I love that I can stroll down to a pond on a beautiful spring day, listen to ducks quack, watch my dog put on airs for the rabbits and watch the blue sky reflect in my baby’s bluer-than-sky eyes.
Iggy: Elijah, it’s time to go upstairs.
Elijah: Waaaaaah! Noooooooo!
Iggy: Well, do you want to sleep down here?
Iggy: Get ready for bed then. Where are you going to sleep?
Elijah: (points to a spot on our rug)
Iggy: Where is your pillow?
Elijah: (goes and grabs a small pillow; plops it on the spot on the rug)
Iggy: What about a blanket?
Elijah: (looks all around the room to find a blanket. There are no blankets to be seen.)
Elijah heads upstairs.
Iggy: Are you going upstairs to get a blanket?
Iggy: No, no, you can’t; you said you want to sleep here so you have to stay here. If you can’t find a blanket, then I guess you can’t sleep here and we’ll sleep upstairs.
Elijah (after a very, very brief pause): Daddy go get a blanket upstairs!
Iggy and I both silently applaud the kid for running circles around us and figuring out the logical puzzle we are trying to trap him in. Iggy refuses to go get a blanket for Elijah. Frustrated and upset, Elijah collapses on his chosen spot on the rug.
Iggy (soothingly, grabbing a sweatshirt from a chair and draping it over Elijah): Here, Elijah; here is a blanket.
Elijah (takes a look at what has been draped over him): No! NO NO NO! (Throws sweatshirt off himself, gets up to his full height, holds the jacket like a piece of evidence at a crime scene and says, loudly, with a look of frustration, disbelief and a condescending voice). THIS! IS! A! JACKET!!!!
Iggy: Let’s play pretend that it is a blanket?
Elijah: NO! NO! NO, DADDY, THIS IS A JACKET!!
Iggy and I try not to crack up. Iggy points at the sleeping bag in the corner.
Iggy: Ok, well, what about this? Is this a blanket?
Iggy: Then what is it?
Elijah: (discovers he has no words to describe a sleeping bag. But he is sure as anything that the word is not ‘blanket’. Getting more and more frustrated by the minute): Aaargh… Ummm… YOU SLEEP ON IT!!!
Iggy and I redouble our efforts not to crack up. Wombat is clearly really frustrated and cannot believe that we can’t even tell the difference between jackets, sleeping bags and blankets. Trying to diffuse him, I give him an actual blanket I just spotted on the couch.
Me: Here, Elijah, a blanket.
Elijah: (takes it with a sigh and goes to lie down with it over him. Halfway to his chosen spot on the rug, changes his mind and runs back to Iggy): Look, Daddy! Look! This! This is a blanket!! This. This is.
Elijah shakes the blanket in front of Iggy demonstratively, until he is satisfied that Daddy had adequate time to memorize what blankets are. And what they are not.
If he knew that nursing homes exist, I am sure he would be dialing the numbers to get Iggy and I into a facility for the mentally weak right now. Thanks goodness we don’t let him watch TV.
When we brought him home from the hospital, Wallaby slept really well. He would lay in the bassinet and nap for hours at a time. We could not believe our eyes. (Elijah did not sleep in the bassinet or any other stationary object longer than 15 minutes.) But, alas, by week 3 Wallaby has figured out that we are total suckers and started to treat us accordingly.
He will now only sleep when held, and screams as soon as you try to put him in a bassinet. And he wants to sleep ALL DAY. While held. I think his ideal schedule looks like this:
7:30am – 7:35am: Mom gets up.
7:35am – 7:30pm: Mom sits on couch and feeds me while I sleep.
7:30pm – 7:35pm: Mom gets up and swaddles me.
7:35pm – 7:35am: Mom sits on couch and feeds me while I sleep.
So Mom is getting nothing done during the day. Not even a nap, because I try to set him down when he falls asleep, then I fail, then I have to feed him again just to appease him. This is totally a Wombastic technique. Did they talk or something? Where did our good napper go?! Well at least he still sleeps ok at night: feeds around midnight, then around 3 and then sleeps to 7 or so, in the bassinet and all. Let’s hope he keeps that up.
But, oh, every time I get up and shift him and sneak away, I feel SO guilty. It’s so hard to let go of a sleeping baby!
He was born on December 10, at 7:28am. Made it in the nick of time.
I showed up at the hospital the day before, about an hour late for my induction, properly stressed about the whole thing. Inductions are dangerous. They increase the risk of ending up with a C-section. They can be rushed and cause distress in the baby. And they really suck in terms of pain. Wombat was induced, and being hooked up to pitocin machine felt like someone knocked the wind out of you and then kept punching you repeatedly. I was hoping to avoid induction with Wallaby, but there we were, week 42 rapidly closing and no sign of labor, and therefore, no choice. With Wombat, I was at my wits end for how to delay induction another couple of days, and was very upset to have to go to the hospital and be messed with. This time I didn’t stress out as much as the first time: I kind of came to terms with it, and also I was just busy. I ran out of the house an hour late after setting everything up for my parents to stay with Wombat and finishing up last-minute work items. My Mom laughed and said that I was talking about giving birth the way you’d talk about going to a store “OK, I’ll just run out and deliver the baby real quick, and then I’ll be back and we can think of what to buy to cook next week….”
