Wednesday, December 4, 2013

There Are All Kinds of Routines

I've found a sweet rhythm in our morning routine.  We wake up at 7:30. Well, to be clear I wake up at 7:30, poor Hubs is already out the door for work by then!  I get the Little Man dressed and set up with cereal and his tv show, or he gets therapy if it is a Wed/Thurs, then I feed Vegas his morning bottle.  He is sleeping from 10:30 to 7:30 now that he is in his big boy crib which means we're all enjoying a fairly good night's sleep. By the time Vegas finishes eating, it is time to get some teeth brushed, face washed, and throw the lunch I've packed the night before into Little Man's backpack. Then we walk down the driveway to wait for the bus.  I usually bring the rest of his breakfast with us and he happily eats that while we watch the other neighborhood kids walk to their bus stop and leave for school.  I savor this short wait with my happy Little Man, when he wants nothing more than to giggle and run around with me, where his patience and energy level are usually the best they will be all day.

I come inside and watch Colbert and Stewart while having my coffee and breakfast, and then its time for chores and catching up on whatever I missed last night on the internet.  Once a week, usually Tuesday or Wednesday, I go grocery shopping.  But our daytime is fairly quiet and blissfully uneventful.  Vegas is an easygoing baby, and aside from his tendency to only nap in 15-20 minute increments, is an absolute dream.  He's either swinging, eating, or hanging out in his gym.  Or getting snuggled on - I'd missed having a squishy little baby around!

His easy nature is helpful, because Little Man has become a total pill at night for the past few weeks.  Maybe it is the loss of naptime now that he is in school.  Maybe it is the realization that home is not nearly as structured as school, and that he can push boundaries here with us.  Whatever it is, after school is now the most stressful time of Little Man's day.  That means that from 4:45 - 9:30 is usually the most stressful part of MY day, because there is certainly no perfect rhythm to our after school/nighttime routines.

Once Little Man gets off the bus, he is usually so exhausted that I walk/drag him up the driveway and get his coat and leg brace off to settle down for afternoon snack.  He is also always ravenously hungry (which is weird, I know they have snacks at school and he has a huge lunch), and flips out if snack and dinner don't come in quick succession.  Every time I step into the kitchen, he panics and immediately needs to be given a snack.  If I tell him that there is no junk food til after dinner, it is full out tantrum time.  His tantrums have gotten so bad that he now does the typical toddler "lay down and flail around kicking" thing - with a few added special kid bonuses.  He smacks his chest so hard that he leaves bruises and scratches all over himself.  Sometimes he pinches at the skin on his neck.  He cries so hard that he loses his voice.  He chews on the feet or zipper of his pajamas.  He intersperses tantrums with flopping down onto Daddy or Mommy to just cuddle for a few minutes.  Or watching his shows.  Or chewing on toys.

Needless to say after a few hours of these kind of tantrums we are excited for bedtime.  We put him upstairs in his room and he usually settles right down to sleep.  The problem now is that there is literally nothing we can do to keep his diaper and pajamas on anymore.  Nothing.  He has no problem at all if he stays dry.  But if he pees and wakes up wet he takes off his pajamas and diaper and goes back to sleep naked, and this happens at least twice a week.  Even with an extra fastener to keep the zipper closed, he just hulks out of the zipper and rips the pajamas open, leaving the fastener on top and wearing the pajamas like a cape.  This routine means a setback in the morning - an early morning half-asleep bath and frantic scramble to be ready for the day.  But this is actually a best case scenario if I walk into the room and see the jammies off.

God forbid the kid makes a dirty diaper. This almost always happens at night before he falls asleep for good. I have no words to describe how disgusting it is to clean up a full sized boy's diaper, when all you want to do is crawl in bed and pass out in exhaustion.  Give me all the baby diaper blowouts in the world - they don't even phase me anymore. The tough part is that it doesn't matter what we do - we can check on Little Man every half-hour after bed, and the kid will magically poop the second our back is turned.  It takes all my energy not to flip out at him and scream.  Logically I know that the reason he takes off his diaper is because its gross to sit in a dirty diaper.  I understand that to him, it is off and now he is happy and wait, why is Mommy so angry that I am 'clean' and dry?   And now, he gets a late night bath.  HURRAY everything is awesome in Little Man's world!  Mommy and Daddy are the ones bleary-eyed scrubbing the bedroom and kidlet at 10:30.

This is my most dreaded of all our routines. We have a lifetime supply of Resolve and Lysol wipes and Clorax spray thanks to Costco.  The washer does a nighttime load and in the morning we throw a soggy pile of bedclothes into the dryer.  We move through these motions on autopilot.  We applaud ourselves on the nights we find Little Man in the process of tearing open the pajamas, we sigh in exasperation on the nights we miss our window.  There are half-hearted lectures to Little Man about never doing this again and a stern goodnight and back to bed.  Then Vegas finally gets his moment of peace and quiet (because Little Man usually goes back to sleep after removing a diaper, and is very. upset. at being woken up to be cleaned up), and we scarf down a late bottle before being tucked into bed.

Routine.  It's all routines at this point.  Some of them I like more than others.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Viva Las Vegas! Happy Anniversary weekend Hubs!

One year ago today my loving Hubs and I were frantically scrambling around and trying to catch our plane to Las Vegas!  We ran through the airport Home-Alone-style and boarded the flight minutes before they left the runway, and because it was Southwest and we were late, I sat a few rows ahead of him dreaming about our wedding which was only 2 days away.

A year later I thought we'd be in the beginning stages of growing our family, but could never have dreamed we'd have our honeymoon baby in our arms while planning our one-year anniversary.  For his present (as if the beautiful baby I carried for him wasn't enough!), I got Hubs a trip to Fed Ex field with a "backstage" tour of the stadium.  He was an adorable tourist, and he carried his video camera all over the stadium.  We got photos taken with a photographer who encouraged me to "shake the baby" to wake him up.  Ermm... that's not how babies work buddy...

This one is my favorite, though obviously Little Man is not a big Redskin fan...

For my anniversary gift, Hubs bought me a Louie Vuitton wallet and a beautiful canvas that he had printed with the dates of all our "firsts" on it. I love the canvas and can't wait to hang it up! Sadly, it has a misspelling that means we will have to either doctor it up or get a new one, and he is so upset about it.  I asked my two craftiest friends for advice (thanks girls!) and they think it is possible to fix it, so we'll be trying that asap. I love having a husband who remembers the sentimental things like our first "I love you" and our first date.  The spoiling me rotten part is pretty nice too, but the goopy sweetheart piece of him is what stole my heart.  He is such a romantic, and he brings out the best parts of me.

Our first New Year's Eve together

This weekend we will go out for a nice dinner and just enjoy each other's company.  Little Man is probably going to visit Ex, so we might get a relaxing night with no Thomas the Tank Engine or SuperWhy! as background noise.  Just our Baby Vegas snuffling around and wanting cuddles.  Our actual anniversary falls on the Sunday, so we'll be spending it with family and both boys.  Oh that reminds me... I have a giant block of cake to pull out of the freezer!
The entire top layer of this cake traveled home with us from Vegas.
It is probably very freezer burnt.
Happy Anniversary Hubs!  Here's to many, many more!  I'd give this first year a 10 out of 10!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do I Have A Fake Ergo Carrier?!

So today I saw something online (and for the life of me I can't remember where this rabbit hole began) that mentioned there are counterfeit Ergo baby carriers being sold at discount prices.  Supposedly even if you bought from a reputable online site, there is a chance your carrier can be a big fat fake.

