Monday, November 21, 2011

Five Months in Five Paragraphs

Samuel Lenox turned five months on the 18th. He's teething something terrible, and the only relief he can manage is gnawing on his own fist or nursing. The acid reflux is much better, and we've stopped giving him the meds for that. He's rolling over, grabbing things, pre-crawling, babbling (especially when he's in pain from the teething). He loves to smile at his parents and big sister, and nearly anyone who will smile at him. Samuel and his father were baptized together on August 21. It was a special day- he looked adorable in his too large all-white tuxedo. His dad wore a handsome suit that fit!

We had vacation at the end of August, and had a flurry of doctors' appointments before we were to leave August 27. SL's pediatrician was concerned about the sound of his breathing, and the concavity of his chest when he breathed. We braced ourselves for a visit at CHOP, and very relieved to learn the cause: tracheomalacia. The cartilage in his trachea is not rigid, and he sounds like Darth Vader when he breathes. He should outgrow it by 2 years. Click here for more information.

Our Maine vacation was cut short at the beginning and the end. Hurricane Irene delayed our leaving Philadelphia from Saturday to Monday, and prevented us from going to camp until Thursday, when power was restored. In the meantime, our friends JD and Lisa played gracious hosts to our toddler and newborn; our friends with their toddler, Eli, and his five year old cousin, Noah; and our friend, Ellie. It was great seeing everyone, meeting Lisa for the first time, and seeing a very pregnant Hil!

We were thrilled to finally get to camp Thursday. Our excitement was brief; Friday morning I checked my messages and discovered my mom, who lives in Brooklyn, had been rushed to the hospital Thursday, September 1. She'd had a stroke. Mom insisted that my family not cut our vacation short. We made our apologizes and everyone at Family Camp sent us off on Friday with their love and best wishes for my mom. I'm pleased to report she is recovering. Her speech and memory were not affected, and she's doing physical and occupational therapy to regain the use of her left hand and leg.

Tallu and SL have been travelling with me since September to visit my mom and help take care of business as she convalesces. God bless the resilience of little children, because their mom is doing everything she can to keep their lives normal during this upheaval. They've visited her in hospital rooms and now the nursing home, much to the chagrin of strangers, nurses, and security guards. I've had to take them with me because I cannot afford a sitter, and Samuel is nursing, so I don't want him far from me. They've been a bright spot in a tough time for their grandmother. They've only caught the common cold, thanks to the change in weather. The combination of being a mother of two children and caretaker to a parent have left precious little time to update the blog the way I did when SL was Tallu's age. There's so much more to write, and I'll make sure to find the time to keep up with number 2 as I did with number 1.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worst Day Ever

I'm about to tell you all about THE worst day I've ever had as a parent. I think I've let so much time pass because, for a while, I couldn't think of the incident without crying.

My husband woke up in the middle of the night to find me gone from our bed, and scoured the house looking for me. He was dressed and ready to leave our sleeping child alone in the house to look for me, only to find me whimpering in a corner in our basement. I told him what happened that day.

Tallu is pulling the books off the shelf after I had just cleaned her room. I tell her to put the books back on the shelf or I'm taking the shelf out of the room. She continues to take the books off; I get up and push the bookshelf into the hallway. She starts crying, and that makes me angrier. So I threaten that if she doesn't stop crying I'm taking the kitchen from her room. She starts crying harder. I grab the kitchen and shove it into the hallway, yelling at her all the while.

Then I stop.

I hear my daughter bawling, begging me to stop taking her stuff.

I look in the hallway at the mess I'd made of her stuff, and of her. I go back into her room, sit on her bed and start wailing, head in my hands. She's still bawling, only now she's saying "Stop crying, mommy, please stop crying!" I'm sobbing "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." I'd completely lost control, because her tiny fingers couldn't put the books back on the shelf in the anal-retentive way I'd organized them. Because she's playing with the bookshelf like it's a toy. It's on the wall across from her bed. It's the focal point of her room; of course, she's going to play with it! If I put the kitchen in that space, she'd play with it all the time! D'uh, Mom! I wipe my tears, and bring everything back into the room. Only this time I put the toy kitchen on the wall facing her bed, and put the books on the bookshelf haphazardly, in the space where the kitchen used to be.

It was a horrible experience for both of us, one that Tallu still recalls on occasion. "Remember when you threw all my stuff out of my room, and you were crying and I was crying?" she'll sometimes ask. "Yes," I say, "I remember." It still hurts that she remembers and recalls it, even a year later.

What did I learn that day? I learned that my child was two, and she didn't give a damn if the books were arranged in size order or alphabetically. I realized she would play with the kitchen more if it were in her line of sight. I learned that if I put the books on the shelf in a way she could take the books on and off the shelf easily, she would. I discovered that I didn't need to keep her room neat all alone, she could help me. I thought to myself as I stacked the books on their sides on each shelf. "I don't care how she puts the books on the shelf, as long as she puts the books on the shelf, I'm cool with that," I told myself that day. I continue to tell myself when she does something I find annoying that I am the adult, and I must be in control of my emotions and responses, so that I can model healthy behavior for my daughter (and now my son, as well).

