Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mother-Daughter Outings

My life now revolves around tiny accomplishments.  Hooray- we got her in her stroller!  Hooray- she waited more than an hour to eat.  Hooray- she pooped eight times today!  Hooray- I managed to find time to shower!

This week I had the biggest tiny accomplishment so far.  I took Madeline out in public by myself!  Eric and I have taken her to the store and to the doctor's and even out to eat once, but besides a quick walk around the neighborhood, I had never been out with her myself.  On Tuesday, I took her to Barnes and Noble to pick up some parenting books I wanted.  The wonderful Ms. Call met us there for a cup of coffee as well.

Before leaving for the store, I had been petrified that something would go wrong.  I imagined not being able to get her car seat out of her stroller and back into the car.  I imagined my car breaking down by the side of the road.  I imagined Madeline screaming bloody murder the entire time we were out.  None of those things happened.  Madeline slept, well, like a baby, and I was able to enjoy a peaceful hour sipping coffee in the cafe.

This tiny accomplishment made me very happy.  I suddenly feel less trapped and more confident in my parenting abilities.  I will not turn into a mole person in our apartment after all!

I know someday Madeline will indeed throw a fit in public, but hopefully by the time that happens, I will be better equipped to handle it.  For now, just the fact that I know how to use her stroller and car seat makes me smile from ear to ear.  And I picture many mother-daughter outings in the future...perhaps to places more glamorous than Barnes and Nobles. (If that's even possible.)

Of course, Madeline cancelled out her good behavior in the store with a refusal to sleep that night.  Throughout the night, I again questioned my parenting abilities.  Maybe the caffeine from the coffee was keeping her awake?  The next morning she slept like a log with a little wicked smile on her face.  I think she wanted to let me know that she's still the one calling the shots.  
Don't get too cocky, Momma.  I still own you.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Weeks

Madeline is two weeks old today, and boy is she growing up fast!

What We Now Know About Madeline:

1.  She's surpassed her birth weight.  As of last Friday, she weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz.
2. She's outgrown her littlest onesies already, but is still too small for the majority of her clothes.
3. She communicates through a series of grunts and growls.  If I didn't know better, I would assume she was being raised by wolves.
4. She always seems so serious.  We've decided that she has an old soul.
5.  Her poops are not as smelly as they used to be.  (Or maybe we're just getting used to it?)
6. She has one good fussy period a day where she can't get comfortable and cries to eat even though she may have just eaten two minutes earlier.
7.  She's a good sleeper (knock on wood.)  She wakes up three times during the night to eat, but then usually goes right back to sleep.
8.  She lost her umbilical cord stump!
9.  She likes to curl up against the side of the bassinet when she's sleeping.  It doesn't matter where we place her, that's where she ends up.
10.  She does not like sponge baths...the jury is still out on air baths.  We haven't tried a bath bath yet.
11.  She's changing before our very eyes.  She looks like a completely different baby than she did two weeks ago.  I guess what everyone says about children growing up so fast is true.

Madeline on her birthday
Madeline two weeks later

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So Long, Belly Bump

It's bizarre to think that if Madeline had come on her due date, I would still just be a fat pregnant lady eagerly counting down the days until October 3.  

And the last nine months?  Well, they kind of feel like they never happened.  My entire pregnancy feels like some long forgotten dream already.  Was it really only two weeks ago that I was peeing into a large orange jug?! Impossible!  It feels like it was years.  

Everything has changed with the flip of a light switch.  Now, I find myself a real mother taking care of a little miniature human who is far more demanding than anyone her size logically should be. 

And while I'm very happy to have my little Madeline, I actually (believe it or not) kinda miss being pregnant.  I won't miss the sausage legs, or the mood swings, or waddling up the hill to my car.  I will miss my big round belly, and feeling her kick, and having the afternoon to daydream by myself.  

Luckily, I took lots of pictures and obsessively wrote on this blog over the past few months, so I will have lots of memories of growing Madeline.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ellis Jane

In the midst of all our joy, I want to also remember our first-born daughter, Ellis Jane, who was born two years ago today.  

