Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

We are raising a happy elf! Seren couldn't have embraced Christmas more this year! We aren't sure what she is so excited about. It isn't the presents- she doesn't really "get" that. But man, is she excited! She has loved doing the advent calendar- although Sam and I are always two days behind. And this morning we made Christmas cookies while she wore a Christmas dress. Flour was all over the place. Awesome!


She also sings herself to sleep each night to "Jingle Bells". We took her to see a children's show called "Rudolf and Frosty"- her first "show." She sat awestruck as the children performed off key renditions of holiday classics. Sam and I were in physical pain but just to have the experience of being in a dark theater, all dressed up? Classic. We have heard about the "show" ever since. So while we didn't do ALL that Mommy wanted to do (hard with a 3 week old), we have done enough. We have gone to church, we have read stories, we have made cookies. We have spent time as a family.
I love being a mom! Life is grand!

As a result of all of our holiday activities, she is really in the spirit! We are too! I couldn't be more happy this morning as my healthy baby sleeps in my arms, my daughter sings with expectation of the holiday and my husband and I plan for the "big day". Seren keeps saying, "I excited!"
We are blessed by family, friends and good health. Thank you for being part of our family's blessings!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

11 days into Wyeth's life

Seren has quite a few things to say about life with Wyeth and Mommy. I'll let her speak to the experience before I start my sleep deprived babble.



On Breast Feeding:



"Mom! He is eating your boobs! Why does he always eat your boobs?"






On Sanitary Napkins:



"Those are your special diapers?"







On Mom's Body two days post partum:



"Who is your tummy now, Mom?"







We have had a busy, fun, full 11 days. I can't believe we are coming up on two weeks. What is about these little souls? One day you are blogging that you need a pogo stick to induce birth and honestly convince yourself the baby will never arrive and the next thing you know, you are madly in love with a little wonder and you can't really remember life prior to his being born?










My emotions have been all over the place! Between not getting enough sleep, it being Christmas and my hormones all whacked out, I have been a sniffy mess. I have hesitated to write anything- my mind is too scattered.



But I love him. That much I know. Not that I didn't love and adore Seren but with NICU visits, feeding issues and other preemie issues (a brain scan at 7 days old!), the anxiety far outweighed the joy. With Wyeth, I have felt nothing but joy. I may still be running on adrenaline but he just brings me tremendous JOY. I had no idea my heart could be this full; my life this rich. We'll have our long nights and with Sister Seren generally being well...cute but two, I am not in the best mood at all times. But man, I couldn't ask for more.








My family feels very complete now. My family of FOUR. And I'm tapping into my inner mother- that special soft place inside of me that feels like this was one of my main purposes in life. I feel very blessed.







Here are some pictures from his first week. We have already purchased a tree, decorated a tree, had a mini celebration at home with my brother, enjoyed church, and been to the pediatricians' twice. I even took both kids (that still sounds AWESOME) to the pet store in the rain. How amazing is that?

Just about 40 minutes after giving birth:



















My coach extraordinaire: we were both exhausted after a physically demanding birth.


























I'm having a complete blast with my new family. Can't wait to try to capture our early adventures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Welcome Wyeth

Wyeth Alexander was born on December 3rd, 2008. Just two days before his due date. He is amazingly beautiful and perfect in every way. We are completely over joyed; we feel incredibly blessed by this new little soul.

I have so much to say about the delivery (quick and intense), my wonderful coach Sam, Seren's adjustment, and Wyeth's current disposition (calm, alert, content, peaceful). I hope I can retain all of my thoughts and feelings; time is already slipping away. For now, I'll present two pics and his stats.


8 lbs, 3 oz.
21 inches long
Boy, all boy.
Born vaginally and naturally- exactly what I prayed for

God has blessed us richly; we can't stop smiling.




Monday, December 1, 2008

Does anyone have a pogo stick?


If so, can I borrow it?


I'm ready for this child to freaking arrive already! I'm not even overdue yet and I'm already a complete anxious/excited wreck! I'm due on Friday and I'm worried that I'll be OVERDUE after all of this drama.


I've been pregnant a full month longer this time then I was with Seren. Seren was 5lbs, 8 oz. I can only imagine how big this dude will be.


And to top off my own frustration and anxiety, I have hit a new milestone. Ready for this? Really ready?


I weigh as much as Sam. I kid you not. I have gained about 40 lbs. 4-0.


Now granted Sam is as skinny as a rail. But I'm so bloated, swollen and well FAT, that I weigh as much as my husband?! What did I do wrong? Will I ever go back to being me again? I'm just so...beside myself about it all. Laying in bed for 8 weeks did a number on me physically. I'll have to post a picture.


The good news is that I won't have a preemie, I won't have to learn how to feed a preemie, and I'll most likely, be able to bring him home. But man, the experience of this past month has taught me a lot about what women go through!


Please send encouraging thoughts/prayers my way today...looks like this kiddo WILL be a December baby after all! And in the end, when I see his face, this will be worth it. But I am not such a happy camper today nor have I been a ray of sunshine this past weekend. Nope. No sunshine here. Just a swollen, cranky woman who feels that the time has come to get this kiddo out.
Besides a pogo stick, got any ideas?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sacrifice and Parents

Years before I became a parent, I distinctly remember an informal conversation I had with my Dad. He was talking about a family friend who just announced that he was going to become a father himself. My father's response was really interesting to me. "He isn't ready yet. But he has 9 months. He is too selfish, as a parent, you have to become selfless."

That comment continues to stick with me. Selfless. I've posted before about a sense of "Self" in parenting and how I struggle with that.

But I think this informal conversation regarding the nature parenthood is right on; you place your children before yourself.

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, when my parents have volunteered for a total of 9 weeks of driving up to help us. With Sam working nights and me working days, we have desperately needed help while I was on bedrest. We came up with a plan that has had them leaving their home three nights a week. Sometimes four. One day a week they have taken care of Seren from the morning until the evening.

They are working to care for all of us. And we are talking QUALITY care here; running errands, getting our car fixed for us, obtaining an absentee ballot, making dinner every night, sewing, painting pieces of furniture, buying preemie outfits, picking up medication, returning preemie outfits, hanging curtains...I could go on. And they don't live next door; they drive 45 minutes through wacky traffic patterns to be with us in the early afternoons/evenings. They pick Seren up from her child care place, make us dinner, help with bath and bed and then return home. They often return after 9:30pm.

They must be exhausted.

We have been so lucky to have them here with us. And they do all of this without complaint! "Oh sure, honey, we are glad to do it for you all. We love you all."

And the thing is? I know they mean it- that they would do it all over again if they had to. They are just like that; they don't see it as sacrifice. We are so lucky to have them.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Restless

There is something about the last few days of waiting for your life to change dramatically that can only be described as a time of restlessness. I'm swollen with fluid; my feet and my hands morph through the day. I have an odd limp that also comes and goes. My clothes no longer fit. I begged Sam to help me find something of his to wear because the thought of wearing "those pants" with "that shirt" another day put me over the edge.

Truth be told, it doesn't take much to put me over the edge.

It also doesn't take much for me to cry tears of gratitude. For the life that hasn't yet joined us and for the life that already has.

In short, someone should be paying Sam to live with me.

Sam and I sat on the couch on Saturday. Just a normal moment. We were listening to music. But since we do that so infrequently, we were really listening. And for a moment, I was back at age 24. I don't think I could have predicted at that point that I'd be sitting next to my husband, in our home, watching our daughter do active "gymnastics" moves while 8+ months pregnant. I am one blessed woman! It was as if I went back in time and had a flash of my future. For one moment, I stopped worrying about the cat hair on the couch, the laundry in the dryer and the fact that I needed to pay the bills. Time stood still for one moment and was so very, very sweet. In many ways, time flies.

On the other hand, each day, each moment feels like I'm that much FURTHER away from holding this baby in my arms. What is taking so long? What on earth is going on? I just want to know that he is alright. But I'm trying to embrace my roundness. Knowing that most likely, I won't be this "round" again, nor feel the internal kicks of acknowledgement. The whole experience is just wild.

