Monday, November 6, 2017

The second time

Monday, October 30, 2017, I hit 41 weeks pregnant and brought another soul down to this world. I hadn't hit true and complete misery yet, so I thought perhaps I was on my way to week 42.

Around 3 am, I woke up with what I thought to be weird stomach cramps, but by 4 am they shaped into distinct contractions. I downloaded a tracking app and tried to rest while hitting the little button every 5-7 min. They weren't too bad, and I could easily breathe through, but when I woke Jared up he suggested we go ahead and call my Grammie over to watch Echo and get ready to head in. Meanwhile the contraction app was telling me to Call! An! Ambulance! (alarmist much?) because I was regularly clocking these mildish contractions every 5 minutes.

Heaven bless my grandmother, who answered the phone completely lucid, on the second ring at 4 in the morning. She was on her way, and Jared and I puttered around, starting a load of laundry and finishing up some dishes.

Once we hit the road, I called the birth center to let them know we were on the way. Apparently I was supposed to give them an hours notice (whoops), so we sidetracked to air up the tires and grab some trail mix from the gas station. I kept contracting regularly, but I felt a little silly heading in when the contractions were so unlike the roaring pain I remembered with Echo. Around 6:15 we met the on call midwife, Brie, and she checked me (a 5 going on a 6) and left us to our own devices in our birthing room.

It's interesting how critical I can be of myself, even in the most extreme circumstances. I paced around the room, eating a banana and snacking on trail mix, slightly frustrated with how low key everything seemed. I wanted to have this baby! Or get some sleep at least, but when I lay down to rest the contractions seemed to lessen and I wasn't having that. My contractions picked up a tiny bit and my midwife suggested the tub. I lasted about 15 min before deciding it was slowing me down and hopping out. I insisted Jared try and nap since we seemed to be going nowhere fast, and tried to get out of my own head. I wanted to be in the present, focused on the experience as it was, not how I thought it should be. I had this deep feeling that this baby would be coming into the world quick, but here I was pacing back and forth with what seemed like hours and hours before me. I layed down to rest awhile, and later paced the halls of the birth center.

Every time I thought about Echo, my eyes filled with tears. We gave her a call and of course all was well at home. Around 8:15 I got what I had been hoping for and incredibly strong waves of contraction started rolling in. I held on tight to Jared and moaned through each one. At about 8:45 I got back in the tub and tried to let my body relax as they came.

In this labor, I never had a moment where I didn't think I could do it. I had a brief period of time where I certainly didn't want to do it, but I knew I could. I hit transition at about 8:30, and I saw it for just what it was. The contractions weren't stopping and I felt trapped in my body. Jared poured water on my belly during the contractions and handed me ice cold cloths in between. I wanted to run but I knew I had to face it, and that it would be over soon. I asked to be checked and my midwife assured me that once I was ready to push nothing could stop me.

She was right - 10 minutes later I felt my body bare down and push and there was nothing I could do to keep that baby from coming. I got into position and gave one tiny half-hearted push. I knew I could do this and that push disappointed me, it felt like a wasted opportunity (in hindsight - again, what the heck was I thinking?).

I remember asking the time - It was 9:45 - and thinking oh good! A baby before noon. And I'm going to eat a burrito bowl later ! (priorities) And OMG this hurts so much!!!! And one giant push later my babies head crowned! I screamed and the midwife was totally taken off guard, and I pushed once more - Cubby was here. Jared grabbed her and scooped her up and I had my beautiful daughter in my arms. She took her time and then she was there all at once, 4 pushes and done.

Lorelai screamed and screamed, and I remember immediately taking  in on her little arm rolls and chubby cheeks. Lorelai lay on my chest while I delivered the after birth and then we all made our way to the bed. She was 8 lbs 7.5 oz of squealing beautiful baby, more then two pounds heavier then her big sister had been. Bruised and banged from her fast entrance, looking like a prize fighter, and I was immediately and totally in love.

Once we got home that afternoon, Grammie brought Echo back over to meet her new sister. She was excited and obsessed and heartbroken as only a 2 year old, dethroned and sharing her mama and daddy for the first time, could be. She only told us once that she didn't want the baby, and has made it up since by bestowing about 100 kisses on her head. She loves her Cubby. She may possibly shun you if you happen to dote upon Lorelai a bit too much.



