I had to see it to believe it

Filed under: baby's progress — by Lauren on November 30th, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

Lex and my mother have both seen Anya stand up on her own from the middle of the floor more than once over the past few weeks, but she never did it in front of me…until tonight.  All of a sudden she was able to do it over and over again, like she’s always been able to, at least until I got out the video camera, of course.  Still, it was so exciting to finally see her stand up, and she was so proud of herself, especially when she did her zombie walk across the playroom as well.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Filed under: family,photos — by Lauren on November 28th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

Today is Lex’s 27th birthday! We celebrated by showering him with presents all day, going out to dinner, and then coming back home for cake.

Look how much Anya has grown from Lex’s last birthday to this one:

I made Lex a yummy cookie ice cream cake:

We sang “Happy Birthday” to Daddy (Well, Anya just sang “Happy” and then said “More!”):

Lex blew out his candles:

Anya loved her first taste of ice cream (yes, we broke our no sugar rule to celebrate this special occasion). Overall, it was a good birthday!

Anya’s new hat

Filed under: photos — by Lauren on November 25th, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

I made Anya a new hat for winter, since she outgrew all of the ones I crocheted for her last year. This one is comically large, but it’ll certainly last the whole season, and possibly it’ll make it through next winter as well. I’m very proud of this one, since I made the pattern up myself, and not surprisingly, Anya was a BIG fan, although she wanted to play with it more than she wanted to wear it. Check out Anya’s new Elmo hat:

A conversation that only a one-year-old finds amusing

Filed under: funny — by Lauren on November 23rd, 2007 @ 12:36 am

Anya: (pauses during nursing and points to my breast with a big smile) Apple?

Me: Nooooo……

Anya: (while signing “milk”) Mih!!!

Me: Yes!

Anya: (giggles hysterically, then resumes nursing)

Repeat above exchange every 60 seconds or so for the next 5 minutes, with increased amusement each time.

Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Anya

Filed under: moments,video — by Lauren on November 22nd, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

1 Year Pictures

Filed under: baby's progress,photos — by Lauren on November 18th, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

We haven’t put up pictures in a while, so I thought I’d post the portraits we had done today. We took Anya to get her official 1 year portraits done at Target a few weeks ago, but they charge to email you the pictures and we opted not to pay for that. At some point I’ll ask my mom to scan in the one we purchased so I can post it, but since I haven’t even cut them up yet it might be a while. Today I took her to Kiddie Kandids to get her free birthday 8×10, since the coupon expired tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll do pictures again until she’s at least 18 months, if that. She really doesn’t like having her picture taken anymore. It takes her too long to warm up to the photographer, and even though she didn’t cry this time, she really didn’t want to smile. Here are the six poses we kept from the session; we chose the first one for our print:

Her hair is getting a little out of control, don’t you think? The top layers are pretty long, but there’s another layer underneath that’s still kind of short. I don’t know what to do about it, since the easy solution would be to give her bangs but I’d like to grow her hair out past that point. It’s getting hard for her to see, though. I’ve tried brushing it back, but like Anya, it’s stubborn and only wants to go in its own direction. Poor kid, I hoped she’d inherit easier to manage hair than her mom.

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, she started saying “Mommy” and “Daddy” today instead of “Mama” and “Dada” – not every time, but sometimes – and her new favorite animal sound is “Gobble, gobble” like a turkey. I haven’t taken any video since her birthday; I’ve got to either do something with the party footage or just go buy a new tape.

It’s moments like these

Filed under: moments — by Lauren on November 15th, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

I swear, this really just happened.

I was playing on the floor with Anya, and she was sitting on my lap.  I said to her, “Let’s go to sleep!” so she put her head on my shoulder and pretended to be asleep.  I pat her on the back and whispered “Aww, baby” and she started whispering “Baby baby” too.  That went back and forth a few times.  THEN she whispered “I luh loo (I love you),” turned her head, and started giving me kisses on the neck.

If I could have died and went to heaven, I would have, but then no one would have been home to watch Anya.

Growing up

Filed under: baby's progress — by Lauren on November 14th, 2007 @ 12:21 am

Oy. It became apparent to me today that Anya is on her way out of babyhood.

