Friday, October 31, 2014

The Halloween that Wasn't... What I expected

About a month ago I started asking Benjamin what he wanted to be for Halloween. "A Ghost" he said resolutely. That was a surprise, I didn't know that he knew what a Ghost was even! I figured he would change his mind, and if not, a ghost costume is easy.

He didn't change his mind, we asked him again a couple times a week and it was always a ghost. Sometimes a Scary Ghost, sometimes a friendly Ghost, but always a ghost.

We wracked our brains for how to dress the rest of us. We considered being Ghost Busters, but were worried he would not like us "chasing" him. We considered Pac-Man, or Mario, but those seemed pretty far out there. So, we decided to all be ghosts. Aunt K started knitting a ghost costume for Felicity.

The festivities snuck up on us, and the night before Boo at the Zoo I found myself trying to fit Benjamin with a white jersey sheet from Target clearance. He didn't want to wear my creation, but I figured that's is because he was busy watching TV.

The next day came, Boo at the Zoo. He wouldn't have anything to do with his costume. Then he saw the other kids in costume and decided to put it on. That lasted about 2 minutes, then he said it "tasted funny" and wanted it off. Luckily since people pay for Boo at the Zoo, they don't really care if your kid has a costume. We had a blast anyways.

After that, he spent a good week saying he would not wear any costume, and no amount of discussing the material rewards could change that. I even pulled out our halloween box to see if he would be a shark or fire fighter or something. He put on the shark costume for about 30 seconds, but then demanded we take it off.

Then we went to the Halloween Horse Show. After interrogating us on why there was not a ghost horse, he declared briefly that he would dress his horse as a Pirate, then reverted to his idea of us ALL being ghosts. Also, when Ben saw Felicity's ghost hat he said he wanted a Goblin hat, and Aunt K agreed to make one.

Last night (10/30) we hosted our family Halloween party, ghost costumes all ready to go. Felicity was all dressed up. DH and I both put on our ghost sheets... but Benjamin wanted nothing to do with it. He also refused the requested Goblin hat. He said he wanted to be a pirate. My husband made a pirate hat. He said he would wear it on Halloween, but "not now". At bedtime he requested a pirate costume.

Halloween day... today. I had spare time because I am on maternity leave, so I ran up to the mall. I went to Lots for Tots (used children's) and found a Jake the Pirate costume for $5.

Ben got home from daycare, said yes, of course he would wear a pirate costume. We went to put it on, got the body (clothes) part on, and he started trying to tear it off.

This is the year my son wouldn't wear a Halloween Costume. 

Instead of going out to ToT, we watched Despicable Me 2. I still got some cute pictures of Ben and Felicity, he is just in a Halloween outfit instead of costume. We still had a good time, just not what I expected. Next year I think I will go in with fewer expectations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a month old? 5 weeks?

Felicity turned a month old last Wednesday, and 5 weeks old this week.

She is such a calm baby (knock on wood big time! I knock on wood every time I say it). She occasionally squawks, but in general, when I say "she is fussing" it means making some small little grunting noises or something. Crying is rare, maybe for a minute if she thinks its time to eat and I am not quite ready, but generally she is so calm.

She does well in tummy time. She can roll front to back consistently, and will do so eventually whenever you put her on her stomach. She is no where near rolling the opposite way. If you hold her upright, like on your shoulder, she often will look around perky. If she does not like how you are holding her, she will let you know, and throw her body weight around quite a bit.

I love her tiny feet... which grow everyday.

She is wearing size 0-3 month clothing, but I did put one 0-3 month sleeper away this week that she was too long for, a smaller-sized brand.

I think she is starting to smile socially, JUST starting, hard to be certain until she really does it, but I am pretty sure I have caught some glimpses of real smiles. She still laughs and smiles in her sleep quite a bit.

Her wakeful periods are getting longer. A couple hours in a row sometimes.

She is sleeping about the same, 2-3 hour stretches. Last night she did one nearly 4 hr stretch, but her brother woke me up in the middle of it, so it didn't really help me out.