And I, of course, wonder what the delivery will be like. AND WHEN! I really fear sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and having my water break. At least then I could shout out, "The turkey is done!" We'll see.

Just an odd space- to know that your life will change. Hard not to think about that. Hard too to know how to embrace the newness/change that is to come. And so I wonder around the house, my "to-do" list in hand; not knowing what to do first or even if I have the energy to do any of the items on the list. Just a sense of feeling big, achy, not quite like myself. Should I nap? Run to the store? Sit? Eat? Clean something? Organize?

I'm restless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Living Each Day with Anticipation

The best thing about being towards the end of a pregnancy is each day is lived with the thought of "Is this the day that I go into labor??!" How cool is that?

Usually the first thought that goes through my mind is, "Wow, I'm tired." But now I am hopeful!

These past few days have been so strange! I feel so exhausted and BIG. I forget that I extend out as far as I do. Things that fall on the floor stay there. And my face, feet and hands are swollen. I never got this far last time and can't imagine being overdue!

But it feels so good to know that with some degree of confidence, I can return the preemie clothes that my mother bought her grandson to be.

And having this time with JUST Seren is wonderful. I am cherishing just being with her. Last night, as I was reading to her on my lap she turned to me and said, "Mom! Why are you holding me like that?"

"Like what, honey?"

"Mom! I'm slipping!"

She was. She was slipping off what little lap I have left. Poor thing. She concluded (correctly), "Baby brother is too big."

So everyone is feeling the effect of my massive middle; my poor husband included who has to endure my daily complaints as I get dressed in the morning for work.

I anticipate just feeling relief when the day finally comes. I hope I go into labor spontaneously. With Seren, my water broke all over the place so it was obvious what was happening. I hope something similar happens this time. I can't wait to share our birth story!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Loving Normal

I'm still here and still pregnant. I'm full term! 37w 3 days. I can't believe it! It is awesome! My friends are calling and my parents' friends call too. A family friend called my dad the other day. She asked, "So, how are Megan and Sam?"

"Well, the good news is, they are still pregnant. The bad news is, they are still pregnant."

That kinda sums it up in a nutshell. After months of thinking he'd be early, I can't get over the fact that here I still here. Will I need to be induced!? It is hard to describe the change in mindset.

I have tried reverse pyschology with my son. "Fine, don't come out. We'll be fine here. Come when you feel like it."

I have also tried scolding, "Ok, Mr. Hotshot, get your tush out here! What are you? Mr. Drama?"

And then I tried begging, "Please!? We want to meet you! We can't wait to hug you!"

Oh well. He will come when he feels like it.

This weekend was decidedly normal. It was great! We saw friends! We entertained! I even raked leaves for an hour. Seren was funny and we did normal things like run errands, play with our farm set, play with playdoh, etc. She constantly asks me to repeat myself. "What, Mommy? What?" I think she likes the attention she gets when I repeat the same phrase or question again.

I got a pedicure- something I have wanted for a long time. I took care of myself. I didn't stress. I slept. I napped. Sam and I went on a date- a long overdue dinner OUT. I didn't think we'd get that chance while I was on bedrest so it was a very sweet moment to just hold hands by candlelight. It was much needed- this pregnancy has been stressful on us both.

I did have some contractions which made me VERY excited but like always, they go away. I'm just glad I had 'em because I was worried that because I am still pregnant and NOT having contractions as often, that my uterus no longer remembered how to contract! So at least THAT worry is put to bed.

So while I'm still a bit restless, normal is good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why, Mommy, Why?

Well, it happened, we have a curious toddler in the house. Seren asks "why" for every reason, for everything. I was listening to my dad read her a story one night. After each sentence, she asked, "Why?" Sometimes, my quick witted Dad, answered her creatively. By page 14, he was reduced to saying, "I don't know." or "Just because." It is quite the developmental milestone -this "why"- phase.



Awesome!



In other news, I'm still round. I'm still pregnant. No one can believe it. After 8 weeks of having contractions every time the medication wore out, two hospitalizations and much emotional stress, I'm still here. I went to the office this week (two days) because the idea of spending yet another day at home was driving me nuts. Plus, I find it difficult to concentrate on any thing. And I miss PEOPLE.



Two nights ago, I had contractions for 3 hours- one contraction every 10 minutes. Nice and steady. I got excited! I packed my now DUSTY bag! But nope, not to be. I thought it would have been cool to have a son on a full moon on 11/11. AND my inlaws, who live in Michigan were in town. How cool to have them here for the BIRTH.



So I am ultimately very very lucky but am getting a bit frustrated by all of these tricks my body is playing. I feel like my son is just MESSING with me. The effect of the progesterone is supposed to be done by today or tomorrow. In that, if the shots did anything, the effect of them would be worn off. After SO many false starts, I'm not counting any chickens. I just know that I will look forward to hugging my CHUBBY baby.

Full term here I come!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

FREEDOM!

As of today, I will have been on bedrest for 56 days. 56 days people! I'm lucky that I have been able to shower and walk up and down the stairs twice a day. And I'm lucky that my son is still inside me. I am VERY blessed.

But 56 days?! What have you done since September 12th? It is funny living like this; no traffic, no driving, no going to the ATM, no planning on what to bring to work for lunch, no child care pick ups, drops off, etc. I feel disconnected from the world and the rat race. I have read books (!) in the evenings instead of doing chores. I have caught up with my photo albums. I have cleaned out my in-box. And I have worked full time. I have drafted my holiday letter! But I have MUCH to do. And I feel like "I had 8 weeks to myself and I have not done it ALL?" But I suppose it is hard to do when you are supposed to sit/lay down. And there is a lot of guilt about asking your already very busy and taxed family to do more.


So folks, what would YOU do if you were in your house for 8 weeks and only "out" for doctor's appointments, trips to the hospital, and two trips to Dunkin Donuts. :) Or as Seren's calls it, "Mommy's coffee store".

And TODAY friends, as of 11 am, I am FREED from my bed/couch. We did it! The doctor is pleased; we are pleased. No more shots. No more meds. No more bedrest! Now we get to have "normal" lives and wait for our little man! I wonder if this is really going to happen! I was convinced when I woke up this morning that I would give birth tonight based on the number and frequency of the contractions. (Every 5 minutes!) But now after a visit to the doctor's, I feel better- a huge sigh of relief.

Now that I'm FREE, here is what I want to do:

**Eat dinner out with my hubby- just the two of us

**Pick up my daughter (already DONE)

**Put my daughter to bed

**Get an awesome pedicure

**Have a meal with friends

**Drive my car

**Shop at Target

**Drink a glass of wine (oh wait, I'm just freed, I'm still pregnant)

**Go to the park and push Seren on the swings

What else?! This seems like a lame list but I just want to do the basic things. I'm free! I'm free! As I emailed my friends, I may do something "radical" and walk around the block!

YAHOO! Thanks for all of your comments and emails!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES!!





This pretty much sums it all up for me this morning!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween 2008

Our Halloween was a bit more low key then in years past. No Castro. No drinking. No late night parties. That being said, we DID make home made cards, did make Ghosts to hang in our kitchen, did carve a pumpkin and did go trick or treating.

Not bad for bedrest, right? My Mom and Dad also rented me a wheelchair so I could enjoy the evening! Very, very cool!

The morning of Halloween, as I previously posted, Seren was VERY excited. When we woke up from her nap, we got her in her Halloween costume! She was Madeline from the books! She LOVES Madeline and can recite parts of the story if you prompt her.








Here are some shots of our Halloween.








Can you guess what I was dressed up as?


















What? Still no guesses? How about this?


I'm a baker with a bun in the oven! :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

If Halloween is Any Indication...

If Halloween is any indication of how excited she'll be for holidays like Christmas...we better get ready now!

