Tuesday, September 24, 2013

a little rest, a little booze, a little perspective

A week ago, I was starting to get comfortable. Almost resting on my laurels, as it were. I felt surprisingly healed from the c section, Weston slept and fed, slept and fed, slept and fed, with nearly no tantrum or cryfest to speak of. Jordan made sure she was throwing the rogue meltdown to keep us on our toes, but mainly she was being a sweet and thoroughly engaged older sister. Two kids. Boom, I got this.

About a week ago, Wes...woke up. He started crying more, in little sessions at first. Easily consoled though, and it didn't bother me too much. Babies cry, it's right there on the label. The last few days, well. If he's not sleeping (still doing quite a bit of that, praise be) or eating (pretty sure the kid would stay on the boob all day if I let him) he's having a total breakdown. That frantic, shrill newborn cry has been ringing throughout our probably extremely annoyed apartment complex. It takes a little time and some energetic bouncing, however I can usually talk him down off that ledge.

Oh but just you try and put me down, Mom, I dare you. You can inch at that rocker at the speed of sloth, but I smell your intent and I. won't. haveit. My sister needs a meal or a diaper change? You have to pee? You have 17 missed calls? Try me.

Sunday I was just, ah, I was so tired. Weekends are so important to my psyche because I have Sean's set of helping hands and because I require that we get out of the apartment. I need that change of scenery, I just do. But Sunday, I gave up on any sort of outing. After multiple meltdowns from both of my children, I decided to have one of my own. Or I guess my body and hormones decided. I sat on our unmade bed amidst dirty laundry and stale air and Weston and I just cried. A pathetic sight we made. When Sean finally coaxed Jordan into her bed and I had speed bounced/rocked/whateverittook Wes to sleep, I completely knocked out.

An hour and a half later, Sean crept in carrying a plastic bag. He had sneaked out to the store to buy "things he thought would make me happy." Apparently, those are Budweiser Lime-a-Ritas and Haagen Dazs milk chocolate ice cream bars. I slid out of the room without waking the spit-up breathing dragon and Sean and I had an in-home date of faux margaritas and two episodes of Ray Donovan before the taskmasters woke up.

Here's what I learned: my body completely responds to my state of mind. I started feeling sore and post-surgery-y again over the weekend because I was all stressed and frazzled. But I was so concerned about "wasting" the weekend by staying in; that time is too precious to me. However, sometimes "wasting" time is exactly what I need. I needed that sleep, I needed that [those] Lime-a-Rita[s] (they're actually pretty dang good), and I needed to waste that time with my husband in our shady living room watching some gritty Showtime.

I'm new to this, the two kids and the staying home and the trying to figure out what to do with my day. I mean, aside from making sure two little tummies and one not-so-very-little tummy are nourished, dressing three people, trying trying trying to pick up this place (failure thy name is Jessie Pope), and preventing tantrums if at all possible. And DANG, those things do take up a whole day, don't they? Yes, they can, but it's nice when I can get out to talk to people who know how to talk, too. That doesn't happen everyday though. So I'm adjusting. Jordan is actually a pretty hilarious conversationalist anyway - and she called me by my first name yesterday ("Hi Dassie") so I guess that means we're friends.

I have joined your legions, stay-at-homers (at least as of now), and I'm happy to be here. And while I know I have many more meltdowns in my artillery but I'm doing my best to wear my big girl pants and lead by example here. Survival tips, friends?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

in the name of fall

Admittedly, I haven't felt the first day of autumn yet. I haven't stepped out of my abode to that certain filtered sunlight that feels like a scene out of The Graduate; I haven't heard the skid of fallen leaves cracking along the sidewalk; I haven't smelled that scent of season change (you know the one) nor have I felt the tragic remorse that I don't pull off plaids and skinnies well.

