Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lazy Easter

It's been a very strange Easter for me this year. I believe this is the first one in my lifetime that I've not spent a great deal of time in church for.

I've missed more Sundays since having my first child than I did over the course of my entire childhood and pre-baby adulthood, combined. I also haven't been able to attend Masses for the Triduum and haven't braved the Vigil since that time, but I have still made it out on Easter morning. Tom and I talked at length about trying to make it today despite being only hours out from bringing home a new baby, but neither of us really had the energy to take our recently-expanded brood anywhere. My mother offered to watch the older two for us while we attended with Mia (since I'm her only food source, she pretty much has to go where I go for now), but I was still a little nervous about bringing her in public so soon after such a bad flu season.

And ultimately, we were all feeling pretty wiped when morning rolled around, anyway. On top of that, I keep suffering setbacks in my recovery because it's hard to take it easy around here with three babies, even with Mima's extra help. I've been feeling especially sore all day today, and bone tired.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one.

Mia's spent about 98% of her day like that, which is fine by me. Whether worn or held, as long as she's up against a warm body, she'll sleep through pretty much anything. It's taking some time to get her to sleep independently for longer than 30 minutes or so, uninterrupted, but we're making slow progress. In general, she's proving to be a pretty easy-going baby thus far, and I pray that the trend continues.

She's also been a real champ at breastfeeding, though we hit a bit of a hurdle today when I woke up so engorged at 3 am that I was in too much pain to let down. Even a hot shower with massage, pumping, and time under a heating pad haven't brought much relief, though things seem to be slowly improving as the day goes on, and Mia has slowly been able to coax more out of me.

I feel sad that I missed out on the most beautiful part of Easter- the liturgy, but at least we were still able to spend the holiday with family. Mia, Granda and Mei Mei hung around for most of the day, and though our Easter ham turned into a bit of a disaster when the glaze had some sort of reaction to the aluminum foil that Tom draped over it, we had some roasting chickens to substitute for a lovely dinner.

I also regret that I didn't have the energy to dress up my kids for an Easter picture. Nana did buy a special bib for Mia, but there's been no good time to put it on her, as she's pretty much only woken up to eat, and then fall back asleep again.

I was determined to get at least one Easter-themed shot it, though, so I draped the bib over her back as she napped with Mei Mei.

Happy Easter, Everyone! (With love from Amelia)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

There and Back Again

Amelia's at-home delivery was its own adventure, but it wasn't the end; only the beginning.

Once she and I were stabilized by the paramedics, we rode together in a hundred-degree ambulance to the nearest hospital (since there was no warmer, the temperature of the entire cabin had to be adjusted to keep Amelia warm). It was not the hospital I had planned on giving birth at, but luckily, it was the same hospital at which I gave birth to her siblings, so at the very least, it was familiar.

It was full of familiar faces, as well. The on-call obstetrician when I was brought in was one of the same doctors who oversaw my overnight stay at Virginia Hospital Center exactly one month before, when it was feared that I was in pre-term labor. (The next day, I ran into the same OB who delivered Abby 2.5 years ago, and on my last day, I was assigned one of the same nurses who was involved in my care after Michael's birth.)

It was lovely to see her again, but not so lovely to be examined by her. I'd been bleeding quite a bit in the ambulance, and had a rather impressively-sized blood clot appear shortly after my arrival that got everyone a bit concerned. She had to perform a pretty intrusive exam to rule out lacerations and hemorrhaging which was so grueling that I quickly acquiesced to her offer of morphine. Not that it helped much- it proved more of a distraction than anything.

Ultimately, everything looked good, though I had to get a shot of methergine, and some follow-up oral doses, just in case.

In the meantime, Amelia was getting weighed, measured, and cleaned up.

When Tom arrived (he had followed behind in his own car with our bags and things), my exam was just finishing up, and Amelia's was just beginning.

This is what her tiny, adorable feet looked like before they got pricked and prodded all over for the blood draws required to test her white blood cell levels.

