Raising a Blended Family


Shorty here, and I’m going to share something with you that I know Amazon did not share….

TODAY IS AMAZON’S BIRTHDAY!!!! Unfortunately I have to be at work today, but that doesn’t mean I can’t spread the word!!! Everyone send a shout out to Amazon!!!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny, loving, wife. I couldn’t ask for a better partner to share this crazy adventure called life that we are on!!!

I love you with everything I am!!!



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Well folks, at the ripe old ages of 3 1/2 months and 5 1/ 2 months, we officially have teethers!

Pax and Addie are both furiously gnawing on anything they can get their mouths on (mama fingers are a definite favorite) and drooling bucket loads (we can NOT keep them in dry outfits, bib or no bib). When we ventured to check a few days ago, Addie was sporting the very beginnings of a pearly white cap. Fast forward to today, and Pax now has the same!

The funny thing is, they’re both gaining the same tooth in the same spot. I guess it’s a race to the finish line- sibling rivalry begins early. 😉

They, of course, do NOT appreciate me checking, but I like to peek in there each day anyways to see how things are progressing. Here’s a pic of Addie’s white cap!



(belated) five month letter

January 9, 2012

Dear Baby Girl,

            You are five months old today! Five. Months. I find myself scratching my head and counting backwards through the months over this number, because a five month old baby is a baby who’s almost halfway through her first year and surely, you can’t be that old yet! Just yesterday you were six pounds of unresisting cuteness all snuggled into our arms.

            Today, however… today you are just over the 15lb mark, 26 ½ inches, (70th and 95th percentiles, respectively) and you do. not. snuggle. (except at naptime and bedtime). You’ve got too much to do and see and if we try to make you, you most certainly resist.  You like to be on the move and go go go as much as possible, which for you right now looks like a lot of scooting, attempting to crawl, and rolling. That’s right, ROLLING! This achievement technically belongs in your six month letter, because your very first roll happened at 5 months and 1 day… but whatever. We’ll celebrate now. You can now roll from back to front with medium proficiency, and will readily do so to get to an out-of-reach toy or desirable object (ie, a mom’s phone).  You have only rolled from front to back a handful of time- you are still getting the hang of that one and a lot of times, you roll yourself over onto your tummy and then get stuck/frustrated and a mom will have to roll you back onto your back.

Regardless, Deda and I sense that full blown rolling as a means of transportation is just over the horizon and so therefore, we have taken the precaution of setting up a playroom with a padded foam floor (instead of the hardwood found in the rest of the house) and baby gates to keep you both contained and safe, and to give you a place where you can roll to your heart’s content. You love it when we place you on the floor, surrounded by toys, and get out of your way to let you do your thing! Some of your favorite toys right now are your octopus, the fabric book with the crinkly pages, the plastic ball with the holes that make it easy to grip and the bell inside it, and your arm/ankle rattles (though not because you like to wear those, but because you like to pull them off and suck on them).

Speaking of which- lots of drooling and sucking and chewing going on around here, but no sign of teeth yet! For this, I think, I am thankful, because although you are usually a delight to be around, we have experienced a few not-so-delightful days when you were sick, overtired or just plain crabby and you fussed all.day.long.  I imagine this is what you will be like teething, too, and for that I say… stay gummy as long as possible!

Another development this month is that you have finally taken notice of the cat. You will giggle and shriek in delight if she enters a room that you are in, and the few times she has jumped up on a mom’s lap while you were present, you have enjoyed petting the kitty, too (and by this I mean, attempting to grab fistfuls of orange fur while a mom attempts to make you let go/guide your hand towards ‘nicely’ petting the cat). It’s pretty darn cute kid, but I have to admit I feel a bit sorry for the cat once you become TRULY mobile.

Finally, the last new development is that we fed you some of your first solids this month! Your first taste was of mashed banana, followed by mashed avocado. You had fun gnawing on melon and cantaloupe (not that you got anywhere, but you enjoyed trying) and we had fun watching your face get all messy. So adorable. I look forward to introducing more foods in the future!

Baby girl, you are a wonder and a joy to be around, and I love you so much! 


Your Auntie A

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(belated) 3 month letter

January 10, 2013

Dear Baby Boy,

You are three whole months old and officially not a newborn anymore!  This is no surprise to Mommy and Mama, since you haven’t looked like a newborn in quite some time, but it still makes us a little sad to think you are growing so quickly!  You are still big, still handsome (wink), still chubby. Still wearing larger clothes than your age (you are edging into 6-9 month clothes, although I have to give you props because you still fit some of your 3-6 month ones, which at 3 months of age means your age has finally caught up with your clothing size!).