Seren is SO excited today! She woke up bouncing. I swear! And her enthusiasm for one of my favorite holidays is contagious!

She ran into my room after Daddy got up with her and said, "Mom! It is Halloween time! I excited!"

And it is no wonder. We decorated last Sunday and every night, we light our Jack-o-Lantern. She sings "The Five Little Pumpkins" while dancing near the lit pumpkin. Then we light all of the other pumpkins in our home (mostly candles). We continue to read Halloween books and have practiced wearing our costume.

She looked out the window, at a still dark morning and said, "I want to see Halloween time!" (As if somehow magically our neighborhood would have been transformed).

I come from a long line of Halloween lovers. I think it is one of those holidays. Either you love it or hate it. My father LOVES it. He taught High School for 38 years and every single year, he would get dressed up. We aren't talking a mask and calling that a costume. Oh no. Starting October 1st, he would start sketching and planning. This usually involved my mom as she inevitably had to help with plaster, paint, etc. He absolutely loves the excuse to be both funny and creative. (well, he is both all year but this is a special time). One year he painted his entire head and face in blue and went as a member of the blue man group. Another year? He was a sea creature complete with flippers and a papermache eyeball head. The kids that he taught LOVED this. He would often drive to work in costume. Every year the kids would be so curious as to what my dad would be. What fun!

Seren hasn't quite gotten THAT into it...mostly because her mom and dad haven't had time to be THAT creative. But give us a few years.

Pictures tomorrow! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

34w 5 days

Today is an important milestone for me! As of this morning, I am more pregnant than I have ever been! Yahoo!

Seren arrived at 34w5days and that number has been burned into my head for the past 2 and a half years. Part of what comes with having a preemie is completely unjustified guilt. When she has childhood asthma, I blame myself for giving birth early. When she isn't feeling well? It is somehow my "fault" for giving birth early. I think this is ridiculous and it makes no logical sense but it how I think about it. Plenty of "full term" kids have asthma and plenty of preemies don't. I *know* this.


When people have second and third children, they always says, "Oh with the first one, I always knew exactly what week of pregnancy I was in. With the others, I had no idea!" I have to say that I have been VERY aware of what week I am in at all times during this pregnancy.

And every doctor or nurse that you talk to asks, "When did you give birth last time? How long was she in the NIC?" So the answer of 34.5 has come up frequently during this pregnancy.

So this is a HUGE milestone for me! I am so blessed to have made it this far considering that "threatened" labor started at week 28!

My freedom from bedrest is on Friday the 7th. I can't believe it! I can't believe I have been on this futon for a total of 8 weeks (assuming all goes well). I have missed my daughter, missed my husband, missed my friends. But it is going to be worth it!

One more week of bed rest! One more shot in the tush! That brings the grand total to 20 shots of progesterone, two steroid shots, two shots of terb and one flu shot. (ok, that last one doesn't count) :) But who is counting, right?

And then the BIG question is, "When will he arrive?" I sometimes look to the Internet for "answers" to these unanswerable questions. I just have to be patient and wait on God's time. As far as I know, I am less dilated than I was but my contractions have been stronger and more persistent than with Seren.

I don't think I'm "ready" yet for the baby. (Is anyone?) But I am DAMN ready to get off this couch. I am getting irritable and crabby the closer we get!

But WE did it! We are doing it! I am already anticipating kissing sweet toes and seeing a sweet gummy smile. And first giggles! Ok, maybe I *am* ready!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A shout out to Super Daddy

For the past 6 weeks my husband has been doing it ALL. And I mean doing it all. With his wife out of commission, he wakes up with Seren every morning, gets her diaper changed, dresses her, makes us both breakfast, gets the dishes going, gets me set up in my "office" and then either goes to work himself or takes care of Seren for the day. It is insane! On top of this, he is working two jobs and looking for a better one to replace his full time job. At night, he comes home from work at 9 pm and has dinner with me, we talk, he tucks me in and then he applies for job, writes his novel or works his OTHER job. He looks exhausted! On most days, he is superdaddy- taking care of all food preparation and cooking but with me having to be in bed or on a counch ALL day, he has had to step it up a notch.

I don't know what we'd do without him. And he does it ALL without complaining. We HAVE hired someone to clean the house twice a month because I can't stand the dustbunnies- they were giving me the evil eye! And my parents are awesome- coming up 3 days a week to help with Seren and help us run errands. (I"'l give a shout out to them later). But other than that, he is carrying a lot on his shoulders.

Here is a picture of us the night I first went into the hospital- which also happened to be his 35th birthday! (Check out the stickers- Seren can't help but to decorate us. All. Of. The. Time)



I love my husband. I can't think of my world without him. He is my rock through all of this. I can't wait to see his face when he looks at his son for the first time.

And less you think that I'm literally not doing ANYTHING, I have been creative with our play dates. Sometimes we lay down. Sometimes Seren sits with me. She liked using the little ottoman/foot stool. This weekend we did a lot of Halloween prep- pics to be downloaded soon. She is so fun!



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back on the couch

I'm back! All went well. I am still feeling frustrated and tired by all of this stress but I'm hanging in there. I just get so worried and that really fatigues me! Hard to know that any one contraction could be the one that just sends us over the edge.

So week 34 is upon us and the doctors have said that they won't stop anything that happens after this point. I'm to stay on my meds until week 36 and then we let mother nature do her thang. At that point, I'm also allowed to walk around and do whatever I want. Even now I'm allowed to do a little bit more. Of course, I heard that as "sure, do what you want" and Sam (rightfully) heard it as stay in the bed much of the day but a little time standing won't hurt. Ya give me an inch and I take a mile!

Two more weeks isn't bad. And then who knows!

I'm about 90% effaced still and 1 cm dialated. So this is the first dialtion we have had. Most women who have already birthed children dialate early. I'm sure the contractions haven't helped much. But one is better than 3cm at this point.

Sam and I are planning to have dinner or lunch out this weekend. That will be a big treat for me. Last weekend we went for a drive in the fall leaves. These little "outings" really help me feel human! So I'm already excited for our lunch/dinner date- just the three of us.

Annoying little suckers!

I had a lot of contractions last night and this morning as well. They aren't painful so that is really good. They are just annoying because they remind me that while I am 1 day away from 34 weeks, my body is still getting ready for the big day. I am going to the doctors for a routine check up in a few minutes and hope that all goes well. I'm anxious this morning which probably ups the contractions. Mind over body. Or something like that!

More soon!

Fingers crossed that my uterus just CHILLLS OUT!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Natural Birthing

When we were pregnant with Seren, we read and read and read. Ina May's natural guide to childbirth was well flipped through. I thought I was ready. I visualized. I meditated.

With Seren, I went to a grand total of ONE birth class. Sam went to three classes- he attended two more while I was in the hospital- taking diligent notes and filling me in. But, like most of us, even despite my reading, I still felt totally unprepared. "What exactly do I "do" when they say to push?" One classic memory of the quick and intense labor was Sam saying with pride in his voice, "I just learned this tonight in class! Just tonight!"

The birth itself was beautiful and natural. It was quick. My one regret is not feeling her emerge. The doctor asked if I wanted to feel her head. I said no. I was WORKING. I just remember thinking, "Nope. No stopping to have an emotional moment. I am workin' here. Let me birth my child." (But I do regret that since there are few times in life you are so close to a miracle!) My water broke at 1:15 am at home which was awesome after 3 weeks in the hospital and Seren was born at 4:45 am. I remember the doctor yelling out "4:45" and thinking, "What the hell? Like we want to know the time!? I'm busy over here!"

Oh right, the time of BIRTH. Right. I guess that IS good to know!

I was so grateful that I was able to deliver naturally with no drugs. This was very important to me.

