Thursday, January 31, 2008

Baby face

Here's a picture of Meg's face, compliments of Jennifer. Her hair looks a little darker already, but she does have some blond highlights.

(Warning: The phrase anal sphincter mentioned below). Today's bili count was held steady at 18. A new complication is constipation (she had no dirty diaper yesterday), which is preventing the bilirubin from leaving her body. To check that her anal sphinchter isn't "too tight" and thus preventing bowel movements, Dr. Murphy took a gloved finger and felt inside, you know, there. The result was immediate poop and a screaming baby, but the sphincter is fine. The remedy is a suppository if no poops later today. And being that there have been none, Bjorn has stepped up to the plate and will administer the treatment. Groan on all counts, especially hers. We go back tomorrow. Hopefully the count will be down and we can move on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Heel sticks

Well, the jaundice saga continues. Bjorn took Meg back to the pediatrician's today where her bilirubin came back at 18. So we've gone from 14.5 on Monday afternoon to 17.5 on Tuesday morning. Then it was 17 at the hospital on their more accurate machine only to be 18 on his limited screening machine. The worry is that if it gets up over 20, brain damage is a worry. Great.
The good news is that the better machine confirmed it's not the really bad kind of jaundice (although apparently there is no good kind exactly). He thinks that it has plateaued, but we have to keep coming back for heel sticks and bilirubin checks until it's confirmed to be on the way down. In the meantime, we were instructed to put her in the sun as the sun helps process the bilirubin. Fortunately, it was a warmish day, about 50, so we were able to sit outside a little. It does seems strange to purposely have a five day old baby out in the sun with all the worry about sun damage, but it does seem worth it in this case.
Meanwhile, my sister was saying she hadn't seen a picture of Meg's face to get an idea who she looks like. This is a little out of focus, but it's the best straight on picture I have. I didn't realize how round her face was until I saw this picture. She does resemble Andy as a baby, but that's as far as I've gotten.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


We went to Fairfax Hospital this afternoon to have Meg's bilirubin level checked there to measure for jaundice. Apparently they have a much accurate and sophisticated way to check for the levels than the pediatrician's office. The good news is the level is now 17, down from 17.5 earlier today at the doctor's office so we don't have to admit her for the phototherapy treatment. We go back to the ped's office tomorrow for another check, but we're feeling optimistic.

Poor Meg though. She's been getting heel sticks twice a day practically since she was born. Good thing she's not having to walk anywhere.

The Birth Story, Part i

Thinking about Meg's birth, it makes most sense to break the story into three chapters. Plus, with my limited attention span, it increases the likelihood I'll finish this before she goes to middle school. Don't worry, really gory details have been omitted.

Just about every night last week, I convinced myself that I was going into labor. I would come home from work, shuffle around making dinner and doing laundry, and as I was getting ready for bed, I would notice contractions. They weren't particularly regular or painful, but they often would take my breath away briefly. I also noticed that the baby seemed to be sitting, er, down low which often would cause some shooting pain in my groin. I tried not to stress too much about it, I just went to bed figuring if it was real labor, the pain would be such that I'd know if it was real soon enough.

Friday, I went for my regular doctor's appointment. It was supposed to be the last regular appointment before operation inducement the following Wednesday. My regular OB had been out of the office and was pretty booked, but since I needed to see her before meeting her in the hospital on Wednesday, they put me on the schedule in an overflow spot of 8:30 a.m. -- way earlier than I would schedule an appointment for myself on a day I'm not working.

I went in for the exam fully expecting to hear that there was no progress. Certainly that had been the case in the weeks before. Instead this time, she announced that I was 3 centimeters dilated. When I asked what that meant, she said, "That you're going to have this baby soon." Of course, soon in OB talk doesn't mean in the next 15 minutes, it really meant sometime in the next couple of days, certainly before Wednesday. She then did a sonogram and was surprised to find that there wasn't much amniotic fluid. Apparently there were a few pockets left so no immediate cause for alarm, but based on that and the fact that I was already progressing a bit, she asked, "How would you feel about having this baby today?"

