Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas was fun, but...

I am too tired and distracted to record it all right now. I had planned an awesome post covering this year's festivities along with some memories from my childhood--things that have been swirling around in my brain for quite some time now, but I will postpone b/c I am right now so focused on getting my baby to sleep more and eat on a better, more regular schedule. Is this possible? I don't know.

Lacey is such an easy-going baby. I have always just followed her lead with sleeping and eating patterns. Hungry? Have a boob. Nevermind that you just ate a half hour ago. Sleepy? Go to sleep! I will hold you or you can hang in the swing, or your crib--whatever! It seemed to be working just fine and she was giving me a 4-5h stretch of sleep from about 10-2ish, so I thought everything was just okey dokey. Then she got a cold which messed everything up. She has since recovered but her sleep pattern has not returned. She is STILL waking every 2-2.5h at night to eat and her day sleep is all over the place--sometimes a big nap (2h), sometimes only a catnap of 45min. Last week she did this totally wacky thing where she woke up and had a boobie snack at 3am, 4am, 5am and 6am. I thought I was going bonkers. So my "whatever" attitude about Lacey's sleep has been replaced with "Holy shit, I better do something to get this kid to sleep more before I crash the car because I fell asleep at the wheel".

I know there is a growth spurt at 3 months, which is probably what we are experiencing, but as a first time breastfeeder, I can't help but wonder if I am making enough milk and maybe she is legitamately hungry. I would pump to see how much I have, but she won't take a bottle. She also won't take a paci (I am the paci). She gags a lot with artificial nipples. The other issue is the reflux. Gosh, her reflux is so much worse than Lana's ever was. She just cries in pain, burps and upchucks. Poor little bugger. Sometimes when she cries in the night, all you have to do is pick her up and she will do the burp and puke routine. So I am working on drinking water and taking fenugreek. I also thought to try to supplement with formula, but she doesn't take a bottle (I know I already said that) and she seems to be allergic to dairy, since everytime I would ingest cheese or milk, she got blood in her poop. I have since cut that out and I suppose I could try soy formula, but there is that damn won't-take-a-bottle business. I hope that my milk supply can catch up, but to be honest it may or may not be a food issue. These sleep patterns are often brain development milestones, not hunger patterns, but its so hard to tell, especially with the reflux--sometimes I think she is just waking up from heartburn and a couple of swallows of milk relieves it temporarily. I have been feeling like a first time mom all over again. There is something about sleep issues that are so stressful, especially when you are the one not getting any sleep.

So here is our action plan (and yes, I have the sleep books, which make you feel like a total incompetant idiot): Her last feeding session of the evening will take place in her dark room. I bought a music thingy for the crib which I will play at naps and at night as a sleep cue. She is still swaddled, so we will continue that as long as possible. I will try for a consistent bedtime of 8ish (although I would love to move this to 7ish). If she wakes up at 10pm, I will treat it like an overnight waking--I go in for a quickie feed--no talking, no unwrapping of the swaddle unless I suspect poop. On the overnight wakings, I will let her fuss a bit before running in there in hopes that she will settle down a bit. Hopefully one of these days, she will surprise me and drop one of these wakings. As for naps, which are all over the place, both in time and duration, I will try to stay at home in the afternoons to give her at least an opportunity for a consistent afternoon nap in her room. Mornings are tough b/c I have to take Lana to preschool and pick her up, which means a lot of time in the carseat.

I am totally willing to sleep train at 4 months. With Lana we sleep trained to get her to go to sleep on her own, but with Lacey, its going to be harder, b/c its not going to sleep that is the problem, its staying asleep. Right now, I cannot be sure if she is hungry or not, so I address her waking. I imagine it will be harder to let her scream in the middle of the night, especially b/c I will be worried it will wake up Lana.

After doing the whole toddler thing, I totally forgot the nonsense of the infant sleep craziness. I so wish I blogged back when Lana was a baby, I would totally be looking up my earlier entries. I do know that when Lana was 3 months old, she had a schedule--fixed naptimes and bedtimes and they were set in stone. But then again, I had no other children at the time, so I could devote all my energy to getting her patterns established. The thing is, it worked so well for Lana.

In the time it took me to write this, I have been into Lacey's room 3 times doing the whole burp/puke routine, followed by a little nursing and/or pacifying. Man, I wish she took a paci. Cross your fingers that this gets better for me soon, I am exhausted!

More on Christmas to come!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday spirit restored

We had a great weekend! I can't say I am rested or anything, but at least it was fun. Saturday my mom came over and we (Lana, Mom and I) made Christmas cookies. We made gingerbread cutouts (from the Pillsbury pre-made dough) and homemade jam thumbprints from a recipe from my BFF's aunt, which are really good. I thought Lana might get tired of the day of baking, but she didn't. My mom and Lana made the cookies mostly, since I have the boobs, I take care of Lacey. But I did assist while Lacey was sleeping. When it came time to decorate the cutouts, Lana took it SO seriously. She was meticulously painting on frosting and sprinkles, just the way she wanted. I can't believe she went all day on ONE activity! She is really good in the kitchen, measuring things and cleaning up even.

Saturday night, my mom watched Lana while Bill, Lacey and I went to a grown-ups party. We went out for sushi first, so that we didn't get too drunk eating cheese and olives all night. It worked out great. Lana spent some fun time with my mom and got lots of attention. I really love watching their relationship develop. Lana didn't even care that we were leaving for the evening! What a change from just a year ago! Lacey was so good at the party--she was passed around like a party favor and just looked around and didn't make a peep. Man, we never would have even tried to take Lana to a party when Lana was a baby--it would have been a screamfest. Its so crazy how different they are. I had to nurse a couple of times, and then she fell asleep in the baby bjorn. It was nice to have a cocktail and socialize with adults for once.

On Sunday, I took Lana to see the Princess and the Frog, just the two of us. It was our first "date" since Lacey was born. We had lunch at Red Robin first and then saw the movie. It was only Lana's second movie ever and the princess topic is so perfect for her right now, since that is all she talks about. We ate popcorn and drank fruit punch--the red kind, which I think made her a little crazy. Is that possible? The whole red dye making kids hyperactive? She was a total crazed nut the rest of the day! I blame the fruit punch, but maybe it was just a fluke. Anyway, I digress. She watched the whole movie, only became restless for a little while in the middle and seemed very into the story. We talked the whole way home about our favorite parts. We had a very special time together. For me, I really missed being so focused on her and I had a feeling of freedom b/c I had no diaper bag, no pooping, no feeding from under my shirt, etc. By the time we got home, my tits almost exploded, but it was totally worth it. When we got home, Lacey fed like every 10 minutes until we went to bed, since she doesn't do that well with the bottle. But overall, it was a good day.

I am glad we had a good weekend b/c I have been in a cranky mood for the past couple of weeks. Its directly related to the lack of sleep I have been getting. Prior to a couple of weeks ago, Lacey was sleeping a 4-5h stretch at the beginning of the night and then another 3h after that, pretty reliably. But then we all got a cold (again) and she was congested, so her sleep got messed up. Well, she is better now, but her sleep is not. She basically wakes up every 2-2.5h for a snack (she only feeds about 10 min from one side) and then passes out cold, so I put her back in her crib and we repeat in 2-2.5h. Bill thinks I should un-swaddle her, turn on the lights, change diapers and wake her up enough to drink more, but I don't think this will help b/c if this were the case, her first stretch of sleep should be the same as before since she is awake and full before we put her down for the night. Anyway, getting up every 2h more or less, totally sucks. At least I don't have to go to work and be intelligent the next day. But still, I am getting more headaches and I am crabby. Hopefully she will just magically revert back to the previous schedule soon. Soon please! At 13 weeks, I was hoping she would be sleeping longer stretches, like 6-7h, but it looks like my kids are just not great big sleepers. Sigh.

We actually did most of the things on my list for the holidays this year--cards, gingerbread house, cookies. Heck, I even had friends over for dinner! So I say mission accomplished. I still have to wrap a boatload of gifts. When? I am not sure. I am not staying up late to do it, since I am already up all night every night. Maybe I will get Bill to do it-HA! That's pretty funny.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the season to be worn out...

I took everyone's advice and cut back on expectations and activities this holiday season. I shopped online, I had things shipped directly to friends/relatives to avoid multiple trips to the post office, I did my cards in November, and a record number of people are getting giftcards this year. But I am still beat. And I don't even work!! To all you working women, I totally respect you!! How do you do it? I know I am tired b/c I have a newborn with a wacked out sleeping schedule and that toddler of mine is so very demanding of my attention. Add to the fact that all of us have a cold (except Bill). Lacey was doing okay with her sleeping before the cold, but now, its all over the place and I am not getting enough sleep. But who is, really?

Then there are all the regular errands plus the holiday errands that are really no big deal with one kid, but 2 kids in and out of the carseats with winter coats increases the time and annoyance level. Also, Lacey hates her carseat and doesn't sleep well in it, so I am often doing this with a screaming baby (really the only time she screams) or I put her in the baby bjorn, which kills my neck. I have a Ergo carrier, but the infant insert confuses me and I can't get her positioned properly. I need to revisit the instructions in my spare time (haha on the spare time). One thing about newborns that I have totally forgotten about is the pooping. They poop a lot. They wait until you leave the house to blow it out and up the back. Never leave the house without wipes and spare clothes. There are not always good places to change these messes and not every bathroom has a table. Summer clothes are easier to change than winter clothes.

