Friday, September 28, 2012

It's The Little Things

Yesterday was bad. Really bad. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have witnessed my pathetic live-tweeting of Josephine refusing to take her nap. 

It didn't end well. As in, she didn't take a nap, and then the rest of the evening was a vicious cycle of screaming and crying, screaming and crying. She melted down and didn't pull herself together until she fell asleep last night. 

Let's put it this way: The last time she skipped her nap, she ended up like this ...


Considering my nerves are already pretty shot from dealing with two very demanding kids all day, having Jeremy work very late, and then getting only short bursts of sleep at night (when I get any at all), after she fell asleep, I cried a lot last night.

Then this morning she got up nicely (after sleeping twelve straight hours without a peep) and asked for a Mickey bandaid. (She's doing that now -- demanding bandaids on imaginary boo-boos. Doesn't that seem a little early?) When I put the bandaid on, she smiled and said "Thank you for the Mickey bandaid, mama!" and skipped off. 

I stopped and counted on my fingers -- a SEVEN-WORD sentence? Wow. With that, she sent me back to the warm fuzzies I was feeling at her (rather late, I KNOW) two-year well-visit the other day. 

Our new doctor is wonderful and knows just what to say. She told Josephine she was perfect and brilliant and beautiful and wonderful. She told me that she was off-the-charts advanced for her age in language and social skills. She even said I would have to be careful not to compare Genevieve to Josephine, because if Genevieve developed normally, I might think she is behind the curve. She said "A kid like Josephine is hard to top!" 

I know she is supposed to make moms feel good about their kids. It's part of her job. But ... come on. If she had said that about your kid, you would be bursting at the seams with pride, too. 

And that seven-word sentence this morning reminded me that the doctor said Josephine only needed to be using two-word phrases right now to be on track for language development. My kid is fantastic, she really is, and not just because she has language skills that blow my mind, but for so many reasons. She's a great kid, she really is, and I was so happy to be reminded of that after a day of pulling out my hair and a night of crying and berating myself for my sub-par parenting skills.

I love that a single second can take you to a whole you new place in this parenthood thing I got myself caught up in. 

However, it looks like she's going to have to say an eight-word sentence after naptime today, as she has been in her bed for an hour and a half but is currently NOT SLEEPING and Jeremy just sent me a text that he is going to be home very late tonight.

Hold me.

If you have a great idea for what eight-word sentence Josephine should say to make up for her naptime shenanigans, leave it in the comments. I'll choose a doozy or two and try to get a video of her saying them. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Quick Ode to My Mom

I've got so many big things I want to talk about (fixing up the house, what it's like to have TWO kids, how I feel about J & G sharing a birthday, etc., etc.), but I don't think I'll sit down and write about some of those things until after I, say, find the box that has all my thank you notes and address book so I can write thank you notes for Josephine's birthday presents and Genevieve's welcome to the world presents. OY.

What I would like to tell you today is how much I appreciate my mom. Not only did she take us in when I was very pregnant (and super bitchy and barely able to move), AND let us live with them while we waited to be able to move into our new house and we had a newborn and a two-year-old and a cat and a dog, AND come over all the time after we moved to help me with the girls while I had my postpartum/I-just-moved-with-a-one-week-old breakdown, BUT, she continues to come over on days I have doctor appointments for one of the girls, or on days I sound overwhelmed on the phone, or days like yesterday when I told her that Jeremy had left for work at 4 AM and was not returning until 10 PM.

And she lets me take showers and naps, and she takes us shopping and buys us stuff, and takes us out to eat, and brings us food, and helps with projects I would otherwise not have been able to accomplish myself.

For example, she helped me make nice, heavy curtains for Josephine's room that allowed her to sleep past seven and go back to her 8-9 AM wake-up time (hallelujah!) (pictures to come, I swear).

And she's always asking me if she can buy things for the girls, like yesterday when she bought some sleepers for Genevieve, some fun socks for Josephine, and beautiful fairy wings for Josephine (among other things) -- just because.

After that she took us out to eat at what is now going to be "our place" in my new town.