Here is one article and then there are dozens more that I found that talk about how angry these women are about their fake carriers.  I took my adorable carrier out and compared it to the "real" vs "fake" versions on that site and saw that it has two red flag items that might mean it is a fake - the warning label is similar to the fake one, and the buckles say "warrior" instead of "stealth".  But in all other respects, my carrier seems well-made, safe, and looks identical to the "real" photos - the stitching, safety elastic, and everything else on my carrier is perfect.  I am not concerned at all about the safety of my carrier, and if I was I wouldn't use it at all - real or fake!

Now according to the comment section of the articles I was reading, supposedly there are Ergos made in other places, and really the only way to know if yours is a fake is to contact Ergo with serial numbers and registration info.  Ergo has sent mixed messages - one woman says she got an email saying any variation at all indicates a fake, another said when she contacted them with pictures of her "fake" label that she was assured it was not counterfeit at all.

Maybe I have a fake, maybe I don't.  Unfortunately, I don't have the box anymore to compare and/or ship back if it is indeed a fake.  In the future though, I will do some serious research before buying a carrier anywhere but through Ergo or Babies R Us - if only for the peace of mind it would give me to know I will not unintentionally be buying something that might be of lower quality than the price I am paying for it.  I have no problem buying well made but cheaper items (see; shoe collection, sweaters, etc...) but if I am buying a "designer baby carrier" that I am probably wearing more often than I carry my designer purse?!?!  That thing better be 100% next time, with nothing to give me pause or ask questions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why I Don't Gamble With Baby Vegas

Over the last few months, I've had to make a ton of decisions on how to raise Baby Vegas.  And believe it or not, just because I've done it once before with Little Man doesn't mean I will make the same choices for my second son. Not only do I not remember everything I did with Little Man, things have already changed since my firstborn was a baby.  Yes, in five years, things have changed. So not only do I have to defend my decisions to my (well-meaning but wrong) older generation of moms/grandmas I have around me, but I have to defend them to myself!  Just because I did it once doesn't mean it is still the best or safest way to parent!

Between my BabyBump iPhone app and my Facebook newsfeed, there are so many questions and then opinions about baby rearing.  Breast-feeding or formula?  Attachment parenting or crying-it-out?  Pureed food or baby led weaning?  These debates can get incredibly heated, but I generally avoid them and am not too concerned.  While these choices are obviously very important to you and yours, your decision in them does not affect me or the life of your child.  Your breastfed baby is just as safe as my formula fed one.  Kids who start on purees will eventually eat table food.  There are no studies that identify whether serial killers were carried in Baby Bjorns instead of a tye-dyed ring sling.  Maybe your kid will end up "better" than my kid, or maybe they won't.  These kind of choices are innocent parenting choices that always just prompt me to say - and only when asked for my opinion - "Here is what I do, but really, do what you think is best."

But then there are the debates that have me slamming down my phone in disgust or typing away long-winded answers in frustration.  Baby carriers rested on the tops of shopping carts.  Guidelines on how long to keep your child in a car seat and/or rear facing.  Crib bumpers and the "back to sleep" initiative.  These questions make me angry because there is in fact just one answer to all of these - do what is safest despite what is convenient!  That's it.  No, you don't hear about thousands of babies dying from any one of these things.  But there are plenty of injuries, and there have been deaths.  So why would you risk being that unlucky parent for a little bit of convenience?  Yeah, I've been there.  I hate having to wake up a sleeping baby to transfer them to a wearable carrier or one of the carriers that is pre-attached to your shopping cart.  I have beautiful crib bumpers gifted to me for my first son from before the state of Maryland outlawed them for safety reasons. I've watched my son sleeping on his tummy so sweetly and deeply that I was tempted to walk away and get my work done.

Then I think about it again.  I think about those women who knew it would never ever happen to them.  The ones whose child would never fall off a shopping cart as she rolled over a curb, or turned down the aisle too quickly. The mother who walked in to see her child tangled in a crib bumper or smothered under a heavy quilt.  Those few mothers out of those hundreds of mothers who just know it will never happen to them.  And then I don't gamble. It isn't worth the risk  My son's life is worth making the safe bet - which is not betting at all.   Just because your parents did it and "we turned out fine" is not an excuse any more.  Know better, and do better.  Don't be the person that gambles and loses! You can't possibly know what life has in store for you. You might be the car involved in a collision on the Beltway, or you might get home safely with two kids sharing a single seat-belt. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, "By golly I better be extra-safe today because I have that accident coming my way."  If there are ways to prevent infant and child deaths and you aren't doing them, then that is when I want to shake you and beg you to become informed. Even when doing your very best all the time as a parent, accidents happen.  Every day can't be your lucky day. So please take the extra time to read up on child safety and carry it out.  The one time you realize that you prevented an accident or injury will be worth all the headache and work you swore you didn't need to be doing.  And if you never happen to encounter a situation where your child is saved by one of the safety measures you took - well then, consider yourself lucky, and I'd recommend you play the slots.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So much for posting every day

Today is the 50th day of school in our county, so Little Man's class is celebrating with a 50's dance complete with root beer floats and hot dogs.  It should be fairly hilarious because A) a kindergarten dance?  And B) Little Man hates ice cream and carbonated beverages.  But I dutifully dressed him in his greaser costume and tried to slick back his mop of hair before school... it turned out more flock of seagulls than greaser, but I think I got an A for effort.

To add to my morning craziness, every day for the next two weeks he is supposed to be in a different color outfit for their color unit. This is after I spent all last week dressing him in outfits for "Spirit Week".  Considering he could care less what he wears, it's really a pain in the ass.  But I feel like if I don't do it, then the other moms and teachers will judge me for not caring about this super fun Color Unit.  *Sigh*  So I am organizing a bunch of special outfits for this week and he will be the cutest and most involved kid in his class.  
We all had a great extended Halloween weekend!  Saturday was lunch with my grandmother-in-law and a costume party with some of my favorites. Then yesterday we invited some more friends over to watch scary movies and eat our leftover candy.  Hubs laughed with me later that I never really held Baby Vegas for more than a minute or so all night - he was everyone's favorite party guest.

Last but certainly not least - I finally started my exercise program again!  I am hoping I can keep up with it, and I know that I can as long as I put my mind to it.  I love how great I feel when I'm keeping up with my workouts and eating well, and it is always a nice bonus to see the pounds drop off.  My goal is to lose 15 pounds by January.  All about willpower.

Friday, November 1, 2013

BloPoMoNaNoNa ... Or whatever this month is called...

In November, some bloggers will take the month to challenge themselves to make a post every day - National Blog Posting Month or "NaBloPoMo".  While I doubt I will be able to have a post-a-day with little ones running around and prepping for the Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral, I want to at least try and post a little more so that my updates are a little less "OMG 3 WEEKS OF CRAZY UPDATES JAMMED INTO ONE SENTENCE!"

Not my chart, but its accurate/funny.
Celebrating Halloween on a Thursday is much trickier once you are out of college. The "grown-ups" went to our Halloween party last weekend, and this weekend we are keeping it a little more low-key and having a few friends over. Really though, I am just happy that Hubs and I managed to scrounge together a couples costume to wear, since this holiday always seems to sneak up on us and I have so little try.

Caesar and Cleopatra
Last night was finally Halloween and we enjoyed it as much as you can with two kidlets who give no craps about the holiday!  The houses in our 'hood are pretty spaced out and so we didn't get too many trick or treaters.  Leftover candy may derail my diet plan just a little...

Anyways, the boys wore adorable outfits and Little Man even wore a mask (for thirty two seconds while I held his hands for the photo).  Hubs' parents came over and gave them special Halloween pajamas. Gramma even adapted Little Man's pjs with a hidden hook-and-eye that will hopefully keep them from being removed during the night!

