your life and see you growing every day, and I look forward to seeing what the coming weeks and months have in store.

I love you!

Love,

Auntie A

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{{ The babies, they grow- the Hulk’s 1mo letter }}

As of tomorrow (technically, in 3 hours since the boy was born at 1am), the Hulk will be one whole month old! As of today, Tiny Dictator turned 3 months old! I am so so sad that they are growing so fast, but so excited to see them developing at the same time… you know the drill.

As I’ve seen many of you doing, I decided to write my babies month letters.  I’m still working on hers, but his is below.  🙂 I will add photos soon too, still trying to decide how we want to do their month photos.

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November 10, 2012

Dear Paxton,

My newest little love… you are one month old today! Your moms cannot believe how fast time is going by. How are you already one month old?!  This past month has been the most rewarding, joyful month of my entire life.  It is hard to remember life before you came into it- before I knew your face, your scent, the color of your gorgeous blue eyes or the feel of your warm little body cuddled up against mine. It is hard to remember a time before I had a son.

At one month, you are a very healthy, very big baby boy.  The last time you were weighed (at three weeks) you weighed in at a hefty ten and a half pounds- already up two pounds from your birth weight!  Everyone who meets you comments on your size, and you are already edging your way into 3-6 month clothing! That’s crazy, kid. If you wouldn’t mind slowing it down a little, I’d rather not have to buy you 6-9 month clothing in the next month or so… can we wait a little while on that? Thanks.

I have had so much fun getting to know you these past weeks.  For instance, son, your mama and I have learned, to our delight and amusement, that you are a growler. Not just a growler, but a growler. You growl ALL the time.  If you are comfortable and we move you, you growl at us.  In the middle of the night while you are sleeping in your cosleeper (more on this in a minute), you growl (and grunt, and generally make noise) so much that we can’t tell if you’re awake or asleep- though usually, you’re asleep.  And, inexplicably, you growl at mommy’s boobs whenever you’re nursing! It is so cute to listen to… generally we hear a pattern of “suck suck suck, swallow, growl growl growl, suck suck suck, swallow, growl growl growl…”.  You’ve even growled loudly enough while nursing at night that you’ve woken your mama up (and she’s a deep sleeper)!  Whatever your reasons for growling, it is adorable and I hope you don’t stop!

We’re also learning about your likes and dislikes, though there is still plenty left for you to teach us, of course.  For instance, we’ve learned that a lot of the time you would prefer to be sitting (propped) up, rather than lying cuddled into a mom’s chest… very sad for your moms, who would love to keep you cuddled close 100% of the time!  You like to hold your head up and look around in different directions (you can do this now for 30 second intervals, before you get tired and thunk your head back down on our chests), and you like to be able to see the world around you. You are still middle-of-the-road about your pacifier… when we give it to you, you do calm down but you also get a very confused look on your face and give it a few tentative sucks before really committing to it.  Most of the time you just spit it back out at us- it’s not the greatest tool for soothing you right now! You are also not a morning person, little one.  In fact, you hate waking up in general and can be reliably counted on to wake up cranky and fussing from any nap you take.  You are quickly soothed by nursing, though- thank goodness!  You have a hoarse-sounding cry, similar to an old man’s voice, which has led to us calling you our “little old man” on more than one occasion (well, that and the fact that you’ve got a receding hairline and are completely bald on the top of your head, just like a little old man- hopefully you get some hair there soon!).  You hate your carseat with a fierce, fiery passion.  The first ten minutes of any car ride with you are generally filled with the sound of you screaming at the top of your not-so-little lungs, and you frequently get so upset that you do the screaming-without-sound cry and your moms hold their breath as we wait for you to remember to breathe again!  After ten minutes of full-on screaming, you usually lose steam and/or fall asleep, but it still breaks your moms’ hearts to hear you so upset and not be able to do anything about it.  I’m really sorry your car seat makes you so angry, son, but I hope you get used to it soon!

Lets talk sleeping now- or lackthereof!  Your favorite way to get some is while draped across a mom.  At night time, we often try to put you down into your cosleeper- emphasis on the word try.  We’re only successful about fifty percent of the time- the rest of the time, you wake right back up again and fuss until we pick you back up.  When that happens, you inevitably end up falling asleep while nursing or with your head on our chests.  Safe to say, you’re winning the nighttime sleep battle right now.  You also hate being swaddled, which is unfortunate- I think if you liked it more you wouldn’t wake up as easily when we try to put you down! Any attempt to swaddle you before you’re sound asleep leads to you fighting it and more of that adorable grunting I was talking about. However, even though your moms would like a little more sleep and a little more bed space, I love waking up to your warm, sweaty (slobbery) face snuggled into my chest and I know the day will come when that no longer happens… so I try to treasure these cuddly times while I can (even while mourning my sleep loss).   You usually wake up twice per night to nurse- down around 11pm, up around 1am, and again around 4am before getting up for the day around 7am.  Each nursing session takes anywhere from 15-45 minutes, or I fall asleep and later wake up to you still curled up against my chest, sleeping peacefully.  You also take several hour long naps interspersed randomly throughout the day.  So, not too bad, but I’m looking forward to when you sleep a little more at night kiddo!