You are becoming more interactive by the day and I love it. You will look at us and “coo” to try to start conversations, and then when we coo back you get excited with your whole body- your arms start jerking, your legs kick, you smile, and you coo a bunch back at us.  It is so cute!  You also have developed a love of “flying” in the air- when we hold you up above our heads and zoom you around.  You will smile and sometimes try to laugh (we’ll get to that in a minute), and it’s a lot of fun to watch you having fun. It also calms you down when you are mad and is 95% guaranteed to bring back a smile from a fussy baby. However, extreme caution has to be taken when we do this with you due to your habit of spitting up anytime/where.  Also, you are h.e.a.v.y.  We can only zoom you for so long!

Something else you love is books. OH, how you love books! Practically as soon as I get out a book and show it to you, you start cooing at the pages and doing your whole-body-excitement arm and leg jerks. It’s soooo cute. You will easily stay entertained with me reading to you for 5 or more books! Some of our favorites right now are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, But Not The Hippopotamus, Goodnight Moon, My First Colors (a Bright Baby book) and It’s Time to Sleep My Love. I love reading to you and seeing you stare intently at the colors on the pages. I like to point out and name colors and objects, even though I know you don’t understand yet- you will one day! I can’t wait to see you learn to turn pages and start showing stronger book preferences as you get older.

One thing you’re not doing a lot of yet is laughing. We will occasionally get a tiny glimpse of a laugh- a small squeal of delight here, or a tiny little “huh huh” there- but you really haven’t started actually giggling yet. A lot of times, when you try to laugh, we’ll get nothing but silent grins for awhile and then all of a sudden a single note of glee will come exploding out of you, like you were trying your best to hold it in and you just couldn’t anymore.  It’s so cute! I can’t wait for more laughter to happen. Right now, my best chances of getting a giggle out of you are when I lie you down to change your diaper and I tickle your naked tummy- you are sooooo ticklish!

Developmentally, you are starting to show the beginnings of wanting to roll over. You can roll on your side now and most of the time when we put you on the floor that’s what you’ll do. Mama and I wonder if you’re going to be an early roller- I guess we’ll see!

Health-wise, you’re a-okay, kid. You had your first ear infection and pink eye infection this past month. That was not-so-fun and required antibiotics twice a day for ten days, which was also not-so-fun.  Every time we gave you your medicine you would make a face like it was the grossest thing EVER, and half the time you would just spit the offending substance right back out at us again. Helpful, kid.

You are still refusing to sleep at all on your own at night (during the day you nap in your swing or on me), and so you are cosleeping. I love snuggling with you but your mom and I definitely need a bigger bed, because although you are tiny you like to spread out! Sigh.

You had your first Christmas this past month, and along with that came your first plane ride.  You did so well on the plane! Mostly, you slept, but even when you weren’t sleeping, you didn’t cry. We were so proud. Christmas was in California at your grandma’s house, and you got to meet your grandpa and uncle for the first time.  You also met your great-aunt and great-grandma, who had lots of fun holding you and falling in love with you (you were charming, of course, which helped the process!). You and Addie got lots of little toys and books and clothes, and your grandma got you those silver keepsake boxes that are engraved with your birth details. So perfect!

While we were in California, you dipped your toes in the ocean for the very first time! It was really cold, being winter and all, so you weren’t a huge fan, but you didn’t cry. You just tried to pull your legs up super close to your body so your feet wouldn’t touch. LOL! I can’t wait to take you back this summer to have a real, proper day on the beach together (and I can’t wait to see how much sand you’re going to eat when we go!).

Your mommies love you Paxton. Always and forever. Grow strong, grow healthy.

I love you baby boy.

Mommy A

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So, you know how every once in awhile, something really gross but really funny happens to you, and you immediately know you have to share it?  Well, peeps, something happened to me this morning and the first people I thought of to share it with were you! Aren’t you lucky?

Around ten o’clock this morning, I had just finished feeding Pax and was heading into the nursery with him to grab something.  I scooped him up and snuggled him close, letting his head rest on my shoulder as we walked. As I entered the nursery, I had one of those moments where I absolutely could not for the life of me remember what it was I had wanted to grab (don’t you hate those?), so I just stood with him in the middle of the room for a minute, thinking. Finally, I gave up on trying to remember, wrote it off as a lost cause, and decided to change his diaper instead so as to make the whole trip worthwhile. I got out the clean diaper insert and just before I went to set him down, I suddenly felt a sensation like someone had dumped an entire glass of warm water down my back. The tips of my hair got wet, it trickled down my back, wet through my tshirt and bra, and KEPT GOING.

Ya’ll… that wasn’t water.

It was, instead, the most epic projectile barf my son has EVER produced and not only had it gotten my entire back wet, it was trickling down my rear seat and into my underpants. 

Yes. It was.

