Mommy of Two

Two nights ago, we were initiated into the two-child-needing-parenting-at-the-same-time realm. Around 10 p.m., I went in to check on sleeping Caroline. As I walked into her room, I was struck by the stench of cheese. As I was poking around, she woke up and asked for water. As she sat up, I noticed little bits of vomit on her nightgown, on her pillow, on her sheets. I got her up out of bed, and then she really threw up. So, I pulled her sheets off and tried to figure out sleeping arrangements. Elizabeth spends much of the night in bed with me nursing. Since Caroline was sick enough to throw up and not awaken, we were nervous about leaving her alone in bed lest she aspirate on vomit. So, John and Caroline slept in the guest bed, and Elizabeth and I took the master suite. I’m so lucky that John has this extended paternity leave to help with nights like that. And I realize this is the slow initiation into parenting two, as all Elizabeth does these early days is sleep, nurse, and poop, and sleep again!

On another note, I’ve discovered the really fun part of parenting two girls–MATCHING OUTFITS!! I used my Gymbucks last week to get them matching Valentine dresses, and I shopped a sale at my favorite smocked dress store online and got them matching Easter dresses, too. Expect to see lots of coordinating outfits pictured on their blogs. It’s just too fun to resist! (I know some of you know just what I mean.)

Diapers — save $10

Use this code, AMAN0432, to save $10 at diapers.com. They sell both cloth and disposable diapers and other baby products, too. You get free shipping with orders over $49, too — no sales tax in Texas either, so a good deal. I just bought some California Baby shampoo / body wash, a Bum Genius diaper, and Triple Paste diaper cream there.

My Babymoon

I had not heard the term “babymoon” until after Caroline was born and I started running in the mommy circles. This time around, I am fully enjoying my babymoon, savoring every moment! If you aren’t familiar with a babymoon, it is very similar to a honeymoon. Here’s how to enjoy your moon–be it a baby or honey.

Spend lots of time in bed with your new love. Obviously on a honeymoon, no explanation needed. With a newborn, cuddle up in bed together for frequent naps and a much easier nighttime. I take at least one nap a day with Elizabeth, and we sleep the night away, getting up for a diaper change or two along with a dose of pain meds.

Don’t worry with chores and food. On a honeymoon, eat out in nice restaurants. John and I saved the receipt from our “fancy” dinner out on our honeymoon. Like $63, which we thought was so expensive. Those were our lightweight drinking days. I’m sure he wishes I was still such a cheap date. On a babymoon, don’t worry about housework. We have been so blessed to have some friends organize a food tree. We’ve had dinner brought to us nearly every night so far, and we’ll have meals every other night for a couple more weeks. It is so wonderful not to have to worry with that detail.

Wear lingerie. Again, honeymoon obvious. That’s what lingerie parties are for. For your babymoon, I recommend a few comfy pjs that you’d wear in front of company along with a nursing tank. I shower and put on a new set of pjs each day. It is comfy and makes those daily naps much easier.

Enjoy every minute of it! If it’s a honeymoon, it will hopefully be your only one. If it’s a babymoon, you may get more than one, but it won’t be too often.

Now, doesn’t the “moon” part indicate a full 28 days? I’ve got 20 days left to enjoy my babymoon!

Story of Elizabeth’s Birth

Even just four days later, I’m having trouble remembering details, so I want to get this written down now before I forget even more.

At my weekly doctor’s appointment Tuesday, my doctor asked about scheduling a c-section sometime after 40 weeks. She said she’d let me go as long as I wanted to 42 weeks but that we should get an OR scheduled as they book up quickly. I choose January 19 – I’d be 40 weeks 5 days then. But then I started praying. I prayed and asked others to pray for labor to begin soon.

I’ve been researching VBAC since after Caroline’s birth and knew that my priority was going in to labor on my own. I had come to peace with the possibility of another c-section, but I really wanted to go into labor on my own to ensure the baby was ready and to give baby the benefit of as many labor hormones as possible.

I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months, but they had been coming, at times in the last weeks, in regular intervals with a bit more discomfort. While I wanted baby to be born soon, I had a few dates in mind that I preferred not to have as baby’s birthday. I didn’t want the baby to be born on Epiphany, January 6, because we like to do a final Christmas gift on that day in observance of the Kings bringing gifts to the Christ Child. That would take away from a kid’s birthday and vice-versa. Our wedding anniversary is Jan. 7, and though, that would not be as much of a problem, I’d rather everyone have her own special day. Then, the 10 and 11th of January were the days we found out about and delivered the pregnancy I lost. I would have dealt with that had I given birth those days, but I just didn’t really want to. So, that left January 8 and 9 if I wanted to get the baby out sooner rather than later.