One of the most rewarding parts of your existence so far has been the development of our breastfeeding relationship.  It hasn’t always been easy (when you’re tired or feeling cranky, you have a habit of SCREAMING at my boob like it has personally offended you!), but together, you and I have it mostly figured out. I love snuggling your warm little body into mine for a quiet nursing session, looking down into your deep blue eyes as you look up into mine, and listening to your quiet breathing, sucking, and growling.  I love when you fall asleep afterwards and I get to watch you sigh contentedly and snuggle into me in your sleep.  It is so sweet and I am so glad I chose to breastfeed- I would hate to have missed this special time.

Overall, son, this first month of your life has been amazing, wonderful, joyous, and perfect.  I have enjoyed every single moment with you and even though I already feel like you’re growing up too fast, I can’t wait to see you develop even more and see who you become. I love you baby boy!

Love,

Mommy

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Birth Story, Part One

So this is part one of our birth story… I hadn’t initially planned to write it in parts, but maybe it’s for the better, considering how long this segment is already! Sooooo sorry it’s taken so long to get up… it’s been a little hard to write, given the two babies and all!

*******WARNING- you might not want to read this if you’re preggers or expecting. I don’t want to traumatize anyone. Not all birth stories are like this, but this was my experience and I tried to be as open and honest about it as possible, and not all of the experience was positive. Read at your own discretion! ************

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My contractions initially started on their own early Sunday morning, October the seventh. At that point, we were 9 days overdue and I was ridiculously happy that my body seemed to be kick-starting the labor process! Going overdue and especially by that much, I had (maybe irrationally and definitely in a deep dark corner of my mind) started to worry that my body was never actually going to go into labor- and for me, as a first-time pregnancy, I was starting to doubt that my body even knew what to do or how to do it. Well, I should never have doubted! The contractions were immediately pretty painful and I knew right away that these were actual real contractions, and not just Braxton Hicks or practice cramps that I’d been feeling all along. So much for my (other secret, irrational) fear that I wouldn’t know labor when it started! I knew, all right. They started off painful but manageable at fifteen minutes apart. I’m pretty sure I had them all night long, as I remember strange dreams of pain from that night, but I didn’t wake up to notice them for sure until 7am. By 8am, I was so excited I couldn’t stand it anymore and I woke up Shorty to announce my contractions. She was considerably calmer about the situation (not a morning person! lol) and also more practical. We had plans that day that involved a lot of driving (a court-ordered visit with Tiny Dictator and her mom at the jail 2 hours away from us), and we sat in bed debating cancelling those plans in favor of staying home and laboring, but since the contractions were still so far apart and highly manageable, Shorty argued for us to go ahead and go anyways- figuring we could always turn around if it got much worse. That plan made sense to me and so I agreed… so yes, we’re the crazy lesbians who went on a road trip while in labor! Writing it out not, it sounds a lot crazier than it felt in the moment- like, of course we should have stayed home, what were we thinking going? Whatever, we went, and the contractions continued, but over the course of the day spaced out much farther apart than 15 minutes. I knew then that we weren’t really in true active labor yet, in spite of the pain I felt with each contraction. I suspect that, had we stayed active, taken a walk, and kept my body moving, perhaps things would have progressed more quickly, but being in the car for 4+ hours that day and being essentially sedentary was not good for ramping up the quantity and duration of contractions! By Sunday night they had all but quit- they were erratic, about once every twenty minutes or so. We went ahead and texted to let our midwives know what was going on, and they texted back to keep them updated and get some rest. I went to bed discouraged but hopeful that things would get going again the next day.