Little Man had some fun themed clothing for school the past few days, but somewhere between the bus ride and getting home he must have lost the cape for yesterday's school costume.  [Because of his hatred of Halloween sensory issues, I had his school "costume" as a shirt with a shiny blue cape attached.  That way he wouldn't have to wear his costume all day.]  I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture with it before he left for school.  But here is the cute outfit he wore Wednesday!
Festive without the itch.
In true Vegas fashion, Baby had a costume change mid-Halloween evening.   He had this gem that I picked up at Target a few months ago...
What. Is. That?
And then his fancy costume.  Spoiled rotten kids.  Although really, the outfits were definitely all for Mommy's amusement.

Pumpkin boy and Captain America!  Photos are deceiving, that mask was not appreciated.

And so we stayed up late watching Ghostbusters and eating pizza, celebrating Halloween in the quiet of our own home.  Maybe we'll go trick-or-treating next year if Baby Vegas is up for it, but for now we are enjoying not having to work too hard at this holiday.  

Although by the look of this sleepy little boy, some of us worked very hard this Halloween...
Had to pry him out of bed this morning
See you tomorrow folks!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2 Month Update - Baby Vegas!

At his two-month checkup last Friday, Baby Vegas was 12 lbs 7oz.  I knew he had filled out quite a bit since his one month visit, so that wasn't much of a surprise.  He hasn't increased at all in length, still at 23 inches and holding - so that weight is all baby fat!
Vegas at his 2 Month Checkup!  Pre-shots which made him angry!
1-2 months is so different than "newborn"... he is finally more interesting and interactive.  Call me a terrible mom (try it and watch me laugh), but newborns are fairly boring.  They lay there and sleep (or worse, lay there and DON'T sleep) and eat and poop.  They show little appreciation for the effort you are making to keep them happy and alive.  But by 2 months old... they start to show you the love.  The first smiles just melted my icy cold and sleep deprived little heart.
Daddy snuggles before bed.  That is a canvas of our awesome maternity photo in the background!

Baby Vegas is a serious looking little guy.  Most of his pictures have him staring at you intently with his great big eyes.  I love it.  He saves up all his gummy grins for Mommy and Daddy.  Although now at the end of his 2nd month, he is starting to be a little more of a ham for the camera.

Hanging with my Uncle B

So serious.
He is still eating like a champ - 4 oz every three hours or so.   Just last night we were talking about upping it to see if he would eat more.  He always finishes every drop of formula and doesn't fuss for more, but he needs to eat so often we wonder if he might be not quite full at the end. 

He still sleeps pretty poorly, especially during the day.  He rarely settles down for a long nap unless we've tuckered him out with a bath or we're out running around. He sleeps best very tightly swaddled, and he needs absolute quiet to stay asleep or he'll be up in no time at all.  Right now he is napping but my typing keeps waking him up!  This makes it really hard at night with Daddy snoring or Mommy tossing and turning, so we're all very ready to transition into the nursery instead of the bassinet.  Except emotionally, I guess, because when Mommy mentioned that maybe Vegas would do better sleeping down the hall, Daddy vetoed the idea because he thinks he is still too little.  Awww...

Right now he does a last feed before we all settle down for bed around 10, then he usually wakes up hungry again around 2-3, and is up for the day at 7.  Every third day or so he'll sleep solidly from 10-6 or 7, but I have no idea why or how to make it happen again.  Hahaha!

3 loves of my life.  Hubs is such a fantastic Daddy.

Baby Vegas is a champ with errands though.  He barely makes a peep and usually sleeps the entire time.  I have changed my grocery shopping over to Target now because I use the Cartwheel app to save a ton of money, and because they have the handy baby carriers attached to their shopping carts.  He is still pretty slouchy in them, but with receiving blankets tucked all around him he is very comfy and safer than if I put our own carrier on top of a cart.  I tried wearing him in a wrap or carrier a couple times while shopping, but he is still so little that when I need to bend over to pick up big bags of dog food or something on a low shelf I feel like his head doesn't have enough support.  Whether that is true or just my paranoid mom-brain I can't tell ya, but for now it isn't my favorite way to shop.

I still love my baby carriers - my Moby and my new Ergo are my favorite baby "toys"... they settle him down easily and are great for walking out to the bus stop and waiting for Little Man.  As for Vegas, his favorite "toys" right now are his play gym, swing, and his Boppy pillow (not to be confused with a boppy nursing pillow, this one is more of a baby lounger).  I am not really a fan of bathtime right now because I can't find a way to be comfortable while I bathe him in his tub chair, and he is very slippery for "on-the-counter in the sink" bathing.  I am looking forward to him being a little more stable with his head so baths are easier.

Shopping for groceries with Momma!

I really want to start taking pictures with a camera instead of my phone.  As much as I love having the convenience of a "camera" at my fingertips, I love a good quality photo and these just don't cut it.  On the other hand, I love having the ability to just capture a quick moment in my day with the kids and not having to work too hard to do it. 

And now we're off to run our errands - meal planning is going well and this month's goal is to buy no meat at all and use up some of our frozen stockpile.  We will hopefully save a bit of money that can then go towards Christmas shopping!   Don't forget that once Halloween is over, the crazy holiday busy-ness begins...
2 Months old - what a difference a month makes!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Little Hero

Little Man has been in school now for a month - and it has been pretty much the best thing ever.  I spend lots of quality time with Baby Vegas during the day, and Little Man is loving school.  I think.  He comes home every day exhausted but calm - and eager to get back in front of his tv with an afternoon snack.  But no tears or tantrums at school or on the bus, so that counts as a win in my book!

His Parent/Teacher conference was this Monday, and his teacher had nothing but positive things to say about his transition into school.  He loves books and has a couple favorite reading spots in the room where he goes to stim and "read" with them - similar to what he does at home.  His therapists say that when he grabs a book it usually means he is done with sitting still and needs to unwind from the lesson.  He is getting better with doing tasks (putting blocks in a container, taking them out) for longer bursts of time too.  There is a smartboard in his class that he really likes, so they are thinking that they want to work with him on the iPad as his communication tool in the classroom. 

His private therapy lessons have continued at home too - he gets PT and OT once a week before school.  It makes Wednesday and Thursday mornings very intense for me, because I am trying to juggle getting the therapist anything she needs, taking care of Vegas, and getting Little Man's school bag ready.  Sometimes I have to drag Little Man out of bed if he's been up all morning and fallen back to sleep.  Or I have to rush him into a quick shower if he peed through his diaper or (ughhh) took it off during the night.  Then later I usually have to remind the therapist that we need to book it out of the door for him to catch the bus.  Today was the first day we were nearly late - as we walked out the door with the therapist to our "bus stop" (the end of the driveway) I saw the bus making its way down our road.  Despite the hectic mornings though I think his private therapy is too valuable for him to stop, and with him not getting home until 4:30 in the afternoon it has to be mornings.

Getting ready to leave for school!  Shoes off for the car ride (this was pre-bus)

His private OT and PT are using the mornings to work on basic tasks like getting into his car-seat on his own, walking up and down the hill and bus stairs, or dressing and feeding himself breakfast.  OT is also pushing to start a therapeutic listening program because the noise getting on the bus is still very overwhelming to him.  At $900 to start that though, we aren't sure when or if that will happen.  Not to mention the very basic problem that with his sensory issues Little Man refuses to wear headphones unless you are holding onto both of his hands.  That would make for a painful 30 minutes for Momma.

Hubs and Little Man walking home from the "bus stop"

If I am being totally honest though, my favorite part of Little Man starting school is seeing him mature into a "big boy".  I thought that would be the hardest part for me, with his special needs he has always been my baby, even as I watched him mature physically.  But now every morning instead of staying in his special jammies, I get to pick out a "big kid" outfit.  He takes his Ninja Turtle backpack to the end of the driveway where he waits like a big kid for the bus.  And then he climbs the stairs holding the rails and his para's hand, and walks confidently onto the bus - he doesn't even look back anymore. 

