Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Greatest Baby Gift Ever

Okay, the greatest baby gift ever was baby Jesus. But the SECOND greatest baby gift ever was this, compliments of my friend Kati:
Yes, that IS a onesie with Gary Coleman's face on it. Winning. 

Also, in an unrelated story, the baby that was born in the room next to us at the hospital was named Kole. We never met Kole but he was my second favorite baby there because he had a sign on the door that said "Kole was born fresh!" No, I am not kidding. Because there's nothing worse than a stale newborn. 
The star to the right of Old King Kole's crown is the one. 

Thanks to his new onesie, BeYoYo is fresh too. Whatchu talkin' about, Kole? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Birth Story

Saturday morning I woke up with contractions. I'd been having Braxton hicks contractions since 15 weeks, so it was not alarming. They'd been consistent for about an hour so I started timing them around 9:00. By 10:30 I called my midwife because the contractions were mild but consistently about 3 minutes apart. She told me to keep her posted. I was alternating between resting and cleaning/preparing/playing "city" with The Boy. The Husband was not convinced it was labor. We went about our Saturday.

Contractions continued and became stronger. The Boy took a nap. The Husband cleaned the house. Part of me wanted to rest and another part wanted to pace. I took a bath. I got our bags out for the hospital. Around 4:00 the grandparents came for The Boy. I was still talking and breathing through contractions. We told The Boy we were going to the hospital to see if baby brother was ready to come out. He responded that he didn't think he was. What's with these boys not trusting that this was legit? By 6:00 contractions had picked up to the point that I could not consistently talk through them and I told The Husband it was time to go. The Boy's labor was natural, and fairly quick. I expected the same for BeYoyo, knowing second babies often come faster. 

We got to the hospital about 6:30. The Husband dropped me off at the ER and went to park the car. When I walked through the door someone said "ma'am, watch out for the blood!" just in time for me not to step in one of the puddles of blood that led to the registration desk. More specifically, they led to a woman sitting in front of the registration desk and pooled from the streams of blood coming down her leg. I thought I would pass out. I stood in the ER breathing through contractions and waiting my turn. Soon enough The Husband emerged, I got registered and was being wheeled up to labor and delivery. 

We arrived at a small room with my name on the door. I went to the bathroom and emerged with tears in my eyes. "There's no tub!" I told The Husband. "There's not even a shower!" He smiled. "This is only the triage room, honey. We won't stay here. Once we know if we're staying we'll move to a room with a tub." I reminded him that I was in labor and we WOULD be staying.

My midwife, Anika, came in and checked me. I'd dilated to a 4. "No, no, no." I told her. "It must be more than that!" She said I had a lot of amniotic fluid- so much so that baby bounced when she checked me. She recommended that I get an IV port just in case I needed it. I'd not wanted an IV or fluids during labor, so we talked about the pros and cons. She was concerned that with so much fluid baby could come very suddenly once things started progressing and that he could potentially come out arm or cord first. I had an image of a slip n slide party emerging from my nethers. Having an IV port ready meant they could administer meds quickly if needed. I agreed. 

We were moved to a regular room (with a tub!) and we began to wait. My contractions had slowed when we got to the hospital, and they were no longer consistent. My mom and sister came, and the waiting game began. I walked. I bounced on a birthing ball. I took a shower. I laid in the bed. During contractions The Husband rubbed my back. Contractions did not get closer together. I was beginning to get frustrated. During one contraction The Husband said what I thought was "calm down". I nearly cussed him out, but then he explained he'd said the contraction was "coming down". Oh. Sorry about that. 

Around midnight Anika checked me again. She said she thought she could safely break my water. Duh. That should progress things quickly. The Husband asked "so we're going to have a baby?" I glared at him. She broke my water, and was right about the amount of fluid I had. It broke and broke and continued to break. For three hours. I'll spare you the details, but there was A LOT of fluid. 

The contractions still didn't pick up. They were strong but not consistent, and often I was able to talk through them. They were monitoring the contractions and mine and baby's heart rates. Anika mentioned that baby's heart rate was dropping during my contractions but that it was not alarming. He may have been startled by the drastic change when my water broke. She told me to try to get some rest. The Husband, my mom and sister all dozed off and I tried to get some rest too. 

