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This post has been a long time in the making and may explain the radio silence around here.

Our little W is almost five months and it’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve really connected with her, liked her, wanted to be with her.

Postpartum this time was h.a.r.d. After her most amazing birth, I was shocked that I could not connect with her. That her cries made me so angry that I often fed her and then passed her off to A, who thankfully was home for three months with us. I am certain I would not have made it here, without having her home in my dark postpartum days.

So many times I wondered what we’d done, why we had her?  And even wished we didn’t. I wondered why Mr. E’s infancy seemed to joyous when I was so miserable this round? All the while I was coping – getting out of bed, taking care of my kids. I had incidents of crying, well beyond the “baby blues.” I’d cry and cry and I knew it was the damn hormones. And that made me even angrier. I was enraged that hormones could cloud this time precious time with my new baby. Moments I would never get back.

A was patient. She let me sleep in every single day over the summer – getting up by 6am everyday with one or both of the kids. She’d take her turns at night when my efforts only reduced me to tears.

By almost three months W’s sleep was amazing and she and I were connecting. This was about the time A went back to work (I am not sure if I ever followed up from the laid off post, but she was rehired). I am not sure if it was life forcing me to finally be the full-time provider of two children or if her return to work coincided with my hormonal shift but ever since we resumed our fall routine, things have just gotten better. I am no longer overwhelmed by the thought of spending my days with two, instead of one. The crying fits have passed, and most days are really great.

I wanted so much to write in the dark days after W’s birth and I think I even did but nothing I wrote was fit for publishing. I hope that now that I am on the other side, and that “it’s” out there, that I will want to resume more regular posting here.

Now every day is such a joy with W. She is the happiest baby I’ve ever known and most people tell me so. She loves her family, is thrilled with her big brother, and so easily goes with the flow. Make me want a third…but I worry I could be pressing my luck!

4 months, and we're in love

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My estimated due date was May 30th. The pregnancy was hard but as the end approached I experienced a reprieve, began feeling great- almost not even pregnant and was moving about with an ease last felt in the first trimester. I focused on enjoying the last days of E as an only child and soaking up our time together.

The early evening of May 24th we thought things were starting. I was having contractions but they were not painful. We ate dinner and carried on our nightly routine with E. We took a walk outside and chatted with some neighbors, put E to bed and continued to wait for the contractions to kick up; they were about eight minutes apart. Eventually we went to bed knowing things were far from starting. I had a rough night’s sleep and woke exhausted. A stayed home from work, as we believed things were happening. But the contractions fizzled out and I was officially experiencing prodromal labor.

Two nights later the contractions returned. This time they felt more intense and regular- coming three minutes apart. With the increased intensity, I was certain this was it. I called our doula, R to let her know. After about five hours of contractions, I also called our midwife, L. I had learned from the previous night of false labor that it would be best to rest instead of waiting for labor to kick up. So I went to bed, and when I lay down they stopped! I was so frustrated!

The next day, May 28th A, E, and I headed to the beach and spent the afternoon playing in the sand and soaking up the sun. I felt off that day, my body ached everywhere – I guess I was finally feeling like I should at full term! Earlier in the day I noticed I was starting to lose my mucus plug.

A & I were really tired and went to bed early that night. I woke at midnight feeling achy and hot. I moved to the couch to try to get some sleep; I spent the next several hours trying to sleep and when I couldn’t I’d play around on the computer. Somewhere in there I went to the bathroom and noticed I was losing more of my mucus plug and now there was also a bit of blood. The progress excited me, but I also knew this could go on for weeks. I decided to go back to our bed and try to sleep. A asked me what was going on and I told her I was achy and crampy and she rubbed my back for several minutes. Within ten minutes of crawling back into bed my water broke! It was about 3:30am.

