Friday, March 28, 2014

Big Boy Bed

I blame myself, as I foolishly had the bed from Gavin's room moved into the nursery so I could more easily get in and out of bed to feed Paul, with the c-section recovery.  We didn't think Gavin would care, since he's been so happy staying in the crib.  But I suppose having your mom and dad gone for four nights, then bringing home the new baby and taking his bed was just too much.

It's hard becoming a big brother!  This new kid suddenly appearing on mom's lap, crying at all hours of the day and night, with fun looking bouncy contraptions that big brothers aren't allowed to sit in...  Gavin has taken his new role of big brother in stride, always hugging and kissing "Baby," patting his head and bringing him toys to play with.  (And as sweet as it all is, omg terrifying!  Those hugs are one well-meaning step away from smothering!  This is all incredibly supervised!)

But as sweetly as Gavin is toward his brother, I did expect some less positive behavior changes.  With Laura, it's been a quickness to tears.  With Gavin, it's been a literal fear of bedtime.  Vaulting himself out of the crib, landing on his head (of course), and running screaming into the hall.

Night lights haven't worked.  Neither has music, blankies, stuffed animals, or anything besides a grown-up sitting right next to him in bed.  

In a big boy bed, that is.  The crib jumping was just too dangerous.  A big boy bed for my sweet big brother... A little sooner than I feel like he's really ready, but what can you do??  My in-laws brought a toddler bed for Gavin to use, so we set that up in his room.  But the next problem has been the fear of being alone.

We tried staying with him till he fell asleep.  But he would pop up like a daisy as soon as we thought he was alseep.  We tried moving him into Laura's room.  But he just kept both of them awake.  Laura was so patient, but so upset!  

After nights of screaming and crying and running into the hall at 3am, we needed a new strategy.  We asked Gavin if he'd like his twin bed back.  He nodded yes.  Did he want it in his room? No.  He wanted to sleep in his bed... In Paul's room.  Would that mean sleep for everyone else??  Fine.

However, we did also decide to put a lock on Gavin's new room's door... A tip I had read and filed away ages ago.  But putting it into practice was much harder emotionally than I thought it would be!  My poor, scared little boy locked into his room??  But our desire to not hold a door closed, sitting in the hall all night won out.

It's been three nights with Gavin in a twin bed locked in the nursery.  He has cried at the door for a few minutes each night, then tucked himself back into bed.  He has woken crying and trying the door each night between 1 and 3, but he ended up sleeping in the bed.  I am glad he's locked in the room during the wee hour wake-ups, as I am terrified he would fall down the stairs in his tantrum.  But it's heartbreaking all the same, knowing he's in his room afraid of something he can't quite verbalize.

On the other hand, he is super cute all snuggled into his big bed! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frozen Fractals all around

Yesterday was officially Frozen Day!!  Which is appropriate, as the nation has been plunged in the winter that just won't end.  Have you seen this image by Honest Toddler?
I about died when I read it.  And then I went online and pre-ordered our copy of Frozen.  

My mom picked the kids up from school last night, along with some drive-thru Chick Fil-A, and I surprised Laura with the precious DVD when she got home.  We all are our treat dinner on the couch while watching the movie.  And I swear, Gavin (who hadn't seen the movie before) was singing along with the songs as much as Laura and I were!  Must be all the times we've listened to the soundtrack on repeat...

It was a really fun night.  But I'm ready for some spring!  C'mon Elsa, thaw that frozen heart - and this frozen landscape!

Friday, March 14, 2014

I case you wanted to hear more

Birth is a funny thing.  I keep remembering snippets and vignettes from our four day stay at the hospital...  Some I can't wait to forget, others I hope to remember.

The first thing I noticed about Paul was his huge nose (which he has already grown into).  But the first thing I said was, "he's so squishy!  His name shall be squishy and he shall be mine!"  And the. Repeated several times to Nate, "make sure we tell my mom how squishy his face is!"  Morphine is a funny thing...

Laura's first impression of Paul, "Gavin was cuter!"

The lactation consultant, "Wow! You have great breasts!  For breast feeding.  I mean, they're very nice... Um..." (I took the compliment!)

Nate banked a diaper into one of two trash cans by the door, just after watching Villanova's win.  I said, "nice shot! Channeling Nova?"  "Well, Nova wouldn't have banked it.  And... I was aiming for the other trash can."  I about died from laughing (which hurt my stitches a lot!)

