Saturday, November 17, 2012

Small things

I tell ya, when you're having a shitty week, there is nothing like being a mommy to make everything alright. It really is the little things in life.

Tonight when I got home from work I snuck in to say hi to Robbie.

Robbie: Hi Mom! (seriously when did I become Mom instead of Mommy?)
Me: Hey baby.
Robbie: Can you give me a snuggle?
Me: Absolutely! :crawls into bed next to him:
Robbie: :poking at my collar: I like your shirt!
Me: Thank you!
Robbie: You're welcome.

I got word today that there's a good possibility I'm going to lose my job. (They are cutting two positions at work. I'm lowest in seniority, so that means me.) This comes after being so barfy-sick yesterday that today my abs hurt. Driving home, all I wanted to do was come in and have a good cry. My stomach hurt too bad to even consider a drink. But four sentences from my first-born and I feel like everything is really going to be alright.

It will be.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Apparently Charlotte's birthday gift to me was to sleep through the night!

David had been expressing some frustration about her lack of sleep. He asked me what my friends did to get their babies to sleep longer. I told him that most of my friend's husbands help at night and they had to do it. Since he's never done night duty at all, I was SHOCKED when he said that he'd try it this weekend. He'd taken Monday off for Charlotte's birthday, so he took all night wakings for the last 3 days.

Apparently it worked!

Last night she stirred a few times, but never fussed at all. I heard her get up and turn her mobile on a few times, but other than that, I wouldn't have even known she'd woken at all. It was pretty amazing.

She's woken a few times tonight, but David went in both times before he went to bed. Hoping she'll now make it until morning. Last night I got something like 5 hours of uninterupted sleep. I was ready to save the world today. I've always been a bit of an insomniac, so I can survive on less than the average person, but a year straight of no more than 3 hours at a time gets to a girl.

And with that.. I'm off to bed!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Birth Story

Clearly I'm a failure at this 30 posts in 30 days thing. My excuse is that it's Charlotte's birthday and I was throwing a party. And like any good mother, I show my love in spending way too much time and energy slaving over food and crafts that are destroyed in 1/10 of the time it took to make them. And then I'm happy anyway.

This time last year, I didn't know I was going to have a baby that day. I knew it was coming. My blood pressure was getting crankier and crankier. One doctor would say soon, another doctor would say maybe a little longer. I knew it wouldn't be long, but I didn't realize it would be quite as quick as it was.

Last pregnant picture. 35w 2d
I had been in the hospital on bedrest for about a week. I was feeling a little sorry for myself because I missed my son and my husband and my bed and my TV and my own "stuff." (not necessarily in that order.) But I was also getting used to the hospital a bit. I had made a few friends on the floor, and gotten friendly with a couple of nurses, so at least I wasn't quite as lonely. But I still wanted to go home. Then I'd feel guilty for wanting to go home because I knew I needed to be where I was. I knew going home meant having the baby and I knew we weren't ready for that yet.

It was a Saturday. David had planned to bring his mom and Robbie up to the hospital to visit for a while. Then his mom was going to take Robbie home and we were going to have a date night in the hospital. He'd bring food in and we'd watch a movie together. We had just talked and they were getting ready to head in. I was writing an email to my friend Amy when the high risk doctor came in. Right away he said today was the day. I was in shock. "but.. it goes back down." He gave me a caring but firm explanation that I was getting sicker faster than the baby was getting stronger and it was time. Amy was technically the first person to know because I sent her something to the effect of "oh shit, he says it's time.." and hit send before I even called my husband.

I called David and informed him that our date night would have to be rescheduled. And to get his butt in to the hospital very quickly. I called my dad. Sent a few texts. Made a few posts. And then I found myself wondering what to do with myself until it was time. I didn't know how long I had. It depended when they could schedule me for surgery. I took one last photo of myself pregnant. It's something we never thought to do with Robbie, and I was determined to do better this time. I had about 30 minutes of time by myself, just to think. I was mostly nervous, but also a little excited. I was going to meet my baby that day. I stopped to say a prayer for all of us, talked to the baby for a bit and then just waited.

Last photo as a family of 3
About the time that the family showed up, things got hectic. I needed to be moved from antepartum to labor and delivery. As I'd been living in the hospital for a while, I had a fair amount of stuff, which we quickly packed up so it could be moved. Then I was.

We went down to labor and delivery. We took one last photo of us as a family of three. Then I got my epidural and from that point on, I was pretty woozy.

It didn't take long for me to be wheeled into the operating room. My OB couldn't be there (she later told me that I happened to get scheduled for the one hour that day she couldn't be there. She was disappointed.) but her partner covered and took great care of me. The NICU team was standing by. I don't even remember them starting. I remember thinking it seemed to be taking a long time. Just as the thought passed my mind, the doctor told me they were just cleaning up some scar tissue from Robbie's birth and then they'd go on. It was all skin scarring. She said my uterus looked great.

