Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Almost 4 months (!!!!)

I can't seem to finish posts.  I'm going to write a quick one while I'm pumping.  Gecko turns 4 months on Friday.  He's SO sweet and awesome.  And cranky and difficult.  His sleep is awful.  We're cosleeping, and he wakes up every 1.5 hours ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  I'm so tired all the time.

Nursing is still going well.  He won't take a bottle, which has sort of sucked, but I admit that I haven't tried very hard.  I'm working on so many things at once, too, when he naps and when the au pair is available to hold him.  I'm also taking him along with me to jog and do other exercise.

I don't think I've ever been this happy, this tired, this all-around in love with life, and this ready to have life get just a little easier.  The mess and clutter of my house are driving me batty, and the inability to dedicate full days to cleaning it up make me crazy.  On the other hand, I do get small bits done here and there and really enjoy the peace it brings.

Most of all, I love spending time with my older kids and my sweet last baby.  I'm trying to soak it all up, live in the moment, and feel gratitude for everything I've been given.  I know the sleep troubles will pass, and I can function just fine, so I just try to appreciate every day what my little bundle of joy brings to my life.

Done pumping, so I have to run, but more sooner or later ... probably later.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

3 months

Little Gecko is 3 months old today.  It's been 2 months since I've written.  It's been SO busy, and this little guy just sucks up whatever spare time I have.  Which is fine.  I'm so in love with him.  And life.  And my whole family.

I'm really happy today because Gecko slept well last night.  The previous few nights were not so good.  He's sometimes waking up every hour or two, which gets old and I get tired and it all just sort of sucks.  But a good night of sleep does wonders.

He's an awesome baby overall, though.  He has a fantastic pouty face which I hope he never grows out of.  He has an adorable smile as well.  He's starting to grab stuff and hold toys and swat at things that are dangled over him.  He finally is ok with a short amount of tummy time.  I've been taking him for jogs in the stroller, and a couple weeks ago we went snowshoeing.

Turtle and Tadpole are doing well, too.  Tadpole drives Gecko pretty crazy - constantly poking at him and hugging and kissing him.  She just quit violin and will start voice lessons.  She's finally riding her bike a bit more, too.  Turtle is doing well with violin, and is really learning how to read, it's amazing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

4 weeks tomorrow

Oh, man, I've forgotten a bit about what life is like with a newborn.  I realized I never told you his name, so here is a (badly written) acrostic so you know what it is:

Ah, my sweet little boy, so happy
Unless your diaper is being changed or you're hungry
Get lots of hugs and kisses from your brother and sister
Usually spend your time sleeping or eating
So cute and squishy, like a newborn should be
This little baby that has been given to me.

I haven't gotten much done lately - this baby wants to be with me always.  He nurses and falls asleep, and I've finally stopped just holding him all the time and started putting him down so I can do some chores.  He doesn't sleep too long when I do that, but I manage to accomplish a bit.  Then he wakes up and wants to nurse again.  Which is fine, but I would like him to spend some awake time without crying or eating, and I'm not sure how to get him to do that.  This newborn time with the twins is sort of fuzzy for me now.

Tomorrow I'm planning to go to the new parents support group for the first time with Gecko baby.  I'm really looking forward to it.  And next week is my follow-up with the midwife, so I want to find out about exercise.  I'm ready to start getting back into shape soon, which means I'll probably have to work on my diet a bit, too.  The holidays are not really the time to start thinking about that!  He'll be two months old just after New Years, so that might be the best time to set a firm deadline.  It's weird to think that I can finally climb again!  And swim soon, too, although that will be tough with nursing.  I do plan to go to Mamma and Baby yoga, try to do some exercise at home, and aim for daily walks in our greenbelt.

I have turned into the crunchy mama I've always wanted to be.  I'm not doing baby carrying as much as I'd like, since Gecko doesn't seem to really love it.  But I am breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping (which was unplanned, it just sort of happened to help facilitate the breastfeeding), and I'm generally loving both of those things.  I do hope to move Gecko to the co-sleeper for at least part of the night soon, because after the first 3 or 4 hours I don't sleep that well with him in bed with me.  Our queen bed is a bit small for the three of us.

My goals for the next 4 weeks or so are to start moving towards a better schedule with Gecko baby, start getting regular exercise, start pumping a bit of extra milk for my friend with a special needs baby, work on baby carrying, and a million other chores!  In any case, Gecko baby is sleeping on me right now, but I have plenty of things to be doing and dinner to get on the table soon.  So I'll sign off for now.  But here is a quick picture of little Gecko on his birthday.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The little guy is sleeping on me right now.  He needs a diaper change and probably a clothing change, too, but he's sound asleep on my shoulder and I don't want to move.  The twins are playing happily, our au pair is probably bored out of her mind, and my Italian in-laws are (hopefully) enjoying some down time.  They tend not to like to be bored.  The weather is cold and wet and windy, so we are inside, where it is cozy and warm.  I want to take care of paperwork, and get dressed, and really I'd like to start baking some bread, but I have this sleeping baby on me, and I just can't summon the inner strength to put him down.

