Thursday, February 28, 2008

Girly parts

After three years of changing diapers on a boy, I must admit that looking at a little girl naked looks very strange. Boy parts are just so obvious somehow - nothing hidden, it's all out there. With Meg, it has taken me a little while to get used to her diaper because I hate to, you know, invade her privacy. Somehow it seemed natural to invade the privacy of a boy, but you know how girls are. God, the gender stereotyping starts at hour one. I did ask my pediatrician about what to clean, just to make sure. Her answer (if you're curious) was just to clean the poop and leave the girl parts alone unless there is poop there. Makes sense.

What is also startling about changing a girl is when she pees on the table. Penises just shoot at you so it has taken me by surprise several times when she has peed on the table. "Hey, that's weird. What's all that water? Hey..." She's done this every couple of days since birth and it STILL surprises me.

Speaking of girl parts, Andy is fascinated with my "bleasts." When I'm nursing Meg or pumping, he really wants to come and stare at my chest. I am trying to play it cool and use real terms in the hopes he'll leave me alone, but I'll admit, as natural as it is, I do find it a little creepy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Meg at three weeks.

Andy at three weeks.

Think these kids are related with the same spiky hair, nose, scowl and pointy chin (not to mention same blanket)? It will be interesting to see how much they look like each other when they get older.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Andy and Madeline holding Meg, who seems less than impressed with them.
Meg crying where you can clearly see her awesome hair.

Andy swimming in the bathtub. The water is milky because he likes to liberally use the Ivory soap.

Look how big that belly is getting! I love it.

One month

Meg is four weeks today. It's hard to believe how far we've come in just a month. The big thing this week is that she has woken up. She is now having longer stretches of being awake. It's really neat watching her observe the world (well, the world within 12 inches). She's not smiling back yet, but she's definitely testing out how to smile. Now if her awake periods would also translate into longer sleeping, we'd be all set.

The big drama last week was she had a couple of days of being really fussy/gassy. After talking with Maria who is helping us as nights, she diagnosed the problem as broccoli I had eaten earlier. I never eat broccoli, but it was in a casserole someone brought by (I love that people bring food. What a great gift! Now if I could just keep the big boys from eating is all.) After the broccoli episode on Thursday, Meg had a much better day on Friday. Serves me right for eating something green.

In the past month, I've gotten better about handling two kids at once. I marvel to think how really big families with five plus kids handle things because two just seems overwhelming sometimes. I slowly figuring out how to prioritize when both kids desperately (it seems) need something.

I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do about daycare and work. I have Meg tentatively down for a spot at a school affiliated with Andy's. I really liked the baby room, but the downside is it's a separate facility a 1/2 mile away meaning I'd have to make two separate stops. Not the end of the world, but not ideal. They also don't have a spot available until June when I really need something in May. Some soccer friends take their kids to a KinderCare around the corner and really like it (one family likes it so much they commute from Mt. Vernon to Burke every day). The downside there is that of the four kids we know who go there, they are aged four and two so Andy wouldn't walk in with friends in his class. The upside is it's really close to the house. I also want to investigate some in home care and possibly even a nanny. I would worry that Andy would be bored staying home with someone and the baby all day, but if it were the right person with the right outlook (and price), I would be persuaded.

Of course, in my sleep deprivation/getting through the day sane mode, I haven't followed up on any of this. Or scheduled Meg's six week check-up. Or scheduled my own six week check-up. Next week, hopefully.

Picture is of Andy's new house in the backyard, compliments of a neighbor who gave us first dibs before she offered it on Freecycle. We also ended up with a big plastic slide adding to the menagerie of plastic objects in our backyard.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Growth spurt

Meg is going through a growth spurt apparently. Either that or she's decided eating non-stop is a fun way to keep her parents up all night. I swear yesterday I was trapped under a 10 pound child for most of the day while she ate and ate and ate and I was prevented from getting anything done, like eating dinner or going to the bathroom (or even picking up the floor as you can see in the picture). Cheeky little girl. She's also decided to become more alert, which is great except when it's been three hours and I'm really ready for her to go ahead and sleep already because I'm tired.

In her alert periods, I'm trying to remember what to do with an awake infant other than carry her around all day (her preference, not my back's). It turns out she likes her mobile and her little occasionally crossed eyes can now follow the animals for a bit. Andy also really likes the mobile and always wants to climb into the crib with her. Bjorn (foolishly, in my mind) taught him now to put his feet into the slats of the crib so now he knows how to do it. I am already envisioning a time when we move her to her crib full-time when he climbs in when we're not around and either hurts her while trying to hug her or falls out of the crib and cracks open his head. Yes, I do worry a lot.

