Emily’s Second Month

Emily’s second month was a good one. She’s a fantastic little baby, growing and being cute and doing all the things that babies do best.

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At two months old, Emily is still a super mellow kid. She likes: cuddling, wiggling on her mat, eating, and sleeping. She doesn’t love tummy time, but she does enjoy impressing everyone with how strong she is. She can hold her head up pretty well, and she loves “standing” with us holding her up. She even accidentally rolled herself over once during tummy time, but it was a total fluke. She happened to tuck her arm underneath herself just the right way and pushed herself onto her side, then over to her back. She hasn’t done it since, so I won’t go bragging about my early roller just yet. (But she’s such a strong baby, seriously.)

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She’s gotten into a pretty good eat-play-sleep rhythm in the last couple of weeks, which has made our days a bit easier in that we’re not constantly guessing what she wants when she fusses. Instead, we can look at what she’s done recently, figure out where in the eat-play-sleep cycle she is, and accommodate her needs accordingly. She likes to mix it up sometimes, but for the most part, she’s pretty easy to please.

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She dislikes: being bored when it’s play time, being hungry, being persuaded to take a nap. Thankfully she’s a good sleeper at night — we’re down to just one wake-up most nights — even if it is harder to convince her to take good naps during the day. Tim has figured out that she naps better when her feet are covered (cold toes aren’t conducive to napping, as it turns out), so the daytime sleep situation is improving too.

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Milestones this month: First real smiles, which may or may not have brought tears of joy to my eyes. (Okay, they definitely did.)

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First time swimming — she was completely unfazed by the pool. She just kept being her mellow self, albeit a slightly wetter version.

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First time meeting her G.G. (Great-Grandma), combined with her first weekend at my parents’ house in Ft. Collins.

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This month was also my first Mother’s Day with 2 kiddos. It was wonderful.

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She got a clean bill of health at her 2-month checkup, and didn’t even react too badly to the dreaded 2-month shots, further cementing her status as the World’s Mellowist Baby. She weighed in at 11 pounds and half an ounce, and about 22 inches long. She’s solidly in the 50th percentile, and healthy as can be.

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And she’s also super adorable, obviously.

Emily’s First Month

IMG_20140415_142636_317 Emily’s first month has been so different from what I remember of Alexander’s first month. There are the obvious reasons, of course, related to having two kids instead of one, but overall I just feel so much better this time around. My recovery has been easier (although I’m struggling more with lingering baby weight preventing me from fitting into even my biggest non-maternity pants, but let’s try not to dwell on that) and, despite being exhausted pretty much all the time, the newborn days are just so much easier when you’ve been through them before. (Thanks, Captain Obvious.)

I remember, with Alexander, being so scared of doing anything with him by myself. If he needed a bath, for example, I always waited until Tim was home and could help me make sure I didn’t bump his fragile, slippery little head on the side of the baby tub, accidentally drown him, etc. I think A. was probably a couple months old, at least, before I dared give him a bath by myself, and even then I was terrified of accidentally breaking him.

Her already fabulous hair gets curly when it's wet. I love it.

Her already fabulous hair gets curly when it’s wet. I love it.

I’ve had no such hesitation with Emily; five-and-a-half weeks in, and I’ve given her almost every bath on my own without fear. (This is not to say that Tim doesn’t help; he does help, a lot. It’s just easy for me to bathe Emily during the day when Tim’s at work and A’s at daycare, so that’s when I do it.) It’s a good thing, too, because Little Miss likes to spit up all over me some mornings (luckily only on mornings when I was already planning to give her a bath), and we’d have long, stinky days ahead of us if I waited until Tim was home to bathe her.

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The occasional epic milkbarf aside (she doesn’t spit up often, but when she does, it gets everywhere), Emily’s completely wonderful. She’s growing like crazy, as babies tend to do. She doesn’t have her 1-month check up until next week (on her 6-week birthday…oops. Apparently I’m not as good at scheduling timely well-checks this time around), but a non-scientific check on our scale at home puts her right around 10 pounds already.

All dolled up for Easter.

All dolled up for Easter.

It shouldn’t surprise me, seeing as how she’s a great eater and has grown out of a lot of newborn-sized clothes, but it still blows my mind that she’s gained nearly 4 pounds in just a month.

Baby Bunny Slippers

Baby Bunny Slippers

She’s strong, too. She can hold her head up on her own for several seconds at a time, and she does some pretty impressive push-ups during tummy time.