Sometime in the middle of the night the contractions started back up again intensely. By early Monday morning (10/8) they were painful enough that I was having to breathe through them and couldn’t sleep through them any longer- which was when you all got that lovely middle-of-the-night blog update to let you know I was in labor, as I was up bouncing on my birthing ball and trying to distract myself from the rising pain. I started off on the ball in our room upstairs bouncing, but as both Shorty and Tiny Dictator were trying to sleep through my bouncing and computer typing and laboring, and I was waking them up, I decided to take myself downstairs for a few hours where I parked it on our recliner, had a snack (crackers and cheese), and continued to labor and have contractions. I’m not exactly sure what time I went downstairs, but I know that by 6am I was in super pain but also super tired- so I tried to go back upstairs and rest again. I remember having to breathe through a few contractions and almost giving up on rest, but then I finally succeeded, because I fell asleep for a few hours, and when I woke up the contractions had spaced back out again. Holy frustrating! I was so disappointed I almost cried. The contractions had been so intense and regular throughout the night that I had felt sure this was the start of something real… having them stop and space out again was almost unbearably frustrating. By that point in time I had been having on-again-off-again painful contractions for over 24 hours. After putting Thing One on the bus to school that morning, we decided to go ahead and take a walk, hoping it would get things revved up again. We loaded Tiny Dictator into the stroller (Shorty wanted to carry her in the Ergo but I was having far-apart-but-painful contractions and wanted the stroller to lean on), and we took off on a walk on this pretty walking trail around the neighborhood. I remember taking pictures of the fall leaves and also, at one point, hanging onto a bench for dear life as a contraction hit me. It was a nice walk but I was sore, tired, exhausted, and randomly contracting, and Tiny Dictator is NOT a fan of the stroller, so we probably only walked about a mile (which took an hour) before heading back for home.

;

pretty tree during our walk.

during our walk through the neighborhood, in our attempt to get things started again…

By the time we got home I was having contractions regularly again but we weren’t timing them. I was exhausted and decided to curl up on the couch for an attempted nap while Shorty baby-minded Tiny Dictator and otherwise waited around for things to ramp up. I don’t know how long I slept- I do remember having to breathe through a few contractions- but at 3pm I was woken up by most painful, intense, and longest contraction I had yet had. It was a really really hard one and during it I felt a ‘pop’ and a huge sensation of pain and something “falling” inside me. I mentioned it to Shorty once I could breathe/speak again, and we were both kind of like… hmm. Wonder what that was. I thought for a fleeting second that maybe it was my water, but dismissed the idea because the pop had hurt and I didn’t think water breaking would hurt. Well, apparently I just get to be special and be the only person in the world whose water breaking hurt because right after this contraction, when I got up to go to the bathroom, my water gushed all over our couch! I yelped in surprise and ran to the bathroom, leaking the whole way there (gross). I lost my mucus plug in the bathroom and had my bloody show at the same time, and spent the next 30-45 minutes standing in the shower leaking. Every time I tried to put on a pair of dry underwear and a pad, I immediately soaked through the pad and underwear and had to change… so eventually, I just stood in the shower until it seemed like the leakage was slowing down. While I was in the shower, I had some pretty intense contractions and they were about six minutes apart, so Shorty and I decided that this + broken waters + lost plug meant things were actually finally REALLY starting, so Shorty made arrangements for neighbors to pick up the kids while I stayed in the shower. She also texted the midwives to let them know my water had broken and we were having frequent contractions again. They said to keep them updated, but didn’t otherwise seem too concerned. I finally stopped leaking and took a hot shower to clean myself up a bit (not highly logical, I know, but I wasn’t being too logical at that point). I remember feeling strangely detached from the situation- my water had broken, mucus plug lost, I’d been waiting for this moment for MONTHS, but it didn’t feel real. This, in spite of the fact I was actively having painful contractions the whole time I was in the shower. Right after I got out of the shower I had another huge contraction, and ended up leaving a giant puddle of water all over the bathroom floor. I remember being irrationally frustrated at all the leakage going on at that point, and wondering how people ever got anything done or were able to move around at home while they were in labor without leaving tons of puddles and messes everywhere. Every time I put on dry underwear and a dry pad, I would have another contraction and a giant gush of water and end up right where I’d started. Needless to say, I was still busy trying to clean myself up when our neighbor arrived an hour later to pick up Tiny Dictator. I had almost gotten myself “clean” again and was going to come out of the bathroom to say goodbye to Tiny Dictator, but just then, another strong contraction hit me. I tried to breathe through it and hoped it would pass quickly, but it ended up being a monster contraction and I had to yell to Shorty to just have them go. So they left and I didn’t get to say goodbye to Tiny Dictator. I was a little sad about that but I got over it quickly- pain is a good distraction and the contractions just kept on coming.

This is where my timeline starts to get a little fuzzy, but I do know that at 4pm, Thing One got home- the neighbor who was supposed to watch her had to work until 630pm, so she basically sat in her room with the iPad watching Netflix for a couple hours while I labored and we waited for the neighbor to get home. I moved out to the living room to labor on the birthing ball, but discovered that that really didn’t help too much. At some point in time I know I started having 3-minute-apart-contractions and I hopped back in the shower to attempt pain management while Shorty was setting up the pool. During my shower I had a contraction that made me almost throw up. I had to moan through it and lean on the shower wall- Shorty and I told the midwives this and they decided it was time to head out to our house.