Because I was considered a carrier for GBS this pregnancy, and did not receive any antibiotics during labor (for obvious reasons), there was some concern that I may have passed infection on to Amelia. Unfortunately, her blood had to be checked a few times to rule out the possibility, and her heels had to be pricked each time to collect it.

Poor Abby had a similar experience, for a different reason. Due to her size, she had to have her glucose levels monitored. Michael was largely spared; he was pricked only once for the obligatory PKU test.

Finally, both of us were allowed to rest and reunite.

A little later in the day, Mei Mei came by after work.

Amelia spent most of the afternoon and evening sleeping, though she did occasionally open her eyes to look up at me...

... before falling asleep again.

Sadly, sleep did not come so easily to her overnight. She had a rough time of it, trying to expel the fluid from her stomach that did not get pushed out during her birth, due to the speed at which she flew out.

I held her to my chest for as long as I was able, since being on her back seemed to upset her stomach, but eventually I grew too sleepy and had to send her off to the nursery for a couple of hours. Of course, during that time, I couldn't sleep, and logged probably a half-hour for the night, sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning.

At around 6:00, Amelia got her first bath, and was rewarded with a new pink hat and a nice, tight swaddle. She was very patient as her hair was scrubbed clean, but turned a pretty impressive shade of red once she got wet. I think she didn't much like feeling so cold.

What followed was quite the busy day, which- once again- Amelia attempted to sleep through.

Her siblings didn't mind, though. Abby was ecstatic to meet her. I had wondered how well she would understand that Raspberry was a baby, and that that baby was Amelia, but she truly seemed to have put it all together.

Michael was excited as well. A little too much so. We definitely have some work ahead of us to do, training him in the art of gentleness.

And I was amazed, as I held Amelia throughout the day, to behold the constant changes in her face as the swelling slowly went down.

Her features were really starting to reveal themselves.

Auntie Lisa came late in the day, and though I was a pretty poor hostess, she was a lifesaver. She calmed a fussy Amelia and kept her sleeping so that I could catch a quick (and much-needed) nap while Tom ran to pick up some non-hospital-provided dinner.

As a result, I had just enough energy to get a blog post in (despite the frustratingly slow WiFi) before crashing. It killed me to have to send Amelia off to the nursery twice, but I also knew that it was my last chance to take advantage of the extra overnight help that I had at my disposal.

By the next morning, Tom and I were absolutely itching to get home, though we were thankful to have had the extra night.

He still took some time to grab some snuggles with Amelia while I grabbed a shower and put on real clothing for the first time in a couple of days.

Just look at all of that hair! She definitely has more than Abby or Michael did at birth. Honestly, she has almost as much as each of them do now. Maybe that's why my heartburn was so intense in the last month...

Granda came by after lunch to help us get packed and out the door. Amelia snoozed in his lap while I began to gather up our things.

Afterwards, I tried to fit in a last-minute photo shoot, but Amelia was not on board with that plan, so I had to cut it pretty short.

Even the pretty pink bow-hat didn't cheer her up.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

She wasn't too happy on the ride home, either, initially. I feared that she might prove as poor a traveler as her brother, as she resumed wailing at every red light.

Eventually she found her groove and fell asleep, and it was smooth sailing from there on out.

And then we were finally home, though -as Tom reminded me- not actually for the first time. Home is where it had all begun, after all.

Big Sister Abby made sure to give Amelia a very special welcome anyway.

Friday, March 29, 2013

All She Wants to Do is...

I've got that Don Henley song stuck in my head, and have for awhile now- All She Wants to Do is Dance. Only, I'm doing a bit of word substitution. My current reality is that my beautiful new baby has finally gotten the hang of nursing, and she loves it so much that it's literally all that she seems to want to do while awake.

As a result, I've spent the last 90 minutes with her attached to me, which put a dent in my big plans to edit and upload a bunch more photos for a blog post tonight.