She makes eye contact, follows our faces when we move around, and watches a rattle or other interesting object we hold up for her. She likes flashing lights and we have caught her watching TV once or twice (though we try to avoid having her in a position where this is an option).

We introduced a bottle. She takes it no problem.

I am absolutely in love with her. Some nicknames - Miss Felicity, Miss Fliss, and Fiji. I also find myself calling her little girl or baby girl quite a bit, and her big brother often calls her baby girl.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The First Three Weeks

By this time in Benjamin's life, I had made three posts already! Oh Felicity, you poor second child.

We only stayed in the hospital for 24 hrs with Felicity. We were anxious to get home where we could take care of Felicity AND Benjamin.
One of her Coming Home pictures.

People keep asking me if Felicity is a "good baby". All babies are good. That is what I tell them. Who is going to say they have a bad baby? I know, what these people are really asking is if she is an easy baby or a hard baby... does she sleep well? Eat well? I tell them these things too... after assuring them she is a good baby regardless of my answer to these questions. 

Felicity took to breast feeding very easily. We have had no real latch issues or supply issues. My milk came in about 40 hrs after she was born and she adjusted to it easily. She does like to click her tongue sometimes when she eats, but she still is clearly getting enough food. And, as with Ben, she only takes a few minutes to eat fully from one side, and usually one side fills her up. Sleep wise, she does fine for a newborn. She has had a couple of nights where she didn't want to go back to sleep after waking up at 3 or 4am... those are exhausting. We have also had a couple excellent nights where she slept for a 4 hr chunk. But, mostly its waking every 2-3 hrs. Pretty standard stuff.

Her first night at home. Originally I used a blanket swaddle, then a Halo Swaddle Sack, then one night she spit up on it and I didn't use any swaddle... and she slept the same. So no more swaddles for Felicity.

She isn't a screamer for the most part, though she is louder then she used to be. Really, she only cries if we put off her food too long (either because we want to change her diaper first or because I am hoping she will go back to sleep...) or occasionally if her diaper change results in a mess and outfit change. (Or if her brother smacks her in the head, but that is a separate issue).

I guess that is an issue I can address next!! Ben has been a doting brother. He really loves to hug and kiss her. His hugs really are him rubbing his head against hers, which I can understand because (1) I do that to him and (2) her hair is SO SOFT. He tries to hold her hand, tickle her toes. Mainly he just likes being close to her. We have had two incidents where he made her cry, and thankfully neither in the last week or so! The first one was our first incidence of sibling on sibling violence. Ben was frustrated that we turned off his movie, and decided to take this frustration out by smacking Felicity in the head. That was not fun. At least three of the four of us ended up in tears (though Felicity is no worse for the wear). The second was, as far as I can tell, an accident. I didn't see it. Benjamin says he "pushed to hard" on her, and I have the tendency to believe him. 

Ben's first time holding his little sister.

Felicity's nickname is Squeaker, or Beaker the Squeaker. She makes lots of little squeaking noises, and has since birth. Her dad occasionally calls her Fiji, an interpretation of how her initials would be pronounced. She likes to be held, she likes when her dad sings soccer fan songs and football fight songs to her. She does not mind the car seat. She likes being warm and cozy. She likes to sleep in the late morning the most.. (like right now). She sleeps well in the Moby wrap as well. 

Tummy time!!
She does have some oomph to her muscles! Pretty much the day we came home she did a "sit up" in my lap where she curled up and forward. She does well with head control, and, believe it or not, she has already rolled over once!! Front to back. I have been looking for a repeat performance to assure it was not a fluke, but no such luck. She comes close frequently though, just wiggling her little torso and twisting it every which way when she gets upset in tummy time. 

First bath!
She had her first bath! Her umbilical stump fell off rather abruptly, and left some oozing, so we let it heal a bit before doing her bath. She actually didn't mind the bath at all! Nice warm water! What she didn't like was coming out of the warm water!! She also doesn't like having her eyes covered, so when the hoodie towel (or any hoodie or hat) falls over her eyes she becomes upset.