When I got to daycare this morning, they had a surprise for me – a transition plan to move Anya up to the Infant II room by November 27. Well, it wasn’t a real surprise, since when we had initially enrolled her we had said that she’s probably move in November, but it still threw me for a loop today. The thing I am most anxious about is how she’ll adjust to the routine, since in that room all of the kids need to be on the same schedule. They have a 2 1/2 hour block set aside for naps during the time she’ll be there, and since Anya hasn’t really napped for more than a consecutive hour since BIRTH, I think that will be a challenge. I’m sure she’ll do fine after some time passes, but I don’t expect the process of getting there to be that fun.

Back to Anya growing up – I finally put her bottles away tonight, since she hasn’t touched them since she went back to nursing full-time at around 9 1/2 months old. It was nice to free up some space in the kitchen, but when I tossed the nipples into the trash, it felt a little bittersweet. Also, in the last week she’s made a HUGE amount of progress in the walking department. She can take several steps from one object to another, though after the first few gravity propels her more than anything else. She’s still pretty tentative and balance remains an issue, but it’s leaps and bounds from where she was even at the beginning of the month – and she LOVES the cheering she gets when she tries. She’s already started saying and trying to sign “walk.”

And speaking of talking…oh, the talking. Some recent gems: Open, tunnel, cracker, down, bath, and boat. She seems to be picking up between one and five new words a day, plus she’ll try to repeat almost anything you say. She doesn’t always enunciate clearly, so it can take us a little while to figure out what she’s saying.  The signing has been very useful in that regard; it helped us figure out that she was asking for music the other day.  Context can be very important, too.  She pronounces “open” sort of like “opie” but we realized what she meant because she kept handing us things that were closed or pulling on doors when she said it.  Anya spends a lot of the day labeling everything she sees – “Tree!” “Car!” “Ball!” “Star!” “Flower!” “Elmo!” – but she’s also getting really good at making her wants and needs known. We’re working on “wait.”

I do have to admit that although it’s hard to come to grips with Anya growing up, there is an upside to her becoming a person.  She is just so much fun and SO playful.  She still loves to imitate everything – sounds, facial expressions, actions, you name it.  I taught her to pretend to sleep.  If I say let’s go to sleep, she’ll lay down on the floor and pretend to snore.  She tries to wink (using both eyes) and it’s very cute.  I think she’s starting to develop a real sense of humor; one of her running jokes is to say “more” the instant I turn the car off, and then giggle hysterically when I say no (she’s asking for more music and she knows that once I turn the car off it’s finished).  She’s got the hand motions to several songs down, her current favorite being “Itsy Bitsy Spider” – she even tries to sing along.  This evening I was amazed when she started pushing the nose on her Laugh and Learn Puppy until she got to the right song, and then started doing the hand motions before the words even started!  I can’t get enough.  I absolutely ADORE this kid.

Weaning – it’s going to be okay

Filed under: baby's progress — by Lauren on November 8th, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

Since Anya’s first birthday, we’ve been working on partially weaning her from nursing. I had initially intended to wean her completely after she turned one, but as we got closer to the time I decided to eliminate the day time feedings but continue to nurse her first thing in the morning and before bed time. I want her to keep getting the health benefits of breast milk, and I’d like to make up for some of the time when she couldn’t nurse due to the ulcerative colitis medications I was taking (go back to May 2007 if you want to relive the whole Poop Watch 2007 fiasco). I’ll probably continue this until she’s about 18 months, unless she decides she doesn’t want to nurse anymore (although if you’ve ever met Anya, you’ll know that there’s a better chance that she’ll suddenly take up sky diving or something equally ridiculous).

When she turned one, Anya was nursing 4 times a day. We started dropping the 11 am feeding first, replacing it with a snack and whole milk. Though she had no interest in drinking the milk, she made this first transition without any tantrums. On the whole, this was a good thing. I have been very emotionally torn about weaning her; part of it feels like abandoning her or pushing her to do something she’s not ready to do, but I know that there’s also a piece of me that is having a difficult time letting go, and I can’t let my own issues get in the way of doing what’s right for her.