Now, in case you have not had the absolute joy of warm barf rolling down your back into your ass crack, let me share with you… it is not a pleasant experience!  I could not get clean fast enough.  I immediately stripped, put the child in his crib (Addie was happily occupied in her jumper), and took an impromptu steaming hot shower.  A lot of scrubbing later, I got out of the shower and went to pick up my by-then-irate-child, who was screaming in fury that I had dared put him down- as if he wasn’t the reason the shower was necessary in the first place!

Got him settled down and all was well… until he barfed on my front. 

And the kicker is that, as we were sitting there, me needing to change my shirt for the second time this morning, I finally remembered what it was I had been going into the nursery for in the first place.

A burp cloth.


Hangin’ out

We’re fighting a pretty bad case of antibiotics-induced diaper rash around here, so this is how we’re spending our days.

Just hangin’ out!


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On Sleeping with a Self-Appointed Cosleeper

It’s funny how we went into parenthood with certain expectations, and then those expectations got blown out of the water as soon as the kid was actually here.

We thought we’d only have one baby to deal with. Scratch that, we now have two.

We thought that Pax would be in 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes during the winter, and 6-9 and 12 months during the warmer months.  We therefore stocked up appropriately for the different sizes/seasons- we never expected him to move on up to 6-9 month clothes while it was still winter!  (oh yes, he did.)

We also had many long and drawn out conversations about how we never wanted to cosleep.  That it was a good idea, but not for us. That it would make us nervous- with our memory foam mattress and love of pillows.  That we didn’t see how we could still be intimate and cosleep. That we felt the arms’ reach cosleeper we bought would be plenty close for the kid to sleep in, and that we were glad that we agreed, as a couple, on this subject. No cosleeping.




In spite of our expectations and prior commitment to NOT cosleeping, Pax has decided to self-appoint himself to cosleeping anyways.* During the day he will nap for short spurts in the swing (longer if he’s sleeping on me), but at night he will.not.sleep by himself.  WILL. NOT.  He must be in our bed and he must be close enough to touch a mama or all sleep bets are off for this kid, and no matter how deeply asleep he was when you put him down, he will wake up crying until you pick him up again and he is no longer alone. We have also tried to have him sleep in the crib with Addie- but apparently, only a mama will do and it’s the same story where he wakes up after five minutes crying for us (this happens whether we place them right next to each other, at opposite ends, touching, not touching…).

It’s kind of sweet when you think about it.  It’s also kind of maddening.

Really, I am of two minds about it:

First of all, our bed is really small. Like, really small, y’all.  I’m almost ashamed to admit it to you, but right now Shorty and I (and Pax) are sleeping on a full size bed. In our defense, we had a queen bed in the upstairs bedroom, but when Pax was born and it became obvious that it would be easier to stay downstairs, we switched rooms with Thing One and gave her our upstairs room in order to move into her downstairs room (which is right across the hall from the nursery).  When we did this, with me recovering from the C section and two newborns and all, moving beds seemed like too much of a hassle (we have a four poster platform bed up there that would barely fit in the tiny little room we now have), so we just let Thing One have it and we took over sleeping on her full size bed. We knew all along we were planning on buying a King size bed with tax money (still are) but for now… the bed is REALLY. SMALL. And Pax, though comparatively small, still takes up quite a bit of space! Poor Shorty often ends up pushed to the edge of the bed as Pax stretches out in the middle nursing and I curl up around him.  Bad sleep for her (I mostly sleep fine), grumpy wife during the day, no good for anyone.

On the other hand, we ARE getting a new bed very soon… so this too, shall pass. And I know that Pax is still very young and it is natural for him to want to be near us.  I want to be near him, too. Being 85% in the attachment parenting mindset, I really love sharing a bed with him and snuggling with him and knowing that we’re there for him to smell and touch (and nurse off of) at night. There’s nothing sweeter than waking up curled up on my side, with baby arms and baby legs literally wrapped around me and feeling his sweet breath against my chest. I love it.

Also in the plus category- it makes feeding him at night so incredibly easy. SO easy.  He usually nurses to sleep and then snuggles against me or Shorty, and when he starts to stir I will just lay on my side, pop out my boob, and side nurse him while we both snooze.  Most of the time we fall asleep like that, me with my boob still hanging out, and he will latch on and off at will all night long.  The negative side to this is that it feels like my boobs have been a lot more drained since we started doing this- him sleeping with us and having unlimited milk supply is taking a toll on them.  I know that right now it’s not doing him any harm (and I still have enough to feed him during the day, though not to pump extra in the morning like I used to) but I think eventually it will be hard to get him to sleep on his own/not nurse all night when the time comes.  Cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess. Benefits outweigh the negatives for now.