By the time she finally fell asleep in my arms, I was longing for sleep myself (still am), and became all too aware of how the excitement of the past days' events has crept up and overtaken the surge of energy I gained by finally making it home from the hospital today.

Of course, she didn't stay asleep when I lay her down, and as I attempt to quickly get this published before collapsing, I am simultaneously praying that the chirping and squirming she's doing in the bassinet now will quiet itself into sleep, rather than escalating into tears.

Perhaps I will find the opportunity tomorrow. Honestly, though, I'm beginning to wonder how I'm going to find the time to blog at all anymore. I'm officially a mom of three now, after all.

Only time will tell, I suppose...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday's Child: A Wild and Crazy Birth Story

Wednesday morning, March 27th, began much like any other I've had in the past few weeks. I wasn't particularly more sore or crampy than usual; neither impossibly tired nor unusually energetic. I did note, after settling myself down in the basement with the kids, that I was contracting pretty regularly (every 4-8 minutes), but I'd long since ceased to take such episodes seriously, since they generally lasted for an hour or two before tapering off, and never led to anything.

Had the contractions slowly built in intensity, I may have paid them a bit more mind. But they continued on, barely strong enough to take notice of, never picking up in length or strength, or varying much in interval.

By the third hour, I was suspicious enough to consider mentioning them to Tom before he walked out the door to make a grocery run with Abby while Michael napped. For some reason, I elected not to. Why worry him, I reasoned, and further give myself an excuse to feed into my own false hope, when there was no solid proof that I should expect this morning to go differently than any other?

So, Tom and Abby set off to Wegmans, and I tried to take advantage of a brief opportunity to lie down. As I was resting, I had an unusually strong contraction, followed by a strange internal popping feeling. Startled, and beginning to wonder if my membranes had perhaps ruptured, I waited a moment, then stood up to see if I felt any leakage. I didn't.

I did, however, begin to hear Michael stir from his nap, so I headed upstairs to retrieve him. Once I'd gotten him into his high chair, I made a move to start preparing his lunch, and was halted by a pretty impressive contraction. That one got my attention, but I was still unsure what to do. Just a couple of weeks ago, I'd had two of similar intensity, in a row, and then nothing. I decided to wait and see if another would follow. Five minutes later, one did.

Ridiculously, I was still not satisfied. Just one more, I vowed. Once it hit, and passed, I tried to call Tom. But by this time, fifteen (little did I know how precious) minutes had gone by, and at first, I couldn't get through. Thankfully, he called me right back, and said he was in the middle of paying for the groceries, and would be right home. I was momentarily relieved, but in the next few minutes, a couple of things happened.

I tried to call my mother, so that she could begin making her not-inconsiderable way to our house to take charge of the kids, and she wasn't picking up. Between contractions, I tried my father, who promised to keep ringing her for me. She made contact within ten minutes to confirm that she was leaving, but I began to panic, then, because I'd done the two things I knew I needed to do, and was now faced with the reality that I was all alone, and my contractions were suddenly really, really bad.

So bad, in fact, that I found myself vocalizing loudly. Somewhere in my mind, I think this was the thing that most signaled alarm. I knew that I must be pretty far along to be reacting so desperately. A near-animal instinct began to take over as I frantically tried to cope with the pain alone. In fact, as Tom walked through the door, I was on all fours on the dining room floor, wailing and stretching my arms in front of me.

Tom deposited Abby into her booster seat, and dropped to the floor to be with me. And thus began our furious dance. He ran to get a pillow for my head, then to pour some cereal for Abby, then to hold my hand, then to give Abby the graham crackers that she demanded, instead. And I wailed, and screamed, and kept insisting on a shower.

It seems silly, in retrospect, but it was of utmost importance at the time. The immediate need stemmed from my embarrassment at the thought of someone having to sit between my legs when I hadn't had a chance to bathe that day, messy as their job was bound to be regardless. But I think, also, that I was responding to some primal resistance I was feeling to being moved from where I was. I didn't think that I could make it to where we were going, felt terribly unsafe trying to do so, and was stalling.