However, after the birth, I had to deliver the placenta. Since Seren arrived early, the placenta was "stuck". The doc gave it a tug and sprayed blood all over him and his glasses. I distinctly remember that. He also then looked at me and said, "That was stupid. I should have not done that." So we waited and waited. Nothing. Meanwhile, Seren had been whisked to the NICU. So I had to go into surgery to have the placenta removed. I remember saying, "PLEASE! Don't cut me!" I was so confused, tired, exhausted, I feared that after all that WORK that they would have to cut it out. Hey, cut me some slack, I had just been through a long ordeal.

I love birth stories beacuse every single one is unique. And how we respond to experiences is shaped but what we wanted going into the experience. One day I will tell the full birth story here. And I'll surely tell my son's birth story here. But all of this pre-term labor, if anything, helps you realize that yes, you will be in labor again. Despite my best laid plans, we had to cancel our birth class this time as well due to bedrest. And I'm nervous that I should do or read SOMETHING about breathing through contractions, etc. Will I remember what the heck to do? Will I have ANY strength in my muscles after all of these weeks sitting on my tush to actually BIRTH a human?

And to be honest, while I LOVED the natural birth, and relived it many, many times, in my mind, I can't say I'm all about signing myself up for that again. It freaking hurts! If I am given the chance to do it again, I need to do much more meditating and visualizing. The past 5 weeks, I keep thinking about keeping the baby IN, it is going to be hard to switch gears and think about "opening", "surrendering" and "letting go".

I suppose truth be told and fears aside about the physical pain, I'd still love to give birth vaginally. I'd certainly love for him not to be in the NICU. So that I can just HOLD him right after the birth and not "share" him with NICU docs and nurses.

I guess, really, with this pregnancy, like all pregnancies, I know that anything can happen and we can't control the situation at all. Like parenting, you are (mostly) unprepared but you do your best, you learn, and you just hold on for the ride.

Friends, I'm still holding on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Belly pic and more aspirations

Readers may remember Seren's desire to be a moose when she grows up.


Well, apparently she is going to be a coffee-drinking moose. She announced yesterday, as I stirred my fresh coffee,


"Momma, when I get big, I'm going to drink coffee. When I'm 20. I'll drink coffee when I am 20."


The thought of my two year old on caffeine is enough to send me running to the hills. Fortunately, I apparently have 18 years to wait.


Seren continues to be VERY excited for "baby broder". She offers that he could sleep next to her on her bed. And that he could sit "right here" in the tub with her. Last night I demonstrated how weak a baby's head muscles are. She thought that was fascinating. We are trying to be realistic with her about how little he will be and how he WON'T be able to play...yet.


Here is a picture of me taken on Friday. 32 weeks baby, 32!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hopeful!

Today, as soon as I opened my eyes, I smiled! We made it to week 32! I am so freaking happy this morning!



Each week brings so much developmental growth to the wee one.



Today feels like a huge milestone to me! The doctor yesterday said that they would let me "move a bit" at week 34. That was encouraging too. All looked good. I've gained 31 pounds, blood pressure is good. I feel good (mostly).



When I was pregnant with Seren, at week 32, I was dialted to 3-4 cm so since I'm nice and closed, I am actuallly ahead of the game! My dad pointed this out to me last night and I'm so glad he did.



I also now feel hopeful that we will birth a healthy baby. I have found myself being pretty pessimistic (realistic?) saying to friends, "Well, when I come back to work depends, a little, on how sick he is." While I am a believer in positive thinking, I haven't had much of it recently. I'm just trying to prepare my heart. But really, he MAY be healthy. I am going to make more of an effort to assume that he is FINE. I think the craziest thing about bedrest is the mental games you play with yourself.



I also am feeling good today because I got to see some friends at work yesterday. My long commute rarely brings me pleasure but driving up to the office building (ok, my mom drove), it felt like life was still normal. And seeing people was great. Really great.


**I was going to post this Friday but forgot. I took a belly shot but haven't been able to download it. Oops!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gymnastics


Today is Seren's second week in a local gymnastics class! Despite the truly frightening pictures of little girls in tight leotards and tight ponytails that were posted on the gym's website, we couldn't resist. Seren loves tumbling and we haven't taken her to a gym class yet. She also is incredibly flexible. I was like this too for a long, long time. I still am. (Ok, not while on bedrest and carrying around 30 extra pounds, but in general, I'm limber). She can't stop talking about gymnastics. We put her in toddler yoga pants today which she says are her "gymnastics pants".


I'm sure you'd agree that anyone that can do this should be in some sort of dance/gymnastics class.

I love that she is at the age that she really can get "into" these activities! Wish I could see all of the fun for myself!



Monday, October 6, 2008

Visit Number Two

Anyone want to place any bets on how many more visits I make to the hospital before this child arrives?

I have to say that writing today, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I am so grateful to be home that I could cheer but this emotional roller coaster is so tiring. I want to meet my son, but I don't. Not yet. And last night I was up from 2 am until 5 am panicked about it all!

Friday night Seren went to visit her grandparents so Sam and I could just chill together. It was very relaxing and very nice. We brought in Indian food and watched a totally silly, romantic comedy. Perfect! Saturday they had some adventures while I played on the Internet here at home. By 4:15 pm, I was getting some serious contractions. Every ten minutes. I had to breathe and cry through some of them.

After the 4th or 5th one, I called the doctor and Sam picked up our packed bag. Seren was just getting up from her nap and we drove the 30 minutes to the hospital. Seren was a superstar. I think kids really have a sense when something isn't quite right. She insisted on holding my hand the entire ride. "You ok, mom. I hold your hand." It was amazing. I have to say that having her there with me made all of the difference.

Once admitted, I continued to have contractions every ten minutes for about 8 hours. It was insane. They lessened in intensity as the drugs took effect. So that was good. I wasn't placed on magnesium this time because I was already on nipedifine and the combination isn't advised. I was given two shots of terbuline (sp?). They can give you a shot every 20 minutes to make the contractions stop. I (thankfully) only had to take two shots- one in each arm.

I was also given steroids for the baby's lungs. This brings me much relief. They can't do if if your waters break, so now I'm all set. The shots are proven to be really effective.

It was so odd being back. "Oh hi, lab tech! Oh hi, cute hospital volunteer! How are you guys?" The nurses and doctors were amazing.

But it is rough. I got four shots, three lab draws, and no food. Plus, ya know, contractions. I hadn't eaten since 1 pm when we had lunch and only had broth between 1 pm Saturday and 8 am Sunday. I'm pregnant! Hook a girl up! They released my liquid diet.

The bottom line is this: no change in my cervix. No dilation. Keep taking the meds. Come to the office for another check. The contractions, while painful and strong, aren't being effective in changing my cervix. The doctors think the progesterone shots help. So yeah! My parents were able to stay at our home Saturday night while Sam stayed with me. Then the whole team visited me Sunday before they went to visit the farm. They also picked me up and brought me home after I got discharged at 8:30 on Sunday night. They have been so good. Everyone has. We are pulling together like we always do.

But I'm left feeling emotionally bruised. Is THIS the last time I'm home? Will they keep me THIS time? Am I going to have the baby today? What do we do about Seren? Are we ready for this? Will he be in the NICU? For how long? How will he fair? I feel that part of the joy is being taken away but all of this "threatened and aggressive pre-term labor." I have a few more milestones I want to meet. Week 32 is Friday. Then I'd like to see 34. And then, if I dare to hope, 36. God's got a plan, I just gotta go with it! And despite my complaining (which is really therapeutic for me, check is in the mail, readers) we are like real troopers. I am proud of us and I am very blessed that we got this far. I breathe a sigh of relief. My friends and family have been awesome as well.

I even liked seeing my cats last night. (For those of you who don't know me in real life, this is a HUGE statement as the cats and I have, at best, a love-hate relationship).

Man, our family knows how to PAAARTY on weekends, don't we? I promise, my next post will be more uplifting! More picture of Piglet or something. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Now he has seen everything


As an OBGYN, I'm sure he has seen it all. Women who aren't in their best moments. Sweating women. Crying women. Blood. Tears. Vomit.