Of course, I jumped at that offer. "Great. Let's come to my office and I'll call the hospital and set you up for an induction." What we would do, she explained, was I would go in to the hospital and they would give me a little pitocin to speed the labor along. Since I was already progressing a bit, she didn't think I would need much pitocin or that it would be a particularly long labor ("Short, like eight or nine hours" which frankly seems like a long time to me). Dr. Lawson was on call that day, which was good for me since aside from my regular doctor, Dr. Bannon, I had seen Dr. Lawson almost as frequently. Dr. Lawson had just finished her residency and started at the practice about the time I found out I was pregnant so we had a good rapport. The only negative I could think of was that she's probably only 30, if you figure graduating from college at 22, medical school at 26, and four years of residency. Somehow I hadn't expected someone younger than me to be delivering my baby.

After Dr. Bannon talked to the hospital, she explained that that Friday was a busy day at Virginia Hospital Center. Apparently all the 7 a.m. inductions for that day had been pushed to noon so they couldn't take me immediately. "How would you feel about a 7 p.m. or even midnight induction?" That was even better for me, actually. It would give me a little time to talk to Bjorn, call my parents and get my affairs in order. I also had this idea that I would take a nap to rest up.

Bjorn had kept Andy with him at home while I went to my appointment with the idea that he'd meet me at her office about 9 a.m. to hand Andy off to me and he'd head in to work. Instead, I called Bjorn and we met at Chesapeake Bagel Bakery to discuss what she'd told me and what we needed to do to prepare.

After going over the particulars and calling our parents to make arrangements, we came back around to names. Bjorn had been lobbying hard to call the baby Katie. While I love the name, it would mean naming her Katherine and I wasn't sure about us having the same name. He liked Katherine Anne, I liked Elizabeth Margaret or Margaret Anne. Since Byron Andrew honors both Andy's grandfathers, I liked the idea of something to honor both grandmothers. After debating for a bit, I suggested rock, paper, scissors to make the call. He wisely suggested we table the discussion.

That day, I spent some time food shopping so that we'd have plenty to eat this week and ran to Target for last minute toiletries. I also compulsively tidied the house (not that anyone but me could tell), completed a bunch of little projects that had been bugging me, repacked my hospital bag two or three times, got stuff together for Andy since Mark and Bjorn's mother would be watching him overnight and putzed around in the baby's room. I tried to nap, but I couldn't shut my brain off so I ended up cleaning out a closet instead as I waited for it to be time.


Miss Meg has jaundice. The pediatrician seemed to think it should be "obvious" that she has a touch of yellow, but we certainly hadn't noticed. They did the heel stick and tested her blood yesterday and her count was 14, apparently 20 is the worry point so we weren't worried.

Bjorn took her back today for her follow up to spare me more heel sticking (plus I was home with Andy who naturally has a stomach bug with vomiting and diarrhea). Turns out her bilirubin level today was 17 - yes, the wrong direction. So we're off to the hospital in a bit for a more accurate test to better evaluate her levels. And if they are indeed worrisome, we have to admit her for two days while they administer light therapy. The therapy et al sounds fine, but I am not liking the idea of leaving her. In the meantime, I have her wrapped in her bassinet by the window in our bedroom hoping to get some light on her and hopefully reverse course on this.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Margaret Anne, hot off the presses. To think they said she'd be 8 1/2 pounds on the high end if she delivered on schedule. As it was, she was 8 1/3 a week early.

The happy and exhausted parents.

My mother and Meg's namesake.

Meg's other grandmother and other namesake. (To be fair, Margaret Anne is neither of their names exactly, it's more an homage to Margareta and Nancy.)

Andy meeting his new sister. Me looking like I just had a baby.

My mother's bag. You'll notice the small bottle of Dewar's in the pocket. She is a very smart lady.
The O.B. who delievered Meg. She stopped by to check on me and was so glad I took her picture when she was cleaned up and hadn't been on call for two days. And yes, I do think she's younger than me.