The morning of our anniversary, I was home alone. John dropped Caroline at school, and I set to taking down Christmas decorations. I noticed some cramping and would sit down often. I also had some bloody show but not a lot. I knew that could mean labor was coming or it could still be a week, so I tried not to get excited. The contractions continued, so I took a walk around the block to get the mail and see if that would change them at all. Contractions continued, so I called and asked John to pick Caroline up at 1:00 and work from home the rest of the afternoon. I didn’t want him to get all excited yet because I wasn’t positive, but he did come home and work / occupy her for me for a few hours. I rested on our bed through contractions, taking breaks to get things together for the hospital and a few days away from home. I called my dad and sister and alerted them but told them not to get on the road yet. I wanted to wait until the hospital admitted me or my water broke. I called my friend Stancey to see if she was free to watch Caroline for a couple of hours until my sister could get here. She didn’t have her son with her but was getting a pedicure down the street. We dropped Caroline off at the nail salon. John walked in and just sat Caroline down on Stancey’s lap as she sat in the massage chair.

At the hospital, I was encouraged to hear that my nurse had a VBAC herself. We got through a few questions in the triage room and headed to Labor and Delivery. I got settled in the bed there but could not get comfortable with the monitors and being on the bed. I tried to stand and sway through a few contractions but we’d loose the monitoring then. I knew that was a possibility but was not going to refuse continuous fetal monitoring. I got into bed, asked for the epidural and some Stadol to hold me over until then. We did get a shift change of nurses during this time, and I liked my new nurse, too. My contractions were coming regularly, but the baby was still really high. I had a different doctor since it was the middle of the night – Dr. Scheiffer. She broke my water and put a contraction monitor internally. The external fetal monitor was working fine so we didn’t need to place that internally. When I was around five centimeters dilated, I got really uncomfortable – almost like I was having a panic attack. I was freezing, shaking. I was uncomfortable. I just wanted it to all be over. I wondered if that could be transition, but I was only five centimeters dilated. The baby’s heartrate was not responsive during contractions at that point, either, so they recommended a c-section. I immediately said yes. I just wanted it to be over.

In retrospect, I think that panicking my body did was a sign. In the operating room, I could hear the doctor and nurses whispering and talking. I had specified in my c-section birth plan that I wanted to be talked through the operation, so I asked what was going on. The nurse came to my head and said that they got me in just in time as I was near rupture. When the doctor broke my water (it had been broken during labor but the baby’s head sometimes put pressure in areas so that it doesn’t all break), there was blood in the water. She said that indicated either a small placental abruption or the beginning of uterine rupture. Baby is absolutely fine, though, as am I! It seemed like it took hours for them to get to the baby and get HER out. John called it when he saw her! “We have another daughter!” he said. The pediatric nurse came over and introduced herself to me and said she had read my birth requests for after delivery and they would honor all of those. John went with Elizabeth and the nurse to the nursery, and I stayed behind to get sewn up. I was FREEZING! The anesthesiologist was great. I kept asking him to bring me more warm blankets and eventually he brought me a blanket that they hooked up to a sort-of hair dryer and just continuously blew it full of hot air. At some point, someone came in and informed us the baby’s weight was nine pounds two ounces.

I did get warmer in the recovery room. I chatted with my nurse and waited for my baby. I had a slight fever, I think due to being under that blanket, for a little bit, but it didn’t last long. They brought my baby girl, Mary Elizabeth, to me, and she latched on and nursed right away. John called my dad and sister and daddy got there shortly after.

It was such a busy night in Labor and Delivery that there were no Postpartum rooms available. They cleaned up my labor room and put us back in there for the night. It was a nice big room, so it was good to be there for a while. In the early afternoon, they removed my IV and catheter. I was able to walk around a bit then. I had a few visitors in my labor room before we were moved to the postpartum wing (and smaller room) just before 7 p.m. shift change. My recovery went well, and we came home on Saturday.

We are doing great! We are so much more confident and relaxed with this second baby, and I think our state of mind makes it easier.