I haven't been posting b/c I haven't had the time, although I have been reading everyone else's blogs and loving the posts about the holidays. I wish I was a bit less grumpy, but I am hoping that this weekend I can get out of my funk. We have a grown-ups party to attend! I will be bringing the baby b/c she doesn't take a bottle well and having both kids will be a lot for my mom to handle. Plus, she and Lana can have some alone time together which they will both enjoy. But Lacey is chill and as long as someone is holding her, she should be okay. I get to wear lipstick! And earrings! And likely I will be wearing some spit up as an accessory as well. But we will have fun. We will also bake some cookies this weekend with my mom, since Lana is so great in the kitchen. I am just looking forward to getting all the running around associated with the holidays done with b/c that is just wearing me out. The holiday itself will be great--low-key, spent with family and good food, so I am keeping that in the forefront of my mind. Plus, Santa is a very magical and mystical creature this year, which is proving to be quite entertaining.

Maybe I just need a nap. A nap would be good. And some chocolate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I've been waiting patiently for this...

Lacey is finally smiling and I have been taking millions of photos trying to capture it, which isn't easy considering she is not generous with the smiles. I have included some other decent non-smiling shots of her too, just because.

Blahblahblah

Where is my brain? Seriously it is mushy. I haven't been blogging because there is something wrong with me. I can't form thoughts, real sentences or anything. Is this lactation brain? I dunno, but I am feeling pretty stupid these days. I have been struggling to even leave coherent comments on other people's blogs! It's like the words are not coming to me and its super frustrating.

Here are some non-coherent thoughts about what's been going on here. Forgive me if I don't make sense:

Thanksgiving: relaxing, family time at our house. I didn't knock myself out, but still managed to make a yummy meal. Me and my mom enjoyed it, but I am not sure about everyone else. My turkey and gravy were killer b/c I used pancetta in both and nothing makes meat taste better than fancy bacon. The best part was that at my 3am feeding on Thanksgiving night, it was the first time in a long time when I didn't feel hungry.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we had a lunch for my inlaws friends at a Chinese restaurant. Usually after a baby is born, you have a party when the baby is 30 days old. We had this one on Lacey's 60 day birthday instead. Other than me and my mom, everyone else spoke Chinese, so we just ate and smiled. I think everyone had a nice time. It is a little disconcerting to hear a bunch of people speaking another language, then all of a sudden you hear your name and then laughter.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving was what would have been my dad's 63rd birthday. We went to the cemetery and brought some purple flowers. It was sad. It's really hard to see the grave marker with my dad's name on it. It seems so real. I know it is real, but its hard to look at the actual name and realize that this marker is all I have left of him. My mom said she felt so sad, like he got cheated with his life being cut short like that. I just miss him. A lot. Lana sang happy birthday to him. Its amazing how children can just snap you out of a deep despair with their innocence.

Lana has been amazingly wonderful lately. I just jinxed myself, but I had to say it b/c she has been awesome. Fun, hilarious, well-behaved. She has started helping me with chores. I was complaining to my grandmother about the constant mess in my house--mostly toys laying around and she recommended that we give Lana an incentive like an allowance. I thought to myself that she was too young for that. But, after I stepped on one of those My Little Pony hairbrushes and started cursing, I told Lana if she picks up her toys and helps mommy around the house, she could earn a dollar a week, to be paid on Fridays. She could save her money to buy stuff. She was totally on board! I have to remind her to pick things up and I have to be specific, but I have not heard one "NO!" out of her. She has also taken an interest in doing dishes. I give her non-breakable things and she uses soap and the sponge and does an awesome job! I have to change her shirt after and dry up the floor after, but hey, I hate doing dishes, so I welcome the help. Plus, it keeps her busy while I cook. Today is her first payday and she is excited about it. She said she wants to save her money for college...or candy.

Well, that's about all my brain can handle at the moment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lacey is not the only one who is easygoing

Its funny what a different mom I am this time. When Lana was born, its no secret that it didn't go well, and I did not fall into motherhood naturally. Since she had colic, I read every parenting book I could get my hands on to try to figure out how to fix the incessant crying, especially the sleep books, b/c man oh man I needed some sleep. Like more than a 2h nap, some serious sleep! I documented her every move--how many wet/poopy diapers she had, how many ounces of milk she drank and how often, how many minutes she slept. I had a sheet of paper I took everywhere so that I could refer to the schedule, even though it wasn't a schedule per se. I was a slave to the pump b/c if I missed a pumping session or even delayed it, I was afraid of losing my supply, which was already not abundant. I think I was also reading those books to try to glean some info on how to be a good mother, b/c at the time, I knew nothing about babies and I was pretty insecure. We got her in her crib as soon as we moved into our townhouse and we sleep trained her at 3 months. She was the kind of kid that needed to sleep in her crib for all naps as well as night time, so if I was out, I was running home to get that kid in her crib before she really flipped her lid. One yawn and I was marching her upstairs. To this day she is a very routine-driven child and it works for her (and us).

Lacey is now 8 weeks old. After the first few days where you have to monitor how much weight they gain, I don't think I have looked at the clock since. She feeds when she is hungry or rooting, she sleeps when she conks out in my arms. She has never slept in her crib for more than 30 minutes b/c this baby wants to be held and I am not ashamed to say I enjoy holding her, even if I am spoiling her. She has no schedule. I don't think this is a big deal b/c she is still so little, but it occurred to me yesterday that maybe she should have a consistent bedtime. Or something? I really do want to get her in the crib, but she loves to co-sleep on my body where its warm. Who doesn't like to cuddle? So its funny, the second time around I am just so opposite of where I was the first time around. Lacey and I go with the flow. I hope to get her a little more regimented, but I am not sure when that will happen. I guess I am not in a huge hurry b/c things seem to be working just fine for now.

I do wish Lacey would smile. Even though Lana was a miserable baby, she was smiling by 6 weeks, so its perplexing that Lacey who is so content is not smiling yet. She gives little half-grins, but nothing consistent and certainly nothing I could photograph. Speaking of photos, this poor kid does not get photographed the way Lana did. I suppose that is common with #2. I want to, but I don't have a lot of free time to take a bunch of photos of a wiggly newborn hoping one turns out. Plus her eyes are always closed b/c she likes to sleep, so that's not a cute photo. Maybe I am waiting for her to smile to really go camera crazy.

Lacey is beginning to coo and make "ooh" noises which is so cute and rewarding. Bill and I can not get over how this baby will actually be awake and not screaming. We didn't know babies did that!

I was re-reading some of my recent posts and I came across as very grumpy and depressed. Its actually not how I have been feeling at all. Oh, I have my moments, given the events of the past couple of months, but overall I am happy and thankful for so many blessings in our lives. My girls just make me feel so full. Full of life, full of joy. So this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful and I will stop and remember all of the reasons that my life is so blessed. Plus, I am really looking forward to mashed potatoes. And pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Enjoy your families!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bah Humbug

I am not looking forward to the holidays this year. I don't mean to be a bummer, but I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the whole process. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas go SO fast and are filled with shopping, wrapping and shipping. And don't forget the Christmas cards! Yikes. Like most women (I think), my husband is not involved. I do it all, and I should b/c I am a stay at home mom, right? Except that this year, I have two kids and I am up several times a night at which time I am thinking about what I should buy everyone, instead of trying to fall back to sleep, which is just shooting myself in the foot. I am not sure how I will be navigating the mall with 2 kids, while I actually use brain activity to think about gift giving and finding a good deal and all that crap. My strategy is to take someone with me, which would be my mom b/c well my husband is not involved, but that means we are doing it on the weekends with every other human being. Bill hates the holidays b/c he didn't grow up with them. I am also trying to do some online shopping, but I don't really like to b/c I can't touch the merchandise and I like to.

Normally I am festive. I like the holidays. I like traditions, family get-togethers and Christmas songs. Maybe I am in a bad mood b/c my dad is gone and I feel his absence and how on earth can I be happy this holiday season? Maybe I am just a little overwhelmed by anything extra. Maybe I just need a nap. Maybe its been raining for too many days straight. Maybe I need to get some gifts purchased to feel like I will actually get it done. I will really try to perk up my mood, b/c I want to enjoy the holidays like I usually do. I will try, really.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Best Years

A couple of days after my dad passed away my maternal grandparents came to visit from Florida. They are in their mid-eighties and I was so impressed and grateful that they made the long journey from Tampa to Seattle to visit us. We had planned this visit long before my dad declined and we decided that the company would be very comforting to me. I didn't mention this visit previously because as it turned out, in the days following my dad's death, I was too overwhelmed to really deal with anything, let alone having house guests. My grandfather is on oxygen now and it was the first time he traveled with the portable tank. My grandmother is totally overwhelmed with his care and his health issues, and rightly so. It was a stressful visit for them, I was emotionally spent (and 9 months pregnant) and I felt like the world's biggest brat for feeling this way. In addition, my mom's youngest brother was visiting from Arizona and his significant other--so we had a full house! It was a rare and special time for my grandparents to have 2 of their children together, plus a grand daughter and great-grand daughter. Plus, it was their anniversary--61 years together!! We took them out for a nice dinner and had a toast and my grandfather got emotional--it was a special moment indeed.

