Friday, December 30, 2011

Barrett - 2 years old!

My little Barrett is somehow 2 years old now.  It feels like the last 2 years have gone by in the blink of an eye.  It boggles my mind that he's already 2.  He still felt like such a baby to me until we brought Audrey home.  Suddenly, next to her, he seems so big.  I lift him now, after not lifting him for a month or so, and he feels huge to me.  Funny how perspective changes!

He is nothing if not obsessive.  He gets that from both me and Tim, so I can't say I'm surprised!  His current obsessions are The Wiggles and Elmo.  He will say all day long "wig-gess?" wanting me to turn on the show.  I try not to let him watch too much tv, but he sure does love them!  He also gets obsessed with a new book every week, makes us read it over and over, and then moves onto another.  Lately, he's loved a Noah Arc book, a book about Elmo's blanket (both are lift-the-flaps books), and a read-along story from my parents, switching his favorites weekly or so.
Wiggles dvds for his birthday - so excited!

He is having a bit of a difficult time adjusting to being home with me.  We decided to take him out of daycare while I'm home on maternity leave but it's been tough for him.  He's such a social kid, always on the go, so I think being stuck at home with his mommy and new baby sister is a little confining.  He acts out, is clingy and very whiny if we don't get out of the house enough to do things.  I'm trying to keep us more active, but it's hard with a newborn and winter starting.  He is getting very attached, crying and chasing after me if I leave the room, clutching my leg, etc.  It just reminds me how social he is and how much he needs to play and interact with other kids.

He is still in love with trains.  We got him a train table for his birthday, which we still have to construct and give to him, and I'm excited to see the reaction.  I think he'll really like it.  For his birthday and Christmas, he got a remote Thomas train and some Elmo books and toys from my parents and a ride-on Thomas the train from Tim's parents, so those were definitely the themes of the gifts this year.  I hope these loves last for a while so we get a lot of use out of his new toys!

He picks up words at an unbelievable rate.  We are definitely having to watch what we say.  The other day I said "shoot" and he repeated it right away.  It makes me glad that was the only word I said!   Even when Tim and I are having a conversation totally uninvolving him, he'll react when we say certain things, which makes me know he's listening even when he doesn't act like it.  We have real conversations these days (okay, maybe not about politics or current events!) and it's fun to see him say words we didn't even know he knew. 

He is definitely exhibiting two-year old behavior.  He can be defiant and deliberately disobedient and then be cuddly and sweet.  He started showing some first signs of selfishness.  It's funny because if an older kid steals his toys, he just lets them, but if it's a younger child, he gets very assertive and will get into a scuffle to get it back.  He definitely defers to older kids.  He can be very bossy, even with us, insisting that we sit in certain seats or stop singing.  I don't like that so much, but I guess it's natural for the age and since he's an oldest child.

He loved wearing his special red Santa diapers this month. I think since we made such a big deal out of how cute he looked in it the first time, he wanted to wear them constantly.  

He loves "flying" over everything, loves climbing up onto chairs and reaching for things, and plays a little game where he steals our chairs when we get up.  He excitedly crawls up into the chair, saying "Mommy's chair!" and grins when we pretend to be upset.

Barrett is pretty indifferent to the new baby sister.  He loves playing with her swing and all the noises it makes, but doesn't express much interest in her, which I guess is a good thing, considering how he could act towards her.  I am glad he hasn't shown much jealousy.  If I lay her down to change her diaper, he'll lay down and insist on his being changed also. 

I am still confused how fast the last two years have gone!  It doesn't seem like it's been two years since Barrett has been born and it scares me that the next years will go just as fast!

December 23, 2009

December 23, 2010

December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!

We went back and forth for a long time, debating what we were going to do this year for Christmas.  We weren't sure we'd be able to handle a road trip with a 3 week old and toddler but finally decided that spending the day with just us might not feel special enough and we wanted to be with family.  So we packed up the car to the gills and headed down south to my parents.  It seems planning a road trip with two kids this young requires more strategic planning than the invasion of Normandy.

I am so glad we did it.

We had a great Christmas with my family in St Louis.  There wasn't as much time to relax as in the past, between taking care of 2 kids and a dog, so it was nice to have other sets of hands to hold Audrey and keep an eye on Barrett.  There were several volunteers to cuddle Audrey as needed!  She is such a cuddly little thing!

It was a pretty quick visit - we arrived Friday night and left Monday.  The kids did great in the car - Audrey is an awesome sleeper and Barrett loves The Wiggles in our newly installed tv/dvd player so it was a much more pleasant drive for all.

We went to Chuck E Cheese one day, to burn off some kiddo energy.  My first job was at this Chuck E Cheese, actually, but it didn't bring back too much nostalgia for me since the place looks entirely different than it did back then.  It was a great idea for Barrett - he didn't even realize if he was playing a game or not, he just loved running around and seeing all the games and lights and noises. 

Caroline - 8 weeks younger than Barrett
I used the Moby for the 1st time - I really liked it!  I just need to keep practicing with it and get over any intimidation about it.