My recovery this past week has been pretty incredible. I didn't have any tears, and I actually feel like I've gotten more sleep with a newborn then I did the last month of my pregnancy (insomnia is the devil.) Lorelai is shaping up to be jolly, fat, cute as a button and a champion nurser. I also feel like loving Echo prepared me to love Lorelai in a way that's hard to explain. I appreciate having a sweet smelling newborn to hold more then ever, and I feel like that restlessness I had during labor were all heading towards these moments of contentment post-partum.

We are definitely still in the ultra newborn bliss zone over here. There has been a little drama, with Jared banished for a day to his parents with flu-like symptoms, Echo coming down with a tummy bug, and Jared locking us out of the house for an hour or so...but hey! you can't rain on our parade! Being a family of 4 seems pretty sweet so far.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ATTACK OF THE KILLER SQUIRRELS

So I wasn't actually there to witness this, but I believe the story will be told for years to come about the day Daddy and Echo went to Sea World and Echo's backpack became squirrel bait. Seriously, Jared left her little pack with the stroller, and a pack of squirrels, smelling her stash of almonds inside, commenced to ripping the bag to shreds. Bless Fjallraven, who when I emailed them, asked that I send the bag in to be either repaired or replaced. 

As this has now happened two pregnancies in a row, I am guessing it's just how the cookie crumbles for me. Right around 37-38 weeks I start to get people coming out of the woodwork and gasping YOU'RE PREGNANT WHEN ARE YOU DUE?! I try really really hard to not find this insulting, but my vain nature has a hard time letting it go. Anyway, there have been more paws on my belly and gasps over my due date (Oct 23) in the past 2 weeks then in the last 9 months.

I have shared this with many a friend, but truly with Echo I was so mystified and terrified over actually having a little human to take care of that I was content up to the very last days of pregnancy for her to live in there forever. This time, I really can't wait to have my little baby and grow our family. Being a mom to Echo has been such an amazing and sweet experience. She truly enriches my life, and I can't wait to see her as a big sister, smell that sweet baby scent, nurse, cuddle, and get to know this new little spirit. Not to mention I am WAY more uncomfortable right now then I ever was with Echo. Epsom salt (with lavendar) baths have been a game changer though - my number one new recommendation for pregnant moms. I can finally sleep again! At 39 weeks this is the last call to get your guesses in for gender. I am still thinking girl.



Echo's yeehaw face. We had a great time with friends at the Amazing Grace farm and pumpkin patch. It was insanely hot that day- we didn't even make it in to the corn maze, but if you have a toddler/younger child you should really check it out.











Friday, September 15, 2017

Rock you like a hurricane

It is shocking to me that almost 3 months can fly by in a blink.

Hurricane Irma, the wench, left us shaken but not hurt. I am super grateful we got power on quickly and none of our family was flooded out.




A couple weekends ago we took advantage of the first Saturday Free day at the Cummer Museum. Echo hated the galleries but LOVED the garden, the crafts and the kids zone. They had a huge yoga class on the lawn and she spent a full 10 minutes just observing. It really is heart breaking to think this beautiful garden was destroyed by flood waters :(.



As far as pregnancy goes, I'm just a few days from 35 weeks! This pregnancy has definitely been a bit more grueling then the last due to the summer heat and just being tired/elephantine. I think the biggest difference between a first and a second pregnancy is that with Echo, I was so terrified of ACTUALLY having a child to take care of that I was happy to swallow any discomfort and buy myself some more time. This go around I just really really want my baby. I am thinking strongly that it's a girl, but feel free to cast your votes! I'd love to hear theories.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Don't Forget

Jared leaving the house and Echo standing on the porch saying "I love you Daddy" for the first time as he set off on a solo road trip.

Telling me on the way to school that her baby doll, Peanut, was a monster, and she was going to teach her to be good. And Peanut drank Echo's milk from Echo's boobs because she was her mommy.

This weekend,  holding her in my arms while she was on the potty while she experienced her first tummy flu.

