Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 4th Trimester

I feel like I am trapped on the couch, which was fun for awhile because Dance Moms is THAT good (seriously, watch it on Hulu right now!) (and before you ask, it is nothing like Toddlers and Tiaras-- more like Drop Dead Gorgeous/ Waiting for Guffman). This whole week, though, the couch has been making me twitchy. I am ready to ease back into my old life. And to get out of what Up All Night called sweatpants purgatory.

I have eaten SO MUCH candy corn, and none of my real clothes fit yet, so even though I am looking forward to going to campus for meetings again soon, I may have to go in sweatpants. Wearing the baby.

Sleep. Ah, I remember just 3 short weeks ago when I used to sleep all night long. Sometime in the next 12 months, that should happen again, right? Right? RIGHT??? Cooper does this cute thing where after he eats at 2 or 3 am, he grunts loudly (in his sleep) until around 6 or 7 when he poops loud enough to be heard from the kitchen. I can't sleep through the grunts. For awhile (a couple of days)I thought he was crying during this time, and I would change and burp and try to feed him. This just pissed him off. He is the loudest sleeper I have ever met.

Which brings me to the title of this post. I have been attached to this baby 24/7 since he was born, and I love it. That's why I happily-ish sleep next to his grunts. I think Dr. Sears sucks a little because he makes working women feel so shitty, but I am a baby wearer by nature. As much as I complain, I love feeling his little body snuggled up to my chest as I go throughout my day. I love sitting on the couch holding him until my arms fall asleep and I have seen every episode of a Baby Story at least once. I love sleeping beside his loud, loud, loud noises. (Tonight, I am going to try to get him to sleep in his bouncy chair after his 2-ish am feeding because maybe if he is slightly sitting up, he can poop without so much fanfare?)

Oh! Yes! Pictures? Of course!

Harry hurt this finger at school today when he shut it in the bathroom door:
Cooper hanging out while Harry took a bath the other night. He loves Harry, by the way. LOVES him. Would stare at him for as long as Harry will let him.
Baby wearing-- clearly I needed to tuck in his head a little more.
Jack watching Super Hero Squad on Ben's iPad at football on Saturday (Ben coaches Harry's football team, and it is the cutest thing I have ever seen-- a bunch of 5 and 6 year-olds playing flag football.)
I have been buying Cooper a lot of Halloween-themed outfits. Why not? he;s going to outgrow them in a matter of weeks anyway, so he might as well be seasonal. (And H and J's baby Halloween clothes are WAY too big)
He's starting to not mind hanging out in his bouncer from time to time. And right now? he is going on 1.5 hours in his Rock and Play cradle. (And now that I said that he'll wake up screaming, but in the mean time, we got to eat dinner all together, and I cleaned the kitchen while Ben wrestled with Harry and Jack-- usually Ben is on Cooper duty after dinner, and the big boys have to entertain themselves)
Jack is gathering super heroes for the bath (you would not believe how many toys he bathes with on a daily basis), and that blur beside him is Harry
I keep trying to get a picture of Cooper's super adorable dimple, but no luck so far, just a lot of extreme close ups.
Ben and Harry on the football field

And that's about it. Our days sort of bleed into each other. Cooper is, of course, too little for a routine, but the rest of us crave one, so we are doing our best to fit him into our schedule of school drop offs and pick ups, football and soccer, laundry.

I love rolling out of bed and walking Harry across the street to school. We usually leave when we hear the first bell, and this is a benefit I could enjoy for the next 10 or 11 years depending on when Cooper can start kindergarten. We have some really lovely neighbors, and 2 little boys who each live a block or so away are in Harry's class. The woman across the street from us is due to have a baby any minute, and Jack is in love with a little girl who lives by the park-- all of the kids could have neighborhood friends.

I am not teaching again until spring, but I am getting ready to do the other part of my job on campus. I am slowly building a stash of frozen breast milk (even though I am only going to miss about one feeding a week, it feels good to accumulate little bags of freedom should I ever want to redeem them), and I did buy some dressy stretchy clothes at Old Navy a few days before Cooper was born.

I'd really love to lose weight faster, but I can't stop eating graham crackers and candy corn. And honey crisp apples, but they're healthy at least. I've added in a 30 minute walk most days of the week, but I wear Cooper, so it's not like I am going very fast.