Play Time!

We have not been cautious at all with taking her out... hopefully that does not come back to bite us. She HAS already had a small cold (gift from her brother I think). It was nothing serious. She has been at Target multiple times as well as several other stores, the mall, and many restaurants, both of our workplaces, and other offices (like to get her added to insurance), and of course to the park when it has been warm enough, her brother still needs to play!! 

Overall, the transition to two kids has gone smoothly. DH does most of the stuff with DS so I can focus on her, but we occasionally switch off, both for the sake of bonding and our sanity. The big upcoming challenge will be when I return to work. I have a "plan" for how to get ready (pacifier at 1 week, pumping at 2 weeks, bottle and nap schedule at 4 weeks), but even with that, learning to get out of the house on time is guaranteed to be a challenge! Wish me luck. Allow me to leave you with one more picture, just because she is cute. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Birth Story (the second time around...)

Felicity obviously did not want to come on her own. At my appointment on Sept 18th (40w6d) my numbers were exactly the same as they had been for weeks (1cm, 50%), not even far enough along to try a membrane sweep. With my induction scheduled for Sunday night (Monday morning), I pretty much resigned myself to the induction process and did my best to enjoy my last weekend pregnant; not an easy task.

I have to admit, I spent the weekend alternating between strong anxiety and waxing philosophic (with a sentimental bend). The two images from the weekend that I wanted to remember as being related to Felicity's birth: the leaves really started to change color, (tufts of red and yellow amongst the green of hawk ridge), and the sunflowers in my mom's garden in full bloom.

Sunday evening. The moment had arrived. I put Benjamin to bed and DH&I headed to the hospital (leaving MIL&FIL at our house). We arrived at the hospital around 7:30pm and got all checked in. They checked my cervix and I was at 2.75cm - I had progressed quite a bit since my last appointment! That was very promising for a successful induction. My midwife came in and placed a Foley bulb. Normally, the Foley just is meant to prep the cervix and help dilation, but it made me start contracting. I had really regular contractions for about two hours and we were hopeful my body would take over, but they died off and changed to just cramping around midnight and I tried to get some sleep. (As a side note, they offer/promoted the Foley as an out patient procedure. I can't imagine doing this. It was incredibly uncomfortable/awkward having it in at the hospital, and it made me bleed. Going home would have been a disaster).

In the morning I had a small breakfast, then they removed the Foley and started a pitocin IV. I was at 4cm.They started the dose really low, and came in every half hour to up it. It took a long time for anything to start. Finally I started to get some mild contractions around 11am, but still so mild and inconsistent. I say in a yoga ball and watched a movie. The contractions intensified around 1pm to the degree where it actually felt like labor (strong and regular), and then continued to worsen quickly. At 3pm I moved from the yoga ball to the bed and they checked me again. I was starting too try and figure out if I could really go "natural" because the pain was significant. I was at 6.5cm, just shy of my 7cm mental goal, so I hung on and continued without meds.

The nurses kept saying it would be soon now, and then backing off. Well, they should have been more confident. After that things really went fast. Soon I was in extremely intense contractions that felt like I couldn't continue to endure. After a really intense contraction I felt the baby move, which seemed odd, but she must have slipped the rest of the way into position because at the next contraction I felt the pressure to push. The nurse checked me, I was 9.5, just a rim, and ready to push. She called the doctor and they started to take apart the bed for labor. Those 2-3 contractions were the worst, all this pain/energy and not able to push yet (it's called transition and it's notorious). Then they said to go ahead and push as I felt the need. I pushed on my own once or twice. She was right there. The doctor said I was tearing, likely in the same place as Benjamin's birth (which was not pretty). The doctor wanted to do an episiotomy and I wasn't going to object, I just wanted to be done. I pushed 3-4 contractions (which were very close together), the first two they told me to push gently because the episiotomy, then I pushed hard for two, and Felicity came right out! They plopped her on my stomach, she started crying right away.