Alright.  It might be my favorite part, but writing that made me tear up a little.  My baby is in there somewhere you know...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Coffee, Cuddles, and a Rant about a Bus

Today is the first day in three weeks that I haven't had to rush around the house, stuff the newborn into his carseat after a hurried bottle, and drag a reluctant kindergartner into the car and off to school.  We finally got transportation worked out and he's taking the school bus like a big boy, which makes Mommy a little misty-eyed.

Of course, nothing ever works out perfectly for Little Man.  Some administrator didn't check off the box on his transportation forms that says he qualifies for a pickup at his front door - so instead we had to walk ten minutes (the kid walks slow) down the road to a "bus stop" in our neighborhood.  Where he is the only one being picked up.  Did I mention the bus passes our house on the way to this bus stop?  And as I'm walking away from the bus stop with my infant in the stroller, the bus whizzes away past our house a full five minutes (I walk faster without the kid) before I drag our sorry butts back there?

Oy.  Hopefully everything works out in the next couple of days.  His afternoon bus driver called and said she realized the stupidity of the bus stop situation and would be dropping him off at our driveway.  But that he wouldn't be dropped off til 4:45, even though school ends at 3:30.  Whaaaaat?!?!   School is 15 minutes from my house if I drive slowly.  That seems insane to me.  I gather that getting 6 or 7 special needs kids onto a bus and off a bus is a feat - but wow.  Hopefully he will be able to make it through such a long day (8:35 - 4:45) without melting down either at school or at home.  We shall see.  Worst case scenario is that I might end up picking him up at the end of the day to prevent the crazy long ride.

But for now, I am enjoying a pumpkin spice coffee and cuddles with my littlest.  I am going to enjoy the less stressful mornings and extra time alone with him while Little Man gets his learning on.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Baby Vegas' First Month

I can't believe how fast the first month flew by!  Baby Vegas is 6 weeks old now, but I wanted to try and do an update on his first month home - this blog is partially his baby book after all.

Bright lights of home on our first night!
Baby Vegas is such an easygoing little sweetheart.  The first thing anyone comments about him though is - "THAT HAIR!"  It started out so dark that it was close to black, but I think it has lightened up a little bit in the last month.  It is so silky soft, but if we go more than 2 days without a bath it turns very oily and not-so-cute.  Speaking of oily, Baby Vegas also got an unfortunate case of the baby acne at around 8 days old.  But we were happy that it showed up the day after his newborn photo shoot that the same lovely friend who did my maternity photos ended up doing for us!  If you are in the MD area and looking for a photographer, message me and I'll shoot you her details - she was amazingly patient with our little one and took great photos!
Big blue eyes, silky soft hair, great skin - I'm a little jealous.
Unfortunately it looks like Baby Vegas is a little jealous of his big brother's busy calendar full of doctors appointments.  After his first newborn well-check, his pediatrician noticed his feet were a little turned in.  He assured us it was probably positional from being all scrunched up in my uterus, but wanted to recheck us at two weeks.  Then again at one month.  Although his feet looked better, his pediatrician ended up calling me at home the day after his one-month check and wanted me to take him to an orthopedist for a second opinion.  That doctor also agreed it was positional, but we'll be keeping an eye on his feet for the next six months or so.  

And speaking of eyes, he has a clogged tear duct too!  So we've been massaging his little left eye because it is constantly goopy and watery.  His ped gave us a prescription cream for the eye which he said I can use if I think it is getting out of control, but I'm hesitant to use a prescription cream on a one-month old for a problem that usually can clear itself up.  Every couple of days it clears up and I think it is going away, but then it comes back with a vengeance

3 weeks old - already trying to rush into the teen years with that acne.  Poor buddy.
Enough with the medical talk - let's talk normal baby things.  At his one month check up Baby Vegas measured at 23 inches long (95th percentile) and 10 lbs 6.8 oz (75th percentile).  I figured he must have gotten bigger because this kid seriously eats us out of house and home.  Despite assurances that formula fed babies stay fuller longer, he eats 4 oz every 2-3 hours.  If you try and shortchange him he frantically does this little snuffle sound while whipping his head around violently looking for food.  He's like his momma - he loves his drink.  Bwahahaha.

Are you trying to hold out on me?!
Since he is constantly hungry and eating, he is rarely sleeping.  After the first blissful few days where he slept all the time, he decided that being awake was much more exciting.  He catnaps throughout the day for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour - but no long stretches until around 5 or 6.  Then he sleeps for about 4 to 5 hours and then goes back to being up and about every two or three hours all night long.  We technically co-slept with a bassinet for the whole first month.  But he really sleeps best if he is laying on his tummy on our chest, or snuggled in our arms.  I'm not ashamed to admit that there have been a few early mornings where that is the only way the two of us are getting a few zzz's out of sheer exhaustion!  The only other time he will sleep?  If he is out on the town in his carseat/stroller - just like his brother!
First big family outing was to the Renaissance Festival! They both slept most of the day.

When he is awake though, he is just so wide-eyed and sweet.  He is trying so hard to control his little head, he can hold it up for several seconds at a time and then ends up wobbling around like a bobblehead.  I am loving watching his progress so quickly through this early development... it is so beautiful.  I try not to compare him to Little Man because even if they were both typical kids I know they'd progress at different rates, but it is very hard not to notice how drastically different his newborn stage is going for both of us.  

Another photo from his newborn shoot.  I love this one, even though Little Man ran away and refused to get in the picture.
I thought about getting the onesie stickers that everyone and their mother is using to mark Baby Vegas' monthly progress in photos.  I'd like to say that I didn't get them because we like to forge our own path or be super creative - but really I procrastinated too much to order them off Etsy or something, and then had no idea where they'd be in a "real" store.  So instead I ended up getting some iron-on numbers from Michael's and making the onesie myself, which I actually think turned out so much cuter than the stickers would have!! Not to mention the added bonus of his pictures being special and really standing out from the mainstream baby crowd.  (HUMBLE BRAG ALERT.)   I did steal an idea from a friend of mine who took her monthly baby photos alongside a Cabbage Patch doll to show how small her little guy was, and we are going to use a koala bear that belonged to Hubs' dad as our size comparison. And as a tribute to my family, we are taking the pictures on our glider - because every early baby picture of me is on this old red recliner that I remember loving to snuggle on as a kid.

Next time I will remember to take these in daylight!!  I am a hopeless procrastinator.

Precious right?  I love it. 
So Happy One-Month Baby Vegas - I will remember all of these wonderful moments forever, how you've been healing my heart and helping me to live that dream I always had of being a typical momma with her new baby.  As your pediatrician says a million times per visit - "love youuuuuu baby!"  Time to go snuggle with you some more before we go pick up your big brother from another fun day at school!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Postpartum Body and Mind

I think it is important to pick up my story shortly after I left off - the delivery room minutes after Baby Vegas was whisked away to the warmer to be cleaned and measured.  I don't think I could properly explain how different I feel after this pregnancy and delivery if I didn't describe my journey post-birth day.  Warning: A few medical details.  Nothing gory, but I do discuss boob-milk.  Your call.


I watched them take Baby Vegas over to the warmer after Hubs cut the cord and the nurse encouraged him to whisper to the baby his full name for the first time, which I thought was kind of sweet.  Then came the hard part where I had to watch everyone coo over the baby while I got fixed up.  My doctor was very efficient and spent a good half-hour putting everything back in its place, and she let me know that the "damage" was not nearly as bad as last time so hopefully I would feel much better faster.  I had figured as much because she had taken much more care with me during labor, encouraging me to take it easy and not rush the baby out.