Things have been good.  Really good.  Gecko Baby is mostly a good sleeper.  We've had some rough nights, to be sure, but I'm getting 6-9 hours overall (not in a row, of course) each night, and I'm surviving pretty well on that.  He's nursing like a champ, and my main problem is most likely oversupply.  But I made a few minor adjustments and it seems better.  This little guy sleeps a lot, usually on top of me.  I haven't tried using baby carriers much at this point.  I just can't get enough of holding him.  I looked up a poem that I love, which usually makes me tear up a bit.  Here is the last bit:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

And that is how I'm feeling these days.  Along with a major dose of gratefulness.  And a bit of exhaustion.  Which is going to get a lot worse next week when my in-laws are gone and my husband is out of town.

So.  All is well.  We're all happy and healthy and getting ready to enjoy a nice quiet Thanksgiving.  I'm still in awe over Gecko Baby's birth and how happy it makes me when I think back on it.  And I don't feel sad about Tadpole and Turtle's birth either.  I was worried that having a good experience this time might make me regret how things went with the twins' birth and infancy, but it doesn't at all.  I'm grateful for all of it, and especially grateful for this chance at a more normal mothering experience.

So like I said - things are really good.  Oh, and this little guy is going to be 3 weeks old tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He's here, he's beautiful, and he's mine

Note: I wrote most of this a week ago.  I'm now holding an 11-day-old baby in my lap.  I know it's my last baby and I'm just soaking him in, so unfortunately I can't seem to finish a blog post.

Original post:

I'm sitting here holding a beautiful 4-day-old baby in my lap.  I'm so overwhelmed with love and joy and gratitude.  He's perfect.  I mean, he sleeps all day and stays up all night, but I'm actually pretty ok with that.  I am treasuring every moment I have with this little love, my last baby.

I am not sure where to start his birth story.  I guess I can start it on the evening of his due date, which is also when I wrote my last post.  I had been having irregular, mild contractions all evening.  I went to bed, and tossed and turned a lot from contractions, waking up briefly occasionally, but always falling back asleep easily until about 5:30.  I got up and started timing the contractions, and found to my surprise that they were pretty regular, about 10 minutes apart, but not painful at all.  They felt like pretty mild menstrual cramps.

I had to get the family up before 8 so everyone could get where they needed to go.  Wednesday mornings are always a bit crazy for us, since it's the only day the kids have school in the morning.  Also, even though I've given the au pair our schedule, times when I expect her to be "on the clock", and list of things that need to get done, she was not up yet, so I had to get everyone ready for school and get my husband up, etc.  Also, the cleaners were coming at 9:30 and the place was a disaster, so I was desperately trying to pick up toys and wash dishes and put things away, too.  I wasn't able to really pay attention to the contractions, much less notice them, in all the crazy hustle and bustle.  I got the kids and au pair out the door, and husband decided to work from home in case labor was imminent.  I kept cleaning while he told me to take it easy.  Finally, the house was ready, the au pair was back, and I didn't seem to be having contractions anymore .  While the au pair and I waited for the cleaners, I installed the carseat and packed a few last-minute things in our hospital bags, then we left to run errands

We went to the bank and the cell phone store without incident.  Since we still had some time to kill, and we hadn't really had breakfast, we stopped at a cafe for a coffee and we sat and chatted for a bit.  Finally, around 11 am, we headed home.  We arrived just as the cleaners were leaving.  As I headed down the hallway to our bedroom, at 11:15 am, I felt a twinge of pain and a weird popping sensation, and it felt almost like I had peed on myself, even though I knew I hadn't.  I shouted to my husband that my water had broken.  I wasn't really sure what to do, if you can believe that!  I had prepared for a lot of things, but I was expecting to be having contractions, and possibly be in active labor before my water broke.  I had no idea what to do when it just broke out of the blue.

I ran around looking for my folders from the hospital and my phone and texting with my doula.  Earlier she had told me that contractions can stop and start and early labor can last for days, so it was a good sign but I should prepare for nothing to happen.  She was surprised by my call about my water breaking.  I called the OBGYN office and they put me on hold, then finally told me to come in and get checked out, but to expect to be going back home since I was most likely in very early labor.  Contractions started pretty strongly while I was on the phone, 6-7 minutes apart.  We packed up the car, left instructions with the au pair, notified the doulas, and headed to the hospital.  We arrived around noon, where we were told the OB was performing a c-section and it might be a short wait, but that most likely we'd get sent home after she checked me out.  The nurses hooked me up to the monitors and we watched my contractions on a screen.