Stressed out fathers. And so much more.


But he smiled when he saw my belly.


Last Friday, Seren, Sam and I went to the OBGYN for a visit and an exam. We chatted about bed rest. We chatted about our lives, our kids. He lifted up my shirt to measure my belly.


On my belly was a little surprise.


A Piglet and Pooh Sticker!


Seren LOVES stickers. She gives MANY to baby brother. Most of the time, they end up on my shirt. Sometimes on my skin.


So there I was with a Piglet and Pooh sticker on my big pregnant belly.


He laughed, looked at Seren and said, "How did this get here?"


"It is for baby broder!"


Classic.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lines that make my heart break into pieces

This morning, Seren woke up late (6:45!) and was in a really cheerful mood. We all were! She bounced into my bed and snuggled underneath the sheets. She was her full on 2 year old self- energetic and requiring no coffee whatsoever.

I love her so much.

She turns to me and says, "Mom, do you have to lay down again today? Are you still a little sick?"

Ugh.

I had to pick my heart off the floor before saying yes.

Lord, give me strength for the days ahead!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Holding on to the toddler years

Sometimes in my frustration with Seren, I think to myself, "I can't wait until she is 3 or 4. She'll have rationale thought by then." The fights over pjs and if she wants her diaper on now or later (Not NOW, Mom) can drive me batty.

However, I now spend my days looking out the window to my neighbors' home. They have three teenagers; two girls and one son.

It is fascinating to watch this family come and go. They have 5 people and 4 cars. The cars are constantly going in and out of the driveway. Don't the parents work? Don't the kids go to school? So strange! They are good people and very friendly- we like them a lot.

However, let me just say that if the yelling, door slamming and loud music playing is ANY indication of what is to come, I'll take fighting over pjs, refusing to sit in the booster chair, and only wanting Elmo soap for her bath any day.

As someone said to me about having a daughter, "Little girl? Little problems. Big girl? Big problems."

It gives me the willies to think about!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Things Overheard

Two weeks ago, when I spent two nights in the hospital at 28 weeks pregnant, I continued to hear comments from the support staff that were meant to be supportive but ended up sounding ridiculous and in some cases, insensitive. My response depended on how much magnesium sulfate I was on. Here are some of my favorites:

** On being wheeled in to L and D, "Wow! How exciting! Good luck!"

** After being admitted, "You are hardly showing, it must be your height. You carry really well."

** From a lab tech, "You are the only one on this whole wing who doesn't have a baby in her arms. Where is your baby?" (uhh...inside!?)

** After calling the nurse to tell her I thought I had spiked a fever. "Do you think YOU have a fever, or does your baby?"

**From a sweet hospital volunteer, age 15, "Congratulations!!"

**The second morning, when breakfast arrived, the food attendant asked, "Are you sure you can eat? You are in labor, aren't you?" (as I tried desperately not to be in labor)

And Sam and I just burst into hysterical laughter after this last one. One of the techs who takes vitals came in to take my blood pressure. I explained, pointing to the blood pressure cuff still on my arm, that I just had them taken by another nurse. She said, "Oh well, I'll just take it again. I see the blood pressure reading on the monitor there. Is that YOUR blood pressure or the baby's?" I responded, calmly that it was mine.

When she left, Sam turned to me and said, "We should have said, "You wouldn't believe how small the blood pressure cuff is for a baby in utero! And the procedure to get the cuff in and then out? Painful!"

Overall, the nurses were great and the doctors were supportive. And all of these comments were well natured. It just struck me as kinda funny. I almost wanted to post a sign on the door that said, "Actively working to keep baby IN".

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yahoo! Back on the couch!

We just got back. Everything is status quo! The cervix hasn't opened! The doctor did a very in depth examine and all looks good! Yeah God! I am slightly anemic which is not too surprising. It could also explain my exhaustion these days. I have gained a total of 27 lbs which is good news to me.

It all was blissfully uneventful! And I got to go outside and see trees! And moving cars! And people! They did another fNT test so I'll get those results Monday. Otherwise, I'm going to try to "buy" two weeks at a time.

November 5th sounds nice to me. After the election. We'll have a new leader. That sounds like a good time to bring a fresh soul into the world. Doesn't it?

Happy Friday!

Hoping for Status Quo

This past week has given us the chance to settle into a routine. My parents have been awesome. My husband has managed to make his schedule work and I too have fallen into some nice routines. And while tedious, I'd like to keep it just like this for at least another 5 weeks.

Today I leave the house! Can't believe it! I have seen a total of 7 people in the last 2 weeks, have been out to my backyard twice (for 30 minutes) and haven't driven, etc. It is so odd- this feeling like you are falling off the face of the earth. But, as I have said before, I get to be home with Seren. She is both a source of tremendous sadness in me (in that I can't play the way I want to) but also a source of such joy. Toddlers are just hysterical.

Today the doctor will examine me and determine if anything has changed. I'm hoping and praying for zero dialation and remaining at the status quo of 50% effaced. I'm really hoping that I don't have to be admitted due to dialation. Most likely, by 11:30, I"ll be right here on my couch with my laptop. Let's hope that is the case!

In terms of Seren news, her whole life is a spoken play by play action report of what she is doing. "First, I get my stickers. And then I go upstairs and play with Dadda. Then we just play." Or "I go in the new car with Dad to play at Heather's house. Then Grammy pick me up." Part of this is us- telling her what will happen and when. We do this because, like so many toddlers, she needs this sense of order. This sense of what will happen next.

Hell, I do too.

In other news, she has peed in her potty twice. We have to do it as soon as she wakes up, otherwise we are too late. SHe loves it and is VERY proud of herself. She also is amazing at getting completely dressed and undressed. Where did this grown up KID come from?

I really hope that my next post is as boring as this one. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Horizontal Parenting: Ineffective at Best

I have been laying down for one week and have 11 to go! Yahoo! Lets here it for week 29. My moods change by the minute. I get sad, frustrated, depressed. Then I"m grateful for another day and glad my baby is still inside. Then I feel lonely. Then I crave alone time. So it is a guessing game with me these days.

I am learning how to parent laying down.

Since May of 2006, I have put Seren to bed. There are a few exceptions, my parents put her to bed and Dad has too on occasion as I have been out with the "girls" or at yoga. But by and large, I "do the bed routine". Since twenty four of the last twenty seven months Sam has been home with her during the day, it has been really important to me to do dinner, bath and bed routine. It is snuggle time and I wouldn't change a thing. Since bending over the tub, picking her up, running down the hall and lifting her up and down into the diaper changing station, etc isn't doctor approved, we have had to think of something else. Now Dad does all of that (plus all of the cooking, most of the pick ups and drop offs at child care, all of the dishes, most of the cleaning and all of the grocery shopping). I read one story to Seren and make sure she has her hair brushed. Sam and my parents split the rest (depending on the day). Poor dude is just going to wear himself out.

Anyway, horizontal parenting is pretty darn ineffective. Here is a conversation from this morning. I am on the couch. Seren is standing in her bare feet.

"Hey, Seren, please come over here and sit on the couch so I can put your socks on."
"NO! I don't want to!"
"Seren, I have to ask you again to come over here please so I can help with socks and shoes."
"No! I sit over HERE!" (across the room)
"Momma can't sit over there."
"Mom! Sit HERE!"

All of the tricks that I normally use...sitting with her, getting her outside and then putting on her shoes, tickling her so she gets in a better mood...none of that works. I can only reach things within an arms' reach. It is so frustrating. I feel like a big, stuck whale.

As for how to explain why I can't pick her up, why I am not going to the farm, why I am not playing soccer in the backyard? I'm at a loss of words. If I say, "Well, I'm growing baby brother", that may cause resentment. I'm started to say that I am a "little bit sick". That seems to make sense to her. She is very sweet- handing me my phone, caring for me, etc. One afternoon, I was in tears over the whole thing and she was very concerned about my tears. She even wiped them off my face. "You ok, mom. You ok."