You guys said I could wear sweats to leave the hospital. And I did. Great decision.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We're home

It's been such a busy few days I'm not exactly where to start, but the bottom line is we're now home with a lovely baby girl we're calling Meg. Ten fingers, 10 toes and everything else seems where it should be. I can't tell who she looks like although she does seem to resemble Andy a bit when he was a baby. Her eyes are slate blue at the moment and her hair is a brown with a hint of what looks like blond tips. Some day she'll likely pay money for that shade. Labor the second time around was no walk in the park, but it was a lot shorter and generally less traumatic. My doctor believed in medication early and often so I think that made for a better experience. I'll post the full account eventually, but for now, we are home. We are happy. Life is good. I apparently need to come up with a new name for this blog though. Thoughts?
Meanwhile, please keep this little baby born on the same day as Meg in your thoughts. I can only imagine how scary that must be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Hello, Internet from Guest Poster Betsy.

I just got the great news from Bjorn that BGB has arrived.

Margaret Anne Bennett was born at 3:09 AM, starting what will hopefull not be a long trend of making her mother lose sleep. She is 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 21" long. Baby, Mommy, and the rest of the family are doing great.

As you can see, she is beautiful and looks just like her daddy.

Either that, or Bjorn should have sent me a picture.

Congratulations, family!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yes, they are staring at you

A while back, I bought a whole bunch of plastic eyes so Andy could put them on paper sacks and make puppets. It was a feeble attempt at a craft activity. Naturally, he didn't want anything to do with the project so the eyes have been safely tucked away with his crayons that he also doesn't use very often. Until now. Suddenly he is interested in coloring (especially doing connect the dots). So he got out his crayons, discovered the eyes in the bottom of the bin as he dumped out all his crayons and promptly put them all on the couch. I guess we won't be revisiting the puppet craft any time soon.

I had my doctor's appointment today and BGB is actually making a little progress. Here's hoping she comes soon, healthy and that the delivery is painless. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New games

Andy's new game is counting fire hydrants. He calls them "fire hyders" and we spend time walking or driving trying to count the ones he sees. It's quite cute except he usually loses count and asks for my count which isn't always reliable.

The other new game we have is running around in a circle in our house. It's a colonial and all the rooms on the entry level connect so when we're in the dining room, he makes a loop through the kitchen, to the hallway, through the living room and back to the dining room. Then we count how many laps he's made. I remember playing a similar game at my grandparents' house in Pecos. My grandfather proudly counted while we ran and they drank Scotch and smoked cigarettes. Nice to see some games pass from generation to generation.

We're now exactly a week away from D-day. My last day at the office will be Monday, giving me one day to get last minute affairs in order/attempt to rest before the chaos begins. That seems quite close (and it is when you look back on the past 39 weeks), but right now everything aches, it's hard to sleep and my enormous belly gets in the way when I try to do just about anything. I'm also having some serious Braxton-Hicks contractions that are distracting. I actually think they should be called constrictions because when I have them, they sort of take my breath away as it seizes my belly. It doesn't hurt per se, but it definitely catches my attention and makes me pause. It also temporarily makes me warmer than usually so I have to sort of cool down afterwards. Quite glamorous to be having hot flashes.

I did have a wonderful moment this week where I looked in my closet with glee realizing I'm this close to never wearing these maternity clothes ever, ever again. Sure, I won't be back to my old size after the delivery, but at least my clothing options will significantly increase. Best of all, pants will stay on my waist without having to be pulled up to my bra.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pregnancy brain

As if there aren't enough reasons (namely a big one pressing on my bladder) to want this pregnancy to go ahead and end, today I managed to leave my purse at Costco. Fortunately, Bjorn was calling me just as they had recovered it so he was able to swing by and pick it up not long after I left it. I was at home by then and hadn't even noticed it was missing. In my defense, it is frigid here so I was undoubtedly in a hurry to hurl my enormous self into my car where the wind chill was above 10. I do hope my memory improves after the baby comes or else in addition to my lack of muscle control making it so I can't hold the baby, I'll likely leave her somewhere, too. Good thing I will be supervised the first couple of weeks.