With the gush of water I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, leaving a trail of water behind. It’s hard to describe the this is it feeling. There’s no questioning the start when the amniotic fluid ruptures. I took a shower to clean myself up and then got comfortable to call L. A was scurrying around, showering, changing the sheets, and preparing to leave. Around 4:30 E woke up (as he often does in the night). When he saw A all dressed he asked “why are you all ready, Mama?” She assured him the clothes she was wearing were her pajamas and got him back to sleep. I ended the call told her “L said we should get some rest”, to which she laughed.

Contractions had started but they were mild to say the least. Around 5:30 I decided I needed some rest so I lay down in bed. But my waters kept gushing so it was hard to get comfortable and sleep was impossible. I lay there and rested for a little while. Before too long I got back up and bounced on the birth ball for a while. Again, my leaking fluids prevented me from being too mobile, which was frustrating.

As the morning waned on, A went about our daily routine, feeding and dressing E, playing with him. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I watched them play in the back yard from my window. I was still very much excited and happy my contractions were starting.

There seemed to have been a misunderstanding about my parent’s role when I went into labor and they thought they were not needed until we left for the hospital.  I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible; in my mind this meant they would take E as soon as I went into labor so that A was with me.  There came a point where I needed A to be with me and she was just not able to do that while watching E, so even though I was not in serious labor we decided to head to the hospital so that we could labor together in peace. We left around Noon.

The drive to the hospital was challenging. It took 50 minutes and my contraction kicked up. I decided to call our doula and request she also head to the hospital. Upon arrival I was checked in and had the initial battery of questions and paperwork to complete. L checked me and I was two centimeters. Not too bad, given that I never dilated on my own with E. But we knew there was still a long way to go. A and I decided to take a walk outside; it was a beautiful day and we spent some time walking through the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown.

In the back of my head I could hear the clock ticking. The “you have to get the baby out within 24 hours of rupture” clock. I did my best to ignore it. We ate dinner, chatted with R, and I tried to rest. Sometime around 6:00pm R said she was going to prepare a hot bath with lavender so that when I was ready for it, I could just get in. Minutes later L came in and suggested I get in the tub and use the water for nipple stimulation to try to ramp up my contractions. A and I spent at least a half hour doing this, to no avail. L returned to check on us. She checked me again. Still two centimeters.  Frustration set in.

I knew the clock-talk was coming and it did. L told me the pediatricians like to start antibiotics 18 hours post rupture but she’d hold it off till 24 hours. She talked about my options, which in addition to medications, included doing nothing and waiting it out. I knew one thing, I did not want an IV. Antibiotics are given intravenously. I also knew from E’s birth that my body isn’t all that handy at dilating. Cervadil was my option; a vaginal suppository that softens the cervix. It was the lowest level of intervention available to me in a hospital setting. The down side was that once inserted I would have to have fetal heart monitoring for two hours, which meant I had to lay in bed for two hours. And already laying on my back was the least comfortable position with my mild contractions.

The Cervadil was inserted at 7:21pm. A, R, & I chit chatted while music played in the background. I did my best to submit to each contraction, to remain focused and lose, and to breathe. By 8:45pm the contraction were full on, intense, and this is when I consider labor starting. Having to remain hooked up to monitors and in bed was brutal. I asked R, what if I have to use the bathroom? And this became my focus. My way out.

It was clear to all of us that I was in hard labor, and all had been fine with the baby, so I wanted to be unhooked and to labor as I wished. I called for a nurse and expressed my need to use the bathroom. She said she had to talk to L. She returned about 9pm and said she couldn’t talk to L, but it would probably be okay to take me off the monitors 20 minutes early, and she did.

I used the toilet and had one contraction and then I got back into the tub. Instead of the relief I’d felt in the water just a few hours early, it now felt horribly constricting. I tried laying back and it hurt. I think I stayed that way for three or so contractions. Then I got into a frog position. One contraction like that and I knew I had to get out of the water. When it was over I maneuvered my body out and had one more contraction on the toilet. While there I felt a little nauseous. Meanwhile, R and L were preparing the bed in a raised position for me to lean on to. I tried it, and that didn’t work for me either. But while I was there I felt the urge to vomit. Someone brought me a bucket and I emptied my stomach; I was still standing up leaning on the raised bed and the force of my vomiting pushed the Cervadil out of me, and I was so thankful that it remained out. I remember thinking, I am in transition? I am in transition?! FUCK! How can I already be in transition? It was probably 9:45pm.