Anyway, while my grandparents were visiting, we did a lot of talking. My grandfather is becoming aware of his mortality. He is aware that he is nearing the end of his life, his health is not great. He feels like a burden to my grandmother. It sucks actually. But he said something that really sticks in my mind and I have been thinking about lately. We were talking about fathers--how the role has changed over the years. How parenting can be so stressful and busy, especially when the kids are young. He was recalling how when his 3 kids were little, he worked all day, came home and ate dinner in like 5 minutes and then went over to his house that he was building, pretty much by himself, with his own two hands and expertise and he would work there until 10 or 11pm and come home and do it all over again the next day. This was in a time when there was no Home Depot! Imagine that! Anyway, we were talking about how some fathers are present and some are not--some dads just aren't involved emotionally or physically in their children's lives. And he said with a tear in his eye, "When my kids were little, these were the best years of my life." I can't get this out of my mind lately. Lana has been great, so sweet and wonderful. She was sitting on the sofa last night telling me about her imaginary monsters and what they were wearing and saying and doing and I was really focused on the moment (for once) and I looked at my happy, smart kid and her sweetly sleeping baby sister and I thought--these are the best years of my life.

I hope to remember this during all the trying times and tantrums and ridiculous moments of having a 3.5 year old, but its true--these kids are little and it goes so fast--soon they will be teenagers and will be too cool to hang with us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Lacey

Dear Lacey,
You are such a lovable baby. You are such a blessing and you arrived in our lives when I needed you the most. You are now about 6 weeks old and you are awake for longer periods now. This is great because your eyes are so beautiful and clear. You seem to be deep in thought, furrowing your eyebrows at times. You love to look past us--toward the ceiling. What do you see there? You have just started to smile, although not at me so much. But that's okay because I get to cuddle you and nurse you. I love to rub my whole hand over your head--your hair is like duck fuzz. The bottoms of your feet are the softest surface on the planet. Your feet! They are long and thin. You have such tiny toes, with a little freckle on the fourth toe of your right foot. So very adorable!

You are starting to enjoy the playmat now. You reach out for the octopus. Lana believes that she taught you how to grab the ring attached to it. She is your best teacher. Remember this, because she wants to teach you everything. She will probably boss you around and you will probably find this to be annoying. But her intentions are pure--she wants to love you. She gives you kisses on your head and is very gentle with you. Remember this, because someday you two will probably be beating the crap out of each other.

You hate your car seat. Probably because nobody is holding you. In fact, its the only time we ever hear you really cry and wail. The swing is okay, but nothing tops you being snuggled. You love to be held and we are spoiling you by holding you constantly, but we love to cuddle you, sweet baby. You make your Baba so happy when you sleep on his chest.

Sometimes you get a little fussy, but not often. You mostly grunt and protest until someone picks you up. You have also started to coo. Best of all, you sleep! You have just started giving me 4.5h at night!! What a glorious gift!

We love you sweet Lacey. We can't wait to see the girl you will become! You bring us so much happiness and fulfillment. We are so happy to have you in our family. Love, Mom

Monday, November 9, 2009

Productive Weekend

We had a pretty good weekend and it feels good to get out a little more. It at least feels more "normal". Friday night we went to our favorite sushi restaurant. Its our favorite b/c they have the BEST kids meal EVER!! Shrimp tempura udon noodle soup for $7. But it comes with a small bowl of miso soup, they have complementary edammame, and the shrimp tempura is served with tempura veggies and they leave it separate from the udon noodle soup so it doesn't get soggy AND it comes with 3 pieces of cali rolls. And that's just the kids meal. Bill and I ate a boatload of sushi, but they were so busy that by the time our sushi came, Lana was WAY done and antsy and Lacey needed a feeding, so Bill and I shoveled it in in like 5 minutes flat. Now that is a perfect example of eating out with kids. Shovel and enjoy and get the hell out of there before someone starts crying. We have been going out to eat fairly regularly since Lacey came along b/c she is pretty chill and with the carseat awning (which I call the sneeze guard) and the bundle me, she is pretty covered. Plus eating out is really our entertainment and such a treat b/c I don't have to think about what to cook and who is going to eat it or enjoy it and I don't have to clean up. Maybe one day I will enjoy cooking again? I hope so...one day.

Saturday we were up bright and early. Lacey has been doing a bunch of nights in a row where she is up every 2h to eat, but she only has one boob, so she is hungry in 2h, but not starving and oh, I just want to go back to sleep. We went to get photos done at Picture People. I was thinking that Lacey will probably sleep through the whole thing and Lana is only somewhat cooperative on a good day, so this will probably be a disaster all around. To my great surprise it went so well! We got a family portrait and a couple of both girls. Lacey was awake and content the whole time. Lana followed directions and was totally agreeable the whole time. It was by far the least stressful photo experience since Lana was born. I couldn't believe it. For the family portrait they had us sitting in this totally goofy configuration that made Bill bend in ways he is not designed to bend and me leaning too far forward which made me look like I was about to flash a boob and we both looked ridiculous. Luckily I asked the girl if we could do one standing up or we wouldn't have a decent one. After, we went out for lunch and headed home. My mom came over and I caught a much needed nap! I was so totally out of it--I slept for 2 hours and it felt like much longer. Mom and Lana played, we had a lovely meal that a friend brought over on Friday--yay no cooking again--and it was a nice evening.

Sunday was a great day too. Bill and Lana went to see Disney on Ice. It was Lana's first experience like this. The main attraction was Tinkerbell and Bill said she was transfixed. We initially thought my mom would take her, but she insisted that Bill take her. Lana has been very affectionate towards Bill lately and he is loving it. He has been wishing for a daddy's girl for so long! So they went and we were worried she either wouldn't have the patience to sit still or she would be scared of the noise and lights or something else would freak her out. You never know with Lana. A hangnail produces tears and requires a band-aid and magic jelly bean (thanks Laura), but a flu shot is no biggie. Like I said, unpredictable. So they had a blast and Lana came home with a $14 Tinkerbell cup (ouch!) with straw that was apparently once filled with "artificial ice" according to Lana. She was surprised that the princesses were not robots, but "real people Mama!" While Bill and Lana were on their date, mom and I took Lacey and went to the outlet mall to start Christmas shopping. I generally don't start this early, but this year I better get my butt in gear.

So overall it was a productive weekend and last night Lacey finally slept more than 2h at a stretch, so I feel like a million dollars! I went for my 6 week checkup at my OB today, which was surprisingly a pants-off appointment (I didn't remember that from the first time) and I got cleared for all the limitations you have post-partum--none of which I feel much like participating in at the moment. I am still having pain from time to time, but the pain in significant. Yeesh, am I ever going to feel normal again? But all is well and I am thankful for that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grief, continued

I have been having a hard time finding the time to sit down and blog. Or even just sit down. Lacey has had some increased fussiness, during feeding times only. That, coupled with her cold, she has not been feeding well and we went to the pediatrician for the third time in 2 weeks. Baby zantac has worked wonders, even in just a couple of doses and my zen baby is back--whew! She even rewarded me with a 4.5h stretch of sleep AT NIGHT! But guess what? I had insomnia. How's that for irony? She has not repeated the phenomenon. Oh well, at least I know she can do it.

We have also been getting out of the house a little more. We had our first playdate this week and we have had a few visitors this week as well. We have also been doing errands like Target and the grocery store in the early morning hours so that its not too crowded. I still don't have the physical stamina I wish I did. I can overdo it very easily and then have abdominal pain, which is a drag. I am hoping we go out for sushi tonight. I have been indulging in sushi almost weekly since Lacey was born.

Also since Lacey was born, I have not had a very difficult time with the grief I was experiencing prior, due to my dad's death. But its funny how grief works, sometimes you are just going along in your life and something will happen, you see something seemingly benign and the band-aid is ripped off all over again. This happened twice this week or was it last week? The days are all running together now. I turned on Oprah, which I never watch and Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze's wife was on the show, talking very candidly about her husband, their marriage and the last few days of his life. The last few days of Patrick Swayze's life sounded a lot like the last few days of my dad's life. She described it in great detail, things the hospice nurses said, his level of coherence, etc. It was enough to just stop me dead in my tracks and remember those last few days, seeing him via Skype, talking to him, but him unable to speak back. The pain of his death just resurfaced and it wasn't pleasant.

Then today, Lana asked me to see photos from our wedding, which she does quite often and when I got to the bookshelf, I noticed a scrapbook I made from college. I asked her if she wanted to see mommy in college and she agreed. I was looking at photos of my friends and those silly times that seem SO very long ago and wedged in one of the pages was a letter from my dad, dated February 21, 1995. A real letter people, not an email, remember those? Wow, it was weird to read. Especially weird b/c this pre-dated my parents' divorce, my dad's relocation to VA. It was as close of a snapshot of my family that I remember from my childhood, but that I rarely even think about now. He talked about all of these things going on at home--silly things like we had moles in the garden, the cat was being a pain in the ass, he was traveling for work too much. He was so sweet, giving me encouragement to study hard, but to remember to have fun. To be good, but not to stress so much. He said that I bring him and my mom unending joy and pride. He apologized for not writing often enough.