The midwives arrived around 5 o’clock, with the apprentice midwife arriving first and the actual midwife arriving about fifteen minutes later. When they got there, the first thing they did was check in with me and check fetal heart tones, which showed up just fine (they actually never fell to a concerning level at any point during labor at home or in the hospital). After checking the baby’s heartrate, the midwives proceeded to set up their stuff while I labored through several painful contractions on the birth ball in the corner. The apprentice midwife helped Shorty fix the birth pool- she had set it up so that the piece that was supposed to be the lid was on the bottom of the pool instead- but in her defense the thing did NOT come with instructions and it was easily fixed. I was a little too busy trying to get through contractions to care much about how or what they had to do to fix it! Initially, I felt a little self-conscious laboring and being in pain in front of everyone, with nothing to do but sit around and chat in between contractions. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to show weakness and tries very hard to like everything’s fine even when it’s not (as an eight year old, I limped through the airport on an ankle I had broken in the parking garage ten minutes earlier and never said anything to my parents until we arrived at our destination!) but I got over it quickly as the pain took over and I was having to concentrate very hard through the contractions, with no time to think about the fact that I had an audience. I never did really find a good rhythm or a comfortable laboring position- this is one of the things that bothers me, even now after the labor. I thought for sure I would be able to cope a lot better than I ended up being able to, that I would be able to find a breathing rhythm, that I would be able to get into a calm state of mind to work my way through contractions. To my surprise, this never happened for me- not at home and not in the hospital. Each contraction felt different, more painful, more intense, and any concentration I had at the beginning of one was basically shattered by the end. I did try several different positions- one of my favorites/most comfortable was on all fours, with my hands and upper torso leaning on the birthing ball and my knees cushioned by a pillow. I went through several contractions this way, moaning into the birthing ball as either Shorty or the midwives rubbed my back/provided counter pressure during it. Whether or not the counter pressure or the back pressure felt better varied by each contraction- and it was a random pattern, because there were even some contractions where any amount of counterpressure felt completely unbearable and I would have to gasp out to the person doing it to stop.

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setting up the birthing pool

laboring through contractions…

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Finally the birthing pool was fixed and filled up enough that I could get in… I did and it was instant relief. Though the midwives thought the water was too hot (somewhere between hot bath and Jacuzzi), I thought it was HEAVEN and they said there wasn’t any harm in it being that hot, so in I got. I instantly relaxed about 10,000 times more than I had been and even though the next contraction still hurt just as much, I was able to lean over the side of the pool and breathe through it, I felt more in control of myself during it, and more importantly I was better able to relax between the contractions, which were still about 3 minutes apart (or closer) and super intense (hellih would be an appropriate description of them at this point in time!). I stayed in for about an hour by myself, until I got too hot and climbed out for a break, but being out of the tub made the contractions unbearable again, so I didn’t stay out for long. When I got back in, Shorty got in with me and I was able to relax back into her arms in between each contraction and hear her whispering encouragement into my ear during it. This was my absolute favorite part of home labor. It was everything I had pictured about how labor was going to be beforehand and one of the main reasons I chose to have a home birth. The contractions were still really hard, but the midwives stayed quiet and left us to labor on our own during this part, there were candles lit, and it felt very intimate just between my wife and I- relaxing back into Shorty’s chest, skin to skin in the warm water with my arms floating at my sides and my legs relaxed out in front of me, knowing we were laboring together to bring our son into the world. If our son could have been born like this, I would have been ecstatic and it would have been everything I had pictured. But, of course, that just wasn’t in the cards; however, the fact that I got to experience even this little bit of my ideal labor scenario is, I think, part of what makes me so okay now with how the rest of my labor turned out.

Shorty and I laboring together

After a period of time- I don’t know how long, maybe an hour and a half?- the contractions were getting unbearably intense and close together, even in spite of how relaxed I was in the water with Shorty. I was moaning through each one and curling in on myself from the pain, trying to find some way to escape it or lessen it (there was none). The midwives kept reminding me to relax and drop my shoulders- apparently I was tensing up and hunching through each contraction- and I remember hearing them but not being able to do anything except exist through each contraction. I was shaking uncontrollably during them and mentally, I was starting to fall apart. The only thing keeping me together was the thought that surely this had to be either transition, or something close to transition- the contractions were SO intense and SO close together, this had to be almost the end! I remember thinking to myself, surely the Hulk was almost here and this had to be the worst it would get. I was sure I would feel the “relief” of pushing soon. At this point in time (around ten PM that night) we’d been in labor already for almost 48 hours!

