Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Sorry Baba, but this is the only photo I took all day, so I had to post it.

She's talking to Greta, and Greta's talking back. I feel a little bit bad for not taking more pictures or video, but not really.  Because instead I Facetimed with my Mom during the present opening fiasco, and my Dad during Turkey eating, and my Brother during dollhouse-playing-time.  And I made some great stuffing, and fit in a run on the treadmill, and short pseudo-catnap, and all around felt like the most blessed Mama in the whole world.

Not least because I'm writing this out on a brand-spanking-new laptop.  A mac, I'll have you know.  Quite a leap for me, as I've been a PC girl my whole life.  But given the iPhones and iPad and AppleTV that have invaded our house, it was time.  (Sounds like a good house to rob, no?  I'll have you know we also have an alarm system and a vicious guard dog).

I should really be sleeping, as Greta has already been squawking like she'll wake up at any moment, but maybe that's a reason to wait?  Who knows, that's always a conundrum for me.  But now that I can write on a laptop that won't crash, cozy in my bed, with two happy little girls in the house, I feel that I must.

Christmas was... maybe over the top?  I don't even think I took a picture of our tree overflowing with presents, but it was ridiculous.  MJ got far too much.  The rest of us a bit more respectable level, except for me, who also received far too much.  I think the hubs was making up for previous holidays, in which he barely did much of anything.  I've spent many Christmases bummed at his lack of involvement (a heartfelt letter would have done the trick) but the past few years he's upped the game.   And this year he went a bit over the top, though all useful stuff that I'm sure he'll also enjoy (a saucepan?)  It's fun to get presents for a three-year-old, so I (and the grandparents) did much of it.  I knew I should have toned it down, knowing how much she'd get from grandparents, but that dollhouse was just like what I would have liked as a little girl... know what I mean? 

At any rate, Christmas was wonderful.  The presents, the family, the friends.  Baba and D arrived yesterday, followed by a Christmas Eve feast at some dear friends.  And in a couple weeks we'll see Nana, to continue the festivating.  I love this time of year.  And for the first time in I-don't-know-how-many years I don't feel the least bit let down by the holiday.  I don't know if my expectations have been sufficiently diminished or sufficiently changed or others have just filled in my expectations.  At any rate, not feeling a post-Christmas hangover is a nice feeling.  Maybe because Baba and D only arrived yesterday, and we still get nearly a week together?  Followed by more family?  Maybe that's why, because I feel like the true fun is just beginning.    

I feel the need to say a little more about our week, because I haven't said much in quite some time.  About a week ago I decided to start weaning Greta.  The decision was preceded by a particularly rough night, during which Greta woke up every 2 hours or so, and never went back to sleep happy but simply exhausted.  This was preceded by a rough few days that were similar.  The morning after the rough night, MJ tried to wake me up before her Dad took her to preschool and I snapped at her.  I was exhausted, and mean.  She only wanted to say goodbye for the day.  After she left, and I saw all the evidence of how much she had helped that morning (the stool pulled up to the crib, with all the toys she had brought Greta, presumably to make her happy!) I felt so awful.  All.  Day.  Long.  I wished I had the ability to text her to tell her how much I loved her.  As news of the Connecticut funerals trickled in, I felt so blessed and so dumb.  I decided it had to change.

For whatever reason, Greta was much hungrier and/or I was producing much less.  After a couple weeks time, during which  I tried to make up for it by nursing a ton, it still wasn't working.  Greta was hungry and grumpy.  I was tired and mean.  And MJ, who wasn't even part of that little circle, was also suffering.  So I decided to stop trying to maintain my supply.  I'm not actively trying to wean her, but I'm not trying to maintain my supply, which, for my body, has the same effect.  We still nurse a few times a day, but she is mostly formula fed.  I woke up one morning engorged, and that seemed to be the end of my body rebelling.  It seems to want to be done with this, regardless of how I feel about it.  

Although Greta is still not sleeping great, it's been a bit better.  Those few nights of sleeping all the way through the night were tantalizing, though, and reminded me of what I'm missing.  I would almost have rather not experienced that, because I felt like I was doing fine until I remembered what it felt like to not be tired.

We started solids a few weeks ago.  She. Loved.  It.  She'd grab my hand with every bite, trying to shove it in her mouth.  Instant fan.  However, I tried adding things other than just oatmeal.  Squash, sweet potatoes, peas.  Not so much of a fan.  And furthermore, she would often get fussy afterwards.  I started to wonder if it was making her uncomfortable, and she started to get less excited, many times refusing to eat anything.  So we held off for a couple of weeks.  I tried again today and she loved it again, with no apparent discomfort.  We'll see if it continues or not.  Either way, we're trying to be very gradual about it.  

That's all I've got for now.  Only a few more days until 5 months!  Amazing.

MJ is fascinating, as usual.  Always in search of a stage to dance on, and always imagining.  Pretending.  There is always an active dialogue of what is happening.  Biggest hits of the day: the dollhouse and the scissors, not in that order.  And the hot chocolate.  The other toys will get discovered in time, I'm sure.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

I just wrote you a post.  And while it didn't say much, it's still frustrating when the computer eats it.  Sorry for the absence.  Dog-tired, computer woes, holiday fun, all my excuses.  Enjoy some pictures from Santaland.  Much Love.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our winter so far.

As you may notice, the accidental photos turned a bit better than the posed ones.


Monday, December 3, 2012

4 months + 4 days

Whew!  The fact that I can form a witty enough title to make the lateness of this post secondary makes me feel better. 

This month has been great.  Greta is sleeping wonderfully (except for the week following that post where I said how great she'd been sleeping... so don't tell anyone that I said she's sleeping well....).  I finally bit the bullet and decided to stay home.  So glad about that.  She's napping pretty terribly, meaning she's often in bed by 6:30 or 7:00.  I remember how awful it was when I was getting home at 5:30, trying to get dinner ready, MJ was a hot mess, and then in bed an hour later.  So little time together, and so far from quality. 

Life has been busy, and Greta gets dragged along to all of it.  Showing the rental to prospective tenants.  Swim lessons with MJ (where she swam by herself for the first time tonight!! Proud mama!)  Walks to try to fit in some exercise.  At some point I know she'll be less flexible, but thankfully not yet.  For a while I tried to have her home to nap, but she is so unpredictable there's really no point.

Nursing is... okay.  This was the month without pumping.  Breastfeeding as it's meant to happen.  And it has mostly worked.  For about 4 or 5 days we even went without bottles.  But then she refused to take a bottle as we were leaving for a date night, and since then I've been giving her a bottle a day.  Usually it's formula or thawed breastmilk, pumping seems to interfere with our schedule.  Inevitably, if I pump she's hungry 10 minutes later.  So I just don't pump and have accepted that she gets some formula.  At our 4 month checkup she had dropped a bit on the weight chart, and the pediatrician encouraged giving her a bit more formula, so about a bottle and a half a day.  Which I actually haven't had much luck doing yet, because she won't really take it.  So it's possible she's just leveling out to a smaller size, just as MJ did.  I'm not too concerned about it.  In fact, I'm not too concerned what happens at this point.  She's 4 months old, two rounds of vaccinations, and if breastfeeding doesn't continue to work then so be it.  I like how easy it makes night time, because I can doze while nursing her and don't have to prepare a bottle.  But apart from that, I don't care so much.  And if she was eating more during the day maybe she wouldn't need to eat at night. 

