Monday, March 31, 2008

March Madness

The past week has been both exciting and dull; rewarding and trying. It's no surprise that motherhood has changed my entire life. Each second of the day revolves around the needs of this newborn, his every wail and gurgle. Some moments are challenging and lonely, from the late-night feedings to the lack of quality time with DH. (My most intimate times are spent with the breast pump.) Others are breathtakingly beautiful, like when cuddling in my arms quiets his plaintive cries. Good days and bad days, I'm constantly amazed that this incredible miracle belongs to us. I am unbelievably lucky and beyond in love.

I'm feeling much better since the c-section. The scar is so tiny and hidden! My tummy is just a little sore if I cough or press on it (I know, stop pressing on it!). My hormones have reigned in quite a bit as well, although I'm still enjoying my share of emotional and cognitive instability. So really, I'm back to normal.

Despite any of my ineptitude at mothering, Bean is doing really well. (Let's hope this continues to adulthood.) He's so big now, yet still so small! He's been busy mastering the essential newborn skills:

- Constantly leaking white spit-up from his mouth.

- Waking up just as mom is about to lie down for a long-awaited nap.

- Eating every one or two hours like he's been starving for years.

- Screaming bloody murder at the exact moment a hot meal is put on the table.

- Peeing on himself, mom, dad, the changing table, the carpet, the wall, and the door during diaper changes. (I need to ask the dog her secret to staying dry.)

- Burping louder than a drunken basketball fan at a sports bar.

- Outgrowing an outfit after one wearing.

- Filling his diaper immediately after mom changes him. (I think zipping up his sleeper triggers his poop reflex.)

- And last but not least, being so utterly adorable that none of the above matters.

Now that we are no longer worried about breaking him, we've been having more fun with our little Bean. The highlights of this past weekend include:

Dressing him up in cute outfits. (As revenge for many of his aforementioned talents.)

Practicing his "smile for momma"!

Going on his first trip to the grocery store. (Don't you love that hair?)

Well, I'd better get going. The baby is starting to cry, and from the looks the dog is giving me, it's my turn to comfort him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tag -- I'm it!

Right before Bean was born, my blog was tagged by Kathy. Even though you are probably here looking for cute Bean pics and stories, I am excited to be tagged for the first time, so you'll have to bear with me on this post. Besides, this is a good reminder to myself that I do indeed exist beyond my utility as a milk dispenser. And moreover, if it gives any indication of the lack of interesting material I have to post about these days, the highlight of my day yesterday was when Britney Spears was on "How I Met Your Mother."

So here are the rules.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the Rules.

3. Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.

4. Tag at least three people.

5. Make sure the people you tagged know you tagged them by commenting that you did.


1. I may be 40 years away from retirement, but I already know how I'd like to spend my golden years: raising llamas. Back in June 2003, I was the matron of honor in a friend's wedding in Colorado. After the reception, I had another day or so before needing to head home, so one of the other bridesmaids was gracious enough to invite me to spend time with her and her mother. Her mom lives on a large property outside of Colorado Springs and happens to (here it comes) raise llamas. We had tons of fun that day, with her mom laughing about my "city ways" while we fed the llamas and fixed a broken fence through which some of them had escaped. Those llamas have quite a sense of humor, let me tell you! That day I discovered my affinity for llama raising, one which DH fully supports, and I look forward to having my own batch of them one day. I just need to figure out what you do with a llama once you raise it.

2. One of my favorite things to do is go out to eat at restaurants. How amazing is it that once humans had to hunt and kill our own food, now I can plunk down a few bucks to have someone prepare, serve, and clean up my dinner? Anyway, even though I adore eating out, I have the worst luck on two fronts. First, wherever we are seated, it is extremely likely that we will not have a waiter assigned to our table. Whether it's because of a shift change or a misunderstanding among the wait staff, we often sit for a long period of time before one of us is forced to go back to the hostess to ask for a server. It happens so often in fact that DH's roommate in Cincinnati declared that he wouldn't go out to eat with us anymore. (His loss, of course.) Second, there is also a high probability that whatever my favorite dish is -- the one I order each and every time we go to that restaurant -- it will be discontinued. Case in point, when my parents were in town recently, they watched Danny for what was the last time DH and I have dinner out alone together for years. After much debate, we decided to go to Claim Jumper. My eyes searched the menu, not finding the Tuscan chicken pasta I wanted. A question to the waitress confirmed that the menu had changed slightly and that item was discontinued. Neither DH nor I was surprised, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Being my favorite is a death knell for any food or dish. I'm just waiting for the day I get stoned to death by a bunch of PMSing women when chocolate gets discontinued.

