Monday, December 29, 2008

Two-Week Check Up

Nora had her two-week check up today. Here's her stats:

Weight: 9 lbs 9 oz, 90th percentile
Length: 22 in, 95th percentile
Head size: 14.5 in, 70th percentile

In the words of Dr. Kopas, "She's a chunk." Yeah, she gained a solid pound in 9 days. 'Normal' is an ounce a day. When I had Lillian, the lactation consultant said that my milk was more like heavy whipping cream instead of regular milk. So it's that, and the fact that I have enough milk to feed at least 10 babies. Maybe 15.

Nora fits comfortably in size three month clothes and I feel a little bit like I got cheated out of two months' worth of baby. Her head would appear to be normal sized, so hopefully we won't have to go through the whole rigmarole that we did with Lillian. Tyler's theory is that in order to get a baby with a normal sized head, we just had to super-size the rest of her as well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Tucson

Our Frommer's said that Old Tucson was lame and expensive and that we shouldn't go. Old Tucson is not, as it would seem, the site of old Tucson. It's a movie set that they've turned into a tourist trap. They filmed pretty much every single John Wayne movie there and every other Western you can think of. Maybe because I didn't have to pay to get in, but I thought it was fun.

Lillian had SO MUCH FUN on the merry-go-round. "One more time! One more time!" Who would have thought that she would have liked it so much?

The train was also a big hit.

They had a can-can review which Lillian also loved. She called the dancers 'ballerinas' through the whole thing. It was a good time, the only unfortunate side effect was that this morning, as we were getting ready for church, she walked around with her dress almost over her head saying she was a ballerina. We had to talk about how that wasn't church appropriate.

Tyler kept trying to get her to put her hand up in the air, like she was riding a bull. She didn't really get it.

Oh man, it was cold. Forty-two degrees or so. (Nora is off camera sleeping soundly in her car seat.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Girls

"Mom, I want to hold Nora's hand."

"We need animals for night night."

Family Home Evening

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee... unto the city of David... to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife..."

"being great with child."

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered."

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them"

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

And Mary brought forth Toby, the turtle... wait, what?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home again, home again

Tyler did a pretty good job of summarizing the labor and delivery. He briefly mentioned how the baby was facing the wrong way. This was actually pretty scary. It's called occiput posterior presentation, or OP, and means the baby was looking down at the floor instead of up at the ceiling. I was stuck at 9 cm for quite sometime (like three hours) because they couldn't get the baby to turn. During this time, the nurses were rolling me back and forth and back and forth. This was no small feat as my epidural was such that I couldn't move my lower extremities at all. I seem to remember with Lillian, I could wiggle a litte bit, but this time, nothing. At one point my leg fell off the bed and I couldn't do anything about it. In this state, it took two nurses and Tyler to roll me to my side. As I was so close to delivering for so long, my body started releasing adreneline which would have been very helpful if I was out on the prarie because I no doubt would have been exhausted and in extreme amounts of pain. In the hospital setting, where they were telling me not to push, it made me shake uncontrollably and feel nauseated. The nurses were great and got me warm blankets that didn't do much, but there wasn't much to be done. It was when my temperature started climbing (101.3) that the doctor decided we were going to try to turn the baby as I was pushing. My SIL Tonya, is a labor and delivery nurse and she said she was surprised the doctor was willing to try this. She said in her experience, 9 times out of 10, they take the OPs for cesarians. So I am very, very, very thankful that Nora turned and that everything worked out.

I think the prolonged back labor (even though I couldn't feel it at the time) took a toll on my body. With Lillian, a week after delivery, I felt mostly recovered. This time around, if I forget to take a Percocet on time, it feels like I got hit by a bus. This morning, I couldn't even stand up and walk to the rocking chair without Tyler's help. And even then, I walked like an old lady getting up for the first time after hip surgery. With the Percocet, though, I feel great.

