Thursday, March 31, 2011

Putting Me In My Place

Yesterday when Norah got home from Ruby's I asked for a hug and a kiss. She gave me a hug. I asked her where my kiss was and she said:

"I would like to help you mom, but I just don't kiss frogs."

Thanks, Norah.

Picture is unrelated, but cute. She's been getting ready for opening day of baseball by practicing her swing. She says her cowboy hat is her Buster Posey hat. Hey, whatever works.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Louis: One Month

Yesterday was Louis' one month birthday. Bubby and Norah made him a cake-yellow with white frosting and sprinkles. Bubby let her eat so much frosting during the decorating process that she didn't even want any cake when it was finished.

Louis is a big ball of awesomeness. He had his one month check up yesterday and he weighs in at 9 lbs., 5 ozs*, which is almost exactly a pound over his birth weight and his doctor was very pleased. He has grown another inch and a half which makes him taller than he is fatter. Everything else looks great and his pediatrician couldn't hear his heart murmur. Which means either he was moving too much or it is in fact already closed.

He is such a sweet baby. He is starting to smile a lot, albeit mostly in his sleep, and loves, loves, loves to be cuddled (in fact, he is really starting to protest ever being put down). He was pounding 4 oz bottles of milk at a time but I think that really started to aggravate his mild reflux, so he now seems to prefer light snacks of 2 ozs at a time. He gives us a good 4 hour stretch at night, so we aren't complaining.

He loves getting a bath and when you nuzzzle his neck. He hates diaper and clothing changes. He tolerates hugs and kisses from his sister. I feel like his entertainment options are somewhat limited since he doesn't do well laying on his back or tummy on the floor (because of the barfing), so we have started doing some book reading and toy playing (and by playing I mean me shaking toys in his face), while sitting up. I think he likes reading Brown Bear the best.

He is a bit of a fitful sleeper at times, but I think that's in large part to his tummy issues. When he's really, really asleep he snores. He sleeps between us still, on his side, facing me. We hold hands.

We really, really like him. I think we'll keep him.

*I went back and looked at what Norah weighed at one month. Over 11 lbs!!! WTF was I worried about with that kid? She was a monster!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Bed

Our house is small and our bedroom is smaller, so we always figured that it didn't make any sense to get a king sized bed. However, over the course of the last year or so BVZ and I realized that if we were going to stay married it didn't make sense to NOT get a king sized bed. BVZ's back problems mean that he twitches a lot when he sleeps and pregnancy screwed with my body temperature so much that I can't have anything or anyone even remotely touching me when I sleep.

We (and by we I mean I) did a ton of research into different bed options and about a week before Louis was scheduled to arrive we went and looked at both Tempur-pedic and European Sleepworks beds. We ended up going with a European Sleepworks bed and it was delivered and set up while I was still in the hospital. Oh my holy guacamole, it rules so much. It was a crazy splurge on our part, but my god worth every penny. It is some sophisticated design with natural foam, and coils, and who cares what else, the point is that it is HUGE and I can't feel BVZ moving at all. How we have been together for this long without this bed is totally beyond me.

Norah loves it too and she and I have been taking some seriously good afternoon naps in it. Even when I don't nap with her she asks to sleep there. I asked her the other day why she liked our bed so much better than hers and she said, 'because your bed smells like you' (and apparently Mrs. Potts).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hitting the Wall (Literally)

When Norah was born it was 9 million degrees outside and so she spent the first month of her life in a diaper or lightweight onesie. She was a big baby anyway, and so by the time she was wearing actual clothes she was solidly into 3 to 6 month sizes. We assumed Louis would be just as big and so we didn't bother with anything in a newborn size. He surprised us by being just 8 lbs., 4 ozs (not small by any means, but not gigantoid either) and Mother Nature surprised us by making the weather rainy and pretty cold.

So, basically he has a room stocked with super cute clothes but only a handful of things he can actually wear right now. I don't want to buy him a bunch of stuff because he's growing fast and I know will only wear newborn clothes for about 2 more weeks. Cousin Reid sent Lou his favorite sleeper and Lou has been wearing the hell out of it. Bubby washes it pretty much every night (because of the barfing).

It is already getting a little tight though and the sleeves are way too short (Louis suffers from the same affliction that BVZ does-super long ape arms). Bubby has been on the hunt for newborn sleepers that are that fleece material, but has thus far been unsuccessful. On Friday she convinced me we needed to go to the Carter's store to look for pj's. Carter's is far away by my standards (like 20 minutes) and I balked at that fact, but Bubby told me to nut up and we loaded both kids in the car.