Christmas celebrations
The family on Christmas Eve
You are viewing a Christmas miracle - all the kids looking at the camera at once, no one crying and no dog running through the picture.  Success!

Christmas morning

It was a very Elmo Christmas for Barrett.  He got an Elmo guitar, an Elmo microphone, an Elmo doll and, for his birthday we celebrated a few days earlier - an Elmo book and singing Elmo birthday car.  I sure hope his Elmo obsession lasts a little longer.  Or do I?   The funny thing is, he didn't even know Elmo from tv until recently.  Last year, I showed him an Elmo doll at the store and he refused to let it go.  My parents also got him an singing Elmo stocking when they were visiting at Thanksgiving so we've been hearing a lot of Elmo singing "Jingle Bells" this season. 

It was fun having B this year at his age.  We can go to a toy store with him and he just loves looking at all the toys and doesn't cry or whine to get any of them.  And we can buy them with him right there and he doesn't even realize.  I am afraid next year we won't be so lucky!
Audrey, just hanging out!
Papa and the grandkids - love Caroline's little tutu!

I wish we'd gotten a few more photos, but now with 2 kids, we both had our hands full and didn't use the camera like we should have!  I will have to be better about this in the future.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Adjusting - the first two weeks

We've now had little Audrey in our lives for over 2 weeks and it's sometimes hard to imagine life before she was here.  She's already added so much to our little family and I love having her be a part of it.

So far, she has been an amazing baby.  Because of how active she was inside me, I was convinced we'd have a wild child but so far, she's been an awesome baby.

The first few days in the hospital were an adjustment.  Fortunately my mom was in town and was able to watch Barrett.  It was hard to be away from him and he didn't quite know how to react to me at the hospital, so it was a little sad.  I think he was confused because every time he tried to climb up on me or get near me, we were afraid of him hurting me and my incision so he was pulled off.  So he kept his distance.  But I loved being there with my new baby girl and starting to get to know her.
Daddy and daughter in the recovery room

It is funny how they're so different already.  When we had Barrett, we kept him in the nursery most nights at the hospital so we could get a good night's sleep.  When the nurses wheeled him into my room to eat, he was shrieking as loud as he could and would quiet down only when he heard my voice.  With this little girl, we barely heard her cry.  I had her sleep on me during the nights because she was so cuddly and calm. And Barrett woke up every 2.5-3 hours, ravenous and angry from his empty belly and ready to eat.  Audrey squirms and whimpers, that is if she wakes at all.  We wake her up at night to eat.  The few times I didn't, she slept from 5-8 hours!  I hope this doesn't change.  In our family, we love our sleep so hopefully she'll be no different.

The smiling big brother.  Yes, I may have bribed him with a graham cracker to get a smile, but hey, it worked.
This pretty much sums up every picture we tried to get as an entire family.
Tim took a week off work to be home with me and my mom was here the following week.  Having a c-section is hard because you do need a lot of help.  It is hard to get in and out of bed at first and reach for the baby.  I definitely couldn't take care of Barrett alone, lifting him in and out of his booster seat, putting him in the car, etc.  Now that I'm in the third week of recovery, I can do a lot more so have been on my own and been okay.

Feedings have been a lot more complicated than I ever envisioned.  I won't go into details now, but we are facing some challenges in that area that we'll need to deal with over the next year.  It's a lot to juggle.

We still are finding our way with a newborn and soon-to-be-2 year old but so far we've been greatly helped by having such a mellow baby and lots of family help!

First afternoon home as a family of 4

Birth story - Audrey

I love reading other people's stories of their children's births, so I wanted to be sure to write mine down with Audrey.  It's amazing how much you forget so soon, so this way I hope I can remember all the details!

I was very much hoping for a VBAC with this pregnancy.  The entire time, a black cloud was hanging over my head with this issue, since I knew it was going to be a struggle to labor and not end up with another c-section. But I still held out hope and optimism that I would be able to have a natural birth and would do whatever I needed to to fight for one. I hired a doula, read tons of books and really tried to get in the positive and determined mindset.  When one of my doctors said that with my history, she'd give me less than a 50% chance of a vaginal birth, I rolled my eyes inside and thought You're nuts, because there's a 5% chance I'll agree to having another c-section!

I knew I wouldn't be early, so wasn't surprised when I reached my due date.  I stopped working on my due date, the week before Thanksgiving, and planned to spend the rest of the time resting, preparing, and doing what I could to initiate labor.  I was 41 weeks pregnant when I went in for a doctor's appointment.  The c-section was scheduled for the following Monday.  When the doctors encouraged me to schedule the c/s at 41.5 weeks pregnant a few months previously, I went ahead and did it, thinking that of course I won't need it, I will have had my baby by then!  I did a non-stress test and had an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels and everything looked great.  There was a ton of fluid and the placenta still looked healthy.  Almost like the baby would be comfortable staying in forever, which seemed to be what she intended!  She was moving like crazy and we decided to postpone the c-section for a few more days, until the following Thursday, at which point I'd be 41 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  I wasn't excited to be pregnant any longer, but wanted to give my body every opportunity to go into labor on its own and not have any regrets.