Around 3am my midwife and three nurses came bursting in the room like storm troopers. One carried an oxygen mask and another an IV. They began hooking me up, even as my midwife explained what was happening. The baby's heart rate was dropping with contractions and having difficulty climbing back to where it needed to be. They inserted a catheter to return some of fluid I'd lost and to try to reduce baby's distress. She checked me again, and said that baby was in brow position. That meant he was trying to come out face first instead of head first, which was likely the reason for his heart rate dropping. She recommended that we try some different positions to try to get him to turn. For the next hour and a half we tried different positions to get him to turn naturally. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Because I was hooked up to the IV, catheter, and oxygen, I couldn't use the tub or movement strategies I'd used for pain management when I was in labor with The Boy. We waited to see what BeYoYo would do. When his heart rate did not improve my midwife reported that not only did he not turn head first, but he had moved his head back more in the other direction and was now chin first. What we did not know at the time was that the cord was wrapped around his head and shoulder, preventing him from being able to turn. 

It was 6am. Contractions were strong. I'd been in labor all day and night, and I was exhausted. Even though my midwife spoke confidently, I was concerned about my baby. Anika said since labor wasn't progressing and baby was chin first, she thought my labor would likely end in a c-section. She gave me the option of continuing to try re-positioning. We talked about the pros and cons of both and she felt the c-section would be less risky for baby. We waved the white flag and surrendered. If we weren't going naturally I asked how quickly I could get some meds. 

Anika had the surgeon and anesthesiologist paged to come in for an emergency c-section. The nurses started prepping me for surgery and explained what was going to happen. We were wheeled down to the OR. The Husband had to wait outside while everything was prepared. I was nervous about the spinal, which they had to administer twice, but I was ready to meet my baby. They strapped my arms down and let The Husband back in. 

Anika remained with me. I asked if the baby could still be placed on my chest after birth. "No, hon" she said. "We'll give him to dad and dad can hold him and show him to you and you can hold him in recovery." I nodded my understanding and began to cry, my tears flowing down my cheeks and into my ears. The Husband sat by my head, a blue screen and 10 minutes the only things separating us from our baby. 

I felt pressure on my midsection but no pain as the nurses and doctors talked while they worked. A few minutes later they announced BeYoyo was born. We did not hear a cry. "Is he okay? IS HE OKAY?" I pleaded with Anika. "He cried." She said calmly, "did you hear him?" She looked at him and asked him to cry louder for his mama. He did not. We still had not seen him. I looked toward The Husband, tears rolling into my ears. "Is he okay?" Anika spoke. "He's okay. He just needs to go to the NICU to get a little help." I was worried, scared, wanted to see my baby. It turns out the NICU nurses were right in the OR with us, and he didn't have to go far. It wasn't as bad as it sounded. They worked with him for a few minutes, and Anika told us he was getting oxygen and a little massage. I couldn't see anything, but momentarily we heard a little cry and Anika told us he was fine. They invited dad to come and hold him, and The Husband brought him to my side so I could see him, before being whisked to the nursery. He was here, and he was healthy. 

Anika told me then that the cord had been wrapped, and that he had emerged from the c-section chin first. I lie there, relieved. My child was here safe, my husband was now with him.  Whew. I announced to no one that I was going to throw up. The anesthesiologist brought me a bed pan and told me to turn my head to the side. I did, the emotion of two days coming out. We were through. I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks as they sewed me up. 

I was able to see and hold BeYoyo in recovery. He was the most beautiful thing I'd seen since The Boy's birth. I cried. At some point Anika checked on us and said "I'm sorry this wasn't the birth story you'd wanted. We didn't have much of a choice there at the end." I laughed. I told her that I was not at all disappointed in the birth of my son, and thanked her for getting him to us safely. It was not ideal, but I was as proud of his birth story as I was of The Boy's. How could I be disappointed in anything that brought me a healthy baby boy? 

Later, grandparents brought The Boy to meet his brother and my whole family was together. What a blessing. We sent all our visitors out so the boys could have their first few minutes alone together. Then The Boy introduced his grandparents and our friends to his new brother. Our lives were changing again, and I will forever be amazed by that day. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Ninth Month

The ninth month of pregnancy is the longest. It's at least twice as long as any of the other months. And while we're at it let's talk about the mean trick of calling pregnancy 9 months in the first place. The average is 40 weeks. 40 weeks divided by 4 weeks in a month = 10 months, right? Plus, that's only the average, meaning some people are pregnant for 10 and a half months. Lord, please don't let me be one of those.

