The Star Gazer

photo 2

Well, I wanted to sit here, drink my tea, and write during the first calm, solo, relatively well-rested morning hour I have had in six weeks. Alas, the baby monitor I bought yesterday keeps losing the link and so I’m completely paranoid that in my bedroom there is a shrieking baby, whom I’m happily ignoring to have a calm, quiet moment in which to drink my tea and write.

I shall be brief because there are so many things I want to write, but I feel like I can’t until I’ve written about the birth of my little girl. I don’t know my mind makes these sort of rules, nor why I follow them. However, here we are, six weeks later and my baby girl is in my bed asleep and she was indeed, born.

She was born not early, as I had suspected (why do I keep thinking that??), but not quite as late as her brother, either. It was a quiet evening at home. The boy had just gone to bed and I was sitting on the sofa, having just finished dinner, when suddenly gooosh. My water broke! I wasn’t sure if I’d recognize it (read too many “trickle” stories where people thought they were peeing their pants and didn’t want that to be me!) or if it would even happen. I was a bit worried that my body wouldn’t know how to go into labor on its own, as it hadn’t with the boy.

But it did. And as my mom quickly took the cover off the sofa cushion (luckily, I’d been sitting on a blanket as well), I called my midwife, jumped in the shower, quickly grabbed the last few things I hadn’t yet packed and we were off! Though I completely trust my dad, it was weird leaving the boy solely in his care. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was just concerned with the whole experience for him. It was the beginning of him not being the sole recipient of my love and attention, and that’s a real, palpable thing!

Once at the hospital, I was hooked up to the CTG and then promptly ignored. They were rammerjammed. At first they tried to send me off to a bed to sleep until I was in labor, but one woman thankfully understand that even though I wasn’t screaming, I really was actually in labor. I recall my mom constantly calling me stoic. However, they still had no place for me so we ended up pacing the hallways. I could still tell you the artwork on the walls and though most of it was local baby photographers, I still haven’t called one…

Eventually, we got taken into the birthing pool and I recall being surprised that it was still available (I believe there are two). Once there, we were again promptly ignored. And soon enough, that turned into a problem. I had already been afraid of the birth pains, now that I knew what I was in for and so, as the pain got worse and worse, I just kept telling myself that I was being a wimp. Then it got worse. And worse. I started to say it out loud, but only to my husband and mother, as they were the only ones around. My husband fell asleep. It got worse. I kept saying: This isn’t right. I can’t do this. Something is wrong. And my mom, bless her, kept encouraging me.

Until finally she believed me and went to get someone’s attention. At that point, I was practically out of control: pushing when I shouldn’t be, writhing in the tub and desperately trying not to bite my husband’s hand. The midwife convinced me to somehow get out of the tub, though I felt I could barely walk and we went to the birthing room. It was then she realized that baby girl was stuck and had been for some time. Of course, the CTG hadn’t been staying hooked up properly the whole time, so we couldn’t know (nor are we educated to know, anyway) whether or not she had been in distress that whole time. But she was now.

Yet still the midwife tried to convince me to open up my hips more and get her to move naturally. I told her I couldn’t. She practically rolled her eyes and told me that birth hurts. I wanted to punch her and cry, but instead I calmly told her that I did know that, that I’d already had a baby and that (again): Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t do this!

Luckily, at this point, there was a shift change. The new midwife was smiling and encouraging and positive and happy, but in a way that didn’t make me hate her. She also, more importantly, had a plan: we would stop labor, administer an epidural in order to give my body time and strength to recover a bit, move the baby and try again. If that didn’t work, we’d need to do an emergency c-section. I don’t think I said it out loud, but at that point I was praying for a c-section, even though I knew I didn’t want that at all!

My poor husband thought he was doing a good job because he was trying to convince me to refuse the epidural, as he knew it was important to me to have an unmedicated birth. I also wanted to punch him.