Lillian came to visit in the hospital. She pretty much parked herself on Tyler's lap and didn't move. I think she was just all off kilter what with being in a weird place and people telling her that Nora wasn't in my belly anymore and this odd-looking purple thing was her sister, whatever that is.

Now that we're home, she's becoming more maternal and very helpful. She wants to take part in all the new activities, like holding the baby and rocking and giving her a pacifier, and using the breast pump.

And now, a short list of thank yous.

Thank you to mom who came for a few days and although she thinks she wasn't very helpful, she provided very important moral support and comfort (and a lot of turkey noodle soup).
Thank you to Bridget who watched Lillian while I was in labor and allowed mom to be able to be there when Nora was born.
Thank you to Shannon and Carrie, my nurses while I was in labor. They were great.
Thank you to my husband who has washed every single dish since I've been out of the hospital, (except the ones mom washed... she did a great job too), and has been at my beck and call, fetching things nonstop.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nora Allison Ball

As Amanda is a little incapacitated right now, I guess it's up to me to post something. We arrived at the hospital at 730 this morning. Not long after, Amanda had her IV and then the epidural. They gave her Pitocin, which is what actually induces labor and then we played the waiting game all day. By about 4 Amanda was ready to go. Nora decided to be stubborn and face the wrong way so the doctor had to turn her over as she was coming out. She was 8lbs and 7oz, exactly 1 lb heavier than Lillian, which, using my excellent calculating skills, means our next baby will be 9 lbs 7 oz. She was 21.25 in long and she has really long toes and fingers, so we are seeing to it that they place her in the advanced piano players nursury here at the hospital.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sand Art

These are out of order and I get frustrated trying to move them around. I'm sure you can figure it out. Today is Lillian's last day as an only child; I'm scheduled to be at the hospital tomorrow morning at 7:30. As of tomorrow, her life will in nowise resemble the life she has now, so I tried to make this morning a little special. How to special up any kid's life? An art project.

My sister-in-law suggested as a place to get ideas, and man, is it great. If you've got a kid, I'd highly recommend checking it out. This project uses salt.

Half a cup of salt with 15 drops of food coloring. Mix it together in a plastic baggie and then transfer it to salt shakers. Draw on paper with a glue stick then go to town shaking the colored salt all over the glue.

Ta Da! The website suggested this as an outside activity, but it worked just fine at our kitchen table.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No baby, yet

Last night, I dreamt that I had the baby and I woke in a cold sweat. Wow, that's not a comforting sign. I think when you have your first kid, you feel like you're in the Twilight Zone in the weeks leading up to the delivery as you have all of this alien furniture and toys and you're not quite sure what to do with all of it. Now, with number two, it's less of the Twilight Zone, more like a recurring dream that I'm not all that sure I want to have. But, for better or worse, the baby is coming on Monday.

I had been feeling really crabby and depressed, then I got a few good night's sleep and my friends threw me a surprise baby shower. Things are much better since then, I'm feeling pretty good about life. And, my sister Amy made a really good point. I had been feeling like a lame mom because there were dishes left undone and laundry in the washing machine for three days and instead of taking away the baggie of marshmallows that Lillian found as I was making oatmeal, I just let her eat them to avoid the tantrum. I felt like I was sitting on the couch a lot and not doing a lot of parenting (or much of anything). Amy pointed out that I was donating 100% of my time to my kids and family, it's just that Nora was taking all that time in the form of all of my extra energy. That made me feel better, and like less of a slacker.

