By way of explanation

Filed under: baby's progress — by Lex on September 6th, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

Lots of wonderful things have happened to the Friedman family since our last post. Anya and Sierra have shared amazing thoughts and insights. Liam’s learned to sleep better, smile and laugh more, roll over, inch along, and eat solid foods.

We used to blog about our kids and their remarkable existences constantly. We blog a lot less often now, and it’s not just because we have three kids and thus time is harder to come by. That’s certainly part of it, as is the fact that we’re just so much more tired after busy days with all three of our delightful children.

But it’s also Facebook’s fault. And Twitter’s. We can post every remarkable event and photo as it occurs, from our iPhones, in just seconds. Posts take longer to craft.

But we love these kids, and I am optimistic (cautiously!) that Lauren’s epic six-month-old update for Liam is coming soon.

Anya, Sierra, and Liam: We are crazy about you. We would rather spend time with you than write about you. But you do so many things we want to pay tribute to and remember, and we’re going to keep trying.

You’re the best.

Guess How Much I Love You

Filed under: Anya,the day-to-day stuff — by Lauren on May 16th, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

This afternoon when I was tucking Anya in for her rest time, she said to me, “Mommy, I love you more than you love me because you love me up to the moon, but I love you even higher than the moon.”

She wouldn’t let me top that with loving her to Mars or to the moon and back, and so I let her win for the moment, but let me just state for the record: Anya, you may love me higher than the moon, but I will always love YOU to infinity – and beyond. Thank you for being my sweet girl.

Liam’s Birth Story

Filed under: delivery/labor,Liam — by Lauren on May 13th, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

Liam’s birth story starts out a lot like Sierra’s birth story, even down to the day of the week.  Friday, February 25th, I woke up in the morning and found that my underwear was wet – not a huge amount, but enough to be questioned, and it was definitely not urine.  Because I was having some strong but not painful contractions that were about 7 minutes apart, we decided to call the OB.  Dr. G (who delivered Sierra) was already at the hospital for surgeries that day and he said we should come down there.  I got dressed, packed my and the girls’ bags, and made myself some breakfast, then Lex and I left the girls with my mom and headed to the hospital.

By this point, the contractions had slowed down a lot, which made me kind of regret that we were going to the hospital.  I was listening to one of my Hypnobabies tracks to keep me focused.  When we got to the hospital and arrived in triage, we met with one of the midwives, who did my initial exam.  A swab test confirmed that my water had broken.  We were told we were staying and went to settle into our L&D room.

Many, many, many hours passed with nothing exciting to report.  I wasn’t having any regular contractions. I refused any internal exams because I didn’t want to expose myself to a risk of infection.  I listened to various Hypnobabies tracks, most often the “Baby Come Out” track.  My sister Samantha arrived in the late afternoon, since we had asked her if she wanted to be there for the birth.  I ate graham crackers with peanut butter (despite the nurse’s disapproval), drank apple juice, and tested my blood sugar at various intervals.  We walked the halls.  Towards the evening, we sent Sam home and told her we’d call her if anything changed, but that otherwise she should just come back in the morning.  Dr. G started to bring up augmenting with pitocin and I said I didn’t want to go that route yet.  His shift ended at 10 pm, but he said that if there was no progress by the morning the next OB on call would need to do something, since it would be 24 hours past my water breaking.

I got into bed and tried to get some sleep – not easy, given how uncomfortable those beds are.  Around 1 am, I started to have real contractions at last.  Lex was wonderful, using the Hypnobabies cues we had practiced to keep me relaxed.  I liked sitting on my birth ball with my head on the bed.  After 3 am, I panicked a little.  The contractions were increasing in intensity but I could tell we weren’t close yet and I didn’t think I would have the energy to stay focused for several more hours after having been awake for nearly a full day.  I decided I wanted to get the authorization for an epidural taken care of, even though I didn’t want to get one yet.  I also wanted the IV fluids (I only had a hep lock up until that point) so that I wouldn’t have to wait for the epidural if I decided I was ready, plus I was tired of drinking apple juice.  The nurses phoned the doctor on call, but she wouldn’t authorize the epidural unless I had an internal exam; she wasn’t at the hospital and was concerned that if I was already far along, the epidural would get me to 10 cm too quickly for her to get there.  I still didn’t want the epidural yet but really wanted the security of knowing that the paperwork was in place, so I negotiated that she’d authorize the medication but I wouldn’t be able to receive it without consenting to the exam.