This was in lieu of Norah's nap. I thought she might sleep in the car. She did not. We made it to the Carter's store and they did not (shockingly) have newborn fleece sleepers. They did, however, have plastic pink binoculars, which we ended up leaving with.

Here is Norah later modeling her binoculars. Two interesting things evident in this picture: first, her pants are on backwards. I tried to convince her to put them on correctly, but she told me "I like them that way." It wasn't worth the fight, so she wore them that way all day. Also, check out her shoes. She had been complaining that her feet hurt so last weekend we took her to get new shoes. She had been wearing a 6.5. They measured her at a 8.5. Whoops. Anyway, we went to the mall on a day when it was pouring rain (like it has been for 3 weeks) and everyone and their brother had the same idea. I would have bought anything to get out of the crazy madhouse that was the mall, which is why we ended up with sparkly pink Stride Rites.

Anyway, after Carter's Bubby convinced me we should check out Kohl's. Against my better judgment and general rule of thumb (never take kids on more than one errand at a time), I agreed. Everyone did okay for about 15 minutes and then Louis started to fuss so I pulled the plug and we headed out. Then Lou started to scream and thrash around in his stroller. Then he started to yell so loud people were giving us the side eye. Bubby got him out of his seat and we started walking a little bit faster towards the exit.

Norah asked if she could run and I told her to have at it. Now, the kid runs FAST. She got BVZ's running genes, not mine, and can really book it. She started running down the corridor at Kohl's and headed straight for a display of necklaces that was in the middle. Now, as I watched her run I thought, there's no way she doesn't see that. I mean, she's not blind. There is a giant display of necklaces RIGHT THERE. She got closer and closer and I reassured myself she would stop, or turn, or do something to avoid running right into it.

Well, she didn't. She slammed right into the display. Like, RIGHT into it. She collapsed and screamed and I flew to her and scooped her right up (so much for that not picking up anything over 10 lbs for 8 weeks thing....) After a few minutes I peeled her away from me expecting to see a face full of blood. After all, this display had metal stakes jutting out with the necklaces hanging on them. She was fine, just a little shaken up. After I knew she was okay I couldn't help but laugh. I mean, she ran RIGHT into it. WTF? It reminded me of when cousin Megan would ride her bike around her block and run into the same pole every.single.time. It must be something in the gene pool.

So, Norah was screaming and Lou was screaming and we slunk out of the store averting eye contact with anyone. And that is the reason that I don't plan on taking both kids anywhere outside of the house by myself for at least 6 months. Maybe a year.

Norah was fine and recovered at the park nicely. Louis still doesn't have pajamas that fit.

Feeding FAIL

We are still navigating figuring out how to best feed Louis. I am continuing to pump and he's getting breast milk for about 50% of his feedings. I think those days are numbered, however, as the amount I am able to produce goes down every time and Bubby leaves on Tuesday (oh, the horror), and the amount of time I am able to devote to pumping is going to be severely restricted, if not completely eliminated.

Now, I know people make it work with one, two, or more kids, but I am not equipped to raise a newborn and a toddler and get up at all hours of the night (when there is not a screaming kid to tend to), in order to pump. My OB told me that she used to pump whenever she had to drive anywhere over 15 minutes in the car. She would plug the pump into the cigarette lighter and strap on a hands free pumping bra. That's mother of the year material. Mother of the year material, I am not.

Anyway, Lou is doing much better with the formula and seems to be digesting it easier than just a week ago. Which comes to the FAIL part of my story. Last night I was skimming my Dr. Sears Baby Book for information on reflux, when I came across an entire chapter on bottle/formula feeding. I read through his advice and he says that you are supposed to BOIL and then cool the water you mix the powder into. Um, excuse me? You are supposed to BOIL the water?? I figured that had to be for people using well water or living in developing nations, right? See, since Louis has been born we have been using warm water straight out of the tap to make his bottles. So, I turned to my BFF the internet and googled, "can you use tap water to make infant formula?"

Which apparently is exactly what you are NOT supposed to do. There are 3 big problems according to the American Pediatric Association, and oh, the Environmental Protection Agency: 1) Hot water straight out of the tap has a higher concentration of lead than does cold water (I don't get the science of this at all and BVZ calls bullshit, but it isn't just random internet wackos saying this, it's the flipping EPA). 2) Tap water can be full of contaminants (this is actually totally unpersuasive since bottled water is just tap water in bottles, but may be a legitimate reason for the boiling). 3) Tap water that contains flouride (which ours does) is good for developed teeth, but not so good for developing teeth.