According to my light research, this is completely natural, despite Starbucks' earnest pumpkin peddling, considering the autumnal equinox (so proper) isn't until the 22nd of this month. Be that as it may, my undying affection for pumpkin confection knows no season, and Jordan and I agreed that a purchase of the canned goodness was in order when we were at the store last. (A solo trip to the store with two children, no less. Give me a medal, if you please.)

pumpkin squared

Sean found this recipe a few years ago to satiate our pumpkin hankerings that come on real strong around this time. Dear Lord, it's delicious. But o-m-g, the only healthy ingredient in the entire thing is the pumpkin, and that's probably only because I popped for organic. Just cover your eyes as you ladle out the sugar...and oil...and oh so much flour... Maybe someone can create a distraction for you as you plop the chocolate chippers in there too. Whatever, indulge. Don't we deserve it sometimes?

While this fool was napping

and this little lazy bum too

I embarked upon Project Pumpkin: the first of the season. (But not technically, as noted above.)

When I made all this delectable this afternoon, I realized that, as Fate would have it, I was currently out of chocolate chips. Fun fact: my shameless and insatiable sweet tooth is named "Fate." I've tried this bread sans chocolate chips before and I like it just as well. Pumpkin is the star for me, which is weird because I can think of nothing I'd love more than an entire home made of chocolate. The kitchen tap running with chocolate syrup and all.

You'll need:
3 cups of sugar (I know! the horror)
1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin - organic assuages the guilt
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3  1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP nutmeg (today I found that I had none. I settled for 1/2 TBSP ground ginger & 1/2 TBSP allspice. Guess what? It worked just fine)
2 tsp baking soda
1  1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

You'll do:

1// Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans. (The recipe says 3, but I've never used that many and I've cooked it for the same time called for. ??)

2// Whisk sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs in large bowl. Like a really large bowl. Blend until smooth, then add dry ingredients. Get all that nice and smooth too. Fold in chocolate chips. Or don't, because I didn't. But it really is good with them in there.

3// Bake about an hour, or until the toothpick comes out clean, you know. You've baked before.

4// Surely we can make this fattier, so put a slab of butter on there while it's still warm. You won't regret it...until it's scale time.

I'm hopefully sending one of these loaves up to my sister, who just started school in Washington. That is, a) unless I missed the care package my mom is assembling or b) Fate has it's way with both loaves.

Monday, September 16, 2013

the birth of sir weston james, esq. - part two

When I left you last, my contractions had petered to a halt. They kind of pulled a Lindsay Lohan, had a good run at the paparazzi headlines and dramatic breaking news, then... disappeared in a cloud of shame. I slept a nice little piece, woke up with fresh resolution, and went about the hot, hot, hot day. That was 2 pm-ish to 4 pm-ish, and by 5 my contractions were back with jazz hands.

Ok but this time they meant the business. They kind of snuck back in and took their time, all 20 minutes apart-like, but they started this new thing that I believe we call "back labor." Or "yiiiiiiiiiiiiikes, this hurts." Here is where my resolve started to crumple up and heave itself toward the wire wastebasket, so to speak. When we started out for the hospital, round #2, it was around 11 pm on Saturday night, just shy of 48 hours after my labor's inception. I had had it, Sean's right hand had had it, that handle thing that hangs above the passenger window of our Yaris had had it. The contractions had taken their toll on all of those things. And I was starting to narrate each one with some pretty foul language, which is not very zen for the whole birthing process. It's no wonder Weston was like, Are you my mother? I'm staying in here.

I was being far from brave. I was being a huge pansy at this point. My contractions were 7-8 minutes apart when we left this time, but I might have fudged on that time frame when I called Labor and Delivery to let them know of our impending arrival, because I didn't want them to tell me to wait longer. I think I may have said 5-6 minutes...I don't know...it's fuzzy. I wanted a flippin' epidural.

And here I would like to note the stark contrast of this hospital arrival to our arrival the night before: Sean all but carried me in; I feebly signed something from my fetal position in the waiting room chair while Sean took care of the rest of the paperwork; I pretty much dragged my body against the wall down to Labor and Delivery. Have you seen The Brave Little Toaster? (The answer better be yes. It is only the best cartoon of all time.) I was Blankie.