Finding this letter was a gift, almost a conversation I wish I could have with him now. I wish I could have any conversation with him right now. Sometimes, after it rains and the sky is blue with those big fluffy white cotton clouds, I look to the sky and talk to him and wonder what he is doing up there. But its not the same.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Critics corner

I realized that my recent posts have been rather complainy, so I thought I should mix things up a bit. I decided to do this despite the urge to pontificate on 3.5 year old tantrums and the one I just experienced 5 minutes ago which leaves me totally dumbfounded and worn out, but I think I'll pass this time on being complainy and pessimistic and grumpy. Just this once.

We have spent SO much time at home the last 5 weeks. So much of this time has been spent in front of the TV. Watching Nick Jr., formerly Noggin b/c according to her, PBS is so for little kids. We have seen every episode of every cartoon, multiple times. I thought I would do a little "critics corner" of the children's programming.

Wow Wow Wubbzy--our favorite by far. Lana totally loves Wubbzy--thinks he is cool. She loves Widget, Walden and Daisy and all of their attributes. Lana will even quote it in her real life. "That wasn't supposed to happen" or "grapetty grape juice" or "kickity kick ball" are lines I hear often. She is glued to it as I type. I think it teaches some good lessons overall.

Olivia--I love the theme music, so catchy and peppy. Olivia reminds me so much of Lana. Precocious, creative, bossy. Plus, I love the way the pigs walk--so refined!

Yo Gabba Gabba--I'll admit, when I first saw this show, I thought you know the people who make this show are on drugs. This is like the Telletubbies for older kids. But then it started to grow on me. I like the music and the lessons put into songs--like "too much candy's gonna make you sick" or "don't bite your friends" or "there's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy". DJ Lance is pretty weird and the characters are bizarre, but I am definitely starting to love Yo Gabba Gabba.

Wonder Pets--Ugh, I hate this show--its so annoying. I don't care about the team work crap, the whole talking like its an opera and the speech issue on Ming Ming just irritates me.

Dora--I like Dora fine, but is it me or is everyone yelling their lines in this show?

The Upside Down Show--I like this show for the creativity and imagination. I just wish it wasn't on at bedtime--its too manic for bedtime. Those dudes are seriously nuts. Seriously.

Ni Hao Kai Lan--we love this for obvious reasons. Lana knows a bit of Chinese and its reinforced in this program. She can relate to Kai Lan. I love it that someone is always having a tantrum or a bad attitude and yet the rest of them are trying to problem solve.

I am so glad Halloween is finally over so that we can get some new episodes to watch. I know I am rotting Lana's brain by watching so much TV, but with the new baby and our self-imposed house arrest and then the illness, we have been parked in front of the TV for a month. I wish it was summer still! I miss summer.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Halloween That Wasn't

I am looking forward to seeing all of your kids in their Halloween costumes, b/c well, we didn't do Halloween yesterday. Poor Lana was too sick and frankly she didn't give a hoot about Halloween or Trick or Treating. All day she was deliberating about which costume to wear. In August I scored an adorable flower costume from a consignment store that was warm and fuzzy. She also recently got her first princess dress-up dress--Snow White that I was going to let her wear for her school Halloween party since it was inside and she wouldn't freeze. But she missed her party b/c I couldn't send her to school with boogers dripping down her face, so I told her she could be either Snow White or the flower for real Halloween. Its so funny when I think about giving her choices. My mom and grandmother always comment about how we give her too many choices in general. Like its some newfangled parenting technique. Back in the day, you buy or actually make the Halloween costume and that's it--you are wearing it! No choice! But like many 3.5 year olds, Lana has been super indecisive about what her costume would be and yes, I have given her too many choices. But that's what we do these days--we give choices and time outs, we dilute the juice and we don't spank.

Anyway, last night at 5:30pm after a monster crying spell about um..nothing, Lana went up to her bed and slept. Wow--that's novel. She has never done that before. She must really feel like crap. We woke her for dinner which led to more crying and we decided no trick or treating. She didn't care as long as she could have a few pieces of candy for her pumpkin from our stash. She seemed happy to have some sweet tarts after dinner and help me at the door. I asked her if she wanted to put on her costume so that the kids who come to our house would see her costume too--nope, no deal. So we put Lacey in her pumpkin onesie and took a few photos and that was Halloween this year.

It was so worth it though. It was pouring rain, which would have been miserable to walk around in. Especially since she was sick already, staying home was the right decision. I couldn't help but feel bad that she didn't get to do Halloween, but really I need to just drop my expectations. She is 3--she will never remember that she didn't do it. Plus I am sure there will be plenty more holidays and parties missed due to illness. So I am over it. Luckily I have another girl to save that awesome flower costume for.

Here are some photos of pre-Halloween festivities: cookies and pumpkin carving, followed by a couple of photos of Lacey my pumpkin and her startle response.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sickness

This week has felt like at least two. Everyone in the house is sick (except me, knock on every wood surface available). Lana was first and she is still battling it. She is still super congested and has decided she does not like to wipe her nose with tissues--she prefers her blanket, which is like biohazard material now. She also has a cough--the barking seal kind. She has never had a cough like this before--she generally clears colds quickly, but this one is hanging on. Bill and my mom got it next. Then Lacey. My poor, tiny, helpless newborn is full of gunk, choking and gagging on it. Puking it up sometimes (fun times). She has no runny nose, so using the booger sucker is pointless. The good news is she is nursing okay, a little less, but she is staying hydrated. Her fever has been no higher than 99, so far, so we don't need to run to the ER (yet). I took both girls to the pediatrician twice this week to make sure their ears, throats and lungs were clear. All good, we just have to wait this one out.

But I am tired. At least I am not sick (knocking again on wood). My house is a mess. I am doing laundry every day. My hands are raw from handwashing and Purell. I feel sad for Lacey b/c she is so tiny and obviously uncomfortable. But the difference this time, compared to when Lana was a baby, is that I know that this too shall pass.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Honeymoon is Over

What a week! The tides have turned. We were doing great, I was in that super happy--everything is going super--mood and then last weekend it all started with Lana having a case of the 3.5 year old crazies. She was just so sour--she woke up pissed off and Bill and I were just counting down until bedtime. There was little improvement all week. It didn't help that it rained and was gloomy all week. We blew through probably $50 in crafts by about Wednesday. Listening? Obedience? Out the window! Me yelling? You betcha! Me losing my shit? At times, a little overboard I admit. It all peaked on Thursday after she came back from a school field trip that I didn't attend. She lost it, I lost it and when Bill came home I begged him to take her out to give me a time out. I ate 8 pieces of chocolate and I would have had some wine if I wasn't still taking narcotics (dammit).

It was tough, but I expected tough days. And so it was. But what I didn't know is that Friday would be an extra tough day.

Friday morning Lana woke up sweet. Ahhhh, thank goodness! To celebrate, I took Lana (and Lacey) to the pet store to look at the fish, birds, cats, etc. We are not a pet household, so this is all pretty novel for her. We walked around for a while and decided to get lunch at a taco place down the street. We piled in the car, drove down the street and I was thinking that this would be my first restaurant experience with both girls on my own and I would probably need to nurse at some point during our lunch. No biggie, I can do this. I can do TWO kids. When we got there, we got out of the car, I put Lacey's infant seat in the snap n go and I pushed while Lana walked next to me. I usually hold Lana's hand when we walk in parking lots, but this time I didn't. She was being obedient and it wasn't crowded. Then Lana tripped on the curb. She landed on her face. There was blood, a lot of blood. She was hysterical and inside, so was I. But I tried to remain as calm as I could, which was not very calm. I immediately let go of the stroller, which started to roll a little. There was a man who grabbed it. (WHY THE EFF DID I DO THAT?) I grabbed Lana and held her. She wouldn't let me look in her mouth to see how bad it was. I instructed the man to get me some ice and napkins from the restaurant. I briefly checked Lana for the presence of her teeth and I put the ice on her bleeding mouth. This whole time, Lacey is sleeping and I have to grab everything and get us to Bill's office. We are about 20 min away. I don't recall driving there, I just drove so fast. I am not good with medical emergencies--I looked back a few times at Lana and her lips were swollen twice the size. The blood! Her nose was scraped up too.

We got to Bill's office and he took her to the exam room and was so calm. Zen-like even. I guess that's why he is a real doctor and I am a fake one--LOL. I just don't have the personality for it. Plus, when its your kid with a bleeding owie, its a whole different ballgame. Probably those of you with boys have been through bleeding injuries before, but this was our first one (likely not our last), so it was new territory for me. Lana is also the kid who cries like crazy when she gets a hangnail. You can imagine the crying associated with this one! Bill cleaned her up, determined there was no major injury, put some lidocaine on her lip and gave her a piece of gauze to hold to her mouth until the bleeding stopped. When we got home, we could not get her to drink any water or anything, so forget about food. She held the gauze to her mouth for hours. We could not convince her to take it off. Its the quietest she has ever been. No talking for hours? Wow. As I am cuddling her on the sofa, I notice she feels warm, so I take her temp and its 99. Goodie, a fever too? Maybe its just the crying or related to the injury. It continues all evening and gets no higher than 100. This totally kills my plan for us getting the H1N1 vax on Saturday. And it makes me stressed about Lacey getting a fever virus.