What's New with Tallu

In this issue:
Potty Trained!
Big Sister-hood

The Great Chop
So Angry, She Could Spit

I took this pic of Tallu the morning I was in labor with her brother. Since this pic, she's become an older sister, slept in a berth on a train trip to South Carolina, fell and hit her head on the ground near a pool (she was fine, no need for a hospital visit), fell and split open her chin (five stitches!), and been trapped in the house when not traveling with her family because it's been too damned hot outside.

Tallu is out of diapers and diaper-like underwear! I forget exactly when this happened, but it was before her brother arrived. Her dad and I were hesitant about letting her sleep with no overnight diaper, but we figured it was safe when she was consistently waking up dry. My mom suggested stopping her from drinking at a certain time, but I've found that if she goes to the potty before bed that's enough. Of course there have been accidents, but that's par for the course. I'm just grateful she was finished the diaper thing before her bro came, with no regression phase after his arrival.

Their grandmaman brought Tallu home the Monday after Sam was born and witnessed their meeting. She was very surprised when Sam turned his head at the sound of his sister's voice. Tallu talked to him inside my belly all the time, so it was no surprise to me that he'd respond that way.

Tallu's adjusting very well to having another child in the house. Sam hasn't interrupted her life much more than he did while he was in utero. She was trapped in the house because I was pregnant in the winter, and she's trapped in the house now because it's too hot for either of them to be out this summer. They are not sharing a bedroom, and her bedtime rituals are unchanged. Tallu is allowed to touch her brother, although I wish she would touch him less, and she is rather affectionate toward him. Sam, in return, smiles at her, coos at her, and focuses on her when she is near him.

Tallu also got a haircut, which was so very necessary with this heat. I took her to my stylist a few days after she became a big sister. She loved every minute of it! She got her hair washed in the back by Ursula, who ushered her back to the front to Shelley's chair. Tallu was grinining from ear to ear every time she looked in the mirror. It's a short bob, and it makes her look like big girl. She has another appointment scheduled at the end of September.


No update would be balanced without some misbehavior, right? Tallu has this habit of spitting when she's really angry if she's received the answer 'no'. There's no distance, just a foaming at the mouth and letting it fall to the ground in my general direction. When it happens, I send her to her room to go to sleep or calm down and something is taken away for the day. I'm sure there are many of you out there who are shaking your heads at what sounds like a very casual response to rude behavior.

Here's my thinking: she will do it more often if I get all riled up with her. I have to be the grown-up and respond appropriately. She's usually super-tired when she does it, so the way to adjust the attitude is to go to sleep. She'll wake up refreshed, or she will have time to calm down. We talk about not spitting again, and spitting at me is not the way to make me change my mind about something. Then we move on. It's a rare occurance, but I have to remember she's immature. She doesn't get what I've said no to anyway, so isn't that the greater victory?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Right on Time

Here is Tallu's baby brother, otherwise known as Samuel Lenox Green Hull.

Now that two months have passed since his birth, which happened on June 18th, 2011, let me tell you what happened.

Friday the 17th I decided that I needed a belly cast kit, and Tallu's big sister gift from Samuel, and Samuel's welcome gift from Tallu. So the family went shopping, then had dinner at a fast food restaurant. We got home, put Tallu to bed, then my husband and I got to work on the belly cast. I think we finished some time after midnight, got washed up and went to bed.

I awoke at 7:19am Saturday morning with menstrual cramps. I waited a little while before telling my husband, just to be sure. Around 9 am I called my mother-in-law to let her know the day had come. Tallu was supposed to go to a neighbor's birthday party and then Sesame Place with a friend, but she had to skip the birthday party. My husband caught our neighbor and his family before they left for the party site to make our apologies and to give the gift. I was in early labor when my MIL arrived, and we chatted for a while. We gave Tallu big hugs and told her to have a great weekend, and we'd introduce her to her baby brother when she came home!

I spent the rest of the day laboring at home. My husband timed contractions, I walked around, sat on my exercise ball, and did lots of deep breathing. My instructions were to call when contractions were two to three minutes apart, lasting a minute OR when my water broke. I called before either of these thing happened, because I was anxious to get to the birth center and take my antibiotics and labor there. I also talked to my doula friend and texted her while she was at a fair in New Mexico. She warned me that my water could not break until minutes before birth, as hers did.

Let's go back to the antibiotics. I tested positive for Group B strep, which is harmless to mom but dangerous and potentially fatal to baby. Baby is exposed to the strep bacterium as he comes out of the birth canal into the world. The laboring mother takes antibiotics to protect the baby. So, my labor's progressing steadily, though erractically, but I'm not meeting either requirement. I don't care though, because I know I need the antibiotics, so I call around 3pm. The midwife says to call when the pattern is better established. Husband and I time contractions and wait. At one point I did say aloud "Maybe we should just go to the hospital." But I waited it out because I really wanted to give birth in the birth center.