I can't believe it's been two years.  We love and miss you, sweet baby girl.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Madeline's Birth Story

(Warning: This post is extremely long.  I tried to edit as much as I could, but there's just soooooo much to say about Madeline's big debut.)

I headed to work with a positive attitude last Tuesday morning.  I had felt terrible all day Monday and had been nervous about the possibility of an induction.  However, after finding out that everything looked absolutely fine at the doctor's, I was mentally preparing myself for three more weeks of pregnancy.  I decided to put on my game face for the remaining time instead of whining about being fat and miserable.  That's why on Tuesday I actually put on a cute outfit instead of just throwing on the first thing I saw that would fit me.  I spent time blow drying my hair, I put on some makeup, and headed to work.

As it turns out, Madeline had plans of her own, and they didn't involve waiting three more weeks.  You can imagine my shock and utter embarrassment, when I walked into Dunkin Donuts only to have my water break in front of God and everybody.   That's right.  I'm one of those women.  I had one of those embarrassing water-breaking moments that all the baby books tell you only happen in Hollywood.  How appropriate for a fat pregnant lady like me to have it happen in Dunkin Donuts of all places...

After I started to realize what was happening, I made a mad dash for the bathroom, but a regular customer called to me that I needed a key.  I made a mad dash for the key, but in my desperation, it took me a few seconds to get the key to work.  By the time I actually made it into the bathroom, it was too late, and I left a giant puddle on the floor.

I considered asking a woman in scrubs sipping her coffee for help, but I guess my fight or flight response took over because I decided to flee out of there faster than any pregnant lady has fled before.  I don't know what the other customers thought, and I hope someone behind the counter decided to clean that mess up.  Needless to say, I will not be going to that Dunkin Donuts ever again.  

At this point, I wasn't having any cramps or contractions so I called Eric and calmly drove myself home.

It was around 7 am when I walked into our apartment, and the doctor's office doesn't open until 8.  Much to Eric's chagrin, I told him we were waiting until the office opened to call.  I wrapped myself in a towel and sat on the bathroom floor.  That was not okay with Eric.  He was ready to get to the hospital NOW.  To make him feel better, I called the doctor.  Eric was right.  The doctor told me to get into the car and get to the hospital because traffic is heavy at that time in the morning.

The contractions started in the car.  They came on quickly and intensely.  I had been against the idea of creating a birth plan on the grounds that I wouldn't know what I wanted to do until I was actually in the moment.  Well, on the way to the hospital I knew what I wanted.  I wanted drugs, and planned on letting the nurses know that as soon as we walked in the door.

Due to traffic, it took us about 40 minutes to get to the hospital.  I timed my contractions, listened to my Birthin Baby playlist, and tried to focus on the beautiful, sunny fall day we were having.

Our nurse was waiting for us at the door when we got there.  (P.S. I'm pretty sure I went to high school with said nurse, but I thought it would be really awkward to say anything to her about it.  I'm assuming she either didn't recognize me, or had the same attitude as I did.  She was great either way.)

Moments Before Madeline's Arrival.
I think the expression in my
eyes is best described as, "Yikes!"
She put me to bed and got me ready for the epidural.  Eric did exactly what the lady in our birthing class told us every man does (and should not do)...he watched the monitor and announced the size and length of the contractions just in case I was curious.  I told him I didn't need to watch the monitor since, you know, I was the one feeling them.

Still, Eric was great.  After all the fear and worries he had in the months leading up to labor, he was a brick during the actual process.  He held my hand, rubbed my neck, and offered words of encouragement.

I'd also like to proudly state that I did not once moo like a cow.  I may have whimpered here and there, but I got through each contraction by breathing deep and focusing on the fact that they wouldn't last forever.  All the positive visualization stuff we had learned about in the birthing class?  It all went out the window.  I didn't even occur to me to try visualizing myself on a beach.  I knew damn well where I was.  