Some time after that, I got back into bed and I got to a really good place.  Hypnobabies was really working for me.  The contractions were coming pretty regularly and it took a lot of concentration, but I was staying very relaxed through them, so much so that Lex fell asleep.  I don’t remember the exact circumstances or time, but one of the nurses ended up checking me and I was 4 cm along.

Then the morning arrived, and the OB who was now on call came to check on me.  I had only met her once before, and I had said to Lex at that appointment that I hoped she wouldn’t be the one to attend this birth.  I stand by that sentiment.  Immediately she insisted that I needed to get on pitocin.  I said that Dr. G had said I only needed to start the pitocin if there was no activity or progress, but that I was clearly in active labor now so it shouldn’t be necessary.  She said that we had to see if I had made any progress since the middle of the night, which it turned out I hadn’t, and she kept playing the “You agreed to this with Dr. G” card.  I felt defeated.  I didn’t like this doctor, I didn’t trust her, but I knew that Dr. G would recommend pitocin in the same situation, as he had when Sierra was born, especially since it had been approximately 27 hours since my water broke.  I felt I had no choice.  I consented to starting pitocin, but refused to have it without an epidural first.  Been there, done that.

After that, I kind of fell apart.  I was so disappointed about it taking so long again and getting the pitocin.  I thought I had been doing so well and was devastated that I hadn’t been able to progress farther on my own.  I couldn’t relax through the contractions anymore.  Lex read me the “Change of Plans” Hypnobabies script, which helped me make some peace with the situation, even though I was still very unhappy and scared of getting the epidural.  I had to wait until an additional bag of IV fluids was pumped in, and then the anesthesiologist came.  He let Lex stay in the room, which was a first for us.  I got into a seated position at the edge of the bed and held on to the poor nurse’s hands, squeezing her fingers way too hard, whoops. The epidural was put in place and my right leg went completely numb fairly quickly.  The nursing staff helped me get back into the bed and set with the monitors, and then the waiting game began again.  I was very comfortable now.  It was around 9 am.

Sam had come back somewhere in the middle of all that.  The three of us spent the morning chatting and listening to the sound of the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor.  I napped intermittently.  I had another exam and was 7 cm along.  The contractions were coming very close together according to the monitor, but I only felt pressure.  The nurse asked if I felt like I was ready to push, and I said that I had no idea.  When Sierra was born, I only knew that it was time because Dr. G had checked and I was 10 cm.  This time, I was feeling a lot of low pressure during each contraction, but in between them it would subside.  The nurse said that when I was feeling constant pressure, let her know.

Lunch came and went (not for me), and we were getting kind of bored just sitting and waiting.  At one point we actually played the “I’m going on a picnic game” to pass the time.  The monitor showed that the contractions were more or less back to back, so we asked about having the OB come to see if it was time.  She was assisting with another birth, but the nurse said she would come when she was finished.  An hour passed.  The OB was still at this other birth.  More time passed.  The nurse got impatient and said she was going to check me herself – 10 cm!  The nurses prepped the room.  Now we just had to wait for the doctor, who was still at this other birth.  It was around 2:30 pm.  When 3 pm hit with no OB, we began to get antsy.  When 3:30 pm hit with no OB (STILL at the other birth), we inquired whether it would be best to call the practice to see if someone else could come to the hospital.  We weren’t trying to be insensitive or impatient; we were just concerned that perhaps it wasn’t good for OUR baby to be subjected to constant contractions while he waited for the doctor to finish with someone else’s baby.  Soon after that, the OB finally came in.  I thought that she was defensive to the point of rudeness about how long we had to wait.  I actually misunderstood her at first and thought she was coming in to say that she still wasn’t finished at the other birth.