And after THAT, we went home and planted a ton of crocuses, daffodils, and tulips (that she bought me) and the lilac bush Jeremy got me for mother's day (okay, it was mostly her, because I was feeding G and then had her in the bjorn, so I could only bend over in short bursts until G got fussy, then had to bounce a while, then I could get back at it).

THEN she held my fussy baby while I did Josie's bedtime routine, since Jeremy was still stuck at work, and when she left, she left us with food in the fridge for breakfast and lunch, and even a sweet treat!

Seriously, that was an average visit from her. She's pretty much the bomb.

I'll never be able to express to her how much I appreciate the time and effort and money she has poured into my family in a time when I needed her support so much. I love that lady, and I hope she hangs around even after I wore her out these past few months, because Josephine sure loves hanging out with her Grandma so much. 

Love you, mom!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh man, Josephine turned two!!

I didn't get a chance to write a two-year birthday post for Josephine (what with the birthing), and we still haven't had her two-year pictures taken (ACK!), so I wanted to be sure to get something down to remember this time.

Remember when Josephine was a newborn and I was all "WAAAHHHHH! MY BABY!!! NEVER GROW! YOU ARE PERFECT AND SQUISHY NOW, AND IF YOU GROW UP YOU WON'T BE A BABY AND I WILL DIE!!!!!!" Remember? Well, imagine my surprise when she got to be two years old and I just ADORE her at this age. She's amazing. She's so spectacular that I rarely ever get misty-eyed and miss her as a little Bean.

She's funny, she's wicked smart, she's absolutely gorgeous. She's my little helper and my biggest fan. She loves dirt, rocks, playing outside, water, books, chewing on ice, puzzles, music, dancing, hugs, and her little sister. She's absolutely fearless, and loves to run, jump, dive, and do many other things that stop my heart.

She's two, to be sure, and she is stubborn, is testing her boundaries, and has had her fair share of meltdowns. She says "No," and will shout "Hey!" if she doesn't like what you are doing. She has a knowing little look in her eye when she does naughty things. She sometimes does things that make me want to cry, like throwing things or screaming right in my face until her face turns red.

But she also does wonderful, amazing, awesome things, all the time, every day. She is fun to be around. She makes me laugh, makes me smile, makes me want to scoop her up and kiss her for hours on end. She is a great little kid. Her father and I look at each other every day and are amazed by something she has said or done and can't believe how old and smart and funny she is, and can't believe how lucky we are that she is ours.

Here are a few little Josie moments I want to remember forever:

Just the other day she pulled up her shirt, looked down, and in a shocked voice, said, "Circle? On my BELLY?!?!" She's known about her belly button for a long time, and she's been able to identify circles for some time now, but it just hit her all of a sudden that there was a circle right there on her belly. 

All of a sudden one day she pointed to her hands and said "Beans!" and for weeks and weeks she would suddenly have imaginary beans in her hand that she wanted to tell us about.

One morning she woke up and told Jeremy she had a tail. When he asked her where her tail was, she turned around and shook her butt. 

She says "Ta Da!" when she thinks she has done something great.

The other morning Jeremy yawned and Josie said "Daddy yawn." Jeremy said "Yeah, daddy didn't get enough sleep last night." Without missing a beat, Josephine said "Coffee, daddy!" (we seriously don't talk about coffee with her or say coffee makes us less tired). Since then, everything is coffee, and she is always pretending to sip coffee.

She gives thumbs up.

She has a bunch of tricks, including doing a somersault! When she is about to do one, she shouts "Josie trick!" and then proceeds to her trick.

When you ask her a question, she will often say "hmmmm" in a very thoughtful way before answering.

Last week when we were over at Jeremy's parents' house, she poured ice on the kitchen floor (she demands a cup of ice as soon as she gets there), then made Jeremy's sister walk on it ("Walk on ice, Kayla!")

She talks about people all the time out of the blue. "Granny! Gramps! Grandma! Grandpa! Luke! Kayla! Lindsey! Bronson!" She'll just look up and shout out their names with a huge smile on her face, like something reminded her of that person. She also talks about people we've just seen for a few days, like she is telling me about her visit with that person.