So I got to the hospital an hour late, got checked in, and after a while a midwife came by and offered some words of encouragement. I didn’t get my hopes up much, thinking that I’ve played this game before. With Wombat, the induction started off on Cervidil, which did get contractions started. Unfortunately, the contractions were not coming fast enough – they just started early labor, and they were getting more intense but not very quickly. The midwife with me at the time suggested to try walking around to get them to pick up. Determined to avoid pitocin at all costs, I made a big lap in and around the hospital, running all over the place, and got myself really tired just to get back and find out that contractions still have not become productive. Midwife insisted on pitocin. Pitocin was very ouchy. I was already exhausted. (No one tells you that to make it through pain you have to be well rested. It takes a lot of energy and mental focus to deal with pain, it turns out. If you are tired, your focus will be the first to go, and as soon as it leaves, you are done for). After a few hours of feeling like drowning under pain, midwife said things still were not moving as fast as she’d like and told me we needed to break my water. I asked for an epidural at that point. Wombat was born soon after that.
So this time around, I was determined to not get myself tired out because, I told myself, let’s face it – chances were pitocin was coming. I was going to go through the whole Cervidil thing, have it (probably) start mild contractions again, then buck up and try to ride out the pitocin as long as I could. It was important to go into it rested. Midwife said “Sometimes with the second child, Cervidil does wonderful things, you never know”. That would be nice.
I got checked in, went to the birthing room, and on the first check, the midwife declared that I was at 4 centimeters. This meant that I must have been having some contractions of my own and not feeling them! This also meant that Cervidil had no point. 4 cm is as far as it will get you, and if you are already there, it will do nothing. We decided to wait until morning; if nothing would happen, we’d start Pitocin then. The monitor showed contractions. I stared at it in disbelief. The midwife suggested to strip the membranes to try to hurry things up. We did. I really still didn’t think this was labor.
And then contractions came! They were very mild at first. I walked around a little to try to get them to intensify, or at least to stay; I was really careful to not get tired out. But they stayed! They became regular! They came every 6 minutes and lasted 1-2 minutes each! ”Look at you!” said the nurse. By 11pm, I decided that I should go to sleep – I needed to be rested to handle labor, natural or pitocined. So I fell asleep.
Contractions woke me up at 3am. I’ve never been so happy to have something hurt in my life. I walked around my room to try and make them stay, or get more intense faster. I was afraid that just like the last time, the contractions will be pronounced “not good enough”. By 5am they definitely became good enough for me; they took all of my concentration to get through. At 5am, I asked the nurse to call my midwife. The contractions would come fast and really hard, and I was starting to feel the urge to push. The nurse checked me and said we were at 6cm. I remember saying that with contractions coming this fast, I really hope the midwife is not driving from Olney.
I don’t know how much time passed between calling the midwife and the midwife arriving, but when the midwife got there she said we were at 9cm and it was pretty much time to push. When she said that, I said “Really?” She said “We are going to have this baby”. They started warming the bassinet, unwrapping the blanket, getting the lights, the whole thing, and in my head I just kept thinking ”Really? No, really?”
Really. I’m not sure how long I had to push, but it didn’t feel like very long. It’s weird: when it’s time to push, if you try to hold it, the pain is really bad. But if you do actually push, then it doesn’t hurt!! Crazy, but true. It was a bit of pushing, and changing positions, and the baby was almost out (according to eyewitnesses at my rear end), but not out. The midwife and nurse suddenly looked worried and, with no explanation and in very strict voices commanded to me that the baby has to come out. Now. Then they shoved an oxygen mask on my face. This breathed a lot of new energy into me in addition to oxygen, and I seriously started to push, contractions or no contractions. And he came out. And made a lot of noise immediately. Poor kid. It turned out that he was facing the wrong way: toward my back, not toward my front. I didn’t have back labor, but apparently him facing the wrong way makes it hard, and sometimes impossible, to push him out. The narrowest side of the head is the forehead, and when the baby faces your back, you have to get a wider side of the head out first. Sometimes that’s not possible, and when that’s the case, they have to C-section the kid out. They can’t wait very long, because the umbilical cord is compressed in the birth canal, and the baby will become oxygen-deprived if he doesn’t emerge quickly. That was why my midwife and nurse had the very worried looks on their faces. Thank lord Wallaby was able to come out.
After that bit of a trip down the birth canal, Wallaby was letting everyone have a piece of his mind, and I wanted to feed him. They put him on my chest for a little bit, but then the midwife declared that she needed to do the stitches. I couldn’t feed the little one because I was twitching as she was doing it, so he ended up having to shriek for food for what felt like an eternity while she was doing her needlework. As soon as she was done and Wallaby could eat, he fell asleep and slept the sleep of the just. And I was so, so happy. Happy that my baby was ok. Happy that I delivered a kid all on my own, with no drugs messing with my baby and me. Happy that he made it in the nick of time. And really thankful to some higher power that made this happen.