As I got into bed last night after such a nutty day and hard week overall, I think about how I had so many regrets about how I handled the injury and myself as a mom. Why didn't I hold her hand? Why did I let go of Lacey's stroller? Why can't I be more collected in these moments? She is so perceptive, I know I made it worse when I picked her off the sidewalk and saw the blood--the look on my face was NOT reassuring. I know I am being a little hard on myself, but I can't help it. I wish I did things differently. It also made me think about how I pray that nothing seriously bad ever happens to my girls. This was a minor injury, but the thought of something worse? I can't even go there.

Saturday AM, Lana is fever-free, so we go get our H1N1 vax--whew! At least that is over and is one less thing I need to worry about. But when we get home, Lana starts sneezing and is super boogery. Great! A cold!!! I took her temp again and its 99. Even better, I just got her a vax during an illness--another banner parenting move by me. She continued to have the drippy nose and fever on and off all day. Poor thing was so pathetic between the illness and the injury. We gave her ice pops, jello and a lot of noodle soup and tofu. Of course, now I am super stressed about Lacey getting the cold and more importantly the fever. Over 100 and we are going to the ER for a spinal tap. Poor Lana kept trying to hug and kiss Lacey and of course I told her not to, which led to her crying about how I think that Lana doesn't love Lacey anymore. I tried to explain to her why she can't be near Lacey, but she doesn't understand how illness is transmitted. I spend so much time trying to get Lana to dig her sister and now I am telling her to stay away from her.

Lacey is a little fussy and her nose is a little drippy, but she doesn't have a fever--yet. Lana is still feverish on and off, which could be the cold or the vax. Lana's nose is a faucet and she is sneezing everywhere. i am trying to contain the germs, but it seems a little pointless.

I am so annoyed b/c we have literally been at home for a month. I have made one trip to Walmart, one to Trader Joes and that's about it. Lana has only been to my inlaws and school. We did everything we could to be isolated and stay at home and we STILL got sick. Grr. Ah, well I just hope if Lacey gets the cold she doesn't get a fever, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised if my next post is about our first trip to the ER.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stir crazy Part 2 and Post partum report

When I posted about going nuts being stuck in the house, I must have been really tired or out of it (damn narcotics--still taking them--ugh!) b/c I forgot half of what I intended to say. Thanks to Desi for her idea about baking cookies, yesterday Lana and I made Halloween cut out cookies, complete with frosting and sprinkles and a holy hell of a mess. I figured if I must craft, an edible craft is a plus for sure. Aside from a few incidents of not listening, or complete lack of recognition that I am speaking--i.e. pretending to have a hearing deficit, we had a fun time. I only had to raise my voice once or twice, which takes the fun out of things, but whatever, I think Lana is going as batty as I am. We made some delicious and beautiful (ugly) pumpkins, bats and ghosts. The cleanup took longer than the project itself and Lana was high on sugar when we were done. But it killed the morning, so mission accomplished.

Last weekend we went to Trader Joes (all 4 of us) and this nutjob approaches me and scolds me for bringing my baby to the store and that I should not take her out of the house until she is 3 months old! Okay lady, would you like to do my shopping for me? Who does this? I basically told her that it was none of her business, but I said it nicely and she smiled back. I told you--nutjob. I did learn however that TJs on the weekend is overly crowded and that the weekdays are better for us all to be out. What the crazy lady didn't realize is that she was talking to a germaphobe and I have already been obsessing plenty about germ exposure and my clean, unimmunized newborn in the middle of not just your average flu season, but H1N1 hysteria flu season. But I cannot possibly stay literally inside my home for 3 months--I will lose my noodle. I could probably isolate myself if it was just a newborn, but with the toddler, no way, not possible--we will drive each other totally nuts. So I spoke to my pediatrician about it. She is great--reasonable, rational and she has a way of calming me down when I am a wee bit tightly wound. She recommended we abstain from toddler playdates until Lacey is one month old and after that, to remind friends that if anyone in their house has even a runny nose, we should postpone. Luckily my friends are very understanding of my phobia and concerns, so that shouldn't be a problem. Of course, Lana is in preschool, so it is inevitable that she will get sick and bring it home and we will pass it around. My ped put it this way: there are things you can control and you should and then there is the stuff you can't control, so live your life. She also said we should all be immunized for seasonal AND H1N1 shots, since Lacey can't receive either vaccine, this should prevent us from bringing it home and infecting her (theoretically at least). Winter sickness is inevitable. Lacey will get sick. Heck, we will all get sick. But a fever in a newborn means a trip to the ER and the ER is a germaphobe's hell on earth.

Here I am almost 3 weeks post partum and I am doing great! Except for the whole pain in the belly part. The other day I was thinking that I had great pain control and I would start decreasing my meds. But after I re-injured myself carrying Lacey in her car seat, I am back to where I started. I can handle taking the car seat and snapping it into the snap n go, but I can't haul that bucket around. Lesson learned. So physically, its still slow going and I feel like wimp. At least my incision looks good and healthy, although I am scared to rip off those tapes.

But mentally, I am fantastic! After Lana was born, I was a mess. Nothing was going right. I remember going to my 2 week post-op appointment and I was crying to my OB. I cried a lot, every day. It was harder than I expected. I wasn't good at it. I didn't understand my baby. Newborns are a puzzle I couldn't solve and I didn't understand why people had babies. I felt like my life as I knew it was over, I would never sleep again, I would never eat a meal without shoveling it in. Who cared about eating anyway, I just wanted to sleep. Plus my boobies were so sore that I couldn't even wear a shirt--the chafing! My neighbors (we lived in an apartment) got a free show, but I didn't care. Miserable didn't cover how I felt. This experience haunted me the entire time I was pregnant with Lacey. I did NOT want to do newborn again. I was wishing we could just fast forward to 6 months old. I braced myself.

I braced myself for nothing. This time, I feel happy, elated even. I thought maybe I was just in the honeymoon period or something, so I keep waiting for my normal anxious self to show up. But she is not here. I am just happy. So far, it hasn't been so hard (Sorry, Desi, I feel like I am stealing your post). I love snuggling Lacey, I love feeding her, I love looking at her. I love love love watching Lana interact with Lacey. I feel so relieved that Lana seems to like her (so far). I am relieved that I can handle both girls by myself (so far) and we haven't had any major meltdowns (myself included). Even in the morning, getting Lana ready and all of us out the door by 8am has worked out okay. A little harried, but we made it on time. I actually feel like I can do this. I have TWO kids! Wow! I never thought I would have any kids, let alone two. I look at my girls when they are not watching me and I am so taken by the miracle that they are. The miracle that we created these beautiful children, two new lives. Its amazing that two little cells become a whole being and that this lump of baby turns into a walking, talking, creative, intelligent little person. I know its cliche, but this miracle of life business is no joke. An unbelievable miracle indeed! I know its still early and it could still show up, but my fears of the return of PPD or PP anxiety or whatever are unfounded so far. Because of this, I am able to really enjoy this newborn phase in a way I did not think was possible for me. This is truly one hell of a do-over! Yay to that! I predict that the first winter sickness in our house will be my buzzkill, but we will get through it b/c now I know something I didn't know 3.5 years ago--everything is a phase and we will be okay.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stir crazy

I am starting to lose it. I have been in the house for going on 3 weeks. As a stay at home mom, you may think we are always at home, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that we are rarely at home all day every day. We have playdates, errands, outings. We go to parks, the library, even the pet store (i.e. the zoo). We socialize with friends, we eat out at lunch time--ladies lunch, as we call it.

This damn surgery recovery is taking forever. I am still on pain meds b/c unless I sit on the sofa all day, my belly hurts and I start walking all hunched over. I am getting better, but impatient b/c I want to get back to my life. I am allowed to drive now, but lifting the infant car seat is a little rough on me with the lifting and the more I rest, the quicker I heal, so I don't want to over-do it. The weather last week was beautiful, but I was too sore to take walks. Of course this week I am ready to be outside and its raining cats and dogs. Seems it will rain the rest of the week. Grr.

Okay, so I am impatient, but entertaining Lana indoors all day every day is starting to get old. We have been doing crafts. Lots of crafts. I am not crafty at all. I am officially all crafted out. Lana has been taking an interest in how words are spelled. She will ask "How do you spell grocery store?" So I have been trying to incorporate spelling into craft time with foam letter stickers to at least make it educational. I like how she likes crafts--its good for her creativity and at least we are not watching TV all day long. But I am getting bored with it and its messy. There are bits of paper, sequins, glue remnants, glitter, paper backing from stickers, etc. everywhere! Plus she hates to clean up, like most 3 year olds, so we fight about it. When she gets bored, she asks for snacks, so we have been snacking way too much too. When someone stops by the house, I can truly see how bored Lana is--she talks and talks and wants the visitor to play and she will not let you get a word in edge-wise. Snacks, TV, crafts, playdoh. This has been all we have been up to for the past 3 weeks, so you can see why I have not posted any thought-provoking or mildly interesting blog posts. I know that there will be a time in the not so distant future where I will be missing our craft days b/c she will be too busy or cool to hang with her mom all day.