I guess using bottled drinking water takes care of problems 1 and 3. Which kills me because I HATE buying bottled water because it is tap water put into bottles and then resold with a crazy price tag. I hope 4 weeks worth of lead and flouride hasn't done too much harm. However, the general consensus I have found online is that it is over kill to boil the water. I hope they are right.

Maybe all that lead is why he looks so mad when he's asleep?

Otherwise, we are struggling with the logistics of formula. I am not yet able to effectively gauge how hungry he his or how much he is going to want. I think he's starving and will make 4 ounces and he'll eat a half ounce and pass out. Which isn't a huge deal, I guess, but you have to throw anything uneaten out after an hour. And this stuff is really expensive. Or I think he just wants a snack and will make 2 ounces and he'll scream like a Teradactyl and punch me in the face until I make more.

He goes from asleep to's.never.been.fed in like 4 seconds, especially in the middle of the night, so by the time I haul my ass out of bed and make it to the kitchen to put a bottle together he is furious. He almost always gets breast milk in the middle of the night since he digests it so much better, but even the 2 minutes it takes to warm the milk in the bottle warmer infuriates him. I am not sure there is a good solution to this problem, but if anyone has one, let me have it. We are using Dr. Brown's bottles at the direction of his pediatrician (supposed to reduce gas), and all the little parts definitely slow me down.

In awesome news, Louis has been sleeping 4 to 4.5 hour stretches at night. Considering his sister didn't do this until, oh 18 months, we are beyond thrilled. He sleeps with us in our new, incredibly awesome, king sized bed. He starts out right in the middle between me and BVZ, and by the time he wakes up to be fed he has somehow managed to scoot over and snuggle against me. Which I really don't mind because it makes me feel that even though there is no nursing, he still likes me best.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring

We have had weeks of rain. I love the cooler weather, but I will admit we are all starting to get a little stir crazy. BVZ took Norah to ballet on Saturday dressed in her new butterfly outfit (better pictures to come-thanks, GG!), which she wore over her brown 'comfy' pants and brown mouse shirt because she was cold. I blame Bubby for Norah's constant insistence that she's cold. If we let her, Bubby would keep the house at 80 degrees. Good thing she's working for free because we're going to have a $300 gas bill this month.

Anyway, after ballet, BVZ let Norah stomp in puddles and play in the random reservoirs of rain water throughout the neighborhood. I have a sneaking suspicion he let her drink some gutter water coming off the community center roof but I have no real proof.

Someone loves her Lightening McQueen umbrella. I don't blame her, it's pretty sweet.

She has gotten quite good at singing about the snoring man who bumped his head and went to bed. Every time she says, 'the old man is snoring' she yells, 'like Dad!' Man, I love that kid.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World Affairs

This is the conversation Norah and I had the other day:

N: "What are you guys talking about?"

Me: "I am talking to Dad about Libya."

N: "Olivia! I know her. She's a funny little pig. She's my friend."

Me: "No, not Olivia. LIBYA. It's a place. You know how you live in California? That's a place. Libya is a different place."

N: "I like Olivia. She crayoned on the wall and got a TIME OUT. [NB: In one of the Olivia books, Olivia is unimpressed with abstract art at the museum and thinks she can do a Jackson Pollock on her kitchen wall.] What a funny little pig."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stealing the Show (and Barf)

We had a friend take newborn pictures of Louis the other day. I won't post them just yet because I want to wait until we send out his birth announcement, but they are super cute and sweet. Of course, someone else had to get in on the action and I think we ended up with more pictures of the toddler than the newborn. She's just so damn photogenic. Here are a few of my favorites:

She was quite the ham. I would post more but they each take like 10 minutes to upload and seriously. Who has that kind of time?

Louis is doing well. He had his 2 week pediatrician appointment on Tuesday and has regained his birth weight and then some. He still can't latch and we are bottle feeding breast milk and supplementing formula when necessary. His doctor says that if he is going to figure out how to get the good stuff straight from the source he will figure it out by a month. So, that's what we are shooting for and will re-evaluate our options at that point.

He is the gassiest baby I have ever met. Holy smokes. He burps like a drunken hobo and farts like his dad (ie, it's bad). His gut still hasn't adjusted to the outside world, I think because he gets really uncomfortable when he can't get the massive amounts of gas out. He has a bit of acid reflux, but it isn't something his pediatrician is worried about at this point-she says in the next couple of weeks it will either get much better or much worse (and we'll deal with it then).