Finally at 5pm I call back. The contractions are not as close as they want but I'm feeling ready. Midwife says she and the nurse will meet us at the center at 7pm. *Sigh* I keep on the ball, breathing and living through the contractions. By the time we get in the car at 6:30, I'm singing "Wait, baby, please wait!" through strong contractions. I really felt as though I could have had the baby in the car. The midwife, nurse, and we were all driving from Mt. Airy to Huntingdon Valley to get to the birth center. The nurse arrived first, then us. We greet each other at the door, but the nurse doesn't have the key to the building, and the midwife is on her way. Luckily, another door was open, and we three were able to get in a few minutes later.

I get the IV after a contraction, and when the midwife arrives she washes her hands and checks me; seven centimeters dialated. I'm laying in bed but the contractions are too strong, so I ask to get in the tub. I didn't stay in long, but it felf good while I was there. I had to get out because with each contraction I felt like I needed to push. The midwife checked me again once I dried off, and I was 10 centimeters. It's 8pm, and I'm ready to push. My water hasn't broken, by the way.

My options at this point are to push and hope the pressure of the baby's head will rupture the sac, or the midwife can break it for me. I felt like pushing anyway so I opted to give it a try. That push did the trick. My next few pushes were, in hindsight, pretty weak. My husband says the nurse said something about a vacuum or going to the hospital, and the midwife said that the baby's heartrate was slowing as I was pushing. She felt inside and said he was hiding behind my pelvic bone, and that he needed to come out now.

My problem was that I couldn't see him in my mind's eye, so I couldn't focus on moving him out. Once she said he needed to come out, now, I focused on pushing out a baby that I couldn't see. I know it doesn't make any sense, but with Tallu I could see her in there, so I could focus my energy on moving her down and out. This time I had to push and pray I was working hard enough. On that last push I remember screaming "Help me, I need help!" because I didn't understand what I needed to do. But help came, and so did Samuel Lenox, at 8:26pm.

The nurse weighed him and measured him. 6lbs, 8 oz, 20in. The midwife checked me. An ugly tear that needed to be stitched. It took some convincing, but I laid kinda still for it. My husband made me a ham and cheese sandwich, I had some apple juice, fruit salad, and laid in bed to relish the sight of my son in my husband's arms.

The nurse checked Samuel and me every hour until 12:30am. Then we packed up and went back home, four hours after the final push. It was a little strange, but also wonderful to drive home that night with our tiny baby to spend our first night together in our home. The pic at the left of the entry was taken on June 19 in our bed. We were able to spend time alone, the three of us, until Tallu came home Monday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"In an auspicious hour"

A friend was kind enough to drive from South Philly with two boxes of cupcakes, a gift each for CharlieGuy and Tallu, and some welcomed company for my kid in the form of her four year old son. She blessed me with the words "B'Sha'ah Tovah," a traditional blessing to pregnant women in Hebrew, which means "in a good or auspicious hour." It has been a calming thought and a simple prayer since I learned the phrase Friday.

It has also helped me to talk to my doula, who is in NM and is coming back to Philly two days before my estimated due date. I wrote a quick note on her Facebook wall late Friday night: "I am silently freaking out. Talk me down :-D" She called me that night (which was 1 AM my time), and left me a message. Hearing her voice calmed me, and chatting on Facebook Sunday felt good, too. I told her I thought her next godchild was waiting until she's in town to emerge. We'd both love for that to happen, though if I were rich I would buy her a plane ticket out here now! She did say she would understand if he couldn't hold out another week.

We are anxious for the birth mainly because of the impending family vacation that happens two weeks after my estimated due date. My husband's siblings and their families will converge upon Hilton Head, and I don't want him or Tallu (or myself!) to miss seeing everyone all together. However, the longer CharlieGuy stays inside, the better it is for his health.

"Not my will, but Thy will be done." "B'sha'ah Tovah" This baby will come when the time is best. We will work together in that transition whenever it happens, and then I won't be pregnant anymore! I won't be able to sleep on my stomach for a while, but I will no longer wish for a forklift to help me in and out of bed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No, THIS is the most pregnant I've ever been!

I am typing this post from my bedroom as I sit on a blue exercise ball, feeling queasy and uncomfortable as I tend to these days. At the stroke of midnight I will be 39 weeks pregnant. I have survived two mini-heatwaves, a tumorversary party, and the Odunde festival without going into labor.

My husband has been a force of nature in this house, painting our living room, putting up pictures, moving books and bookshelves from what will be the nursery down to the living room (with the help of our neighbor/friend), and restoring the walk-in laundry basket to a large bedroom. We've bought some clothes for CharlieGuy at yard sales, and received some in the mail from our pals in Seattle. I've washed the new stuff, and old things like the baby car seat, the swing cover, and the seat to the activity center. I guess this is the nesting phase people talk about, which I totally missed last go-round. Our bags are not packed for the birth center, but Tallu and CharlieGuy's car seats are in the car.

Last Wednesday was my 38 week appointment. I found out that my iron level is normal, but I have tested positive for Group B strep. Group B strep lives on the body in the gastrointestinal, genital, or urinary tracts. I just happen to be colonized right now (carrying the bacteria). I'm not sick, but during the pushing phase the baby could be exposed to Group B strep, which could lead to a blood infection or meningitis. Odds are that won't happen, but as a precaution the midwife will give me antibiotics while I am in labor, same as she did when I gave birth to Tallu.