Lacey is good. She eats, sleeps and poops. She snorts and grunts and only cries when she is REALLY pissed off, which is not that much. She definitely doesn't like her car seat. She loves to be held. Lana is so sweet with her, even when she is not sweet with the rest of us. Lacey is a sweet baby and she smells so good.

So that's it. Tomorrow, more crafts. Is it the weekend yet?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My first day with both girls

Yesterday my inlaws came over and wanted to take Lana to the library and other various activities that she was excited about on Tuesday. But she took one look at them and burst into tears--she did NOT want to go. She wanted to stay at home with mommy. She pitched a big enough fit that my inlaws gave in, went home and I was unexpectedly flying solo (as Laura would say). I felt like I could do it as long as I had good pain control and could keep up with Miss Whirlwind Lana. Did I mention she was in a very contrary mood?

Overall it went well. We mainly did crafts at the dining table and we watched tv and ate way more snacks then I generally give, but we made it unscathed! Lana never complained that I was spending too much time with the baby. She was super defiant about picking up her toys or activity before moving on to the next one and I had to pull out the threats, overall she was happy, she smiled, we laughed. We even made ghosts with tissue and tootsie pops, which is saying something b/c I am not crafty at all. She made 4 of them, one for each of us in the family.

Lana has been very sweet toward Lacey. I put Lacey in the baby pappasan and asked Lana to keep an eye on her while I use the bathroom. I was a little nervous about leaving her alone with the baby for even a few minutes, but she is not very aggressive. I told her to never pick her up, just to look at her and talk to her. When I came back, this is what I saw:


She was sitting very close to her, literally watching her and she told me that Lacey wanted to play with some toys.

Around 3pm, I started to get tired and my pain was coming back from over doing it a little. Luckily my dear friend brought over some Indian take out, so I didn't even have to think about dinner and neither did Bill, which was good b/c as soon as he came home, he was called back to the hospital.

Last night was kind of interesting in a bodily function kind of way. Lacey was sleeping at 9:30pm and I wanted to go to sleep, but she was almost due for a feeding, so we woke her up for a diaper change and a snack in hopes I could get a solid 3-3.5h (i know i am so lucky). Bill did the honors and as soon as the diaper came off, Lacey pooped all over his hand and the changing pad. Just as he is calling SOS, she pees on him as well. So we change her and I feed her and she sleeps well for 3.5h (!). When I feed her in the middle of the night, she is starving. She eats. She poops. I change her and re-swaddle. I feed. She promptly poops again. I change, I feed a little more and re-swaddle. She poops again! I change her, re-swaddle, give her a little comfort boob, lay her down and she pukes copiously. I grab blankets as fast as possible, but her tummy is empty and the mattress is wet. The miracle blanket is soaked. Now I need to find regular blankets that are large enough to swaddle and I can't find any. Grrr. She is fast asleep. When I managed to get the bed cleaned up and her re-swaddled, she is hungry again! We finally got back to sleep but it was like a 2h feeding. I can't complain though b/c she sleeps for such long stretches for a newborn. I am definitely not like the walking dead the way I was the first time around.

Here are some more pics b/c my faraway family and friends need to see her.


The lighting is not right here, but at least her eyes are open.Ignore the clutter please. Oy, my whole house is a mess right now. If you stop by, close your eyes.
Sisterly love...
Proud Papa...

Me and my little bug...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Now this is what I expected

So things are still good. Baby sleeps like she is addicted to sleep--she may have received this gene from her father, since his hobby is napping. She is only awake to eat and look around for 5 minutes and then she is out again. My friend told me her second baby was like this and she was so concerned she asked her pediatrician if something was wrong. Of course, nothing was wrong, she just got lucky. I have to say, the thought, "Is something wrong with her?" has crossed my mind more than once. But she is eating like a champ and pooping, so I guess everything is A-OK.

Lana on the other hand is having a tough time. Not with jealousy. Not anything directed toward Lacey at all. But she is completely panicked and fearful of me leaving. She is in general having a hard time with the changes that are a result of my recovering from surgery. For example, I am not putting her to bed at night b/c I cannot lie in her bed to read--she rolls and jumps and its just not safe with my tender incision in her path. So Bill has been doing it. When she says goodnight to me downstairs, she bursts into tears begging me to put her to bed. She thinks when she wakes up I won't be there--I will either be in the hospital or on an airplane (?). No matter how much I reassure her, she just cries and cries. When my inlaws come over, she gets really anxious. They have been here a lot, helping me out with meals and trying to entertain Lana, but she wants me and me only. Luckily since Lacey is so easy going, I can actually spend a lot of time with Lana, as long as I am in a comfy chair. Even so, she does not want to be more than 10 feet away from me. It all culminated last night in a monster tantrum/cry that involved rolling on the floor, her begging me for one more hug and kiss (it killed me not to give in and walk up the stairs to do it) and Bill raising his voice, which is something he never does with her.

Yesterday was a real challenge with Lana. I felt like everything out of my mouth was me either yelling at her or at least using a stern directive voice or threat. Everything out of her mouth was "NO!" And Bill, the fun parent, the one who never yells, raised his voice to her more than once. Its a fine line because as much as I want to nurture her a little extra so she doesn't feel displaced, if you give her an inch, she takes a mile and will manipulate the hell out of you. I also don't want her to feel like as soon as her sister arrived, everyone is yelling at her. Then there is the issue with my inlaws. They want to take Lana to their house, so that I can rest but also b/c Lana is happier to hang with them when I am not there. But when they come over, she runs to me and cries that she wants them to go away. So I thinks she feels like she is being sent away. We tried yesterday to have my inlaws here with us at our house, but it was kind of a disaster. Lana wanted to play with me (which I did--we did crafts and playdoh at the dining table) and wanted nothing to do with my inlaws (which made me feel bad for them). Plus, my inlaws didn't have Chinese TV or books, so they were bored out of their minds. I thought it was great to have them here to fetch things for me in other rooms or upstairs, so I didn't have to walk all over the house and get sore.

I am probably making more of this than needs to be, since things will be more stabilized once I am healed and not hobbling around. Hopefully in another few days I will be able to hang with both girls by myself and she can feel like we are almost normal and that no one is coming to take her away and that I am still here, not in the hospital or on a trip. I feel bad for Lana, although she frustrated me to the max yesterday. I just love her so much I don't want her to feel like she lost me somewhere.

I know from all of my blogfriends posts about bringing home a new sibling that this too shall pass and that the adjustment period is hard, but the whole family adjusts and a new "normal" is established.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Totally doing the happy dance over here!

Lacey Ru-Ling was born Monday September 28th, 7:58am, weighing in at 6 lbs, 4 oz, 19.5 inches long.



Underneath that cap is a head full of black hair. When she first came out, I thought--wow she looks nothing like Lana, but now I think she totally looks like Lana.

Anyway, looks aside, Lacey is different from Lana--yes, I can tell already. First off, she is breastfeeding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that is a lot of exclamation points, but I am that excited! In recovery, she just latched right on and suckled for 15 minutes--woo hoo! She has been a nursing champ ever since. Great latch, very little pain and soreness on my end (at least in the boob region) and overall, just so great at it. This is the best gift ever. I struggled so much nursing Lana and ultimately after 2 weeks of frustration and failure, I switched over to pumping and bottle feeding. This was fine, but a lot of dishwashing and extra time hooked up to that damn pump. Middle of the night pumping is no fun, let me tell ya. This time around, I just pick her up, nurse, re-swaddle and we are done. I can't believe how easy it is. My milk came in full force yesterday (OMG, I have huge boobs) and she is going to town eating and then sleeping in between. Sleeping well and for long stretches. I often have to wake her for the next feeding. I am so not bragging or rubbing it in to those who have not had this experience with their newborn, b/c I have been on the other side of things. Lana was never a happy camper--she was up screaming her head off every 2 h around the clock, sometimes out of hunger, sometimes we didn't know why. I know its early still and Lacey may change tomorrow, but so far, I am on cloud 9. My ped said colic starts at 3 weeks--so we are enjoying the potential calm before the storm. If colic shows up this time though, I am prepared like a girl scout. Right now, I am so joyful and excited and thankful. So very thankful.

Healing from my surgery is slow going. I am a wimp. I have very low pain tolerance. I made the mistake of leaping out of bed the first night I was home. I think I forgot I just had belly surgery. I strained one of the muscles on my right side, so now everytime I twist a little in the waist, I get a shooting pain, in addition to the stabbing pains in my incision area. I am not exactly rebounding quickly. I love my pain meds, although they make me feel a little wacky. Right now, its a balance between pain control and not feeling too stoned. I know in 2 weeks I will be moving around much better, but its driving me nuts to sit still and not be able to bend over and pick things up, or walk upstairs to grab a change of clothes or my lanolin cream.