Evidently from the way I was acting and the timing of the contractions, the midwives thought I was close too, because one of them asked me if I was feeling any pressure. I told them I was feeling some in my bum with each contraction and she decided it was time to check my cervix and see where we were at. I got excited by this and it gave me a little mental boost to get me through the next few contractions, because our midwives are very hands-off and had told us beforehand that they will only check your cervix when they think it’s about time to start pushing. To me, her offering to check was her affirming that they thought we were almost at the end, and I was excited at the prospect of labor almost being over and getting to meet our son. At the same time, it made me very nervous to be checked, because I knew it would be really hard for me to bear if we weren’t as far along as we thought we were. I even asked the midwife, several times, if she thought that I was at least a 5 (for some reason, that was a number that seemed sufficiently far enough along to not be soul-crushing if I hadn’t attained it), but she diplomatically refused to say. Eventually, I got out of the tub anyways, pausing for a huge contraction right, during which both Shorty and the midwife had to help hold me up as I stood there mindless, shaking, and almost crying from the pain. As it subsided, I made my way over to the couch to be checked.

Being checked was a truly hellish experience. I had several contractions during, and it felt like she was shoving her whole fist up there… it hurt so badly. I remember quite literally begging her to stop, telling her in as firm a voice as I could muster that I had changed my mind and she needed to stop, pleading with her… but of course, she told me she was sorry but she had to keep going and it would be over soon. I had several contractions during it and I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. Finally it was over (it seemed like it took awhile to me, but that could be a distorted perspective) and she took her hand out and looked at me, and from the look on her face I knew it was going to be bad news. This was confirmed when she told me I was about three centimeters, maybe less, and I could tell from the tone of her voice that even she was disappointed in such a dismal number.

Cue me crumpling into tears. I can’t even begin to tell you how completely heart-breaking and spirit-crushing that news was to me at the time. I’d been having contractions for literally days at that point in time, had been having 3-minute-apart super intense contractions all evening for hours, had been giving it what felt like EVERYTHING I had and mentally starting to break down, and the only way I had been getting through this was by convincing myself that transition and pushing and baby were all just right around the corner. Hearing that I was only 3cm, after all that work and pain and feeling like I was already giving my all to this labor, was completely crushing to me. I broke down and started sobbing, and in between sobs I said, for the first time, that I couldn’t do it. It felt, to me, like I had already been giving everything I had and so the fact that I still had seven more centimeters to dilate and the thought of all the intense contractions that would go along with those seven centimeters… it was too much. I felt broken, at that point, and I just wanted it to be over- I said my first “I can’t do this” and once I said it more of them came out, between sobs, over and over and over. I can’t do it Ican’tdoit I CAN’T DO IT. I was basically desperate to be done, to be transferred to a hospital, to find some relief. Somehow, though, (and I honestly don’t know how) the midwives and my amazing wife convinced me to keep going. The midwife who had checked me managed to convince me to go ahead and try going upstairs to our bedroom to labor and rest for awhile. She told me that while she was checking me she had also done a sweep (which is partly why it hurt so much) and reassured me that a lot of times it can take awhile to get to the 3cm mark, but that once there things can happen quickly and that with the help of the sweep I could go from 3cm to 10cm in the space of a few hours. I’m not sure if I believed her, or if I just didn’t have the strength to keep arguing against all the encouragement I was getting, but either way Shorty and I headed upstairs and got into bed while the midwives made themselves comfortable on our couches and my daughter’s bed and dug in for a long night. Although I was probably mentally cursing them at the time, I will be forever grateful to the midwives for staying with us through the night. Shorty told me later that she had had a conversation with them while I was upstairs where they told her that our labor had stalled to the point where, normally, they would have just gone home for the night. They told her they were staying basically for moral support and not because there was anything they could actually do for us- they said they knew that if they left us, I probably would have bolted for the hospital as soon as they shut the door (and oh yes, I would have). The fact that they stayed and spent the night away from their families and beds to support us means the world to me, and I will always be grateful.

The rest of the night went by at snail’s pace. Once lying down, my contractions (once again) spaced themselves back out to probably to every five or six minutes, although we were no longer timing them. They did not, however, get any less intense, and so every five or six minutes I would go rigid with pain and moan into my pillow. Shorty was very supportive, whispering encouragement and holding me, but sometime during the wee hours of the morning she fell asleep and I remember being glad that she had, because without her awake I had no one to say I couldn’t do it to every contraction, and also I was glad that she was able to get some rest since it had been a long few days and I knew there was possibly still a long time to come. After a few hours of resting, I hadn’t necessarily accepted that I “could” do it, but I had recovered a lot from the breakdown I had after the sweep and I was able to concentrate better through the contractions. I developed a mantra- whenever a contraction would come I would breathe as deeply as I could and repeat over and over in my head: “Come out baby boy. We’re waiting for you. I am laboring towards my baby. Come out.” I think that sleep deprivation along with mental exhaustion allowed me to kind of hypnotize myself a bit, because although I never actually fell asleep, I did get finally get some rest and this part of the night was when I felt most in control of my contractions during my entire labor. There were also contractions where I would push on my own hip with my right hand while lying on my left side in order to provide my own counter pressure, and that helped some too. By repeating my mantra, breathing, and providing counter pressure, I was able to make it through the rest of the night. I did throw up from the pain at one point in time, but other than that I feel like I dealt very well after I got over the breakdown.