I found out later that the doctor had already started prepping the OR and that they were about 70% sure that I was going to need a c-section. I hope that they told that first midwife. IMG_1120

In the end, their plan worked. I was able to relax and she moved and though I was scared when they started labor again that it would feel like before, it didn’t and I was able to push her out and all the midwives and doctors went around the ward smiling big and congratulating themselves… which I was OK with because I was just so very grateful to be all done!

Of course, then came the placenta, which was just as much of a challenge as it was with the boy and there was just as much bleeding. This time we weren’t as concerned, though, as it had happened before.

In the end: I am fine, she is fine and that’s all that matters, I suppose. But since, when I’ve thought back on it, it’s surprised me how traumatic it was and how much anxiety I felt about it and in general.

This pregnancy was so much harder for me than my first. I don’t know if that’s because she is a girl, or if it’s just the second or if it just randomly happened that way. All I can say is that it has reinforced my desire to be done having babies.

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Quick Pregnancy Update

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I just realized that I haven’t let all my adoring fans (ha) know about our news, which is now over a month old. We found out at our 20-week scan, which I purposely scheduled before our trip to the US: we are having a GIRL!!!

At two different scans, my doctor had told me that it was a boy, so I had already generally accepted that this meant I most likely wasn’t going to have a little girl, as we really only want two kids, and I was fine. In fact, having brothers would be spectacular. However, there truly was something there that just didn’t sit right with me. Even though everyone around me was saying it’s probably a boy, including our doctor, who one assumes has more knowledge than most, the idea that I’d always thought I’d be surrounded by boys and the true happiness I felt at the thought of two little boys, I just felt like it was wrong. So, as I said, I purposely scheduled the 20-week scan a bit early, in order to be sure before we left for California. And the doctor (a different doctor than our regular OB/GYN) said that he’s 100% sure it’s a girl. I asked him a few times.

Oddly enough, I felt slightly disappointed as that little boy disappeared from our future lives and the brothers I’d imagined at all stages of life were no more… but only for a little bit. Then I was just ecstatic! A little girl!

And now she’s dancing on my bladder, so time to go.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Cry

Well, today has been a day. Thankfully, one that is almost over. In fact, I should already be in bed, considering I’ve gotten five – six hours of sleep the past two nights, which in and of itself is scary for a thyroid-addled depressive mom of a wild child but is absolutely terrifying for a pregnant thyroid-addled depressive mom of a wild child.

We’ve had a terrible storm here the past two days, which kept the boy up the night before last. There were 21,735 lightning strikes between 9:11pm and 11:11pm, according to the Channel 4 Weather guy (via my husband) and the storm was so close, the lightning and thunder were simultaneous and louder than I’ve ever heard before. The wind and rain were so intense, we both ran around “battening down the hatches”, which really just meant putting bicycles inside the garage and making sure all of the sand toys were properly shut inside the sand pit. It still felt dramatic at the time, though.

Throughout those two hours, the boy kept waking up, piteously crying, “mummy, dad, mummy, dad” over and over again, making it difficult for me to fall asleep (I do like the kid, after all). Then, for no reason whatsoever, he decided to just be awake from around 11:30pm until God (and my poor husband) knows when because I finally fell asleep at 12:30 in the morning. I was not a happy lady, waking up at 6:00 the next day.

Although we planned for an early night, I was hosting our weekly Wednesday “Mommy & Me” group the next day (today), so I had lots of baking to do. Considering it was the boy’s birthday, I had promised these people cake. And I know what those tired mamas would do to me if said cake were not delivered. So, of course, I try completely new recipes. I make a quiche (and crust from scratch), chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, deviled eggs and all sorts of little goodies. Then, when everything is finally finished and it’s midnight and I lay my head on the pillow, I decide to watch Inside the Actors Studio: Cast of Arrested Development. Face palm.