Lana, sweet Lana is doing so well. She is very focused on being big. We point out all the things she can do that the baby can't. I gave her a gift from Lacey--her first princess dress up costume--Snow White. She put it right on over her clothes! She touches her sister very gently and brings me her own very special blankie to cover up Lacey when she is sleeping. We have had no acts of aggression or crazy 3 year old behavior so far. She had some tears when I was in the hospital b/c she wanted me to come home and she cries at night when I can't put her to sleep, but other than that, she is rolling with the punches and making me proud.
The biggest difference I notice this time around is that I can enjoy the baby. I am not so stressed out. I can look at her, cuddle her, talk to her and its not always about business. With Lana, I was a mess. I never held a baby, let alone cared for one or fed one or figured out how to have a baby around and still find the time to brush my teeth or eat. This time, it feels so much more natural, easy and even relaxing at times. Of course it helps that she is feeding well and doesn't have jaundice and isn't as intense of a crier, but I think there is a real change in me. I was so terrified and now I feel contentment. Plus I am high from these drugs.

I think the baby has my dad's feet. Long and skinny, with long toes. My dad wore a size 12 shoe. All the rest of us have short stubby feet. Many people told me that the baby would help me feel joy again. Its true, so very true. I know my dad is looking down from heaven with that twinkle in his eye, saying to Lacey, "Hi baby girl". He always said that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Now I am nervous

In 12 hours I will be going to the hospital to deliver via C-section. Having this much advance notice is oddly reassuring and freakin scary all at the same time. Reassuring b/c I can arrange for child care, make lists and plan, Bill can get vacation time in advance, etc. But scary b/c I remember how crappy I felt during and after.

With Lana, I was induced, but it was determined that my pelvic bones are way too narrow to allow a baby's head through, so I was taken back for a C-section. I never read the chapter on C-sections in What to Expect.. and we missed the birth class on C-sections, so I was pretty oblivious at the time, getting wheeled to the OR. This time though, I know what's coming and I am not looking forward to it. Perhaps you or someone you know had a C-section and was walking around that afternoon and running a marathon that weekend, but I thought it was pretty painful and I was surprised how immobile I was and for how long.

I know it will be fine, I will get some percoset, in two weeks I will be almost feeling like I can get out of bed, etc. But I still feel nervous about surgery--things happen. My OB is coming home from vacation today and I have the first case tomorrow--he better not be jet lagged. But even with a well-rested and competant surgeon, things happen. So say a quick prayer for me and little baby. I don't want any surprises--just a routine surgery and a healthy baby.

Bill will be with me during the day, but will come home to be with Lana in the evening and overnight. My inlaws will have her during the day and will likely help out with me at home, once I am released and Bill goes back to work next week. My mom is staying the nights with me in the hospital. I am so lucky to have so much help this time, especially compared to last time.

So that's it. I am nervous, but excited. I feel like I am about to defend my dissertation or take the SATs. Something big and life-changing is about to happen. I had a raspberry jelly donut today to take the edge off--it helped. I hope my good eating habits return once this baby is out. I am not going to live a long life on nachos, nutella and jelly donuts. Tomorrow we are a family of four!

Here are some final pregnancy photos taken yesterday:

This one was from last weekend--I feel sorry for my shirt, its almost not going to make it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My big girl

Dear Lana,

I am feeling so proud of you lately and a little sad that our time with just the two of us is almost over. I know that your little sister will be a gift to you ultimately, even though you may not see it that way for a long time. But, you have become my little buddy, my girl, no wait--my big girl.

You go to school now and you will tell anyone who will listen about school--literally anyone--people off the street--you broadcast how much you love school. You tell me about your new friends, who was the special leader, who you played table toys with. You tell me about circle time, what songs Miss Sue teaches you, the books that are read, and of course the snack--very important indeed.

You finally are totally going on the potty all the time with no accidents--hooray for that! But I know you are proud of yourself and that this qualifies you for official big girl status in your eyes. You remind me every day about which toys are for big girls and which toys are suitable for babies. Sometimes I want you to stop growing up so fast--like when you say you like Hannah Montana--yikes! How do you know about Hannah Montana? You are only 3?? You tell me you saw her in the Disney Store and she has beautiful long hair and makeup. Okay, stop it--you are really making me nervous. Wubbzy is still cool, right? I love Wubbzy!

I know we are making a huge deal about you being a big girl and your new role as big sister in our family, but you are ready for it. Miss Independent, you are not a follow-the-crowd-kind of girl. You have a great spirit and I am always impressed when you approach other kids (even older kids) to politely ask for a turn. I would have never done this at your age! It was too scary for me, but not for you!

Your imagination astounds me--it is so creative, you make us laugh and when you laugh, well life is perfect b/c you have the best belly laugh in the whole world. I love your made-up princess fairy tales, your birthday parties for Hello Kitty and your dance moves. I especially love introducing you to your audience--it goes something like this, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mama proudly presents Miss Lana Ru-Yi starring as the magician of the night--YAY!!!" (cue clapping and your grand entrance). I also have been loving your help in the kitchen--you make some killer pancakes and you can crack an egg almost as good as I can.

You have been sweet, oh so sweet. I know you are saving sour Lana for when I bring home your little sister, which is okay. Its going to be rough for me too. I will be crabby too. I feel like these last few days are creeping up on me. I want to enjoy every minute of you, undivided. I feel sad that from now on things will be different. I will miss our morning cuddles especially. I will figure out a way that we can still have our special time and I hope that you know you will always be my special big girl. Your face makes me smile and you are by far my greatest accomplishment in life.

So I know things are about to change and get a little tricky, but just know that I am proud, so very proud of my big girl.

Love, Mom

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our Saturday

Today we had a memorial service for my dad here. He had a funeral back on the east coast a few weeks ago. My dad's wife was thoughtful enough to send some of his ashes to me in a beautiful little urn. We decided to have them buried at a local cemetery so that we could have a place to visit Dad, talk to him, bring flowers, take the girls. My inlaws already have purchased plots and we were able to get another plot in the same row, which will be very convenient in the future. So this week, I asked my friends for suggestions for poems and prayers, I spoke to the pastor, I got all the paperwork ready and yesterday I went to our garden an clipped some flowers to bring. I was actually kind of impressed with the arrangement I made, especially b/c I am not good at it and its fall, so my pickings were kind of slim. I dreaded today. A lot. I spent the whole week an insomniac, I cried often. Just thinking about having another goodbye to my dear father was overwhelming--like ripping the band-aid off all over again.

We woke up to a rainy day--a pouring rain, but the weather cleared out just in time for us to get to the cemetery. They had a tent set up, with 5 chairs to accomodate all of us--myself, Bill, mom, and my inlaws. Lana squirmed on my lap and chatted a bit, but overall she behaved quite well, considering. The pastor was terrific--he kept it simple and personal and we had the opportunity to tell some happy memories at the end--which each of us did. The sun even came out for a bit--I am not saying its divine intervention or anything, but it was uplifting to see the sun while we were talking about our memories of Dad. It was hard for me to say goodbye again, but I am comforted that a part of him is here with us, in a place he thought was so beautiful. I only wish he could have spent more time in life here--exploring the Pacific NW with us and enjoying his grand daughters. All in all the day was easier than I thought it would be, although I felt pretty tired and blue the rest of the day.

When we came home, we focused on getting the final details worked out for the baby's arrival. I washed all of the newborn clothes. My mom cleaned out our basement freezer and plugged it in, so we can put some meals in there. Bill installed the car seat base into the minivan, cursing the entire time--why is that such a maddening feat? Bill also had a fun time sanitizing the Diaper Champ which was pretty funky. I packed my bag for the hospital (finally). It felt good to get ready. I can't believe a week from Monday (or sooner) she will be here. A new baby, a new life. Holy shit, I can't believe we are starting over, doing it all again. I won't be sleeping, my boobs are going to hurt, 10 poops a day, the spitting up, hauling around that diaper bag. Will I remember how to do the baby thing? It was such a blur the first time around.

Lana had kind of a rough day too. She came down with a cold yesterday and didn't sleep well or long enough and she was a cranky cranky crankerton this morning. She cried about getting dressed, she screamed and threw a fit about putting on her shoes, she tantrumed about absolutely everything. It was nothing short of miraculous that she made it through the memorial service and lunch without incident. Then I got her a fat nap this afternoon which restored her back to normal, but now its 10:30pm and she is still awake in her room talking away.

Now I am relaxing with some strawberries I am spreading with nutella. I am obsessed with nutella all of a sudden. I don't know why, but its good, real good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Make me laugh--just try it.

I am having this problem where I feel a little detached from the rest of the world. I look around me and everyone seems happy and normal and as much as I want to join them, I just can't. I feel this weight of sadness that I would love to just shake off, but I can't. Feeling depressed is something I am not used to--its not familiar at all. I am all about anxiety--now that is familiar--being stressed, keyed up, an insomniac, tightly wound--yes, that I know, but sad and depressed--its a new world and I don't like it. Not like I enjoy being all stressed, but at least I have some general coping mechanisms there. I am trying to be social, to be happy at least at times where its appropriate, to laugh, but I can't help feeling like there is a cloud that surrounds me that I can't really see through completely. Bill is being so supportive by recognizing that I am grieving, that I am not going to be in the best mood or the most patient. He is good like that and I am grateful that I have a partner who gets me so well.

