Today marked day 1 of our "new normal" around here. All of my family members are back at their respective homes and Brent was back at work. It was just me and the kids here all day. I admit the day did not pass tear-free. I had high hopes for at least a short nap after a rough night last night, and it was looking promising when I had Eli fed before Lydia went down and she didn't throw a fit about naptime. I was SO close to having Eli asleep in his bouncy chair and could see my nap on the horizon... but fate would not have it. Lydia slept well (got to give her credit there), but Eli continued to fight it. I'd get him so close to being out, or so I would think, and then his eyes would pop open, he'd start to squirm, and we'd be back to square one. Why oh why must kids fight sleep so much?!

This attempted sleep continued until it'd been a couple of hours since he last ate and I decided to give up and just feed him instead of fighting to get him to sleep. Brent was home for lunch by that point anyway, so I took the boy downstairs and fed him... and cried over my failed attempt at getting some rest. Of course, he eventually settled down and slept. Just in time for Lydia to wake up. *sigh* But his long nap did allow me some time with Lydia and a chance to get some laundry done.

All in all I feel we survived the start of our new normal okay. I know each day will come with new ups and downs, but such is the life of a parent. It's definitely feeling a little overwhelming and I still don't know how I will ever get much done, but ultimately I'm glad we are moving forward. It was SO nice to have the help I have had for the past 3 weeks. I can't thank my mom enough for all she did for us! But I think it will be good for us, Lydia especially, to get back to a sense of normalcy. It's got to be hard for a not-yet-two-year-old to adjust when things are still changing on her. Now I feel like we can get back to her routine and she can better adjust to life with her little brother.

At the same time, I do recall how quickly life with a baby changes. When Lydia was this little, I remember that as soon as I felt like we were at a point of calling something "normal" she would change and we'd be adjusting again. Eli will do the same thing to us. Before I know it he will have a completely different schedule and completely different needs than he has right now. I can hardly believe he's going to be a month old this weekend. Wasn't I just pregnant yesterday?? Oh how time flies...

So here's to our new normal... and the next normal after that, and the one after that, and the many more we have to come. I can't say life is boring anymore!
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Life is definitely different with two kids, but I feel like it was all "normal" the instant we came home from the hospital. But maybe that's because it hasn't been too hard with all the extra help.

Brent has been off work since Eli was born until yesterday. My mom & dad came up this past weekend and Mom is staying all this week to help out. It is SO nice to have extra hands around to keep Lydia occupied while I tend to Eli. I'm a little nervous about how things will work out when it's just me with the two of them! It has also been helpful to have someone else around so I can get a break and get some extra sleep if needed. Most nights have been pretty good and Eli has often only been up once in the middle of the night to eat. It is great to only feed him once between 11pm and 7am, but I admit I wish the process was a little faster. It seemed Lydia was always a very quick eater - we'd be done within 15 or 20 minutes. But Eli takes his time more than she did. He'll get through half his meal in 15 minutes or so, then we'll have to do a diaper change (because he poops like a madman), then it's another 15 or 20 minutes of eating, finishing up with possibly another diaper change, burping, and trying to get him settled in. The entire process can easily take a one hour chunk out of my night. But I'm not complaining! I know it could be much much worse and I also know that he will likely get faster as he gets older.

Last Friday we had Eli's one week checkup. If I recall correctly, they mostly aim for babies to be at or a little past their birth weight at this appointment. My boy? He was up 10 ounces... weighing in at 9lb 8oz! The doctor even commented that he didn't need to ask me how feeding was going, he could tell! He was measured at 21 inches long... actually less than they had him down for at birth, but they guess that's due to cone-head. Either way he landed in the 90th percentile for both weight and length. 50th %ile for head size. Everything looked great at the checkup and the doctor kept saying he looked perfect. He's strong and has good reflexes. So fun to see him grow!

I'll be taking him to MOPS with me this week. Looking forward to showing him off and thankful that my mom will be here to stay with Lydia. So far Lydia has not made it through an entire MOPS meeting for the year. I always have to go get her before we are done. So I'm looking forward to sitting in there the whole time with my little man this week!
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Before the memories get too foggy, I need to document my sweet Eli's birth story! So here goes...