I could see that Tom was getting flustered, but I was focused on my goal. As he continued to run circles around and between the three of us, I began to crawl into the bathroom on all fours. Tom told me later that he looked on in some amount of horror as I started my approach, because between the loose hair hanging over my face, my position, and the way that my pain was contorting my movements, I reminded him of that creepy girl from the horror movie "The Ring." I still chuckle now, every time I recall his re-telling.

I have no recollection of how I got my clothes off, and barely a concept of how I got into the shower, but I sat down at the bottom while Tom used the hand-held nozzle to help me clean myself. For a few short minutes, with the warm water on my skin, I began to relax a bit. However, once I was finished, I had to figure out how to exit the tub, and the real chaos began.

I noticed that I had begun to bleed, so I had Tom find me a pad to insert into my panties. As I fiddled with trying to get a pair on, Tom was rummaging around under the sink. My awkward attempts to lift and swing my legs around, however, resulted in the breaking of my water, which started off in a smallish gush. It was a good amount, but not enough to initially convince Tom that it had happened. I was sure, though, and began to panic again.

Tom tried to calm me by assuring me that all that was necessary now was some towels for the car. But I was despairing of even getting myself successfully dressed, and began deliriously shouting out orders for pants, a sweater, a new pair of undies (I dropped the first pair in the tub and it got hit with amniotic fluid).

Cue a second burst of amniotic fluid as Tom came back with new undies and began to clumsily try to slip a pad in, at my direction. This time, he was immediately convinced. No matter, though, because my thoughts began to urgently turn to the the insane pressure that I was feeling between my legs. I had been noticing an uncomfortable amount for some time, but now, the meaning of it all was undeniable. Though I was too terrified to reach my hand down and confirm, I was suddenly certain that a head was making its way down, completely undeterred and all-too-subject to gravity as I stood there.

Tom was asking, "Should I call an ambulance?" As I tried to express agreement, all I could think to do was sit, as quickly as possible. No sooner had I done so than a head began to emerge like a flower, and I was consumed with pain. I screamed like I have never screamed before as Tom began his first attempt to dial 9-1-1. He waited. I continued to scream, even as I wondered whether anyone would even be able to hear my husband over my screeching.

And there we each sat, the tiny seconds stretched out for an instant: I, contemplating how to help my daughter on her way into the world as her tiny head turned to the side, and her eyes searched the blinding whiteness around her, wanting to touch her and comfort her but paralyzed by my own fear and shock; Tom, trying to figure out whether he should try to dial again or leave me alone just long enough to grab my phone from the other room to use instead.

His phone offered to redial. He hit "okay." I tried to push, with no result. I knew that I should wait for a contraction, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't tell if I was having one. Thankfully, little Amelia kept her head- no pun intended- and took charge. As I looked on in amazement, she began to rotate her shoulders to improve her positioning within the birth canal. When I saw that she had finished, I pushed again, and out she flew.

Tom, who had finally gotten the phone dialing, rushed in to guide her exit, and grabbed her up just as the 9-1-1 operator got on the line. The words came out in an explosive jumble: "Hellomywifejusthadababyinthebathtubwe'reat______!" I don't remember much else that was said. I know that Tom looked down at his new child, announced, "It's a boy! No, it's a girl!" (Those tender, swollen bits can be confusing to interpret at first glance.) I know that at some point, he offered her to me, and I was still too shell-shocked to realize that I should take her. I know that for some time, we just lay there, she and I, our bodies against each other in a magical first meeting, as Tom rushed around for a clean towel to wipe out her mouth and cover her naked body.

Soon, the paramedics flowed in- at least eight of them. I don't know how many emergency vehicles showed up, ultimately, but there were representatives from Emergency Services and Fire and Rescue, and they were all amazing. They cut the cord, gathered up Amelia, got her safely into a very, very warm ambulance. Tom joined her there.