Overall, I really like sleeping with our self-appointed cosleeper. Shorty has more reservations about it than I do, but she’s also the one getting less sleep.  Hopefully that will change when we get our new king size bed here soon.

The only other problem with allowing our son to cosleep at will is that, when I said he won’t sleep alone, I meant it. He won’t. sleep. alone. at night, not even if you get him deeply to sleep laying with you in bed and then leave him after he’s good and asleep.  He inevitably wakes up crying in less than 5 minutes after you leave him.  This is a problem (obviously) because we have adult things to do (like laundry, get your filthy mind out of the gutter!) and not a lot of time to do them except when babies are sleeping, and also because it would be nice to just have some adults-only time in the evenings after babies and kid are in bed. It’s also problematic because his idea of an acceptable bedtime is somewhere in the seven-to-eight o’clock range… obviously, we’re not ready to go to bed for the night with him at seven o’clock! What usually happens is that he falls asleep on one of us out in the common areas, but sleeps lightly and ends up getting woken up by noise from the TV or Thing One or us. Once he wakes up, he is (over)tired and cranky and very very hard to get back to sleep.  He’s a baby, he’s very young and he needs to get to sleep early and we understand that, but it’s hard to balance the needs of a baby who just wants to sleep ON you with the needs of a household and the need to have quality adults-only time with my wife.  We’re still trying to figure this piece of the puzzle out, so if you have any suggestions, holler!


*In case you’re wondering, Addie has never been a cosleeper. We had a little bit of trouble in the beginning but then we started swaddling her, and ever since we did that she transitioned to sleeping on her own in the crib just fine. And now we don’t even swaddle her and she still does just fine!  I have to admit, I’m grateful. Two babies in bed would be a bit much!


Birth Story, Part 2

I apologize for this taking so long. Notes from Shorty are in red.

When we last left off, we were on our way to the hospital after trying, and failing, for our home birth.  Going in to the hospital, you would think I would have had mixed emotions… but I really didn’t. Mostly, I felt relief. I felt like I had done everything I could do at home, and since I wasn’t progressing, I was ready for some help.  I was no longer concerned about avoiding medical interventions, avoiding pain medicine, or anything else… in fact, as I had contractions in the car on the way there, I kept telling myself “we’ll be there in X amount of minutes, so that’s only a few more contractions to get through on my own, then I can get to the hospital and get that damn epidural!” Yeah. I did. Talk about a one-hundred-eighty degree change in thinking!

Other than the contractions, the ride there wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.  I sat on a puppy pad so I didn’t get anything on the seat (I was still leaking from my water breaking the day before!), Shorty didn’t drive a million miles an hour and terrify me, (I figured if the kid hadn’t popped out in 60+ hours he wasn’t going to make an appearance in the 30 minutes it took to drive to the hospital. I also knew that once we got there we were going to be in the hospital for a few days, so I enjoyed the quiet, early morning drive to the hospital. No need to rush.) traffic was light, and it seemed like we got there pretty fast.  When we got there Shorty offered to drop me off at the ER entrance, but I was being stubborn (I’m glad I got this in writing, stubborn woman!!) and wanted to stay with her- so she drove to the parking garage and parked, and we made our slow and steady way into the hospital from there. The funny part is that I was in flip flops and a light sweater, when it was in the low thirties… I feel like people were giving me strange looks but none of my warm boots fit me anymore and none of my coats did either! (Sorry I did not get a picture of this for you, in my defense  it was 5am and I had not had any coffee yet). Oh well though, I was cold for a little bit and then I got over it.

We went into the ER and they registered us downstairs and then directed us upstairs to the labor and delivery unit to check in. I had a few contractions while we were sitting there registering and had to breathe through them while the registrar lady waited for me to be able to speak again. After that, they directed us to a waiting room, but we were only there for a minute before a nurse came to get us. Except, I thought she came to get US, but when Shorty stood up to follow me she said “Oh, are you two sisters? Mother daughter? [pointing at me as the mother and her as the daughter. WTF?]. You’ll have to wait here [pointing at Shorty]” and before I could say much she closed the door between us.  (This was really hard for me, I even began to cry a little. My worst fear was being separated from my wife, and that is what happened. I didn’t know what was going on, when I would be able to see her again. I was left in a little waiting room by myself pacing the floors. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life.) This is one of my biggest regrets, that I let her separate us like that- that kind of thing was one of our fears about going to the hospital. I should have protested. I should have done something. Instead, I stood there in the doorway to the exam room, swaying with a contraction, without Shorty to hold on to, worried that coming to the hospital had been a terrible mistake and that they were going to treat us like that the whole time we were there.  Luckily, on that last part, I could not have been more wrong. This was the only time the whole hospital stay where I felt like this, and luckily it was short in duration- Shorty was allowed to join me after I had been checked and strapped to monitors. (Thankfully we were not separated again after that.)