Watching MJ and Greta become sisters is glorious.  Tonight MJ discovered that she can make Greta laugh, and it was wonderful to watch.  She would stick her face right in Greta's and laugh maniacally; it looked annoying to me, but Greta loved it so MJ kept doing it.  Yesterday, as MJ and Greta cuddled while we read books, Greta kept pulling MJ's hair.  But MJ was super patient and just held her hand so she couldn't do it, rather than getting upset.  I'm so hopeful they'll have a good relationship. Only time will tell. 

Greta continues to be mellow.  I think this may be my favorite age.  She smiles and laughs all the time, sleeps pretty well and is not yet difficult to watch.  She's cuddly and loves to be held.
This month the smiles were effortless.  As were the dimples.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Falling Behind

I feel a bit behind on life lately.  I feel it most acutely in the lack of pictures.  I just can't seem to pick up my camera when I really should, as evidenced by the near total lack of pictures from this glorious holiday weekend.  Some dear friends of ours were in town, and I don't think I got any pictures of our adorable children playing together.  Ugh.

Additionally, Greta has become less of a lump.  Which I love, except when it comes time to try to get things done.  She's not much for being set down or ignored, so I must accomplish things in 5 second increments.  Okay, except for all of those little projects I mentioned I've been starting.  And it feels a bit lame to be a stay at home mom who can't find the time to do much cleaning or cooking.  I guess I could if I really wanted, but...

As for those projects.  Landlording has taken a step up this week as I play the find-a-tenant game.  It's a weird position to be in, as I still feel like the college student who should be out looking for places to rent.  I feel like I'm in an unearned position of authority, deciding who we deign worthy to take possession and give us money. 

But life is good.  I'm so happy to be home with Greta.  Made all the more so by some of her very early bedtimes (6:30 tonight)!  If I was working and missed all but 2 of her waking hours I would be so sad.  Nursing is a continued roller coaster.  My supply still isn't great, so I spend a LOT of time nursing and she spends more time than she should being grumpy and vaguely hungry.  I think my supply would be ideal for a baby that only wants small amounts at a time.  But if she had her way she'd tank up and be set for a few hours.  So her and I have a bit of a disconnect.

And tired.  After that last post (that very night) her sleeping went to he!!. It's up and down, but usually up at least twice a night.  It's catching up with me, particularly when coupled with crappy napping and the desire to get things done after bedtimes.

That's about it.  The holidays are upon us, which I love.  I struggle to find patience when pitted against fatigue and a 3-year-old.  I have been losing that battle too much lately. 

One of the few photos I did manage to take this weekend.  The quest for the tree.  It was met with a lot of tears from Greta, as she decided she was hungry the moment we were on the tractor.  And MJ, who decided she HAD TO PEE the moment DH started cutting.  Screaming infant, crying toddler.  It was a memorable quest that I'm sure someday I'll miss. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life in these parts.

Every morning I vow to write a post after the girls go to bed.  And every evening after the girls go to bed, I sit down to watch crappy TV and do little else.  Every morning I also vow to go to bed early and every evening I stay up a little later than I should, because it's the only time I'm just allowed to sit.  It's so peaceful.

Life in these parts has been good.  Tiring, but good.  Greta has been sleeping very well at night.  Better than many older babies.  She generally goes to sleep sometime between 7 and 8 and will then sleep until about 5 am.  She'll then eat and sleep for about another hour or so.  Sometimes she wakes up at about 1, but that has become more and more rare.  And sometimes she wakes up about 1, lets out one short wail and goes back to sleep.  We haven't yet hit the four month sleep regression so I don't even begin to expect this to last.  I'll enjoy it while it does and cross my fingers.

Shockingly, nursing has been going really well.  A total rollercoaster, though.  Last weekend Greta was fussy all weekend.  I could tell she was teething, because she was a spigot of drool and chomping down on anything she could get her little jaws on, usually my finger.  So I thought perhaps the grumpiness was due to teething, but she also wanted to nurse non-stop and wasn't pooping.  So I thought she may not be getting enough, and the stress of it all really made me want to stop nursing.  Just go to formula and have a happy baby that I can enjoy again.

But then, throughout the week, nursing went great.  So well, in fact, that we went a couple days earlier this week without bottles.  We've done that in the past and then she'd be up all night nursing to catch up on calories.  This time she was still sleeping all night, plenty of dirty diapers and very happy.  However, after a few days, we had a date night.  As we were getting ready to go our beloved baby sitter tried to give her a bottle and she wouldn't take it.  Ugh.  She was freaking out, and it took me half an hour to calm her down.  The only way to calm her was to nurse her.  So I worried throughout the whole date night that she was a total mess.  Since then, I've been trying to give her a bottle a day, just so we don't get into a refusal for a bottle.  Some days she's fine with it and some days she's reluctant.  So she's getting a bottle of formula a day (so much for the virgin gut!) but I'm managing to keep some sanity.

Despite sleeping well at night, she is napping not as good.  She's been an excellent napper for a while now, and has gotten fairly consistent.  Short nap at about 9:30 or 10:00, longer nap at about 1:00 (sometimes up to 3 hours) and sometimes a short nap in the evening. That longer nap has become shorter, and if the evening nap is short that means she's only napping an hour or an hour-and-a-half throughout the day.  That's less sleep than MJ gets.  So I guess it's good she gets a little more at night.

Furthermore, whereas she used to put herself to sleep readily, she will now only be nursed to sleep.  And she wants nothing to do with the pacifier.  She's still swaddled in the rock 'n play for sleep.  I know I need to get her out, but she sleeps so good... I fear we're establishing some bad sleep habits, but I also believe not to make a big deal of things unless they become a problem.

Overall, Greta is just a happy, mellow baby.  She's not much for being alone.  I'm not sure if this is accurate, but I seem to remember MJ at this age being content to entertain herself for fairly long periods.  Greta freaks if you leave the room she's in or she thinks she's alone.  And she basically just wants to be toted around all the time, which I kind of love.  I can set her down for short periods if I need, but she'd much rather be held.  I love me a cuddly, squishy baby.

MJ is being very 3, but a bit less tantrum prone than she was a month ago.   I've decided I need more videos of her, because looking back at videos of her from just a few months ago shows how much she's changed, even though it doesn't seem like she has.  Everything is much more gradual now, fewer concrete milestones.  She continues to be an excellent big sister, loving and helpful all the time.  Sometimes a bit rowdy for a 3.5 month old, but that's to be expected.

It's late.  I'm too tired say much else.  Or even to edit this beast.  My hair is coming out in clumps that seem to never end (post-partum hair loss combined with fall hair loss.  ugh.)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Growing Up.

This morning was our first (real) snowfall.  By real, I mean it actually stuck.  When Greta first woke me up, it was just a dusting, but by the time MJ woke up it was a full on snowfall.  She announced her wake up by screaming


down the hallway.