Then, they turned their focus to me, as I lay shivering in the bathtub and wondering how I was ever going to manage to get out of it, finally.

Ultimately, it was a good twenty minutes from the time I gave birth before I was able to make my way to standing, with assistance, and hobble my way down the hall to the living room where the cot waited, umbilical cord still dangling between my legs. The placenta finally fell away, then, as I went to sit down on the cot, and it was collected up as I was helped into position and strapped in.

My mother arrived just in time to wave hello/goodbye to me as I was loaded into the ambulance. Unfortunately, she did not catch a glimpse of Amelia, who was already safely inside. Thanks to the fact that Tom kept his head, however, she was not losing her mind at the sight of all of the emergency vehicles; Tom had called her ahead of time to warn her of what she was about to encounter and to assure her that everyone was fine.

There were other adventures ahead: an exciting ambulance ride, an excruciatingly painful after-exam due to some suspicious levels of bleeding (all resolved now), and finally, a reunion with my precious new baby at the hospital.

But we made it through. We are safe, we are together, and we are in love.

As I lay awake in the late evening hours of an average-day-turned-incredible, it occurred to me that I should have known all along that that day was The Day.

After all, it was a Wednesday, and therefore, just like her big brother and sister before her, that was the precise day of the week that little Amelia Lynn chose to come into the world. (Not only that, but it was exactly one month from the day that she faked me out for the first time, and teased us all into thinking that she would be arriving early, at nearly 36 weeks.)

Three for three. Pretty amazing, huh? They say that "Wednesday's child is full of woe." In my children's cases (particularly Amelia's), I think that it would be more accurate to say they're full of "woah!"

Amelia Lynn: Born at 12:57 pm, 9 lbs, 4 oz, 20.5 inches long.

I really wanted to include more pictures, but the WiFi here at the hospital is abysmal, so one was all I could manage. There will be more to come, tomorrow, once we all get home...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's a Girl!

I've mentioned before that it was my hope to have a fully natural birth this time. Well, little Raspberry made sure that I got one. In the bathtub. At home.

It's a story that I'm dying to share, but alas, Tom forgot my computer in all of the ensuing commotion (can you blame him?), and I've only got so much patience with the touch-screen on my phone, so it will have to wait until tomorrow before I can spill all the details.

However, I am proud to announce that Raspberry is a sweet, perfect little girl whom we have named Amelia (Mia) Lynn. She was born at 12:57 pm today, weighing 9 lb, 4 oz, and measuring 20.5 inches long. She and I are resting comfortably in the hospital after an exciting ambulance ride.

And that's all for tonight. But I promise to deliver a fascinating tale tomorrow. With pictures. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bringing on the Birthday

I did it again. I actually chose a (possible) birthday for my child, and it feels as strange and alien this time as it did the last. More so, really, because though I still say "possible," since anything could happen between now and then, the likelihood of me actually making it to my induction date this time seems much higher, somehow.

I had chosen January 24th for Michael, but he never made it to his, and I was ever so relieved. I was never at peace with the decision to have scheduled one in the first place, but I was in a similar situation then that I am now, feeling desperate to have a definite "end in sight" to cling to, and obsessively worrying about how large he was growing on top of everything else.

With this baby, I've been assured many times that the size is running smaller than my other two, and for the sake of my sanity, I'm taking everyone's word on that. I simply can't add the fear of birthing another giant baby to all of my other fears and still function at all.

I don't seem to be having trouble piling on the guilt and self-doubt, however. I want to be one of those zen supermoms who finds tremendous power in the wonder of the natural birth experience. I want to put total trust in my body and my baby and let things progress as they may. Indeed, I had plans to finally go drug-free with this birth; to experience every moment at full strength and know, with certainty, that I could survive it on my own.