I intended to wait a week, and then start working on the mid-afternoon feeding, but since Anya came down with a stomach bug we delayed this next step until she was better. This past Sunday we began to work on it, and the first day did not go well. It may have been because she was cranky and overdue for a nap, but she was so upset. She signed/said milk over and over again and cried big, sad tears. Lex took her from me and got her to go down for her nap, and when she woke up she was in a much better mood. I was very concerned that we were rushing her and that she just wasn’t ready, but the next 3 days went off without a hitch – and she’s been drinking whole milk in greater quantities each day.

Where we are now is where I hope we’ll be for a while. Of the morning and night time feedings, I have been most anxious about what will happen when we want to drop the morning feeding. It’s the only one that she seems extremely attached to, at least comparitively, and I have feared that it will be difficult for her to let it go.  However, this morning she had to skip it because I had a colonoscopy scheduled for today and I couldn’t nurse her due to the medication I had to take to prepare for it.  Lex and I had planned for this ahead of time; we decided that he would get her when she woke up and offer her whole milk in her sippy cup, but keep her upstairs while I stayed downstairs (I had to take the rest of the pills for the colonoscopy prep at 5:30 am anyway).  This way she wouldn’t be upset that I was there but not feeding her.  Well, it actually went surprisingly well.  The thing she was most bothered by was that I wasn’t there to say good morning to her; she kept asking for me and looking around our bedroom as though expecting that I would pop out of my hiding place any minute.  She didn’t drink a huge amount of milk, but she did accept it, and then she eagerly ate some applesauce a little later.  It’s certainly reassuring that she was fine without getting to nurse, though honestly it’s a little bittersweet for me – I have to remember that she’ll still love me and need me, even when we’re not nursing at all anymore.

Even though today was a success, I don’t think that Anya’s ready to give up breastfeeding altogether just yet.  As I was getting her dressed for bed, she saw the Boppy pillow and must have asked for milk at least 20 times.  The look of pure joy on her face when she saw me sit down with the Boppy was priceless – she practically jumped onto my lap – and for the first time in a while, she fell asleep while nursing (and I got to cut her fingernails, woohoo!).  Even after a year, there’s still something amazing about seeing the blissfully calm expression that she only gets when she nurses.  I know she’ll be alright when we’re done, but I will miss it.

Anya’s birth story

Filed under: delivery/labor — by Lauren on @ 12:54 am

Apparently I promised to post this a little over a year ago. Oh well, better late than never!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After a nerve-wracking day (see these two previous posts from October 18), Lex and I went to sleep on October 18th, probably around 11. I woke up around 1 am to make my first bathroom trip of the night. After untangling myself from my body pillow, waddling to the bathroom and back, and climbing back into bed, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I was staring up at the ceiling fan for about 10 minutes when I felt a POP! and a gush. I woke up Lex and told him my water broke (He told me later that he was actually disappointed that I didn’t say “Honey, it’s time!” as I had been jokingly claiming I would do for weeks). He had to help me get out of bed and into the bathroom; luckily only my pantsand the towel I had been sleeping on were wet. As per our OB-GYN’s instructions to call if my water broke, Lex called the doctor while I sat on the toilet. We were less than pleased to find our our least favorite doctor in the practice was on call. He said that we should make our way to the hospital, but since I wasn’t having any notable contractions yet, we didn’t need to rush. We called my parents, since my mom was coming with us and my dad needed to come get the dog. My dad was actually still on his way home from the Met game he’d gone to that night.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 3 am. We got checked in and settled into the room. Our first labor nurse was extremely nice. I really didn’t want to be hooked up to the fetal monitor even though Dr. Jerky was being insistent (despite that the other doctors in our practice had agreed I didn’t need to have continuous monitoring) and she got the doctor to agree to half an hour, just to get a baseline. Then we got some great news from the nurse – Dr. Jerky’s shift was over at 7 am, and our favorite doctor was on call for the next 24 hours! Woohoo!

The next several hours were pretty smooth. We walked up and down the hall a million times, taking occasional breaks to be hooked up to the monitor. I should have tried to rest more, but I was too amped up to sleep. I started to have some contractions, but they weren’t that intense. I actually said to Lex that if this is what labor was like, this wasn’t going to be that bad. This is probably a good time to remind everyone that Lex and I attended a Bradley Method childbirth course and were 100% committed to natural childbirth – an amusing choice for a girl who cries when she stubs her toe. I think I was in a lot of denial about what labor was going to be like, and I don’t think I was actually that prepared for the experience. Our instructor wasn’t very good; I blame her, not the method.