Needless to say, I don’t even much remember this morning. I let the boy watch “the fishies” (The Little Mermaid) while I frosted the cupcakes and got everything set up (Oh, and made a ginormous pot of coffee… Sorry little baby…). 10:00 (When our group meets) came and went. 11:00 came and just when I started to fear the worst, three people showed up. Three. To celebrate my little boy’s second birthday. I organize the group. I travel all around this stupid city to go to everyone’s house, no matter how far on Wednesdays and Fridays and do all sorts of work for the group other days as well. And three people showed up. Granted, the boy couldn’t care less (one of those that came was his little girlfriend), but I will admit that I took it personally. Is it immature and ridiculous to do so? Yes. C’est la vie.

Add that to feeling generally overwhelmed, lonely and homesick and well, you can imagine my mood. On top of that, the boy turned into a monster. OK, not really. He’s been a monster for awhile. BUT WHY DOES HE NEED TO THROW EVERYTHING ON THE FLOOR? Water, food, toys, phones (Shall I share a photo of my ridiculously cracked [but still functioning] iPhone?!?!), chairs… Anything he can get his grubby little hands on. AND I CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE.

But enough about that. It’s the bad. It’s what created the ugly cry – the all day, puffy faced, emotional hangover headache, exhausted, ugly cry. Frankly, I’ve thought about it enough. Once I look into what I’m going to do about it (both the need to get out of here issue and the can’t control my child issue), I’ll write more.

Because now, I need a little good. And the good is, we’re having another boy! I know, I know, I’ve been saying for ages (probably not here though, as I really only blog in my head [but if those were published, I’d be the most prolific, amazing blogger that ever was]) that I want a girl. And I do. Those little dresses and tutus and then the relationship between a mother and a daughter. However, two little boys! Brothers! Best friends (I’m assuming, though as my mother pointed out, her brothers aren’t speaking and were involved in a legal conflict recently – Thanks, mom!)! But really, I knew. I’ve always known I’d be a mother of little boys. And though my little monster has been an incorrigible little shit lately, I’d happily have two of him…

New Little Squishface (Eighteen Weeks)
New Little Squishface (Eighteen Weeks)

 

 

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

One Day Old
One Day Old
2funnyfacesleeping 1
One Week Old
3months
Three Months Old
4 5months
Five Months Old
5 6months
Six Months Old
???????????????
Christmas Day (Six Months Old)
7 snowday
First Snow Day (Seven Months Old
9 LucasLamb
First Carnival (Nine Months Old)
10 fountain
First Spring (Ten Months Old)
11 clapping
Clapping for Himself (One Year Old)
13 bike
Lovin his Bike (Twenty-Three Months Old)
14 announcement
Pregnancy Announcement (Twenty-Three Months Old)
Two Years Old TODAY & What a Climbing Monkey He Is...
Two Years Old TODAY & What a Climbing Monkey He Is…

Parental Visit

playing with beads in his new sensory table/bins
playing with beads in his new sensory table/bins

My parents have been here visiting for the past two weeks. They literally arrived the morning I took my pregnancy test. My husband told me not to tell anyone. Ha! Has he met me? We decided only to tell our immediate families, with strict instructions for my mother, who happily told all and sundry last time. I believe she was just walking down the road proclaiming to the world that she is going to be a grandmother, though she claims that she only told close friends.

They were here for less than a minute before I said something. My mom brought me a bottle of GABA, which I had said I wanted to take to help me sleep but couldn’t because I was breastfeeding. She excitedly gave it to me, saying that now that I’d stopped breastfeeding, I could take it. I just stared at her, thinking of how to respond. She knew.

In the end, I would have had to say something regardless, even had we not decided to tell; it would have been obvious had I been that nauseated constantly without reason. Of course, the day they left, I started to feel better. Such is life, as my grandmother used to say (Note: anything my grandmother used to say needs to be imagined in the accent of a Jewish New Yorker).