Nine days and 15 hours left.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Upper management

It snowed here yesterday. It was truly beautiful. We got a good 3-4 inches in Fairfax, enough that the roads were a little messy, but it never got below freezing so it wasn't so bad. We're expecting a big cold snap this weekend so it was imperative to get the driveway and sidewalks cleared before they froze solid. Bjorn and Mark spent some time clearing and Andy "helped" by holding a hoe and "digging." Apparently he did not stop talking the entire time they were working making Mark declare that he was ready for upper management since all he did was talk and not do any work.

The snow also delayed my doctor's appointment from yesterday until today. Apparently the doctor's office cancelled all their afternoon appointments with the theory that it was safer for everyone to reschedule than try to get to see them. Unfortunately, moving it to today meant I had to take Andy with me. Bad since I knew I'd actually have to take my clothes off for this one. I stressed about it, but it turns out all I needed was his Thomas catalog. When my sister sent Andy his birthday present (a cool Thomas tunnel), it came with a catalog of other Thomas items. That catalog is apparently the most interesting publication he's ever seen because he "reads" and rereads it over and over again. At my appointment, he quietly read his catalog and could barely even look up when my doctor talked to him. It ended up working out perfectly.

The other good news about the appointment is the baby seems fine and healthy as do I. The bad news is that she seems perfectly happy where she is. No movement, nada, despite my encouragement that she can go ahead and come out now. This also goes completely against my gut that was telling me the last few days that something was happening. Turns out it was just wishful thinking. Sigh.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You'll get the news, I promise

I know that waiting for this baby is like watching water boil, but rest assured I'll let you know when (if?) this baby makes her appearance. The plan is that Bjorn will send out an e-mail to my trusted blogging proxy Betsy when the time comes and she will post something here letting you know. I'm not expecting anything for a couple more weeks, but keeping my blog updated is one of the things keeping me up at night. Well, I think it has more to do with the heartburn, but this is what I think about when the heartburn refuses to let me sleep.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I do it!

We have officially reached a stage where Andy wants to do just about everything himself. "No, I do it!" is a common mantra. Unfortunately, for a lot of things, he can't quite do it himself so I have to be standing close enough for when he's ready. Sometimes he gets quite revved up about it that it sparks tears when I have the nerve to do something, like put a straw into his yogurt drink or put the jam on his toast for him. It's cute. And annoying.

And after a few successes at potty training, we're back to him not wanting to go near the potty or even talk about it. Even my bribes of chocolate, cookies, Thomas underwear and crack cocaine aren't getting any interest. The other night, I conned him into sitting on the potty before his bath. He complained his "penis is empty" so after a bit, he got in the bath where he promptly told me he was peeing. Lovely. I am trying not to push, figuring he'll let me know when he's ready, but the other side of me is thinking he's three now and it's time to get moving on this.

As for the baby, she seems quite content where she is for the time being and is wreaking havoc on my system again. I've had some nausea off and on the past week (hello old friend vomiting, I haven't missed you) and I've now got heartburn with such force that I am trying to avoid just about everything except bananas and plain toast, which doesn't seem to be making a difference. In researching possible remedies, I picked up What to Expect When You're Expecting and their answer was that heartburn can be avoided by eating healthy and not gaining much weight early in the pregnancy. What good does advice like that do me? Nothing like kicking a 9 months pregnant woman when she's down.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oh no

Yikes. Dallas just lost to the New York Giants. The GIANTS that we beat twice in the regular season. It's going to be a very long off season.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Andy

Andy had his third birthday on Friday and he proudly spent the entire day telling everyone, "I'm th-free" while trying to hold up only three fingers. We celebrated with pancakes in the morning, a few presents a 2 1/2 hour doctor's appointment for BGB while they tried to estimate how big she is/will be and with a trip to the burrito store.