Once I got the epidural, things were pretty uneventful.  I felt better after a few minutes, and it amused Eric that now I was interested in the monitor since I no longer knew when I was having a contraction.  Eric went to get some food while I took a nap.  My parents arrived.  Eric's parents arrived from New York in record speed.  And before I knew it, the nurse was telling me that I was just about ready to have the baby.

The actual pushing part was very quick...only about forty minutes.  The nurse and Eric got me started, and when it was time, the doctor came in to finish the job.  I couldn't feel anything except for a lot of pressure.  I was worried my eyeballs were going to come out of my sockets.  A week later my tailbone is still making it impossible for me to sit on hard surfaces.  

One of our first glimpses of Madeline
Then, there she was.  Little Madeline was thrust on my stomach where she lay very still for a moment before suddenly letting out a weak cry.  Eric was also crying.  I was smiling in disbelief.  (Did we really just have a baby?  We've been waiting for over two years for this! Is this really happening?)

Madeline was crying when they placed her in my arms, but as soon as she heard my voice she stopped, opened her eyes very wide and looked straight at me.  Then she looked at Eric.  After months of hearing us, she was seeing us for the first time.  And after months of feeling her bopping around in there, we were really seeing her for the first time.  There are no's surreal.  

The nurses cleaned her up and oooed and ahhhed over how pretty she is.  One of the nurses commented on her red hair.  "Her hair is red?!" I asked.  When I had been holding her, I thought it was brown.  "Oh yes, it sure is red," the nurse replied.

Because she was three weeks early and her cry was a little weak, the nurses let us know that they would be taking her to the nursery to get her lungs checked out.  They cleaned her up, and handed her to me for a quick cuddle before taking her away.

Eric went with her while I finally got to eat some peanut butter toast. (After all, I never did get my breakfast that morning.)   Luckily, Madeline was fine, and she was returned to me about an hour later where she was greeted by many kisses and cuddles by her mommy, daddy, and grandparents.
Our new little family

Madeline was born in the course of a work day.  My labor started at 7 am when I'm usually arriving at work.  She was born at 1:58 pm.  We get out of school at 2.  She also chose a day when my favorite doctor was working so he was able to deliver her.  We also were in room 6, which is my lucky number.  All good signs that Madeline is going to be a very easy, punctual, obedient child...with a slight flair for the dramatic.  Sure, Dunkin Donuts wasn't great...but if she had waited another hour, it could have happened at work in front of many teenagers, which would have been waaay worse.

Now it's been a whole week since she was born already.  I still feel like I'm living in a surreal fog.  Wow, we're really parents now.  Wow, we're responsible for this little being.  Wow, she's absolutely everything I ever dreamed about.  And I know that we'll tell the story of Dunkin Donuts and Madeline's birth for years and years to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Week

Today Madeline is one week old!

 We've learned how to dress, bathe, and diaper her.  We've learned how to get her wide awake for feedings, and how to soothe her to sleep when she cries.  We've taken her to the doctor, for walks, to the store, and even out to lunch!  

Most of all, we've been getting to know our little girl.

What we now know about Madeline 
  1. She has strawberry red hair.  (Although sometimes it looks more blonde or even brown.) 
  2. She keeps her hands on her face when she's eating.  
  3. She makes little cooing noises and high-pitched squeals. 
  4. She looks like her daddy.  
  5. She has jaundice, but she's getting better. 
  6. She sleeps A LOT...except between midnight and 4 am when she refuses to sleep at all.  
  7. She has blue eyes.  
  8. She likes to go for rides in her car seat.  
  9. No matter how many times you place her on her back, she will end up on her side.  
  10. She makes lots of funny faces.  
  11. She has really smelly poops.  
  12. Two to three times a day she will become very alert and spend a long time looking around the room.  
  13. She does ballet dancer poses where she very gracefully lifts one arm above her head while pointing her toes.  
  14. When you take her out in public, you become an instant celebrity because everyone wants to meet her.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mommy's Little Pumpkin

On second thought...maybe Madeline is a plant after all.  Maybe she's a pumpkin.  Our poor little girl has a pumpkin-y complexion today because she's jaundiced. (Very common in babies so I've been told.  I was jaundiced when I was born too.)