When the doctors came in, they did a cervical check and confirmed that I had made basically no progress during the long hard night- I had been a three when the midwife checked me at home the night before and the doctor proclaimed me to be a three, three-and-a-half as of 730am the next morning. Although that news should have been discouraging (and was, a bit), I think it was at this point that I turned to Shorty and said “I’m so glad we came to the hospital.”  It was the first of many, many times I would say that… again, ironic, for someone set on a home birth! The baby, however, had other plans and we knew that was a possibility from the very beginning- and to this day I am so, so glad we went in to the hospital!

We were set up in a room and I immediately asked for an epidural- having been in labor for over 50 hours by this point, and having had all our other plans go down the drain, I basically just said what the hell why not get it.  I also knew they wanted to put me on pitocin, and while I was okay with that because of my nonprogression, there was no way in hell I was going to go through pitocin contractions without some kind of pain medication.

My epidural came and went- s l o w l y (they had students do it!)- but I felt so.much.better afterwards! I was able to talk, laugh, engage with the world, and fully take in everything that was happening to me… instead of concentrating on not screaming instead.  Shortly after the epidural (around 11am by this time) I was on pitocin and ready to have a baby! Except, of course, for the fact that the baby wasn’t ready to be had.

We spent all day sitting around, waiting and hoping things were progressing (I slept a lot of it, thanks epidural!) (I slept a lot, as well, taking the opportunity while I had it).– but when the doctors came back to check me at 4pm, I hadn’t even budged by a full cm. The doctor said I was maybe 4cm. MAYBE.  And this was after 5 hours of pitocin and full blown contractions! (We could see the contractions on the monitor, and boy was I glad I couldn’t feel them!).  The doctors quickly came up with another game plan- they inserted a pressure catheter to see if the contractions were “adequate” or not. I could have told them they certainly were, but, you know… I guess they have to cover their bases.

One thing Shorty and I were both impressed with is that at this point in time, no one had even whispered the words “c section” to us.  This, in spite of the fact that it had been over 24 hours since my water broke and in spite of the fact that things weren’t progressing. It really seemed like they were willing to try all their options before they wanted to consider THAT option. For this, we were grateful- that had been another thing we were worried about going in to the hospital- the so-called “cascade of interventions” and the risk of being pressured into c section.  Although we did end up having pretty much every intervention we had been worried about, in the end I felt like they were used appropriately (ie, pitocin because I wasn’t progressing, instead of pitocin as a standard treatment) and so I am ultimately ok with everything that happened.

Back to the birth story- they inserted the pressure catheter, upped the pitocin, and left us to it, with promises to come back in two hours to check.  Somewhere in the middle of those two hours, my epidural started to wear off and boy those contractions HURT.  We rang frantically for the anesthesiologist, but he was busy in another room so I just had to cope for awhile. I won’t lie- by the time he got there, I was one of those crazy laboring women screaming in pain.  The monitor was showing contractions 1 minute apart and peaking literally off the chart- thanks, pitocin!- and I just couldn’t cope with them. Never thought I’d be loud in labor! Always pictured myself as the suffer-in-silence type- ha. To put the icing on the cake, when the anasthesiologist finally arrived, he chose to give me some crazy lecture about the “labor scale of pain” and told me that even if I felt like I was at a 10 on the 1-10 scale, he was sure I was actually only a 5 or so on the labor pain scale. Ass. Shorty had to kind of yell at him and ask him to just give me the medicine, please,before he would stop talking. (Actually is what I kindly said to this MALE anesthesiologist was, “until you have a uterus, that is contracting and trying to push something the size of a watermelon out a space the size of a lemon, do NOT talk to us about pain levels, now kindly give her the medicine.”) Once he gave it to me though, the contractions didn’t completely go away by the decreased back down to manageable levels. Bliss.

The doctors came back in to check me around six pm or so and I had progressed to about 4.5cm.  They said that this was encouraging, and also that the contractions I had been having were more than adequate, so they removed the catheter and said they would check again in two hours.  They also upped the pitocin to maximum levels.

However, around 830pm when they came back in to check me again, I hadn’t progressed at all from 6pm, and this is when we first heard the word “c section” enter into the conversation. The doctor on call (a resident) said it was a possibility, but also told us she would get her attending to come in and confirm my non-progression and explain to us the options.  I’m not really sure how much time went by before the attending returned (enough that I needed another upper on my epidural) but when he came in he basically confirmed that we hadn’t progressed at all and would probably need a c section. By this time, it was 11pm and I looked him in the eye and basically said go for it.  I was frustrated at the lack of progress, and because it had been so long since I went into labor (60+ hours), I was pretty sure that nothing was going to happen on its own. The doctors tried to reassure me and explain to me that I could have a VBAC the next time around if I so chose- but I was so okay with the decision to do a c section, I didn’t even need the reassurance. I just wanted to get it over with so I could meet the baby! (I was also just ready for it to be over.)