What did we do during their visit? Everything. Correction: THEY did everything, I did absolutely nothing. It was amazing. My mother cleaned the house (repeatedly), took the boy to the park, put him to bed, changed his diapers, etc while my father built a sensory table (pictured above), fixed the bottom drawer of the boy’s dresser, and bought and put together a kitchen, table, chairs and bookshelf (including weather-proofing). He, of course, also took the boy to the park and ran around playing football with him. I watched My Kitchen Rules (all-time best cooking show ever), Lark Rise to Candleford (best BBC series), slept, ate and took a couple of baths. Best Vacation Ever. Oh, wait… It was supposed to be their vacation…

I’ve now just finished my first prenatal yoga session. I bought a double DVD (pre/postnatal yoga) when I first got pregnant with the boy and, of course, never even opened it. So, I’m already doing way better this time around. Go, me.

8 1/2 Weeks and Counting (Except When I Forget Completely)

Size: kidney bean

Fun Fact: tail just about gone

Baby Enjoying: swimming around and doing flips – so they tell me, I can’t feel anything

Mommy Enjoying: vinegary foods (marinated artichoke hearts, pickles, coleslaw, sauerkraut, salads, etc…), gardening (who knew pregnancy would be the motivation I needed?), Lark Rise to Candleford: a pregnant girl has to relax after all, so I’m rewatching the ENTIRE series. Sooooo good!

Baby Not Enjoying: the crazy toddler that keeps kicking and hitting him/her and distracting mommy so much that she forgets that he/she exists

Mommy Not Enjoying: this weird obsession/revulsion I seem to have with Subway (only when pregnant), nausea in general (somehow I’d blocked the entire first trimester out of my mind), the crazy toddler that keeps kicking and hitting her belly (and everywhere else) and distracting her so much that she forgets that she’s pregnant

Secret Fears: not being constantly nauseated so I know that everything is ok (I want to have an ultrasound every day), this little baby somehow knowing my desire for a little girl and going away or feeling sad because of it

Grateful For: Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea – first day done and feeling totally energized!

PREGNANT

Oh, sweet lord. I don’t even know what to do with myself.

Technically, I suppose my husband and I were trying. Or, at least, we decided that once we got to South Africa (which was awesome, BTW), we’d stop actively not trying. As in, no more condoms. Yay! I didn’t really think that that meant that I’d get pregnant in South Africa. Our first little monkey arrived quite early after only one time of “not not trying” and it took this one two times… I told my husband this morning that after this, he needs to get a vasectomy or something because we are obviously quite fertile.

Beyond the excitement, there is this complete “oh shit” feeling that is many things combined. Here’s a list of all the things that have me slightly concerned:

  • Being tired with a toddler
  • Not being in shape and pregnant (again)
  • Being over 35 (Well, in July)
  • TWO KIDS… WTF?!?!
  • Having to get a car (Possibly.)
  • Having to get a license for said car
  • Money
  • We were set to leave Germany in January; now we’ll have a one month old
  • Giving birth again (NOT fun and I DO remember)
  • My little boy not understanding/feeling left out

That’s all I can think of right now off the top of my head. But, I only found out this morning. I can imagine there will be a lot more to be scared about in future. Of course, on top of that are all the normal fears whilst one is pregnant, the same ones I felt while pregnant with the boy. I suppose, luckily, he keeps me busy enough where I won’t be able to just sit and focus on them.

My mind is a total blur. I keep going into our room and looking at the stick again to make sure. I took a test a few days ago and it was negative, but the pharmacist said that it could have been because I took it at night and it’s more accurate to take the test in the morning. So I bought another test and took it at 5:15 this morning, thinking I’d go back to sleep afterwards. Ha. Only, I did. I remember that about being pregnant – I can sleep anytime, anywhere. It’s the only cure I’ve ever found for my insomnia.

I’m glad to say, though, that I was thinking about the boy having a brother and the thought made me very happy. Not only that, but I was looking at his sweet little head and thinking, two boys would be okay. As you can tell, I’m trying to convince myself I don’t want a girl… But really, I think I would be happy with two boys. I would be disappointed that I didn’t have a girl, but not that I had a boy. If that makes sense. Mostly, I’d be sad about the tutus… I really want to buy some tutus!