3. I absolutely love to read. When I have time for pleasure reading, I can breeze through a book a day, easily. But over time, due to various factors, my choice of reading material has degraded to such a point that now I only read romance novels. Not just any romance novels, but historical ones. You know, with a good bodice rip or two. Bonus points if pirates are involved. This interest of mine started back in high school when my friend Sarah put together a "family vacation survival package" for me. As a joke, she included a romance novel. I ran out of other reading material on the trip and reluctantly opened the book, only to discover a new passion (pun intended). Since then, my diet of romance novels has gradually increased until you won't find me reading anything of substance. Okay, excluding a couple of pregnancy books. But now I'm back, fair-haired beauty of noble birth who was denied her inheritance and handsome, wealthy English lord with a hardened heart and painful past! Just let me change this poopy diaper first.

4. I was scared of dogs for many years. I have no idea why; if I've had a traumatic experience with a dog, it's buried deep in my subconscious. But even when we brought Evey home, and she was a five-pound pooch who looked like this...
... I was terrified of her. She would race around the house at Ludicrous speed, barking like mad, and I'd retreat in fear. I had no idea how dogs worked or what fiendishness this creature was capable of. I only got the dog to please DH (and distract us from our wait for a baby), and I soon decided that the house wasn't big enough for both of us. Fortunately DH convinced me not to release her into the wild, and somewhere along the way, I fell in love. Now I have swung in the opposite direction, and just the thought that Evey won't be around forever reduces me to tears. The only time I'll change the channel on a judge show is when the case involves a hurt dog -- I absolutely can't handle it. Strangely enough, I still hate cats. Sorry, I just do.

5. I had crabs when I was younger. Hermit crabs, specifically. Because of health issues in our household (or that's the excuse my parents used), we couldn't have any pets of the furry variety. After the millionth goldfish went belly up, we decided the next natural step in the evolution of family pets would be hermit crabs. The first one, named Nikki (for St. Nicholas, he was my Christmas present), lasted about 5 minutes. He crawled on my dad's hand and pinched him, so my dad reflexively flicked his wrist to get him off. Poor Nikki went flying across the room and died of an apparent heart attack. The next day we got Nikki Two. (Obviously I was not a creative child, and you understand why it was so hard for me to name Bean.) Anyway, with Nikki Two we had the opposite problem as with the first: the thing would not die. We had gotten hermit crab friends for him, appropriately named Phoebe and Chandler by my brother, but Nikki outlived them by years and years. Long after my brother and I had left home for college, my father was stuck caring for Nikki. Eventually, he decided to forgo the hermit crab food in favor of a more attractive selection of ham and cheese sandwiches and Hershey bars. The little guy did eventually slip away into the hermit crab heaven in the sky, probably of uncontrolled diabetes. RIP, sweet Nikki.

6. I've personally met the greatest detective in the entire world: Columbo. Back in St. Louis about a year and a half ago, I heard on the radio that Peter Falk was coming to the Jewish community center to speak and sign his book. My dad is a huge Columbo fan, and I have many fond memories of watching the show with him when I was younger. A light bulb went off -- I could get Columbo's book and have him sign it for my dad for Christmas! I purchased tickets to the evening for myself and DH and bought a copy of the book to bring with me. When we showed up, we found ourselves in a long line of tiny blue-haired old ladies. No joke, we were the tallest people there by at least two feet, the youngest by four decades, and the only ones with all our original teeth. No matter, I was determined to get my book signed for my dad and refused to be embarrassed. After all that, we were told that you had to purchase the book at the Jewish community center if you wanted it signed! "Pleeeeeease can I have him sign this copy?" I begged the woman managing the line. "I want to give it to my dad for Christmas!" The old ladies around me giggled and the woman teased me for trying to leverage the Christian holiday in that particular setting. Then I was embarrassed. But it all ended well, I got a brief but emotionally powerful audience with Columbo and my dad got his Christmas gift.