As mentioned before, my 37 week checkup had me excited thinking that my son may arrive ahead of schedule. So naturally I was anxious to see the doctor on November 3rd for my 38 week appointment. I was really hoping we'd see lots of progress and have a better idea when he might make his debut. But try as I might not to be disappointed, I admit I was pretty bummed when my doctor said I was the same as I had been the week before. No more progress made despite the fact that I'd been having quite a few contractions that morning (strong, but 10-20 min apart and had stopped by late morning). The doctor did however offer me the option to induce that weekend (the 6th/7th) if I wanted to. It was the only time she would personally be available for the birth, otherwise I would have some other doctor in the practice.

I went home after the appointment and spent the rest of the morning into the afternoon stressing over this decision. It wasn't my first choice to get an induction, but with a toddler to deal with and my mother having a 3+ hour drive to get here, I was considering the option. I couldn't come up with a decision, and Brent thought we should go ahead and take the induction on the 6th, so ultimately I figured that would be the conclusion. I called my mom and coordinated with her under the assumption that we'd be telling my doctor to schedule me to be induced on Saturday.

The rest of the afternoon continued as usual until around 4:00 when I started to feel contractions again. This time they felt even stronger than they had that morning, but were still far apart. I sent a text to Brent & my mom just telling them fyi the contractions were back and around 9 min apart. No need to take action at that point, I thought. I tried to get up and keep busy around the house knowing that activity often slows down or stops false labor, but by 5:30 the contractions were ranging from 4 to 6 minutes apart and getting stronger. Fearing he'd be delivering this baby on the side of the road if we didn't act fast, Brent went into action mode. He ordered a pizza and called his sister while I went to take a shower (still wondering if this was truly the "real thing"). I then called my mom and told her we'd probably be heading to the hospital and she could either wait until we knew if we'd be admitted or could just start driving this way. She opted to hit the road!

We ate dinner, got Lydia fed, and packed up the remaining items to be brought with us to the hospital. I was driving Brent crazy by not hurrying as much as he wanted, but I was trying to make sure Lydia was set for the night and into the morning if necessary. We left the house around 6:30 with contractions still around 5 minutes apart and some of them quite painful (hard to talk through). Though these didn't seem to hurt my back as much as they did with Lydia.

After some difficulty getting to Labor & Delivery (lots of areas of the hospital under construction meant that we had to enter through Emergency and get taken on a long walk to the other side to get there) I was in triage by 7. The nurse went through a whole long list of questions and ultimately said she wasn't sure what the doctor would do if they didn't think I was in active labor yet. My chart had two due dates on it: November 13 (based on LMP) and November 5 (based on the ultrasound). Neither had been specified as the ultimate one to go by. But we were told that they could not legally induce labor before 39 weeks, meaning if I wasn't in active labor and the doctor went by the 13th as the due date I might get sent home. In the end that didn't matter much because when they checked me at 7:30 I was 3cm dilated. The doctor (Dr. Neuhoff) said that if I had been at 1 just that morning and was at 3 now, things were progressing and she would keep me there.

By 8:00 we were settled into a delivery room watching Survivor while the RN (Renee) continued to ask more questions and get IV's and monitors hooked up. They did not give me pitocin and said we would wait and see how things progressed on their own, especially after they break my water. The doctor was busy with another delivery, though, so we kept being told she'd be in to break my water soon and then it'd feel like we waited forever. Around 9:30 the anesthesiologist came in to see if I wanted an epidural. My plan had been to wait until after they broke my water since I wasn't in too much pain at this point, but the anesthesiologist said he was called down to help with surgery and wouldn't know when he might come back to L&D. Not particularly wanting to risk not being able to get the epi later, we had him go ahead and do it. The procedure seemed more uncomfortable than I remember it being the first time, but ultimately it did the job.