My instructions are to call the birth center when I have had strong contractions four to five minutes apart for an hour, OR if my water breaks, whichever comes first. If my water breaks the midwife wants to give me the antibiotics as soon as possible. [I just looked at the clock, and it's 12:01AM- Happy 39th week of gestation :-D]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just Venting

It is impossible for me to get everything I need to get done these days, and I'm only going to feel like even more of a failure when number #2 gets here. My bedroom floor has looked like a dirty clothes hamper for months, and up until last month, the downstairs violated several health codes. I need staff and the aid of modern technology to improve the quality of my life and to affect the illusion of my being a dilligent housewife and attentive, loving, stay at home mother of two children.

Staff means putting Tallu in daycare come September, and having a sitter this summer so she can have someone to play with and pay attention to her while I play nursemaid, get some sleep, and find the strength and time to do laundry and house cleaning for her, her father, her brother, and her mother. Staff also means a housecleaner come once a month to mop and dust. The aid of modern technology includes a dishwasher, a washing machine and dryer, and extra storage throughout the house.

It is no small miracle that I've survived the past three years of domesticity without the amenities I seek. I recognize that there are mothers and fathers who are in my shoes, and don't complain, just do what needs to be done, and would spit in my face for my whining. There are answers to my problems. They won't come in the form I imagine them, is all.

36 weeks, 5 days

This is the most pregnant I have ever been...

I went in for my 36 week appointment on Wednesday and immediately told my midwife about my waking up on Monday and crying about the labor and delivery. She reassured me that nothing is wrong with me, and that she had the same fear when it came time for her to give birth to her second child. The second time can be rattling because you've been through this before and you (generally) know what's going to happen. She also compared the fear women have of their role in labor to leading horses into a trailer. A horse is afraid to be led into a dark, cramped trailer because there is no escape. A woman feels trapped by the pain, and the realization that there is no escape from giving birth. Horses play games with each other, one of which is a comfort game, where they stroke each other. My midwife suggested I talk about my anxiety when it arises, which will help comfort me. My husband did a good job of that Monday morning, reminding me of what a good job I did during Tallu's birth, and letting me cry at 6:30 in the morning.

Besides the impending birth, baby's heart rate is fine, my blood pressure is fine, my weight is up to 153 lbs. We also did the Group B strep test and an iron leven test. Before I left the office, my midwife asked if I wanted an internal exam. I admitted I did, thinking it would put me at ease to know what's happening. As of Wednesday, I was 1 cm dilated, and 50% effaced. Once again, this is no indication of when I will go into labor. My next appointment is June 8 (38 weeks).

Several women have looked at me and said I'm not going to make it to my due date. I accept that. My prayer is that I make it to June 8, because the other midwife will have returned from her maternity leave, and the head midwife will have returned from a conference. But I can't get comfortable in bed or sitting. I fatigue much more easily (I get sleepy when I eat a handful of nuts!). Basically, I'm minimizing movement because I am afraid to go into labor before the beginning of June. I want to make it to the birth center.

We also have back-up help in case my MIL is unavailable when it's time. I've salvaged some clothes that are gender-neutral for new baby from Tallu's old clothes, but that's all I've done in the bringing home baby prep. The bedroom is still a mess, the study has yet to be converted to a nursery for Tallu and her brother, we have to schedule Tallu's wellness appt at her pediatrician, and find out if they are taking new patients (a doctor left the practice a few months ago). So, as my husband says, we are just as prepared for number two's arrival as we were for number one's!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 33 Appointment

I figured I should start asking questions, since the event is fast approaching, so I asked Tallu and her dad to come in to the exam with me. We all met with Barb, heard the baby's heartbeat, determined where the baby's different body parts are (his head is still down to the right), and that we are going with the original estimated due date of june 23 for calculations. Barb said the date determined by the ultrasound can be two days ahead or behind, so it's best to go with the date of the last period.

How do I prepare Tallu for her brother's birth at the birth center?
What are the labor and delivery procedures for water birth here?

Go to Youtube and show her some clips of mammal births. Also, use her reaction to seeing me in pain to gauge how she may respond to seeing or hearing me in labor. There are books that show illustrations of women having babies that I may want to show Tallu as well. She told us quite a few stories about children as young as Tallu being helpful during labor and delivery, some being even more calm than the grown-ups!

Labor in the water is great. If I am laboring in the tub and the baby's arrival is fast approaching, I won't have to get out of the tub. What you don't see in a lot of water birthing clips is how icky the water can get (blood, mucus, poop, pee), which is not something anyone, midwife, mother or baby, want to be sitting in. Plus the tub is a spa tub, not truly large enough for multiple people and access to the vagina isn't the best. If I'm going to be flailing about during labor, being in the water may not be safe for me- I'd need to be a calm, composed person in the tub.

I said to Barb that in the perfect world I'd like to have the baby in the water, but am not attached to the idea. Looking back, what I expected from a water birth was serenity, not much pain, and a positive labor experience that didn't end in a C-section. I had a peaceful birth experience with Tallu without the water. Having completely missed the birth center experience because I went into labor at 36 weeks, my goal is just to get into the birthing room!