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I get the feeling she’s going to be an early crawler; whenever I lay her down on her play mat, I can tell she’s frustrated about not being able to move. She tries to roll over, works her arms and legs like crazy, and squawks in frustration when she can’t get to a toy that’s just out of her reach. She really wants to move.

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Emily’s spending more and more time awake every day, and it’s so much fun to see her little personality develop. She’s getting more alert and expressive, and I love seeing her little eyes light up when she sees something she likes and/or recognizes.

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The other day, a friend was holding her while I chased Alexander around the house, and when Emily heard my voice as I walked by, she immediately arched her back and twisted her head to look in my direction. For her, it was probably just a moment of, “Hey! I just heard the Milk  Lady walk by! Come back, Milk Lady!” But for me, it was a very cool moment of, “My daughter recognizes my voice!”

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She’s an okay sleeper, and overall, the newborn sleep-deprivation has been easier for me to deal with this time than it was with Alexander. However, I’m also impatient to be done with this multiple-wake-ups-per-night phase. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only been a month, and it’s actually pretty good that I’m getting about 3 hours of sleep at a time. But, man, I’m really looking forward to some 5-6 hour stretches of sleep.

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Try to relax, kiddo.

Try to relax, kiddo.

Alexander continues to be the world’s best big brother, and he melts our hearts every day with how sweet he is with his baby sister. He asks a lot of questions about her and loves telling us everything he knows about babies. He frequently comments on her tiny, adorable feet, then reminds me to feed her lots of milk so she can grow big like him. If we ask her a question, Alexander will pipe up with, “Her doesn’t know how to talk yet,” in a tone that implies we should stop wasting our breath asking her questions she can’t answer. This doesn’t stop him from talking to her and asking her questions, of course, but he’s awfully quick to correct us. He also constantly brings her toys to play with, and gives her hugs and kisses every chance he gets. I know they won’t always get along perfectly, but I’m so excited to watch their friendship develop. Emily’s very lucky to have Alexander as her big brother.

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Here she is on her one-month birthday:

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She’s an awfully cute little munchkin. I think we’ll keep her.

Alexander the Giant

I forgot to mention in my last post the fact that Alexander tripled in size while we were at the hospital having Emily. I didn’t notice it when he came to visit us, but when we got home, my baby boy was suddenly HUGE. It’s most obvious in his hands and feet; rather than itty-bity, chubby, little baby hands and feet, he somehow is sporting these giant, big-kid hands and feet. Where did they come from? How did this happen?

I guess I should have seen the warning signs. He recently saw an episode of Super Why featuring the giant from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and ever since, he’s been going around muttering “Fee, four, five, fum!” He’ll start this chant at random points throughout the day, announcing with glee, “I’m a giant! I live on top of the bean-stop!” Sometimes, hours after we put him to bed, we’ll hear him whispering over the monitor: “Fee, four, five, fum!” I thought he was just pretending, having a good laugh. But, in fact, this is no game of pretend. He actually is a giant.

At his 30-month check-up today, the doctor told us he’s 32 pounds and just over 3 feet tall. I spend 36 hours away from him to go have a baby, and he goes and grows into a full-grown kid. Not only full-grown, but positively gigantic.

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Who approved this?

And Then There Was Emily

We made it to Friday. Past Friday, even. But if my parents had stuck to the original plan to wait until Tuesday to come, they would have been too late.

We made it to Sunday. That morning, at church, I noticed the braxton-hicks contractions I’d been having for several weeks felt a little different than usual. Rather than an all-over tightening sensation in my belly, it was more of a downward-pressure sensation stretching across my belly and around into my lower back. And there were more of them. Rather than several contractions spaced out over an entire day, I was noticing a few each hour. I had very few contraction-free hours throughout the day.

Still, the contractions were very irregular and incredibly mild, so I didn’t mention them to anyone; just made a mental note to pay attention and see if they turned into anything resembling actual labor. Sunday progressed much like any other Sunday. Church, lunch with Tim’s sister and our niece, toddler naptime, etc. I had Tim take a picture of me to commemorate the latest milestone: At 38 weeks, 1 day pregnant, I was officially more pregnant than I’d been when Alexander was born.

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As it turns out, my body doesn’t care to stay pregnant much longer than 38 weeks.

While we were cooking dinner that night, Tim pumped up our yoga ball. He’d been joking all weekend about making me bounce on the ball to get labor going, and he finally decided to get the ball inflated in case I felt like taking him up on his offer. Meanwhile, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, but they were still pretty irregular. I casually mentioned to Tim that the yoga ball might not be necessary and filled him in on the current state of things. He was instantly on edge, downloading a contraction timer app to his phone (even though I told him I already had one on my phone) and asking me for updates every few minutes.