Oddly, my thoughts aren't necessarily on the unborn baby all of the time- they are what I'm missing now, adventures I was planning on taking with both Sam and Seren. But I guess that is only natural because well, they are HERE. But I'm here too. I'm not in the hospital (knock on wood) and can be outside for lunch with Sam and Seren. So life is good.

And for the first time in nearly two and a half years, I don't feel guilty when I'm sleeping or napping. Amazingly refreshing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sitting in the morning sun...I'll be sitting when the day is done

Thanks for all of your good wishes and comments following last week's post. The good news is that we are still pregnant AND the fNt test is negative! Yahoo! The more challenging news is that I'm on bedrest until this child comes out or week 36.

Saturday night, after a day of sleeping and resting, we went out to celebrate Sam's 35 birthday. I had a feeling that it would be the last of my public days for a while. During dinner, my back started aching. Just like it did with Seren. I knew something wasn't right. We put her to bed and by 9, I was having some contractions. They were getting stronger. I had about 6 in an hour. I called my doctor who told me to leave for the hospital.

Leaving was sad and scary. Sad because I worried that I'd be there for a long time or that I'd give birth at 28 weeks. I snuck into Seren's room, kissed her and cried big tears. But we had to leave.

I continued to have contractions all the way to the hospital. Due to insurance reasons, I can't deliver in my state of PA, we had to get to NJ. It was a long 30 minutes. All the way there, I kept saying, "We are NOT having this baby tonight. We are NOT having this baby tonight."

I was hoooked up to the non stress test and felt better at the hospital. I felt much safer there then at home. The contractions didn't stop so I was placed on 12 hours of magnesium sulfate. I reacted better to this dose then I did with Seren. (Laura S can attest to my state of mind last time) It slows down all of your muscles -including your uterus. So you feel really tired, groggy and almost drunk. I did start humming some hymns kinda loudly. Thank Goodness, the contractions stopped. It was a long night of monitoring and poking, blood being drawn, etc. And the whole time, I can hear women laboring in the rooms next door. Excited husbands were pacing on cell phones sending updates to friends and family. It was odd trying so hard to keep our son IN when everyone else wanted the babies OUT.

I had a few more painful contractions while there but they would stop. I am now at home. Sitting and taking anti-contraction medication every 6 hours. I am grateful for every day. And I'm grateful to be with my family at home. So much better than at the hospital. And I can shower and go up and down stairs two times a day. As my doctor said, "You aren't walking on eggshells...but you shouldn't be walking."

The most challenging part, right now, is explaining to Seren what is going on. The biggest blessing was the fact that my in-laws were visiting from MI this past weekend. They were able to care for Seren (and me) when we were in the hospital. But it was still scary to wake up- mom and dad weren't there! And they didn't say goodbye! The poor thing became a bit unglued. Where were we? Why was mom in the hospital? She looked very nervous when she arrived at the hospital. "Do you have boo-boos, Mom? What is wrong? Are you upset, Mom?"

So for now, I have to get used to staying pregnant laying down and not really being able to be an active Mom. But the longer I can sit here, the better the outcome for our son.

I am working from home and we are all juggling and managing. But man, we need a NAME, quick! And what the heck do we do about circumcision? And where did we put those blue clothes?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Twas the Night Before Potential Bed rest..."

The ultrasound on Thursday left me on a total high. The boy is doing great- strong muscle tone, long legs and right on target in terms of growth. Sam and Seren joined me for this ultrasound and we enjoyed it immensely. Seren, however, has started to insist that there is a baby SISTER in her belly. Where to start on that one? And when we asked her who was in Daddy's belly, her response was classic. "Hmm. A banana."

The ultrasound tech laughed. I smiled all the way back to the office. We are going to be fine! This is going to work! The shots are working! Go us!

Friday I visited my OBGYN. He read the report and wasn't convinced, given my history, that all was well. He did an internal exam and stated that I am 50% effaced which means I'm thinning. You have to thin to 100% and then dilate to 10 before a baby came come out. But 50% at 28 weeks? Not so good.

I was professional in the office- asking the right questions. Nodding appropriately. But in the car on the way home, I completely lost it. The whole thing is just way too familiar. I was hoping to make it further along without stress and bedrest. I even let myself think I'd go all the way! Yesterday's news pretty much convinced me that 40 weeks is a pipedream. I even dusted off my "Preemie" book last night.

I'm stealing myself for Monday's news. The doctor ran a test and if it comes back positive on Monday, I'll be put on bedrest. Hopefully this doesn't mean hospitalization but the baby will get his steroid shots for his lungs. I'm simultaneously dreading the weeks to come and hoping for them at the same time. Each day counts! Each day! I am going to go through a lot of emotions the longer I stay on bed rest so I better get ready for the ride!

A million and one thoughts have raced through my mind since Friday. I woke up at 5:30 am in a complete panic. Health worries. Financial worries. To do lists! But I have already written some positive affirmations and we CAN do this!

I am doing a good job of sitting today. That's good, right? I'm tempted to just have my toes painted- one last thing for "me" that is pampering. But even that is making me a bit nervous. Not worth any possible complications. Then again, once I AM on bedrest, I won't be able to...And I think I'll take a nap. My inlaws are visiting so they all went to an aquarium. So for the first time since way before Seren was born, I'm completely alone on a sunny Saturday.

Not too bad, right?

Monday, September 8, 2008

My very own Carole King


Seren is "into" singing. Now mind you she doesn't necessarily need accompaniment but it is MUCH better (according to Seren) if a parent bangs along on the keyboard.

She has come up with such ditties as "I am not thirsty" and "Blueberries and Strawberries Everywhere!"

I feel like I'm on some toddler version of "Whose line is it anyway?"

Last Saturday morning, as I dared to sleep in until 7 am, Seren (and Sam) busted into my room. Sam carried the electronic keyboard and Seren stood at the foot of the bed and serenaded me. Her choice of song was appropriate, "I sing to you the 'Mommy Wake Up Song.'"

I love this! Her version of singing is very funny. She throws in some details about her life, adds a whole lot of "ya-ya-yas" and dances the entire time. And it isn't as if these songs are one time favorites. They come back. She'll invent "Blueberries and Strawberries" one week and the next week, she'll be in her carseat singing this song to us.

(FYI, That one is hard to sing along to. The chorus is the same but the verses..wow, tough to follow and remember.)

It is awesome. I hope she has inherited some of my uncles' musical talent. While Sam and I are both musical, the odds of this working out for her as a career isn't very likely. But just in case it does, I can say "I knew her when..."

Friday, September 5, 2008

27 weeks

Well, today marks the end of 27 weeks. I am in my third and final trimester! We can't believe it. We are celebrating a bit more today knowing that we are in the final stretch.

This past week has brought back the nausea that I thought I had kicked. And the fatigue that I was holding at bay seems to be right at my heels. So my first thought this morning as I opened my eyes was "27!" But shortly thereafter, on my drive to work, I realized I am scared to death. I am so incredibly scared of everything- of the changes, of the work that needs to get done both at our house and at the office, of the chance of pre-term labor, of the new little life and who he will be. I don't want to sound ungrateful but I am feeling both the need to just go into a hole and sleep and the need to be around people for comfort.

It is hard not to approach the end of the pregnancy and not think about our experiences last time. Both the good memories and the hard memories. Most likely I'll make it to 36 or 37 weeks without a problem but gosh, the challenges of preterm labor at 31 weeks and the emotional challenges that we faced following it are hard to shake. I guess that despite my best efforts to "process" all that happened nearly two and a half years ago, I still have some work to do. It is only natural that as we get closer to December, I'll be thinking about all of it again. (I realize as I type this that other women have experienced MUCH worse with far worse outcomes. My heart goes out to those women and I feel shallow mentioning my experiences.)

This week also marks the half way point of getting my progesterone shots. The past few have continued to hurt. And now I have a patch of skin on my rear where multiple injections have incurred. It is itchy and a bit bruised. So, 10 shots down, 10 to go!