He's a cute baby, and we are all fascinated with him, and things are boring, boring, boring, boring around here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The good hormones

Ben keeps giving me hard time because he swears that this baby is my favorite baby. That's not true, of course, but I am having some of the good hormones this time around, the ones that make me burst into tears because I just love him so much (like Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona) instead of the ones that make my eyes burn red lasers into everyone. I think it's because I am caffeine free and have been since September 9th. I am way more chill than usual (which is still way less chill than most normal people). I feel like I could actually board a plane or ride an elevator, and I have occasionally taken short calls on my cell phone without speaker phone or my headset, and I haven't been paralyzed with thoughts of brain cancer. Progress, people. Baby steps.

Part of why I am so into this grunty little baby, though, is because he's it. The last one. I know I said that after Jack but that was only because Ben was done having kids, and I figured the best way to make sure we had another was to not act like I wanted a another (persuasion FTW!-- it's all about audience analysis). But this time? Done for real. (Although we do have enough bedrooms for everyone to have his own even with one more baby-- even this fact does not persuade me, and I'll tell you why).

I never want to go through labor and delivery ever again. Pregnancy was fine-- a little shitty there at the interminable end, but fine. Fun, even, because having a giant belly cracks me up and lots of maternity clothes are adorable these days.

But actual childbirth? Gah. And the thing is, Cooper's L&D was PERFECT. Because I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I didn't have to wear a monitor (but I would have at 41 weeks, so I barely dodged that bullet), and I got the completely intervention-free delivery I have always wanted. 10 minutes before I started pushing, I was outside my room walking the halls and drinking a Sierra Mist (no HFCS-- pretty cool). Pushing only took 26 minutes. I was in the shower right after he was born and felt 100% fine 2 hours later. I had NO recovery pain-- a few cramps while nursing that Motrin fixed. When he rounded the day after Cooper was born and asked me about my pain, I told my OB I had been pain free since the placenta came out. He wanted to discharge me after 24 hours, but I was like OMG no way I have 2 kids at home and am staying here in this quiet room until Sunday. Labor was my dream experience. Contractions were AGONIZING, but it was a clean pain-- the minute the contraction was over, I felt completely fine and 100% normal. (Except when the baby's head was crowning. Jesus.) It was truly the labor I have always wanted. But it was still horribly painful and grueling and even though I have done it before, there was some time around 9 centimeters until he was out that I was really panicked, was unable to ride the waves of pain, thought-- really believed-- that I was going to die. And really, I just never want to do it again, but I also wouldn't want to do it any other way, if that makes sense.

My only regret is that Harry was the only baby I got to hold on my chest right after birth still connected, and I didn't appreciate that magical moment. (I blame the super strong epidural and the fact that I had been left to "labor down" so long that my contraction stopped, and pushing him out was weird and rough and numb). Jack was blue and whisked away immediately, and Cooper was covered with meconium and needed to be suctioned by the NICU team. Both Cooper and Jack were returned within minutes and tucked neatly under my hospital gown, which was lovely, but still. That iconic moment where the doctor flops the baby onto my chest-- I would have liked that more than once when all was said and done. But if that is my only complaint? I need to accept my blessings and move on.

So, this baby. He's so small and he sleeps so loudly (another thing I forgot about infants)

His brothers LOVE him (Jack looks subdued here because I didn't have the flash on, so I told him he needed to be perfectly still. Apparently, he has to make a Precious Moment face to accomplish that feat.

I am sure the good hormones are going to ebb away, and I will be all tired and bitchy and anxious again before I know it, but until then, isn't he sweet?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adventures in babywearing

If you have a newborn or are going to have a baby, you have got to get this baby carrier with the infant insert.

Totally snuggly and amazing

After kindergarten drop off, we took a lovely walk around the neighborhood, and afterward Cooper slept happily snuggled inside the carrier like a little pea in a pod while I had a snack and did some work. Perfect.

I still also love the Moby, and made Ben understand that we needed to keep them both.

Thanks to my new found 2-handed mobility, we went apple picking

Which totally wore Cooper out

We did a little tummy time. I forgot all about tummy time. Is it still recommended?

I took about a thousand pictures of him for his birth announcements, which got old fast

The great thing about a newborn is that he makes me be present all the time. The moment is the only moment-- he needs something always. So I have just been holding him and kissing him and breathing him. And watching HGTV.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grandpa Jack

We lost him today at age 91. He was old and sick, and he is at peace now. At least, that's what we told the children and what my grandma told me today because I am still a child, too, to at least a few more people.

