Saturday, January 29, 2011

100 Days Later

100 days ago, I posted a list of goals for what I wanted to accomplish in the next 500 days. Here is my update, 20% of the way through. Keep in mind, I have a three-week-old, so I haven't exactly been focused on these during the first fifth of my 500 days. In other words, I've basically squandered the first 100 of my 500 days, but hopefully my update at Day 200 will be better!

1. Have two happy kids. (Done!)

2. Finish my PhD. (Still finishing some formatting, and still waiting for AdvisorA to freaking sign off on it. Also, even once all of that is done, the degree won't technically be awarded until March.)

3. Own a new (bigger) house. (Gotta get a job first.)

4. Work in a job that I enjoy. (Not yet. I didn't expect to be working in a job yet, but I thought that I would at least have one lined up by now. Sigh.)

5. Bring both kids to visit my parents at least once. (We're hoping to make one trip sometime in late spring, but haven't planned the details yet.)

6. Bring both kids to visit my in-laws at least once. (First trip is in March!)

7. Pay off all debt except the mortgage. (That last undergrad loan is still there....)

8. Lose all pregnancy and fertility treatment weight from both pregnancies. (That would be 22 pounds below pre-pregnancy weight with Kermit. Right now, 3 weeks post-partum, this means that I still need to lose 19 pounds. Yep, that's right, Kermit pregnancy weight is already gone. Woo hoo!)

9. Breast feed Kermit for one year. (Three weeks gone, 49 weeks to go.)

10. Cook dinner at home 5 days each week. (I have made zero progress on this so far. I haven't cooked anything more complicated than rice since Kermit was born.)

11. Read 10 fiction books. (Ha! Check back in another 100 days.)

12. Learn javascript. (Ha! Check back in another 100 days.)

13. Learn perl. (Ha! Check back in another 100 days.)

14. Have permanent assigned "homes" for most objects in the house. (Ha! Check back, um, after we've moved.)

15. Update work wardrobe. (I'll start working on this once I'm closer to the end of my maternity leave, and hopefully have lost a little more weight. Also, I only need a work wardrobe if I have a job, so this one is incredibly unnecessary right now.)

16. Shower every day. (Um... this one has actually gotten worse in the last 100 days.)

17. Wear makeup every work day. (Definitely not happening right now; check back when I'm a bit further away from having given birth.)

Slow start, but I expected that, since many of these were going to be difficult to work on until after Kermit was born. The next 100 days will hopefully be more productive.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Weeks?!?!

Wow, time really flies when you're on-the-clock 24 hours a day with both a newborn and a toddler!

I've been meaning to give some sort of update, and as usual, I put it off until I can write up the "full" update that I really want to write, which never happens, and thus nothing gets written. So, these here are some random thoughts that I wanted to get down, and I expect that there will be more random stream-of-consciousness-type posts over the next month as well. You do what you gotta do, you know? I still need to write up Kermit's birth story, too. Later. I promise.

He's an eating machine! This kiddo latched onto my breast on his very first try and never looked back. He's so loud gulping milk that it's kind of embarrassing. Babies are supposed to regain enough weight to be back up to birth weight by their two-week appointment; at Kermit's appointment, we discovered that he was a full pound above his birth weight, prompting our pediatrician to point at my breasts and ask if I'd opened a Dairy Queen in there. (S was so amused by the question that he has taken to calling me his Dairy Queen. My Wisconsin roots make it that much funnier for him.) When he's not eating, or asking to eat, or complaining that he's hungry again, Kermit is a very calm baby so far. And very snuggly. I'm very much enjoying all the newborn snuggles.

Also, not to jinx it or anything, but Kermit just might be a good luck charm for my Green Bay Packers, since they haven't lost a single game since Kermit was born. We have photos of Kermit and LL both wearing their Packers jerseys and appropriately sized cheeseheads, watching the NFC championship game, and there is much excitement around here for the Super Bowl. We normally host a Super Bowl party for our friends every year, and I've dreamed about being able to host one in which my Packers are playing, but I'm not sure if I can pull it off with a one-month-old....

Lots of family visited during Kermit's first week, through his bris at 8 days old. The bris went wonderfully, other than Kermit waking up during the naming part of the ceremony and deciding that he was hungry again, and then bawling loudly for the rest of the ceremony, until I could whisk him away to be fed. Yes, that's right, he stayed calm through the circumcision part, then freaked out during the part where he was just hanging out in Grandpa's arms listening to the rabbi. We had a much smaller turnout at the bris then we had at LL's, which was disappointing (for example, not a single friend or coworker of mine, from my job or from school, attended the bris) but I kind of saw it coming. Second kid and all, eh?