The midwives came up the stairs at 5am. I woke Shorty up and we sat up to talk to them. I knew that they weren’t going to have anything really helpful to discuss- what could they possibly say? We were 50+ hours in to labor by then and no closer to having our baby than when we started. They looked sympathetic and tried to offer reassurances that we could still do this, but the general gist of the talk was that they were going home and we could call them when things started to go more quickly again. There was a definite tone of futility in the air, and I wondered as they were talking to me if they knew that every word they were saying was going in one ear and out the other. At that point, I pretty much knew we were going to the hospital. I sat, breathed through contractions, and stared at the sheets while they were talking- I couldn’t help it, I just felt so deflated, exhausted, and done. After some final attempts at reassurances, they headed back downstairs to pack up their stuff. Shorty slipped downstairs, ostensibly for a bathroom break, though she later confessed to me that she and the midwives had a mini pow wow while she was downstairs. She told me that the midwives discussed the possibility of heading to the hospital during this time, and asked her how she felt about that… she told them that at that point in time she would do whatever I said I wanted to do. They basically told her they wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where we ended up and even hinted that it might be time to go, but left the final decision up to us. Meanwhile, I was upstairs, unaware of this conversation but knowing that I was done. I sat on the edge of the bed where they had left me and knew that I had done everything I had in me to do on my own. Fifty hours of home labor and still no baby was not a scenario I had ever prepared myself for, even in the deepest darkest “what if” corners of my mind, and more than the physical exhaustion (which was extensive), I just felt emotionally drained. Completely drained. I knew, at this point, that it was time to head in to the hospital. Our attempt at a home birth was over.

Oddly enough, I didn’t feel upset by my “failure”- I think because I was too exhausted to feel anything much at all. As soon as the midwives were gone, I made my way downstairs and sat on my birthing ball to talk to Shorty. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I did not mince words… I told her I wanted to go to the hospital and all she said was “Okay, let’s do it then.” I remember being incredibly grateful to her at that point for being understanding and supportive, for not making me argue with her through contractions about the need to go. I wasn’t sure how she was feeling about it then, but we’ve talked about it since then and it turns out she was feeling the same as I was: ready to go. More than just desiring pain relief (although at that point in time, I was definitely ready for some!), my decision to go to the hospital was also based on a feeling that something was wrong. 50+ hours of labor, hours of strong, 3-minute-apart contractions, and only being dilated to 3cm and being nowhere NEAR transition or pushing (the contractions were still spaced out when I woke up at 5 that morning)… it seemed to both of us like something was wrong, and that more than anything is why I made the call to go. If it had been solely a pain-based decision, I would have been out of the house the night before (and would have been, had the midwives and Shorty not convinced me otherwise). Looking back on the decision-making process gives me mixed feelings- on the one hand, I’m glad that I didn’t throw the towel in the night before, because if I had made the decision based solely on a desire to make the pain go away, I would have definitely felt like I had “failed”. Making the decision in the morning to go, based on mostly on concern that things were not progressing, felt and still feels like it was the right decision to make with no sense of failure attached. However, it is also hard not to think that if we were going to end up in the hospital anyways, if we had gone the night before that would have saved me a long hard night of progression-less labor. But of course, there was no way to know that for certain at the time and I am very comfortable with the decision we made and when we made it.

By the time Shorty and I had finished discussing our decision, it was about 530 or 545 AM. Having been thoroughly prepared for our home birth and fully expecting that everything would go according to plan, we had never bothered to pack a “just in case” hospital bag. That was our mistake- murphy’s law and all. So once we made the decision to go, we had to do some rushing around (in Shorty’s case) or limping around and breathing through contractions (in my case) to get all of the things we would need for our hospital bag. Given the hour, our level of exhaustion, and the fact that I was in constant pain throughout the packing process, we actually did a pretty good job of packing. We only forgot one or two things, which weren’t vitally important and which Shorty was able to get at a later time. By the time we were all packed, it was around 615 and we left for the hospital- a half hour drive away. I distinctly remember how surreal it felt to be leaving our house with a hospital bag and an empty car seat, double-checking with each other things like “did you grab a baby blanket? What about the camera?” When we pulled out of our neighborhood everything was dark and quiet, and it was raining. We pulled out of the driveway towards the hospital, and all I felt was intense relief that we were headed towards help and pain relief.