She then wandered into the bathroom while I took a shower, parked herself on the radiator and stuck her nose to the window.  When I finally told her she had to tear herself away to go potty, she asked

"Mom, can you pause it?"

Meaning, can I pause the snowfall so she didn't miss any of it.

A very fitting question this morning as I ponder the anniversary of my own birth.  One year older and still haven't figured out how to "Pause It". 

One year older and so-totally-blessed.

One year older and some big changes.

Quit my job a couple weeks ago.

And started this project:

I have a couple other projects I'm thinking about, but they're longer in the making.  I'll stick to these little ones for now.   By little ones, I mean the big little ones (MJ & Greta) and the little little ones (a website). 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Only my fourth.

Only the fourth time I've had the opportunity to vote for president, that is.  That makes me feel pretty young, because when MJ and I were talking we determined that there will be four more presidential elections until she can vote.  I started running through past presidential elections in my mind.

2000:  I remember sitting in my tiny dorm room, watching my tiny TV that we bought at Best Buy and transported via T for an hour to get it back to our room.  I remember staying up much too late watching results roll in, and watching Dan Rather get loopy as the the tallies went into the wee hours.  I figured if I went to bed the election results would be figured out by the morning.  As many of you remember, that wasn't true.  That was the election that just drug on and on.  I even had the opportunity (curse?) to attend G-Dub's inauguration in January 2001, because my Dad was living in DC at the time.  Memorable, at the very least. 

2004:  A friend and I (the only other Democrat I found while deployed to Bosnia) went to a party hosted by the Dems Abroad in downtown Sarajevo.  We brought cheez whiz and oreos (the most American food we could find) and stayed up all night to watch results roll in.  I returned to base in the early hours and got a couple hours of sleep before starting work for the day.

2008:  We had been in Minnesota for one year.  We went to a party at our friend's house, ate good food and watched results late into the night.  Children?  Not yet a consideration.  MJ was not in the picture yet (though it wasn't long after...).

2012:  Despite having had a no screen time rule this week, we switched on the TV tonight to watch the returns roll in.  We brought MJ and Greta to vote with us this morning.  One of the most remarkable things to me was when it became clear that MJ vaguely remembers the last time I voted with her, 2 years ago!  She kept demanding to walk to the polling place, and I kept saying it wasn't going to happen.  Then she said "Last time we walked!", which we did.  How could she remember that?  She was a little older than one!  I guess taking your children to vote really does leave an impression.

So I sit here with my glass of wine, children sleeping, so happy to see results come in as I had hoped.  Thankful that I won't feel compelled to stay up far past my bedtime to get an idea of the future that awaits us tomorrow.  Thankful for the future elections I get to watch with my children, regardless of whether they agree with me.

P.S.  I have big news to share with you.  A big project I've been working on.  I'm excited to share it with you.  I'm not good at keeping secrets, I don't think it'll be long.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

3 Months!

I had to take a heck of a lot of pictures in order to get one in which she smiled.  Not that she doesn't smile ALL the time, but the moment I bring the camera out (or the phone) she just stares quizically.

The second photo displays her favorite new activity: staring at her hands.  Being absolutely mesmerized by all the amazing things they seem capable of doing.  She will stare at them grasp a blanket for 20 minutes straight.  I love rediscovering the little things through her eyes.  Like the miracle of hands.

This has been a big month.  For all of us, really.  But this is the month that Greta stopped being a newborn and started being a baby.  Furthermore, I feel like we have started to get little inklings of her personality.  I flew to Oregon with MJ when she was the exact same age as Greta was for our trip to Oregon.  MJ was a good baby, but she constantly needed to move, and I remember walking the aisle of the plane bouncing her to keep her calm.  Greta, on the other hand, is much more mellow.  She's happy to sit and look around.  She is usually very quiet; I realize that could change as she discovers language, but for right now I suspect she'll be quieter than her sister. 

She has also started sleeping really well.  Down for the night between 7 and 9, then sleeps until somewhere between 4 and 6, nurses and goes back to sleep for a couple hours.  I feel so much more sane than I did a month ago.  Nursing has been such a roller coaster.  A few weeks ago I thought I'd have to start heavily supplementing because my supply appeared to be so terrible.  Then when I went to Oregon it seemed to get quite a bit better (ironically, since travelling killed it in the past).  Now we're managing to exclusively nurse all day, with usually about one formula bottle a day.  I'm not sure if I could manage to get rid of that last bottle or not, but as it stands now I spend much of the afternoon nursing and she's often very fussy by the end of the day, and my supply doesn't seem to be going up in spite of that.  So I'll just count my blessings that we're doing pretty well, I'm not having to pump and she's getting mostly breastmilk.  If we can keep this up I'll feel pretty good; if we can decrease these very long nursing sessions that would be even better. 

I'm just loving this age.  She continues to be very cuddly and loves to be held, but on top of that she smiles all the time and loves to interract.  She's starting to coo as well, just in the past few days.  I wish I could freeze her at this age for a few more months.  Instead I'll just try to enjoy every moment.
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Monday, October 29, 2012


I can't sleep. 

Yesterday I blamed it on the coffee.  But today I know it is not the coffee. 

It is because I need to make a decision.  I gave myself until the end of this coming week. 

I need to decide whether I am going to return to work.

If I don't, I worry that this makes me flighty, changing jobs so frequently of late.  I worry about becoming irrelevant in my field.  I worry about staking my identity to my husband and my children.  I worry about becoming unemployable down the road.

If I do, I worry about spending my best years in a job I hate.  I worry about losing precious time with my children.  I worry that I will be wasting time not doing other jobs that make me happy and from which I find fulfillment.

At this moment, the money side of the equation doesn't matter much.  I'd make slightly more by working, but not significantly so.  In the future, after we no longer need to pay for childcare, this would of course not be true.  But it's a fairly low paying job (for my field) and I was making more teaching part time.  So maybe, in the long run, I'd make more by finding something else.  But the chances of me finding something else in my field are slim.  So maybe I chose my field poorly?  I don't miss being in my field at the moment, so maybe that would be okay?

But the idea of waking up every day, forever, and only being a wife and a mother is depressing (with no offense to those who get complete fulfillment from this.  I just know myself well enough to know I need something else, something that doesn't depend on the moods and whims of children and spouse).  I have some other projects I'm taking on, including part-time landlording, so that wouldn't be entirely true.  But inevitably, when someone asks me what I do, I would say "I stay at home". 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're back.

I'll leave you with a few of my favorite pictures.  The girls were tremendously good travelers, despite staying at 4 different places in a week.  It makes me want to take them more places. Greta started rolling and laughing this week.  MJ started using incredibly adult sounding expressions this week.  At dinner tonight, MJ turned to me and said "So, Mom, how was your day today?  What did you do?"  I know who she learns these things from (me) but it is so weird to hear them come out of her mouth.  I don't talk to her like a kid, I talk to her like a grown-up, so I shouldn't be shocked that she's starting to sound like one.  But when words like "frustrated" and "compromise" and "suggestion" come out of her little mouth, it still sort of surprises me.