They shortly told me that it was time to pull the baby out. They told David to get the camera ready and where to stand to get a picture. I remember being aware that the baby was out, but no one was saying anything. Finally, a nurse complained, "Tell us what she has!" and I thought "NO KIDDING!" the doctor laughed and said "It's a girl!" They held her up and David took her very first picture.
First photo

I was in shock. While I called her "she/her" the whole time, I had convinced myself she was a boy. She would have been Elliot James, but instead she was Charlotte Corrina. I breathlessly told David, "We have a daughter!"

Quickly, she was taken over to the NICU team where she was wiped up and suctioned. And then she cried. David and I looked at each other with ridiculous joy. It would be a week before we heard
Robbie cry. It really is the most amazing sound in the world. That was when I started to cry, too.
Upon hearing her cry...

NICU team
They told me she was doing great. They weighed her and wrapped her up and asked David if he wanted to bring her to meet her mommy. He did. I wish I'd have thought to have a nurse take a picture of that moment because it was amazing. Getting to see and touch my baby was a true gift. I got to welcome her to the world and tell her that I loved her and just stare at her while they stitched me up.
5 lbs 2 oz

It took a little while for them to do it. Later they told me that they had to do some extra work because I have (had?) unusually think fascia. They tell me it's genetic and to my benefit that they saw it because I would likely have needed more intense surgery later to hold my guts in. (They put it more delicately, but that's the gist.) At that point, I didn't care. I just wanted to stare at my baby.
On the scale
Finally it was time to go. I needed to spend 2 hours in recovery. Charlotte would go to the nursery for her newborn screenings and such and be brought back to me when I got back to my room. I was wheeled to recovery. I texted the entire world, smiled a lot and got my mag started.

Greedy for my baby girl

They took me back down to labor and delivery since I couldn't go to postpartum while on mag. I was in the smallest hospital room I'd ever seen in my entire life but mostly I didn't care. I had David called to find out when Charlotte could be brought to me and they said they'd be right down.

It was a grand total of about 3 hours after she was born before I got to hold her, but it seemed like nothing. I didn't get to hold Robbie for 5 days, and then only for 30 minutes while nurses hovered.
Holding her for the first time

I asked our families to take Robbie out for a few minutes while David and I spent a little time with Charlotte. As soon as I got her, I stripped her and held her to my chest and just watched her. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever laid eyes on. I couldn't believe such an incredible baby had come out of me. I couldn't believe I had a daughter.

Robbie meeting Charlotte
Then Robbie came to meet her. Robbie was not terribly amused. He'd had a traumatic week with me gone and now this new person taking all the attention. He was well behaved, but did not want to be anywhere near the baby. It was okay, though. It didn't last long. And now he'll tell you she's his best friend. He's definitely hers.

Meeting Grandpa
Finally, our parents came to meet her. It was awesome to see them fall in love with her, too. I felt complete in a way I can't put into words. It was perhaps the happiest day of my life. Robbie's birth was too scary to be described that way. I have no small amount of guilt that his birth is marred by the circumstances, but it's a simple fact. Charlotte's wasn't. She was healthy and happy. She latched to my best immediately and sucked contentedly.
Meeting Grandma

The rest of the night is mostly a blur. I had a round of crazy contractions amplified by pitocin and some other contraction-inducing drugs (needed because of the mag) and a somewhat lackluster nurse, but nothing could take away from the joy of having my baby with me.

I didn't know what the following year would bring, but I knew I was blessed beyond all comparison in those moments. I was truly happy.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Let the terriversaries begin

A year ago today, I was admitted to the hospital. As paranoid and worried as I'd been throughout my pregnancy, I was oddly unworried when my OB sent me to the hospital with my blood pressure at 150/90. I knew I'd just had a meal and it would come back down. And I was right. As soon as I got to the hospital, I was down to 110/70.

They wanted to keep me overnight for observation. My doctor thought I could go home the next day as long as things stayed down. They were checking my blood pressure every 4 hours. At that next check, I was still fine. I knew I was going home that next day. But at the middle of the night check, it was up again, around 160/90. Well shit. Turned out I was there for the duration.

I have mixed feelings about this day. Charlotte's doing so amazingly well, it's not fair to feel much sadness for that time. I've lived through enough prematurity complications with Robbie to know that Charlotte is practically a termie. But when I'm facing yet another terriversary, I can't help but have a few pangs of regret. I really would have liked more kids, but I remember quite well scrambling for childcare for the kid left at home. And how sick I ended up getting. We made the decision to be done for good reasons. Today I am reminded of them.

On the other hand, I also met a lot of amazing people while I was on bed rest. Some of the nurses were amazing. And the other moms on the floor that I got to know a little were awesome. We'd visit a little in a group room. We were a pretty cheerful group most of the time. We were all so glad to be out of our rooms even for an hour, that we were usually happy. But there was one day when my nurse tracked me down for my vitals and of course, my blood pressure was disgustingly high. It really killed the joy in the room. I can remember sobbing "I feel like such a failure." and all the other moms jumping right in to agree that they felt the same way and commiserate.