But this kid of mine knows how to crack me up. In my darkest moments, she will just say something that makes it impossible to stay sad. Like the other day I was crying, no sobbing would be more like it and she was watching tv. She said to me, "Mommy, you are crying too loud, I can't hear the tv--can you be quiet please?" Little stinker! But I had to laugh. Yesterday I was in the shower, feeling blue and when I got out she was all decked out in her pink sparkly shoes, yellow jammies, her fairy wings on upside-down and fairy wand in hand, dancing like a maniac to classical music--seriously, how can I not laugh at this one? Or like when she was splashing in the lake with Bill yesterday (we are having a mini-heat wave) and she slipped and fell, almost going under and she jumps up with surprise and says, "WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS???!!" Bill and I both laughed our heads off.

Grief is a weird process for me. I have never lost anyone close to me. I don't know how to act, how to be, how long this feeling will last. I am wishing I could stay pregnant for another month b/c I am suddenly feeling totally and completely not ready. People are assuring me that, like Lana, this baby will give me that feeling of happiness or at least take the edge off of the sadness. Lana is so great at making me laugh these days and I am so grateful to be laughing instead of yelling, as I so often do with the stubborn 3 year old. Kids are such a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gratitude, compassion and poop

How's that for a title? So much is going on and I have so little time, so this is going to be one of those I am all over the place kind of posts.

The sympathy cards are pouring in every day. They have not stopped. Its crazy, really. Beautiful letters and notes from friends, relatives I haven't seen in 15 years, friends' parents, even one from my Dad's boss whom I have never even met. They don't make me sad, they make me proud of my Dad and they make me smile. Weird. I am grateful, so very grateful for all of these people who are thinking of me during this time. Its overwhelming the love I feel from others.

I have received compassion and grace in the strangest of places. Like my father in law, who is not confident enough in the English language to say much of anything to me directly, said to me: "In the Chinese Buddhist tradition, when a man passes away peacefully, like your daddy, it means that he was a good man, the best kind of man and now he is in Paradise." It was very touching to me and strangely reassuring. Perhaps b/c I often think--what if my whole belief system is not how the world works? It was helpful on some level to think that even from the Buddhist point of view, Dad is in a good place and he is happy.

Then there is Lana. She asks me where is heaven. I told her up in the sky, higher than the clouds. She waves to Grandpa Dennis up in the sky. She makes him a pretend blueberry pie, wraps it up in a box with a ribbon and a note, "To Grandpa, from Lana. We miss you." and she throws it toward the sky and asks me if he likes it. She asked me if Grandpa sleeps on the fluffy soft white clouds and if he still is feeling sick. The perspective of a 3 year old is so fascinating.

I am doing the best I can to cope with all of this. I guess its relatively easy for me b/c I am far away and I am just going about my business. When I stop and think about it, of course I feel very sad, and I expect that as time goes on it will hit me in different and unexpected ways, especially as the baby comes along and as the holidays approach. I have also been very distracted b/c my grandparents came for a visit from Florida and stayed with us for the past week and a half. My uncle and his girlfriend from Arizona were here too. So to say I have been busy is an understatement. They all left this morning and I am trying to take a deep breath in and enjoy some solitude.

Finally, the poop part: LANA FINALLY POOPED ON THE POTTY!!! Big news people, big news! She has been pee trained since last year November, but has been very scared about pooping on the potty--she has been asking for a Pull-Up, crapping in it and then we changed her right away--we have been doing this for months and months. I was beginning to think she would be starting Kindergarten with a Pull-Up in her back pack. I had tried all the methods--bribery, encouragement, forgetting about it, naked days, undies or nothing at all (she held it for a week), cutting a hole in the pull-up and sitting her on the potty, but none of it worked. Then my mom took her to the toilet and after she peed, my mom said, "When you poop, this is how we will wipe" and she gave her a demo. I think this did the trick. Maybe she was confused about how she would get cleaned up? The next day, she did it and here's the best part--she did it for Bill!! He misses all the milestones, but he was thrilled and honored to get the pooping one! She has done it now consistently for 4 days and she is so very proud of herself. I swear I almost cried when I saw her face beaming with pride that she finally did it. Then I called myself lame and got over it. We made a huge deal about it. We baked a cake, she got the Spaghetti Factory Play Doh set she has been coveting, Bill even did a handstand and knocked the pictures off the wall by mistake! It is such a great gift to me especially with the new baby coming (3 more weeks--eek!).

So there you have it, the serious, the surprising and the totally ridiculous. I guess that's how I should answer when people ask me, "So how are you doing?" Or I could just say that I am doing as well as can be expected.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gone

My Daddy is gone. He died last Thursday, two days after my last post. He passed away peacefully in home hospice care after receiving visits from friends, family and phone calls from his cousin, my mom and myself. He was 62. Lung cancer took his life so quickly--he was diagnosed when I was in my first trimester and here I am about to deliver and he is already gone. He was doing well on chemo--it was working--the cancer was shrinking and then out of nowhere, the cancer grew, then spread and within 2 weeks of us knowing the chemo stopped working, he died. I feel so much sorrow that I didn't travel to see him to say goodbye, but we did Skype and I know he knew it was me, although he was unresponsive by then. The vision of him lying in the hospital bed, puffy, unable to speak is one I wish I didn't have in my brain. I know he is in a better place and his suffering is over. But I have such enormous grief and sadness, I don't really know what to do with these emotions.

I have been completely overwhelmed by the level of support I am receiving from family and friends. Every single email message, sympathy card, handwritten letter and phone call is so very appreciated. Although I feel so much sadness, I have truly never felt so loved and supported by so many people. It is truly amazing when I stop and think about it.

I listened to his funeral via telephone and I wanted to share the letter I wrote that was read at his service:

It is my sincere regret that I am unable to attend my dear father's funeral services. He meant the world to me and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. I made a promise to him that I would make sure that his granddaughters will know him through photos, stories and his legacy will live on in them. I am so grateful that he walked me down the isle at my wedding and had fun times with Lana and I feel so much sadness that he never got to experience the joy of holding his second granddaughter who is yet to come. When I think of all the experiences he will never share with my family, my heart is truly broken.

Dad was such a warm and sincere person. He was also wickedly funny and laid back. My dad used to love to read books to me when I was little and thought nothing of spending hours lying on the floor coloring pictures of all things girly. He was such an attentive father--the kind of father who was destined to have a daughter, just because he was so good at it. He was always my biggest supporter in life--taking such pride in my accomplishments and hugging me close during life's disappointments. He was never critical or judgemental. He taught me how to play tennis, how to drive and how to cook. He loved a fancy supermarket almost as much as I do. Any struggles that we had as a family when I was growing up were always overshadowed by the love we felt for one another, his sense of humor and the appreciation we had for simple things.

So much of who I am as a person has been influenced by my dad. But it has become evident over the last several days that I am not the only one. I have easily 100 messages from people who knew my dad, some recently, some from years ago with general heartfelt comments about Dad's character and some with very specific memories of him. One friend said that he was a sincere, humble and gentle person who touched anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. Another said that he will always remember my Dad's corn chowder, love of Pink Panther movies and his uniform of a sweatshirt, jeans and slippers.

I am so grateful that my dad found love again in his life. He loved you Martie and you gave him so much joy and a renewed sense of purpose. He often talked about how blessed he was to have a second chance at love and how lucky he was to be surrounded with a great big family and many loyal friends who accepted him like he had always been there.

My dad is so special to me, but I know he is special to so many people. I am so comforted to know he is no longer suffering, that he is in a better place, reunited with his parents. Although right now my frief is infinite, he will always be with me in my heart.

As if the past week wasn't interesting enough, as I went to my routine OB appointment, he found I was measuring small and sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed that my amniotic fluid was very very low. I was admitted to L&D and monitored for a few hours. This was the very day my Dad passed away. I was released and told to hydrate like crazy, rest and come back for another test 48h later. I did hydrate and we all worried and then I went back and my fluid levels were normal--not just normal, but on the high side of normal. My OB determined it was probably the ultrasound tech's inexperience and I got an abnormal result by mistake. Whatever the case is, I cannot believe how one little human error could cause so much stress and worry to us at a time when we were already stressed and worried to the max. I'd like to think it was my Dad's (or God's) way of alleviating my guilt for not traveling, but the truth is that its probably just a weird coincidence.

Now we have the task of getting ready for this new baby. I have kind of let go of a lot of my expectations for a good breastfeeding experience and hoping she is not colicky, etc. I just want a healthy baby and all the rest we will just figure out. I know my Dad is still with me--in my heart, in my girls. I can feel his presence, as corny as that sounds. I know that grieving is a process and I am only at the beginning, but we will get there. I have a wonderful support system and a new baby to welcome into the world.

What the fuck is wrong with the font colors? This is so distracting, but I don't have the energy to fight with it anymore--damn you blogger.