Many thanks to all of our hosts.  Let's do it again sometime.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We are traveling. The girls and I, that is, so don't bother planning to rob our house blind, my husband is busy feeling like a bachelor again in our absence.

My attempt to nap when the girls nap.  But too much coffee has thrown that off a bit; not that I would even be functioning were it not for too much coffee.

We left yesterday. Even though the girls were almost angelic on the flight, it was still a healthy reminder that flying alone with two children is no joke. It was a constant effort to pacify them both. But for all that, still easier than flying with MJ from age 6 months to age 18 months. Even with DH to help, that experience was sheer torture. This experience was simply difficult.

It has been wonderful to see family and friends, and we still have a week in front of us. But this trip has been a reminder that traveling with children takes away a lot of the joy of traveling. It adds new joys, but it's complicated. Catching up with old friends? Difficult, because MJ is determined to be an integral part of every conversation. Schedules are out of whack anyway when you have a newborn and a toddler that prefers to wake no later than 6 am every day. But now that means 4 am and I. Am. Tired.

But tomorrow I get to take MJ to the coast. And they get to spend time with their Great Grandma and meet Great Uncles, Great Aunts and second cousins for the first time. There will be many joys this week, including some fine Portland microbrews, so it all seems worth it.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The girls, by the numbers*

We had our 3 year/2 month checkup today (can you guess who was which?)

MJ is 6th percentile for height and 10th percentile for weight.

Greta is 25th percentile for length, 40th percentile for weight and 85th percentile for head circumference.

Greta has been feeling huge to me lately.  I was really expecting to find out she's a giant baby today, but I think that MJ's diminutive size has just skewed my perception.  Although I've taken to calling Greta "Peanut" I should really be calling MJ "Peanut".  But, for all their differences in size, they both have huge noggins. 

There is probably more I should say.  Like the fact that MJ has taken to sticking the bike pump on her nipple and "pumping", making sure to have a cup nearby to put the milk in.  Or the fact that MJ will turn just about anything these days into a stage, and then say "Baby Sister!!! LOOK AT ME BABY SISTER!!" while she sings or yells or dances.  Or the way she'll pause when asked a question, tap her forehead with her index finger and say "Hmmmmmm..... I'm thinking...." very seriously. 

I aim to get pictures of all of these things, but in case it doesn't happen.

As for baby Gigi, I don't really have stories yet.  I have to make a point not to show favoritism, because it turns out I just freaking love this age.  She smiles all the time.  I'm not sure what I love about this age, because they still don't do much.  But she's just so sweet.  There's no ego yet.  There's no arguing.  Apparently I don't like to be argued with, which is THREE's favorite thing to do.  I'm sure one day Gigi will be the same.  Maybe by then MJ will be done arguing?  As she is our offspring, that's highly unlikely.

As for me, I'm knee deep in deciding whether to return to work.  I'm having a hard time deciding to return to a job that I will barely break even for (with the cost of daycare), to do work I don't really enjoy.  I know that job skills are important, and it's in my field, and maybe I can turn it into something I enjoy more.  But that's a lot of Maybe's for some very concrete reasons against it.  Like the fact that I feel much more fulfilled now than I did writing reports for 9 months.  I worry that I won't continue to feel that way, but again, how much stock should I be placing in what if's? 

*This post is fraught with errors in apostrophe usage.  Sorry 'bout that.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Greta, 2 months

I'll start with words and leave you with pictures.  Because, as usual, I'll assume you all want to hear what I have to say.  Particularly when I prattle on about my baybee, because everyone loves hearing about my baybee.  Maybe that's the blessing of blogs; since we Mama's get all our gloating on the internet, you don't have to listen to us go onandon when you sit next to us at a soccer game.

In case it isn't already evident, from my rambling non-sensical ramblings, I'm tired.  As in, pour-coffee-into-my-breakfast-cereal tired.  I'm certain it comes from two months without a solid night of sleep.  And really, Greta's doing pretty well.  The past few nights she's gone 5-7 hours, which is excellent!  Though that never really translates to 5-7 hours of sleep for me, because of course our bedtimes don't align, and of course I feel the need for a beer and some crappy TV once the kiddos are asleep.  These are the things that keep me sane.  So I'm pretty pleased with the sleep I've been getting, but I still just feel really out of it much of the time.  That is the way moms of newborns are supposed to feel, I guess.

I don't feel like I can really call her a newborn anymore, either.  She feels so solid and baby-like.  Much less newborn-like.  She smiles consistently, though I had a big fail trying to capture that.  There's really not a whole lot to say about a baby this age.  I'm so totally in love with her, but I understand fully why other people aren't necessarily very interested in them.  They just don't do that much!  She doesn't much like tummy time.  She smiles some and is a generally happy baby.  She's starting to became enamored with MJ, and it seems MJ is starting to become interested in her, as well.  Greta just stares at her when MJ sings to her or tries to play with her.  MJ has taken to calling her "Gigi", though pronounced with hard "G"s.  How would one spell that?  Elissa?  Clearly, I'm a fan of nicknames and we've taken to calling her Gigi as well.  A nickname of a nickname?  Why not.

Nursing has suddenly been going really well.  She had a big growth spurt last week, constantly eating, sometimes 7 oz. at a go.  I was pumping a ton to compensate for how much she was eating, and I just got tired of it and started nursing her.  And she was satisfied!  A first for us.  Furthermore, it has actually been upping my supply, which was starting to go down with almost exclusively pumping.  She nurses and is content, and when I pump afterwards there's not much, suggesting she really is eating quite a bit.  And she'll go a nice long stretch afterwards without eating.  Previously she would only eat a little, so I still had to pump after and frequently still had to give her a bottle after.  Now, in the middle of the night, we just nurse.  Throughout the day we do some of both.  I'm shocked that I'm saying this because I really felt like things were going in the opposite direction.  I thought my supply was going down and we'd never really start breastfeeding in a meaningful way.  I still am not convinced things will continue in this way, since it's only in the past 3 to 4 days this has happened.  It's been such a roller coaster.  It's hard to not get caught up in it all, even though I swore this time I wouldn't obsess so much.  And although I haven't staked my self worth on how much milk I can produce, I still find myself getting caught up.  Maybe it's inevitable.

So.  Sleeping and eating.  I think I've covered all the bases.  I can't get enough of this little girl.  I'm so excited to see the little person she will become.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A day in the life

While I find these posts interesting, I had no desire to do one because it just seemed like a pain in the arse.  And, to be honest, the mundane details are a bit much for me.  But a conversation with DH yesterday made it clear that I need to do one.  He could not comprehend what I do all day, and I couldn't really explain it.  I knew that I was busy all day long, that I'm doing stuff all day long, but couldn't explain where all the time goes.  So I decided to do one to explain it to myself, and to him.  You guys just get to hear it, too.

Sunday, 23 September
11 pm: I decided to start my day with bedtime.  Because the course of my day is entirely dictated by how much sleep I get.  I laid down so late because DH kindly/mistakenly let me sleep so late yesterday morning.

11:30:  finally give up trying to sleep.  Meal plan for the week.  Apply for a mortgage (we're considering buying a rental property, my goal this week is to figure out financing, which is a little complicated because it's an investment property..)