I put Alexander to bed, then dutifully sat on the yoga ball, contraction timing app in hand, while we all relaxed in the living room. I started timing contractions around 8:00, letting Tim glance at the timer every few minutes, and when my parents went to bed at 9:30, Tim told them, “Just so you know, you might be taking over toddler duty at some point tonight.” The contractions had continued to get stronger and had been consistently 10-12 minutes apart for over an hour. It might have been nothing, but at this point we were pretty sure Something was happening, and we didn’t want my parents to be caught completely off guard when we threw Alexander’s monitor in their room and dashed off to the hospital in the middle of the night.

The next few hours dragged on. We watched the finale of The Walking Dead, called my doctor’s on-call nurse to find out when we should think about making our way to the hospital (60-second contractions, 5 minutes apart for an hour), then went upstairs and waited impatiently for labor to get going. I took a bath. I paced. I bounced on the yoga ball some more. (Despite Tim’s conviction that the yoga ball would help get labor started, the contractions actually slowed down every time I sat on it.) The contractions worked their way up to 4-6 minutes apart, then dropped back to 8-9 minutes, then slowly worked their way back to 6 minutes. I remember thinking, “Is this what a slow labor is like? This is a little boring.”

Things were slow going, but the contractions were definitely getting a lot stronger. And I was exhausted, having been up since 7:00 Sunday morning when Alexander woke up. More than anything, I wanted to get to the hospital and get my epidural in place so I could take a nap.

At 1:30 Monday morning, we decided enough was enough. The contractions weren’t quite as close together as the nurse told us they should be, but they hurt like crazy. We let my parents know we were leaving, gathered up our things, and went to the hospital.

When the triage nurse told us I was only dilated to a 4, we both were pretty nervous that we’d have to walk the halls for an hour or two before we could be admitted. Luckily, the nurse checked with my doctor, who gave the green light to have us admitted. We were in.

We made our way to the labor/delivery room and met Elyse, the wonderful nurse who would see us through the rest of the night. “My shift ends at 7,” she told us, “so let’s see if we can have this baby before then, okay?”

Elyse called the anesthesiologist, and when he arrived Tim took the opportunity to run out to the car and get our bags. (Tim, as you may recall, doesn’t do so well around needles.) The anesthesiologist took forever getting my epidural in place. I kept having increasingly unbearable contractions and thinking “This is the last contraction I’ll have to feel,” but then I had another contraction and thought, “this is the last one.” This continued for several more contractions, which I really didn’t appreciate. I have no idea what took him so long, but when he finished, I was so relieved to be blissfully unaware of the contractions. Finally.

We spent the next few hours resting. Tim got a little bit of sleep, but I was too excited to sleep, knowing that I’d get to meet my daughter in a few hours, so I just rested as much as I could. At some point, my doctor came in and broke my water, and the nurse advised me to rest and let my body labor down on its own as much as possible.

Shortly before 6:00, the nurse came in to check my progress, and determined it was probably time to start pushing. “Let’s do a practice push and see how you do, then I’ll go get the doctor,” she said. About half-way through my first practice push, my nurse said, with quite a bit of urgency in her voice, “Stop pushing! Whatever you do, don’t push any more!” I could feel that the baby was crowning, and the nurse rushed to get the doctor in the room before she had to catch the baby herself.

The doctor showed up, I pushed 3 times, and then Emily was on my chest, tiny and adorable and perfect. I held her and wept tears of joy with Tim, and we both marveled at our beautiful little girl.

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Emily Judith was born at 6:02 AM on March 31, 2014. 6 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 inches long. We’ve talked about naming a daughter Emily since before we were married, so deciding on her name was easy. Her middle name, Judith, is my mom’s first name, which also was an easy decision. My mom is one of my best friends, and there’s no one I’d rather honor with my daughter’s middle name.

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She hardly cried at all when she was born, and she’s continued to be a super mellow baby in the whole week she’s been with us. She figured out nursing almost immediately, and has been eating like a champ ever since. She has a ton of hair and the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. She’s such a little sweetheart.

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It was such a different labor from last time. Even though at first I thought I preferred the quickness of Alexander’s birth, in the end I was thankful for the more laid-back pace this time around. It was nice to get a few hours’ rest before she was born, and the whole process felt a lot easier overall.