R suggested I may like to get on my hands and knees. I did this on the floor while they lowered the bed. Once lowered, I kneeled on the bed and held on to the headboard.  My contractions were seriously intense at this point. I was in full on labor. L checked me. “Five” she announced, “no, moving to six.” Holy crap.

A and R were to my right, L was on my left and there were two nurses. Mark Erelli was playing on the iPod.. L began rubbing my back as I rode each contraction like a wave. I did my best to keep my vocalizations low. L attended to our birthplan and lowered the lights. I remember hearing A ask R to change the music, and suggested something a little mellower, Norah Jones, Come Away With Me.

“You sound like you’re feeling the urge to push” L said; I confirmed that I was. She checked me and I was nine.  L suggested I lay on my left side, crunch up my knees, and hold my right knee open to push. She gently massaged me with some sort of liquid as I began to push. The baby’s head was coming out and I heard someone say she had a lot of hair. I was out of control, the pain was overcoming me, I was pushing with no method, I just wanted the baby out and I finally understood what women mean when they say they felt like they were splitting in two. I was sure I’d be broken when it was over. I yelled out “this is way more intense than last time.”

I knew that this was going to happen really fast, that I would not push for two hours like I had with E. I centered myself, and got in the moment. I wanted her entry to be something I remembered. I could feel she was close and that she’d be here soon. I’d been pushing with contractions, and then L instructed me that I could push in their absences and I did. Not ten minutes passed before sweet Willow entered the world at 10:29pm on May 29, 2010.

As soon as she was born she was placed on my lower abdomen while we waited for her cord to stop pulsing. I held onto her in amazement. It didn’t take long for me to feel the urge to push her placenta. R later told me that the cord stopped pulsing and I immediately said I needed to push. The placenta came out easily, the cord was cut, and W was moved to my breasts, where she immediately latched on and began sucking. R said she’d never seen anything like it. She was still covered in a good amount of vernix and I loved feeling it- so think and protective. I’d incurred a very slight tear and had one stitch.

W remained on my breasts for a while. My vitals were taken, and A and I shared a PB&J sandwich that I’d ordered earlier and saved. R and L said their goodbyes, and we were left with the nurse to have W weighed, measured, and cleaned up. She weighed six pounds 14 ounces and was 19 ½ inches long. She was born with a massive amount of wavy blond hair and blue eyes.

W turned eight weeks this past weekend and it’s hard to remember a time she wasn’t with us. The transition to family of four has gone ever so smoothly; E loves her and has been amazing with her. He’s shown a little jealousy, mostly when A has W, but over all he’s stepped into his role of big brother with grace. We feel ever so blessed with our family of four. It’s been quite a journey to this place. And not a day goes by that I don’t reflect and recognize just how blessed we are.

Love at first sight

First day at home

I love her and I think we'll keep her!

Eeek!

Dare I say my hormones are a bit more in check than the last time I posted?  I feel as though the black cloud of this pregnancy has lifted and I am finally getting excited to give birth again and to bring a new baby into our family.

Mr. E is absorbing the information about the baby and becoming a big brother.  He’ll casually bring up concepts from the books we’re reading about babies, pregnancy, and becoming a big brother.  He is very proud to show me his belly, and tell me, there’s a baby growing in here.  He points to my expanding belly and tells me, the baby is still growing, then points to my breasts and informs me, there’s the milk.  He dresses and undresses, and changes his baby doll’s diaper.  He points to every baby we see and says, baby came out of mommy’s belly. He tells me he’s excited to meet his sister.  