Once I realized it was time, we reviewed some of our preferences for the birth, in particular that I wanted to try pushing on my side, that we wanted to delay cord clamping, and that I wanted the baby put directly on my chest.  A little after 4 pm, we began.  The amniotic sac was still intact around the baby’s head, and the OB asked if I wanted her to rupture it, but I declined.  I pushed a few times, and unlike during Sierra’s birth, I could actually feel what was happening – just pressure, no pain – because the epidural had run out during the time we had spent waiting for the OB.  With no warning, the OB said that if I didn’t get his head out on the next push, she was going to have to use a vacuum.  The baby’s heartbeat began to drop very low, though it had been completely perfect until that time.  I asked if turning onto my back could help, which it did – his heart rate went back up – but she still wanted him out immediately.  His head was out on the next push, but the cord was wrapped as tightly as possible around his neck, so it was cut right then.  With the next push, the rest of his body came out, along with the bulk of the amniotic fluid. It was 4:27 pm.

Those first few minutes were terrifying and seemed to last forever.  He was blue, he wasn’t breathing or making any noises or moving.  Someone called in more staff, maybe an emergency team.  I couldn’t really see what was happening beyond the nurses suctioning him and rubbing him really vigorously.  Sam was holding my hand, Lex was standing near the table where they had him trying to see what was going on.  We were both crying.  No one was telling us what was happening or really talking at all.  Then he finally started to make some strained gargling sounds and I saw him move a little.  I started breathing again and someone said he was going to be fine.  He began crying in earnest.  I think I cried even harder then.

Another eternity passed while the team made sure he was stable and the OB tended to my enormous 2nd degree tear, and then my precious boy was finally in my arms.  He was alert and beautiful and perfect, with a headful of light brownish blondish hair and deep blue eyes.  One of the nurses told us his Apgar scores had been 7 and 9, but that doesn’t quite make sense in retrospect, since at 1 minute he was still blue and not breathing.  He latched on the moment the breast was offered to him and nursed as though he had been practicing for weeks.  When we moved upstairs to postpartum and he was weighed and measured, he was a whopping 8 lbs, 13 oz and 21 1/4 inches.

My parents and other sister soon arrived with Sierra and Anya so they could meet their baby brother.  Sierra was a little hesitant about touching him or kissing him at first; she was also a little confused about whether he was the baby in my belly, in part I think because my belly was still pretty big (She asked if I had another baby in there, thanks, kid!).  Anya was so excited about the chance to hold him, and when we set her up with the Boppy she lifted up her shirt and announced she was going to feed him.

Thus began our life as a family of 5.  Welcome to the world, Liam Brandeis Friedman!

Wishing Flowers

Filed under: the day-to-day stuff — by Lauren on April 25th, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

As the weather gets nicer, the kids and I are able to go on more walks, especially in the afternoon post-nap, pre-dinner lull. Anya’s favorite activity during these walks is to yell “tweet” at the birds and then tell me she’s talking to them in bird language. Sierra’s is to pick as many yellow flowers – dandelions – as possible. I should charge the neighbors for the weeding services she provides.

Today we went in a different direction from our usual route, and we came upon a house at the corner of the block whose lawn was a veritable field of dandelions. Sierra could barely contain herself, and even Anya took a break from her bird communion to appreciate the flowers, especially when she noticed the many “wishing flowers” – what she calls the dandelion puffs. She picked one and told me she was going to make a wish (I love that she remembered this after so many months of winter!), and then blew the seeds off with all of her 4-year-old might. She told me she wished to be a princess with a mean witch who turns into a nice witch.

Sierra was intrigued by the wishing flowers and wanted to have one, too. The girls probably picked 12 between the two of them and happily blew the seeds throughout the neighborhood (There goes our weeding business). I just loved watching their pure kid joy as they watched the little puffs take to the air. I hope these are the moments they remember.

Oh, Sierra…

Filed under: the day-to-day stuff — by Lauren on April 22nd, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

Every kid is different, and I know that, but sometimes it still surprises me.   Sierra, who had been underfoot the entire time I was trying to make dinner (as she often wants to be), announced that she had to go potty again, even though I had taken her not 10 minutes before.  Already annoyed by how much she was hindering my ability to get dinner together, I told her that I was not going to take her since she had just went.  I insisted that she did not actually have to go and sent her to play.  I thought she went into the playroom.  Then a few minutes later I heard the sound of peeing and the words, “I really had to go potty.”  I went to the bathroom to find her sitting on the toiled (with no potty seat!), having pulled down her pants, gotten a stool, and climbed on by herself.  She was super proud of herself, especially because she was sitting right on the toilet like a big girl.