Monday, 24 September
12:20 Lay down again.  Feel tired enough to sleep and start to drift off.
12:30  Greta wakes up.  Give her a bottle.  Catch up on Facebook and Twitter on my phone.  This is a big difference since MJ was born.  I didn't have an Iphone then, and didn't spend nearly so much time connected.  I'm generally not a fan of Facebook, but have found that I know far more about people's lives than I want to because I'm in the nursing phase of life.  I think this should be a named phase, much like "Retirement", because it has such a bearing on your activities.  Maybe it's the same as the "diapering years", but diapering doesn't really affect what you do with your time.
12:40.  Change Greta.  Reswaddle her and lay her in her crib.  Make sure she's settled.
12:47.  Pump.  Had pumped only two hours prior so this is a short session.
12:55.  Wash pump parts.  Put milk in fridge.  Bathroom.  Convince myself that Greta is asleep or close enough to it to try to sleep.
1:00.  Lay down.  Apparently sleep worked.
3:29.  Greta up.  Bring her into bed to nurse.  Also give her a small (2 oz) bottle to insure she got enough. This is the wake up that she often has a hard time settling back to sleep from, so I just keep her next to me so I can keep her Nuk in.  Half sleep for next few hours.
6:40  Return Greta to cradle.  Climb into bed.
7:40.  Chaos.  Apparently MJ woke up and I wasn't aware of it.  Go sleep in guest room and let DH deal with the girls so I can get some extra sleep.  This is the deal we've worked out. I get up with Greta through the night, then from 6 or 7 on (depending on the night) DH takes over (supposing his schedule that day allows for it).  He takes MJ into school and deals with Greta.  It means I miss out on some family time but get enough sleep, so I think we'll continue this for a while. 
9:40.  Greta wakes up.  Not sure how long DH and MJ have been gone, I'm guessing about an hour.  Give Greta a bottle.  Settle her in her cradle, make sure she's happy.
9:55. Pump.  Entertain Greta while pumping.

I feel compelled to include some pictures.  Many of them are blurry.  Here is the chair where I spend much of my day.  Super comfy.  Super cute when not filled with crap.  
10:06.  Change her diaper.  Get dressed.

  10:13  Go downstairs to this, and intend to clean.

Absolutely trashed from the weekend.  This is not a slam on DH, but he definitely doesn't help with the cleaning.  If I had his job I probably wouldn't either.  But everything stays where it was placed.  Dishes don't get put away.  Papers are left where they were set down after reading. 

Instead, need to calm Greta.  Turns out she likes being sung to.  Didn't know this.  We have a rousing rendition of "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

10:22 Start cleaning kitchen.  Pour coffee.  So in love with iced coffee, I will miss this once the cold weather hits.  I can't even comprehend how people with small children can get by without drinking coffee.

10:30.  Greta not having it. Try again to settle her.  She's sitting in her carseat in the kitchen.  Seems to want to sleep.
10:36.  Clean a bit.
10:42.  Still upset.  Try feeding her more.  For a while she was consistently eating every 3 to 4 hours, consistently eating 4 oz.  She seems to be upping her amount, so we're constantly guessing whether she's still hungry.  Didn't want a bottle, but likes being held.
10:47.  Settles down.  Try to clean.
10:50.  Give up.  Moby wrap her.  Pukes all over the place.  Maybe this was the issue? 
10:55.  Start cleaning with her strapped to me.  That doesn't work either.
10:58.  Back in her carseat.  She spends a lot of time in her car seat, seems to love it.  MJ was the same.
11:00.  Back in the Moby.  Frustrated.  Nothing is working. Tempted to give up and go for a walk.  But this time it works!  She falls asleep!  I commence cleaning!
11:10.  Return sleeping Greta to carseat.  It works.

 11:33.  Done!  I finish the dining room too.  Certainly not spotless but it pacifies me.

11:36:  Try to do laundry, but the washer didn't spin for some reason and the clothes are soaking wet.  I have serious issues with these new fangled HE washers.  They're good when they work but so often don't.  Set it to spin again.  So I go upstairs and review a quote from a landscaper for some work we want to have done in the backyard.  We need to replace a fence and a retaining wall, and are considering doing more.

11:46.  Look at reviews for double strollers.  Thought we could get by without one, but it has been prohibiting long walks and we're thinking of springing for one.

11:53.  Greta wakes up.  Furious child.  Change diaper and get stuff ready to leave the house.  Beautiful day, I think we're all feeling a bit stir-crazy and hope some fresh air will appease her.
12:11.  In the van.  Greta calms down with movement but gets fussy frequently during the drive.  I suspect she's hungry and hope she'll last until we get to the park.
12:23.  Arrive at Crosby Farms but it's closed!  Under construction!  Greta screaming, no where to park to feed her.  Head across the river to Lilydale.
12:31.  Arrive at Lilydale.  Feed Greta.  Read post by Law Momma about her 3 year old that convinces me that the fourth year (from 3 to 4) is terrible for everyone, not just me.  Having Greta means added frustrations, but also reminds me I'm not just a terrible parent, because I rarely get frustrated with Greta.  3 sucks.  That's the conclusion I come to. 
12:45.  Load up stroller.  Finally on a walk!  It's beautiful out, 70 degrees and possibly the last remaining warm day of the season.  I walk on a trail we went on with MJ the other day, only she threw a tantrum the whole time and was generally unpleasant.  It's nice to walk with a happy, fed baby in the beautiful weather.  I actually get far enough from roads to find some quiet.  The main thing I dislike about cities is the noise, so sometimes I have to seek out some quiet to regain sanity.