Watching Hubs and the grandmas hover around the baby while I was being worked on was so hard.  I wanted to grab him out of the warmer and snuggle him more... drink in the first moments of being his mommy.  But another part of me was terrified that during these first moments they would discover something wrong with him they'd missed in all the ultrasounds and tests.  My anxiety was through the roof and I just wanted to hear that everything was going to be fine.  My angel of a nurse stayed with me and kept talking me through the tears and encouraging me the entire time.  I could not have gotten through that first hour without her support.  It was a totally different than the support than Hubs was giving - but he wasn't actually capable of showing me that support.  I wanted that medical opinion, that voice of someone who had delivered dozens of healthy babies assuring me that this was no different than any other delivery and baby.  So even though Hubs would try to come over and reassure me, I kept shooing him back over to the baby and asking the nurse more questions.  I would assume that my nurse's support was something like what a doula or midwife would give, and it makes me want to look into that for future labors - I can't count on being that lucky twice!!

Eventually I got our baby back, and my family and friends all left for the night (err... early morning). I guess sometime during my labor the entire post-partum wing had filled up with mommies and babies, and we got shuffled to the overflow wing.  Worst. Room. Ever.  Instead of the lovely couches and rockers they'd showed us on the tour, we were shoved into a tiny closet of a room with an armchair that had seen better days and a few crappy chairs.  My nurses call button did not connect to the L&D nurse's station because I was in the men's surgery wing, and so it took forever and a phone call for me to even see a nurse.  It was a miserable little room, and poor Hubs woke up in the middle of the night and his back was so contorted from sleeping on the armchair bed that he couldn't even walk.  So here I was, less than 12 hours after giving birth and squeezing over on my bed to make room for Hubby to lay down next to me so he could get a little sleep.  Yeah, someone inform him of how many points I should have earned for THAT one!

We kept the baby in the room with us because I was determined to try breastfeeding.  I wasn't getting him to latch and the lactation consultants weren't at the hospital, so it was really frustrating.  Baby Vegas was so frantic when he'd try to attach that it was alarming to watch, and made me feel like he was starving (Yes, I know he wasn't, but it made me stressed out]. [Sidenote: That is still how he is before he eats, it is just part of his personality.]  We got a pump at the hospital and I decided I would exclusively pump like I had with Little Man.  A little more work, but still the same good antibodies in the boob-juice which is all I cared about.

You're allowed 48 hours after delivery in the hospital per insurance reasons, but by the end of the day we realized that we needed to get home to a real bed and also our Little Man.  So we checked out early and we were home when Baby Vegas was a mere 30 hours old.  We scored 3 packs of diapers, 20 bottles of formula, breast pump supplies, and a couple shirts for the little guy.  Then I got a ton of supplies for aftercare, my favorite being the icy pads - such a lifesaver.  Basically anything not nailed down in the room came home too... seriously, we were a little bitter.

When I got home I felt like I had this huge burst of energy, and was able to walk around and clean up and unpack a little.  Hubs' family came over and we all toasted with champagne (glorious!).  Everything was peachy, til I was late with a dose of my ibuprofen and I thought I would die.  The pain and the cold shakes were awful reminders that I had a baby less than 48 hours ago, and needed to slow down!!  Other than that one bad incident though, I was able to pretty much function as normal. I took medicine for the first week or two very regularly, and then tapered it off.

Pumping went well at first.  I was taking fenugreek, which is an herbal supplement that increases your milk supply.  It really helped me produce plenty of milk, but after three weeks of constant pain from rock-hard engorged breasts and clogged milk ducts I just had to stop taking it.  Pumping round the clock and being in so much boob-pain wasn't working for me.  So one night I skipped a dose, and it was like I had shut off a faucet - I went from getting 12+ ounces at a time to getting less than 2 ounces after a half an hour of pumping.  I was so disappointed that I couldn't maintain a supply on my own, but after several days of trying to bring it back up I decided it was time to stop pumping.  Of course, then my one boob decided it was time to leak constantly for a full day.  I put cabbage leaves on it (weird, I know) and it stopped leaking pretty shortly after that.  Between the daily pumping and what I had saved up in the freezer, we made it to 4 weeks before we switched to formula.  Considering that I'd really only (mentally) committed to 6 weeks, I was alright with the outcome.

As of 5.5 weeks postpartum, I feel like I am at around 95% now, but it really only took me til 3.5 weeks or so to get to this point.  Compared to Little Man's birth, I felt like I was Superwoman being able to walk around and function so well so quickly.  I am already down most of the pregnancy weight, I have only 3 pounds to go.  I have three stretch marks on my belly which I am curious to watch fade since they are fairly obvious from the front.  The only really lingering issues that actually bug me are that I wake up every night so sweaty and gross, which I've never done in my life.  I am really hoping that my hormones settle down soon so that stops happening.  And then secondly I still probably couldn't ride a bike or a horse or a shark... because after a long day of walking around or hiking through the woods I still get twinges of pain.  So there ya go - that's what its like over here in my body today.  Check back soon for a one-month update on Baby Vegas - hopefully I'll finish it before his 2 month birthday!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

IEP Conclusion and the First Week Of SCHOOL!

Little Man's teacher gets better photos of him than I do!

Little Man had his final IEP meeting last Friday!  We received a long list of goals that he will hopefully accomplish at least some of this year, and I was really happy with them!  The goals were all very doable and took into account exactly where he is developmentally.  Two big ones that I am hoping will work out are potty training (!!!) and following a direction when asked without "maladaptive behavior" - aka a huge tantrum.  Even if he only manages to accomplish a couple of the goals on his list, he will make amazing progress this year.  I have high hopes!

During the meeting we discussed the plans for Little Man's next sixty days until we will meet again to make sure we like the direction his therapy is taking.  He will have Speech and PT once a week for 30 minutes each, and OT will be every other week for 30 minutes.  I was a little hesitant to agree to only twice a month on OT because I think Little Man needs a lot of help in the "life skills" kind of areas that OT provides.  But they reminded me that his classroom will basically be OT-type activities all day every day, and so I agreed to it for the time being.  He will also be getting swimming classes once a week in a therapy pool!!  I thought that was awesome, since I'd never even heard of that in an elementary school.  Little Man loves the water so it should be fun for him!

His teacher Ms. M was in the IEP meeting and she was really sweet. She looked to be about my age and was very enthusiastic about Little Man and finding ways to reach him.  To cement the good vibes I was getting, on our way out the door we ran into a former therapist of Little Man's who raved about Ms. M and how great she is with the kids.  Ms. M also  uses a huge Smartboard in her class and loves using music with the kids so I think it is going to be a good fit for Little Man.  She promised to look up some pictures of Little Man's favorite characters (Thomas and SuperWhy!) to use on the Smartboard too, which I thought was a nice idea.

After the meeting ended, they let me know that he could start the next Monday, if I didn't mind driving him until they had time to work out the bus situation (he will get a special bus with a para and a seat with a five-point harness).  We eagerly agreed, since Baby Vegas is not sleeping through the night yet and I couldn't wait to have just one at home so I can "sleep when the baby sleeps."

So he started school, and despite a 20 minute tantrum during drop off the first day... he loves it!  His teacher gives us a daily report of his progress, and he is getting a smiley face every day.  She showed us his daily schedule and it is jam-packed with activities and therapies - I'm not shocked at all that when I pick him up at 3:30 he is exhausted!  Supposedly there is very little time to chew on things and rip books, but it's still early... I am curious as to how he'll be once he is more comfortable.  This week he only went three days because he had an orthopedic appointment on Thursday and there was no school Friday, so next week will be his first full week.

I'll leave you with some awesome pictures from our first week of school!

Mommy and Little Man celebrating our first day of school!
Neurotic mommy worried that Little Man will not be able to eat lunch without her...


Did not want to pose for pictures... not one bit!