I am tagging.... Allison and Mary and Lisa. But no pressure. :) And as a reward to everyone for making it through my self-indulgent post, here are some Bean pics. The first onesie was sent by a family friend who works in the Domino's Pizza corporate office. Cute!! Note the butt of our pooch, who used to hate getting her picture taken, but now that Bean's here, must insinuate herself into every photo. And so begins the sibling rivalry.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are we having fun yet?

Bean is now two weeks old -- and he's changed so much already, it's amazing. He's so alert and good natured, we are very lucky! Even so, Bean's basically been kicking our butts. Here's what's been happening in our house lately. (And thanks to Allison for the adorable onesie below with his impressive stats on them.)

Holy Hormones, Batman. Physically, I am feeling loads better since my c-section. Still a few pains here and there, but overall, I no longer feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I had my post-op appointment with the OB on Tuesday and got two thumbs up. The biggest challenge now for my postpartum recovery is getting through the hormonal rollercoaster. Who knew that the majority of the crying around our house would be mine? My concerned DH will sometimes ask me if my sniffles are happy or sad. What? I'm crying again? Crap. The doc said that the hormones should peak within a week. In the meantime, I'm hoping that I can shed some of that baby weight in tears. Wishful thinking, I know.

A Hard Day's Night. Not surprisingly, we haven't been getting much sleep around my house. Just like when he was in utero, my little man likes to party like a rock star when the sun sets. Unfortunately, we have yet to upgrade our cable service to include DVR, so I'm stuck watching some really horrible television. At 3 am, you'll find me in the glider-rocker contemplating deep life questions like "Who exactly thought it was necessary to give Craig Ferguson his own late night talk show?" and "Wow, can that vacuum really pick up a bowling ball?"

Big Sister. So far, Evey has been good with the baby. Once she got over her initial fear of his baby noises (his toots make me nervous too, pooch), she has been curious and gentle with him. And she's been generous enough to share the baby blankets and toys with him without a fuss. The problem, if there will be one, will come when my parents leave town. There's always enough grandparent love to go around, so Evey still gets plenty of attention and walks and treats. But when it's the three of us home alone all day, I have a feeling the dog poop is going to hit the fan, so to speak.

The Breastaurant. Remember when I said I was about 25% sure of my ability to breastfeed? That estimate actually proved a bit over confident. I guess I needed a few more hours of the booby video in the breastfeeding class. Bean and I have been working overtime to get back on track after a rough start in the hospital. I have rented a hospital-grade pump and I'm taking tons of these fenugreek pills, which make me smell like maple syrup. Now the poor kid will think of me every time he passes an IHOP for the rest of his life, and he'll have no idea why. On the bright side, maybe he'll remember to call his mother.

And I'll leave you with yet another funny quote from one of DH's coworkers. We printed a few Bean pics and DH took them to work. One coworker saw the pic of Bean in the onion-chopping glasses from the previous post (yep, that's what those are) and said with all sincerity: "Awww... poor thing, he's nearsighted!" Yep, he can only see 8-12 inches in front of his face. Like every other newborn on the planet. LOL

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The birth story

Well, I figure I should write this now before I get down to the serious business of forgetting this labor and delivery. (A necessary follow-up after giving birth, as we hope to try for a second child one day. Nature's way of assuring the continuation of the species.)

So to pick up where we left off, I had my OB appointment on Tuesday, March 4. The doc found I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Although women can be dilated and effaced for weeks before labor begins, I had a strong feeling that I wouldn't make it to the end of the week. DH came with me to the appointment and we arranged to go to the fancy mall for dinner afterwards. In my book, going past your delivery date means you don't have to cook dinner. In fact, my book contains lots of great reasons not to cook, so let me know if you need to borrow any.