When you ask her where something is and she needs to look around to find it, every time she looks somewhere, she says "nope!" then moves on to the next place to look.

When the baby cries, she says "It's okay, baby sister!" She rocks her, helps burp her, change her diaper, and tries to help feed her. 

When she wants you to go somewhere with her, she grabs your hand and says "I you me!" which means "Come with me!"

She recently discovered she loves the dark, and she will ask for "Dark" all the time, especially when she is getting her bath at night. She will chant "dark, dark, dark!" until Jeremy turns off the light and closes the door, then she looks at her hands, all weirded out that she can barely see them.

She is crazy about looking at herself in mirrors, and if she tries something new, like playing with a new toy, she shouts "Josie in the mirror!" then runs over to the mirror so she can see herself doing whatever she is doing.

She is still an awesome dancer, and anytime she hears music, she happily exclaims "song!" and dances her heart out. She recently started wiggling her hips back and forth.

She imitates things Jeremy and I do with our bodies (putting hands on our hips, crossing arms, etc.) and recently learned if she does something like that out of the blue, it makes us laugh, so she will run up to me and put her hands on her hips with a huge smile on her face, just waiting for a laugh. 

She comments on which diaper I am putting on her "Blue diaper! Pink diaper!" or requests a specific diaper "Owl diaper!"

We are working on potty training, and she likes to "flush!" and get "clean hands!" even though she doesn't go on the potty yet.

I bought her a special Minnie Mouse shaped bottle of hand soap to use for a reward when she goes on the potty, and she reached up and got it the other day and apparently loves it so much that she wanted to taste it. Yuck.

She repeats everything we say. EVERYTHING. But it is super-cute to hear her adorable little voice say things like "Oh man," "No way," "Oh my," and "Whooo doggy." Who am I kidding? It's awesome to hear her little voice say anything. 

When she falls or bumps into something, she shouts "I okay!" with a smile to let us know she's a tough old bird and is just fine.

When she does something she is proud of, she shouts "I did it!" and raises her fist in the air with a smile.

Well, that got long really fast, but it's only because she is so stinking awesome.

We love you, Josephine the Bean, and we can't wait for all the rest of your birthdays.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And Then I Birthed Another Baby

I never wrote Josephine's birth story, and there were a lot of reasons for that. For one, I didn't know if the birth story I wanted to write for myself was also the one I wanted to have broadcast in a public space. I also had no idea where to begin.

I have been having the same problem with Genevieve's birth story -- how to write it? Where to start? So I guess I should just bite the bullet. I still hope to write Josephine's one day soon (I took extensive notes throughout the day!), but instead of the second child getting the shaft, she is the first to get her birth story written! Go, Little G!

First, a warning: This is LONG. It's also a birth story, so ... keep that in mind. I don't use the word placenta or anything (except just then), but I do talk about labor.

The theme of this story: Things were so different this time around. OH SO DIFFERENT. 

First of all, last time I started having contractions, went to the hospital, and had a baby 27 hours later. Boom. Done. This time, I was having contractions every five minutes for a MONTH. A MONTH. I was dilated, effaced, and in early labor for a MONTH. Let me tell you, I had no idea things like that happened in this day and age. I remember hearing people say things like "Oh, I was in labor for over 30 hours so my doctor said it was too dangerous to let me continue on like that and she induced me." I assumed labor equaled baby time. 

I also got to be one of those ladies who gets all excited, goes to the hospital and gets SENT HOME. Yes, I went in with contractions every three minutes and since I didn't make any progress in that one hour (while laying flat on my back in a bed, GRRRRR), I was sent home to wait it out. That was the 6th of August, which I had happened to think would be the perfect day for G to be born, since it was before Josie's birthday and before my mother-in-law's surgery, so while my parents would still be in California, a few other things would be easier.

So, I went home and cried and labored and cried. My contractions would slow down, speed up, get to the point where I was SURE I should go to the hospital, then slow down again, then speed up, and OH MY GOD, IT WAS MURDER. 