It is amazing how women have the ability to truly forget pain.  I've had three babies, and never remember what contractions actually feel like... While my memory is till fresh, here's my description:

Contractions feel like a firy sword stabbing through your pelvis.  At least, that's how they felt for me.  Saturday and Sunday I just had the firy sword of pelvis splitting pain.  By Monday, I also had a terrible pulsing, throbbing achy back pain to go with the firy sword.  I never felt a full-stomach squeezing that I'd heard about from other moms... Which was part of why I wasn't sure I was actually in labor!!

And my feelings on c-sections:  stitches sting like crazy, and I don't know what I would do without the full-body "binder" (girdle) they gave me to keep my stomach tight.  And since I actually have three rows of stitches (my uterus is double-stitched so I can - haha! - have a VBAC someday), the worst pain is when I sneeze, cough, or take too deep a breath and feel the interior stitches getting pulled.  I have cried a few times from the pain of a sneeze.  

Gavin also elbowed me very hard in the stomach at his second visit to the hospital.  I screamed, scared Gavin, and terrified Paul who had been eating at the time.  Poor Paul had trouble latching the rest of the day (cue more tears from me) from the fright!

Let's pretend for a hot second that we do try (or accidentally...) for a 4th baby.  I am so glad I'll be able to try for a VBAC.  I'd rather birth triplets vaginally than recover from a c-section again.  In the meantime, I'm getting an IUD in five weeks.  Clearly, I can't be trusted to properly take birth control pills on my own!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Paul's birth: part two

My view, just after the epidural

I was at the hospital, 5cm dilated.  I wanted an epidural, after so many days of pelvis burning contractions, but I had to get through half a bag of IV drip antibiotics first, as I was GBS+.  I had a great nurse though, and the second I was halfway through the bag, the anesthesiologist was in my room!  I was in a very happy place very quickly after that.

For about an hour.

Then, I watched Nate take a bite of banana and suddenly felt so, so awful.  I needed to throw up.  I hate throwing up, so this was bad.  Nate hurried to call the nurse, who came running with a whole team.  I think they saw my bp and Paul's heart rate plummet on their computers, but I'm not sure.  I do know that Paul's heart rate went from a healthy 130 to a terrifying 70.

I was halfway to the OR before I realized, oh my god, they think I need this baby out NOW!  My doctor met us in the OR and calmly took over.  She asked if we felt ok with waiting on the c-section to see if our vitals could even out with oxygen.  We agreed, and the vitals did indeed get better.  She checked me again and I was dilated to 9cm, so she asked if I'd like to try pushing.

I pushed for 45 exhausting minutes.  The epidural was a little less strong with each push (which was helpful for me), but I was exhausted.  Paul was exhausted.  He wasn't coming down, and he had heart decelerations followed by tachycardia (fast heart) with each push.  My doctor tried to see if pitocin would help move Paul further down, but that didn't work.  I pushed one more time, but to no avail.  Every push, Paul would move a little then bounce right back up.  Plus, there was meconium in my (finally) broken water, and we were all just done.  Nate, the doctor and I agreed to have the c-section.

But remember the failing epidural?  It seems that during all the drama and pushing, the line had become displaced.  So even though the anesthesiologist was pumping in tons of medicine, I could still feel every test pinch on my tummy.  They couldn't re-place the epidural, so I had to have a spinal tap.

Wow, that sucked.  The spinal tap itself was incredibly painful and scary.  Then, the morphine kicked in and was so strong I couldn't even turn my head.  I was hallucinating and rambling and confused... And terrified. 

I remember, throughout the ordeal, wanting to cry but being afraid my crying would hurt Paul's heart rate again.  I asked permission to cry on several occasions (always granted).  Nate was so sweet, holding my hand every time I needed to cry.  Once the morphine kicked in, I was past crying.  Since I wasn't really aware anymore anyway...  

I do remember the NICU team being so incredibly helpful and clear.  Since there was meconium, I might not see Paul right away.  If he cried immediately, they'd show him to me.  If he didn't cry, I wouldn't see him till they had a chance to take care of him.  My expectations, even high on morphine, were realistic thanks to their words.  I remember the doctor saying "okay, the baby is out and he's not crying; he's going with the NICU team now."