But I am not particularly zen right now (quite the opposite), and clearly not particularly brave. The best word to describe me at this point is simply, "defeated." I want to say that my choice is not so selfish, since I've at least given Baby a full 40-week run, since the stress is honestly killing me, and it's not so good for Baby either, since I've proven that I make big babies, and going for any length of time past 40 weeks will only increase the odds of a truly large child, even if that child is measuring "normally" for now. More than that, I want to believe it. But I don't, not really.

In the end, I just feel Lesser. That I need the promise of a definite end date to get through this week at all. That I may need an induction to get me to the end of this pregnancy. That it will mean a totally opposite birth experience than the one I'd pictured, since I fully expect to need an epidural once the Pitocin kicks in.

And oh, how the thought of the Pitocin scares me. That it will create a difficult labor for Raspberry (and for me). That it might cause distress, and lead to a C-section. Could I ever forgive myself for having made the decision, then?

I don't know, but the fact is that I made it. I made it, and I scheduled it, and bright and early on Saturday morning I'll be getting hooked up to the very tubes and medications that promise to finally kick off the beginning of the end.

That is, unless the unexpected happens between then and now. But I'm burying any hope of that, at this point. Disappointment is heavy enough to bear without this crazy load of guilt I'm carrying around.

Monday, March 25, 2013

One, Two, Three... Time Out!

Michael is a busy little guy, and has never had much patience for sitting still, especially in his high chair. There comes a point at every meal when he's reached his breaking point, and has to be removed. Thankfully, that moment mostly coincided with when I'd finished my own dinner this evening, but I wasn't quite ready to get up from my chair yet, so I pulled Michael into my lap.

Just imagine what he's like at restaurants. It's good times...

He wasn't too happy to be constrained there, either. As he wiggled, whined, and fussed, Abby looked over at all of the commotion and began to count, "One, two, free.." she paused, then finished, with some authority and a touch of sass, "I guess you're gonna get a Time Out!"

I'm now one, two, three days past 39 weeks. I think I'll take that Time Out, thanks.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Raspberry: 39 Weeks

Dearest Raspberry,

Here we both are, still: you and I. By this time, I was in active labor with your sister, and by 11:40 am tomorrow, you will officially have surpassed her gestation to become the longest-running of my pregnancies. No matter how things play out this week, though, this may be my last "Raspberry" post. I was informed at last week's appointment that if you haven't made an appearance by the next one (which is this coming Thursday), I would be encouraged to schedule an induction. I suppose that I could still take a wait-and-see approach, even at that point, but by then I'd have the added fear that you will be approaching your sister's size at birth, and I don't think I could take that stress on top of everything else. 

Though the deadline would be 41 weeks, or April 5th, I imagine that once I commit to an induction I'm going to just want to get it over with as soon as possible, perhaps even by the weekend following my appointment. I guess we'll just have to see what's available. It's blowing my mind that we're approaching the real possibility that you may be an April baby rather than a March one- just goes to show that you never can tell with these things.

Or maybe things will just suddenly happen tonight. I was really, really rooting for today to be "the day," I'll be honest. Having been born on the 24th, myself (of a different month), I'm rather fond of the date, and I was a Sunday baby. I think it's pretty safe to say that the possibility is out at this point, but a girl can still hope, right?

There's a valuable lesson to be learned in all of this, though, after all. I can make plans and set expectations all I like, but ultimately you are who you are, you'll be who you'll be, and you'll come when you're meant to come. I just hope I've got some sanity left when that time finally arrives.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Little Reader Number Two

It appears that we finally have another budding book fan in our household. I've been trying for months to interest Michael in story time, but he's usually just too busy to focus.

However, there was a sudden change in him yesterday. During the special time that we spent in the playroom, just me and him (during Abby's nap) he brought me five different books to read to him, some more than once. And he sat through the full reading of them almost every time.

He particularly loves lift-the-flap books, and books with moving parts. Sadly, those are precisely the ones I try to keep away from him, to keep them in one piece. However, I'll definitely be making more of an effort now to bring them out for him as a carefully-supervised treat. Anything to encourage this new interest of his.