We've been going to have her bilirubins tested everyday.  Sadly, the levels have gone up instead of down since we've been home.  The pediatrician told us we don't have anything to worry about at this point, but we're just watching it to make sure.

In the meantime, what were doctor's orders?

Keep her well hydrated, take her out into the sunlight twice a day, and leave her in the window as much as possible.  

Aren't those the same directions for taking care of a plant?

So, currently Madeline is soaking up the rays from her car seat, which we have strategically placed in the window.  Good thing we have big windows.  Also, good thing she likes to sleep in her car seat so much.

Fruit of The Womb

Sorry, I didn't update my fruit status last Tuesday as I've been doing every Tuesday since I started this blog, but...

I was busy having a baby!

And she wasn't a Swiss chard, or a watermelon, or even a cantaloupe.

She was a baby!  

And she's all ours! 

Madeline Lee 

1:58 pm
7 lbs 20 inches

P.S. A ridiculous amount of adorable photos to follow shortly....somewhere between feedings, poopings, and cryings.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keep on Keeping On

Blood pressure = good

Feet = not so swollen

Urine = protein free!

Hoo-ray!  Baby gets to sit and chill in there a bit longer!  Just three more weeks :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

36 Weeks

My mom pointed out that my last two entries have had to do with toilets and pee, so I better cool it with the bodily fluids for awhile.  

How far along? 36 weeks and 6 days 

Total weight gain/loss: Going by my last checkup, 34....ouch 

Stretch marks? Still just on my legs.   

Sleep: Sleep has been better the last few days.  I think the cooler weather and the fact that I'm back to work both help with that. 

Best moment this week: Listening to her little heartbeat during my nonstress tests.

Movement: She's been quiet again the past few days. She must be getting crowded in there, but she's still bopping along. 

Food cravings: Apples.  It must be fall!   

Labor Signs: Slight cramping now and again, and without getting into TMI, there have been some other things as well.  She's gearing up! 

Belly Button in or out? What belly button?  It no longer exists. 

What I miss: Buying new, fashionable back-to-school clothes.  Someday I'll have a waist again......someday.   

What I am looking forward to: My doctor's appointments this week.  I want to know the results of my pee test, and I want to discuss labor options.  

Weekly Wisdom: Drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water.

Milestones: Reaching 37 weeks.  As of tomorrow, baby will officially be full term.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baby and Me and a Bucket of Pee!

As it turns out, nonstress tests are only not stressful when they don't find anything wrong with you.

I had my second nonstress test today, and baby is doing well.  She was quieter today than on Monday, but she still passed with flying colors.  (Hoo-ray)

But...the nurse once again eyed my swollen feet and legs very suspiciously.  (Probably because they look something like this only fatter.)  

She even poked them a few times. I think she was making sure I'm not some weird crossbreed of a hobbit and Ms. Piggy. My swollen feet didn't really concern me because they were a little bloated even before I got pregnant, and I had just come from work.  My blood pressure was also a little high...but again, I had just come from work, and you know, kids...*sigh.*  The kicker though was that I had protein in my urine, which has not happened before and cannot be blamed on work.  

All these things (particularly the protein) are signs of preeclampsia, so they decided to investigate further.  Which is great fun because it means.....

That I get to spend 24 hours peeing into a giant orange jug!

Don't worry, the jug was still pee free at time of photo.
When the nurse first explained what I have to do, I had visions of trying to secretly carry my pee bucket to the lady's room during work tomorrow without scarring any children for life.  Then she told me I have to keep it on ice and in the refrigerator.  What's more horrifying than a pee bucket under my desk?  A pee bucket in the staff refrigerator of course!   

Which means I'm staying home from work tomorrow.  Now the children won't learn anything all because I have to spend my day peeing in a stupid bucket.  