She was perfect. The nurses could not find anything to mark her down for, even her fingers were nice and pink, so she was given an apgar score of 10 (despite the nicu unit having been called in, they wetter wrong about the meconium). The nurse said she hadn't given a ten in years. I held her on my chest while they delayed the cord clamping, then I watched the doctor cut the cord and I scooped her up. It was an incredible experience, and surreal because how fast we went from me feeling the pressure to push to holding her in my arms (really, an hour from 6.5 cm, can I do this to holding her in my arms).

She cried for quite some time, and didn't calm until DH held her for a few minutes. Then he handed her back to me and I breastfed. DH started calling people and the room slowly cleared out. Eventually the nurse measured her - 7lbs, 13oz, 22 inches long!! Tall baby. Our baby, our love!!


 A Comparison

I assume it is natural to compare birth experiences between children. DH claims some of the differences a perceive are due to recall, but here it is anyways.

The biggest obvious difference was that with Ben I went on my own, this time I was induced using pitocin, a drug that mimics oxytocin and is labeled as "the devil" by many women due to the intensity of contractions it can cause.

Benjamin (no meds)                                        -----   Felicity (pitocin)
40w6d.                                                                   41w3d
Labor was 10-20 hrs depending.                             Labor was 3-6 hrs, depending.
I pushed for 2+ hrs.                                                I pushed for 15-20 minutes
No epidural/pain meds.                                           No epidural/pain meds
I tore naturally, second degree.                               Episiotomy, degree unknown.
Contractions intensified slowly.                              Contractions intensified very quickly.
I was "trance like" and hardly knew time               I was very aware of surroundings and time.
       was passing.
Mentally, I felt like this is what my body                Mentally, I didn't trust the process, I felt
       was doing and I trusted it and needed                    like my pain was being caused by the
       to just accept/get through it.                                     IV, could be stopped, and might not be                                                                                                                                                            working.
I had limited monitoring. I was more free             They were constantly monitoring and                    

       to move around. No monitors to watch.                   fiddling  around with my cords.
When he was born, I didn't really feel it.                I felt her slide out very distinctively and  
       and had to be told it was done. I was                       knew I was done. I was much more
       on auto pilot to push.                                             aware and present.
They whisked him across the room to be            They plopped her on my chest still attached
Stitches & placenta delivery were extremely        Stitches & placenta delivery were quick
        painful. Maybe the worst part.                               and relatively painless (twinges).  
I bled more post partum then they wanted           I bled more post partum then they wanted

        and had to remain on meds.                                   and had to remain on meds.
I stayed in the hospital 2 nights with baby,          I stayed in the hospital for the minimum 24 hrs,           
               by choice.                                                                  by choice.
Three weeks after delivery I still had                   Three weeks after delivery and pretty much 
       muscle/skeletal pain and pain due                           feel great. No muscle/skeletal pain and  
       stitches. Short standing tolerance.                          very very occasional twinge from stitches
                                                                                                  Normal tolerance for standing. 

So... Basically what I am saying... is this birth was easier in many ways. It went faster, and contrary to my research and preconceived notions, the episiotomy has made for a MUCH easier recovery than the tear did.  I am glad I listened to my doctors on that one... I think it really depends on the person. In my case, w the history of a bad tear, the episiotomy made sense. Also, a smooth induction has its strengths, so fast! I think my nurse who was managing the pitocin was great, she got it right. Despite the intensity of contractions, I never had them one after another as you hear about in the Pitocin horror stories. And it was so nice having the baby born at 4pm instead of 2am. I really think the shorter labor is why I am doing better in recovery regarding muscle/skeletal pain. It was more difficulty to "go natural" with Pitocin/induction because I was not able to get into any sort of rhythm or "trance" with the labor, somewhat because it moved fast, but also because of the IV and monitoring and mental block. Of course, this lack of focus on my part made me much more aware of the birth itself and in that way the experience was much better... well and that the hospital handed her directly to me instead of whisking her off to measure right away. Anyways,that is the comparison. Both births had their ups and downs, and induction wasn't so bad. Because it went smoothly. (The problem is, you can't know in advance if it will!!).