This weekend, we have no firm plans. That should be good. The rest of September is pretty much booked with out of town visitors so I'm looking forward to a little unstructured time. Happy Friday!

The picture below is from week 24. I've grown a lot since!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"You say tomatoe, I say tomatto"

Seren has always called her bib that she wears for every meal, her "boob".


I have no idea why.



She knows what "boobs" are and talks about them too. "Does Daddy have boobs? Where are your boobs, mom?" And on and on and on. (Just wait until I start breastfeeding). But every meal, she climbs into her booster seat, clicks herself up, requests that the feeding tray be brought to her and then says, "Boob, please". We then attach the velcro bib behind her neck.



I have given up correcting her. Whatever.



The problem is that we were shopping in Toys R Us for a new, less ratty looking bib. I offered her a choice between two bibs. "Seren, do you want the pink one or the blue one?"



"Mom! I want TWO BOOBS!"



There you have it.





Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blogging Friends, CA friends, Gardens and More

We had a great weekend! I will overlook the fact that I was sick this morning due to the pregnancy (hello? 26 weeks!?) and focus on the fact that we had a great time.

First off, I have to say a bit about Seren's big girl bed. Sam and I made SUCH a big deal out of the transition that she was SO excited to go to bed! It was awesome! The first night, she lay there really still and was asleep by 8 and up by 6. I couldn't believe it! I'm sure once she figures out (a matter of time) that she can get OUT of the bed, she will but so far, so good. I'll post a pic of her big girl bed- she is thrilled and so are we.


Saturday, we got to meet Laura and Jon! It was as if the Internet pictures came alive in our front room! Despite the humidity and heat, we all sat around, relaxed and chatted as if we had known each other for a long time. Laura was everything I thought she would be: warm, funny, witty, generous and intelligent. She is also quick to laughter and giggles: my kind of person! And Jon, who I only know through Laura's posts, was (true to her description) very tall, kind and very open. I can see how they complement each other extremely well. We talked about families, travels, jobs and life choices. And the strangest thing was that our most common bond, our children, weren't there! They were traveling without the adorable Nate and Alex and Seren was down for the count. I so wanted to wake her up just so they could meet her but thought that was silly considering how tired Seren had been that day.

I haven't checked Laura's blog but I loved meeting the two of them and hope they felt welcomed in our home. BUT we forgot to take a picture! As Laura and Jon were driving away in their rental car, I remembered and ran out to see if I could catch 'em! Dang. Thanks so much for coming, Laura and Jon!Thanks too for always extending yourselves to complete "strangers" on the internet. Glad we aren't strangers anymore!

We also hosted our good friend Nancy this weekend! Nancy was traveling from California for some time with her family in NY and extended her vacation to spend time in Levittown, baby! We took her to Longwood Gardens, a beautiful garden estate about an hour away. Seren loved Nancy,"Ansy" and liked exploring the great tree houses.












I love seeing my dear friends and this weekend was so special. Nancy, you are such a blessing to our family! Come again!




Seren also had some great one-liners this weekend. I just about melted twice this weekend. Seren was very dressed up for our time at the gardens and I got a bit snazzy too. She said to me, "Mom, you look so pretty. Momma is pretty, mom." It made me think of this post. And I got a bit weepy.








The second sap moment was on Monday. Sam, Seren and I took a little walk in a local nature center. It felt so good to just be out. And it was such a leisurely walk. At one point, I sat down on a bench. Sam did too. Seren hopped and said, "Sit with my family." We asked her who was in her family and she listed, "Momma, Dadda, Seren and baby brother!" Oh! The hormones! I could just eat her up.



This picture was from our trip to the Jersey shore last weekend in honor of the last few days of summer.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"You really shouldn't be doing that"

When I was pregnant with Seren, I maintained my general world view that a woman can do anything I man can do. No problem. I ran. I moved things. I helped garden. And I was pregnant. See? You can do it all.

The thing is? You really can't do everything with a bowling ball in front of you. I mean, some women still run marathons while nine months pregnant. But I can't.

This whole phase is kinda difficult. In some ways, you are actually "seen" by your partner, your friends, your colleagues in ways you aren't "seen" later. And part of me enjoys the sensitivites that others extend.

On the other hand, I don't like being a "bother". I don't like that others think I *can't* do something because I am pregnant. I don't like being the center of attention. I don't like feeling like I "cannot do".

Tonight was a bit rough because I had braxton hicks contractions- like 25 of them- for about two hours. I started to just freak out! Was I going into labor? My adelenine started to pulse through me and I became teary at the thought. I got home and laid down. I just sat down on my butt and (tried to calmly) let Sam and my parents do everything for me.

It is a good lesson. Sometimes we really can't do everything. And that is ok. We can let others help us. We have to just give up being in control of things we can't control.

My last post and the subsequent comments from you all, which came one after another, was so refreshing to me. I felt so much better to hear that others struggle with the same challenges. And have the same frustrations. And I'm so glad we are all in this together.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What was I thinking?

Why did I think I can do all of this?

I am completely overwhelmed most days. The past three weeks, while fun filled, have been exhausting. Seren is really challenging these days. I love her stories and her many funny sayings but she is so hard to deal with sometimes. She requires so much patience. Everything is a battle these days. I find myself hardly laughing with her as she doesn't want something I have just made for dinner, doesn't want to wear the clothes she just picked out, and doesn't want to get into the car when she just, moments before, gleefully said "CAR!". Before I had a two year old, I thought the label "Terrible Twos" was a horrible label. Afterall, how can a child be "terrible"? I still think that but I do have a sense of what others mean. It is SUCH a challenge- this stage of independence. Seren isn't "terrible" she is just...hmm..."moody".

And believe me, I have enough moods to go around. When I was pregnant with Seren, there are some famous stories of me being (uncharacteristically) extremely rude. I feel very irritable these days too. While I love the life growing inside, with him on the inside kicking and moving and squishing me and Seren on the outside yelling and pulling on me, I just feel like I'm about to fall apart by the time 8:00 pm comes. I really can't even begin to visualize our lives when he actually is born! And I worry about that. And I worry that maybe we aren't being good parents to Seren and then? Well, it tailspins from there.

That being said, during this past weekend, I had a moment of clarity about discipline. I found myself raising my voice too often last week and feeling like an Ogre of a parent. That isn't my style. It also isn't that effective with Seren. And the more upset I get, the more upset she gets and before you know it, everyone is yelling and who wants that?

My friend Joanie lived in the Congo for 20 years. She talks about "African Time" in that it is quite different from the Western sense of "time". Folks are late to events because well, they were busy chatting. We found the sense of time refreshing when we visited Ghana. "Rushing" isn't a concept that is well valued.

I think Seren has a sense of this African Time. She is in the Seren Time Zone. (STZ) Her time doesn't really correspond to our time. Acknowledging this this weekend made me realize that she doesn't understand "rushing"; which is refreshing. I find myself simply waiting a little longer for her to respond. And she does. She is just really busy chatting with her stuffed animals or playing with her cars. She will get to it (it being dinner, washing up for a meal, cleaning) when she can.

The other epiphany, which really shouldn't have been an epiphany, was the realization that while she cognitively seems to understand a TON, she is only two. A year ago, she was still taking a bottle at this time! We have a long way to go in terms of self control. Why do I think otherwise? While she is such a big girl in all of the things she can do on her own (dress herself, feed herself, talk), she is still a really little person. She isn't going to be "ruined" forever as an adult if she doesn't "listen" to everything we ask her to do the first two times. Afterall, she is busy learning about something else.

This post reads exactly as I am feeling this morning: scattered! All over the place in terms of frustrations, disappointments in myself, and exhausted by the idea of adding another child to this madness. But I'm also hopeful. We are ALL learning about "how to" be two years old and how to parent a two year old.

It is a steep learning curve. But we are in it together.