This picture is so great because it's not recent-- look at that computer! And the huge ash tray! But it could have been taken any day because that's what Grandpa Jack did in his den-- he sat at his desk on the radio or the computer. When this image popped up on the scanner, Ben said , "That's how your grandpa looked every time I saw him."

I'll miss him, of course, but I might not know how much until I go into that room and there's no swivel, no eyebrows-raised smile, no body folded into the recliner in front of the TV. Anymore.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cooper is a week old!

Things I forgot about newborns:

How much laundry they generate (srsly-- the kid pees through at least 2 pairs of pajamas a night, soaks a couple swaddle blankets in a 24 hour period and had his first poop bow out this morning).

How often they eat (takes at least a half an hour to get him to eat both sides and burp; then he eats eat a little bit more s he can fall asleep-- then he wants to do it all again-- plus a diaper change-- about 45 minutes later. So I have been hanging out on the couch watching lots of TLC).

How truly wonderful it is to snuggle with them (that downy head! That milky smell! That warm little neck! Those smooth, squishy cheeks! Almost makes me sad that this is my last baby. I always kind of thought we'd have one more after this, but oh my god! Childbirth is HORRIBLE and I don't ever want to do it again. Ever.)

I got Cooper these cute little stickers on Etsy to put on his onesies for his monthly pictures, and they came with a bonus newborn sticker:

The wild west theme made way more sense when I ordered them because this was his name-to-be:

Our pediatrician laughed and laughed when I admitted with some surprise that I hadn't done a damn thing to clean the baby since he was born (I mean, he got a bath at the hospital, but since then, nothing!). He said I should at least remember to take pictures of the kid. So today, I both washed AND photographed him. Big brother Jack was on hand to help, but he was moving too fast for me to photograph.
Cooper found the whole bath process weird and startling, but he didn't cry.

Things have improved a bit here since Ben bought me a Moby wrap and a Petunia Picklebottom Ergo with a cute little infant insert. I was freaking out because Cooper needs to be 8 pounds for the Bjorn, and he was only 7 pounds 7 ounces a the doc on Tuesday. Now I have a couple baby wearing options, which is good because I had to walk Harry to school this chilly morning. I swaddled Cooper, stuffed him in the Moby (which looks like the world's ugliest shirt), and zipped my fleece around us both. Super glam, but he was protected from kindergarten germs. Not sure how preschool drop off will go on Monday. I am thinking that I'll use the car seat and stroller, but I KNOW people are going to want to look a him, and I like the hands-off vibe that the wrap exudes because he is only going to be 10 days old on Monday and the only place germier than an elementary school is a preschool. It just seems like a PITA to put on in the preschool parking lot with both Jack and Harry in tow. (The logistics of drop offs are kind of screwy on Mondays).

I have been taking pictures of course.

I like the Miracle blanket Cooper's wearing, but I like the Aden + Anais blankets WAAAAAY better-- they are AWESOME.

Love his little sad face

The proud biggest brother

The bigger brother looking a little menacing

Ha! Caught him mid startle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hanging in there

I always wondered what people meant when they talked about how going from 2-3 was harder than going from 1-2. Harder in what way, I thought? I remembered all the holding and the feeding and the doing things one-handed. And I am a total freakshow about keeping my wood floors spotlessly clean, so I thought floor maintenance might be a bit harder. And it is for sure.

But for me, the harder part is that I have absolutely no patience for Harry and Jack. I am okay with one of them at a time (not great but OK), but together? Forget about it. And they are going out of their way to screw with us. It's like they have forgotten every rule. Discarded every routine. I don't want to be a nagging shrew, but for goodness sake just SIT ON THE CHAIR when you eat your breakfast! Or maybe don't karate chop your brother 2 inches from the baby's squishy head. Just STOP SCREAMING at me.

So. Yeah. I feel like I am doing okay with the baby but I kind of suck at taking care of the big kids. Anybody else feel this way in the beginning? How'd you get over it? Luckily Ben and my mom are around to do fun stuff like fly kites!

It's a vicious cycle, right? Thy feel like I only love the baby because I am constantly consumed by his care. So they act out to see if I still love them. I get pissed and confirm their worst fears, so then they keep acting shitty, and I keep harping at them. Ugh.