Her fixation with the feline characters and the villains in movies. Cinderella (Seeduhwata) is a story about a mean cat who tortures mice, The Rescuers is all about Madam Medusa and a nice cat named Rufus. Alice (or as Echo says = Ass) in Wonderland? That's about a weird rabbit and a funny purple cat.

Echo learning she can tell Gilligan to speak and he will bark on command for a piece of Life cereal. Echo telling me to speak, and expecting me to bark for a piece of Life cereal.

Getting a shirley temple at Sonic for a treat, and telling me "Dat good but dat spicy!" and being quite done after one sip.

The baby is my belly is a sister, most of the time, according to E.

Building Lego castles, diapering Peanut and making sure she's well wiped, playing with her taptop (fake laptop) and grooving hard to any and all music.

Laying inert on the floor, face down, hands at her side and saying "Wessle me."

Age: 2 years 5 months
Favorite foods: raisins, blueberries, chicken and rice, spaghetti
Favorite song: How Far I'll Go - Moana
Favorite color: blue



Friday, July 7, 2017

Summertime and Potty Boot Camp

Summer always signals a flight response inside of me. Florida summer and me have never been best friends, although we have made an uneasy peace over the past few years, mostly due to the fact that I try and get the heck out of dodge for at least a week or so.

Following that theme, I finally tapped in to 5 years worth of frequent flyer miles and bought myself a ticket up to Chicago. A quick girls trip to the lovely little Naperville and downtown Chicago was just what the doctor ordered- and luckily coincided with 75 degree weather. Danielle described Naperville to me as "Disneyworld"- think Main Street USA - and she ain't wrong. And while they do have a beautiful man made beach, and Portillos (I brought chocolate cake home as a carry-on souvenir for Jared because of course I did.) they do not have dynamite rolls at their sushi houses, sooooooo.....it ain't perfect. Almost but not quite.




Danielle hadn't done much city exploration, so doing the relaxed and abbreviated tourist thing was so much fun. Chicago has so much beautiful architecture, design, and FOOD so we hopped a boat tour, visited the Robbie House, checked out the Tiffany dome in the old library, went to a vintage market, and stuffed ourselves at Frontera Grill.  We also entered and failed to win the Hamilton lottery ;___;









Refreshed from my time alone, I came back to my little home on French Street and the very next weekend instituted a Potty Boot Camp. When I first told Echo that there would be no more diapers, she flipped out and tried to haul 2 foot long pack of "biapuhs" out of the giant box in was stashed in, followed by a lot of wailing. Don't worry, I caught some of it on tape. Shortly thereafter, she peed on the floor, tried to run away, slipped in her own urine puddle and fell on the air intake grate in our hallway. Non-stop fun fest at the Alexander household.


All of those things aside, she did SO great. Once she got over the shock of having her beloved diapers ripped from her, she got really in to the potty and the individual skittle reward. She filled her little sticker chart 4 days later and hasn't looked back! The potty pride is strong, I am very proud of her, even if she did become so engrossed in a story yesterday that she peed on my lap. Two has been such a precious time, so far. I love toddler Echo. She's so funny, sweet and kind.

If there is one thing I have learned as a parent of an Echo - because so much of parenting relies on the child under your care - is that any anxiety, stress, guilt or fear I am feeling as a parent is usually self induced. Echo is incredibly resilient. Every milestone we face - ditching the paci, switching from breast milk to formula, ditching the bottle, daycare, sleep training, you name it, she seems to just take it in stride. She is two, so obviously crazy moments are there (see: pee-pee puddle comedic gold), but I am almost always the one making it worse by being a stress monster or a guilt monster. I actually learned my lesson a tiny bit, and didn't rush the potty thing. I just set my expectations that yes, I would be a prisoner in my own home for 3 days, and No, we would never do day-time diapers again (naps excluded) and moved forward at my own pace, regardless of the fact that other kids were/were not potty trained completley by 18 months or whatever. Just knew I was doing my absolute best for my absolute best girl, and that perspective change really helped.

In pregnancy news, I hit the 6 month mark. Echo, and everyone else, is convinced the baby is a girl. Echo specifically say's its a baby sister named Ronnie. In fact, she asked for a baby sister with a bottle for her potty training grad gift, ans seems quite determined. Time will tell - we will find out Cubby's gender on it's birthday :).