Meanwhile, everything's done in there. The baby's just sitting around getting fatter. No, really. Look at our last ultrasound pic. This is a close up of fat rolls, labeled "fat rolls" by the ultrasound technician for clarification. The ninth month is the fetal equivalent of that one summer in college where you just binge drank, ate Poptarts and watched Snapped marathons on Lifetime. Just like you, he's got nowhere else to be till August.

PS- We think this is his side. 

In the ninth month you are tired. Maybe you are too tired to care if batman wears cowboy boots to swim lessons or a long sleeved spiderman suit to the library when it's 110 degrees out. You are making a new person, for goodness sake, and that trumps wardrobe decisions. That explains why you are down to wearing glorified muumuus and chacos everyday too.  You may also become less organized and together in the ninth month. Yes, less than you were just a month ago. Maybe you get to the grocery store and have to put shark slippers on your kid because somehow you lost his shoes in the last 10 minutes. Then, as you put the groceries in the back of the car, maybe you realized one shoe rode on the tailgate all the way there. Maybe you'll find the other in the parking lot of swim lessons, I don't know. 

In the ninth month things get messy. If your three year old cries in frustration that he didn't quite make it to the potty and peed on himself just a little, you can respond "me too" with all sincerity, and get everyone a fresh attitude and pair of undies. One of you may or may not have to waddle to your room, past the front door which you left open so that The Boy could watch the pest control guy try to get the bats out of your attic, just before said pest control guy sticks his head in to say he's done. Whatever. Your OBGYN appointments will morph from "how are you feeling?" to intrusive questions about the appearance of a "mucus plug" and "bloody show". Girlfriends will also start to think these are appropriate topics for conversation, and you will not care. These are obviously terms reserved for Insane Clown Posse lyrics, sci-fi movies, and of course, the ninth month of pregnancy. 

In the ninth month, strangers stop you in public bathrooms, where you spend much of your time, to ask you how far along you are and to tell you that you must be close to your due date. They will tell you that you are having a boy or that you are carrying low or high or backwards. They touch you without invitation. They talk to you like you have not noticed that you are pregnant. It's not that you want to be rude, but you want to wear a sign that says "2 weeks. August 10th. Boy. 2nd one."  Also, you will feel the urge to mention something inappropriate and obvious about their bodies too ("And you, ma'am, have bad breath." "You are forty pounds over weight", or "sex change operation?"). Resist. 

You might have all the feels. You may alternate between feelings of frustration and isolation, feeling like the first person on earth who has ever been pregnant and having NO ONE understand the plight of carrying another human internally for 24 hours a day; being angry and frustrated with all of humanity; and being grateful and tearful over each blade of grass you see, each opportunity you have to connect with others, each healthy checkup with your midwives, each time you put gas in a car that reliably works. I don't mean to complain but this cycle is exhausting. 

In the ninth month you are hot. You are swollen.  You feel bigger than the side of a barn you used to make out behind when you were a teenager. Your back hurts. You are tired. You have a pregnancy swagger that can only be described as a waddle. 

You appreciate the miracle of life that you are carrying, and understand that people pay tens of thousands of dollars to be in the condition that you're in, while you did little more than make out behind that barn. And while you appreciate these things, also you don't always love the condition that you're in. You are ready to get that fat baby out of your belly, even if you don't always feel ready to bring him home. The ninth month is like baby purgatory and you are stuck between being fearful that you'll be pregnant forever, and fearful that you won't. It's pregatory. 

The only thing worse than the 9th the 10th. Come on, baby. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That Time I Was Pregnant With Gary Coleman

You may remember from this post It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Dwarfism that
1. The Boy was tiny, and 2. I love little people.

Fast forward to today. I had a 36 week ultrasound for Beyoyo. He is growing well, I had plenty of fluid, and everything looked a-okay. (sidenote: so grateful).

I saw his little ribs, hands, face, and man parts. All good. Then the technician asked if I wanted to try to get a 3D picture of his profile. Duh times 100. Since I am so far along it's a little harder to get a good picture because of the squish factor. Apparently it's pretty crowded in there.

So she scanned around trying to get him to cooperate for a picture. What came up was unbelievable.

Y'all, he looked like Gary Coleman. 

While I was waiting to see my midwife I googled a picture of Gary Coleman just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. 