Today we had his party, and by party I mean we invited his best friend Mia, her dad, my MIL, Bjorn, Mark and me. We had a Thomas cake from Giant that turned out pretty good even though I think the food coloring in the icing may have permanently stained my dining room table and teeth. I probably could have invited one more kid and his/her parents once we found out my niece had a school event preventing the rest of her family from coming to the party, but I think it turned out well anyway. Andy and Mia had fun together and the rest of us got to visit without the chaos of lots more kids.

With BGB on the way, Andy's birthday really got me thinking back to the day he was born. It's hard to believe it's been three years already. He has grown so much, physically and mentally over the past few years. I like to think I've grown a lot as a parent, too (not Bjorn, of course, he knew all this already and didn't need the refresher, he says.)

Now that we have successfully made it past Andy's birthday, BGB can officially be born now. I really wanted to get past the holidays and past Mark and Andy's birthdays. Now that those hurdles have been cleared, I am just about ready. The doctor estimates the baby is about 7-7.5 pounds now. If she gains half a pound a week until delivery roughly, that makes her 8.5-9 pounds. That seems quite big to me, but it's probably not so big I can't at least attempt a normal delivery. Not that a normal delivery is on my list of favorite things to do, but I hear the second one is usually much faster and somewhat easier than the first and having endured the longer version, I'll sign up for the shorter one in the hopes that it makes my recovery easier, too.
The detailed sonogram was very cool although the baby is big enough now that she doesn't fit on one screen so it's hard to really see that it looks like a baby because they could only focus on a few body parts at a time. The good news is the brain and heart as well as kidneys and bladder all look good, flowing the right ways and in the right places. The only reason it took so long as she was being modest with her hands on her chest so they couldn't get a good look at the heart.
Oddly, the best part of the whole visit was on our way out, an older lady who had been riding on the elevator with us stopped to talk. She asked Andy how old he was and then told me she'd never seen a three year old with such an extensive vocabulary. Sure, I have no idea who this nice, red-haired older woman is. She could have been escaping the dementia ward at the hospital for all I know, but who cares! She thinks my kid is a genius and you just don't get enough of that.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dress up

Naked drummer boy, complete with towel/cape.

Andy in his pajamas wearing his hat and his backpack, fully loaded with Mutt, Jeff and Steve.

I had a theory that girls are more interested than boys in playing dress up. This based on a few get togethers lately where the girls couldn't wait to take their clothes off and start dressing like Cindarella while the boys found something to break. Then Andy went and proved me wrong. Turns out he likes dress up, just not into a fairy princess. This kid cracks me up.

So it's officially less than three weeks until BGB makes her appearance. That makes me about 37 weeks, which makes me pretty much full term, meaning I can burst at any time now. I'm conflicted hour by hour on wanting this baby out now, now, NOW and figuring she's fine in there/who the hell said I was going to be capable of this? The hospital bag is now (mostly) packed. I struggled with clothes to pack for myself. They say to pack what you wore at 6 months, but I can't remember what I wore last week, much less two months ago. So I have over-packed and probably the wrong things. If only it were PC to wear sweats home from the hospital.
I think I have all the baby gear lined up, too. My office threw me a surprise shower and the folks in my department kindly gave me separate gifts of clothes so between that, Andy's old stuff and what my mom got me a few weeks ago, we're looking good (where it's all going to go is another story). Sure, it looks like a bottle of Pepto threw up all over the baby's room, but it's just so cute! Bjorn is horrified. I still haven't rented a breast pump. Soon. Promise.
What I have been surprised by is how much this kid can kick and move around when she wants to. I swear sometimes it feels like she's just going to kick hard and punch through the skin. She is also safely head down at this point. That means she's gearing up for her eventually exit. It also means when she kicks hard or stretches just right, she can really wallop some discomfort down below. It's to the point that if she's really getting me just right, I have to change my position.
We keep reading books to Andy about the new baby and he is generally happy about it. He does refer to her as "my baby" which is pretty adorable with that toddler speech impediment. We also talk about the things he can do that she can't, like she won't be able to watch the DVD in the new car (that seemed to make him feel big and proud). However, she will get to drink out of a bottle. It's going to be interesting to see how this goes.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Let him eat cake