In no time at all, they had me prepped and whisked away. Shorty was given a set of scrubs (It was really cute when the nurse gave me my scrub pack, she said normally this is a dad pack, but today it is a mamma pack! That made me feel good and smile that she recognized me as a mom.) and she walked with us to the doors of the OR, at which point in time she was asked to wait outside while I was prepped for surgery. I don’t know how she was feeling at that point in time- but I was nervous as hell! I lay on the table listening to all the doctors and nurses chatting around me and it was hard to connect to the reality of the fact that I would be meeting our baby so very soon.  The anesthesiologist gave me some medicine and did a bunch of jabs with a knife to be sure I was numb. I didn’t even know he was doing them at the time, but I certainly had the little cuts and scrapes to prove it afterwards!

The only thing I have to say about the surgery itself was that it was WAY more intense than I was expecting! I expected to feel nothing- instead, I felt some big pressure and at one point in time, I felt pressure up in my chest and by my heart- it felt like I was going to have a heart attack! Shorty tells me that this was when the nurse was pushing on my upper torso with literally all of her body strength- go figure. I started panicking and it got harder to breathe, but the anesthesiologist sprang into action and gave me some extra medicine- (She actually was yelling “I”M HAVING A HEARTATTACK” and the anesthesiologist then replied “You’re not having a heart attack, it’s just a lot of pressure,” to which my lovely wife responded “HOW THE FUCK WOULD YOU KNOW!” funniest thing ever!!!) (note from Amazon: I totally do not remember this) I don’t know what he gave me but it definitely helped with the pain. (after the surgery, he told me I was somewhat of a “specialty” case and had had to have more than the usual drugs…. hmmm, interesting?).  Because of the extra medicine, the rest of the surgery- including Pax’s birth- is a bit of a blur and fuzzy. I remember Shorty excitedly telling me that they were pulling him out, and I remember anxiously listening for a cry as they brought him over to the warmer and Shorty joined them. I did hear a little cry, (which is about when I started breathing again) and Shorty brought him over so I could see him, all wrapped up and swaddled and newborn. He was born at 119am and weighed 8lbs 8oz, 22inches long. I kissed him on the cheek once, but then Shorty said she was starting to feel dizzy. (Okay so C-Section is no joke to watch, during it all I was on an adreliane rush and did fine. I watched as they pulled him out, I was there while they cleaned him, weighed him, then handed him to me. He was so precious, I took him over for Amazon to see and kiss. I then set down with him and was just looking at him, when I suddenly started my adrenalin crash, that on top of the fact that I was exhausted didn’t help. I started getting dizzy, nauseaus, couldn’t breath. I finally was able to get out the word help, the nurse rushed over and took Pax. I then set there trying not to faint, the nurse helped me out of the room and set me in a chair in the hallway, until I was taken up to our room.) The nurse quickly took the baby from her and Shorty sat down, quickly, and was then escorted out to the recovery room while they stitched me up.

Pax went to the nursery (When the nurse, Pax and I made it to the room to wait on Amazon, the nursed asked if I wanted Pax to stay with me, I felt bad saying this but I told her no to take him to the nursery, I was still feeling shakey and was not sure if I was going to faint or not. After the nurse and Pax left I set in a chair, thats really the last thing I remember until there was a nurse taking my BP and trying to give me an IV which I declined. A few moments later they wheeled Amazon in and we both crashed from exhaustion.) at first to be cleaned and weighed and who knows what else, and this is one of my only true regrets because I never, ever wanted to be separated from him right after he was born. However, I was so loopy on the medicine they had given me that I couldn’t even stay alert while they were stitching me up- I completely passed out and only came back awake when they were wheeling me into the recovery room where Shorty was waiting, where I shortly passed out again.

I woke up at 530am, panicked. I hadn’t even really seen my baby yet, Shorty was asleep on the bed next to me, and Pax was nowhere to be found! Thinking about that moment still makes me want to cry- the fact that he had been on this Earth for 4 whole hours, and been separated from his parents for almost that entire time. I tried really hard to reach for the nurse call button or to wake up Shorty but I couldn’t reach and Shorty is a very sound sleeper. I almost cried when suddenly, the nurse appeared, wheeling Pax in his bassinet. I immediately asked to hold him and the nurse told me no! She said she needed to push on my stomach first as part of my c secion recovery- and holy crap, did that hurt. (Another favorite memory of mine: After the nurse did this Ayslinn then responded with “can you NEVER do that again” hehe!)I was in tears because I was tired and exhausted and I hadn’t even gotten to hold my baby yet, so I asked her to just hurry up and do it, so I could get it over with. She did and then that beautiful baby was placed into my arms, and all I could do was stare and stare and stare. He immediately started rooting around and he latched on easily, with no problems.  He was and is a born nurser- the lactation consultant we saw the next day said that he had a great natural latch.