Then, on the 8th, Jeremy and Josie and I were having a nice evening together, and as I sat in the recliner and J and J ran around the house laughing and playing after dinner, the contractions got nice and regular again. By the time bath and bedtime were over, they were four minutes apart. I told Genevieve she was just going to have to wait, because the 9th was NOT an option for her to be born. It was NOT. Fast forward to 1 AM. Contractions had been three minutes apart for four hours. I sobbed and sobbed until I shook, and then I packed my bag, called one of my older sisters to come stay with Josephine (she had been staying in town with her two kids and coming over during the day to help me for just that reason), woke up Jeremy, and we headed to the hospital. I was despondent. 

I cannot tell you how different it was than when we drove to the hospital to have Josephine. I was absolutely on cloud nine the firs time around. Both my mom and Jeremy were there, I knew my family would all come and surround me with love and support, and I was ready to go. This time, it was me and Jeremy, and I knew not many people would be around because of the timing, and our house was not ready to move into. I was also SICK over the fact that Genevieve would be born on Josephine's birthday. I was thinking of all their future birthdays, but also the fact that my baby girl would wake up on her second birthday and I wouldn't be there. That I wouldn't be able to make her special chocolate chip pancakes with two candles and serve it to her on the silver platter I served all her first birthday meals on. That she wouldn't be able to open her presents and have cake and blow out the candles with me and Jeremy. That I wouldn't be able to take a picture of her on her birth moment like I did last year. I cried A LOT. 

So, I was going in in a funk. Then bad things started happening. 

Once I was admitted, I needed to be hooked up to an IV before they could even consider starting an epidural, and since that was my one and only desire, I submitted. I needed to be on an antibiotic and finish the course four hours before giving birth because I had tested positive for Group B Strep LAST TIME, and apparently my hospital treats for it in all subsequent deliveries, no matter what. I later learned I was, in fact, Group B Strep negative this time, so if you ask me, the antibiotics were unnecessary. That makes me even more mad about the fact that it took them FIVE tries to get my IV started. FIVE. They blew out veins in both of my hands, which made it painful to flex my wrist or try to grasp anything. Thanks. 

THEN, they came to get a blood sample. I think you can guess where this is going. Three tries this time. I was getting a little pissed, but just asked for the epidural, since from experience, I knew it could take an awful long time, and I didn't want to miss out.

So, it was finally epidural time. My contractions had just gotten to the point where they were uncomfortable enough that I knew they would get bad quickly, so I was ready to go. I knew exactly what to expect, having had it done before. The only thing I didn't expect was that they kicked Jeremy out of the room. That REALLY upset me, and I asked if he could stay, but they said no. Looking back, I can only assume it is so there are no witnesses to take my side when recounting the horror.

The anesthesiologist got me all prepped, I got into position, he poked me (uncomfortable, but no biggie), and then .... HORRIFIC PAIN. With Josephine, the first time they stuck me, the tube went into a blood vessel instead of the spinal space, which is supposedly common because the blood vessels are already swollen from pregnancy and then become even more swollen from contractions. With Josephine, I told them it hurt and I could feel them feeding the tube, which you are not supposed to be able to feel (it should be uncomfortable, but not horribly painful), and they pulled it out, saw what happened, and tried again, that time with success.

This time, I told him I felt it and it was painful, and he told me, "No, you can't feel it."

WHAT? "Yes, I can feel it," I told him as calmly as possible, as he kept shoving it farther in. I kept telling him that I was in pain, and while he ignored me, the nurse anesthetist asked me what I felt and where I felt it. She said it was possible it was in a blood vessel, and the anesthesiologist said, "No, no possible." The pain finally got so bad that I started shaking. The nurse went over and whispered to him, and he sighed and pulled it out. He then had the audacity to say, "Hmmm, looks like we had it in a blood vessel. It's also possible it was pressing on a nerve, the way you were carrying on." 

WE? No, WE didn't have it in a blood vessel. CARRYING ON? Sir, if you thought me telling you calmly that things felt wrong was carrying on, you ain't seen nothing yet.

So, he tried again ... and did the same thing. 

And he tried a third time ... and did the same thing. 

Finally, he pulled out the tube and I broke down sobbing and shaking after holding it in for so long. I had managed to stay still the whole time, like a good patient, since he was messing around with my spine and all, but once he was done, I was choking on sobs and covered in snot. He said, "I'm not going to be able to do anything more here," and left. 