Andy turns three this Friday. I had been going around and around about having a party, and ultimately we've (well, me) decided on a family party with the addition of Andy's good friend Mia and her dad. I really debated doing something more interesting with several of his friends, but since kids this age have to bring their parents (and possibly other siblings), inviting even five kids along with family ended up being a pretty big crowd. Frankly, a bigger crowd that I feel like entertaining at 37 weeks pregnant.

I have been looking around for cakes and it turns out they sell them at Giant. How cool does that cake look? Andy is going to love it.

In other news, I have officially put BGB on the wait list for a daycare affiliated with Andy's school. Andy's school doesn't start until age two, but this one starts at 6 weeks. It's right around the corner and since they're affiliated, we would jump to the top of the list and get a discount on registration. I have no idea if we'll go that way at all, but it does feel nice to have something else checked off the list, just in case.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Target practice

When my mom was here, we went shopping at Babies R Us and among the loot, Mom picked up some Piddlers, which are designed to be toilet training target practice. I moved them to the upstairs bathroom and put one in the potty for Andy. He still sits to pee (we'll worry about standing up later) so instead of it being a target, the game is to make it float. The exciting thing is that it has proved to be an incentive and he's actually peed on the potty 4-5 times this week. (His older brother, Mark, who turned 19 today, also likes to use these and I only know because flushing the toilet is not his strong suit. I know, ew. We tease him about it.)

Andy's usually is successful on the potty in the evening, either before or after his bath. Our attempts in the morning have been less successful. We're thinking we are going to just have to wake him up when we get up and get him to the toilet before he has a chance to go in his diaper. I think we're a ways off from being potty trained and I certainly don't intend to spend a ton of time on it since the new baby will likely cause some regression, but progress is still progress.

Andy has generally been darling this week. I try to remember to talk about him when he's being great and not just when he's making me insane. We had a host of parties the last week and he was a good sport at each and played nicely (mostly) with the other kids. Even tonight, Liz and I went to dinner and he managed to eat and entertain himself nicely with some blocks afterwards so Liz and I got a chance to really catch up. That is a pretty rare occurrence. It would figure that he's becoming better in social situations just in time for us to ruin it with a new baby.

Speaking of the new baby, I am now on to weekly doctor's visits. It's a good sign that I'm getting closer, but it also sparks the return of physical exams. I suppose it's just getting me ready for labor and delivery where I'll be flashing dozens of strangers. The good news is that everything with me and the baby look good, the bad news is that 25 days out, she looks perfectly comfortable where she is. I'm generally getting tired of this pregnancy business. My clumsiness has reached new heights. I probably spill a drink of water a day (I try to stick to water as it's easier to clean) and last night I moved too fast off the bed and smacked my knee, hard, as I fell on the floor. I do hope my balance and coordination return shortly after delivery or this kid may need to wear a helmet to survive.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The dark side

We have officially gone to the dark side. We bought a minivan yesterday. Sure, it's really roomy inside with seating for 7-8 and room for car seats in the middle row and the third row (the reason that the Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Highlander were taken off the list). It's also got sliding doors that are great for getting kids in and out and a huge back space behind the third row so I can have the seats up and my stroller et al in the back.

It also turns out the model we got comes with a DVD player, sunroof, leather seats and heated front seats, making it by far the nicest car either of us has ever thought about owning. Still, it IS a minivan. Scary to think that by the end of the month, I will own a house in a suburbs, two kids (a boy and a girl, naturally) and a minivan. Suddenly I'm starting to look like an adult. Yikes.