I don’t think we’ll ever really be ready, it seems a lot harder to set up the baby’s stuff with a curious two year old around to get into everything, but really what do itty bitty babies, needs but love and snuggles and some clothes? It’ll all happen one way or another.

We have noticed some struggles with Mr. E, mostly around sleep.  He’s been amazing at going to bed on his own pretty much from day one.  But in the last few weeks he’s started to get out of bed as soon as we tuck him in.  The first time it happened I assumed he was having insomnia and let him get up.  He hung out for a bit and when he started to show signs of tiredness I put him to bed.  Same thing the next night…

Now I am not one to get into regular power struggles with a two year old.  I pick my battles and if getting out of bed is what he really needs, then so be it, but not every night.  We seem to be getting this under control, but it usually involves me going into his room after A has put him to bed (because he’s gotten up), and laying down the law, so to speak.  So far it’s worked and he stays in bed and goes to sleep.

Today, for the first time ever he refused to nap.  We tried and tried and tried to get him to go down and it was not happening. So, in picking our battles we conceded and gave up the precious nap, knowing he’d need to go to bed earlier than usual.  I can’t even think about him dropping his nap, not now, not with the baby’s arrival a mere two months away.  But I also refuse to fight him day after day.  He had “quiet time” instead of a nap today and that at least gave us a little down time.

I mentioned to A that maybe some of this sleep control stuff has to do with the arrival of his sister?  Maybe this is how his feelings are playing out?  I don’t know…but it’s all very strange behavior for him.  Any insight from those of you who’ve gone before us, is gratefully accepted.

I am reduced to bullets:

  • Hormones are worse this pregnancy.
  • Already having a child makes bringing another child home so much harder.
  • I am worried about leaving Mr. E while we are at the hospital.
  • I wish we could afford a home birth.
  • A might not spend the nights at the hospital with me.
  • He may need her at home more than I’ll need her there.
  • His needs precede mine.
  • We want what’s best for him, but it’s hard to think about being  there alone.
  • The “H1N1 no children visitors ban” has been lifted, so Mr. E will be able to visit.
  • I am terrified that when he comes to visit he’ll freak out seeing me in the medical setting (currently he becomes hysterical when my midwife takes my blood pressure).
  • I am scared he will have a hard time when it’s time to leave and I won’t be going with him.
  • I feel like I am screwing up his world.
  • I am tired and weepy all the time.
  • Oh, and emotional.

In the months that led up to Mr. E’s second birthday he became increasing challenging- nothing out of the norm, it was all very much developmentally appropriate and I would have been worried if he wasn’t testing us, after all it’s his job.

As a stay at home mom, I needed to find some coping skills fast.  I felt frustrated with how much time we spent struggling and fantasized about going back to work. It took me a while to figure out I needed to reconsider how I related to him, to question why I responded as I did, and reconsider my reactions to his behavior.

The more I listened to him, and his seemingly absurd tantrums, the less we struggled.  Literally getting down on his level, eye to eye, helped to even the power struggles.  Repeating back the feelings he expressed helped him to see I was in tune with what he was experiencing, and letting him occasionally win deepened his trust in me.

We still have our moments and there are plenty of things that are non-negotiable, but over all my new approach has resulted in fewer tantrum on his part and far less frustration on mine.  I say “no” less often, and try to work a way to accommodate his wishes.  For example, the other day his toy dinosaur wanted to drink from my water glass.  Not wanting to go down that road, I asked if the dinosaur might prefer his own bowl of water, to which Mr. E excited exclaimed YES!  It was an easy solution providing a yes instead of a no, which would have resulted in a struggle, me moving my drink and not being able to drink from it, and him crying.  Some days I feel like I get the parenting game, and it feels damn good!

I know, I know.  I’ve had a good amount of back and fourth regarding the start of our next TTC journey.  We had decided to use a new practice in our new home.  It was a decision based on logic and not feeling, which never really sits well with me.  As chance would have it, my cycles became wacky — pretty typical of when I get stressed.  I finally faced my fear and decided there is no way in hell I’m starting over with a new practice.  I will deal with the inconvenience of travel & of not knowing what I’ll do with Mr. E while getting knocked up in order to return to my old midwife, the one who helped us get Mr. E.