After the bris, things quieted down, and everyone except my mom left. She's been staying with us since, which has been awesome, because I don't think we'd be eating without her. Or rather, we'd be eating pizza for dinner every night. Late.

LL has been a little champ! He's very attentive and loving, showering Kermit with kisses, telling us when Kermit needs to eat (every single time he cries, apparently), bringing him blankets to keep him warm while he sleeps, rocking the bouncy chair when he fusses. If only the kisses weren't full on the mouth, and the blankets smothering Kermit's face. It's a little Of Mice and Men, if you know what I mean.

I'm not allowed to pick LL up until my 6 week appointment, which seems to be the hardest part for LL to deal with. I've explained to him that Mommy has an owie (he investigated it himself to see how bad it was; he found the incision quite fascinating) and that I can't pick him up or carry him until the owie gets better. Every day, he asks if the owie is better yet, and looks a little sad when I tell him no. And today, he forgot and jumped off a chair into my arms; I caught him, but it hurt like hell, and he could tell that I was in pain. When I put him down, he walked away, then returned a moment later to ask if my owie hurt, at which point he told me that he was sorry and he kissed my stomach to make it better. So I guess he understands the limitations fairly well.

He has also caught on shockingly fast to the new rhythms of our household. Every time Kermit cries, LL runs to me and says, "Oh Mama! Baby needs to eat! Open shirt! Open shirt!" And then he attempts to help me pull out a breast. We haven't really gone out with both kids yet, but I'm really looking forward to him doing that in public.

The toughest times for LL tend to be when he's hurt and when it's bedtime (he wants to snuggle on my lap, but I can't lift him into his crib, so he cries when I need to hand him over to Daddy). All compounded by the fact that he got his worst injury ever this past weekend, when he tried pulling his pajamas off a wooden hook wall-hanging thing and the whole thing fell off the wall and hit him in the face. I was right there when it happened, and he immediately buried his face deep into my shoulder and wailed in agony, while I held my breath and wondered exactly how much blood there was going to be once he pulled his face away from me. He ended up with a huge gash across the bridge of his nose, tons of swelling, and two black eyes. He is currently very proud of his injuries, though, and stops to admire himself in every mirror he passes, and recounts the story to everyone, since everybody has been asking him what in the world happened to his face. (I like to point at two-week-old Kermit, shrug, and just say, "All brothers fight, right?") LL is definitely more clingy than usual, and he's been acting uncharacteristically defiant towards the end of the day, but overall, things have been more smoother than I expected. (I say, confidently, after only two weeks....)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

He's Here!

Our son, Kermit*, was born Friday, January 7, at 1:00pm, via completely predictable c-section. He weighed a modest 7 lbs 7 oz, he's 21" long, and he's the best eater in the world. Seriously, this kid cannot stop eating.

Everyone is doing well so far, though I still have my cough left over from the cold a few weeks ago, and fits of coughing immediately after abdominal surgery sucks more than I can possibly describe. We should be home sometime early next week, and I'll write up a full birth story then. For now, I'll just mention that Kermit's birth was so earth-shattering that it culminated in an earthquake. Literally. A small one, but the building moved, and S and two nurses and I all looked at each other in disbelief and asked, "Wow, was it just me, or did anyone else feel that?!?" at the same time. I've lived in earthquake territory for nearly a dozen years, and I've felt maybe 6 earthquakes total during that time. Yet one of them was the night S proposed to me, and another one was the week we found out that we were pregnant with LL. And now this one to herald in Kermit's birth. Nothing inflates your view of your own significance quite like the universe moving a planet to announce your major life changes.

* As with LL, I have decided not to actually include Kermit's name on the blog, but I'll leave enough clues that you can easily figure it out if you want to. For blog purposes, the name Kermit has grown on me quite a bit, so we'll stick with that for now. In real life, his name starts with a J, and means "dove" in Hebrew. The name comes from a prophet in the Torah known most notably for being eaten by a very large fish.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trying to Keep Perspective

(Warning: this post is angsty and self-indulgent and more than a little whiny. I'm not sleeping much these days, and I was up all night last night with LL, and I'm not having any contractions anymore, and my emotions are all over the place. Can't wait until the real roller coaster sets in post-partum.)

Shocking news: I'm still pregnant.

To be clear, when I say that I'm trying every labor induction technique that I can manage, I'm including all of the following:

- spicy foods
- raspberry leaf tea
- copious sex with S
- stopping of prenatal vitamins
- foot and ankle massage
- acupressure on the spot between thumb and index finger
- nipple manipulation
- bouncing up and down on an exercise ball
- long walks
- driving repeatedly over railroad tracks
- eating basil
- talking calmly to Kermit about how cool it is on the outside
- S leaning over my abdomen and yelling, "Oh for goodness sake, contract already!"
- reverse psychology, where S and I talk loudly about how we're not really ready yet

You'd think that one of those would work, right?