The rest of our time in the hospital was uneventful. I broke the no-cosleeping rule Monday night and let Emily sleep on my chest, startling awake every 5 minutes to make sure a nurse wasn’t coming in to yell at me. I’d gotten maybe an hour of sleep in the past 36 hours, co-sleeping was the only way Emily was going to let me get any more sleep, and I was desperate. I got a good 2 hours of sleep (in 5-minute increments) that way, and I felt so refreshed afterward.

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My parents brought Alexander to the hospital when Emily was a few hours old, and as soon as he came in the room and saw her he exclaimed, “My baby sister!” He’s a very proud big brother, always wanting to hold Emily and give her kisses and help change her diaper. Every time he holds her on his lap, he grins and says, “I think her likes me.” The first day she was home, he took one look at her feet and announced “Her has tiny feet! But I have big feet.” And sometimes he just giggles and says, “Emily, what’re you doing?” in a tone of voice that implies she’s just the silliest thing he’s ever seen.

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He’s given her a guided tour of the playroom, showing off all his favorite toys: “Look, Baby Sister! I have a digger! And it digs in the dirt, then puts dirt in the dump truck. Look, Baby Sister! I have a dinosaur! And it says rooooaaarrr!” He was completely unconcerned with the fact that Emily slept through the entire tour.

Alexander was pretty confused the first time he saw Emily nursing. He got a very concerned look on his face and asked me, “Why is she eating you?” Tim and I explained that Emily drinks special milk from Mommy, and then we had to quickly clarify that he drinks Big Boy Milk when he was on the verge of asking to try some of Emily’s milk. That satisfied him, though, and he hasn’t asked about it again.

Emily will be a week old tomorrow, and life’s pretty great. She’s letting us sleep for 2-3 hours at a time, she’s super laid back and hardly ever fusses, and she continues to eat like a pro. Alexander’s adjusting pretty well, though he definitely has his moments when you can tell this isn’t the easiest transition for him. Overall, though, he’s completely smitten with his Baby Sister, and watching him with her makes me overcome with joy.

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We’re a family of four now, and we couldn’t be happier.

Almost There…Maybe? Probably.

I’m 37 1/2 weeks pregnant today. Alexander was born at 38 weeks. Even though I know all pregnancies are different and there’s no guarantee Baby Sister will be a little early like her brother was, I still feel very much like a ticking time bomb. People ask me when I’m due, and it seems I’m incapable of just saying April 12 and leaving it at that. Instead, if you ask me when I’m due, you’ll get “April 12, but my first was born 2 weeks early, so…” My doctor suspects I’ll go into labor early again this time, but of course there’s no way to know for sure. As for how I’m feeling…I have no idea. My opinion on the matter changes by the hour. One moment I’ll be really nervous that I won’t make it until Friday (2 more days!) when my parents will be here to help out with Alexander. (We have about 3 backup plans in place in case I go into labor before my parents are here–4, I guess, if you count just saying “to hell with it” and bringing A. to the hospital with us–but it will be so much easier for him to just stay home with Grandma and Grandpa once they’re here.) And the next moment, I’m convinced that I’m going to be pregnant for 3 more weeks and this is never going to end and I’ll just be lounging around the house like a beached whale well into April. Adding another layer of excitement/mystery to the equation is the knowledge that my labor with A. was a mere 5.5 hours, which might mean that this one will be even faster, so who knows what we’ll have time to do in regards to arranging care for Alexander in our mad dash to get to the hospital on time. Or, it might mean nothing, and I’ll be in labor for 12 hours. Can you tell that it’s driving me just a little bit crazy not being able to know what to plan for? Everyone just keep your fingers crossed that I make it to Friday and the whole “What to do with Alexander” question is no longer an issue.

So, hey! My parents are arriving on Friday! My mom is planning to settle in and stay here until the baby is born so she can take care of Alexander while we’re in the hospital and help us out during those foggy, sleepless early newborn days. They had originally planned to come April 1, but because of my aforementioned nervousness/craziness about whether I may or may not go into labor this week, they graciously changed their travel plans and cut their visit with my aunt in Phoenix short by a few days so they could be here sooner. My parents are basically the best, you guys.