He spits up a lot. And by that I mean a lot, a lot. Obviously we only have Norah to compare him to and she never spit up at all (okay, maybe once or twice), but this kid barfs a LOT. Usually down my shirt or in my hair. The other night I was convinced he was the exorcist because of the amount of vomit that came out of his little mouth. Norah likes to announce when and where he throws up, ie, "our baby just barfed all over the couch." My girlfriends gave her a book about being a big sister before Louis was born and it refers to the baby as "our" baby and so she does too. It's pretty cute. Especially when she told the neighbor who brought over a little gift, "our baby just barfed all over his gym." We still have the baby scale from Norah's newborn days (when I would weigh her, oh, every hour or so), and I put him on it today. With all of his clothes on he was like 9 lbs, 5 ozs-so maybe in reality right about 9 lbs. So, I guess the barfing isn't affecting him too much.

He is still pretty sleepy and doing 3 to 3.5 hour stretches at night. Can't complain about that, especially given the fact that even though I deal with him all night* I get to hand him off to Bubby at 5:30 or 6:00 am and then sleep until about 10:00. We are never letting her go home. False imprisonment, be damned.

*I gave BVZ a pass this week on waking up at night because 1) he went back to work, 2) Louis is sleeping with us, so BVZ does wake up when he cries and even though he gets to roll over and go back to sleep, it's still disturbed sleep, and 3) for as awesome of a dad as he is, BVZ sucks hard in the middle of the night. Case in point-last night Louis cried and we both woke up. BVZ said 'do you want me to do anything?' and I told him to go warm up a bottle. He was gone at least 15 minutes and Lou was SCREAMING by this point. BVZ walked back in the room and got into bed without a bottle in sight. Turns out he got up, peed, got a glass of water, checked the lock on the front door, and completely forgot he was supposed to warm up a bottle. Oy vey.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Feeding of a King

I have written before about my love/hate relationship with breastfeeding Norah. I loved the fact that it was the best possible nutrition for her, and I hated....well, just about everything else. I hated how ridiculously PAINFUL it was, how difficult it was on an on-going basis, how it was a struggle I hated how I was 100% responsible for her very survival, how I was the only one who could do middle of the night feedings, how we had to time our excursions away from the house based on when she would need to eat (she could only successfully nurse at home, in a quiet environment). I hated the thousands of dollars we spent on lactation consultants, pumps, special pillows, herbs to increase supply, and book after book on how to make it work. I hated how after 9 months of pregnancy I still couldn't eat what I wanted, drink what I wanted, or take medication that I needed. I never felt the closeness with her that nursing brings most moms and their babies because she was SO difficult. I felt much more connected to her when we read stories, sang songs, or interacted in other ways. We did it for 10 months and it was a very, very long 10 months.

So, I have to admit that the breastfeeding was the part of parenthood the second time around that I was dreading the most. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose.

As soon as Louis was born, BVZ went with him to the nursery where he was checked out by the resident pediatrician. When I got to see them again, BVZ casually mentioned that the pediatrician said that Lou had a tongue tie that would most likely need to be clipped. There is a small piece of tissue, called a frenulum, that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. When it is too tight it restricts the mobility of the tongue and the baby is considered to be tongue tied. On his second day of life the pediatrician clipped his frenulum at my bedside (it was a quick, seemingly painless procedure) and we thought we were in the clear. He could latch somewhat, but it was very shallow (ie, very painful for me) and he never seemed to be able to make a good connection. We continued to try and I pumped the entire time we were in the hospital and fed him the colostrum with a plastic syringe.

Once we got home he continued to have latching problems. He just couldn't make it work. We got home on Friday and on Sunday we had a home visit from the lactation consultant we had used, and loved, with Norah. It was her opinion that he still had a significantly thick frenulum and it needed to be clipped more. She gave us some other tips, but we were confident further clipping would solve the problem. I was pumping the entire time and we were starting to use bottles for his feedings. Unfortunately, my right breast developed a deep and painful clogged duct, which only added to my recovery misery.

On Monday, we went to the pediatrician for Louis' one week check up and she did a thorough examination of his mouth. She agreed that he was still tongue tied and the problem was significant. However, she also believed that further clipping would be detrimental and could potentially adversely affect his speech later in life. She routinely does clippings (some pediatricians won't), but she said she wouldn't do it on Lou and if we wanted it done we would have to seek out an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist). She gave us a few referrals, but was of the mind that breastfeeding wasn't nearly as important as protecting his speech. We couldn't agree more.