Andy has generally been good about Meg, but I'm finding that if I am stuck nursing her for an hour in the evening, he finds that to be a great time to play with the electrical outlets or other off limit item despite my ever louder chorus of, "Andy, leave that alone. ANDY, put that down! I mean it, NOW, do you want to sit in time out? Please, I beg you, Mommy is stuck, just put that down already."

Meanwhile, keep this little baby who is exactly the same age as Meg in your thoughts. She's undergoing another surgery today. Yikes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Bjorn and Meg in the middle of a much needed cat nap.

Meg trying to bust a move. Her movements are still pretty herky jerky so when she is under the mobile, she looks startled most of the time.

The chart in the bathroom. For every five pee stickers, he gets a piece of chocolate. We've upped the ante to a piece of candy for each successful poop since he has yet to earn one.

Andy's hot Thomas the Tank Engine underpants. Notice the green motif, complete with green sippy cup with matching green top. It is clearly his favorite color .

Having my hands full all the time these days, I'm having a hard time finding time to find my camera and then get the pictures uploaded. At least I'm taking the pictures. That may change as Meg gets more mobile and I have to spend more time chasing her around.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Potty training

We're working on potty training -- just what I need when my hands are newly full, but it's a step in the right direction that Andy is finally interested. For the past few days, he has been occasionally wearing underwear at home. The rub is that we have to bug him every 15 minutes to see if he has to go on the potty, but after enough prompting, he's been going. He now proudly stands on a stool in front of the toilet and pees standing up "like Daddy." It's real progress on the potty training front, but I'm finding it challenging to have a baby attached to my boob in one hand and helping Andy pull up and down his pants. I have a new appreciation for the phrase/word multi-tasking, that's for sure.

Andy had his three year check-up with the doctor yesterday. He weighs 33 pounds and is 37 3/4 inches tall, 75th percentile for weight and 50th for height. He passed all the motor skills and language challenges Dr. Staats posed him (as he flirted with her by showing his gymnastic moves while wearing only a pull-up and his green socks). They also asked him to pee in a cup. It seemed like an odd challenge to a kid who can't regularly pee in the toilet, but I took him into the bathroom and he surprised me by performing. Now, naturally after getting so much praise, he wants to pee in a cup at home, too. They also screened him for anemia and cholesterol. I was surprised by the cholesterol test, but apparently some kids have bad diets and need the early monitoring. He passed both tests with flying colors, scoring a 95 on the cholesterol test (under 150 is considered good, apparently).

To no surprise, Meg's sleeping continues to be a challenge. I actually don't mind getting up to do a super early morning feeding, it's when she refuses to go back to sleep afterwards that I wish I were dead. The smartest thing I have done this time around is hire a night nanny to come twice a week to help out. A friend recommended a woman who is a full-time nanny during the week, but who loves babies so she picks up some evening work taking care of newborns overnight. Maria has only been twice, but it's amazing the difference is makes to know that twice a week, I'll get a good night's sleep. Maria will give Meg one of the feedings and then wake me for the second so my boobs don't explode. She'll also do all the changing and rocking back to sleep. She's not cheap, but I figure my sanity is worth it. If only I were Christina Aguilera and could afford a 24/7 baby nurse. No wonder these silly celebrities talk about loving having a newborn since they have help that takes care of the baby while they go to premieres along with a personal trainer and chef.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On my own

This has been my first week on my own without my mom or Bjorn home to help. It's definitely proved challenging handling having two kids at once, especially as I struggle to remember all this new baby stuff all over again. I think we're getting there though. I am finding it almost impossible to sleep when the baby sleeps though as by the time I've finally got her to a nap point in the afternoon, it's time to pick Andy up from school. And naturally, during the day I get almost nothing done around the house except maybe loading or unloading the dishwasher and maybe a load of laundry.

Speaking of sleeping, Meg is waking up at least three times a night lately and sometimes more. The hardest is when I get up to feed her and then she doesn't want to go back to sleep after that. Bjorn has been a big help on that front as a few times I've had to hand her off after an hour or more trying to get her down. He's done the same a few times after he's gotten up to give her a bottle and then had her refuse to go back to sleep. We're working on trying to find some pattern to the madness, but every night is a new and different challenge, that's for sure.