Contractions started getting stronger and slightly closer together by the time the doctor showed up a little after 1 pm.  She didn't want to do a cervical check since the amniotic sac had ruptured, so she tried to take a look with a sterile speculum.  She said she couldn't see much since fluid was still gushing out, but she would guess I was in very early labor and I was dilated at most to 1 cm.  She said she would send me home except for the Group B Strep, so it would be better to stay and start the antibiotics.  She warned that if I were not in active labor within 18 hours, I'd have another c-section, and when I asked for a room with a birthing tub, she said I needed to wait until I was a lot further along.

So I got settled in for what I expected to be a long wait, feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of another c-section hanging over my head.  The doula told me that it sounded like I was still in very early labor and should get some rest while I could, and recommended lying down for a while.  Contractions were getting pretty painful while we watched a little TV, and I remember telling my husband that I might want a c-section after all.  I mean, if early labor were THIS painful, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do the entire thing.  Around 2:30 I told my husband it was time to call the doulas.  I was concerned about how much pain I was having, and just nervous in general about the birth.  Every time he tried to rub my shoulder while I had a contraction, I had to fight the urge to tell him to stop pushing on me.  I knew it was early, but I had lost all confidence in my plan for a VBAC without an epidural.  I needed back-up for sure.

The first doula arrived a little after 3pm, and the second one probably closer to 3:30.  First I stayed in bed, and the first doula tried to get me to relax through my contractions.  When the second doula arrived, they got me out of bed, and had me sit on a rocking chair.  I was in a LOT of pain at that point.  They wanted me to vocalize, but the best I could do was whimper piteously.  The contractions were SO strong that I couldn't relax.  After only a few more contractions, they suddenly became much stronger and felt different.  They seemed like they were lasting much longer, and I couldn't sit still through them.  I felt like I needed to poop, and found myself pushing up out of the rocking chair.  I could see the really concerned looks on the doulas faces.  I wanted to ask what was wrong, if something seemed not normal, but I couldn't get any words out I was in so much pain.

After two of these really strong contractions, I was scared and finally managed to squeeze out "I feel like I need to push" before another contraction hit.  It was true.  I was not actively or consciously pushing at all, but it felt like my body had taken over and was trying to push.  It was almost 4 pm.  The doulas decided to call the nurse to check my cervix.  The nurse came and asked me to climb onto the bed.  I could barely do it in between contractions.  When I did, she took one look and shouted "His head is right here!  Get the doctor!!!!  Call the doctor!!  Is someone getting the doctor?!?!"

The doctor arrived in a rush, and now there was calling for the respiratory therapist, since there had been meconium in the amniotic fluid.  The doctor took a look and told me I could feel free to push with my contractions - like I could have stopped if I wanted to!  After a couple contractions, she told me that she wanted 4-5 good pushes with each contraction.  It was so hard.  I could really feel his head right there, but I couldn't seem to push hard enough to get it out.  Everyone was cheering me on, despite the general chaos (well, it seemed chaotic to me).  I don't know exactly how many more contractions I had or how many pushes, but 15 minutes flew by really quickly and I could feel the baby's head crowning and then it was out!  One more push and I felt his body slide out, and the umbilical cord, which was a weird feeling.

He was immediately placed on my chest, the most amazing feeling in the world.  I was completely overwhelmed with emotion.  And some pain, as the nurse pushed on my stomach and the afterbirth was delivered very shortly after the baby.  I vaguely remember the doctor mentioning that most of the blood was no longer in the cord so it could be cut, and I suppose my husband cut it.  I was too busy enjoying my sweet precious babe, who had immediately found his thumb and stuck it in his mouth.  He was so beautiful.

I got to hold him for at least an hour before they weighed and measured him.  He nursed and sucked his thumb and looked around.  It took a little while for me to stop shaking - from the hormones and the cold and the pain.  None of that feels like it matters now.  My memory of that time is a treasure.  It was a beautiful, spiritual experience.  It wasn't at all what I had imagined in my head, but it was perfect.  I'm so happy with how it went.

I've spent a lot of time in the last 11 days just holding my baby.  I want to appreciate every moment and breathe in his sweet scent.  He's a calm baby, very mellow so far, easy in a way that Tadpole and Turtle weren't.  And of course there's only one of him.  I know now how quickly it goes.  I know how much I should savor this time in my life.  I want to keep writing here to record these beautiful years with my 5-year-old twins and my brand new baby, and so I will do the best I can.  The records I have of my last pregnancy and the twins' early years are so special to me.