Anyway, during dinner that evening, my stomach was feeling... different. I couldn't identify contractions specifically, but I was always running to the bathroom. I wondered if it was just indigestion. DH and I decided something was going on and we needed to get home ASAP to prepare for the hospital stay. He asked for the check immediately and we scarfed down our meals in panic as I cursed our decision to eat so far from home. Before we left the mall, though, I made him take me to the Godiva Chocolate store. I had a coupon that was about to expire, and it was my last chance to get a free chocolate-covered marshmallow. Risky, but definitely worth it. Turns out that would be the last thing I ate before becoming a mom; I couldn't have asked for better.

Back at home around 7:30 pm, we rushed to put the final items in our hospital bags. We weren't sure if we'd be going anywhere that night, but our toothbrushes were ready just in case. The weird tummy feelings kinda subsided, so we both expected to at least get some shuteye before the excitement began. We were in our PJs and turning out the lights (with DH remarking how exhausted he was) around 10 pm when I jumped out of bed and rushed to the bathroom. My water had broken, let the fun begin!

DH called the birthing center and our OB. The nurse asked a bunch of questions to determine if it was time to go to the hospital. ("Are you ready to be parents?" was not on her list, although in retrospect, I wish it had been.) When she got to "Can she feel the baby moving?" and we answered "No," she became concerned and said we needed to show up ASAP. We frantically threw everything into the car and took off. I didn't feel the baby move the entire way to the hospital, which was absolutely terrifying. Meanwhile, I was starting to have honest-to-goodness contractions. Ahhhh, so THAT'S what they feel like. Lovely. DH called family and the dog sitters, telling them we'd be checking into the hospital tonight. I kept yelling things like "Maybe!" and "If they don't send us home!" but he ignored me. Denial, my dear sweet old friend.

We arrived at the hospital and they sent me to the triage room before admitting us. The nurse immediately found Bean's strong heartbeat... total relief. My contractions were becoming more and more painful while we waited, with hardly any time in between. DH asked if I wanted him to breath with me through a contraction, and I agreed to give it a try. But he kept breathing in when he was supposed to breath out, so I shoved him and yelled "YOU'RE BREATHING WRONG!" Luckily he didn't take it personally and just laughed apologetically... needless to say, I decided to go it alone on the breathing from then on. The nurse then said we were 3 cm dilated and would be getting the last open room in the birthing center. Thank goodness for our timing! We found out later that someone who came after me had to labor in the triage room. No thanks, I'd rather go back to the mall.

We finally got into our room and I informed the nurse that I wanted the epidural IMMEDIATELY. Having four kids of her own, she rushed to get the anesthesiologist. (This is when having a full birthing center came in handy... there were tons of docs everywhere ready to assist when needed.) The epidural was woooooonderful. When it all kicked in, I was one happy lady. Lounging around lazily in bed, DH constantly attentive, a nurse assigned to me and only me, and full TV remote control rights. But underneath the haze, my body was working like crazy. Based on the monitors, the nurses kept remarking how intense and frequent my contractions were. The OB pronounced my uterus "insane." Man, if I had a nickle for every time I've heard that!

So this epidural-induced semi-coma persisted through hours and hours, from People's Court to American Idol. Around 7 am on Wednesday, a nurse said I was 6-7 cm dilated. Hooray! She thought we'd have the baby by lunch. But when my OB stopped by at noon, she said it was more like 4-5 cm. Okay, so my cervix is closing? I've never done this before, but I'm pretty sure that's a bad sign. She explained that she's a bit more stingy with her estimates. It didn't bother us too much, we were just chilling. The nurses kept commenting how calm we were, saying that many people would have been demanding pitocin to speed things up. While we were excited to meet Bean, we were also enjoying our last few hours as just the two of us. We could wait, and we did.

Around dinner time, our OB checked me again and gave the thumbs up to start pushing. So I pushed. And I pushed. And I pushed. Our nurse at that time looked about 21 years old. She was absolutely adorable and extremely attentive, but between her inexperience and ours, I was not really feeling very confident in the progress. But our OB was monitoring us and said the baby's heartbeat was doing extremely well; all the nurses in the front couldn't believe how strong he was. (I guess that's a benefit of giving birth to a toddler.)