The nurse anesthetist apologized and said there was someone else who could give me my epidural if I still wanted it. I told her there was no way in hell I was giving birth without it. She asked me a few more times if that was what I really wanted, and I sent her away to fetch someone to make me happy and numb.

When the second anesthesiologist came in, he got my epidural in in about 30 seconds. He even commented on how still and quiet I was and was impressed that I was able to shout out a good time for him to work in between contractions even though they were right on top of each other at that point. I had said, "in 30 seconds this one will be done and then you will have about 45 seconds until the next one starts," and I was right (they don't like to work during contractions for the obvious reason that things in your body are tightening and women are often tense and/or writhing and screaming, but also because your blood vessels swell during the contractions, making it easier to hit one). He laughed and said I was a great patient (even though the butcher before him said I was "carrying on").

I had my epidural, and it was GLORIOUS. For about five minutes. Then I started feeling very weird. I felt very far away and I felt like my chest was in a vice. I told the nurse, "I feel funny and there's lots of pressure on my chest ... " then I started having trouble breathing. She went over to the monitor and said, "Don't worry, everything's fine," then picked up a phone and said, "Can you get in here? My patient's blood pressure is down to 52 over 20." 

Well, that explains the weird feeling, am I right? Once I heard that, I was even more upset that Jeremy wasn't back yet. I was trying to stay calm, but I shouted, "Why isn't my husband back?!?!?" The nurse told me apparently he had come back in the midst of my blood vessels getting destroyed but they sent him away again. So I just kept saying, "I can't believe this. I'm going to die while he's having a snack in the cafeteria." 

While a nurse went to look for him, the new nurse anesthetist (a shift change took place a few minutes before my blood pressure dropped) came in and turned my epidural down. I'm not going to lie -- for a minute, I was really thinking that it might be worth it just to keep the epidural on. I asked if he would be able to turn it back up later, and he said most likely.

While I was waiting to feel normal again, I did this weird thing where I talked in a whisper to the nurse and asked her a bunch of questions. By the end of that interview, I knew where she went to school, when she graduated, how long it took her to get to labor and delivery (her first choice of floors), that she had just bought her first home, and that she still planned on having kids even after witnessing what she did every day. Maybe I thought I needed to keep talking to stay alive? Who knows. In about twenty minutes my blood pressure was back up to 80 over 50, so I considered that a win. 

However, I was feeling every contraction again, so I was totally willing to risk death again in order to have a labor and delivery like Josephine's (i.e., easy-peazy). I asked for the nurse anesthetist to come back, and someone sent for him. 

By this time, Jeremy was thankfully back. It turns out he came back in the middle of my blood vessels being destroyed and someone sent him away, but never told us that he was told to not come back until someone came and found him. 

While I was waiting for the nurse anesthetist, my nurse checked me and I was 8 cm dilated, which made me even more anxious for the epidural. Immediately after being checked, I had a rocking bad contraction. Then, I had two more that were so increasingly terrible that I started panicking. That last one was so bad it turned me into that crazy lady in movies who is shouting the f-word and thrashing about like she is being murdered. 

Unfortunately, the nurse anesthetist happened to walk in the room just in time to witness that contraction, and he said, "Ummm, when was the last time you were checked?" I replied, "Five minutes ago and I was only an 8. JUICE ME." He said, "I think I better call the nurse to check you, just in case." I knew exactly where he was going with this, and begged for him to just push the button and numb me up, because I did not want to hear the words "It's too late now."

And wouldn't you know it, those last three contractions were transition, and I was dilated to 10 and ready to push and there was no time for the epidural and OH MY GOD. I became another cliche and started sobbing and frantically telling Jeremy "There's no way I can do this without the epidural! I'm serious! I'm not strong enough!" Both Jeremy and the nurse ignored me, and I got ready to deliver. I was absolutely terrified.

The nurse called the doctor and told her it was time for me to push and it looked like it was only going to take a few pushes, so could she come immediately. My doctor said she would rather have me push for a while and then the nurse could call her back. I could tell the nurse felt very uncomfortable with that scenario, but what could she do?