The bottom line is, latching is something Louis might be able to learn in time as his mouth matures, but there is no guarantee. He could get it in 10 weeks, 6 months, or never. It is an unbelievable time commitment to pump full time. I am doing it now because BVZ is home from work and Bubby is here. Once I have either or both of the kids myself there is just no way it is going to happen. My sanity can't take it, and apparently neither can my body. By Thursday morning my sore right breast had developed a full fledged case of mastitis. I don't remember when I was quite so sick. Mastitis causes extreme localized pain in the affected breast, but also a systemic reaction that is very similar to a severe flu-high fever, chills, body aches, and generalized malaise. I am on a serious antibiotic and on the road to recovery, but I was really down for the count for about 48 hours. BVZ and Bubby are saints.

I don't know what we are going to do from here. My original plan had been to pump as long as I could take it and then switch to formula full time. That might happen sooner rather than later, depending on if I can get this mastitis to heal (I need a baby to get out the clog, and since I don't have one that can do it I have to rely on the pump-which is no where near as effective). He has been getting about 75% breast milk/25% formula, and we can definitely tell the difference when he has formula-he is way more agitated and gassy. I think it will resolve itself once his digestive system matures a bit, but I would like to be able to still give him breast milk while that happens.

I am completely okay with Louis being a formula fed kid. I think it is more important that he 1) can talk, and 2) has a sane mom. I would be lying if I said I wasn't even the slightest bit relieved to be 'off the hook' so to speak. The ironic thing is that I have a great supply. Out of the non-infected breast I am able to pump a ton of milk-something I could never say before. Everyone keeps telling me that it isn't my fault, and I agree. It is totally Louis fault. (Just kidding, Louie.)

That being said, I have still had multiple breakdowns about the whole thing. These post-partum hormones are no joke. I have burst into tears at, including but not limited to, the following places:
  • The hospital
  • The pediatrician's office
  • My OB's office (while getting the antibiotic prescription)
  • The Safeway pharmacy
  • Target
  • My bedroom
  • The living room
  • The baby's room
  • The bathroom
  • The backyard
  • While walking around the block
Poor BVZ isn't sure what to do with me. As soon as Lou's little tummy adjusts I know I will be totally on board. Just cross your fingers that happens sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, check out a handful of cute pictures from the past couple of days. He's a heart breaker, for sure.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Happy Birthday to Bear!

The other day Norah told us that it was her Teddy Bear's birthday. She wanted to celebrate by having him pick a movie to watch. Then she wanted to bake him a cake. It was so freaking cute that there was no way I could not oblige her. (It was just a cake mix-trust me, I ain't no supermom). It was really fun and she was very proud of herself.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Hospital Saga

Norah was born at a local hospital that is known for it's "birthing suites." It isn't the Ritz, obviously, but for a hospital room they were pretty nice, and most importantly, they were private. We ended up spending 6 nights there, so privacy was a must. As soon as all of my autoimmune nonsense got diagnosed and we started getting referred around to specialists and high risk OB's, we realized that any subsequent babies would have to be delivered at Stanford because that's where the experts (at least for my issues) are. Now, don't get me wrong-Stanford is a state of the art medical facility and amazing feats of science happen there every day. The NICU is the best in the area and everyone you talk to will tell you, hands down, it is the place you want to be if you have anything even slightly amiss.

Stanford also has shared post partum recovery rooms. Seriously? You expect women who have just given birth-some the old fashioned way, some through a major abdominal incision to SHARE a room with a stranger? It was literally one of my biggest sources of anxiety pre-birth. There are a handful of private rooms but they are limited and doled out on a first come, first serve basis. The only real priority is given to women with multiple babies.

Anyway, as we were taken from recovery in the OR to the room I immediately asked what the status of the private room situation was. Given that I had to recover in the freakin' OR, I imagined that the place was pretty full and I was right. No private rooms. We were taken to a shared room that was empty and the nice nurse saw the tears in my eyes and promised me she would do her best to 1) delay me getting a roommate, and 2) get me into a private room as soon as possible. I don't know how much influence she had, but I wasn't taking any chances. I kissed her ass so hard.

For the next couple of hours I tried to breastfeed (unsuccessfully-more on that later) and worked on moving my cement legs. Norah and Bubby showed up, which was awesome, and while she was interested in Louis she was far more interested in playing with the hospital bed, eating my ice chips, looking through cabinets, etc. They didn't stay long and as soon as they left it happened.

Dun, dun duuuuuuun. My roommate moved in. I am sure she was a very nice woman, but it wouldn't have mattered if Mother Teresa moved in next to me, she was immediately my nemesis. She brought with her a noisy husband and entourage of family members that included a ONE year old son. Now, these rooms were small to begin with and once you have a roommate they pull closed these "privacy" curtains and suddenly my very small room became excruciatingly small. Like it was just the bed and a very tiny surrounding area. Claustrophobia alarms in my head were on high, high alert.