On the way home from the hospital, Eric and I started wondering if our baby might end up being a September baby instead of an October baby.  Maybe it was the way the nurse asked if we'd had an induction scheduled yet.  (Yet?!)  Maybe it's because we've become used to the fact that our doctor is very cautious, (which I love, p.s.) and since I'm only a few days from 37 weeks, he might decide it's time to get the baby out.  Whatever the reason....we both started to feel that baby may be here sooner than we anticipated.  

Baby could be here a week from now.  Or, she could be here a month from now.  Who knows?  I guess we'll just have to wait until I've filled that pee bucket with glorious protein-fueled urine to be sure. 

In the meantime, I think I may spend tomorrow packing a bag for the hospital and washing the rest of baby's things...just in case.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Precious Toilet Memories

      When I was born, my mom read a book called, Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.  Apparently Dr. Brazelton was like the baby-expert version of Dr. Oz but without Oprah as a backer.

It was published in 1969, so reading it in 2010 was interesting.  I think most of the information is still valid today, but obviously a lot has changed as well.  For example, it talks a lot about dads being kept out of the delivery room, recommends babies sleep on their stomachs, advises against swaddling, and mentions mothers driving with the babies in their laps on the way home from the hospital.

The best thing about this book, however, is that my mother wrote notes in the margins about me as she read it.  I now have a detailed account of the first year of my life.  

So, what was I like as a baby?  Not too different than what I'm like as an adult interestingly enough!

As you can see from my mom's writing, I apparently hated being dressed and had a bad temper.  Sound familiar?

There's a lot of information about my eating habits since, really, that's all babies do for much of their first year.  I still grunt when I see food.  I still enjoy sucking on a good turkey leg.  I still cry if you try to take the bottle out of my mouth.  Do you blame me?

Perhaps one of the most precious gems left over from my first year is the fact that I just loved hanging out behind the toilet.  There's also mention of me going through the garbage and tormenting the poor dog by pulling his ears and refusing to give him my food.  I was apparently the baby version of Oscar the Grouch.  

There are also things written that make me go "Awww," and get all mushy inside.  My first words are recorded.  My mom wrote about how much I liked to cuddle and give wet kisses and play peek-a-boo with my father.  I was also happy and smiley in the mornings...that HAS changed.  

I'm so happy my mom saved this book for the past thirty years.  As I prepare to have a child of my own, it's nice to reflect on what my own baby experiences were.  

Be assured that I will be doing the same thing for baby girl so that thirty years from now she can laugh at how she'd torment the asthmatic cat and get a detailed account of her early bowel movements.  That kind of stuff is priceless.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Maybe We Should Name Her Melony

It's week 36, and baby is currently the size of a...

Crenshaw Melon!

Meanwhile, I am the size of...

The world's largest Hershey's Kiss!  

*** P.S. More info regarding the mysterious Crenshaw Melon complete with inspirational Bible quote.  You're welcome.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Non-stress Tests Rock...

And, just as the name suggests, they are, in fact, not stressful at all.  

Let's face it, I've been a bit of an anxious pregnant lady.  I've had many sleepless nights; I've spent many hours counting kicks.  (Although counting kicks doesn't seem to be necessary these days since baby seems determined to kick straight through my ribcage!)  So, if I could get one of those machines in our house, I totally would because it. was. awesome. 

Hearing baby's heartbeat echoing around the room for so long...listening to it quicken and then slow...was amazing.  Plus, we were able to see it on the monitors at the same time.  Every time I felt her move, I could see the line sharply rise then fall where it continued to beat steadily along.  It was so peaceful and reassuring that I think I went into a semi-hypnotized state.  I didn't even get to read the tempting pile of O Magazines they had sitting next to the bed...and we all know how much I love The Oprah.

This morning when we first checked into Labor and Delivery, we were greeted by a nurse who worked with us while we were there with Ellis.  She remembered us in detail which I was kind of surprised about.  After all, they see a lot of people coming through those doors.  She was wonderful.  All the nurses there are wonderful.  We're going to be well taken care of when baby comes.  

I was instructed to lounge on a bed, the nurse tied some straps around my belly, Eric pulled my shoes off, and I made myself comfortable.  She explained what they were looking for and showed us how to read the monitors.  Baby's heart rate started at about 142, and they were checking to see if it rose appropriately with her movements.  In theory, the baby's heart rate should go up to around 160, or at least 15 beats higher than the resting rate, every time she moves.  