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Three Point Five

…weeks, that is.  Baby Boy is getting old!  Life with him and Baby Girl and Thing One has been crazy, hectic, and wonderful.  I love it.
I can’t even begin to go into all the details of our everyday lives or everything that has happened since I last updated, but I will attempt to do so with a bullet post (that hopefully the babies will let me finish).  Not promising any of this will be done in order, but since I last updated…

  • Baby Boy and Baby Girl have gotten new blog names and will henceforth be named the (Incredible) Hulk and Tiny Dictator, respectively.  Although alternate blog names were considered (the Lion, Elmer Fudd and Grumpy Old Man, for him, with consideration given to his lion-like roar, fudd-like appearance, and old man-like scowl and scratchy-throated cry; Screecher or Smiley for her for obvious reasons), the above two ultimately won out.  My son – my precious, 3-week-old baby boy – is a not-so-tiny bundle of joy.  The kid has been on this planet for less than a month and is already edging into 3-6 month clothing! His multiple chins are simultaneously an adorable feature and a lint-trapping hazard, while his chubby cheeks, arms, and fists are positively nom-able (at least to me!). Oddly enough, his legs are the only feature that have yet to plump up much (which means the cloth diapers Tiny Dictator wears are still a leak-prone hazard on him because the legs are too loose; ‘sposies it is for him, for now).  Regardless, everyone who meets him comments first on his sheer size and so we feel he has well-earned his new moniker.  As for Tiny Dictator… her favorite place for her fists to be is raised in the air, tightly clenched as she waves them around and screeches her demands. It’s adorable and very clear she’ll rule the roost one day (if she isn’t already- we like to pretend we’re still running the show!).  She, too, has earned her new nickname!
  • We took the babies and Thing One to the zoo.  On one of our first family outings, born of sheer desperation after a trip to the pumpkin patch was derailed by the patch being closed (planning skillz… we lacks dem), we detoured and found ourselves standing at the gates to the local zoo.  A lot of money and a handy-dandy pair of zoo memberships later, we were able to spend a nice day at the zoo viewing penguins, lions, and zebras, and simultaneously being viewed by all the people curious about our “twins.”  It was one of our first family outings (maybe THE first?) with all three kids and so has a special place in our memories. It was also one of my first breastfeeding-in-public experiences, as we failed to realize that the zoo had a special nursing moms’ area until we were on our way out the gates.  Oops.
  • Grandma visited! My mom flew out from San Diego, met the babies,  helped all week and it was amaaaaazing!  She was here for the babies’ first Halloween, which also happens to be her birthday, and left the day before Shorty’s birthday- which is today! It was so wonderful having her here and I nearly teared up every time I saw her holding one of the babies… it was really special and I’m so glad she could make the trip.
  • I started pumping, and The Hulk took his first bottle.  While Grandma was here, she offered to watch the babies and the kid for us so that we could have a date night.  This couldn’t happen unless The Hulk had an available food source, and thus- I learned to pump!  I only did about one session a day but I was able to get 4.5 oz per session (no idea if that’s a lot or a little) depending on the time of day (mornings are more productive!), which resulted in there being plenty of food for him when we went on our date.  We did a test run before-hand, during which I pumped milk and then Shorty fed him his first bottle.  He took it like a champ but I’m not going to lie- I teared up (read:bawled, silently) while he was drinking it.  I’m still not entirely sure why it was such an emotional moment for me- I’m glad she was able to feed him for the first time and that they were able to connect like that!- but I think it was something to do with the fact that usually, him eating is special me-and-him time, where I get to cuddle him and here his little sighs and gulps and know that we’re connected in that special way.  Watching him eat from someone else, even if it was his Mama who has been dying to be able to connect with him like that and who I swear I’m glad got the chance- was hard. It was hard to share… but I’m glad it went well because it allowed us to go on our date and opened the door to future date nights out, now that we know he’ll take a bottle.
  • Speaking of date night, we had it and it went great! It was actually date day, and it was amazing.  It’s funny how simple, everyday things become extraordinary when you’re used to doing them with three little ones in tow and suddenly it’s just adults.  We went to Ch.ili’s for lunch and actually ordered off the menu without the waitress having to ask us to repeat our orders over the howling of screaming babies… we went and walked around Tar.get and perused the Chris.tmas Crap without having to drag in the stroller, hook up the Ergos, or saying no a thousand times to the seven-year-old… we shopped (yes it was for the babies!) and had adult conversations and really just got in some quality us-time over a three hour period.  It was wonderful and I managed to only call home once to check on the babies. 😉 (Side note- who ever thought that three hours away from them would be enough to make me miss them like crazy?!  Pre-pregnant me would have laughed skeptically at this… post-pregnant me knows hormones are powerful things! I loved my three hours with my wife but I sure did miss those kids!)