Next step: get him to finally talk. Just one word, Buddy- what a day that's going to be.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Casualties of Crayon

Last weekend, Mima brought over a pack of jumbo crayons and coloring book for Abby, as well as a little desk for Michael. The desk has since been taken over by Abby, to do her coloring on.

And I do mean that literally. While she takes great pleasure in coloring in her coloring books, she apparently also has been making her mark elsewhere.

I was not surprised or particularly concerned to see Michael's Abby's desk looking like this after a day or two of use:

After all, Abby's fine motor skills are still developing, so there were bound to be some marks left when she overshot the pages of her books. Clearly, she's been doing some pretty intentional marking on top of all of that, but this is a child's desk, after all, and could probably pretty easily be cleaned off if I were inclined to do so.

I've known, since granting Abby the power of color, that I was going to find that color in places that I did not really want to find it, but I thought I'd been keeping a pretty good eye on her while the crayons were out, so I was pretty astonished to discover her next target this morning: the play kitchen.

Here are some close-ups of the carnage:

I didn't include a shot of the microwave door, because I didn't notice that it had been hit until I looked at the picture I took of the entire kitchen.

Ah, well. At least she chose a color that doesn't clash.

I have no idea when she found the time to do it, though. I don't watch her like a hawk every minute, but I feel like I would have noticed her at it had I been present at the time. Perhaps it was on Tom's watch...

The crayons have caused other problems, as well. If Abby has them out while Michael is around, he makes a beeline for her, attempting to snatch them out of her hand, get his little fingers in the way of her coloring, and/or chew on the crayons themselves. I've therefore had to establish a rule that the crayons only come out while Michael is napping. Of course, I don't really want to put it that way, lest I encourage resentment, so I just have to respond to Abby's frequent requests for "craans" with, "Not right now, Sweetie."

Yesterday, I had to dive down onto the carpet and snatch a broken-off crayon tip from Michael's hand before he popped it into his mouth. Today, I had to perform my first surgery on a crayon that had broken in half, with lots of "sticky tape," as Abby calls it (courtesy of Dora the Explorer).

Sigh. I love that she's found a new outlet to engage her creative side, but sometimes these crayons are more trouble than they're worth.

No chance we'll be trying markers anytime soon, except maybe that magical kind that only show up on special paper...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pre-Baby Blues

Four-to-five centimeters. That's where I'm at, whatever that means. I suppose it implies some subtle bit of progress, but not much. I was hoping for at least a solid five, with a membrane sweep and possibly a straight ticket to the hospital from my appointment today. Yeah, didn't happen.

Much as I tried not to get my hopes up about it, it was hard not to especially in the hustle-and-bustle of packing bags, stashing them in the car, and making tentative "what if" plans with various people.

And then came my appointment. Apparently a membrane sweep is not an option this time since I'm considered a GBS carrier, nor is a membrane rupture. Since I'll be 39 weeks tomorrow, my doctor offered to schedule an induction for me that day, but desperate as I am to be done I just can't justify subjecting my baby to Pitocin without a real medical need (which is what it would come down to).

Since then, (likely due to the internal exam) I've had loads of cramping, more than a handful of really bad contractions, and a great deal of random pain, but no labor. It's been good times around here as a result, and my husband and children have been saints to put up with me.

I'm hoping not to subject my readers to too much more of the same, to the point that I was hesitant to blog tonight. I was sure it would come out one big whiny-whine. I guess it kind of has.

That's why I'm gonna stop here and treat you with a couple of newborn pics, on me.



Maybe if we all think lots of newborn thoughts, "Raspberry will come..."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Love You, Mommy

This evening, I got into what I think promises to be my favorite argument with Abby of all time.

When Papa came to visit yesterday, he brought with him two books that Nana had picked out for the children: I Love You Mommy and I Love You Daddy. They're sweet little stories about Baby Bear; his adventures with, and love for, each of his parents, and Abby is very fond of them. I've read each book no less than four times since they entered our home.