Do you want to see The Belly? Here it is:

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It’s…rather large. Most of my maternity shirts no longer cover it (the one pictured just barely stayed in place long enough for me to snap the picture before promptly riding back up and exposing my gut), so I spend most of my days in Tim’s T-shirts. Even Tim’s shirts, however, are getting to be too small to contain this massive, cumbersome growth. On the rare day that I wear one of my own shirts, like today, I spend all day tugging it down in front and fielding wise cracks from Tim about my super sexy beer belly. (Did I mention Tim’s home on Spring Break this week and next? That’s another milestone I was counting down to, and it’s so nice to have him here and not have to worry about trying to call the school and get in touch with him during the day if I need to reach him urgently because, you know, I’m minutes away from having a baby on the living room rug, please send my husband home right now, okay?) (Of course, now that he’s on break, I’ve switched to being nervous that I’ll somehow still be pregnant when he goes back to work in a week and a half, and I’ll have to go back to stressing about calling him at school. But, if that happens, at least my mom will be here, which makes it substantially less stressful.) ANYWAY, it’s a good thing I work from home and don’t have to leave the house very often, is what I’m trying to say.

Meanwhile, I’ve burned through all my nesting energy and marked pretty much everything off of my pre-baby to-do list in the past month. We got truckloads of hand-me-down clothes from all three of our nieces, and I’ve sorted, washed, and put away all the NB to 6-month sized stuff. I stashed everything else in the basement to deal with later; between Tim’s sister and my brother, we have enough clothes to keep this little girl adorably well dressed for at least the first 2 years of her life. I love it. We bought an adorable going-home outfit with little pink giraffes on it, which is all packed up in our hospital bag, which has taken up permanent residence in my car, ready to go with us to the hospital at a moment’s notice. The infant car seat is installed, pacifiers are washed, and the changing table is stocked with impossibly tiny newborn diapers. My best friend, Amy, whose daughter is 5 days older than Alexander, sent me her daughter’s gorgeous purple crib sheets, and they’re in the crib, just waiting for an adorable baby girl to snooze on them.

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Amy is going to be this baby’s godmother, which makes me happy for so many reasons. We’ve been best friends since preschool, so I’ve always known I wanted her to be godmother to at least one of my kids. Tim’s life-long best friend, John, is Alexander’s godfather, and it feels so perfect that Tim’s and my two best friends are godparents to our children. I know Amy is thrilled about it, too, but when the box arrived with her crib sheets, I was still completely surprised and touched to pull out the most beautiful baptism dress for my little girl. I grabbed the white material, expecting it to be the crib skirt, and audibly gasped when I realized what I was actually holding. Then I proceeded to leave Amy a blubbering voice mail telling her how amazing she is for doing that for us, and how much I loved her, and I how couldn’t stop crying because the dress is just so beautiful and perfect. Everyone should have a friend like Amy in their lives. She’s wonderful.

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People keep asking how Alexander’s doing, whether he’s getting excited to be a big brother. I think he’s doing pretty great and getting excited. He seems to understand, as well as any two-and-a-half year-old can be expected to, what it means when we talk about how Baby Sister is coming soon. He likes to race into her room and announce “This is Baby Sister’s room! It used to be my room, but now it’s Baby Sister’s.” In the car, he’ll point to the infant seat and say “That used to be my seat, but now it’s Baby Sister’s seat.” He knows that Baby Sister is in Mommy’s tummy and someday she’ll be born, but I’m sure the reality of having her come home to live with us will still be a pretty big adjustment for him. That said, he’s such a sweet, kind little guy, and I really think he’s going to be a great big brother. He’s very empathetic and likes to take care of people/the dogs/his stuffed animals, so I think he’ll do well taking care of Baby Sister, too.

And, if I can just brag about my little guy for a minute, he’s just the best. He’s talking up a storm, spouting off complex sentences all the time, asking thoughtful questions, always wanting to learn. He can count to 10 without blinking an eye (though sometimes we have to remind him not to skip the number 4), and he loves singing his ABCs and other songs. He’s really into learning his letters right now, thanks in large part to his recent obsession with Super Why (thanks, PBS!), and the number of letters he can identify on sight grows every day. As of this morning, he can correctly identify S (like a little snake!), T, R, K, C, O, I, Y, and F. He’s really good at pointing out “the O with a tail!” but forgets that it’s called a Q. If you ask him to identify a letter he doesn’t know, his first guess is almost always A. Unless, of course, you’re pointing to an A, in which case he’ll guess another letter. He’s a smart, adorable little stinker, and I tell him every day that he’s my best little guy. The other night he told me “You’re my best little guy, too, Mommy!” which, you guessed it, completely melted my heart.

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So, there’s where we’re at, 37.5 weeks into this pregnancy. Hopefully I’ll be updating again soon (but not before Friday!) with pictures of the newest member of our family. Tim and I are so excited to meet her, and we can’t wait to see what a wonderful big brother Alexander’s going to be.

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