After about half an hour of monitoring, the nurse returned and explained everything to us once more.  She pointed out some black dashes that had appeared on the screen and explained that each black dash showed when baby had moved.  There were A LOT of black dashes.  (The strategic stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way obviously paid off.)  I hadn't felt her move as many times as she actually had.  It's pretty amazing to know she's in there bopping around without me even knowing it.  I hope she's not throwing any parties in there without my knowledge.....

I'm sure it will be a drag going to Concord after work two nights a week, but at the same time, I'm a bit excited to be able to do this.  It gives me some one on one time with the babes, and it's so reassuring knowing that she's okay.  You and me baby, we've got a date every Monday and Thursday afternoon...get your dance moves going!    

(A not so attractive photo of me getting non-stressed.) 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

35 Weeks

We've started the final countdown folks because there's only one month left until our little baby is here at last!  I'm really, really, REALLY excited, and trying to not be impatient.  I just want to chill and enjoy the last month as much as it's possible for a swollen pregnant lady to enjoy her last month of pregnancy.

School started back up this week.  I was anxious to meet the kids and get going again.  It's funny how I'm always so ready for summer vacation, (and even the long weekend we're having already...nice!) but once I get back in the classroom, I'm generally very happy to be there.  It's good to know that I still like my job.

The next month of working, however?  It's going to be rough on my body.  By the end of the day on Monday, I told Eric that I was so tired I thought I was going to throw up.  By the end of the week, my feet and ankles had swollen beyond recognition.  Really, all my jokes about having cankles in the past?  HA.  I didn't know what cankles even were until now.

I had a doctor's appointment after school on Thursday.  The nurse said I was dehydrated, my blood pressure was high, and eyed my swollen limbs with a frown.  I explained to her that I had just started work again after a long break.  She gave me brisk advice to go home, put my feet way up, and drink lots of ice water.....done and done!  That's pretty much what I've been spending my weekend doing so far.

I only met with the doctor for a few brief minutes.  He did my Group B streptococcus screening and listened to baby's heartbeat.  He also told me that they're going to have me go in for nonstress tests twice a week for the rest of my pregnancy.  That's in addition to the three regular checkups I have left.

As my mom pointed out, isn't getting to this nonstress test going to stress me out?  Yes, mom, it probably will.  Still, I also continue to be glad that the doctors are covering all possible bases for me.  Getting to the hospital two or three times a week after work = stress.  Knowing for sure that baby's okay = not stressed.  The stress levels will balance out.  Plus, you just lie there and listen to baby's heartbeat and feel her moving around for twenty to forty bad can that be?  I can use that time to practice my deep breathing techniques that I learned in baby boot camp and have forgotten already.

Meanwhile, the rest of the long weekend will be spent doing small errands and getting everything ready for baby.  Because?  She'll be here before we know it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Havin Chewy's Baby, What a Wonderful Way to Say You Love Me....

I found a fun website this morning called  It allows you to upload pictures and morph them into one face- either a child or an adult.  There's also a database of celebrities you can play with.  Let me tell you....hours of fun!  (Although I'm pretty sure they just give you random pictures of babies because I don't see how these babies really look like the adult versions at all.)

Anyhow, based on these two pictures of us, this is what baby is supposed to look like:

However, if I were to have a baby with Chewbacca, our baby would look like this:

And, if Eric were to have a baby with Oprah, their baby would look like this:

I don't recommend that you morph adult versions of yourselves though because you'll end up getting something like this:

This is absolutely horrifying, and makes me worry for the future of our child.   Baby girl will definitely be prettier than both her parents!

P.S. My due date is one month from today!  (Insert high-pitched squeal here!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Work

A pair of shoes, pants, a gigantic bra, and a Bella Band on the floor by the door.

In some houses, this would signal that someone's about to have a really good afternoon.

In our house, it just means Summer is home from work!