1:15.  Greta still awake but totally content; she loves the outdoors.  Turn around to head back to car.
1:24.  Finally asleep.  Not a peep!  Finish walk.
1:44.  Arrive back at car.  6,000 steps!  Have been aiming to get out for a good walk every day and continue to lose the baby weight.  I'm up 9 pounds from pre-pregnancy, losing about a pound a week.  Could be worse, but would really enjoy fitting into my pants again.
1:58.  Arrive back home.
2:03.  Pump.  4.5 oz.  Supply seems to be back.  We had a babysitter on Saturday night and I went too long without pumping a couple times, seemed to affect my supply, but it seems to be back to normal.
2:10.  Try for laundry again.  Still hasn't spun!  Lint trap appears to be clogged.  Change it, try the spin cycle again.
2:17.  Must choose between lunch or shower, as I don't think the nap will last much longer.  As you can see, I need a shower.  But lunch wins.  I heat up some frozen taquitos.  Guilty pleasure that I don't eat when MJ is around.
2:21.  Front porch.  Beautiful day!  Research strollers some more.  Dishes.
2:31.  Greta wakes up, but seems to settle down again.  Decide to risk it and hop in shower.
2:43.  Greta wakes up again.  Shower done!
2:48.  Back asleep.  Ugh.  Hungry?  Don't know.  Decide to call Citibank for some mortgage questions.  Of course Greta wakes up the moment I'm no longer on hold.  I feed her while answering questions.  Lots of cries, but thankfully the customer service rep was understanding.  I think he has a small child at home too.
3:16.  Off the phone.  Change diaper and clothes.
3:23.  Tummy time!!  Doesn't go well.  Pack stuff up to leave the house.
3:33.  In car.  On my way to pick up MJ at head to swim class.
3:40.  Arrive at daycare.  Check to make sure towel is in car ; relieved that it is.  Thankfully MJ comes without issue today.  Often this departure is a tantrum because I arrive when she's in the middle of something fun and she doesn't want to come.
3:46.  Back in car.  Endure 200 questions and lots of traffic on our way to swim class.  Better than whining.  Someday I will count the actual number of questions.
4:09.  Arrive at pool.  Pickup was smooth and traffic minimal, so we have lots of time.  Get MJ into her swimsuit.  Endure obligatory stop at potty, simply because it is kid sized and therefore must be visited.
4:16.  Dressed and ready.  Sit by pool and breathe a sigh of relief.
4:22.  Dad arrives!!  SCREAMS!!! Try to keep MJ from running on the wet floor but fail.
4:30.  Class starts.  It appears the trouble maker boy is absent, but he shows up after a little bit.  Watch him splash the two other kids in the class and be a general pain in the arse.  This time his parents actually try to discipline him, so that's a step in the right direction.  Also, this time MJ was also a bit of trouble so my high horse is not so inpenetrable.
5:00.  Class done.  (Note: Greta has been sleeping this ENTIRE time.  Dad asks during class if this counts as a date since both of our children are otherwise engaged.  I note that it is a sad state of affairs if we have to be asking this question.)  Get MJ changed into street clothes.  Tactfully try to explain why there is a little girl using a nebulizer in the changing room.  Wait as MJ takes adult sized dump in the kiddy toilet.
5:15.  Back in van.
5:18.  Arrive at Chipotle next door.  Enjoy a relatively uneventful meal and some Dad time before he has to go back to work.  Give Greta a bottle.
5:49.  Dinner done.  Back to van.  Kiss Dad goodbye, he leaves for meeting.  Endure MJ's sing-yelling the entire way home.  Turn radio up to drown her out until she is so loud I can't even hear the radio and demand she quiet down.  Finally a song by Lumineers comes on the radio and she claps along, both of us pacified for the moment.
6:11.  Arrive home.  Disembark.
6:18.  Pump.  MJ plays with loud banging toy.  Try to remember if I got her this, in which case what was I thinking.  Or someone else, in which case thanks!  She loves it!  Still plays with it two years later!

6:28.  Finish pumping.  Change Greta's diaper.  Head outside.
6:39.  MJ is ready to scooter.  Argue about why we are not going to the park and we are just staying in front of the house.  Finally okay with it once she sees neighbors are out.  Neighbor stops by, happy to hold Greta and get his baby fix.  We end up in an in-depth conversation on schools, starting children early (which we're considering for MJ) and the right fit for your kid.  MJ stalks his cat, plays with his boys, and goes in his house for something?  Don't know.  It takes a village, and the village is happy to entertain her.  Beautiful fall evening, just happy to get everyone outside.  Greta busy starting at a tree but eventually falls asleep.  All is well.
7:20.  Back inside.  Lay Greta down.
7:28.  Get MJ in bath and of course Greta wakes up.  Attempt to pacify her for the remainder of the bath.
7:50.  Bath done.  Get ready for bed.  Have conversation with MJ about whether she's up to undies, as she's had MANY accidents the past few days.  Agree to give undies a shot.  Give Greta a bottle because she's not calming down.
8:10.  Dad gets home!!  OMGG!!!! THE BEST THING EVER!!!  We all settle in MJ's room and read books.  This is one of my favorite parts of the day, as it's the only time MJ really cuddles.
8:25.  Nearly done reading books.  Has been a really excellent evening with no real tantrums.  MJ announces she's hungry and we tell her she'll have to wait until morning.  I don't actually believe she's hungry, just stalling.  This sparks a total, balls to the wall meltdown.  We try to tuck her in but it's no use.  We say good night and turn off the light.
8:30.  Start puumping.
8:33.  MJ still screaming.  Now Greta starts screaming.
8:36.  Greta calms down.  MJ still screaming.
8:40.  Finish pumping.  Wash pump parts.
8:50.  Tantrum finally ends.  I go in to tuck her in again.  Dad goes in after me and tantrum starts AGAIN.  Poor Dad.  What a horrible thing to come home to.
9:00.  Tantrum ends, this time for good.  MJ in bed.  Dad worn out.  Mom worn out.  Mom gets a beer.  Head upstairs to watch mindless TV, address birth announcements and work on this post.  Head to bed ~11:00 and start it all over again.

I learned a couple things from this post.
1)  I live my day in 5-10 minute increments.  That's really the length of time that anything happens for, most of the time.
2)  I spend quite a lot of time in my minivan.  My glorious, glorious minivan.  I've thought about trying to find swim classes closer to home, but that drive is one of the only calm parts in my day.
3)  Greta really does take most of my time when MJ is at preschool.  I thought I was getting more time to do other things, but no.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 53

I'm sitting here waiting for Greta to wake up.  So that I can feed her and go to bed.  Though now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I'm tired enough to fall asleep.  I'm very tired, mind you, but my brain always has to be in that special place to actually fall asleep.

So a little update.  Without pictures, because that's one step too many.

I've been trying to think how to describe life with two kids.  I often catch myself thinking "And I thought having just an infant was hard".  But MJ has been going to preschool during the day, and I'm with just Greta much of the time, and it still feels hard during those times.  So what is the difference?

With just an infant, you really don't have time to do much of anything other than watch the infant.  Cooking, laundry, cleaning; all difficult because your hands are almost always full with a baby, or you're pumping (in my case) or changing a diaper or rocking.  But you have lots of time to think about all the things you're not doing, because actually watching the baby doesn't take much brain power.

With two, I no longer have time to even think.  I am simply running on auto pilot anytime both children are awake and active.  I am constantly calculating what are realistic expectations to set for MJ, what order to do things in (MJ WANTS FOOD!! GRETA WANTS MILK!!  Who wins?  It's a constant calculation of how to best satisfy everyone).  I don't have time or energy to try to stay patient; I am simply on autopilot and hopefully the kiddos get patient mom today.  Which is entirely dependent on how much sleep I've had, how much coffee, and whether the moon is in the right alignment.  And then, at the end of the day, or for brief moments during the day, I look at everything that hasn't happened.  I think about the fact that it's fall and beautiful.  I think about the birth announcements that are still sitting unsent.  But I don't get nearly as much time to even think about those things when I am watching both girls. 

But all in all, life has been pretty sweet.  I truly don't know how women (or men) that watch an infant and a toddler all day long do it.  At least, if they watch the kiddos and don't have a spouse around.  I assuage my guilt for having MJ in preschool with the knowledge of how very much DH works; he has been gone every evening this week save one, and will be gone every evening next week.  So if I didn't have MJ in preschool during the day I would be solo parenting for entire days most of the time.  I know some women do this.  I think I would lose my mind.

Greta has been interacting more.  Smiling lots, with the exception of these last few days as she battles her first cold.  It makes me glad to be breast feeding (which is really mostly pumping with a little bit of breastfeeding) because it has been a minor cold, and I like to think it's because of that.  I should clarify she smiles a lot when she's fed, changed and awake, which is not for huge chunks of the day. 