Finally, after three hours, I was done. I wanted my OB and I wanted to know why I was still pushing. She checked the baby and reluctantly told me that he wasn't progressing through the birth canal. It was c-section time. They gave me some time to bawl (are you kidding me?) before a team of doctors and nurses came into the room. This part was hazy for me; it happened so quickly and I was definitely out of it. I was in the operating room before I knew it, with DH scrubbing up to join me. The anesthesiologist was very nice as he upped my epidural meds, warning me, "I'll be pinching you like I don't like you, but really I do." Finally I was completely numb. We chatted about the Midwest and my undergrad alma mater while my OB opened me up. I will never, ever forget the feeling when the doc pulled Bean out. You won't be counting me among fans of being awake for surgery.

Bean immediately gave a little cry. It was very sweet, and DH and I looked at each other. (DH was sitting near my head at this point, safely hiding behind the sheet separating us from utter grossness.) I told him that he could go with the baby. He looked at me worriedly, "I want to stay with you." Which was incredibly sweet... either that, or he just didn't want to catch a glimpse of my OB massaging my uterus back down to size in her lap on the other side of the sheet. DH reluctantly followed Bean, so unfortunately for him, he did get quite an eyeful of one internal organ or another. We don't really talk about which one specifically.

Soon after, DH was back on the safe side of the sheet with a freshly cleaned Bean in his arms. I smiled and was certainly happy, but in all honestly, I was more focused on the aforementioned uterus being put back in the proper place. I was pretty certain Bean would look the same in an hour or two, but a misplaced uterus is a much more difficult to resolve. They stitched me back up, and before I knew it, I was back in my room with a new roommate: our very own Bean burrito.

It's been an adventure ever since, one we wouldn't give up for the world. Mommy loves you, Danny boy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

We're finally home

Sometimes being right is one of the most satisfying things in life. Like when the sales clerk assures you that the top you are purchasing is not on sale, but you make her check anyway, and sure enough, you save $10. Other times, it can be very, incredibly painful. Like when simple mathematics points to the impossibility of fitting your extra-large unborn baby through any natural openings in your body, and sure enough, it becomes a problem.

As Mary mentioned, I had the misfortune of laboring for 24+ hours and pushing for 3 loooong hours before the doc announced that Bean needed to be evicted the hard way. I'll tell the birth story another day for those interested (I don't blame you if you're not), but at least we all had a happy ending. It's been physically difficult for me to recover from all this, so forgive me if I don't respond to messages/emails immediately. DH did print out some comments for me after delivery and bring them to the hospital, which I really appreciated. It means so much to hear that you are excited for us, we missed having friends and family to share our blessed event.

All that rambling and I haven't even gushed about the baby yet. Speaking of being right, just as I suspected, he is the cutest, most perfect creature ever to be born. I absolutely love the little guy. Still trying on that "mommy" title, nowhere near grasping the significance or permanence of our relationship, but relishing every snuggle and kiss anyway. Here are some pics of his first days.

His first photo. THAT came out of ME?!

How'd you like to breastfeed this chunker? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Bean representin' the East Side.

"Hooray, I'm going home! ...and I am wearing pants and matching socks!"

Oh yes, and it's time for a new poll! Who do you think will be calling the shots around our house?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Introducing. . . .

Hey all, it's Mary again. After over 24 hours of labor, and 3 hours of grueling pushing, Daniel James was born via c-section at 10:31 p.m.

He is 9 pounds, 14 ounces (wowzers) and 20 inches long.

Congratulations to C and her DH!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Hi all, this is C's friend Mary, reporting for duty!

I just received a text from C, she is in LABOR!!! Apparently it started at 10 p.m. last night (west coast time). She is very tired but has her epidural, so she's a happy camper!

I'll be sure to post up to the minute updates as they come in!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Finally we are getting somewhere! Maybe those donuts did help after all. At my OB appt, the doc said I am 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby is at -1 station. She actually touched his head, isn't that wild? I've been feeling some minor pain and cramping for the past two days, so I guess that was my body making progress. Welcome to pre-labor, woo hoo! Now this doesn't mean we'll be bolting for the hospital tonight, he could still hang in there for a while, but at least I feel like Bean and I both understand the main concept of what needs to happen here. I have my next OB appt on Monday (if I'm still pregnant), at which time she is willing to begin inducing labor if that's what we want. I should say if that's what I want, because although I love DH to death, his vote doesn't hold much weight with me on that topic. But don't tell him I said that.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Now where's that darn stork...