Exhausted after his first big day of school!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Grand Finale: Baby Vegas' Birth Story

Baby Vegas has arrived!  Right now I'm enjoying a cool glass of water while Vegas is laying across my lap in a milk-induced coma.  He has a poopy diaper, but I am forgoing changing it so I can update you guys.  I am so generous right?  Maybe by the time I'm finished, Hubs will show up and change it for me!

I'm so excited to share Baby Vegas' birth story - he has completely changed the way I feel about laboring and delivery. The weeks leading up to his birth were so filled with anxiety and fear, the nights I had contractions would have me flashing back to Little Man's birth and being terrified of what was going to happen next.  After his birth I finally understand why women don't mind having more than one child... hahaha.

So it all started on August 17th - Baby Vegas' due date!!  Despite all my efforts and insistence that he might come early, nothing really happened til 9 AM on that Saturday.  I woke up feeling kind of "off" and having very mild contractions.  They stayed 10 or so minutes apart all morning and so I just enjoyed some trashy tv and relaxed in bed.  Hubs brought me breakfast in bed and I warned him that I was absolutely going to force out this baby today.  We called my mother-in-law over to watch Little Man at about 1:30 and my contractions were 7 minutes apart by then, so we sat around and chatted for a bit until we decided there was nothing much better to do than go to the hospital, ya know - just in case.  We figured they'd either check me and send me home, or maybe I'd be SUPER DILATED and just pop out a kidlet.  I was hoping for the latter but betting on the former.

Of course, I demanded we stop at WaWa for one last Slurpee just in case.  Oh, and we took the final belly shot photo, right on time!
40 Weeks and my dry-erase marker kicks the bucket.  Obviously time to give birth!!

So we got to the hospital at 3:00 and plodded over to L&D.  When she checked me out, I was only at 1 cm dilated (out of the necessary 10 cm, for the non-baby obsessed folk), but contractions were 5 minutes apart, and so I was told I needed to walk around the hall in the hopes that I would at least dilate to a 3 or 4 and be in active labor.  They gave me an hour and disappeared.  So Hubs and I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  L&D is a small area, so it got old pretty fast.  I debated getting into the whirlpool tub thing but the room was small and creepy.  Plus my contractions were starting to get a little more intense than they had been at home.  There was not another soul in the ward though, so it was a peaceful and quiet afternoon.

After an hour they came in to check me again and I was only dilated to 2 cm.  Dammit.  But my contractions were strong and still 5 minutes apart.  At this point I told the nurse I had no interest in going home and that I wanted to be admitted. (I know, ballsy right?!)  I told her that the contractions hurt enough that if I were at home, this is the point at which I'd be leaving to come back to the hospital to be checked again - so there was no point in leaving and coming back in an hour.  Luckily when she talked to my doctor they decided I could stay, but warned me that it would be a long boring night for me.  Whatever, I was going to have a baby!!!  So at 5 PM I text all the family and friends to alert them that I was IN LABOR getting admitted!  Then I sent Hubs to go get me some tacos before the doctor put me on an all liquid diet.  This would prove to be a terrible idea later, but was delicious at the time. Hubs was also terrified I'd give birth somehow while he was gone (a 20 minute trip in total), which had me cracking up.  Little Man's birth took 29 hours from when I was admitted to actually having him in my arms, so I wasn't really anticipating a rapid birth.

After our quick dinner, the contractions had picked up to the point where I was no longer enjoying them (you know, as a sign of impending baby) or able to shrug them off.  So they offered me stadol through my IV to take the edge off the pain.  I was eager for a little relief, but instead the stadol just made me feel insane.  I was giggling and crying in laughter, but then my thoughts were very fuzzy and disjointed.  I couldn't speak very well and then to top it all off - it didn't really do much for the pain at all.  Mostly what I remember of the stadol experience was how much I hated every minute of being on it.  I kept asking Hubs to remind me never to take it again.  Repeatedly.  And I begged the nurse to flush it out of me somehow.  She seemed skeptical of my intense dislike of the drug and tried to get me to "accept the feelings and not fight them" - but I couldn't ever get past that awful floaty and out-of-control feeling.

So then at around 7:30 PM they offered me an epidural.  Through the stadol haze I was in I tried to explain that I didn't want to get the epidural too early and slow down my labor.  I'm sure my slow speech and desperate attempts to keep eye contact despite the crazy feelings I was having really helped get my point across.  Anyways, the nurse assured me that an epidural would not slow me down, and besides - if I was planning to get one anyways, why not now?  No need to be in pain if I didn't have to be!  I was skeptical of her logic, having educated myself extensively through other people's birth stories and WebMD. But against my better judgement I told her to go ahead and call the anesthesiologist and let them know to come up "whenever".

All of a sudden during my next contraction I felt - and I swear I heard - a pop like a balloon bursting.  My water had broken (7:56 PM) and it took me completely by surprise.  With Little Man my water had slowly leaked for hours, but this time it happened all at once and felt so strange.  With the next contraction it felt like I got hit by a hammer.  They were coming harder and harder and I was gripping the rails of the bed each time trying to breathe through them.    It took another half hour for the anesthesiologist to show up and by then I was thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't waited like I thought I should...

Hubs held me and supported me through another contraction while I got the epidural.  The first attempt only took on my right side, so the anesthesiologist did some adjustments and then I had absolutely no feeling in my right leg and was numb in my left.  A couple bad contractions later and I was in heaven - I couldn't feel any pain at all.  Score!  I sat back and began to relax and then my family started showing up - my mother and sister arrived first, and then my mother-in-law.  They were all going to stay in the room during delivery, and then my best friend K and her boyfriend were going to be there in the waiting room (there was a limit on how many could be in the delivery room).  At some point, I started to feel very nauseous, and got some anti-nausea medication through my IV when my nurse noticed I looked a little green around the gills.  She scolded me a little for not talking to her about how I was feeling, because I'd been silently suffering through the nausea for over an hour.  That's when I finally started falling in love with my nurse - I seriously could not have made it through labor without her support.

Around 10:30 the nurse came in to check me since I'd had the epidural for two hours.  I was so busy chatting and enjoying time with the family I had dilated to 10 cm without even realizing it!  The nurse then suggested I was ready to push - but I didn't feel any pressure like I had with Little Man and didn't feel "ready".  So she just shrugged and told me she'd come back when I felt like pushing.  I remember sitting there feeling kind of shell-shocked - I just couldn't believe that any minute now I could be a mother of two and yet was still feeling pretty great!

At 11 PM I decided it was time to try pushing, even though I felt no pain and very minimal pressure.  I called the nurse into the room and we did two practice pushes along with my doctor (who I want to note, was the ONLY doctor in my 4 doctor practice that I hadn't met and was so nervous about going through labor with.) After the two painless pushes, both of them told me the baby was still very far up in the birth canal and it would be a long hard road of pushing if I kept at it.  Instead, they suggested I just wait around and see if he floated downstream a little before pushing.  I was all for putting off what I suspected would be a lot of pain, so they left and told me they'd come back in an hour or so.

At 11:30 I knew it was my last chance to try and convince Baby Vegas to be born on his due date.  Doctor G and the nurse came back in and we did two more pushes together before they informed me it was still a long road down the birth canal for Baby Vegas.  Sigh.  Off they went!

Then I just chatted for awhile with the family, dozed off a little here and there, and waited for Baby Vegas to get his bags together and start heading out.  His due date passed us by, and at one am the next morning I was finally feeling enough pressure that it seemed time to push!!

So the doctor and nurse came back in, and we started pushing.  My pushes were only effective about half the time, but they never made me feel like I was "failing" or being difficult - which was another huge difference from my previous labor experience.  The whole time the doctor just encouraged me through contractions but never tried to rush me through the process. My amazing nurse kept assuring me I was doing great and offering me anything I needed.  Hubs stayed at my left leg the entire time holding me and telling me he loved me (even when the nurse offered him a chair and I assured her he definitely did not need a break if I was not getting one!)  My right leg was alternately held by a nurse-in-training, my mom, and my little sister.