None of them tried to get me to focus on the positive or dismissed my feelings. No one promised me the baby would be fine when they couldn't possibly know that. They just accepted my feelings and passed me a Kleenex for my tears. Such a small thing, really, but it meant a lot to me. We all rooted for each other and asked after each other and prayed for each other. I wish we had all kept in touch, but sadly I got rushed out unexpectedly (to me!) w/o the opportunity to get their info. I just hope they're all having as good a first year with their babies as I am with Charlotte.

In the end, I don't know that I can sum up my feelings on today. And maybe I shouldn't try. Life is rarely all good or all bad. Sometimes it doesn't have closure or sensible conclusions. It's gray and brown and orange and mixed up. It's good and bad and happy and sad and ending and beginning all at the same time. I think it might just be enough to reflect on the day as a milestone. It was a day that changed our course. We went from hoping for a full term baby to preparing for a less than term one. It was a day we'd feared would come but hoped wouldn't. We got through it. Along the way, we smiled, we laughed, we raged and we cried. Let's face it, it was just a little glimpse of what parenting really is.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Outside myself

Tonight I'm going to ask for prayers for someone I don't know.
Apparently this mom used to be a member of a message board I'm on. A few days ago, doctors discovered a very large tumor in her daughter's brain.

Things have been rough at my house. Money is beyond tight, sleep is nearly non-existent, Robbie's decided his new favorite pastime is pushing his sister down, David and I are sniping at each other over stupid things. But then there are things that make it all fade away. If they foreclose on the house or we never sleep a full night again, it's not important. All I can think of right now is praying for this family. Please join me.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

One Year

Can you believe my baby girl is almost 1?
A year ago this week, I was headed to the hospital with high blood pressure. I was scared to death and praying for more time. This year I'm preparing for a low-key birthday party for my little lady bug.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Robbie doesn't sleep like a normal kid. (Apparently I can not birth children who sleep well.) He goes to bed at 9, but he's almost always still awake when I get home from work just after 10. Usually as soon as he hears me come in, he yells out "Mommy! I need a snuggle!" Who am I to decline such a sweet request? So I go crawl into bed with him for a few minutes. I always ask him how his day was. He never seems to know the answer, so I ask if it was good and he always says it was good. We talk about what he did and who he say and what he learned. Usually it ends with him telling me that his tummy is rumbly and he needs a snack. Always the same- Cheese and Penguin Crackers. He has a piece of cheese and a handful of crackers and then goes to sleep.

Well, tonight, we had the usual routine, but even after his snack, he was still awake for a while. Finally I heard him say "Mommy, I need another snuggle!" so I went in again and laid down next to him. I wasn't planning to say much, just try to soothe him to sleep, but when I laid down, he said "How was my day!?" Even though he doesn't usually answer the question, it still seems to be important that I ask. It really melted my heart tonight. I love that kid.


Friday, November 2, 2012


Okay, so it's November 1 and I'm trying to start my 30 in 30 challenge out right. I'm writing. Truthfully, the only thing on my mind tonight involves fictional characters.

Since Charlotte didn't sleep well (well, still doesn't) as a small baby, I spent a lot of time with her beside me either in the cosleeper or in my bed. She'd sleep okay so long as I was close by, still and quiet. That meant no TV, which is my usual vice. So, instead, I started reading. Last year I challenged myself to read 50 books. This year I set my goal at 30 thinking that with a new baby, I wouldn't have time. Well, I just finished my 64th book of the year. So how 'bout them apples?

The book I finished tonight was the second in a series. The first was Bared to You and the second Reflected In You, by Sylvia Day- The Crossfire Series. Holy crap I'm hooked. I read the every-popular and ever-controversial 50 Shades books earlier in the year. I enjoyed the story and the characters (well, Christian, mostly) but hated the writing (and Ana, a little.) A friend recommended Bared To You as a better option. Boy was she right!

It's one of those books that left me restless. I immediately went to look when the final book is going to be released (not until May :sob:) and then considered rereading the two books I already had. I opted to look into some other books by Sylvia Day so I started a new series tonight. The writing is still good, but I can already tell the story isn't going to be as mesmerizing as The Crossfire Series.

I think a lot of what sucked me into the story is that both of the main characters are abuse survivors. Their journey to each other is ugly and sordid and messy. Both have great flaws. I love that the female character isn't a simpering moron. She has an ugly past, and plenty of insecurities. She has her own career and money, too. You don't find that in a lot of romance novels.

I think that the way their relationship is portrayed, working through their pasts, though, is what is truly unique. Their love doesn't heal everything. But with enough work, they might be able to heal themselves. That speaks to me a lot. And you know, the SERIOUSLY steamy, MIND-BLOWING smut doesn't hurt either.

So, I hate that this turned into one big book review, but that's what's on my mind. I already miss Gideon and Eva. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to saving a vampiric fallen angel. Or something.