BVZ and Louis and I hung out while I dozed on and off from the pain meds and BVZ made some phone calls. All of a sudden out of no where I started puking in my ice chip cup (sorry, M-way too much TMI for you, I know...). For those who know me, you know that I HATE to puke and will do just about anything to avoid it. There was no avoiding this. I am assuming it was a reaction to coming down off the anesthesia, but christ. It was gross. As soon as the puking stopped the coughing started again. And didn't stop for the next 48 hours or so. Try coughing non-stop after major abdominal surgery. It isn't pretty. Then try asking the HOSPITAL you are at for some freaking cough syrup. You would have thought I was asking for crack or something. It had to be called into a doctor, then cleared through a pharmacist, and then doled out by the nurses. It was Robotussin, people.

Anyway, M and A came to visit Monday night and their presence was a very welcome relief. And A brought Lou a birthday cake! (Or a box of bundt cake bites, to be exact.) I couldn't partake until the next day because I was still on a liquid diet, but I stashed several away, BVZ ate a ton, and then we shared the rest with the nursing staff (again, trying that sucking up part). Soon after the girls left we decided BVZ should try and go home to get some rest as well. We had decided beforehand that he wouldn't stay at the hospital. It would be too uncomfortable and we figured Norah would need as much normalcy as possible. Besides, with the shared rooms there aren't even cots for partners-just non-reclining, arm chairs.

He left and I figured my roommate's husband would leave too. No such luck. Now, posted everywhere in the room were these signs that said if a support person slept over in a shared room, the nurse had to have verbal permission from the roommate. No one ever asked me for permission so I figured there was no way he was planning on staying over. It wasn't until about 11:30 and I heard him snoring like a goddamn GRIZZLY BEAR that I realized some rules were being broken and man, I was pissed.

Now, I was no peach of a roommate either, don't get me wrong. I was sad and lonely and coughing as though I had an iron lung. Coughing while pregnant doesn't hold a candle to coughing after a c-section. IT HURT. I was also exhausted beyond belief. At some point, around 3:00 am I think, when the nurse came in to take my vitals I Like, completely lost it. I cried a big 'ole ugly cry to this poor nurse who must have thought I was a total basket case. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed that roomie's hubby was keeping me up (truth be told, I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep even if he hadn't been there, but it was icing on the cake and a focus point for my break down). I explained that it was making my claustrophobia and anxiety 9 million times worse. The nurse was totally nice and did her best to find me a private room, at 3:00 am no less, but it was impossible. The joint was full.

It was a fitful rest of the night and when morning came and I got the yucky catheter out, I started cruising the halls trying to figure out what the private room situation was (discharge was at 11:00 am which is when I assumed the re-arranging would start). 11:00 am came and went and the official word was still that there were no private rooms. BVZ's presence helped a lot and I tried to concentrate on, oh-the BABY, but I was still really worked up about the prospect of another sleepless night. Things took a bit of a serious tone when we had a consult with the pediatrician who advised us that Lou needed his frenulum clipped if we wanted a chance at breastfeeding (again, much more on that later). It was a simple procedure done at my bedside. Very little blood and even less crying. Louis is a tough dude.

I cornered the day nurse at one point that afternoon and told her that I was really upset because the husband had spent the night and no one had asked my permission. She kind of blew me off. So I did something I reserve for the most serious of occasions-I broke out lawyer voice. I explained very calmly (in lawyer voice) that the rules had been violated and under absolutely no circumstances was I okay with hubby spending the night again. She seemed to take me a lot more seriously and I heard her ask him about 15 minutes later if he planned to spend the night again. He said yes. She said, 'okay' and left it at that. My head just about exploded. I gave her the evil eye as she walked out and decided she had until 6:00 pm to make it right or I was letting her have it.

Right at 5:00 pm, she ran in whispered-"private room! Private room! We're moving NOW." It hurt so bad to even move a centimeter, but you better bet that in that moment I moved fast. Really fast. The room was small, but no one else was in it, which is really all that I cared about. I am a little fuzzy on the chronology of some things that went down, but at some point we learned that the on call pediatrician heard a slight heart murmur and wanted to have us evaluated by the heart center. They got us in right away and BVZ and I took Louis to the same place where I had all of those fetal echos and he got an outside baby echo cardiogram. This consisted of him laying on his back on a table and getting an ultrasound of his heart. It took forever and I kept falling asleep, which made me feel like an asshole. I wasn't particularly worried about the murmur because I knew Trevor had something similar and I got some great info from Aunt Stephanie right before the echo, so I knew what to be on the look out for.