They were also her story choices for bedtime this evening, and after I finished the second one, Abby was in the mood for some cuddle time. She snuggled up in (what's left of) my lap and said, "I love you, Mommy."

I kissed the top of her head and said, "I love you, Abby,"

She looked up at me with the slightest bit of defiance, and some urgency, and said, "I love you,

We went back and forth like this a couple of times until she finally said, "Nonononono, I love you, Mommy!"

I found myself thinking of a lovely scene from the episode of The Office in which Pam and Jim are getting married, and Pam is stressing out a little about how the day will go. Jim tells her to take a photograph in her mind of each good moment and store it there.

I've just stored a little mental video that I hope to keep forever.

Speaking of photographs, I took a real one the other day of this little contraption.

Abby put it together a few days ago and dubbed it Raspberry. From that time on, she carried it around with her, cradling it like a baby and pretending to care for it. That is, until she brought it upstairs with her for dinner a couple of nights ago (there it is, on our dining room table), and has seemingly forgotten about it since.

I did catch her in the playroom today, however, having adopted some other random toy as her new "Raspberry."

I think she's ready for her new sibling, don't you?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Silly Faces: The Sequel

Nana is feeling a bit under-the-weather, so Papa came in her stead to help me out while Tom went in to work today.

We elected to pick up some Panera for a quick dinner option that could be enjoyed before Papa had to be on his way. Leave it to Abby to find a creative use for the bag that the food came in.

She placed it on her head, herself, and declared it her toque (chef's hat).

She wasn't big on silly faces tonight, but I had to document her headgear, all the same.

That's not to say that she didn't have some more silliness up her sleeve, though. Shortly after I put the camera away, she began whining, writhing in her seat, and complaining that her tush hurt. Tom leaned over to see what the problem was.

Moments later, I saw him turn down the waistband of her pants and produce a fork from within. "Well, of course your tush hurt!" he exclaimed. "You put a fork down your pants!"

(Yes, that is the same shirt she was wearing last night. Not exactly a parenting win, I know, but honestly, she still gets her clothes changed more often that I do nowadays...)

And here are just a couple of shots of Michael that I couldn't help taking as he stared forlornly at Papa's final walk outside to the car. No worries, Little Buddy. You'll be seeing him again soon, I'm sure.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Silly Faces

We're eleven days out from the first incidence of Terrible Tummy Turbulence 2013, and I think we can finally (almost) safely declare our little family illness-free.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of our extended families on both sides, which currently each contain at least one ill or recovering member of the same or similar ailment. (I'm really hoping that the bug didn't come from us, though, as far as I can tell this has been a really hard-hitting year for stomach viruses, in general, so it may have reached them in some other way eventually anyway.)

Regardless, my thoughts are with them, and my prayers for a swift recovery. I also offer a little bit of cheer to make their day a little brighter via a never-before-seen collection of Abby's silly faces.

It all started at the end of dinner this evening; I pulled out the camera and Abby transformed into a total ham...

... with more than a little inspiration from her equally silly father.

Michael didn't quite understand the game, but tried to join in too, copying some of the antics of his sister.

And what was the source of all of the silliness? An unexpectedly goofy conversation between Tom and Abby.

She has a shirt that features an anthropomorphized chocolate chip cookie wearing purple-framed glasses. Along the top it says "SMART" in block, uppercase letters. It's her "Smart Cookie" shirt, and she asked for it specifically the other day when I dressed her in the morning.

She spent today in the shirt that she's pictured wearing, but she must have still had that other shirt in mind, because when Tom asked her, "Abby, are you a smart cookie?" (I still can't remember what inspired the question), she looked down at her yellow-and-grey striped pajama shirt and answered, "No. Abby is a smart stripe!"

As if that didn't already give Tom and me a case of the giggles, Abby's response to Tom's declaration that "You really are a little devil, aren't you?" was, fittingly, "Abby is a little devil!"

She kind of looks the part there, no?