Eventually my nausea came back and I puked up those formerly delicious tacos. Ick.  But then I felt 100% better and was able to focus a little more on my pushes.  Unfortunately after an hour and a half of pushing I still hadn't made much progress.  I started getting worried then that my doctor would try to push me towards a c-section, which terrified me.  After every push I insisted there would be no need for a c-section, and bless that doctor's heart she just smiled and said that as long as the baby and I were doing well that there was no rush. And THAT is when I fell in love with my doctor.

Eventually my little guy started having tiny dips in his heart rate, and the nurse let me know that the cord might be wrapped around his neck.  That was the only moment where Hubs and I looked at each other with a little fear, but then she reassured me that everything would be alright and that the doctor would make sure he was okay.  At that point I joked to the doctor and nurses that every time they gave me an update on the baby they needed to end the sentence with "but everything is fine".  So they started doing that and it really helped out with a lot of my anxiety.

Finally at 3:15 AM the nurse suggested that we do a "tug-of-war" technique to help make my pushes more focused and effective.  She held one end of a bedsheet while I held a knot on the other end, then during my contractions I would tug on the knot as I pushed.  All of a sudden my pushes were moving him out - everyone started rushing around getting ready to welcome my little one into the world!   At 3:49 AM Baby Vegas finally arrived as my Hubs and my sister were both by my side.  The doctor immediately put him on my chest because we had decided to do delayed cord clamping (which means we waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing before cutting it) which was great because after that it was awhile before I got to hold him again.  Hubs bravely cut the cord, and then they took our little guy off to get cleaned up while I got repaired down below.  (All I will say about that is, that I fared much better than I did with my first birth.)

Baby Vegas was 8 lbs, 2 oz, and a shocking 22 inches long!  They had told us at his ultrasound that he was going to have hair - but holy moly, did he come out with hair!!!  We had our doctors and nurses check and double check everything about him, and he was 100% healthy and typical.  That amazing nurse stayed next to me for awhile while I urged the Hubs and family to stay with the baby, and she just kept assuring me of how wonderful and perfect he was in my ear, and it took everything I had not to dissolve into great big sobs.  I couldn't believe I had made this perfect little boy, that everything was going to be okay, that there was no great big hammer about to drop out from the sky and crush us.

Welcome to the world Baby Vegas - we've been waiting for you!
Check out that hair!!

And that folks, is how babies are born.  Or at least, this one baby, who has already become one of the most precious gifts I've ever received.  Which is why it has taken me three weeks to finish writing this post, because he has thrown us all into a whirlwind of falling in love with him, and being parents to two amazing little boys.  

My next few posts will be Baby Vegas-focused because I want to write about my post-partum recovery and how his first few days home have been... but then its all about Little Man again because we got the final date for his big IEP meeting!!!   Now that I've finished writing this monster of a post, hopefully I can crank these next updates out a little sooner!  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Neverending Pregnancy, and IEP update

Still here, still pregnant.  I'm sure people are tired of hearing about how I'm tired of being pregnant at this point - especially since I am 11 days from my actual due date.  But I swear I never thought I'd stay pregnant this long.  I'm a relatively tiny person, and this belly has grown and gotten a life of its own - it is incredibly heavy and all in the front.  I get exhausted and feel like I am going to tip over while just walking around.

I am trying to make the best of it, I swear.  But I am just not the girl who is a happy Mother Earth type pregnant chick.  I don't hate being pregnant.  I'm going to be pregnant again at least one or two more times in my life.  But I definitely don't revel in the changes in my body and marvel over each little miracle.  Sorry.  I will power through it to get to the magical baby miracle at the end, but the whole gestating thing just isn't really my cup of tea.  I've been bouncing on a yoga ball, eating pineapple, and drinking cervix-ripening tea to get this party started.  Nada.  Baby Vegas is super comfy in there.  That makes one of us.  We did manage to have another Monday morning of terrible contractions, and these actually got to the point where we were minutes away from grabbing our gear and heading to the hospital.  Then they stopped, I went back to bed, and nothing has happened since.

Little Man had all his testings this past week.  He clearly qualified for all the categories of services they were testing for (speech, OT, PT, developmental therapy, autism therapy) and so I am anxious to see what will be said at our final IEP meeting on August 14th.  They want him to start school on time, so it is going to be a whirlwind of setting up services and getting him into a classroom before the 20th.  With my due date on the 17th, I don't know how much of the last part of this I'll be able to be involved in, so I'm hoping Hubs will be okay taking lead on this one.

Even though sometimes it is hard to quantify how Little Man has improved in the last year, I was so proud to see that he has made definite progress in certain areas that he was tested on.  When he took the ADOS (autism diagnostic) last time, he wasn't able to ask for the snacks inside the tupperware - this time he definitely knew how to "ask" for more cookies.  He also did much better at playing appropriately, reacted positively to the bubbles and the baby doll and was much more engaged.  It was still clear that he is developmentally not ready for the age-appropriate autism test, but I am so happy with how well he did overall.  His behavioral therapist was most pleased with the fact that throughout the various testings, Little Man didn't scream and throw a tantrum when confronted with new people and new surroundings.  Instead, he would cling to me or Hubs for awhile before warming up to the test-giver.  That is a HUGE accomplishment for Little Man, and very appropriate for his developmental age (which is around 2 -2 1/2).

This week promises to be a lot less eventful than last - we have an appointment with a pediatrician on Thursday morning to see if she is a good match for us.  Then of course our usual therapies and OB appointments, but nothing extra.  For the most part I will be trying to enjoy these last few quiet days with just me and my Little Man.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Monday...

Happy 37 +2 weeks to me.  I am officially the most pregnant I have ever been, because I gave birth to Little Man at 36+6.  Of course, the minute I hit 37 weeks I got my first ever belly stretch mark.  Woof.  I also realized that I have been off for at least a few weeks while taking my weekly belly picture.  I should have been doing them on Saturdays but have been doing them on Sundays instead.  Whoops!  Too late now ;)

Thumbs up for full-term!

Anyways, there must be something labor-inducing about Mondays for me, because I am dealing with a few contractions today.  Awesome.  Although this week is a terrible week to give birth - I have way too much to get done!   Little Man has his IEP testings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, plus a double therapy session on Wednesday.  And we're thinking we might end up in the city for a therapy on Friday which is two hours from my doctor and hospital.  So ideally, I need to wait til at least Saturday to start anything labor-related.  I sent a memo to the baby, we'll see if he gets it.

Ex didn't end up taking Little Man this weekend (and my head exploded), so we spent most of our time inside watching Netflix and getting our relax on.  At least, that was my weekend.  Hubs had to mow the lawn and change the oil in the cars and a bunch of chores... although he did manage to get me out and do a little shopping on Sunday afternoon.  I think he regretted me being there as we walked past the aisles of baby clothes and I had to stop and coo at every single adorable little outfit.  Luckily I resisted the urge to buy anything - between hand me downs and gifts this baby is going to be ridiculously well-dressed.

I'm off to do some chores of my own - Little Man slept til noon today so we have gotten nothing done around the house.  Not that I'm complaining... I'm going to miss the occasional lazy day one the littlest little guy gets here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I am going to lose my schmidt.

I am at a boiling point again with Ex and its just... not working.  I am repeating my favorite Ex-related commandment to myself on loop - "Thou shalt not complain too hard, lest thou get even less help than usual." 

It's not working.  Plus, I'm about to give birth to a baby whale*.  STRESS.

*He's in the 60th percentile now, but at some points he has measured in the 80th.  I know, you're clenching your thighs together right now worrying about this too aren't you?  No?  Maybe that's just me.