It was so amazing, to be holding that tiny body in my arms and to know that this face was the one I had been seeing on ultrasounds all those months.

The rest of the hospital stay went really well (I was really suprised at how nice our hospital stay was, at no time did they treat me any different then they would of a new father. I had fun with confusing them about which one was the birth mom, all the nurses and doctors were very attentive and supportive.) with various friends stopping by to see us- and recovery from the c section was not as hard as I had expected.  I was up walking around the next morning, and feeling 99% like my old self within about three weeks. We asked to be discharged as soon as possible (in spite of the fact that Shorty was sick and it probably would have been easier to stay at the hospital another day) because we were just anxious to be home, to be a family, and to have Thing One and Addie meet the new addition.

During the follow-up visits with the doctors who birthed him, we learned that the reason my labor had not progressed was because Pax was in a brow-presentation during birth. These, apparently, are very rare (when we told our midwife about it later on, she said she’d only seen one other one in all the time she’s been practicing) and can be dangerous, if the fetal neck gets hyperextended. The doctor actually told us that had I progressed and gotten to the pushing stage, there is a possibility that Pax’s neck could have broken during pushing, and that he was so wedged in there, it was actually difficult to get him out during the c section itself. (HOLY CRAP!) I definitely cried when I found that out- from shock, if nothing else. The doctor said that my non-progression was kind of like nature’s safety net, to make sure nothing of that sort could happen.

With this information, and knowing that we absolutely did everything we possibly could to have him naturally, I have zero regrets about the labor process.  Would I try for a home birth again? Me, personally, probably not.  The hospital was actually a positive experience (something I wasn’t expecting) and I wouldn’t mind having a baby there if we were to do it all again. Would I recommend a home birth still? Absolutely.  During the time we were laboring at home, I felt so safe and secure in familiar territory.  The intimacy of laboring in the birth pool with my wife was amazing and exactly what I had dreamed of when I pictured a home birth, and I think that it could be a wonderful experience for others to have, too.

Ultimately, I count myself lucky. I had a difficult labor that ended with a c section but Pax is here, happy, and healthy, and I have no regrets about any of it. Maybe this was just how it had to happen all along.

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Christmas in the Rear View Mirror

So I wanted to take a second to review: we’re home from California, safe and sound and in one piece.

Sanity in tact? That’s debatable. The plane trip home was wonderful, perfect, amazing. Both babies (and the seven year old) slept the entire second flight and a good part of the first one, and as a result we got to sleep too! It was amaaaaaazing.  And, if you can believe it, during their awake periods there were no crying jags on the part of either baby the ENTIRE. TRIP.  They were soooooo good.

The flight out to San Diego, unfortunately, was a nightmare.

The good news is, it was not a nightmare because of the babies (again, they were angels)- rather, because of the airline.  Remember that half hour layover that we had? The whole thirty minutes the airline alloted us to get from one end of our connecting airport to the other? Yeah.  That half hour turned to ZERO minutes when our plane out of Indy was late to begin with, and didn’t end up landing until 5 minutes after our connecting flight was scheduled to take off. Suck. Even more suck was that they gave us the impression that the plane was still at the gate, and that we might still be able to make it- and this seemed reasonable to us, given that there were twenty one people on our flight who were trying to make the same connecting flight.  It seemed plausible that, in this situation, the airline might hold a plane for 10 minutes in order to allow a third of the flight’s passengers to board… and so, well, picture the movie Home Alone- dashing madly through the airport, baggage flying everywhere, running into people… add two babies and a VERY reluctant-to-carry-anything-even-her-own-damn-backpack-seven-year-old and you’ll have a pretty accurate impression of what we looked like as we rushed frantically to the gate, only to find out that yes indeed the plane HAD departed! Ugh. They then informed us that we would need to go to customer service (which was conveniently ALL THE FRICKIN WAY BACK FROM WHERE WE’D COME) to get rebooked on another flight, and when we finally got there there was a line a mile long of all the passengers who had also missed the flight but who were not toting babies or reluctant seven-year-olds and therefore got there first. We stood in this mile long line anyways, the clock reading 8pm Christmas Night (the time our original flight was landing in San Diego), and listened in as passenger after passenger was told there were no more available seats on any of the flights going to San Diego that night, and that the earliest possible time to fly out was the NEXT night, landing at approximately 10pm. Are you frickin’ kidding me? Nevertheless, as we warily (and wearily) approached the counter, the customer service lady smiled brightly at us and how she could help us. She offered to put us on standby seating for the two (completely full) flights leaving that night for San Diego (because, you know, two completely full flights with 21 other passengers in line ahead of us for standby seating are totally going to suddenly have space for a family of five. Right.) and when we declined that, we were told that all flights were full for that night AND the next day, but that we might be able to get on one the next night.  Might. Ugh again. We scrambled to figure out our options, when all of a sudden it occurred to me that Los Angeles is not that far of a drive from San Diego. About two hours, give or take.  Desperately, and feeling suddenly hopeful, we asked the customer service agent if there might be any room on a flight to LA that night instead…. only to have our hopes dashed again as the lady told us that no, all flights into LAX were booked as well. Damn it all.  Shorty and I looked at each other, feeling completely dejected, while the agent continued pecking away at her keyboard.