In that week, I did everything I could to get the baby out.  I walked the mall multiple times, my mom and I tried accupressure, ate spicy food, bounced on an exercise ball, visited a chiropractor, sniffed clary sage oil. I'd been having contractions for a few weeks, which I never had with my first pregnancy, so I was still hoping that perhaps something might happen.

But the following Thursday came and I was still pregnant, so off to the hospital we went around 7:30am.  I was checked again but was still barely a fingertip dilated so there was no more hope.  It was going to be a c-section.   I cried.  I knew I had done everything I could, but couldn't help but feel like my body failed me again.  For some reason, I wasn't meant to have my babies the way that women were designed to and it made me so sad knowing that I would never be able to experience the natural labor that I'd wanted so badly.  It was especially sad, because I should have been excited and happy to the day arriving that I'd meet my daughter and instead, it became a day I was dreading because of the surgery.

The nurses set up the iv, I drank the nasty drink, put on the compression stockings and walked to the operating room.  It was harder this time than last, having all the advance knowledge of what was going to happen.   I was so much more scared than last time.  Once they injected all the pain medication, the surgery was ready to begin and they let Tim in.  Throughout the surgery, I felt nauseous at a few points.  I told the anesthesiologist and he tweaked the meds a little, which allowed the nausea to pass and made me feel hot and my face to get sweaty.  But I didn't vomit, which was a huge fear of mine.  He offered to give me something to make me less anxious, but warned that it would make me drowsy.  As panicked as I felt, I declined, because I wanted to remember every detail and not feel out of it or groggy.

After a few minutes of incredibly intense pressure, the doctors announced that they saw her, that she had a ton of hair and then they lifted my baby girl out at 11:04am.  They held her up and she proceeded to cry loudly and to pee on me!!  Everyone laughed.  I hope this isn't a sign of anything to come!  Everyone exclaimed how much hair she had and before long, they brought her around the curtain for me to see her.  Right away, I thought she looked so much like her brother.

We had made special allowances with our doctor so that Tim could stay in the room holding the baby while I was stitched up.  Part of what was so frightening last time was being all alone in the room and not knowing what was going on with them while I was being stitched up.  It was a great idea in theory to have them there, but I had to concentrate so hard on not vomiting and trying not to hyperventilate while I was being put back together, so I couldn't enjoy having them next to me, so I went ahead and told them to go to Recovery, so she could be checked and weighed.  I was really curious to see how big she was.

The entire surgery was a lot more painful than I remember the first one being.  Maybe because I was so much more nervous or maybe because I didn't have the anxiety-reducing drugs.  Or maybe, as is nature's way, I've forgotten the pain and nervousness as time passed so that I'd get pregnant again.

Once they finished, they wheeled me to Recovery, where I was able to nurse her and finally get a good look at her and hold her.

I spent the next few days in the hospital, recovering.  At midnight, they had me stand for the first time.  The next morning they took off the leg compressors (thank goodness, because these were awful and itchy!), removed the catheter and iv.  I slowly walked a little around the room that day and did more throughout the next few days to regain my strength.

My c-section recovery has been a lot better the second time around than the first.  I am still trying to be cautious and not do too much too soon.  I had a lot of bruising this time around, that I didn't have the first time, but overall, I had a lot less bleeding and less swelling.  I stopped the regular pain medication around a week postpartum and started only taking ibuprofen as needed.  Two weeks out, I'm not 100% still, I still feel my incision if I do too much or sometimes when I turn or bend, but in general, I feel really good for having had a major abdominal surgery two weeks ago!  And this is all a good thing, because I definitely needed to recover faster with both a toddler and newborn to take care of!

I'm still deeply saddened that I wasn't able to have the VBAC I'd wanted and have to face the fact that I'll never have the natural childbirth I'd hoped for.  I do wonder why my body wouldn't cooperate and go into labor.  But I can't dwell on that, because I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  She has already brought so much joy to our lives and is such a sweet and cuddly little thing and I'm so glad she's joined our family, in whatever way she arrived!

You know how people take pictures holding up 10 fingers when they get to 10cm?  Yeah, I got to <1.
But did reach 42 weeks!  Woohoo??

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So in love...

i'm already wondering how we lived without her...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Audrey has arrived!

Little Miss Audrey Katherine finally decided to make her reluctant appearance yesterday via c-section.  She weighed 8lbs, 2 oz when she was born and is 20" long.  We are thrilled!  I'll post an entire story later, but for now, here's a picture of my beautiful little girl. 

So far she is an amazing sleeper (too amazing, since she'd rather sleep than eat!) and very mellow.  Much unlike what she was in my belly!  I'm anticipating a wake-up from her when her feisty personality will appear!

We are so happy to finally have her here and healthy!