I had my final prenatal appointment yesterday, where Dr. M remarked on how high Kermit is, how he can still see the entire head on ultrasound because he has not dropped at all. I verified with him that all of the home induction attempts were fair game, and he supportively said, "Yeah, sure, whatever you want. I'll see you for the c-section on Friday." Seriously. I thought that I sucked at getting pregnant, but apparently I am equally bad at going into labor.

Even worse, the closer I get to the scheduled c-section, the less okay I feel about it. I am completely at peace with LL's c-section, but this time, it feels really wrong. Too... planned. I feel like I did everything possible to avoid a c-section with LL, and there was ultimately no other way for him to be born. This time, it just feels... too convenient maybe? I asked Dr. M a lot of questions at my appointment yesterday, and in an attempt to make me feel better about it, he finally said, "You'll be amazed at how different this c-section will be than your first one. Your first one followed a long, difficult, exhausting trial of labor, and there was a fair amount of urgency by the time the surgery happened. This time will be very calm, very mellow, very casual." But that just makes me feel worse about it. I kind of feel like the birth of a baby should be accompanied by some drama and fanfare and hard work. There should be exhaustion at the end of it, to show that something significant happened. But just lying down on a table for a while and then being handed a baby, very casual? After months of fertility treatment and months of gestation and a car accident and a wrong diagnosis and careful diet restrictions and ultrasound scares and breech maneuvers and excitement... it just seems anticlimactic.

It isn't helping that there seems to be a general lack of enthusiasm surrounding the birth of this child, at least among our family. S's sister explained her plans to us over the phone yesterday, and despite several detailed conversations with her over the last several weeks, she apparently never actually understood anything about the scheduling of the bris. She asked us exactly when the bris will be happening, and we had to explain (again) that we won't know until the baby is born, since the date will depend on the birthday, and the time will depend on the mohel's schedule. If Kermit is born by c-section on Friday, then the bris will be the following Friday, probably in the morning. At which point she told us that she has tickets to a show next Thursday night, plus she doesn't want to spend any vacation time to visit us, so couldn't we just do the bris over the weekend? Um, no. Religious mandate is going to take precedence over her social calendar for us. Sorry. But she's welcome to visit us and Kermit after the bris instead of trying to attend. But she doesn't want to do that, either, so she probably just won't bother visiting.

Then we talked to S's parents, who informed us that they planned to arrive in time for the bris, but no earlier, which is what we expected. But then they're only staying for maybe 4 days, if that, because they're rather busy this time of year. Really? S's parents are both retired. They hang out with friends and do various hobbies, but they have no scheduled time commitments at all. None. And we have no idea what they mean by "this time of year." The holidays are over; what is there for them to be busy with in the middle of January? We tried to get them to explain what had changed, since we expected them for 10 days, like they did with LL, but they just said, "Eh, we'll see you guys again later in the year." It's very odd, and S and I are both kind of hurt. They were so excited when LL was born, and they adore him, but they have yet to express any emotion at all about Kermit. (Related: S's parents sent out a holiday newsletter. It contained photos and updates about LL, but S and I were not mentioned at all, not even once. They actually wrote, "We will soon be grandparents again, as LL is expecting a baby brother early in 2011." I find it supremely weird that they worded it that way -- why would you talk about the upcoming birth of a child by mentioning the baby's relation to you, and to a sibling, but not even acknowledge that the baby will have parents?)

My family is slightly better, but I have several relatives who have repeated to me their annoyance that they can't plan their attendance at the bris more in advance. Which is ironic, since I have a scheduled c-section, so Kermit's arrival and bris are actually much more predictable than most. But again, that just makes me feel awful, because part of the fun is supposed to be the uncertainty, the excitement of turning to your husband and saying, "Honey, it's time!" I hate being robbed of that. Again.

But honestly, most of this is probably hormones and jitters. I told S about all of these feelings, and he asked if I wanted to call Dr. M and postpone the c-section until next week sometime, to give myself even more time to go into labor naturally. But when I really think about it, I don't want to do that, either. Every indication in the world is that this baby is big and getting bigger. Each day that we wait, the likelihood of my being able to birth him shrinks. What's the point of waiting to go into labor if I'm practically guaranteed a c-section anyway? The whole reason that I chose this Friday for the scheduled c-section was that it seemed to be a tipping point where my odds of a successful VBAC dropped below the potential benefit. And I chose it several weeks ago, when I was much more rational than I am right now, before the discomfort and nesting and hormone roller coasters and sleep deprivation set in. I know, intellectually, that second guessing myself right now is both expected and pointless. I even predicted that it would happen exactly like this -- that I wouldn't go into labor, but that I would start doubting the decision the closer I got to the c-section. And here I am.