We got back and settled into the new room and Bubby and Norah showed up. I was so glad to see her even though I was falling asleep mid-sentence (I have decided Percocet isn't my drug of choice-give me Vicodin any day). Soon S came to visit armed with an awesome Batman/Superman cape for Louis and some Toy Story figurines for Norah (which have since become her favorite toys of all time). She also offered to take a few pictures, since she is amateur photographer extraordinaire.

This is literally the first time Norah held Louis. I am so grateful to have such beautiful documentation of it. It is the perfect picture to put in her 'Big Sister' frame.

I was feeling a lot more hopeful about things and everyone went home and Lou and I tucked in for a night on our own. Except I couldn't freaking move. In all the times we talked about how great it would be for BVZ to sleep and Louis and I to bond, we somehow overlooked the fact that I would be so restricted physically. I had to call the nurse every single time I needed to get Louis in or out of his little isolette. I needed help going to the bathroom. It sucked. I finally just asked if I could keep him in the bed with me, but they advised against it (truth be told I was actually glad they said that because I was terrified I would fall asleep and drop him).

When BVZ showed up the next morning I let him know he would be spending the next 2 nights with me out of pure necessity. I give him props for being a good sport about it. We got the report from the cardiologist that Louis has a very minor VSD (ventricular septal defect). It is incredibly common and in a place that will very likely close on its own. There is no concern whatsoever and we go back in 6 months just to make sure. One benefit of all of those fetal echos was that I got to know a lot of the residents and attendings in the cardiology department and at least 3 of them checked out the report and personally came to reassure us that things were just fine.

Thursday and Friday was all about lactation. Or, should I say, lack there of (separate post in a bit). M came to visit again and one of my favorite friends, T. Their faces were a welcome relief from the nurses. There was a lot of walking the halls. The physical recovery has been tough. I don't remember it hurting this bad last time. I know the coughing aggravated my incision, but last time by the third day I was cruising the halls with ease. This time walking to the bathroom just about did me in. It got a bit better every day, but I was no where near where I was last time when we left the hospital.

Oh, and want to hear the best part? With a few minor exceptions I avoided any severe rash/hives outbreaks during the entire pregnancy. I tolerated the surgical scrub, the staples, the gauze, the tape, and the seri strips without so much of a bump. But, by the time I left the hospital the tops of my thighs, sides of my hips, and my entire backside was covered in an itchy, welty, hivey, horrifically red rash. The culprit? The freaking mesh underwear they have you put on because of all the nasty post partum bleeding. THE HOSPITAL UNDERWEAR beat me. Did me in. Slaughtered me.

If that's not bad karma, I don't know what is.

Friday, March 04, 2011

King Louis* is Born

It has been a whirlwind of a week. I have tried to organize my thoughts about Louis' birth as best as possible (given the fact that this is the only baby book the kids-did I just say kids??-are getting), so I feel like it has to be good. We got home from the hospital Friday afternoon and I have tried on about 17 occasions to write this post. Hopefully it will happen before Louis is one.

The week before Louis' birthday was a little crazy because I was sick, sick, sick with the cold from hell that never went away. S was going to come over and take pictures of us as a family of three on Saturday (because I have none of my enormous pregnant belly), but I literally felt like a big, giant pile of crap so we didn't do it. I was actually paranoid we would get to the hospital only to have them turn us away because I was too ill. I was pretty much up the entire night before with a horrible hacking cough and generalized anxiety about how close to actual chaos our lives were about to become.

We were instructed to call the hospital at 6:00 am on Monday morning to make sure that we were still on schedule. The hospital is about a half hour away. BVZ was convinced we were going to be bumped, so decided not to take a shower until we got the green light. I am not sure why I permitted him to do this. Temporary lapse in judgment, I suppose. Needless to say, they told us to be there at 7:00 and we got there about 7:20. Let's not get into the details of what went down between 6:00 and 7:20, but suffice it to say we got there, got admitted, and got taken back to the pre-op area.

This would be when BVZ decided it was appropriate to take my one and only belly shot. Um, thanks.

Our two labor and delivery nurses were awesome. Because Stanford is a teaching hospital, most of the staff come in twos-an experienced person and a resident/student. The more inexperienced person gets to attempt procedures while the experienced one looks on. Usually this is totally fine by me because I actually think residents and students are way more conscientious about wanting to do a good job, ask more questions, give more thorough exams, etc. Our newer nurse was a bit gun shy but relaxed when she saw we were pretty mellow people. It did take her 4 tries to get the catheter in my hand and holy moly it hurt.