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Other News...

My 32 week appointment was rescheduled for this Wednesday because there was a birth at the birthing center last Thursday.

Saturday my in-laws came to hang out in the city with us, and we all had a grand old time, as we tend to do! Tallu's grandmaman has given us her schedule for the this month and next, in preparation for the main event. My mom asked me if I have an alternate, just in case. Right now the answer is no...

One of my husband's clients asked me if I had plans for if I go into labor while my husband is at work? Ummm...

I got nothing.

I should be researching cab companies and prices to get the birthing center. Although it's only 7.5 miles from our house, I imagine it will cost $40-50 get there, since it's beyond the city limits. I would also need a chaperone for Tallu, since she needs one at the birth center. So I should have someone who lives closer to be that person, in case I go into labor alone, my husband is doing fieldwork, and my MIL has a township meeting that runs ridiculously late. I pray I will have the luck I had with Tallu on the day of her birth!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's Our Anniversary (almost)

Tallu has been weaned since I think April 19, 2010. I am amazed that, a year later, she is still emotionally attached to my boobies. If she catches a glimpse of them, she's giddy. Sometimes she'll realize how close she is to them if she's sitting on my lap or if I'm holding her on my hip and she will start to rub them. If I were to ask her today: "Do you want some milkies?" she would rip my shirt off and latch on like she hadn't been fed in months! There have been a few days where she's asked me: "Can I have milk from your milkies?"

I have explained to her several times that, when her baby brother comes home, he will have milkies because he's a baby. The same way she had milkies when she was a baby. Now that she's a big kid, she gets to eat food and drink milk from a cup(strawberry milk, even!)That makes her feel good, for now.

I wonder when we're home and I'm nursing #2, how will Tallu react? I don't think I should have to hide nursing time from her, but I also don't want her to feel abandoned. If he's anything like his sister, he'll be a little boobaholic, too! I have no answers, and I don't expect you readers out there to have hints and suggestions on this situation, although that would be so helpful to me...

Week 30 Visit, or, "Freak Out!"

The good news is that the baby's heartbeat is steady. My fundus is measuring within the normal range, and I've only gained about nine pounds during this pregnancy. Unfortunately I was twenty pounds more than I should weigh when I became pregnant, but that's my problem. How much do I weigh, you may wonder? *sigh* 149 lbs. I know it's not really any of your business, but if I see the number it may motivate me post-partum to return to a weight more manageable for my 5'2" frame to carry.

So why am I freaking out? My regular midwife is currently on maternity leave, so I am now seeing Barb, the head of the practice. She asks if I have any questions, so I mention to her that we have a family vacation scheduled for July 8.

She winces, then asks for my due date. I tell her, and Barb gets out the wheel of fortune, that little disk that estimates due dates. The concern, she continues, is that the latest I could give birth is July 7 (at 42 weeks). Also, if the baby comes right on schedule, I'd be only two weeks post-partum. This is the riskiest time for a woman in terms of bleeding and complications. Plus, I'd be riding a commercial train with a two week old baby, exposing him to all kinds of germs. Barb says she'd feel more comfortable with me having the baby a month earlier for both our sakes. She mentioned induction, but would not want to do it for convenience's sake.

I recognize that I have absolutely no control over when this child comes, unless I want to schedule an induction, which I don't. I told my husband's mom that I will plan a fake baby shower, so this baby will come out on that date. (It worked last time.) Of course I don't want this one to come as early as Tallu, but Memorial Day Weekend marks 37 weeks. I keep saying I can go into labor anytime after May 31, preferably the first two weeks of June.

It is also true that I could skip the vacation. In theory. My husband's brother and family are flying from Washington, his sister and her family are flying from Wisconsin. I would feel horrible to miss another family event (I missed his brother's West Coast wedding nearly four years ago because of a last minute change in the exhibit schedule at work.) Tallu would not see all her cousins, aunts and uncles. My husband would not see his siblings, niece, and nephews. It would be nice for everyone to meet the newest member of the family. I'm putting the guilt trip on myself. I give my blessing to my husband and Tallu to go without us if I happened to deliver on time or later, but he insists that's not an option.

It's all out of my hands. No use stressing myself. Wu Wei.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Week 29

I am 29 weeks pregnant, no gestational diabetes as you know, and all the baby's vital signs are good. I am increasingly more uncomfortable. I mentioned at my last appointment that I was having trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position, and that I felt most comfortable on my back. My midwife said that if I am in a position the baby doesn't like, he will kick. That'll wake me up, and I will adjust myself. If I am on my back and am not short of breath, then be comfortable. Get some pillows to prop myself up, or a body pillow to sleep with while I'm on my side. Last pregnancy I was glad when we upgraded from the full mattress to a queen. We certainly can't afford to upgrade to a king, but I think we will have to move our leather reclining chair to the bedroom so that I can sleep on it. I'll look like a Craftmatic adjustable chair commercial. Hey-do they still make those?