And Sean at this point I'm sure was internally grumbling like Kirby the vacuum: "ugggh, cry, cry, weep, wail and sob - it's disgusting!"

Song & dance, hospital gown, all the hookups to this machine and that one too, nurse checks me...THREE. As in, 1.5 centimeters in two full days. (I was already at 1.5 cm at my last doctor appointment.) The nurse called my doctor, she came on in around 12:30 or 1 a.m. Sunday morning, and basically to sum up: "We can give you an epidural and you can keep laboring if you want, but your body doesn't seem to want to dilate and the prolonged labor may be putting stress on the baby. I can call a c-section team in..."

You mention the safety of your baby to a pregnant woman, all bets are off. I was ready to cave anyway if they couldn't give me the drugs. Within half an hour, I was being wheeled down nostalgic C-Section Lane and Sean was suiting up in the funny sterile costume everyone wears in there. As it all was happening, and mingled with the anticipation and excitement about meeting my long awaited baby boy, I couldn't help but feeling pretty darn disappointed in my body. I know I shouldn't - it does really amazing things like foster and form beautiful, healthy humans over the course of nine months - but I look my broad frame and my unmistakable "child-bearing hips" and wonder, why couldn't you? Those are thoughts for another time, I guess. Digression finished.

So. My doctor was kindly giving me little tidbits about the progress of the surgery from over the curtain. When she laid eyes on Weston, she informed me, "This would have been a tough one Jessie. He's sunny side up and his shoulders are really broad!" God knew best, then. Ouch for all involved parties. Just about as she was telling me this, I heard a little gurgle followed by a hearty, healthy cry. And there he was! Sean rushed over to greet him but I was a little, er, tied down. I waited for them to wipe him up a bit, then a nurse nestled him next to my face for a few moments. I was pretty loopy at this point, but I think the very first thing I said to my son was "You have such squishy lips!" Oh, but they are. Kissable to the nth.

Sean got the more coveted end of the stick and followed Weston out of the room while I got all fixed up. Pretty sure I dozed off in there actually, and probably said something stupid too because my doctor and the nurses were talking to me. As soon as they wheeled me into recovery, Weston was plopped atop my chest and instructed to latch. Latch he did. Vaguely reminiscent of one of those vicious gators on the Discovery Channel snatching an unsuspecting antelope from the river's edge. Breastfeeding...I love you and I hate you too. You give my child the good stuff, but you're horrifically uncomfortable for that first little while.

We stayed in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon. We had a couple of great nurses, a handful of lovely friends and family stop in to visit, and an overall very successful recovery. I could compose the longest list of how this birth/c-section experience was lightyears better than Jordan's (initial health problems, NICU stays, no latching what.so.eva, inconsolable infant screams at alllll the hours, the stress! the stress!) but suffice it to say Weston was a happy, healthy, hungry, carefree guy from the get-go, and Jordan was not any of those things. My poor little girl had a rough go for a little while. But just look at her now:

(not the best shot of either of them but I just love it because 
Wes looks like a little snapturtle and Jordan looks like his proud pug mother.)

There it is. A birth story for all to see. Weston is growing beautifully and Jordan is doting dutifully. Here's a shot of us all for good measure. (Taken yesterday after a day at the beach so excuuuuse that insane hair and Jordan's lack of clothing. The girl is just never dressed.)

PS - thank you all SO much for all the congratulatory comments on Weston's birth announcement. I didn't get much of a chance to respond to any of them - sorry! - but I loved reading them and was so pleased to get each of them. You guys are the best :)

PPS - This installment is headed for Grace's too.

Friday, September 13, 2013

the birth of sir weston james, esq. - part one

Once upon a midnight, two weeks ago today, I went into labor. Ah, it's never that simple though, is it?

 Now the story of a huge pregnant woman who lost her cool.
And the one son who had no choice but to stay put in the womb and have a good laugh.
It's: Arrested Labor & Delivery.