Sometime mid-morning I was sitting in bed, talking to my mom and Lex, when my eyes nearly popped out of my head as my water essentially broke a second time. I could not believe how much liquid had just left my body. I was sure I had either peed all over myself or that something awful had happened and there was going to be blood everywhere, but thankfully neither was true. Our second nurse of the day came in to help change the bedsheets and hook me back up to the monitor. After this the contractions got much more intense. They were coming every two minutes or less, lasting between 30 and 60 seconds. I really began to hate the monitor at this point. I didn’t want advance warning that they were coming, but my mom felt compelled to tell me every time the line began to rise.

At 1:15, Dr. McFavorite came in and did another exam. He said I was 5 cm dilated and the baby was at -3 station – not the news we were hoping for. I’d been in labor for 12 hours on 2 hours sleep, and though it had only been difficult for the last 4, I was getting tired and I was an absolute emotional and physical mess. The contractions kept getting stronger and more frequent. It felt like they were constant – maybe 30 seconds between each one. I was starting to feel like I couldn’t take it anymore, and that got Lex pretty psyched – our labor instructor had said that when it starts to feel like that, you’re usually getting pretty close. The nurse did an exam at 3 pm, and she thought I was at about 10 cm since she couldn’t really feel my cervix, so she got the doctor right away. He did his own exam and confirmed that I was still at about 5 cm, -3 station. He told the nurse that my cervix was “way up there” and you really had to reach. What pleasant imagery, right? He was also pretty concerned at this point that I hadn’t made any progress in many hours and I was having a very difficult time. Given the ultrasounds we’d had the day before, he had doubts about whether I was going to be able to get this giant baby out of my body anyway, and he felt that if I didn’t relax I wasn’t going to progress. Lex was ready to consent to a c-section right there and then, but I was holding out for a vaginal delivery. I blame the Bradley Method instructor again; she did a lot to scare us about epidurals and c-sections. Though it took a lot of convincing from Lex, my mom, Dr. McFavorite, and the nurse, I did give in and agreed to an epidural if we could continue to let me labor. I felt very guilty and was so scared that I was going to give birth to a “doped up” baby (Oh, you dumb, dumb Bradley Method lady!). I was also terrified of having a needle put into my back – that was part of my reason for choosing the Bradley Method in the first place.

Before I could have the epidural, I needed to be hooked up to an IV to have fluids – I’d only had a saline lock until this point. After about 20 minutes we were told I was ready to go. The anesthesiologist came in and announced that as per hospital policy, Lex and my mother had to leave until the epidural was in place – something that had not been told to us until then. I was extremely distressed about that since I was so scared, but our nurse promised she’d stay with me and I’d be all right. Under protest, Lex left. The anesthesiologist got me set up, told me I’d have to stay perfectly still (not an easy thing for me to do, with the contractions) and then decided I still hadn’t had enough fluids, so we had to wait 5 more VERY LONG minutes. Then she gave me a shot of something to numb the area, inserted the needle, and said I would feel the effects in just a few minutes. It didn’t hurt as much as I had feared, though I was very freaked out by the (accurate) sensation of blood dripping down my back. The staff let Lex and my mom back into the room and reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed anymore.

After the epidural kicked in, labor became a much more pleasant and I felt human again. It was a very bizarre sensation, not to be able to control my legs. I had to lift my right leg with my hands to get it to do what I wanted. We were able to have conversations, and I think I was able to sleep a tiny bit. The contractions felt like pressure, nothing more. I was able to once again marvel at how much fluid was coming out of my body constantly. I was surprised that my stomach didn’t look smaller and that there was anything left.

Around 5:30 the doctor came in and said I was up to 7 cm, so that was promising. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to push, and he assured me they would turn the epidural down enough for me to be able to feel my muscles enough to push. He came back again at 6:45 and I was now up to 8 cm, still at -3 station, though the baby’s head was molding a bit. He felt the baby’s heart rate was dropping, so they rolled me on my side, put me on an oxygen mask, and tried to stimulate her head. That seemed to help.