Despite the sleep deprivation and maniacal crying she gives in the car periodically, it has been really special having a new baby again. She still has that new baby smell in her hair (which is sticking straight up after her bath earlier this week) and I just love it when she sleeps on my chest. She's not officially smiling back yet, but she's been flashing me a few test smiles and they do make up for a lot, like her tendancy to pee on the diaper table just after I've put on a new diaper and outfit.

Andy seems to have hit a growth spurt in his language development, which is good and bad. His new favorite word is "why" which accompanies just about every conversation. He has also developed some more advanced reasoning. He now tries to negotiate if he's not getting what he wants and even tries going to Dad if Mom doesn't work. Again, also good and bad. The hardest part of where he is right now is that he's getting stingy with the hugs. I almost have to tackle him to get a hug out of him these days. Little bugger.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Just a terribly cute picture of Andy.

A cute picture of my mother with two of her grandchildren.

The mobile Andy had is broken so I bought a new one from Tiny Luv that Andy adores more than Meg. He insisted on getting in the crib to listen to it.

Precious darling sleeping baby. Too bad she doesn't feel like sleeping at night these days.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Big brother update

Everyone keeps asking how Andy is doing with this whole big brother nonsense. So far (knock on wood), he seems pretty good. He hasn't really complained that I've been busy with Meg and generally any brattiness seems to be related to being three and not necessarily to the new addition to the house. Of course, I must caveat this by saying there have been a lot of people around to pay attention to Andy. The first week and a half, Bjorn was home and then my mother came to help for five days so there have been extra hands to help Andy feel loved. It hasn't hurt that a lot of my friends and relatives have been kind enough to bring big brother presents for Andy so the big brother business has sure come with some perks for him.

Next week is the first real test as Bjorn will be at work and I'll be on my own. I think I'm up for it. At least I hope so. I can handle Meg (more or less) by myself during the day, but the evenings when it's me and both kids by myself are going to be interesting. The good news for Andy is he'll probably get to watch a lot more Thomas and Little Einsteins in the evenings when I have to tend to Meg or attempt to put some dinner on the table.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Breaking news

I can now fit into my fat jeans. I won't disclose the size, but they are real jeans with a real waist complete with belt loops and a zipper. I can't tell you how great it feels to now be wearing stretchy maternity clothes any longer. Of course, I have only one pair of jeans like this so I may instead be wearing these every day.

Bjorn has gone back to work and my mother is here helping. It's so wonderful having her here to help ease into having two kids. It's going to be very strange next week when I'm on my own with both kids when Andy is home from school and Bjorn is still at work.
Andy is tolerating Meg pretty well these days and generally seems pretty interested in her. It will be different once it's just the two of us and his needs have to take a backseat.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Birth Story, Part ii

We showed up at the hospital at exactly 7:02 p.m. I know this because I still have the parking garage ticket since they don't charge to exit on weekends. We proceeded to the labor and delivery floor, complete with me waddling and Bjorn carrying my bag and two pillows with distinctive pillowcases so there would be no mistaking they belonged to us and not the hospital. It was shift change time so there were about a dozen young, prettish nurses going over charts at the check in desk. After quickly registering, we were taken to room 3, a big room with a window with blinds, camoflaguing the fact that the windows overlook the lobby of the building.

We soon met our fabulous L&D nurse Kelly who would spend the next 12 hours getting to know us really well. I changed into my gown, which naturally made me look thin and svelte. Kelly then spent the next hour going over my medical history and forms for us to sign. She also got me hooked up to an IV and generally got me prepped for my doctor who came in about 8:30 p.m. We chatted for a bit and she gave me a painful exam. She deemed that I was only 2-3 centimeters dialated, not the 3-4 that my other doctor had declared me just that morning, but I wasn't too surprised as I'd heard from friends that my first doctor is a little generous with the centimeters. She then hooked me up to a little pitocin to help get labor started for real.