  • We met with the midwives for the first time after the Hulk’s birth.  Given everything that happened, the failed home birth, and the fact that we hadn’t seen them at all since we transferred to the hospital (yesyesyes, birth story to come… part one coming soon!), it was an emotionally powerful and ultimately cathartic visit.  We were able to talk through everything, different people shared their perspectives of what was happening at different times during the labor, and they reassured me that they were not angry, nor had I “failed” by having to transfer and have the c section. I didn’t realize I was so worried about their judgement until they took the fear of blame away… I left the appointment much lighter than I walked in.  They also all met the Hulk for the first time, which was a happy moment, similar to how it felt to have Grandma meet him.  I think I just love showing off our boy.  🙂
  • We learned (are learning) how to get through a day after a sleepless night… or several of them. We are obviously still adjusting but it feels like it’s getting easier. We’re getting a routine down and, for my part, I am getting better at middle-of-the-night feedings… more coordinated, more able to stay mostly asleep so I can just drift right back off afterwards. I’m not saying it’s perfected yet, but we’re getting more used to it.  It also helps that we finally got our boxspring up off the floor and onto a frame, which means we were finally able to set up the arm’s reach cosleeper we have, which means we are finally able to sleep near the Hulk without worrying about accidentally sleeping on top of him or smothering him with our bedding. Hallelujah!
  • Tiny Dictator has started giggling and it is sooooooo cute when she does!  It’s not an all-the-time thing or an every-smile thing, and you definitely have to work for it sometimes, but that just makes those times when it does happen all the more precious and adorable.  And then there are random times where, for instance, we’ll leave her in her swing to take a shower and come out to find her cooing and giggling at herself in the mirror attached to her swing. It’s just about the most adorable thing ever. We haven’t been able to catch it on camera yet but I swear when we do there will be a video posted.
  • The Hulk has started to lift his head and look around.  Thebumpdotcom or some other random baby app informed me that I should be on the lookout for this starting this week, but Hulk actually started his head-lifting a week and a half ago.  Go him! 🙂  He’s still very wobbly at it, and will only lift it for 20-30 seconds or so to look around before unexpectedly flopping down onto your chest, but still.  It’s neat to see him take an interest in the world and want to look around, and with this newfound skill has come a desire to be sat up, rather than cuddled- the better to see the world, I suppose.  This makes Moms slightly sad sometimes- I’d much rather cuddle him close than sit him up!- but again, it’s neat to see the interest he’s taking in his surroundings.
  • Breastfeeding is well-established and going great!  He and I are relatively comfortable with each other now, and breastfeeding is starting to feel “routine” rather than new and strange.  We haven’t had any problems so far and I am wishing.hoping.praying it stays that way! I am also discovering who I am as a breastfeeder- in terms of where and in which situations I am willing to breastfeed.  I have actually surprised myself so far- before the Hulk was born the thought of breastfeeding in public made me cringe and I just assumed I’d be holed up in the car or a bathroom or something every time he wanted to nurse.  That hasn’t been the case, however- I’ve generally found that whenever he needs to eat, his needs trump any concern I might have for modesty or offending others.  I have fed him publicly at the zoo, in a restaurant, in the car at a gas station (out of necessity- he was screaming his head off and we still had a 40 minute drive ahead of us!), and at my daughter’s school during a parent-teacher conference (that one was a little weird, but again- if he needs to eat, he needs to eat and there’s nothing I can do about it!).  Of course, I am not just “whipping it out” for all to see- I do try for some discretion, with a blanket cover-up and an out-of-the-way park bench or restaurant booth- but overall, I have found that I really don’t care what other people think when I’m feeding him, or that any concern I do have is pushed to the side by my need to feed my baby and his need to eat.
  • I had my first day alone with the babies and it went great.  Here’s hoping tomorrow, my second day alone with them, goes just as well!  I think it will, and that this first week will be all about establishing a routine but that once I do it will all be fine.  I also think though, that I’m going to need to find a mom’s group or a playdate or a library function… something to do with the babies during the week at home, because otherwise I’m going to get lonely and go stir-crazy!  I’m working on doing some research to see if there are any groups in my area. Wish all of you lived closer!

 

So, I think that’s about it for now… it only took me all day to get this post written!  Life here is great, just very, very busy.  I’m still reading all of your blogs but not commenting nearly-as-often-slash-ever, simply because reading a blog on your phone one-handed while breastfeeding is a helluva lot easier than commenting one-handed! But I promise I’m still here, still reading.
Here’s some pictures from our recent adventures. I’m going to post part one of the birth story real soon here; stay tuned!

 

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