Nurse #3 (yes, we were on our third shift) came in to see how I was doing sometime after 7, I said I thought I probably needed to pee, but I wasn’t sure. She brought me a bedpan; I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have to ask someone to check to see if I’d peed or not. I hadn’t. She did a Foley catheter – I’m SO glad I couldn’t feel that! The doctor came back every hour or so to check, but I seemed to have stalled at 8 cm, and the baby just wasn’t dropping.

At 9:30, after examining me again and finding that I still wasn’t getting anywhere, Dr. McFavorite expressed some real concern that this might be the baby’s way of indicating that she just couldn’t fit. He didn’t think that I was going to progress without intervention. I had been in labor for 20+ hours, and he said my options were to see if Pitocin would move things along, or do an emergency c-section (I’m not sure how Dr. McFavorite is coming off here, but he was extremely supportive and caring throughout all of this). He wasn’t as concerned about her head as he was about her shoulders and stomach. He thought there was a considerable risk of me breaking her collarbone. I asked him to explain everything that would be involved in the c-section, and then he left us to discuss. After a very teary, emotional debate, Lex and I consented to the c-section. Nurse #3 and another nurse came in to prep me (shaving, a catheter that would remain in until the next day, adjusting the epidural, moving me to a gurney…). I think I cried through most of this. I’d never had major surgery before, and I was still so scared about whether the baby would be okay.

Lex went to change into scrubs while they wheeled me in. I was assured they wouldn’t start without him. Once in the operating room, I met the doctors and nurses who would assist. They set up the screen, and I was very concerned that I could see my reflection in the lights, but they promised me they would be moved. I was given an injection of a stronger anesthesia plus morphine, making me numb to my chest. The new anesthesiologist did a scratch test to see if I could feel my belly still, and I (quite hysterically) said I could and please don’t start yet! They must have tested me again and decided that since I didn’t react I couldn’t feel anything, because I suddenly became aware that things had started. Lex came in and sat by my head just after they began. I felt tugging, but not much else. Dr. McFavorite said I was about to feel a lot of pressure as they pushed the baby out, but that everything was fine. Then it felt like an elephant was sitting on my stomach. At 10:22 pm, on October 19th, 4 days before my due date, I heard an alien-like gurgling sound, and Lex turned to me, and in what will always remain in my top ten favorite memories of him, said in pure joy and wonder, “She’s here!” They said he could stand up to see her. He later told me that he got quite the view of my intestines – something he had NOT been expecting – and that Anya began her life by promptly peeing all over me.

They gave me a quick glimpse of her and then took her to be cleaned and examined. Lex stayed with her. Her APGAR scores were 8 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. She weight 8 lbs, 11 oz, and was 21 1/2 inches long – not a small girl! After she was all wrapped up they brought her around to me so I could touch her and give her a quick kiss before they brought her to the NICU for observation. Lex went with her while the doctors sewed and stapled me back together. There was discussion of that evening’s Mets game (it must have been the playoffs); I had chimed in that my dad was going to be disappointed by their pathetic loss. The doctor said to me that they were going to tilt me on my side (I think to remove the epidural needle) but they wouldn’t drop me, but as soon as they lifted me the first thing I started shrieking was “Don’t drop me, don’t drop me!”

I was taken to recovery; the two hours I spent there felt like two years. Lex came in to see me after I’d been there about an hour, and I was livid – he was supposed to stay with Anya no matter what – but they kicked him out of the NICU because he had been under the lights they had on Anya, and he had been overheating to the point of nearly passing out. He said my mom stayed by the window to watch her. He left after a few minutes, then later came back with Anya in her isolette, and we all went to the postpartum ward. After we were all situated I was finally allowed to hold her. She was SO alert – not at all dazed like the instructor from my course had said epidural babies would be. I truly thought she was beautiful, despite the head-to-toe rash she’d been born with and the puffy eyes from the antibiotic drops. She latched on right away, though it would take a few weeks for us to get the hang of nursing confidently. Her billirubin levels were 0 every single time – they kept rechecking to make sure that was right. Her blood sugar was checked a few times because of her size, but it stayed in an acceptable range. She failed the hearing test in one of her ears the first time due to lack of cooperation or something, but when the doctor retested her she passed. We were all released on four days later on her due date, and we went home to begin our brand new life together.

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