Monday, July 20, 2009

Trusting the Taller One...

I admit, I was very hesitant to let Rachael hold Erin. I see all these pictures of older siblings holding their newborn brothers and sisters, but I just wasn't sure Erin would survive such an experience with Rachael. Let's face it: there's a reason why Rachael's age group is called "the terrible twos." I needed these nine weeks to see them together and evaluate how Rachael is around Erin.

Rachael is VERY cautious around Erin. She doesn't touch Erin unless invited to do so, and when invited ("can you give sister a kiss on her head?"), she is very gentle. All in all, I've been very impressed with how my impulsive little two year old has behaved around her fragile little sister! it is! Yes, that's my hand holding up Erin's head (see previous post for an explanation...I can't expect Rachael to also manage Erin's floppy noggin!) Rachael held her sister for about 3 minutes and kept giggling away as she made goo goo faces at Erin. I think this might be the beginning signs of Rachael's role as nurturing big sister!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tummy Time is HARD!

Erin deals with troubling situations by whimpering...then just passing out. Light in her eyes? She sleeps. Too noisy? Sleep. Big Sister throwing queen-sized temper tantrum in car? Sleepy time. Oh, but 3am this morning? No sleep. It's a process...

Anyhoo, tummy time is not exempt from Erin's problem-solving strategy. We've been working on helping her strengthen her neck...she's still not holding up her head for more than 3 or 4 seconds at a time, so we've started Tummy Time Bootcamp.

Here's how Erin's responded to our Tough Love approach to neck strengthening:


Scrunching into sleepy-time pose:

And....we're out:

We may be holding her head up for her until she's in college at this point. ;-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Months!

My babiest baby turned two yesterday! Ok, two months...but two nonetheless! She was feeling ULTRA giggly when I was taking her two month pics so it was hard for me to pick just a few to post here. Check it out!


Peek a boo! She grabbed her sign and pulled it over her face mid-photo shoot:



Little Erin is growing so fast! We love the personality she's starting to show cool watching these little ones figure things out!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pregnancy Retrospective

*I started to write pieces of this post when I was on day two of my induction with Erin. Figured I'd finish it up now, finally! Plus, I thought it would be fitting to write my retrospective with my beautiful baby girl sleeping on my shoulder. :)

5/13/09. As I wind up this pregnancy, I thought I'd reflect on a few notable events/things I've experienced over the past 39 weeks.

First Trimester: Lessons Learned

1. It's possible to work 12 hour shifts at a less-than-desirable Maryland hospital while wanting to die from "morning" sickness (read: "all day sickness"). Yes, I worked 12-hour shifts last September during the worst of the first trimester progesterone poisoning. I was only about 6 weeks along at that point, so I had to lie to my coworkers and say I had a sinus infection...luckily (???) I really was congested, so the folks I was working with bought it. This made for a very long week, vomiting in secret at regular intervals.

2. My family will eat my food when I'm unable to. Picture it: Novi, Michigan--October 2008. Eating lunch at Red Robin with my beautiful daughter, loving husband, and sensitive brother. I announce shortly after our food is delivered that I feel horrible and need to go home--now. My loving husband and sensitive brother respond with "so, you're not going to eat that?" and gesture toward my uneaten salad. Loving husband and sensitive brother eat the chicken off my salad while I make my way toward the door with my beautiful daughter. Dave and Jim: @#$@#%@#. 'Nuff said. :)
Second Trimester: Lesson Learned
The second trimester made it possible to forgive my body for the first trimester. Smooth sailing, nice blood pressure readings, good times. I could still wear many of my clothes...all in all I felt like my ol' self. But hey, no surprise here, right? D and I went to Italy for 10 days during my second trimester with Rachael. Second trimesters are SUPPOSED to represent feel-good weeks. I suspect it's to give you a break before the big finish. To Erin and my body I say THANK YOU.
Third Trimester: Lessons Learned
1. My body does not like to be pregnant after 30 weeks. Same story as last time with Rach--bp started creeping up around 33 weeks. Luckily this time I was able to manage it by working from home and limiting physical activity, instead of being forced into bedrest or medication. Major props to bosslady Kathleen for making the work situation happen!

2. Two-year olds don't care about mom being on "limited activity." Rachael was not interested in my physical condition...she still wanted to play outside and go on walks after school. On most days, she rolled with being trapped indoors, playing puzzles, Play-Doh, or coloring until daddy came home. We made the magic happen. Other days I had to be more creative...

3. Labor and delivery is more AND less scary the second time around. First for the 'less scary' stuff: As I perched in my hospital bed, IV of Pitocin running on its 10th hour and on my second dose of cytotec, I'm not shocked to learn that "it's taking longer than we'd expected." Rachael's induction took forever, too (forever = 2.5 days). So nothing scary about the unknown. When my MD showed up the morning of day two to break my water, I knew to have nursing call anesthesia as soon as she was done--no waiting to "see how labor goes." I remembered how fast full labor came on after Rachael's water bag was broken, and I was quickly reminded of the mind-numbing, lip biting, indescribable pain of full labor. No thanks. I'm no hero--just put the catheter in my spine, please, and bring on the fentanyl. Knowledge is power!

Now for the 'more scary' part: since I remembered some about what to expect, I couldn't fool myself into thinking this wasn't an insane physical challenge. It's true about how one forgets a ton about labor and delivery--I often have to ask David about my experience with Rachael because I have little recollection (and no, I was not THAT drugged). But trust me when I tell you: the memories flood back as soon as the first REAL contraction comes and people are reminding you to breathe because the shock of the pain has taken your breath away. As all this is going on, I could feel panic settle in because I knew what was coming. I knew the glorious fentanyl/bupivacaine drip in my spine would be no comfort when I was ready to push the baby out. I knew I'd have to actually tell myself to work with my body, not against it, as if my body and my brain were separate entities. I knew that there wouldn't be any opportunity to sleep after this crazy two-day induction. I knew I'd feel like a soggy paper towel for several days after my 8 pound, 7 ounce princess arrived, and I knew I had a very energetic two year old waiting for us to come home. So while I didn't feel so completely in the dark like I did last time, I definitely struggled with processing how I was going to manage the exhausting, anticipated aftermath. So yeah, knowledge is power...and fuel for panic for the laboring mom!

In the end, it's all good. All good and then some. Yes, the first few weeks are rough. Dave and I were (are) tired and cranky, but we are a kick-ass team at any hour, day or night. My husband is the schiz. :-) But anyway--after those weeks of experimenting with schedules (before remembering that there are no schedules with an infant in the house) and adjusting to three-hour blocks of sleep and figuring out that it's not possible to have all the laundry done and have clean floors in the same week, it all starts to feel right.

And I'd do it all again for these awesome girls. :)