She has been sleeping a bit better.  We get 4ish hour stretches rather than 3, which makes a huge difference.  Furthermore, she wakes, eats, and goes back to sleep.  No more middle of the night parties.  I have to acknowledge that she is (usually) amazingly easy to get back to sleep.  The whole idea of "put them down drowsy but awake" actually works on her.  I used to try that with MJ but always ended up rocking/bouncing her to sleep.  I lay Greta down, swaddled with her Nuk, and she just peacefully drifts off to sleep. It's amazing.  Sometimes I wish she needed to be rocked a little more, but I know better than to establish that habit and just thank my lucky stars.  I also know this could change at any time, but I'll take it and hope it continues.

That's about all I've got.  MJ continues to be a great big sister.  This week we ditched the last vestige of diapers; she now sleeps through the night in undies, and we've gone 8 nights with no accidents.  We had her third birthday party last weekend, which I dare say was a blast.  Complete with apple bobbing and a pinata, and lots of crazy toddlers.  I didn't get many pictures because I was too busy hosting, but suffice it to say that MJ got it.  This party was for her. The presents were for her.  This is the first year it has sunk in, and she is now a huge fan of birthdays.  It's probably fair to say that it all went to her head a bit, but maybe that's unavoidable?  When everyone gives you presents and sings to you, you probably just think you're the bomb.  
Alright.  Greta is still not awake, but I am definitely tired enough.  So to sleep I go.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MJ. 3 years old.

Well little girl, it should come as no surprise that your birthday wishes are a little late.  I was busy making your real-life birthday special, and surviving.  But this is the part that you may read someday, so it's worth commemorating.

Your continue to be an amazing little person.  You make me proud and frustrated at every turn.  Your quest for independence is never ending.  Since your sister has come along, this has been a wonderful help.  You can do many things for yourself.  You can get dressed with minimal help, go potty, get breakfast, get things that you want, and entertain yourself.  But it also means that you are constantly trying to push further.  You may be ready for this, but I'm not always ready.  I have watched to see how far away from me you would run in public, but the answer is that you would go much further than I can comfortably let you, and I always end up calling you back.

Your loves: coloring, Curious George, doctor stories, Elmo, cake, strawberries, your scooter, puzzles, games, babies.

Your hates (we had a long conversation about that word today): ants, thunder, fireworks.  There's really not much you don't like.  It's pretty much just ants and loud noises.

In reality, you are a wonderfully well behaved kid, especially given how "spirited" you are.  You have started backtalking,. tantrums and generally testing limits.  But generally you do as we ask.  You are good at sharing, and helping, and putting toys away.  These may sound like little things, but it makes me a proud mama when I see you be kind to other kids.

You love school.  I had thought a lot about keeping you home during my maternity leave, but I see how you blossom at school, and how much you learn, and how engrossed you are when the teacher is talking to you, and decided that it would be a disservice to you to take you away from that.  As every mom thinks, I think you're one smart little cookie.  I got you a puzzle for your birthday that I thought was far beyond your abilities, only to find you could do it all by yourself with minimal help from me.  I've been thinking a lot about what school you'll be going to, because I want to make sure that you don't lose this zest for learning. 

And you never. stop. talking.  You are SO full of questions.  I find it frustrating because it robs every moment of silence, but I also find it wonderful how fascinated with the world you are.  It is so fun to teach you things.  I get to teach you abstract concepts, like seasons, time, etc., and didn't realize what an amazing experience that would be. 

You have been a wonderful big sister.  I suspect some of it may change when Greta becomes more of a threat, given how upset you were when she "kicked" you the other day, but for the time being the transition has been better than I expected. 

Your Dad is fond of saying that you will change the world some day, and I wholeheartedly agree.    I'm a bit scared of the emotional intensity that comes with being three, but I'm so proud of the little person you're becoming.  I want to bottle up these moments and save them forever.  Since that isn't possible, I must settle for trying to enjoy each moment as much as I can.  Thank you for giving me so many moments to enjoy.  As sad as I am for all the moments I'll never get back, I am so excited for all the moments to come.  Thank you, little girl. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Greta's Birth Story

One of the more frustrating things in life is a peacefully sleeping baby, coupled with the inability to fall asleep myself.  DH kindly took Greta this morning so I could get some extra sleep, but I didn't realize he'd let me sleep as long as I wanted!  I slept until noon, and now can't fall asleep for anything.

So I'm trying to get some things done.  And drinking a beer in the hopes it will help me fall asleep.

Let's go back a month.  On Saturday, July 28th, we went to a going away party for some dear friends of ours.  They were our first friends in Minnesota and are greatly missed.  At the time, I thought we would see them again before their departure, so it didn't really feel like a goodbye.  That, and I hate goodbyes, so I usually just avoid them.  It was a wonderful party.  MJ was up late that night, probably not getting to bed until about 10 o'clock.  I felt completely blissed out.  It was an absolutely phenomenal evening.  I'm not sure quite how to describe it, but the feeling was one of elation, intoxication (and no, nothing was imbibed).  At first I felt like it was due to it being a wonderful party, which it was, but as DH and I were crawling into bed I realized that the feeling was the exact same as I had had the evening before I went into labor with MJ (which was at a Regina Spektor concert).  I made a comment to DH that if I was a betting person, I would bet that I would go into labor with MJ that night.

I got up many times that night to pee, and as the early morning hours started to roll around I began to despair.  Like, really despair.  I had been really, really certain that I was going to go into labor.  And now it looked like I was wrong.  But about 6 am I woke up with very mild cramping.  I thought it was wishful thinking, but (of course) hoped it was the real thing.  By 7 they were real enough that I began to wonder if I wasn't imagining it.  I decided to get things ready, just in case.  I got out of bed and made some cinnamon rolls.  I packed up the last of the things that needed to come to the hospital with us.  At 7:45 I had some bloody show, and I started to become convinced this was it.  I was nervous to notify anyone, because I didn't want to be wrong.  But the show convinced me to contact our doula.  Just a head's up, in case she was trying to plan her day.

MJ woke up about 8 and was ecstatic to see cinnamon rolls waiting for her.  We ate some together then woke up Dad.  I told him I thought I was in labor and he should get up and get things together.  He was totally skeptical but I ignored him.

Apparently at 8:45 I started sending out emails to people (because I have a record of this).  My contractions were 7 to 9 minutes apart.  I asked our friends if they could watch MJ for the day.  I told my work that I would not be coming in and sent them my timesheet info.  I was pretty convinced, apparently.  I still was afraid that things would totally stall but didn't want to be caught in a panic situation.  I also lost my mucous plug at 10 am.  So by about 10ish (10:30?) MJ was at our friends house with enough stuff to stay the night if needed.  She was excited for it and completely oblivious when contractionts hit, but I was relieved when she was gone. I knew she was in safe hands and I didn't have to worry about anything other than getting the baby out. 