I think the baby "needs" a doughnut, don't you?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Berry Picking and Beach Days

We have had busy weekends the last three or four weekends. With Sam working and another baby coming, I feel compelled to just ENJOY our weekends. So what if I need to clean? We are going outside! And it has been wonderful to spend time with one another.

This Saturday, we took Seren to the Jersey Shore. She had a complete blast! As a result, I had a complete blast. She spent a lot of the day doing "gymnastics". She does these wacky splits and likes to "stand on one leg". It was awesome. We left early, got to the shore and were on the beach by 10:30 with full sun screen. We left at 2 at which point Seren turns to me and says, "Momma? I want to go to sleep."

"That's fine with us, kiddo!"

Out she went and Sam and I got to talk (gasp!) on the way home. So very nice. We even made some (some) progress on the Name the Baby Front.

The weekend before we went berry picking on a farm. Seren loved this too and showed incredible self control by picking each berry, asking us if she could taste it, opening up her mouth and then, upon hearing, "not yet", placing it in the container. I couldn't believe it! Once we paid for the berries, we let her go to town. We have been reading "Blueberries for Sal" which is a classic story that I loved to read when I was growing up. (We actually read my old copy of the book). Seren turned to me while berry picking and said, "Blueberries for Sal and Blackberries for Seren!"

With Sam working two jobs, Seren and I have spent most of our Sundays together while Dad is at work. Or as Seren likes to say, "On the puter." (on the computer) It is just the girls. She and I have had fun on the swings and visiting with some friends. It really has been an amazing time. I have taken a ton of pics but none of them are downloaded yet! I girl can't be a good blogger with this wacky system!

But here is one of her on the beach that I like:


And here is a good one I took of her at a park in Cape Cod.


Stay tuned:
This week: Operation Big Girl Bed (OBGB) and a visit from blogging extraordinaire, Laura!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Seren at the beach: Move over Michael Phelps!






I couldn't stop laughing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aspirations

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. All I wanted to do was teach in a classroom. I ended up being an education researcher- so not THAT far from my little girl dreams.

My brother wanted to be an ambulance driver. He always pretended to be helping people and saving them. Until May, he was an athletic trainer- the person who runs on the field when an athlete is injured. He hopes to one day be a physical therapist. Again, not too far from where he started off as a little boy.

Now Seren? Seren has her sights set pretty darn high, if I do say so for myself. She announced her dreams sometime last week:

"Some day, when I get big, I want to be a big, big, big moose. With antlers. Like this!"
(insert hand gestures on top of her head indictating antlers)

A mom can only hope.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Right there in the middle

I'm right there in the middle of the pregnancy. I am passed the half way mark and into the "looking big" phase. My underwear leave red marks. My zits taunt me and make me feel 14. I am simultaneously thrilled to bring a new one in and scared to death of the prospect. I am overwhelmed most of the time. With the first child, you are so ignorant of everything. I worried a lot but I always worry. This time you have a glimpse- a small idea- of what is ahead.

Last night I tossed and turned. One of the first nights of feeling like the belly was really in the way of being comfortable. My son was kicking like crazy well past 12:15. My body craved the rest but just couldn't get it.

I said to Sam last night, "How much longer do I have until we have him?" And part of me feels like I'm ready for him to arrive. To be with us. I am tired of being tired. I am getting big and uncomfy. The back pain is tiresome and the scare of Pre Term Labor is wearing.

But then there is the other side.

I CAN wait to see him. When you have had a preemie, I would argue that time is a bit different. I have been so closely monitored. Last week brought a shot Tuesday, an ultrasound Wednesday and a regular OBGYN appointment Thursday. I am happy for every week that goes by! Safely. Without cramping. Without non stress tests.

Yesterday morning, I took Seren to the playground. We had a complete blast. She went up and down on the swings. And had a great time on the slides. The fear that used to characterize her time at the park is gone. She went full throttle. As a result, I went full throttle. And since my doctors have said, "Look, your cervix is doing great. Enjoy yourself again". I did.

I came home hot and sweaty. I then felt a huge contraction and just about passed out from nervousnes. I put myself to bed with a gallon of water while Seren napped. It is normal to have these "braxton hicks" contractions but they really, really scare me. With Seren, I chalked all too many up to "just normal". This pregnancy, nothing really seems that normal to me until I clear week 35.

And so I want to not focus on the fatique and the discomfort. I just want to be happy with the amazing life inside. I don't know if I'll be blessed to have this experience again! So in uncomfortable moments the next 16 weeks seem far too far away. But really, 16 weeks is nothing- a blink in the grand scale of things. To feel and SEE the kicks makes me smile wide.

I am one blessed Momma.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finding Herself

Last night I was watching Seren as she played in the bathtub. She was doing her typical splashing, kicking, pouring water over Elmo. She was also investigating her
va *gina. (Spelled like that to avoid odd google searches) I mean REALLY investigating it. She was leaning in half with her forehead in the water to look 'down there'. Then she says to me,

"Mommy! There is another belly button down here! Another one! Wanna see it, Momma!?"

:)

I love kids.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Please Hold"


The week before our vacation was insane. Work decided that I needed a few more deadlines. And all four projects had a deadline before I was set to leave for Cape Cod. I was required to work full days, go home, be a mom, cook dinner, bathe her, put her to bed and then head back to the computer. Some people do this all of the time; I am not one of those people.

Anyway, it was insane. And Sam, thank goodness, still new at his job, could pick up some of the slack. As our childcare provider couldn't provide care for Seren due to her daughter having pneumonia, we pulled her out of care and into Grammy Care. So, things were nutty.

At 5:30, I call home to tell Sam that I'll need to work late. He says that I should stay there because our home had no electricity. They were managing just fine but I should stay at the office. I settle in.

At 7:30, I call home. I was depressed that I hadn't seen Seren (a first) and I was hours from being done my work. I ask Sam how he is feeling.

"I am not good. Oh! I am SO not good."

Alarmed, I ask him what is wrong. Seren is screaming in the background and Sam says he is bleeding uncontrollably. He asks me to call the neighbors so that they can come over and help.

I call six neighbors.

I call two more families. No one is picking up their phones- our phones are all on those damn electrical landlines. I call him back. Seren is still screaming. She is fine, just scared. So he asks me to call 911.

I call 911. The local town in NJ picks right up (I work in Jersey, my family and home are in PA). I get transferred quickly to PA. Her first words to me?

"Hi, please hold."

(!!!)

So I tell them what is going on. She says, "Oh, this is an emergency!?" (Apparently, I was transferred to some non-emergency line). The EMTs get to my husband. And I drive like a bat out of hell from Princeton. Going 80 on I-95- good times!

Meanwhile, sam has stopped the bleeding. He has had this thing on his leg for over a month- it is very close to a birthmark. Apparently, he picked the scab and since it is sitting right on a vein, it just started shooting blood up into the air. And he couldn't get it to stop. Seren, meanwhile, was having a tubby and was stark naked screaming, "DIAPER!" for over 30 minutes while Sam tried to get the bleeding to stop and find a diaper for his toddler.

I arrive home to find all of my neighbors drinking wine on the front steps of one neighbors' home. They have Seren in their arms. I look like a stressed out, pregnant freak. They told me he was fine and that Seren was fine. Seren wasn't so sure about all of this activity.

I went home to our still dark home and found a flashlight, put Seren to bed in her clothes and would have poured myself a BIG ole glass of wine, but ya know, the pregnancy thing isn't about drinking alcohol.

Sam can be very sensitive about medical issues and can exaggerate colds and cuts. So I wasn't really sure how bad the situation was. That was, until I came home.

Our bathroom looked like a small dog had been murdered! It was horrible! There were bloody footsteps down the hall. Yuck!

Amazingly, Sam arrived home quickly- our neighbor kindly picked him up. And we settled into to eating McDonalds at 10 pm.

Seren's commentary on the whole thing the next day was classic. "Momma!! Daddy had a BIG, big, boo-boo."