And finally, a shout out to my husband. I was watching 'A Baby Story' on TLC. The couple was of some sort of Asian persuasion and the husband was very... the opposite of Tyler. When the baby cried, he would say things like, "What are you doing wrong? Why can't you make him happy?" She asked him to change a diaper while she rested and he said something like, "I've been at work all day, you've been home doing nothing. You do it." I had to turn it off because I wanted to reach into the TV and punch him. While Tyler isn't quite an empath, he would never in a million years say anything like that. For example, the other day, at around five, I had run out of steam. Dinner was in the oven and Tyler was coming home from work in 30 minutes so I put on a video and laid down. While I was sleeping on the couch, Lillian had pushed a chair up to the TV and was sitting within inches of the screen. No joke. The house was messy and I think I was wearing sweat pants. All he did was sit down by me, brush my hair out of my face, and say, "so, how are you feeling?" Man, I like that guy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

False Labor or How I've been in labor for two weeks

Nowadays, whenever I call anyone on the phone the first thing out of their mouth is not hello. It's "so, did you have your baby?" Not that I don't appreciate the concern, but the answer is no.

First, some housekeeping. In nursing school, we learned to negotiate with families to set up chains of command so that if anything happened, we didn't have to call a million people, just one or two. So, if and when I go to the hospital I will call Mom and Amy. Mom gets the nod because she's mom, and Amy because she has been voted "Most Likely to Answer her Phone." From there, they are in charge of disseminating information to the rest of the family.

I'm really starting to be irritated that I'm still pregnant. Every night for the past week or so, I've woken up with contractions. Real ones. That hurt. It goes something like this: I go to sleep around 10:30 or so, wake up around 3 or 4 with contractions painful enough that I can't sleep through them but nothing near painful enough to signal the eminent arrival of a baby. (As a side note, I was trying to remember exactly how painful real active labor contractions were. I couldn't quite remember the quantity of pain but I have a mental image of sitting in the hospital with my vision totally whited out with pain and crying and yelling at mom, "I can't do it anymore!! I can't do it" and her yelling right back, "Yes you can! Come on!" And since the contractions I've had so far have not inspired me to yell anything besides, "I wish I could go back to sleep," I don't think they're what we're looking for.) These contractions come every 5-7 minutes, but after I get up and start moving around, they peter out after about an hour. By this time, it's almost 6 and my family will be waking up in 30 to 45 minutes. Do I try to go back to sleep? Just stay awake and hope that Lillian will take a good nap that day?

Needless to say, this whole process is making me very crabby. For example, I just yelled at Lillian for putting too many goldfish crackers in her mouth. The only upside I can see is that all these false alarms help me keep my house in order and keep up on the dishes and laundry because I don't want to leave my house a mess or come back to a pile of dirty clothes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Super mom is back

I think my motivation used to come mostly from Lillian's old day care. Missy always had the most super ideas for teaching and making crafts and homemade toys and I, Lillian's real mom, was not about to be out done by someone whom the state was paying to care for our child. I wanted to be super-er than Missy. I made crafts with Lillian and we made sorting games and matching games and I had puzzle time and reading time and art time built into our daily schedule.

Then, I got pregnant and threw up for four months straight. Puzzle time was replaced by Little Einsteins and she grew out of the sorting games that we had made. Yesterday, I realized that I've defaulted my teaching responsibilities to Sesame Street (which, by the way, has done a fabulous job of teaching Lillian how to count to 13. Seriously, I had nothing to do with that). So, I decided that we would make this little book. I'd cut out the pictures and we'd sort them and glue them on the corresponding color pages.

I think it's safe to say that this book was the source of the most contention ever. Not only did she not want to help sort and repeatedly asked to watch 'Einsteims,' (not that I let her watch that much TV. She watches Sesame Street in the morning and then watches two episodes of Little Einsteins after her nap for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes of TV time per day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours, so I figure I'm doing just fine. But, if Lillian had it her way, she'd do nothing but watch TV all day long) but we fought over every step of the process. She wanted to help cut so I gave her some saftey scissors and scrap paper. She saw right through that one. Then, we only had one glue stick so we were sharing; she'd make her best attempt at putting glue on the pictures, then I'd finish it up. This arrangement was most odious to the little girl who wants to do it all herself. How insulting that I'd imply that her work needed fixing! There were many tears. Many times did I say some variation of "if you can't share and be nice and be a big girl and stop crying, you can't play with me and will have to play by yourself in your room."

