Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Stump

The baby's umbilical stump is mocking me. I know it's only supposed to hang out for 1-2 weeks but we are already at the ten day mark and it's still there. Everyone says how great it looks. It will surely fall off anytime now. And yet, there it still sits. Preventing me from using all the cute onesie/pants combos that are washed and hanging, waiting uselessly in the closet and the drawers. Keeping me from rolling out the tummy play mat to help my daughter work on her head and neck muscles as well as getting those air bubbles out of her tummy.

But you know the weird thing about the stump? I almost don't want her to lose it. Because she's that much bigger the day it falls off than she was the day before that. I am tired. I have been up every night for at least a couple of hours and sometimes for more than half the night. I get frustrated and cranky but I am in no hurry for the sleepless nights to be over. Because the day they are - she is that much older and grown that much more.

You see, I am pretty sure she is our last baby. We have a girl and a boy. What more could you ask for? Not to mention that being pregnant is kind of hard. Delivery and recuperation is even harder. Having a child who is sleeping through the night, able to do all sorts of cool activities, and becoming a fully functioning little kid and then having to hit the "reset button" to go back to the start with a new little one is one of the toughest parts. I am glad to have the opportunity to have all of these experiences a second time around but not sure I could swing it for a third or fourth time. Not physically, not financially, and probably not emotionally.

So, that means this is our last umbilical stump. Our last time to wake in the night and nurse and snuggle. My last time to see a baby roll over for the first time or catch her first smile or hear her first laugh. Every single moment feels meaningful and important and something to be savored rather than pushed past or wished away. So, Mr. Stump, you can stay for as long as you need to.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

She's HERE!

So this happened last Monday:

It was amazing. It was a completely different experience from the first time and still completely unforgettable. I was able to be present for the whole procedure which was unbelievable. It was simultaneously terrifying and breathtaking. Seeing my daughter for the first time is still indescribable. I am determined in the next few weeks to find a way to put my thoughts on paper if only to be able to capture the moment before it is fogged by the process of time.

We are all still in transition mode in this house and that coupled with family visitors has prevented me from having much time to blog. Though I strongly suspect that having two children to wrangle will also be keeping my blog time to a minimum. On the plus side, midnight and 3AM feedings have afforded me the ability to keep up on reading other people's blogs which is better than I could do before. I strongly suspect that my night time periods of consciousness are only going to increase for awhile. It's unfortunate that I can't figure out a way to breastfeed and blog simultaneously.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's quiet in our house. It's one of those rare (and I am sure soon to be fleeting) mornings where everyone is asleep except me. I wish I was asleep but my mind was in overdrive after I got up for my nightly pee break and I decided to make the most of it and come downstairs to accomplish whatever I could in order to get a nice nap later. We'll see how that pans out.

Everything is ready to go. My bag is packed, her bag is packed. The car seat is installed. The plans are made. Our last check up is today and my pre-op appointment is Friday. Being the planner that I am, I would think this would help ease some anxiety, but so far it really hasn't. I have been assured by countless friends and strangers that a planned c-section is 1000 times better than an emergency c-section. That I probably will have an effective spinal block. That my recovery will be even better and quicker than last time. Every little anecdote helps, but I don't think I will finally breathe easy until I am on the other side and I have my own anecdote to add to the mix.

I continue to worry about that which is beyond my control. I fret that my son will no longer be an only child and that all the preparation we have been doing with him to try to make this transition an easier one will be useless as he will still feel jealous and usurped by this interloper. I feel anxious that I won't be able to split my time well between the two of them and that no matter what I am doing, I will feel that I am neglecting the other one. I worry that my in-laws staying for two weeks is a really bad idea and that the combination of hormones, sleeplessness, and lack of southern charm (on my end) will cause me to say some really inappropriate "Yankee" type things to my mother-in-law when she starts to get on my nerves.

In the end, all I can do is breathe and pray. Worrying about these issues that are so far out of my control isn't going to help them or make them go away. I have to continually work to remind myself that God is in control. He will guide this process for better or worse and my job is to let him. I read something recently that said worrying about things you cannot control shows a lack of faith and trust in God. It says that you feel you can do a better job steering your life than He can. I know that is not the case and so I have to keep working on giving it over and letting it go. It's a work in progress.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The benefit of experience

One of the great things about a second baby is that I've been here before. This time around I know stuff that I didn't know before. With the first one, at this point in my pregnancy I was just excited to meet the baby. (Actually, at this point in the pregnancy I had already had my baby since he was 2.5 weeks early). I didn't know that I was about to embark on a multitude of sleepless nights. Well, I mean, everyone tells you that but you really have no IDEA how physically tired you will be until you are there. I didn't know that I would feel so emotional about every little thing or be so worried about doing everything "right". Did he eat enough? Is it normal to nurse this long? Am I overfeeding him? Should he be spitting up like that? Should he go through this many diapers? Why doesn't he nap? Why is he crying? Should we call someone?

This time around I have the benefit of experience. I know that nursing is hard and it might suck (no pun intended). I also know that if I can't make a go of it, I am not going to let myself feel like the worst mother ever and that formula is not the devil's nectar. I know that there will be a lot of sleepless nights and that I will want to pull my hair out and there will be times that I feel like I can barely function. But, I also know that those nights pass and sleep does eventually happen. I know that sometime randomly my child will decide that naps are for sissies and that nothing I do is the right way to soothe her. But I know that she will eventually tucker out and allow herself to be calmed and cuddled. 

Best of all, I know what it feels like to hold that new little person in my arms. To smell their hair and feel that warm soft weight on my chest. To hear the little sighs when they sleep and watch them discover the world one tiny piece at a time. "Look! I have hands! They are attached to my body! I can make them move!" So yeah, this time around - I am just excited to meet the baby. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Cat is Leaving the Bag

This baby has been named. We had picked a name actually weeks ago and started referring to her by it to "try it out". Somewhere along the line the name we were trying became the actual name and neither of us could think of any alternative on our list that we liked better. We have also been referring to her by name in front of the tot and he knows her name. He calls her "Baby Sister (insert name here)".

But we are not telling people. I don't know why. I guess it's in case we don't stick with that name and decide to change it at the last minute? Or maybe it's because we don't want to hear "Really? THAT'S what you are naming her?" or see anything other than elation from friends and family when we announce her name following her arrival. Or maybe it's just that it's a personal decision and something we want to keep private and just "ours" for as long as possible.

In any case, our very smart toddler has apparently decided it's time to share. Last night, his wise music teacher asked "What is your sister's name going to be?" and he blabbed without hesitation. My husband said she looked to him for confirmation and he was so surprised by the sudden sharing from our son that he didn't know what to say. He ended up awkwardly admitting that yes, that was in fact her name but no, we aren't actually telling anyone. I guess we should have told that to our toddler...