So now we're a happy family of five.  I'll post pictures soon =)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Due date day

So yeah, today is my due date.  It's after 9pm.  Baby Gecko is not coming tonight for sure.  Although ... I have had some irregular contractions.  But not enough to make me think anything is happening for sure.

Today was interesting.  I had yoga this morning, which was nice as always.  I also found out that my yoga teacher does induction massage, so that's another alternative.  Multiple people have recommended a chiropractor who does prenatal stuff, and has an office just down the street from me, but I called several times and got voicemail and an email I sent was not returned.  So I am not sure what's going on with that.

Anyway, another to-do item on my list was to call the OB office and see if they wanted me to come in for an appointment this week, since my only other scheduled appointment was for next Thursday, at which point I would be 41 weeks 2 days, and one day away from a c-section.  They said yes, so I went and saw my regular midwife.  I told her about feeling the baby a bit less than usual, and calling Friday night to report it, and she thought it best if I have a non-stress test and AFI (amniotic fluid index ultrasound).  Since I had brought my kids and au pair with me planning on a 10-15 minute appointment, it was a bit stressful (ha!), since it ended up taking an hour and a half.

I only did the non-stress test, I'm doing the AFI tomorrow.  The baby looked good - he started kicking a ton (of course!) before settling down and being quiet for the rest of the test.  The nurse took forever to consult the doctor, and then came back and said the doctor wanted more monitoring - she wanted to see one more set of kicks and how his heartbeat would respond.  That took at least another ten minutes, and then a while for the doctor to review it again.  In the end, all looked good.  In the meantime, I had several contractions which showed up on the monitors and made me realize that all the weird crampiness that's been going on the last week or so has been contractions.

So, here we are.  I've warned my sister and my doulas that I'm having contractions, albeit few and far between and it's been happening on and off for days, but you never know.  Better to have some advance warning just in case.  I'm not totally sure what to do now - try to push things and see if it's real or false labor?  Just rest?  Go on with life as if it were false labor, i.e. finish cleaning, folding laundry, prepping for the house cleaners to come tomorrow?  Go on with life as if it were real labor and finish packing my hospital bag and getting stuff like the cosleeper and car seat completely ready?  I don't really have any idea.  I've been encouraged to take a bath, but I already showered today and don't really feel like hanging out in the tub.  So ... I dunno.  I guess I will just do a few more chores and then try to relax a bit.

Wish me luck, please!  Will update with news when I have it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dear Baby Gecko

Well, Baby Gecko, you've only got two days until you're predicted to make your appearance.  Although I know that can be off by two weeks either way, you've used up the first two, and the circumstances of the birth of your older brother and sister have shortened the second two weeks to a week and a half.  So I'd like to kindly suggest considering joining us here on the outside pretty soon.

I totally get that you've had a great time in there.  We've done so much fun stuff!  But I promise, I SWEAR, it's much more fun to participate in these things yourself, rather than vicariously inside my tummy.

Honestly, it's been a pretty awesome pregnancy from that point of view - I got to take you along with me on some really cool experiences.  We went backpacking twice - the first time your brother and sister got to go, too.  We went to Desolation Wilderness, one of your Papi's and my favorite places to get out into the wild.  We went camping in Yosemite's high country, which included hiking, hanging out with really good friends, rock climbing for Papi, Brother, and Sister, and just some awesome wilderness views and a renewing time for the whole family.

We went to Italy, where we took your big bro and big sis skiing, and Turtle even learned to ski by himself.  Tadpole was almost there, too - she'll get it this year for sure.  We went to Hawaii, where I got to take you snorkeling with me.  We saw sea turtles and tons of fish, coral, just amazing beautiful things.  We hiked through a volcano's caldera, and through a lava tube.  We had a wonderful time with good friends.

How amazing it has been to share these experiences with you!  But you want to know a secret?  Your Papi and your big brother and big sister want to meet you, too.  Your grandma is driving me crazy calling me to find out if you've been born yet.  Your grandparents from Italy are coming to visit in just a few weeks, and they're excited to meet you, too.  You have an aunt and uncle just waiting to welcome you to the family, a huge extended family in Italy who are expecting news of you, and tons of friends who are just waiting to know when you'll be here.

So, please, come soon!  We all love you so much and are looking forward to seeing you and learning everything about you - your eye color, your smile, your personality.  And to be honest with you, this mamma is getting a bit tired and achy and ready to be done with the pregnancy part of this and hold you in her arms and give you a million hugs and kisses.  That doesn't sound so bad, does it?  This is a big beautiful world with so much to see and learn and do ... won't you come join us out here?