Eventually, I gave up and the book lay on our kitchen table, half finished. I decided to give it another try today and things went much better. She shared the glue stick and contented herself with writing on scratch paper with the markers when I wasn't using them to write the names of the colors. I'm glad that I went back for the follow-up because I was ready to let that slacker mom take over forever after the disaster that was yesterday.

But now, Super Mom is back... Actually, now that I don't have Missy to steal ideas from, I'm a little at a loss of what to do next. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Camera

For Christmas, Tyler's parents got us a sweet new camera. Here's some of my first shots. Below is Lillian's 'say cheese' face.

Tonight at Enrichment, we were talking about how mothers never think their children are ugly, even if they are. (Which is not me. I tried to be very rational about whether or not Lillian was a cute baby and I was fully prepared to say she looked like Winston Churchill if that was the case.) Not to say Lillian's ugly, this is not where I'm going with this. But, the question was raised of when was the last time you saw a really, really ugly person? Where you were at the grocery store and passed someone and thought "ACK! That person is really ugly"? I had to admit this woman got me. The only really, truly ugly people I've seen sort of made themselves that way through years of alcohol or other drug abuse and hard living and as such have lost teeth or hair or body parts. But generally, people are just degrees of normal-looking.

Except that I'm the most unphotogenic person alive. Seriously. My adolescent years were especially bad, which didn't do a lot for my self confidence as I tried and tried to convince myself that the pictures weren't an accurate representation of what I actually looked like. So there have been times where I've seen pictures of myself and thought "ACK! I'm hideous."

The point is that I've come to terms with the fact that I don't photograph well and I'm really glad I didn't pass that trait along to Lillian. She's so darn cute in person and on film. Or, in digital form as the case may be.

And, on a weird side note, three people in the past two days, independently of each other, have come up to me and told me that I look "beautiful." I don't feel particularly beautiful as I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant. I feel more like the Egyptian goddess of pregnancy who was part woman, part lion, part hippopotamus, and part crocodile. (Tyler would probably agree that I act like that concoction sometimes, too.) I did wash my hair and put on eye liner. It must be the eye liner, gets 'um every time.

This last one is a shot Tyler took. After Enrichment, he handed me the camera and said "check out what we did while you were gone." Mmmm, sugar cookies. Although I maintain that I am the Cookie-Making Genius, as Claire once called me, Tyler is getting pretty good. I think baking appeals to his engineering brain where the measurements are very concrete. He doesn't (can't?) cook because he gets caught up on exactly how much is a pinch? and how long does one cook it if it says "simmer until thickened"? Five minutes? Twenty? What units does one use use to measure thickness?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nothing Doin'

Here's what I look like right now. The maintenance man told me that I didn't look that big for having two weeks to go. Um, sure. Whatever.

Things are mostly the same around here... pretty boring. Yesterday, Lillian was such a turkey, she clean wore me out. (Example: we went to the library. We have been going to storytime once a week, thus this is what Lillian expected when we walked through the doors. Storytime, however, has been suspended for the holiday season, so we were there for the singularly boring purpose of getting books. Oh, the disappointment. Oh, the tears. Oh, the meltdown: screaming, jelly legs, crying, the whole bit. If I was by myself, the whole trip would have taken two minutes, but with Lillian, it took about 10 of me saying, "get up! Why are you crying? They don't have storytime right now, we couldn't go if we wanted to!") After dinner, I announced that I was done being mom and had to hibernate on the couch. I woke up briefly when a be-toweled Lillian tried to bring me her pajamas after her bath and I shooed her away. The next thing I remembered was Tyler coming home from his ultimate frisbee game. (I didn't remember him leaving.) It wasn't until this morning that I realized that not only did Tyler give Lillian a bath while I was asleep (how did I sleep through the bath? I must have been really tired), he did the dishes as well. Like magic.
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