So it's March 3, my due date. HEEEEEEERE storky storky storky!

The baby seems anxious to get out, I'm still convinced he just can't find the exit. This morning he gathered up all his strength and threw his entire body against the front of my stomach, like he was trying to ram the door or something. I've been getting lots of advice on how to get labor started, from the young cashier dude at McDonald's who recommended castor oil ("It worked so well for my sister that she was too far into labor to get drugs at the hospital") to my own OB who recommended doing what we did to get into this situation in the first place. I'm not sure if our fertility doc would be up for it, and he's in St. Louis anyway, so we'll skip that one.

I appreciate the suggestions, but so far, none of them has produced results. I'd like to add a few more things to the list of ineffective methods to induce your own labor, from my own experience.

1. Watch episode after episode of "The Baby Story" and "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC.
2. Cradle the dog in your arms and speak to her in goo-goo talk, hoping to make the baby jealous.
3. Eat a large quantity of donuts. (I'm in the second round of testing this theory, just to make sure.)
4. Avoid packing a hospital bag, daring labor to start before your toothbrush is in its travel case.
5. Give in and pack a hospital bag, signaling to the baby that he outsmarted you and now he can arrive.
6. Bribe the baby to come out with a bazillion stuffed animals, his own private vibrating swing, and chocolate-flavored breast milk (they can apparently taste what you eat).
7. Grow an enormous baby so he runs out of room in the uterus and is forced to move out.
8. Use reverse psychology. ("I hope you don't come right now, baby, because I am dying to see if Natalie gets kicked off The Pussycat Dolls: Girlicious tonight.")
9. Keep tapping on your tummy in a slow and steady rhythm, hoping to frustrate and annoy the baby enough that he wants to leave.
10. Threaten to name him Gaylord Mortimer if he doesn't start contractions by the count of 10.

Despite the ever-present threat of unannounced labor, DH and I managed to have a relaxing and productive weekend. On Friday we went out for dinner and watched a movie. Saturday morning was not so pleasant -- our third visit to the DMV and we left yet again without plates for DH's car -- but we were able to recover pretty quickly. (The clerk started copping an attitude after a while and I almost reached under the glass to slap her, but DH displayed nerves of steel and saved me from having to deliver Bean in jail. That was close!) On Saturday night I was suddenly overcome by the urge to pack my hospital bag, immediately. DH labeled it "nesting" and attributed it to the nearing of labor, but I labeled it "boredom" and attributed it to the painfully plodding movie we were in the middle of watching: Becoming Jane. Even this chick couldn't handle that flick. Sunday we finished our baby-prep list and spent some time touring model homes in a community we like. We are trying to desensitize ourselves to the outrageous housing prices so that neither of us has a heart attack during the home-buying process (DH actually choked when the realtor asked us what our budget was).

But this week, things start to get really tough. I'm on maternity leave now, so I feel like every day is wasted without the baby. Plus I don't have much to do or anyone to distract me. The dog just follows me around waiting for something to happen. I feel your pain, pooch! Tomorrow I am seeing the OB again, but I don't expect anything interesting to come from the appointment. She said that we won't talk induction until next Monday if/when he's a week late. I'm torn on that because part of me really wants labor to start naturally (I have an aversion to pitocin), but the other part of me wants to get this kid out before he reaches the 14-lb mark.

DH's coworkers are excited for the baby's arrival, which is very nice. However, I do get a kick out of how many of them are young guys that have absolutely no exposure to pregnancy. While chatting with them last Friday, DH got the following two comments:

Coworker #1: "It'd be nice if you had the baby tonight, then you get to play with him the whole weekend before you have to come back to work on Monday morning!"

Coworker #2: "If this is your last weekend before the baby comes, you guys should fly to Hawaii for a mini vacation, just the two of you."

UPDATED: DH just called me on his way home from work, and he shared another funny coworker comment with me.

Coworker #3: "What are you doing here today?"
DH: "What do you mean?"
Coworker #3: "Well, when's your due date?"
DH: "It's today..."
Coworker #3 (with wide eyes): "Shouldn't you be at the hospital?"

I love it!