We have secured Tallu's grandmaman to watch Tallu at the birthing center when the time comes. It's a great worry off our minds- she's close by, she's been through two natural childbirths herself, so she wouldn't freak out by anything she hears in the next room, and Tallu likes spending time with her. I told her that I should set up a fake baby shower so that he will come on the day of that shower (she got a good laugh). Now I just have to prepare Tallu for what happens to mommy during labor. Don't laugh, but I was watching Oprah a few weeks ago when she had Phil Donahue as a guest. He talked about the episode where he showed a live home birth, and the three year old daughter who screamed "It's a puppy!" when her sibling arrived. So it's possible for little children to be there and not be traumatized. I also know that Tallu may not want to be anywhere near, so I must prepare for all contingencies.

I should also note that I am 147lbs, which is devastating. I hate weighing myself and having to see that number, then report to my midwife. I imagine by the end of this pregnancy I will weigh in the 150s. It is completely my fault for not losing the weight between pregnancies, and I am vowing to myself that I will start to work off the baby weight once my midwife gives the green light for exercise. Just no running, I hate running.

What's New with Tallu!

In this issue:

Potty Training
Bedtime Rituals
Cats and Dogs are Fun (again)

BIRTHDAY!!! Tallu is three years, nine days old today. She had three little celebrations instead of the massive birthday party: a dinner party at Grandmaman and Papa's house, with her aunt, uncle, godfather, and cousin; blueberry pancakes with candles in them and a shopping trip on her actual birthday, and lunch with her Grandpa and Nana on Saturday. All celebrations were exciting for her, as she received gifts at each. I enjoyed the birthday breakfast because we ate at the same cafe where the baby shower was held. Thanks to everyone who celebrated and recognized our child's birthday!

Potty Training I think we're doing well on this front. Tallu wears panties during the day, and Pull-Ups at night. There have even been a few nights that she's woken up to pee. She gets herself to the potty in time, even for bowel movements. A friend cautioned that once number two gets here there may be a regression, which I pray doesn't happen. I've already lived through the Thanksgiving regression, and it's taken this long to recover. We took the train to NJ for the birthday dinner, and I realized too late that Tallu was wearing panties for the two hour trip. She also fell asleep on the longest leg of the trip. I prayed that she wouldn't pee in her sleep, and she did wake up dry. I'm glad I made her use the potty before we left the house, and that Trenton's train station has a public bathroom.

Bedtime Rituals Sometimes she goes to sleep without a fight, sometimes she does the run into the room after tuck-in. The worst are the inexplicable 3 am wake-ups that last for two hours. If she wakes up at 5 and can't get back to sleep, I will turn on a light in her room and let her play for a little while- she's awake, but she's contained in her room so her dad and I can sleep. That's harder to justify at 2 or 3 in the morning. One night she woke up complaining of leg pain, but hasn't done that since. Who knows what the hell is going on. Maybe she's being prepared for the random wake-up times her little brother will have?

Cats and Dogs are Fun (again) We drove to Connecticut to visit with Tallu's great-grandfather last Sunday, a week after his third wife, (Tallu called her Gubby), died peacefully in her sleep from cancer. We spent time at the house before going into town for lunch, where Tallu sat on the floor and played with a doll house. Gubby and Papa B are animal lovers, and there are four cats in the house. I took her around to say hi to all the cats- Tallu giggled and waved, no tears were shed. She was even sitting on the floor playing with a doll house when the youngest cat, Mittens, came to see what was happening. Tallu kept on playing. She did not freak out when he sniffed at her, and even gave Mittens the little Elmo toy to play with. Gubby would have been very pleased to see that; Papa B, Tallu's dad and I enjoyed it very much. This bodes well for the future, because her dad and I would like to have a cat in this house, as soon as we clean this place up and can afford to take care of two children AND a cat...

Tallu's even doing better with her big dog friend, Doolin. Doolin's doggy parents and I joke that it's ridiculous that they don't get along better, since they are so much alike. Sunday Doolin was excited to see Tallu and jumped in her face to sniff and lick Tallu. There were no shrieks of terror! I think Tallu even called Doolin to her, and Doolin looked at her doggy mom and me as if to say "Can I really go over there?" I said "Yes, Doolin, you can go. She's fine!" Sure enough, doggy and toddler were, indeed, fine.

Well, that's all I can think of...

Thursday, March 31, 2011


All the levels were within normal range. The lab couldn't test for the second hour because I couldn't give enough blood. Two out of three results need to be readable to make a determination, so I am good to go! It was a good scare, though, a reminder that I do need to eat better and exercise more in order to do what I can to prevent having 'the sugar' as my grandparents' referred to it. Of course, I will do all that exercise jazz after I push this kid out. I am too damned tired to do much of anything these days, and I'm only 28 weeks along. Cleaning house is about as much as I can handle these days, and I barely do that :-/

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 27

Today I have two appointments. I've been to one, and am writing to kill time until the next.

The first appointment was for the three hour glucose tolerance test. I took the glucose screening test last month in the midwife's office, and my levels were 150. If you score 140 or above you must submit to the three hour test, and this initial level of 150 does not mean I have Gestational Diabetes. The results of today's test will determine whether or not I have it.