After DH came home from dropping MJ off we sat and watched some olympics.  I had some strong contractions and called the oncall midwife.  Contractions were 5-7 minutes apart.  She seemed subdued, unconvinced this was anything serious yet, but I was convinced.  I took some Zofran at 11, because I was starting to feel nauseous and wanted to head off the extreme nausea that had gotten me last time.  I ate part of a sandwich, largely because I was told to.  Our doula showed up about 11 to see how things were going.  We chatted for a while, and my contractions lessened.  We went for a walk and things seemed to have totally slowed down.  This was exactly what I was scared of: putting everyone on alert for nothing.  After our walk, about 12:30, when it seemed nothing was happening, our doula went home for a while.  We sat and watched some more olympics, me feeling totally discouraged.  But by 1:30 things had picked up again.  I took some more Zofran.  DH called our doula again about 1:45, and when she showed up at the house 15 minutes later things were intense.  While we were chatting, I had an absurdly painful contraction that made me convinced it was time to go to the hospital.  I remember Rebecca asking what it felt like and responding that it felt like someone was stabbing me.  It wasn't until then that I realized my water had broken during that contraction.  So we threw everything in the car and left, about 2:15.

I sat in the back seat of our virtually brand new minivan.  I didn't think to bring a towel.  With every contraction fluid went everywhere.  I remember just sitting in a puddle of warm fluid thinking how gross this was going to be.  I also remember driving by the hospital we had MJ at, which is about 5 minutes from our house, thinking "Why did we decide to go somewhere so much further?  Maybe it's not too late to just go to the closer hospital."  I was yelling through each contraction at this point. 

At some point, I realized we were nowhere we were supposed to be.  I asked DH "Where the fuck are we?"  I took joy in swearing, knowing MJ was nowhere around and therefore it was okay.  All in all, I think I took the fact that DH got lost on the way to the hospital very well.  I was really in too much pain to worry too much about it, and by the time I realized it we were almost there. 

He dropped me at the door to the ER so he could park.  I was not in a cooperative mood.  I spoke to the receptionist, and she asked me to sit down while she contacted maternity.  I told her no.  I need to go now.  I am not sitting down.  I wasn't angry or anything, I just felt like there was no way I could do these things they were asking me to do.  They wheeled me to maternity (I was still leaking fluid, afterall) and asked me questions on the way.  They called my midwife, got me into a room and told me I'd have to wait to be checked and monitored.  Again, I couldn't do this.  I wanted to get in the bathtub.  I remember them telling me I'd have to wait, and then leaving.  They didn't come back!  So I did it myself (with help from Rebecca and DH once they realized I was not going to abide by what I was told). 

When they came back and checked me at 3 o'clock I was 8 cm.  This made me feel better, knowing that I had every right to be having a tough time at that point.  I almost wish I'd arrived earlier, because at that point I had a really hard time complying with their requests.  They wanted to monitor the baby for 15 minutes before letting me labor freely.  A reasonable request, but it was torture to not move.  Things went so fast from there that I never really felt like I got my feet beneath me.  I wish I'd had a little more time to settle in before labor picked up so much.

By 3:20 there was only a tiny lip of cervix left.  But we were having problems with Greta's heart rate.  It kept dropping to uncomfortably low levels, so they put an internal fetal scalp monitor on her.  I was having the urge to push, but the lip of cervix wasn't gone until ~4 pm.  After about an hour and a half of pushing, Greta was not really descending.  She was somewhat twisted, and we continued to have problems with her heart rate.  I felt like this was becoming a mirror of MJ's birth.  The difference was that with MJ, I had an epidural at this point and felt like I just wasn't pushing effectively because of it.  This time I could feel everything and was pushing, but just didn't feel her get anywhere.  She was stuck at +1 or +2, I think.  I was starting to shake really badly with each contraction and became convinced I needed an epidural.  Largely, I felt like I had to do something to change what was happening.  Because we'd tried lots of positions, etc., and all that was happening is that I was getting exhausted and she wasn't moving.  I was starting to become so convinced this would end in c-section that I wanted to change something.  I also found myself making peace with MJ's birth, because I started to think that it was my anatomy and not anything I did. I knew that the epidural might lead to a c-section, but I felt like I was already heading that way and maybe it would help me rest.

At 5:30 they gave me some fentanyl, which I don't recall provided any relief.  At 6:10 the epidural was in.  Having to sit still through those contractions was absolute torture, but it went in without a problem.  It started to take effect soon after and they let me rest until about 8:00.  During that time, I had my right leg resting on a peanut (which looks like a large, peanut shaped birth ball) with the hope that my contractions would turn her into a better position.  At 8 I started pushing again, but there were two issues.  Her heart rate kept dropping unless I was in one particular position (which was not the position I needed to push from).  So every time I pushed I had to rearrange myself, then go back to another position so her heartrate returned to normal.  Furthermore, I couldn't feel when the contraction was coming so the timing was problematic.  They were concerned enough about Greta's heartrate section that they called the OB in from home.

 This looked even more like it was heading towards a C-section.  If I had gone with any other OB practice I still think it would have.  Between the time the OB was called and the time she arrived, we figured some things out.  We were able to turn the epidural down to the point that I could feel the contractions well enough to know when to push.  This also helped Greta's heart rate; it still fell a bit when I was pushing, but wasn't as dramatic or prolonged.  When the OB arrived, rather than suggesting a C-section, she labored with me for a while, then went into the other room and let my midwife take over again.  I was very impressed (in retrospect) at the way she dealt with everything.

By 8:45 I was into active pushing.  I recall at 9:30 asking how much longer they felt it would take, because I needed to mentally gear myself up if we were looking at hours still.  I could feel myself wearing out again.  But they told me no, we were close.  We were not talking about hours still.  Shortly thereafter I remember feeling her hairy little head with my hand; one of the oddest feeling things I've ever experienced.  And at 10:08 she was born!

The activity immediately after she was born was frenzied.  There was a lot of meconium, so they had a whole team in place in case she was in bad shape.  The cord was around her neck, which was what was causing the heart rate drops.  They let DH cut the cord then rushed her to the little NICU table (not sure what the real name for it is) to suction her; she took a breath before being suctioned, but didn't show any detrimental effects from it.

It was all pretty awesome.  I felt pretty ecstatic it had worked out.  I didn't feel the rush of "I can do anything" that so many women talk about.  I mainly just felt really freaking lucky that this didn't end in a c-section.

In retrospect, if we have another kid, I'm not sure if I would try for another VBAC.  I felt like we so narrowly squeaked by that I'm not confident another birth wouldn't end in C-section.  Last time, I attributed all of my recovery to the C-section, but this birth showed me there was still quite a bit from a vaginal birth.  Much more than I expected.  Yes, the recovery was easier than with a C-section, but if I had to put a number on it the recovery was still about half as bad, maybe a little more.  My greatest fear is pushing for a long time and still getting a C-section, and I'm not convinced that wouldn't happen again.  Only time will tell, and only if we decide to have another kid. 

The rest of our stay in the hospital was pretty uneventful.  She nursed pretty well, we got some rest.  MJ loved meeting her for the first time, and you can see in the picture below she was already stealing her things.  There is, of course, always more to say.  But this post has been a week and a half in the works, so time to just hit "Publish" already...