Anya never would have done that at this age (2 years and 4.5 months), so I was pretty shocked.  I’m not comparing them, but sometimes I forget to remember that they aren’t the same kid and that I can’t have the same expectations, both in terms of things Anya did that Sierra doesn’t do and vice versa.  I can’t wait to see what surprises Liam has in store for me!


Filed under: Anya,funny,the day-to-day stuff — by Lauren on April 12th, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

According to Anya, these signs mean “watch out for unicorns.”


Filed under: funny,Sierra,the day-to-day stuff — by Lauren on April 9th, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

Sierra wanted to know where bugs sleep. I said in the dirt or on a tree. She considered this, then asked, “Do they put blankets on theirselves?”

Liam’s 1 Month Update

Filed under: baby's progress,doctor,Liam,photos — by Lauren on April 2nd, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

Liam turned 1 month old on March 26th (and he’s already 5 weeks old as I write this).  He had his check up on Monday – 11 lbs, 3 oz and 23 1/4 inches already.  The boy is huge, but that’s not surprising given how often he eats – we’re lucky if we get to two hours between feedings.

We had a few concerns we discussed at his appointment, the first being the diaper rash we can’t get to clear up, even with the prescription cream he was given for his butt burn.  The NP said the rash looks fungal and said to use Lotrimin AF, which we did, and though it cleared up most of the little red bumps, it has not helped the most severe part of the rash.  I may bring him back this week if it doesn’t get any better.  The next thing we asked about was Liam’s continued struggle with congestion, especially at night.  We had brought him in the week before as well because he’d had some small amount of blood coming from his nose and in his spit up.  His lungs are clear; it seems he just gets a ton of post-nasal congestion.  I figured out a way to prop up his mattress a little (not that it matters too much since he ends up sleeping in my arms for much of the night anyway), and we purchased a cool mist humidifier.  We’re hoping these things will help; as the night wears on, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to be comfortable on his back, and he can’t sleep on my shoulder forever.  The third thing we discussed was the frequency and quantity of Liam’s spitting up.  Since he’s gaining weight very well, it’s not a big health concern, but it’s kind of gross, and  if there’s anything we can do to reduce it, I’m in.  We go through our entire enormous stash of burp cloths here every week.  After doing my own research and talking to someone from La Leche League a few weeks ago, I think one of the main causes is my oversupply of milk and forceful letdown, so now for most feedings I only feed him on one side, and that has helped somewhat.  Another possibility is that he has a sensitivity to something I eat – which could actually explain the spit up, the diaper rash, the congestion, how gassy he is, and his tendency to be cranky – so I’m doing a dairy elimination trial to see if it has any impact.  In some ways, I hope that’s it, because it’s an easy thing to fix, but then again, I really love cheese…

I feel that Liam is a bit of a cranky, borderline colicky baby, at least compared to how I remember Anya and Sierra being at the same age (and certainly according to what I wrote about them in their 1 month updates).  His first two weeks he was pretty content, but then it seemed like he was crying more often than not when he was awake.  He really hates being put down anywhere, even in a swing, and screams when he’s being buckled into the car seat.  In the past few days he’s been able to handle a few minutes on the playmat here and there, which has been nice.  However, Liam spends a good portion of his day being worn in a carrier.  He naps in one pretty much exclusively.

I love babywearing – I’d wear him even if he was the most content baby in the world – and definitely wouldn’t be able to get anything done without it, but it would be nice if he could handle a little more down time, too.  There are some things that would just be faster (like changing the sheets on the girls’ beds) if I didn’t have 11 lbs of baby strapped to my chest.  It’s almost like I’m still pregnant!  One thing that has improved is his tolerance for having his diaper changed – like his sisters, he would cry as soon as the diaper came off at first, but now he’ll usually like there, content to admire the lights or the rail of his changing table.

Cranky or not, I love him to bits.  I can say with certainty that Liam is by far my favorite son. 🙂

Sierra nurses her baby

Filed under: funny,Sierra,video — by Lauren on @ 8:17 pm

My Anya is all kinds of awesome

Filed under: Anya,video — by Lauren on March 29th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

Anya: “Mom, are there dots and a cloud coming from my head? Because I’m thinking.”

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