So. If I wanted to, I could postpone the c-section. But I don't think that I'm going into labor next week anymore than I'm likely to go into labor tomorrow, so I'll just be in this exact same position, just one week later. Really stupid. I do believe that the c-section on Friday is the "right" call. Ultimately, what I'm upset about is the fact that it's necessary. I hate that I'm not going into labor on my own. And there's really nothing that I can do to make myself feel better about that. Even reminding myself, over and over again, that what really matters in all of this is a happy, healthy outcome. That one way or another, approximately 36 hours from now, I'm going to be holding Kermit in my arms. Which is really the whole point.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Um, yeah, still here. Still pregnant. Still sitting around mindlessly making up things to go on a to-do list, and then doing them, because I'm bored. And tired. And I'm fairly certain that I've been in early labor for like 3 days now.

Saturday night, around 9pm or so, I started getting fairly regular contractions, stronger than I've ever gotten without the help of pitocin. And they got stronger and more intense, but never closer than 10 minutes apart. And it went on like that until 5:00 in the morning, when they abruptly disappeared. For that entire time, I was certain that I was in labor, that this was it. I even sent S to bed early to get some sleep, so that he would be well rested whenever we needed to leave for the hospital. But Sunday and today were both fairly uneventful.

I'm having contractions again tonight, ones that are definitely a huge step up from the Braxton-Hicks contractions I've been having for many weeks, but not quite as strong or regular as Saturday night. So it's looking to be another fairly sleepless night for me. I'd love to believe that this is all leading to me being in actual breathe-through-the-contractions, check-into-the-hospital labor, but... yeah, I don't believe it is.

At most three more days of waiting.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011. Did you know that I'm having a baby this year? More specifically, I'm having a baby sometime this week.

For your totally boring reading pleasure, here is the state of things in our household right now:

- At 39 weeks pregnant, I am definitely ready to have this baby. I wanted the baby to be born in January, for the big-picture-completely-unimportant reason of giving him a teeny bit of distance between the holidays and his birthday. Mission accomplished! But now I need him to come out. The sooner the better.

- I am definitely a big fan of home labor induction techniques. I tried them all with LL, over the course of like three weeks, and none of them worked. (I skipped the castor oil thing, because ew! it just sounds unpleasant, not to mention ineffective, but the rest were fair game.) I'm doing them again now, but given my past experience, I kind of feel like a patsy. Fool me once, you know?

- My cold is still hanging around a bit, which sucks. I'm down to an infrequent cough and mild congestion.

- My mom arrived to help me with LL, and after a nice little incubation period, she caught my cold, so she is currently out for the count. I feel awful for her, because she really wants to be helpful, but she clearly feels really miserable and has zero energy. I'm currently taking care of her more than she's taking care of me (though she did make a pot of matzo ball soup the other day while S and I took LL with us to run some errands and let her rest). We're hoping that she gets better soon, for so many many reasons.

- LL is going through a growth spurt. He's barely sleeping, but he's eating his body weight in food at every meal. We met a huge group of friends for lunch on Thursday. We arrived first, LL was the first one served, and two hours later (yes, two hours) everybody else got tired of chasing their kids around the restaurant, so they left, and LL was still sitting at the table eating. It's ridiculous. He hadn't moved from that high chair for the entire two hours, and was more or less continuously eating that whole time. We finally had to cut him off because we just couldn't sit in the restaurant anymore, and it was way past naptime.

- We're more or less ready for Kermit to arrive. We've purchased all the necessities, things that need assembling or setting up are generally assembled, we have decided on a name (in English, Japanese, and Hebrew). The house is still a little cluttered, but no longer embarrassing. Bags are as packed as they're going to get. The only thing really left to do is install the car seat. Oh, and go into labor. I should make sure that's on the to-do list....

- Wow I'm uncomfortable. Definitely hard to move around these days. And I haven't fallen asleep before 3am in over a week. I'd forgotten what a total insomniac I become during the end of pregnancy. Also, I'm constantly starving.

- Every night around 8:00pm or so, I start having contractions. They're not very strong, but they are consistent, at every 15 minutes, like clockwork. They continue like that for several hours. Except for an occasional strong one, they're not very intense, and they never come any closer together. And then they stop until the next night. What's up with that? (I have been getting an occasional one during the day, too, but they're always in isolation.) S reminded me that the exact same thing happened when I was pregnant with LL, and it went on like that for nearly two weeks, and it never amounted to anything. So really, this is all just annoying.

- For many months now, I have been predicting a birth date of January 2. Not really liking my odds at this point.