I scary minute later, he was crying with healthy gusto and Nate asked me if I could spare his hand to see the baby (permission granted).  They called out his birth weight, and I was astounded!  8 pounds, 15 ounces.  Almost 9 pounds, and 21.75 inches long!  And when I finally saw him, I laughed at Paul's big, silly nose.

It turns out that Paul's umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder.  So Paul was basically bungee jumping with each push.  Plus, the cord was squashed with every contraction, causing all the distress. A vaginal delivery would have been incredibly difficult and dangerous for both of us... The c-section was definitely the right move for us.  Not a fun decision, but the right one.
Just after birth... Well, just after he was breathing and all!  (Already so alert!)

I keep thinking of the adage about the month of March: in like a lion, out like a lamb.  Paul's birth was scary and dramatic and not at all what I envisioned.  But he has been such a sweet, alert baby since we got home!  He eats like a champ, and was already 9 pounds 2 ounces at his 5-day check-up!  He loves watching his big brother and sister.  He loves being snuggled in blankies.  Really, the only times he cries are when he has a dirty diaper... or is getting a diaper changed!
A few hours old (with some still skeptical siblings)

We are all so happy he's here.  Laura and Gavin have both been very sweet older siblings.  Gavin needs a few more hugs, Laura needs a few more stories... But I'm happy to give as many hugs and stories as needed!
Baby's 1st selfie, taken today at 8 days old

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paul's birth story, part one

Laura and me post-showers at almost 39 weeks.

I'm breaking this into two parts, at home and at the hospital.  Here's part one:

I had envisioned Paul's birth following a similar pattern as his big brother and sister.  My water would break and I'd head to the hospital to inevitably be induced.  He'd arrive several hours later, and we'd go home two days later.

We were out and about Saturday, enjoying a rare sunny day.  I was cranky and miserable, but at almost 39 weeks, I thought that was ok.  I had some contractions that afternoon and evening, but they quickly stopped when I laid down.  We had snow in the forecast, so I did actually pull myself together enough for a 9pm trip for groceries!

Sunday was grey and yucky.  My contractions were stronger, though no more trackable than before.  I didn't want to be in labor during the storm, so I spent most of the day laying on the couch.

My 39 week check up was canceled on Monday, so I spent the day, you guessed it, on the couch.  It was snowing and icy and gross.  I was happy to go nowhere.  

I went to the make up appointment Tuesday.  I was 4 cm dilated, up from 3 cm the previous week.  The doctor was confident I wouldn't be pregnant much longer.  I still couldn't track the contractions but they were stronger, more frequent and not eased by laying down.  My mother-in-law insisted on coming that night just in case, and I felt better and better about that as the day progressed.  I did get some work things wrapped up, but I wasn't very happy or comfortable.  We ordered pizza for dinner, as I just couldn't fathom cooking.  

I tried to go to bed around 9, but couldn't sleep.  Around midnight, the strangest thing... Just as I was really starting to debate going to the hospital Gavin woke up crying.  He would cry at the exact moment I had a contraction!  And it's not like I was yelling through them, or even that near his bedroom.  Every contraction.  The strangest thing...

I called the doctor at 1 am; she said I could come in.  In the end, Nate and I didn't want to drive an hour to not be admitted and have to drive an hour home.  Id never been in labor before, remember, so I was really unsure of how to decide when it was "time!"  We decided to try for a little more sleep.  I actually did get two good hours of sleep.  I woke up around 4 to some very strong contractions.  It was time.  I didn't want to sit in rush hour traffic trying to get to my downtown baltimore hospital, so I woke Nate up.  He insisted I take a shower (good man !) while he gathered our final stuff.  The drive to the hospital was awful, but traffic free!  I was admitted immediately, and skipped triage... And asked for that epidural!  I was 5 cm dilated, and hating every contraction.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Can I give up being pregnant for Lent?

Hi.  I'm here.  39 weeks, 1 day pregnant. 4 cm dilated.  The doctor predicted just moments ago that my water will break in the next few days (she could feel a bulging balloon of water, sorry for the TMI?).  She stripped my membranes (more TMI?).  I've been having sporadic contractions since Saturday.  I can't move without a grimace, and have spent most of my time on the couch.  I'm at Chick Fil-A getting lunch, and that's all I have to say about that.