So, I realized that I was finally finally starting to have contractions, a week after my due date, the very first thing Friday morning, August 30. They were pretty easy, little hiccups of contractions ranging from 8 minutes to 20 minutes apart. I knew I'd be a while yet so I never woke Sean up, but I was super excited so I never got back to sleep that night. In the morning I told Sean all about it and we were all stoked. We packed Jordan for my parents' (who had just gone out of town but we pieced together some care for her with the odd sibling here, obliging family friend there..) and got ready to party down, labor-style in an air conditioned, spacious two-story home.

Womp, womp. I kid you not, I went into labor on the kick-off of the hottest weekend in the summer. And my parents' air conditioning BROKE THAT DAY. No, it broke THAT day. No, it was nearly 100 outside and it was fully 85 or warmer inside until 10 that night. Or maybe later than 10 but I wouldn't know because...

Around 10 or 11 I decided we should be hospital bound. My contractions were about 6 minutes apart and we had a 40 minute drive before us. Here was the thing though: I had been timing my contractions all day; I had felt them grow stronger and come quicker. Yet, the pain was manageable. Now I had never had the opportunity to experience "real" labor with Jordan's birth, so I had nothing to compare any of this to, but I was thinking to myself: "hey Jess, you've got this. It kinda hurts, and you're uncomfortable, but it's not that bad!"

*you're a huge idiot, you know that Jess?*

We got to the hospital and got admitted. Here's where I'd like to note that I walked myself into the hospital without leaning on Sean, I signed in and filled paperwork out myself and only had to sit down briefly, and I walked down the hall to labor and delivery without needing to lean on a wall. Basically, I should have seen what was coming next.

The nurse checked me all out and informed me I was only dilated 2 cm. Disappointment reverberated throughout my humongous pregnant body. 2? 2! I'd been in labor for 24 hours at this point, which I was later to find out was merely "pre-labor" or some crap like that. The nurse caught my distress and suggested we stay the night. I told her I hadn't been to sleep the night before, and she mercifully administered a shot of morphine that I might be able to sleep through the contractions.

Well, I actually wasn't able to sleep through a one of those contractions, but it did take the edge off. I watched the contraction monitor and Weston's heartbeat monitor the whole night while Sean attempted some semblance of rest in one of those ridiculous fold-out hospital chair-bed things. He mused that the huge pole sticking up the middle of it must be there for "lumbar support."

The nurse checked me in the wee hours and said I had dilated another 1/2 centimeter. Ok, body. What the deal is. We were obviously dismissed from the premises - unless I'd like to take that c-section right now? No! I was committed to this VBAC. But I was also really frustrated with my body and left the hospital feeling hopelessly defeated. Witness:

I'm not happy Bob. NOT. HAPPY.

We drove back to my parents house and greeted our girl without her new sibling. The house was still hopelessly hot, and I took two ice cold baths that day. By my second bath in the early afternoon, my contractions had stopped. We're talking, maybe one every 45 minutes. I called my doctor to discuss the situation, and she laid out my options. Was I sick enough of laboring to come in and schedule a c-section? Well actually my given name is Jessica Marie Stubborn Idiot, so no. We're riding this pain train. So then if contractions had stopped, she said, I should take this opportunity for a nap and some good rest. Since I'll need it, she reminded me. That's what I did, and it was a good thing because that was the first sleep I'd had since it all started, and the last I'd have until it all ended.

Enough for today? More woeful dispositions and bemoaning and bemusing next time then. Aren't birth stories the rosiest? Spoiler: it ends in BABY so they really are pretty cheerful after you wade through all the lamentation.

Oh! I'm going to make this post whopping #206 over at Grace's birth story link-up. Dang, we ladies like to have the babies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

five faves - the newborn edition

This week has been nice and slow as we brought our new guy back home and introduced him around. Even with the leisurely pace of it all, I've been hard up to find time to sit down and write. To ease myself back into blogging I thought I'd jump in on Hallie's weekly roundup which, incidentally, is being hosted over at The Camp. I give you: the five favorites of having a wee newborn of the masculine persuasion.