I inexplicably teared up. I texted the Husband and told him baby was fine. I texted my friend Kati, saying the baby was big and fine and looked like Gary Coleman and I was crying. This was her response: 

Isn't that a good friend? It's a little are-you-okay-get-it-together-this-is-what-you-always-dreamed-of. 

When I left I called The Husband, who was stuck at work, and gave him the details.
"He looks like Gary Coleman." I said.
"You love Gary Coleman!" he said. "It will be our own little Webster." 
"That's Emmanuel Lewis!" I said, with the tone of arrogant comic-conners who are offended that you said Star Trek instead of Star Wars. 
At any rate, I cannot WAIT to see what this little guy is going to look like in real life. 

So, karma again. This is a combination of me exploiting little people and loving black people all squished into one. The squish factor.

Whacoo talking 'bout Beyoyo? 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Boy's Batman Birthday

The Boy is THREE! Can you believe it? Me either. He's pretty pumped too.

This was his birthday breakfast.

He's said for months he wanted a Batman party. The Husband wanted a party that wasn't at our house. (He also had the nerve to ask me not to bake anything. Has he ever even met me?? Baking things is my jam.)

We are party people. We enjoy a good party, and boy can we run with a theme. So when The Boy kept saying he wanted a Batman party my eyes glazed over with thematic ideas. I told him he could have a Batman party, as if because this is about him. I know one day my child will ask me if he can please have a regular, birthday themed party with no print outs and no thematic cupcakes. And that will be the day that I will look at him with lies in my eyes and tell him of course that will be fine. Until then, Batman it is!

The Boy loves to climb. He could climb to the top of his playscape ladder before he was two. He climbs our furniture. He climbs everything at the park. I am not even kidding you when I say he tries to climb our cabinets and fridge. So it was only natural that we took him to check out our local rock climbing facility to see if it was party appropriate. He loved it, natch.

He kept asking if he could go higher on his first try. "Three is a little young for a climbing party" the lady said, trying to talk us out of it. "Sometimes they freak out when they get up there and don't know how to get down." The Husband looked at her. "Can't we just climb up and get them? It's not a mountain." he said. I love him. So we booked the easy party place that was 1. Batman friendly 2. Not at our house and 3. Not age appropriate.

The day of the party finally came, and The Boy could hardly wait. He woke up saying "is it tomorrow yet, is it tomorrow yet?" We told him it was indeed, tomorrow, the day of the party. He beamed. We gathered our party supplies and headed to the climbing place.

We had a cityscape for the kids to take save-the-day pictures. 

Aren't our friends the cutest? 

I used wrapping paper to wrap some small boxes for tablescaping and cupcake holding. I will say I'm a little concerned about the inefficiency of how many lights stay on in Gotham City. 

My mother-in-law made the cupcakes, and I compromised with The Husband by just making the fondant batman cutouts on top. 

Superhero fruit snacks, suckers with capes and masks, and cupcakes. We also printed some batman coloring sheets and had crayons, which no one used. I framed The Boy's birthday interview with a few recent pictures for the table. 

I used the same batman fondant cutter (via etsy) to make batman imprints in the watermelon. 

Excuse the blurry pictures, but snacks were penguin shaped crackers (from Aldi) and 

      Catwoman claws (Bugles). Three adults said to me they'd forgotten how delicious bugles are.        
                        Truth. The characters you see are just laminated printouts via the internets.

                                   Drinks were Joker Juice (capri suns) and Gotham City Water.

Baby brother came dressed as Robin. Turns out there aren't a lot of maternity Robin outfit ideas out there.

All the friends got a black cape to take home (via The Dollar Tree)
Some were more excited about it than others. 

The kids climbed the rock walls with the assistance of some pretty cool staff members. That's The Boy in the middle, with the owner climbing beside him AND belaying him at the same time. He climbed to the top and rang the bell over and over. That's his cousin on the right. Some adults climbed too. 

                              There was a smaller climbing wall and ladder for fun......

That led to a huge 20 foot slide. 

There was also a lot of running around in circles, jumping off and onto mats, and rolling on the floor. Most of my pictures look something like this:

At the end of the party, the verdict was this: no major injuries, no kids stuck on the top of the rock wall, leftover cupcakes for the staff to keep, and only one pair of shoes left behind. (Anyone?) Better yet, we tired out the kids and sent ours home with his grandparents! Success on all fronts if you ask me. 

Happy Birthday, Batman!