And like that, the old body started ovulating on schedule. And I felt at peace with TTC. One phone call to my old MW to see if she’d work with us – long distance, one Clomid prescription later, and the game is on for early September!

The timing feels right to me in so many ways.  First, Mr. E, while still nursing, mostly comfort nurses and seemingly gets very little milk.  I was concerned about how the Clomid would affect my supply (it will dry me up for the five days I am on it).  I am not ready to wean him, so the thought of doing something to make it stop brought terrible guilt, but he’s cut way back, thus the milk has declined, and he is content just to suck.  So taking Clomid is no longer a huge concern of mine.

Second, since hitting 18 months, he’s turned a kid, not a baby (although he is still very very very clingy). I can carry on conversations with him, we laugh and play, and everyday with him is better than the one before.  His shift into toddler/kid seems like a natural progression into us moving forward with growing our family.

I am doing my best to stay in the head space needed to start this process again.  The first time we did it,  I believed, somewhat foolishly that I would get pregnant on the first try.  I was full of hope and optimism.  And two and a half years later, when I DID get pregnant, I began the cycle high on faith.  I believe in the power of positive thinking and I believe in Clomid.  We have five shots at making a full biological sibling for Mr. E, and I don’t have any negativity to waste.

Summer is flying by…  And we’ve mostly been rained out, which is a huge bummer since we waited all winter long, grey day after grey day, for days of summer. Long days spent on the beach, sand between our toes, sea salt on our sun kissed skin. Not so much this year. The weather did perk up in time for our annual neighborhood Independence Day party. This year we hosted 70 neighbors and friends for a BBQ and fun as we celebrated our Country’s birthday:

Fire truck

We went to the county fair with one of Mr. E’s closest friends. It was by far the hottest, most humid day we’ve had so far…which made for a somewhat crabby Mr. E. Highlights of the fair, photo style:

DSCN1501E and his bestest friend, F

DSCN1518E and Mommy

We had a fun filled visit with Mr. E’s half siblings. The three kiddos had such a great time and it was so wonderful to spend such quality time together.

DSCN1533Second hottest day of the summer…trekking around P-Town.

DSCN1546Bath time is much more fun with friends!

DSCN1553At least the kids liked the rain!

DSCN1560Who needs sun when you’ve got mud puddles?

DSCN1568And we got to have a play date with Jen & Cait, N, & T!

DSCN1572Many meals shared over the green table.

We miss the P-M family now that they’ve left and can’t wait to see them again soon!!!

We’ve got a couple of weeks off from visitors and then we kick it back into gear through August.

In the mean time, our little Mr. E has become quite the talker and has full-on entered toddler hood. If I never hear No! it will be too soon. He seems to say at least three new words a day, is starting to string some words together and can sign a full sentence.

18 months seems to have been a huge milestone for us. E has become so very communicative and for the first time I can actually picture another child in the picture. So we are hoping to get back on our game…in September!

Ciao for now!

You know that line in A Christmas Story?  The one that goes: My mother never ate a hot meal in her life.

Most mornings it’s at least 10:30 before I realize I have not eaten breakfast, but my son has.  I am trying to get it together so we eat together in the morning, but coffee is my priority and that’s about all I can make while making his breakfast.

This morning was much like most mornings, except I DID manage to toast a bagel and put cream cheese on it with 20 minutes of him eating his breakfast.  E was playing so I sat down, coffee, bagel, & computer.  I’d taken a few bites from the first half while reading something on-line.  Damned if I can remember what it was, but it was captivating and thus I ignored that strange sound to my right.  When I finally did look over my effing cat had licked half the cream cheese off my bagel!!!! I held it for a few moments, debating whether or not I should still eat it. I came very close to chomping in and then remembered all the dead mice and birds she leaves us, and thought better.  I tossed it and did not have time to make a second one.