My regular midwife did not call with the news, the head of the practice did, and she didn't sound too pleased about it. I've been beating myself up about this news since she called. I should have assumed I'd get it again, because there is a 2 in 3 chance of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. I was committed to the "different baby, different placenta" mantra, since it's the placenta that's responsible for breaking down the glucose for the baby. My diet hasn't been terrible, but I also haven't been as active as I could have been this time around. When I was pregnant with Tallulah, I was hardly sedentary and still I had GD.

People don't believe me when I say we are done having children. I am done having children. I do not enjoy knowing I have a temporary case of diabetes while gestating. I don't like that my chances of developing type 2 diabetes are increased because I've had GD. (It also doesn't help that both my paternal grandparents had Type II Diabetes) Granted, things could be worse, but I don't want to put my body through this again. I'm not sure how I'm going to prevent myself from being pregnant ever again, but I will prevent it, I know that much. I will also have to eat as though I have diabetes and exercise a hell of a lot more during what's left of this pregnancy and afterwards. My grandfather had his leg amputated. I don't think I'd look good with a wooden leg.

Of course, I may not have GD at all. But I assume the worst for myself, as I tend to do. I'll let you know the results when I get them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

So Very Tired

I have done a pretty good job of keeping this pregnancy off my Facebook page, so if you are reading this post I'm going to be whining and complaining here. It'll be brief.

Why the hell did I think it would be a good idea to take Tallu to Princeton's campus today, with no stroller? The thought of spring-like weather and my husband working at an intern fair was the opportunity of a lifetime. Shouldn't really complain, though. We got good exercise, Tallu was recruited by a member of Princeton's Juggling Club, and she got college intern fair schwag! It's 7:40pm, and my back is killing me! We are at my husband's office, killing time before we drive home so the drive replaces the bedtime routine.

Tomorrow, Tallu will have a fun day in "Phillydelphia" with her grandmaman, while her dad and I try to clean up our very messy house. I'm just sorry tomorrow it will be a breezy 40 degrees for them, but they'll be indoors at the Please Touch.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patience Has Its Rewards

The ultrasound appointment on Monday was excruciating. I had to drink 32 oz of water an hour before the appointment, and I was not allowed to let it out until after the ultrasound. My appointment was at 12:45, I didn't get into the lab room until nearly 1:30.

I could not sit while I waited. Tallu's dad kept her occupied while I filled out paperwork and willed myself to resist the urge to run to the bathroom. I told the intake lady I was in for a pregnancy ultrasound and really had to use the bathroom. When we finished our exchange she told me to tell the lab people that I was "very full," and they'd know what to do. She also asked me to tell her the results of the ultrasound.

"Very full" is like "abracadabra!" I still had to wait for those who had appointments before me, but the lab receptionist relayed my message, and a tech hustled me into the room. This lady was cordial, but cut right to business. She explained that she had to get lots of measurements, and my bladder had to be full to get the best images of the baby. She also wasn't going to do a lot of talking, and she'd let me see the screen when she got every image she needed. The tech was swift and sympathetic. We bonded over the cruelty of making a pregnant woman drink so much water and hold it in while a stranger puts warm liquid on the belly and presses right on the bladder. She also turned the screen so I could see what was happening inside, and shared the sex of the baby as soon as she saw it, after asking if I wanted to know.

I told her my husband and daughter were in the waiting room, and they'd be excited when I told them the news. She asked for Tallu's age, which is much younger than what the hospital allows into the exam room. The tech asked about my daughter's temperament, and I said she was a calm child who's been to all my prenatal appointments. I was allowed a bathroom break; the rest of my family was waiting in the exam room when I returned. They were able to see the baby in real time on the screen, moving around. Big Sis was excited, and said the baby was cute. The tech talked us through the pictures she was taking now, how far along I am, and that my due date is two days earlier than estimated. She also, very casually, pointed out the baby's legs and sex organs. Once Tallu's dad realized what she was saying he explained who we were looking at on the screen to Tallu.

The tech printed three pictures for us: two profile pictures, and the baby's hand grabbing at his penis. We, the parents, requested that last print-out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's New with Tallu- 2011 Edition

It's been a long time since I've updated you on all things Tallu. In this issue we will discuss:

Potty training regression
Christmas Day at Home
"My Babies"
Bedtime Ritual

Potty Training Regression
We were doing so well until Thanksgiving. We did a bit of traveling for the holiday, Tallu had a nasty cold, and all that training went down the drain. She went from going to the potty of her own volition, to having to be told several times a day "It's time for you to sit on the potty." I went back to letting her go without a diaper. Bad choice: I was deep in the nauseated phase of the first trimester, and the last thing I needed was to bend over and clean that mess. So I made Tallu do it. I told her if she insisted on peeing and pooping on the floor, she had to clean up the mess. Tim's grandfather, a retired Colonel in the US Army and father of three, approved of my decision.

I did a huge clean-up of our living room just before Christmas, which included throwing away our rug. She had peed on it so much I felt like it wouldn't do to have her bathroom under our feet. She has not returned to going on her own, and I'm annoyed that I have to tell her five times a day to sit on the potty. But the times where I haven't said anything she hasn't made it to the potty.