Ex was supposed to take Little Man two weekends ago, but my mother came into town last minute and wanted to spend time with all of us for Little Man's birthday.  So I text Ex and let him know that we'd keep Little Man for that weekend, and he could have the weekend after.  Easy peasy switch?  No, he said he'd just skip his visit altogether so we could "stay on schedule".  Erm... schedule?  Whatever dude.  So obviously since he hasn't seen him this month we were eagerly anticipating our (ideally) last kid free weekend before the baby gets here.

High hopes that were dashed, when I got a text last night that "something came up" with his new place and he is homeless again so he doesn't know about this weekend.  -____-  I guess the only bonus points he gets are for texting me on a Tuesday night instead of the day before pickup.  But really, now he is a full month behind again with support (not that he ever caught up from before) PLUS he hasn't seen the kidlet in a month.  RAWRRRR.

Did I mention that while I am writing this I am contracting like a mo-fo?  And Little Man is currently going through a stage that I am fondly calling the "F-You Fives", which consists of screaming bloody murder for hours until he is hoarse and I finally give in and plop him in front of Super Why until he calms down?

Yeah.  Things are a little stressful at my place today.  Ex is supposed to be our sitter during the whole "giving birth" thing I'm about to go through, and if he doesn't get his life together and doesn't watch Little Man, I will seriously consider ripping his face off.   It has come to that point, in my very stressed out, pregnant brain.  

Anyway, my contractions are starting to come on a little more strongly, so I think I should start timing them or something.  Send me good thoughts, and hopefully Ex will pull through for us if things start happening!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

False Labor and Other News

The house is done.  Did you hear that??  IT'S DONE!!!  All the projects, all the goals - we've finished them all!  Our 40 point bullet list of random requirements I'd come up with before I would allow this baby to arrive is finished (And you can bet Hubs is thrilled).  I am so happy I could kick my heels together.  Or I would, if I could move my massive belly off this couch.

The nursery is finished and looks fabulous.  I am so pleased with how it turned out... the decal on the wall looks fabulous, the furniture all works together, all the baby clothes (up to size 6 months!) are neatly washed and put away, and I bought a copy of "The Giving Tree" to display on his little baby bookcase.  I will say that I have a few decorative touches I want to add, and we will eventually need a little end table in there for my magazines and breast pump supplies - but these are so minor I'm not considering them "unfinished".

We also just finished our last exciting weekend before the baby arrives - two of my friends threw an amazing baby shower for us on Saturday - Vegas themed, of course!  It was a such a fun shower, and so thoughtful the girls to throw me with all the hectic summer craziness going on! It sometimes amazes me that my friends down here are people I've only met in the last 2 years, because I couldn't ask for better ones.  From the shower, to handmade baby gifts, to offers to help watch Little Man if our pregnancy plans go haywire... my friends are all awesome.

That night we came home and made a big list of things we wanted to go to Babies R Us and pick up before the baby arrives, and then the next day was a 3 hour long shopping spree.  Jumbo boxes of diapers, breastfeeding supplies, waterproof mattress pad covers - all the boring things you don't get at showers.  We also spent a ridiculous amount of time comparing double strollers to make sure we'd picked the perfect one for a growing 5 year old who will still need a stroller + a baby seat.  We went with the Graco Ready2Grow despite looking at a few more pricey options, so I'll let you know how that works out.

We came home after a seafood birthday dinner for the Hubs (Happy Birthday love!) and unpacked everything, put together the rest of the nursery, and I settled down for what I'd hoped would be a solid ten hours of sleep.  Instead, I had intense contractions all night long.  It was like my body knew that everything was "done".  Eventually Hubs woke up and was so scared nervous that he couldn't get back to sleep either.  Then at 3 AM, Little Man woke up in a crummy mood.  It was a long, long night.  Since around 6 AM Monday morning I haven't had any further contractions, so we're hoping he's snuggled down in there til at least 37 weeks when everyone will be more comfortable.  But like I said - everything is done, so he's welcome anytime now!!

I have a great plan for announcing when I actually go into labor that will hopefully make a few of you laugh, and I am bouncing off the walls with excitement to finally meet our littlest dude.  25 more days til due date, so send me all your good vibes!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Little Man turns 5 today! Happy Birthday!!

Little Man, you are five years old today!  I can't believe my little bitty baby has grown into a big boy, who will be starting school in the fall.  Mommy cried a little bit last night when she thought about how fast the time is flying by.

Not a bearskin rug, but still pretty darn cute...
Little Man, you came popping into this world a full three weeks before I was expecting you... you were in a rush to come out and meet us!  You gave Mommy a rough time during your birth, but she forgave you pretty quick because you were the cutest baby she'd ever seen.

Meeting Mommy

After just a day with Mommy you left us in a fancy ambulance pod to go to the NICU.  Turns out some of the cute poses you were doing were actually seizures, and you needed to get your brain fixed right away.  Mommy hated that you had to leave without her, she had already fallen so in love with your little chubby cheeks and gorgeous lips.

A photo of you before you left on your trip to the NICU
You spent six weeks in the NICU, and you had two brain surgeries, a blood transfusion, and several other "smaller" procedures.  Mommy counted the minutes til she could take you home and everything would be "normal".  Little did she know that we would make our own normal, and that you would be the biggest challenge and adventure of her life.

First Birthday at the park near Grandma's house!
You surprised everyone with every milestone, pushing past the limits your NICU doctors had said you might achieve.  You refused to be a vegetable, you were a fighter!  You learned to adapt to your right-side weakness and you kept Mommy on her toes.  You also discovered you loved sugar.  After Mommy took away your smash cake you bawled your eyes out.  I bet you would've eaten the whole cake!

2nd birthday at Mommy's townhouse!
You became Mommy's climbing daredevil at 2 years old, causing all kinds of trouble!  We spent a long part of your 2nd year dealing with nighttime sickness, and nobody knew what was causing you to puke so much.  We also spent a lot of this year running around from one babysitter to another, because Mommy was working full time and we had moved to a townhouse far away from Mommy's family.  It was a pretty stressful year for Mommy, but you took it in stride!

3rd Birthday at Mommy and Daddy's house!
By your third birthday we had moved into Daddy's house!  Now you had two daddies who loved you very much, and you had a Mommy who could stay home and take you to a million doctors and therapists and find out what was bugging your insides.  Turned out that you'd been having a shunt malfunction and you needed Brain Surgery #3!  Your Mommy and both of your Daddies were there for that long week in the hospital!  You also learned to walk this year, which Mommy had been waiting for for so long!!  She was so very proud of you (and still is!)  This is also the year you slept through most of your birthday party.  Whoops!

Not your 4th birthday, but close to that time

I can't find a picture of your birthday last year, because we didn't have a party and I didn't take too many pictures.  You ate a cupcake and "blew out a candle" at our kitchen counter.  Pretty low key as far as birthdays go, but you didn't seem to mind - you still got tons of presents and love from family and friends anyway!  You spent most of your 4th year relaxing in between therapies and doctors visits - we decided to keep you home from school this year and I think it was a very smart idea.  You've gotten so much more social and fun to be around in a crowd because you feel safe and loved. 

For your fifth year Little Man, I hope you learn to talk.  I can't wait to hear your little voice someday - I hear your squeals and sounds now and know that you WILL talk, and I am being so patient!  I hope you love school the way Mommy loved school, even though it will be different for you.  I hope you learn to love your baby brother who is on the way, he is due on the very same day 5 years ago that you came home to Mommy from the NICU.   But even if none of these milestones happen this year, we will keep being patient and see what other fun things happen for you.  You are your own person, there is no one like you in the whole wide world - that is why Mommy is so lucky!!

Mommy can't wait to celebrate your birthday with you tonight and this weekend Little Man!  I am going to post this blog and then we are gonna watch some Thomas movies on the big screen and have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch - perfect birthday times!