Just now I looked outside to see the same cat drinking from the birdbath.  Man am I glad I didn’t eat the bagel!

Hey remember me?  The person who spent oodles of time writing here not that long ago?  I think of you every so often, I start to compose posts in my head, and from time to time I actually log in type a few lines and then decide I am too scattered to focus.  But you know what I miss you.  A lot.  And I miss the blog community that was so supportive of us as we were trying, through pregnancy, and up until I left you.

Life has been hectic and busy and full. To say the least.

Mr. E turned 18 months yesterday.  He’s at a very fun and entertaining stage.  His words are developing so quickly and his learning just blows me away sometimes. He is still a very clingy boy. Thankfully I have a friend IRL who has a two year old who was (is…) much like Mr. E.  It’s incredibly supportive to be able to commiserate about just how hard it is to have a child who it literally attached to you all.day.long.

Mr. E is still very much in love with my boobs, and I have reached my second breast feeding goal -18 months.  No more goals.  Yesterday was the first time I really felt like if this kid did not stop sucking on me I was going to lose it.  Thankfully be obliged me and took a yogurt drink instead.  (Just saying the word “yogurt drink” bring him to such excitement and he utters “ooooooooooh” in the cutest voice.  I’m not saying that I am going to wean him, just sayin’ sometimes it’s hard.

Mr. E also has not figured out the sleeping through the night thing.  I’d take four hours, but it’s more like two.  I feel like I have a newborn most days.  He does, thankfully love his nap and goes down religiously from 12-3 everyday.

Life in general is flying by us.  A is in the midst of a job search, with one mediocre offer on the table and a very good chance of another, better one.  While exciting, this is causing us a great deal of stress as we wait and pray to the employment goddesses to tip in our favor.

We’re growing vegetable in our back yard and particpating in a local farm CSA, which makes me ridiculously happy.  I also seem to be forever hanging diapers in our back yard and wondering, when can we potty train?

Summer brings with it lots of visitors and that is always fun and exciting.  Living in a touristy area, we have also been taking great advantage of all the vacation-y things to do.  Sunday night music in the park, beach, etc.  If we can’t afford to go on vacation, we’ll just pretend!

We are gearing up to start trying…but still trying to figure my post partum, breastfeeding body and how it ovulates. Soon, I hope. I think if I get too far from this exhausted state, I won’t ever want to do it again with a second baby.

If you are still reading along, thanks!  I hope to be back again soon.

Yeah so I had this whinny post all typed up about how we finally did Mr. E’s allergy testing and so far we know he is allergic to peanuts and dogs and not coconuts. More testing to come on all nuts. And then I went on about how there isn’t a dermatologist within a 50 mile radius who is A) accepting new patients or B) accepting new patients and works with children under the age of two. And given that Mr. E’s pedi wants him to see a dermatologist for some weird bump things on his scalp, I was left with no other option but to try to get him into Child.ren’s Hospita.l in B.oston. So that process has been started. I am starting to feel like a full-time case-manager. It’s been an overwhelming day to say the least.

But, you know, a peanut allergy, although potentially very scary is not the end of the World. We know about. We are armed with EpiPens. We are taking action to protect our son. And as for the dermatologist situation, I am actually secretly relived that we’ll be going to the best hospital in the World and hopefully we can also get some guidance on his eczema while we are there…

But instead of wallowing in my own self pity over all this, I am delighted. You see, I have been a co-sleeping fan since our second night home from the hospital. A, not such a fan. But, we’ve been doing it nonetheless. Today, she became a convert. Our sweet little E woke up this morning, crawled over me and onto A. She told him she had to get up to take a shower, he fussed and hugged her tighter. She cuddled him.

Tonight she gushed, I guess it is really great to wake up with him right there and to snuggle. Yes my friends, she thinks co-sleeping is great!

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