Once he was fed, and washed, and swaddled, we moved to our Mother-Baby room. It had a window, and behind the window was the first snowfall of the year. Beautiful, soft, gigantic snowflakes were rushing to the ground in the morning twilight, and Ingy and I stared at it for a while like it were a present. ”See”, we said to Wallaby, “first snow of the season, just for you on your birthday”. He slept through it.
World, meet Nathan! He was born on 12/10/10, at 7:28am. December 10 also happens to be his grandpa’s birthday, so I guess he really wanted to be the main gift. This gift will be hard to beat next year. (Coincidentally, the due date was on grandma’s birthday).
After much deliberation, we named him Nathan Gabriel. Iggy looked at him and decided that he sort of looked like a Nathan. We really like the meaning of the name – “a gift from God”. And this way both kids have Hebrew names, a matching set. (Iggy pointed out that it would be historically ironic to have one kid bear a Hebrew name, and another be a Roman. Ha.)
Nathan was born with blue eyes, chestnut hair (lots of it) and light skin. At 7 lbs 13 oz, he’s about a pound bigger than Wombat at birth. So far, brothers are getting on ok. Elijah is very good with the new addition and is very concerned for baby’s well being. He is also concerned with the baby taking any of his toys, but so far that’s not in the cards.
My due date was November 27.
In surprise to…. no one, the baby has no intention of coming out on that date. Or any date around that date. Therefore, just like with Wombat, the midwives have launched their “WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE POST-DUE” offensive. As part of that exercise, I sat through a no-stress-test yesterday.
I’d like to mention that the no-stress part refers strictly to the baby. The mother can get pretty stressed out by the test, and that’s ok. Like, for example yesterday, when Wallaby decided that the test is a great time to take a nap after some vigorous kicking exercises. For the uninitiated, the no-stress-test is when they strap a monitor to your belly to check how often the baby is kicking (and how his heart rate does when he kicks). If the baby does not kick enough (whatever enough is, I’m not sure), then you have failed the test. I know. It’s just like high school Presidential Fitness Test, but in utero.
Wombat was nice enough to kick like mad during the entire 20 minutes. Granted, he spot-kicked the monitor, but still, he was nice enough to kick. Wallaby, as I said, decided to ignore the test altogether and took a nap, which prompted the midwife to make a concerned face and send me to the hospital for a “semi-emergency” biophysical profile on the baby, just in case. Of course, as soon as I sat down in the car, Wallaby started moving like a tape of aerobics exercises was playing in my womb in front of him. Nice.
Anyway, a biophysical means an ultrasound, so I wasn’t too against the whole thing. I really liked getting a picture of Wombat’s face when he was 41 weeks, and was kind of looking forward to getting a picture of Wallaby too. I called husband to join me for this treat, and off we went. In the hospital, they ran another no-stress-test (which they said worked out fine, even though I swear Wallaby wasn’t moving more than at the midwives), and then shipped us off to the ultrasound.
And, as soon as the ultrasound was on, Wallaby did not move. He was very still. We had to zoom in on him, and when we zoomed on one of his hands, we saw…. him staring at his fist, folding and unfolding his fingers in a very contemplative manner. Staring off into the distance. Very poetic. The poetic atmosphere was interrupted by the technician, who told me “Can you make him move, because if he doesn’t, they’ll keep you in the hospital”.
I assumed “they’ll keep you in the hospital” meant “they’ll C-section this baby out of you”, rather than, say, “They’ll keep you and feed you lunch”, so I became very motivated and sat up. I’ve noticed that sitting up squishes Wallaby and he begins to squirm. It worked, until he settled down again and (I assume) stared at his other hand unfolding. Or something. Finally, we got enough movement out of him to declare the biophysical a success, got our report and left. Whew.
With the no stress test and the ultrasound (biophysical) behind us, now we wait. Just like before. Except hopefully not as long as before. Next Monday is another no stress test, and 9th is the induction (with the 10th being the expected latest date of birth). I don’t know if we’ll make it that long though; unlike Wombat, I think I am getting some contractions with this one already and the baby is riding lower. I think he is going to head for the exit once he has finished doing long division using his fingers or whatever it is he is working on in there.
This experience makes me a little bit concerned about this kid’s personality, I must say. Wombat is cooperative. Very. Other than forgetting what his due date was (or possibly just being too busy with his personal womb beautification projects), he has cooperated the entire time and continues to do so. Not Wallaby, it appears. I think this will be the child that will have me going to the principal’s office, explaining his latest shenanigans while he stands there angel-faced wearing an expression of deepest piety.
Common wisdom dictates that boy clothes are just not as cute as girl clothes. But I think that most boy clothes have way more personality than most girl clothes do. To me many girls look like easter eggs, with over-the-top dresses and pink colors and ruffles and bows. It seems impossible to find a girl outfit that has any edginess or personality or coolness to it.
But lots of cool clothes are available for boys in colors other than baby blue. I just found Little Boy Chic, and am totally in love with the shop. It carries many things that would look great on any guy – little or big. As there is probably no chance to convince your husband to put on a jacket like this, let’s try to get your son to appreciate it. Start them early.