Liam Brandeis is 2 weeks old

Filed under: baby's progress,Liam — by Lauren on March 12th, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

Liam’s first two weeks have flown by, despite the deal he and I made about him staying my little baby forever. We’ve been very busy with lots of visitors, Liam’s bris, two well checks…

Lex’s parents and both of his sisters came to stay with us and meet our new little guy. They were all here for his bris, during which he was given the Hebrew name Baruch Moshe. On the subject of names, let’s discuss:

  • Liam – Lex and i just liked this one.
  • Brandeis – We wanted a name that started with B to honor the memory of my aunt Barbara, who passed away a few years ago. We chose the name Brandeis both because that’s where we went to college (and met and fell in love, of course) and because Justice Louis Brandeis happened to be a pretty great person.
  • Baruch – Again, we were looking for something that started with a B, and it has a nice meaning: Blessed.
  • Moshe – This was to honor the memory of Lex’s paternal grandfather.

Liam had his first well check at four days old. He had almost regained his birthweight and supposedly grown to 22 inches, putting him at the 75th percentile for weight and over the 97th for height. At his second well check a week later, he had grown again to 22 1/4 inches and 9 lbs, 4 oz. He’s a big boy – not surprisingly, given his voracious appetite. At his second appointment, we asked about his pretty severe diaper rash, and we were given some samples of Triple Paste with instructions to call for a prescription cream if it didn’t clear it up in a few days (it didn’t, but the prescription is awesome).

He’s a pretty sweet, content little baby who doesn’t ask for much more than to be fed and held and to have his diaper changed as fast as humanly possible because holy moly does he hate that process. He’s sleeping like a newborn – up every few hours to eat, but that’s okay, I don’t mind. I love cuddling with him. I’m not even feeling that tired. He’s pretty gassy, and sometimes that wakes him up more than being hungry. Bicycling his legs helps a lot.

Sierra is absolutely in love with Liam. She’s constantly giving him kisses and hugs, asking to hold him, saying how cute he is and how much she loves him; it’s very sweet. Anya is surprisingly not as interested in him as I thought she would be. She loves him, but is more involved in her own stuff than doting on him. I guess 4-year-olds lead very busy lives.

I have a ton of pictures to share, but I think I’ll save that for another post.

Introducing Liam Brandeis

Filed under: delivery/labor,Liam,photos — by Lauren on March 4th, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

On Saturday, February 26th at 4:27 pm, we welcomed our son Liam Brandeis into the world. He was born at exactly 39 weeks, weighing 8 lbs, 13 oz and measuring 21 1/4 inches. The full birth story will follow soon, but for now, enjoy some pictures of Liam’s birth.  Click on the thumbnails for captions and the full picture.

 

In the home stretch

Filed under: delivery/labor,doctor — by Lauren on February 24th, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

With 9 days left until my EDD, Lex and I are going to find ourselves outnumbered by our children any day now, and so I figured it was probably a good idea to get one more post in about this pregnancy before I need to start being late getting updates about Baby Boy Friedman posted to the blog!

We’re having weekly appointments at our practice now, trying to meet the remaining doctors and midwives who could possibly be on call when the big day comes. Everything has been great – I started gaining weight again, my blood pressure is always normal, my sugar levels have been fantastic (so good that I’m down to testing twice a day now, which is very nice), and the baby’s heartbeat remains nice and strong. He’s running out of room to move in there, and I’ve been somewhat worried about just how big this child is going to be, but the doctors feel that with my GD being so well controlled and the way I’ve been measuring/the way I look, he probably won’t be over 9 lbs if I go to 40 weeks. We’ll see. He feels really big.

I haven’t been feeling very well over the last week or so. Sleep is a major issue for me; I wake up several times a night now, usually for no apparent reason, but then once I’m awake I have a hard time finding a comfortable position and falling back asleep. The last few days, I’ve been finding myself very hungry in the middle of the night (but I’m not supposed to eat anything) and then of course, once I’m awake, I realize I need to go to the bathroom, and getting up makes it even harder to fall back asleep.

Another issue is that the baby keeps spinning around into a posterior position, which has been very difficult on my back. If I lie on my side for a while, I can usually get him to flip back to an anterior position, but once I start moving around again, back he goes. He’s got his head way down and often seems to be making a break for the exit, which is not a pleasant feeling. I’ve also been experiencing intense Braxton Hicks pressure for weeks now, every night, frequently as often as every 10 minutes, even as often as every 5 minutes, but since I wake up each morning still pregnant, no one is concerned. If this keeps up, I won’t know that it’s actually time to have the baby unless my water breaks or his head starts to crown.

I think we’re ready. We’ve got clothes, diapers, the car seat, and the bassinet ready to go. We’re just waiting at this point. Both of the girls were born at 39 weeks and change, so I’m very hopeful that he’ll put in his appearance some time after Saturday. Are you listening, Baby Boy? Do we have a deal?

Sierra’s first day of school

Filed under: photos,school,Sierra — by Lauren on @ 1:32 pm

Sierra started preschool on January 31st. At just a few months past her second birthday, I don’t feel that she really needs to go to school yet, but since her baby brother is going to be born any day now and I won’t be able to keep taking her to Mommy & Me classes, she’s going two mornings a week, just so that she can have some regular social interaction with children her age.