Christmas Day at Home
We will have been in our home for two years at the end of this month. Christmas Day 2010 was our first Christmas at home. We overslept and missed church, but Tallu ran into our bedroom around 11, asking if she could open her presents now. The gate at the top of the stairs was open, so by the time I got downstairs she had already opened a gift! Her dad missed it, too, because he went to get doughnuts for breakfast. It was so peaceful and fun, hanging in our house, in our PJs, watching our kid scream with delight over every single gift. The gifts from Mom and Dad came from Santa, and her grandparents, uncle and aunt, and godparents mailed gifts, which Tallul said Santa brought her. We let Santa take the credit for our gifts, but not the others.

"My Babies"
Tallu's grandmama and papa gave her play furniture for her Bitty Baby: stroller, playpen, and activity mat for Christmas. A friend of our family gave Tallu a baby that takes a bottle and pacifier and makes sounds when you take them away before its finished. Tallu puts them down for naps, gives the baby her bottle and pacifier, and says "It's okay, baby." She's declared that she's their mommy. At first I didn't know what to make of the baby furniture, but it should be pretty handy. While I am taking care of the brother or sister, Tallu can take care of her babies!

Bedtime Ritual
Tallu has made a game of escaping her room after tuck-in. She'll open her door, run to our room, run to my side of the bed, climbing up as she insists "I can't sleep." Her dad has taken to being up at the door when he hears her feet hit the floor in her room, yet she always manages to slip by him. I've pretty much handed him the bedtime ritual, because during the week this is the only time they see each other during the day. He's not amused by her antics, and I must support his sternness, but I secretly enjoy her escape attempts for two reasons: 1- I get to lay in bed during all of it, and 2- I get to think it's as cute as it is because I don't have to do anything about it. Except say "Did Daddy say get back to bed? Then, good night, Tallulah!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 18 Appointment

Whoever is in there is alive and well. The heartbeat is steady, I am still measuring where I should be. My weight is holding steady, which is normal and fine. My midwife gave me the script for the ultrasound, which I will try to schedule over the weekend if I can, and by Monday at the latest. I forgot to mention that I wanted the genetic testing, and she forgot to ask if I wanted it, so we're not doing it.

My midwife asked if I had any questions, and I didn't really. Only I had to tell her about the big family vacation we're taking in July, about two weeks after my due date. She said "That's cutting it close." Her only concern is the post-partum bleeding. If I'm overactive, my flow will be also. Fortunately we will be in a big house, and Tallu will be surrounded by her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. This would, in theory, allow me to lay around and relax in the days after childbirth.

I also mentioned that I am starting to ponder what happens to Tallu during childbirth. The birthplace welcomes siblings, but requires a chaperone for the older siblings. If we do want her present at the birth, we have to decide who her caregiver will be during that time. Hospitals have different policies, so we'd have to have a contingency plan, in the event that I have to have the baby in the hospital.

Tallu has been in the exam room for every prenatal appointment. When I had to give blood again she was sitting on the floor playing with a puzzle. I realize seeing Mom get stuck with a needle (or not) is different from hearing Mom moan and sing her way through labor. I have to find books out there to prepare her for the event, and also be prepared for the fact that she may not want to be around when it happens.

My doula/Tallu's madrina now lives in the Southwest, where she is in midwifery school. Oh, if she were here, problem solved! My husband and she could trade places taking care of me and Tallu. But I cannot focus on 'if only.' I am halfway through gestation, so I'm glad I'm thinking of all these details now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Week 14 Appointment

Happy New Year!

The 14 week appointment was quick. The heart's still beating, the fundus is where it should be. Unfortunately there was something wrong with one of the vials of blood sent to the lab (a count was off), so I had to have more blood drawn. I also confirmed that my midwife is expecting a baby, which was very exciting news! Her due date is a day after Tallu's birthday, and I suggested she should have her shower in about two weeks, so she's guaranteed to make it there.

I'm still very nauseated. But I also feel the baby's movement, not unheard of so early in second pregnancies. Tonight my husband could feel it, too, which he enjoyed.

The next appointment will bring two things: a script for an ultrasound, and our decision to submit to prenatal genetic testing. It'll be nice to see whoever is inside. People are asking if we know what we're having and will we find out. We don't know yet, but I think we will find out. The more difficult question to answer is: will I submit to the testing? I say if there are abnormalities in results I'd still have the baby, so why take the tests. I did the testing last time, but I don't recall it being presented as a choice. My mom and husband say it's better to have the time to prepare ourselves should we need to. Odds are I will take the tests, but it's nice to have the extra time to think. I have to give my midwife an answer at next month's exam because these tests are time-sensitive.

Tallu is enjoying going to "the doctor's house" to play with toys and listen to the baby's heartbeat. We have a few books about the new baby in the house and becoming a big sister. The best part is that I've put her ultrasound pictures in one of the books, so she can see what she looked like inside her mommy's belly. She likes that very much. We're going to put together a Tallulah baby picture book, at least that's what her dad said last night.

That's all for now...