I need to take a nap (and, since because of the timing of Cooper's birth, I have not had any caffeine since the morning of 9-8, I can nap whenever I want! Actually, I feel great decaff-- no, or little to no, anxiety and minimal sleep troubles-- totally counter intuitive.)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Cooper Dennis- late and snuggly

That's me pausing to have a contraction when we got to the hospital around 7 this morning, when the pain was pesky-- something I could smile through.

Yesterday I scheduled my induction for either the 12th or the 13th, talked with my doctor about the myriad interventions that could follow my promised pitocin drip, set up some pre-natal testing for today to make sure the baby's decrepit placenta could continue to support him through the weekend and generally freaked out.

I woke up at 2:45 this morning with uncomfortable contractions 8 minutes apart. I went downstairs to watch the movie Everybody's Fine and time them obsessively. By 5:50, they hurt and were 4 minutes apart. I woke up Ben. We called the hospital, and he canceled his class. we made some coffee, called my brother and headed to triage, where I was only a measly 3.5 cm. What a pisser.

We walked the halls for awhile because Cooper's heart beat was a cheerful 140 bpm the whole damn time no matter how terrible I felt, and when the resident checked again, I was 5 cm and admitted to a birth suite. The last birth suite. And the only one without a tub. I hung out in a hot shower for almost an hour and when I got out, I was only 6.5 cm and again pretty annoyed.

At this point, when a contraction struck, I would lean over the side of my bed, bury my face in a pillow, and make Ben rub my back. I could still breathe through them, so the nurse suggested we walk the halls again, and we decided I didn't need an epidural. Because, you guys, when i wasn't in increasing agony, I felt FINE. Totally and completely normal in fact.

Unfortunately, on our walk around the L&D loop, I had 4 contractions in about 6 minutes and tried to literally climb the walls. I thought I was going to die. We passed the nurses station, and I gurgled epidural at my nurse, who hurried to my room to start an IV. The resident followed her. I had the most agonizing contraction in the world, said fuck a lot, and almost turned the bed over. The nurse talked me through 2 more that followed back to back, and I managed to breathe through them. The resident checked me, and said it was time to push.

I went from 6.5 to 10 cm in about 30 minutes. No wonder that hurt so bad.

My water broke, full of meconium, and it was nasty.


And then:

7 pounds, 5 ounces, and 21 inches long, born at 12:40 pm.

The big brothers stopped by after school for presents and chocolate cigars.

And now? We are a family of 5.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

OMG!! 40 3/4 weeks pregnant!

You guys this s all my fault for being so smug and thinking I would have the baby mid-August.

I know this.

And Harry getting teary-eyed at kindergarten drop-off is my fault for being so smug about him never once ever crying in 3 years of preschool.

I know this, too.

Also, I have spent the most ridiculous amount of money since I was about 37.5 weeks because I have nothing to do but shop either online or in person. Today, I just rounded out my post partum wardrobe with everything stretchy I could find at Old Navy. So having the baby will be good for my budget.

I am losing weight because I no longer have room to eat food.

I was horribly uncomfortable over Labor Day weekend, but I am okay now. Just bored. I keep having contractions, some of them so intense that I get out my iPhone contraction timer app and then THEY TOTALLY GO AWAY. Not cool. For a week.

Look at the size of my stomach:

Jack is really funny these days. He and I went to Target for a hot drink this morning after we dropped Harry off at school, and he was so cute and chatty and helpful at Old Navy. Here are a couple of random Jack videos from the last 2 days:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

OMG!! Kindergarten!

Harry was such a sport posing for a million pics this morning

(still super pregnant. yes)

We walked to school

Harry was brave outside, but he seemed really freaked out when we left.

He was happy to see outside when school ended for the (long) day

Brothers! Reunited!

And then we went home for chocolate chip brownies. Harry said he cried a little because he missed us.

This is his back pack which cracks me up because it looks so official and only holds a lunch box and a water bottle.

I really don't know how to process kindergarten. I hope the public school system doesn't fail this kid, you know? And if there's trouble, I hope we can recognize its signs soon enough. We told him he had the nicest teacher in school because he was so freaked about school, but what if she's mean to him? Will he feel like he can tell us?

To change the subject, here's a picture of our last day of summer vacay. The grass is finally long enough for the kids to ruin it with the sprinkler, and they gave me quite the Big Time Rush karaoke concert. See?