I was worried about how Sierra would do at school. She is very attached to me and, before school, had never been left with anyone other than a relative. For many weeks leading up to school, we talked about how she doesn’t have to cry because Mommy always comes back, and that some of her friends might cry, but that was okay. As we got closer to her start date, I began to feel more confident that she would be okay, but I was still worried about leaving her. Then the big day came, and when I walked her into that room of screaming 2-year-olds, the look on her face was priceless. She looked confused, almost bewildered, as if to say, “What in the world is everyone carrying on about?!?” My (little) big girl has not shed one tear in her classroom since school began, loves her teachers, and gets so excited about working on projects and going to the gym at school. I’m so proud of her!

Ready for her first day:

“Check out my awesome backpack”:


Political Humor

Filed under: funny,Sierra — by Lauren on February 4th, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

Sierra: Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Sierra: Joe Biden.
Me: Um, Joe Biden who?
Sierra: Joe Biden man! [dissolves into giggles]

I believe that is a two-year-old’s attempt at political humor.

Videos of the girls being their awesome selves

Filed under: video — by Lauren on January 26th, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

We had a hard day. Sierra is sick, I am sick, and both of us are grumpy. Anya has been a sweetie all day, but just the same, I needed to remind myself that my kids are awesome, so here’s some proof:

Sierra learned to spell her name by listening to Anya recite it:

Sierra loves dinosaurs and Diego:

Anya loves to write her name, with embellishment, of course:

Gestational Diabetes

Filed under: doctor — by Lauren on @ 4:12 pm

About 3 weeks ago, I got the results from my 3 hour glucose tolerance test, and they were not good. Two of my numbers were very high, and having two over the expected limit is the criteria for gestational diabetes. I got the call from one of the midwives at the practice, one who I had never met, and she gave me some basic information, including how to set up an appointment with a gestational diabetes counselor at the hospital, where I would learn about the diet I would now need to follow and receive a glucometer so I could test my blood sugar 4 times a day.

This did not make me happy.

No pregnant woman wants to be told she has to start watching what she eats, especially not one with a sweet tooth as strong as mine, but that part I can deal with. The weekend before I met with the GD counselor was tough because I didn’t have any idea what I could eat, but after she went over how carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels and how to balance carbs with proteins, it didn’t seem too difficult. There’s even room for minimal amounts of treats. The only thing I find very difficult is going out to eat, particularly because I don’t eat meat at non-kosher restaurants and I have to limit my fish intake because of the pregnancy anyway. It makes it hard to find high protein, low carb meals at most restaurants.

The part that has been the most upsetting for me is the need to prick my finger 4 times a day to check my sugar levels. It’s been 16 days since I received the glucometer, and even though I know on a rational level it doesn’t really hurt – there are times when I’m not even sure that I did it successfully until I see the blood – I still have an enormous amount of anxiety when it comes time to push that button. It takes me a long time to work up the nerve to do it, my palms drip with sweat, my heart races… It’s not good. I had hoped it would get easier by now, but it’s not, and knowing that I can still have 5 1/2 weeks or more of this is not helping my anxiety. I don’t know how to calm myself down and make this easier for myself.

There are other things, too. Overall, though I have an occasional off number, I’ve been doing a great job keeping my sugar levels low – I am really careful about what I eat and I started trying to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes after every meal, since exercise helps your muscles use glucose more efficiently – but I’m finding avoiding the urge to snack between meals and regular snack times tougher as the days pass. I’m hungry, even though I feel full after a meal. I’m afraid to eat anything extra for fear of messing up my levels. The risks that uncontrolled GD poses to the baby are a little scary, especially his risk of having very low blood sugar at birth and the likelihood that he will be larger than usual (like I need any help with that). I also stopped gaining any weight – I haven’t gained anything in almost 3 weeks. This still puts me at a gain of about 25 lbs for the pregnancy, which is fine, and the midwife I saw at my last appointment was not concerned about the lack of weight gain since my measurements still went up and the baby’s heartbeat was nice and strong. Because my numbers are staying under control, she got me permission from one of the doctors to reduce the number of daily tests to 3 instead of 4, which is great, though it still hasn’t lessened the anxiety for the times that I do have to test.

This just sucks. I’m trying to be positive about it, but it’s hard. I know it could be worse – I could need daily insulin injections on top of the sugar checks, I could be having a hard time controlling it (which would not be good for the baby), I could have a thousand other much worse pregnancy complications – but that doesn’t make the situation as is pleasant, and I hate the petty jealousy I feel when my pregnant friends pass their tests. I had almost no risk factors for GD, other than being over 25 years of age (the very kind midwife even said upon meeting me that I didn’t look anything like her typical GD patient), and though I wasn’t 100% surprised that the test came back positive since I had been SO thirsty, it still felt like a shock. I think I could handle it better if I didn’t have to check my sugar levels like I do, and I know that the way that I’m eating now plus the increased exercise is actually great for the baby, which is the one silver lining for me, but I’m in the last trimester of what I intend to be my last pregnancy. I want a big bowl of pasta. I want pizza. I want to have an occasional piece, not bite, of chocolate cake. I want a bagel from the bagel store (50-60 grams of carbs, ridiculous!). Oh, how I want a full glass of orange juice, especially today, since I have a bad cold.