I pushed a few times, and BOOM, it was time, but I couldn't deliver BECAUSE MY DOCTOR WASN'T THERE. The nurse called for her, but then we had to wait. And the baby was RIGHT THERE. I can't describe how horrible the feeling was. Everything in my body was screaming your baby does not belong in this space, PUSH HER OUT, YOU FOOL! and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. I was crying and begging the nurse to let me push her. I said, "Please, all you have to do catch her! I trust you! Let me push!" She said no, and I cried and screamed and otherwise acted a fool.

Once the doctor arrived, I wailed, "It's too late! I have to start all over!" and it did take a few pushes to make it happen, but I did it -- not without more screaming and claiming I couldn't do it, of course. But I did it. And then ... I had a baby! I had another baby girl!!! This is when things became familiar. Just like when Josephine was born, I grabbed her right away and pulled her to me, and I was instantly in love. I tried to pull her right up to my face, but the cord wasn't long enough, and when the doctor told me to stop, I ignored her. Ooops.

They pulled my baby away and whisked her off to the warming table, where she had a perfect APGAR score. I shouted at Jeremy to take pictures, and when he stopped, shouted for him to take constant pictures and not stop (last time, my mom was there to complete this important task!). Thankfully, Jeremy obliged, because my IV stand was blocking my view of her. I was craning my neck furiously while the doctor attended to my insides, and at one point someone asked, "Does she look like her big sister?" and I said, "I don't know, because you won't let me see her!" Someone moved the IV stand shortly thereafter.

In true Western-medicine style, my baby was handed to her father while I sat there, shaking and being poked and prodded. All I could do was stare at her, take pictures of Jeremy holding her, and fall more in love. When I finally got her, it was Josie all over again -- all I could do was stare and cry and tell her how much I loved her and call her a little angel, and cry some more. She was perfect and beautiful and amazing. She nursed right away and and I could not have been more amazed by her beauty and strength. 

The rest of the hospital stay was pretty uneventful. We had some visitors, I got some Tylenol 3 with Codeine that TOTALLY took the edge off (NOT), and I ate small portions of DISGUSTING food (Lansing wins the hospital food competition, hands down). The highlight was definitely having Josephine come and meet her sister. She wasn't jealous at all. She was interested but not handsy, and she even gave her little sister the toy Genevieve had just given her. It was so wonderful to watch her become a big sister and do it so gracefully.

So, basically, the entire experience was a total nightmare with a sweet, sweet ending. All the little bumps in the road aside, I will forever be pissed about that failed epidural. I know you can't go into a delivery with a PLAN and assume that plan is set in stone. I knew that in my logical brain, but considering that there was ample time for me to get that freaking thing, I should have gotten it. And I also shouldn't still have pain in the injection site or shooting pain in my back when I bend backwards from my lower back. Honestly, though, being forced to have a natural childbirth is not something I considered, and I guess I should have, because it wouldn't have been all that bad if I had had more than five minutes to wrap my head around the idea. If I had been planning for it all along, maybe I wouldn't have had a total breakdown and behaved like a wild animal. Okay, maybe I still would have, but it probably wouldn't have been as intense. 

All the badness aside, I got through it, and I got an amazing gift: I got to take this little biscuit home with me.

Wow, I think I did it. This is the story. The story of how we became a family of four and our lives changed forever. Welcome to the world, Genevieve Grace. We love you, Little G, and I would do all that terrible stuff a million times over again just to have you in our lives. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Funny Stuff My Husband Says, Vol. XXI

I'm trying to write Genevieve's birth story, but every time I have a moment to write, G gets jealous, I have to pick her up, and then I try to type with one hand for a while -- not ideal -- then give up, only having added two or three sentences.

SO, in the meantime, I thought I might float you a little Jeremy hilariousness to tide you over. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Veronica: I swear, I wash this baby's hair and a half an hour later it looks all greasy!

Jeremy: Well, she is EYE-talian, after all.

Veronica: *punches Jeremy in throat*

To see all the Volumes of Funny Stuff My Husband Says, Click HERE.
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