1// Weston James

in his ultra masculine hand-me-down rocker

Let's start with the basics, may I? This boy is definitely a fave. A lanky, hefty, hungry, ginger-haired fave. He bleats like a tiny lamb when he's hungry, belches like a crude Dreamworks cartoon character when he's done, and cuddles so deep into my chest I feel like he's on the inside again. He gained 10 ounces and 3/4 an inch in four days so if he decides to pursue this rate of change I'll have an Andre the Giant for a 3 year old. No matter how tight the swaddle, he never fails to successfully free one of his managerial little hands and tries to orchestrate his every feeding. He hinders the process exponentially but his desire for involvement makes me laugh every time. This guy.

2// The Sibling Bond

I believe I could fill several journals and pen fourscore posts on how Jordan has been manifesting her discomfort over such a drastic change coming upon her home. But I take great solace in it's being taken out on Sean and I, rather than her new brother. She has been a handful x 12 with her drop-of-a-pin tantrums, blatant disobedience, and gleeful defiance, but oh my gosh, she loves her brother. She calls him "Wuh-shtee" or "Bud-Dee" (Sean and I have a habit of calling all male things "bud" or "buddy") and not 5 minutes goes by when she doesn't want to "hodey baby" (hold the baby). I'm in love with their relationship already.

Switching gears to products really quick - these are THEE best swaddle blankets. My dear friend Meg got me the above 2-pack and the color scheme is my dream (aqua, pale gray and crimson) and the size and breathability of these suckers are spot-on. They are truly wonderful and Weston has been wrapped in one or the other of them since birth. 

4// Meals on Wheels or whatchamacallit

Friends and family alike have been stocking our fridge like it has never seen before. Sean and I aren't great at meal planning yet and it never looks like we have more food than a couple meals' worth - but this last week! Feasts and leftovers for days. Delicious savory pot roasts, gooey and positively evil chocolate chip cookies, tri-tips, fruit salads, and oh, the guacamole, soft cheeses and other ridiculous snacks that are lining our insulated shelves! I'm the luckiest.

5// My new fam

Sean's first day back at work was today - oh the prayers that I need - so we've had a week and a half to explore our new dynamic. Know what? It's fantastic.

Hasty sign-off due to one-handed typing due to starving, eager latcher. Grace has more!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

labor weekend

Oh hey! There's someone I'd like you to meet.

 barrel chested
 ginger headed
 wide eyed
and wide thighed

Well hey there, welcome Mr. SlowBob ProcrastinatorPants. You're so right: 9 days late is the perfect amount of fashionable, and now you have a birth month independent from your sister's. Nevermind that you were starting to accrue multiple reputations as a mama's boy, the Buster to my Lucille, and a general pain in the bum from your uncle, your aunt and your mama, respectively. (It's rather embarrassing to admit I was calling my unborn a pain in the bum *edited* but I can't say that last weekend housed some of my prouder moments in the behavioral department.) I prefer the way your Aunt Meg described you: you shall be my slow and steady.

He's here, this strapping young man, and a chiller little guy there never was. A couple things I've learned of him in the last 60 hours or so: dude is an angry bird when his feet are exposed to the elements. He goes from golf channel snorefest to Mexican soap opera psycho with the kick-free of a swaddle. Message received, buddy. Socks and blankies all the day long. Also, in utero Weston is not an accurate reflection of ex utero Weston. The kicking and flipping and tai chi et al has ceased with the entrapment of the womb and we are left with a slumbering, ponderous Ghandi.

The VBAC attempt? Epic fail. And I mean that in the catch phrasey way of today's culture, yes, but mostly I mean, this birth story shall be an epic of Star Wars proportions spanning multiple titles, generations and perhaps even sparking a couple franchises. So much to tell, even after I edit out all the complainy, whiny crap that I mentally penned during my 48th hour of labor (no, really) and the litany of curse words that narrated my 899th through 917th contraction.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif

So, birth post(s) are forthcoming but I'm gonna go snack on Weston's cheeks for an indeterminate amount of minutes and emphasize soft touches to an eager Jordan a few more times first.

after instinctively honing in on his soft spot and trying to rub antibacterial all over it