I’m told that I’m now at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, but the GD counselor also said that given my low pre-pregnancy weight and the lack of family history of diabetes, I’m not really at a high risk. Once the baby is born, I can resume eating whatever I want. She even said that while I’m having the baby, I can drink and eat anything and not worry about it. Five and half weeks, 37 days, to go, hopefully fewer if this baby shows up around the time his sisters did. Please, please, please, don’t let this be the one that goes past his due date.

A letter to my daughters, well past each of their birthdays, because I am a flawed but loving father

Filed under: Anya,Sierra,thoughts — by Lex on January 23rd, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

Girls,

My love for you is hilariously massive. I think you two are the most adorable creatures. I’m sorry for every time I’ve had to raise my voice, and I’m especially grateful for how patient, forgiving, and lovable you two are.

Anya, you are brilliant. You ask insightful questions, you reason, you think, and you discover. And my goodness, your memory is insane. You remember things that Mommy and I forget. You’re always listening. You are affectionate, funny, and immensely entertaining. You sing pop songs and kid songs with abandon. You love your sister so much. You are a joy.

You are also impressively honest. You tell us how you feel. We know that cleaning up the playroom makes you feel bored. You say sorry — and, indeed, feel sorry — when you make a mistake. You tell the truth.

Sierra, I foolishly expected that you would be just like Anya as you grew up. You too are a joy and a wonderful person, but of course one with a personality all your own. You love to laugh, you love to be silly, and you love to do whatever the heck Anya is doing.

And oh boy do you love asking questions. We’ve evolved from the never-ending “Why?” to a series of ever more detailed “Whys” instead:

“Why did you put the plate away?”
“Why are you done eating?”
“Why aren’t you hungry anymore?”
“Why did you eat enough?”
“Why are you good at satisfying your appetite?”
“Why can’t you answer that?”

Like Anya, you love music, though your tastes are often more demanding. You love your routines — videos after nap time, stories and music always in the right order — just like your sister did at your age. You love hugs and kisses, and you love showing off how cute you are. You also love trouble, little missy, and frankly it’s kind of hilarious.

Being a parent isn’t always easy. It’s easy to take a kid to the potty one time, or two times. Sierra, when you need to go five times in 30 minutes — and indeed manage to go each time — each successive trip gets a little more annoying. But here’s the thing: Each time, you tell me how you’re a “Big girl!” Or, if you’re feeling silly, “A big monkey!” or some other animal. Each time you hug me as I help you get dressed again. And each time, your perfect little smile makes those perfect little cheeks, which end up right in front of my face, which inevitably results in lots of kisses.

And oh, those cheeks. You and Anya both have inherited your mother’s perfect, kissable, lovable cheeks. I’ve kissed your cheeks so many times, and it never gets old.

You two do, though. It’s hard to look at Anya and comprehend that just two short years ago, she was Sierra’s age, or that Sierra’s just two years shy of four. The two of you are growing up too fast, and I beg you to slow down.

At the same time, I love every new age you reach. Anya, when you get upset now, I feel like I’m pretty good at calming you down, because you can reason and understand. It’s wonderful. At the same time, though, you’re four. When you get upset because Sierra won’t pretend to read you a specific page of a book, or she won’t agree to be the Mean Witch when she’d rather be the princess, it’s again something very difficult for me to process. You are in many ways an old soul, wise and mature beyond your years, and when you act like the kid you are, it forces me to remember that while you’re already four, you’re also only four.

Sierra, as I mentioned, idolizes you. Sierra, you taught yourself to climb into your booster, to climb into your big girl bed, to do so many things that Anya inspired you to do. Yet you keep falling right out your bed in the middle of the night. And I keep trudging in there to lift you — still mostly asleep, both of us — back into your bed. Little tiny you in your big massive bed is a perfect metaphor for your whole existence right now. You are so small and so big.

I love being your daddy, girls.

I’m sorry that Mommy and I got more lax on the blogging. A lot of it is wanting to simply enjoy your amazingness as it happens, and then being too tired at the end of each day to write down all the details about it. I could write volumes about you both; you are inspiring and incredible people, and I feel lucky that I get to know you, let alone live with you and receive your love.

You make my life so much better than I ever expected it could be, and for that I owe you a lifetime of thanks. You both are going to make incredible big sisters to your baby brother in just a few short weeks.

I love you both totally and completely. Thank you for being you.

All my love,
Daddy

Duty-free

Filed under: Anya,funny — by Lauren on January 15th, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

An excerpt from our breakfast conversation this morning:

Me: I’m no longer on single-parent duty, ask Daddy.
Anya: Don’t say “duty”; that’s like poop.

Booster

Filed under: Sierra,video — by Lauren on January 12th, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

I don’t know why this amuses me, but it does.  Sierra loves to climb into her booster all by herself.

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