We were scheduled to go back at 8:30, but my OB was attending a delivery down the hall that was taking a little longer than expected. Everyone was getting nervous and a little antsy, especially me (duh). They gave me an anti-nausea drug through the hand catheter and it made me sweaty and anxious and my mood went from jovial to slightly grumpy. The nurse from the other delivery kept coming back and telling our nurses, 'she's almost there, like 4 more pushes.' She must have come back and said this at least 3 times. Finally, on the third time I said, 'can someone please tell that bitch to push a little harder!' It definitely broke the tension and by about 9:10 we were finally ready to go to the OR.

Now, all of this time I had been thinking how much better a scheduled c-section would be because it would be in a calm, controlled environment and I would know what to expect. Last time, it was almost midnight, I was a hot mess, and slept through the good majority of it. Earlier this week I talked to a friend who had been through a similar experience (emergency c-section the first time, then a scheduled one the second), and she said that it surprised her how freaky the whole thing was because she was aware and cognizant of everything going on. Last time, because I had an epidural already in place, they put the anesthesia through that and I didn't even know what was going on.

This time I had to sit on the side of the bed with my back rounded while an attending and resident put in the spinal block. That was the WORST effing part of the whole thing. The first pinch felt like a bee sting, but then I could feel the needle moving around inside my back trying to get the medicine in the right place. It didn't necessarily hurt, but I felt like I might crawl out of my own skin. It didn't help that the attending was talking the resident through the whole thing, showing her how to do it. A catheter in my hand is one thing to get wrong, a spinal block in my back is a whole different story. But pretty soon, I was totally numb from the chest down and being layed out on the table.

It seemed to take FOREVER to get everything set up and the longer I lay there, the more congested I got. I was terrified that I would cough and cause the scalpel to slip so not coughing is what I focused all of my energy on. Turns out I coughed a couple of times but it didn't matter a bit because nothing moved. I was getting really anxious by this point because I couldn't breathe through my nose and I just wanted the whole thing over and done with. There was a lot of tugging and pulling and pushing and moving my insides around and then my doctor pulled him out and he immediately started screaming. She poked his head up above the curtain so we could get a glimpse of him and then he got taken to the little baby area to get checked out.

Scored an 8 and then a 9 on his Apgar's. Weighed in at 8 lbs., 4 ozs. and 20.5 inches long. He has huge feet.

I got to see him for just a minute before BVZ went with him to the nursery for a bath and a full check up.

It took a LONG time to get put back together. Like, about 45 minutes. Turns out that my cervix was still completely sealed shut and Louis' head was still wedged up high above my pubic bone (which I was surprised about because I felt like he was so low). This reaffirmed our decision to do a repeat c-section versus VBAC though, as my OB surmised that given his size he would have run into the exact same problem that Norah did and we would have ended up in the same place. I closed my eyes and tried to think happy thoughts while I was being worked on and tried my best not think about my guts getting tossed around. Finally they were done and the head of the bed was raised, which immediately solved my congestion problem and I was thankful to be able to breathe again.

Eventually I was moved to a stretcher while still in the OR, which involved the nurses 'rolling' me, since I was still paralyzed from the chest down. I made a joke about how I was like the Half Ton Man getting barrel rolled in and out of bed, which they appreciated. Turns out, the hospital was so busy that day there were no recovery rooms available, so I had to recover right there in the OR. I got the most glorious thing in the world-ice chips and worked on wiggling my toes.

I didn't get to see Louis or BVZ for another hour and a half because they got a little back logged in the nursery. Louis looked great, save for the fact that he looked tongue tied (more about that later). Finally, I got them both and we got transferred to our SHARED recovery room (again, more about that nightmare later).

And that's how it went down.

*Lots of people have asked how we are pronouncing Louis. It is pronounced like "LEWIS." One of the reasons we like the name so much is because we like all the possible permutations. I call him Louis or Louie, BVZ calls him King Louis the 16th or Lou, and Norah calls him "my baby" or "little buddy." She also has called him Funkhouser a couple of times. She has asked him a handful of times when Funkhouser is going to be born. I tell her that he has been born and his name is Louis. She then pats my stomach (which to her credit still looks like there is a 6 month old fetus in there) and asks, "then what is THIS baby's name?" Thanks kid, you do a lot for my self esteem.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

He's Here!

Lots of pictures and stories to report once I am out of the hospital/colostrum/pain medication haze, but we are beyond thrilled to welcome Louis GVZ to the family. Born on Monday, February 28, at 9:35 am, and clocking in at 8 lbs, 4 ozs, 20.5 inches long, he is absolutely delicious. More soon, I promise!