Just after that was done the doctor came in to check my progress and break my water. I was at 4cm at 9:35pm when that was done. Eli's head was in a position such that he was plugging the hole as they tried to break the water, so it took a little while but it finally broke and we continued on. Brent hooked up the laptop and we watched the movie Yes Man as we waited. At 11:50pm I was up to 6cm, and when checked at 1:45am was unfortunately still at 6. I'd been lying on my right side to watch the movie and they said Eli's head was in a bad position for dropping into place, so we switched to my left side and put my leg up to help him reposition. I was feeling the contractions a bit more due to the epidural meds pooling on my right side, but still didn't feel pressure to push at this point.

We decided to try to get some rest while we waited, and I might have dozed off for a brief minute here and there, but my blood pressure monitor kept going off and beeping until the nurse would come adjust it. The second or third time this happened (2:55am), the nurse was adjusting Eli's monitors when I started to feel pressure. I told Renee and she asked if I wanted her to check me again. I said she could if she wanted, not really feeling confident that I needed a check, but she immediately exclaimed that it was time, I was at 10! She hurried around the room constantly telling me "don't push... don't push..." It almost made me laugh because I wasn't feeling THAT urgent a need to push. In fact, I was slightly afraid they'd go to all the trouble to get ready to deliver and then see that it wasn't really time.

Less than 20 minutes later (3:11am) there were 4 or 5 doctors/nurses/med students at the end of my bed talking me through pushes. I still never felt the strong urge to push, but I knew how I needed to do it and did my best to get in 3 good pushes with each contraction. Three contractions and 7 minutes later, Eli Anthony arrived at 3:18am on Thursday November 4th! I heard them say he had the cord around his neck, but they quickly unwrapped it without a fuss. He was much more purple than Lydia had been (she was unusually pink for a newborn) and had some bruising on his head from how he'd had to shift to get into position, but he was perfect. Tears welled up when I heard his first little cries, but he didn't cry for long. They put him on my stomach to clean him up (where he promptly peed all over me), then we cuddled and nursed. This was when I knew my son would be ALL boy... he snuggled up against me eating... and farting! Yes, my son wasted no time getting around to peeing, eating, and farting. Haha!

He weighed in at a whopping 8lb 14oz. The doctor knew he was big and had even commented that she didn't want to go too far away because she wanted to know how big he was! He's tall too. They measured him at 21.5 inches and said he has big feet too! Going to be tall and strong like his daddy, I bet.

Being the middle of the night we didn't have too many visitors right away. Tom & Rita came in to hold the little guy, but that was it for then. It seemed to take forever for the nurses to finish everything they needed to do. Finally at 5:20am we were moved to our recovery room. More nurses reviewed necessary paper work with us (while we struggled to stay awake enough to at least nod like we were listening) and by around 6 we were attempting to get some rest. I still couldn't believe that not long before I'd been stressing over the option to induce and it didn't even matter. Eli had his own agenda!

We only stayed in the hospital one more night and headed home Friday evening. Lydia had not been very enthusiastic about seeing Mommy in the hospital and I was anxious to get home to be with her and adjusting to life with our new little man.

Nine months of waiting (more if you count the time trying to get pregnant) all wraps up with 7 minutes of pushing and the first sweet cries of my firstborn son. It seems funny how quickly things can change. The waiting seems eternal and then in a flash it is done.

Eli is 11 days old today and I have loved every bit of it thus far. He is SUCH a good baby! He eats well and sleeps well and hardly ever cries. I can already tell that he is laid back. Lydia took a little bit of time to warm up to him, but she loves him now and gives him plenty of kisses. I am so in love with my family of four!

Eli - Words can't express how happy I am to have you in my life. It is such a joy to hold you in my arms at last. I love looking into your bright eyes when you are awake, and watching you peacefully sleep too. You are going to be a spectacular little man, I can already tell. Though the time is already flying by faster than I'd like, I'm so excited to watch you grow. I love you SO much! Welcome home, little buddy.
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Eli Anthony arrived early in the morning on November 4th. He weighed in at a hefty 8lb 14oz! I love my big boy! There will be more updates to come and pictures I'm sure. But I've been enjoying the time with my new family of 4 rather than being on the computer. Just wanted to let everyone know that my son is here at last!