Suddenly, she looked up, and as we started to get hopeful again, she told she had found a flight… to Ontario.

Ontario? We replied. Isn’t that in, like, Canada?

No, she told us, it was an airport in East LA- only an hour and forty five minutes from my parents’ house- and there were seats for us on a flight leaving in an hour and landing at 11pm.  SOLD!!!!!!

Flights were booked, calls were made, and we flew into Ontario where my parents picked us up for the drive home (we weren’t sure if the car rental place would be open or not so they drove up to get us).  When we arrived at the airport, we were completely exhausted but so relieved we were no longer stuck in the middle of Texas (sorry, Texans).  We were also, however, luggageless.  The airline informed us that our luggage hadn’t made it to Ontario and had, in fact, been shipped to San Diego.  We had checked our carseats, had a bunch of Christmas presents packed for the belated Christmas morning we were supposed to have the next day, and had virtually all of our clothes in our checked luggage.

The good news is, because we were so paranoid about that 30 minute layover and the probability of our missing it, we had packed plenty of baby supplies- enough formula, clothes, diapers, etc in our carry-on for an overnight stay. We also had a spare mom-shirt in the diaper bag thanks to Pax’s tendencies to spit up, and I had mailed two shirts I ordered for Shorty’s Christmas present directly to my mom’s- so when we got to the house she had clean shirts to wear.  We ended up borrowing carseats from the airline and drove home, following a VERY drunk driver the entire way (where are the police when you need them?) and arriving at 5am our time- we’d been up almost 24 hours by that point.

We all (including the babies, thank everything) immediately crashed when we got to my parents’ and even though I’m pretty sure Thing One still got up with the sun, I was not the one who had to get up with her- thank you, little brother- and so all was well. The babies woke us up around ten- all in all, not bad, considering that was around 1pm their time!- and the rest of the house was up by noon. My grandma arrived in the meantime and immediately took over cuddling babies, while we manned the phone lines searching for our luggage.  Luckily, it was delivered not even two hours later!

After getting over all the hurdles of actually getting there, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. My grandfather opted NOT to come (he was feeling sick) and so that was not an issue I had to deal with. My grandmother came down the day we did our Christmas and I am so, so glad she did. She got to meet the babies and as she was holding Pax, her eyes teared up and she got all choked up. She did it again as she was holding him to say goodbye, and she told us “thank you for my grandchildren”.  It was a touching moment and I don’t think I’m the only one who got misty-eyed. I’m so, so glad Pax got to meet her, even if he won’t remember it.

Later on in the week, my Aunt came down, and she also enjoyed holding the babies and meeting Pax (who she calls Moonpie… lol!).  We took the babies all over town, did a zoo trip, and dipped their tiny tootsies in the ocean. It was an amazing trip and so good to be back somewhere familiar surrounded by family and friends.

Also, you guys, I HAVE to mention my/our Christmas presents.  They were all so awesome!  First, my wife got me a family birthstone necklace- it has all our names engraved on it in a circle along with our birthstones. I love it and haven’t taken it off since.  My mom surprised us with silver engraved memory/keepsake boxes for each of the babies, with their names, date of birth, birth time, weight and length engraved. They were perfect, as we had been looking for something of the sort but hadn’t found anything yet. Pax also got a blue and silver engraved “baby’s first christmas” shoe ornament (Addie already had a pink and silver teddy bear from us but we hadn’t found anything special enough for Pax yet so this was perfect). Finally, my grandmother surprised both us and my mother with matching sets of gallery-wrapped canvas pictures of all three kids- she’d used photos we sent as family updates to do it.  I love them so much! I can’t wait to hang them on the wall.  It was a great, family-oriented Christmas present theme this year and I could not be happier with it. 🙂

So, that was our trip to San Diego! Memorable, to say the least. I want to do another post about lessons we learned about traveling with twinfants, but I’ll leave that for another day since this is already so long. And, since you made it to the end- pictures!

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