The contractions started off quite mild so we watched some bad TV, cursing the writer's strike and the fact that is was a Friday night so there wasn't even a college basketball game on to mindlessly watch. After about an hour, my doctor came back in, performed another painful exam and declared me officially at 3 cm dialated. She offered the epidural then, saying it would take about 20-30 minutes to page the anesthesiologist and get one in place once I called for it. By then, they had upped the pitocin a bit so it was starting to feel less comfortable and I could imagine how it would be in an hour so I asked for the epidural. By then, it was probably 10:30 p.m. The epidural hurt worse than I remembered last time, but then, last time I had endured the pain of getting to transitional labor of 5-6 cm so the stick in my back was less noticable. The anesthesiologist also had a rather sour personality so I wasn't sad to see him go. The best part of this epidural was it came with a button that I could push every 10 minutes to give myself a bolus of pain medicine. I didn't need it then, but I sure would later.

About 11 p.m., the contractions started to get more intense (or so I could see on the monitor, I couldn't really feel them). The other thing I noticed was the pain medicine was making me really itchy. Apparently Virginia Hospital Center's type of epidural includes a morphine-based pain killer that can make people itchy. They gave me a Benadryl intravenously to control the itching, which also made me really sleepy. It was sort of surreal to be in labor and be nodding off in the middle.

At mightnight-ish, my doctor came in to check again and I was at about 4 cm and was progressing on schedule for a delivery, she predicted, at around 6 or 7 in the morning. I was generally feeling okay, just sleepy except for a pain in my arm. Nurse Kelly had tried unsuccesfully in the beginning to find a vein in my left arm and was met with resistence so she had to try the right arm. Unfortunately, that really bruised my arm which hurt every 15 minutes when they took blood pressure.

At the 1:30 a.m. check, my doctor was stunned to find that in an hour, I had gone from 4 cm to 9 cm. That meant that in another 30 minutes to an hour, I'd be ready to push. Bjorn and I were definitely getting excited that it was going to be sooner rather than later. Immediately after that, the different nurses came in to set up a surgical table with all the surgical instruments. I began to think this baby was going to come rather quickly, but instead it took probably an hour to get all the way to 10 and to have everything prepped and ready, including my doctor putting on special disposable scrubs to cover her legs, shoes, head and torso. I must say that it's a little unnerving to watch your doctor cover herself in waders to protect herself from all the blood that is going to come.

The idea was to let me get as close to delivering the baby on my own as possible with just the contractions alone so that when the time came to push, it wouldn't be so difficult. In preparation for the pushing, I began to hit the bolus every 10 minutes regardless of if I felt any pain. With Andy, I felt a lot of pain through the 2 1/2 hours of pushing so I was hoping to stock up on the anesthesia to avoid that. I did a really good job though because when they finally did tell me to push, I was so numb I couldn't really tell what I was doing or pushing. I just did what they told me and that seemed to work.

I pushed for about 15 minutes and was starting to get really tired when my doctor was paged. She gave me a couple of minutes to catch my breath, which was the best thing for me. When she came back in about 5 minutes later, all it took was another 5-10 minutes of pushing and Meg was born at 3:09 a.m. They immediately put her on my chest and we were in awe. She just looked so big and healthy and at the same time so small and perfect. She was also completely covered in the white vernix. After a couple of minutes, they took her away to wash her, weigh her and give her a quick exam. It was then that I sent Bjorn over to make sure she really was a girl and that she did indeed have 10 fingers and 10 toes.

It was a pretty overwhelming moment. We were just so happy and relieved that she was perfect. And that labor was over and everything had turned out well. I had worried off and on that while I'd had a million prenatal tests, you just don't know about all the stuff that can go wrong until it you get there. We kept saying grateful we were to be so lucky.

P.S. Blogger spell check is not working so I apologize for any obvious typos that I can't seem to see.


It's been unseasonably warm here to we went to the park yesterday. I thought I had my strength back, but once I got to the park, I'd wished I brought my phone so I could have Bjorn pick us up. I was quite tired. Plus, Meg did NOT appreciate riding in the stroller.
I asked Andy to pick out shoes to wear to the park and this is what he brought me. He looked like a good German boy with his sandals, pants and green socks.
This is a great picture of Liz, but Meg looks like someone told her she looks like Santa Claus in that red jumper with white socks. I can't blame her, no one wants to be told they look like an old fat man.
Here she is peacefully sleeping so you can see her face. I still can't see that she resembles anyone yet. As you can see, she's wearing a lot of Andy's old sleepers. I am finding the outfits with legs are the best since they cover her feet and don't ride up as I try to feed/change/comfort her. Unfortunately, she's not quite big enough yet for the size 0-3 months and only a couple of the newborn outfits fit her.

No surprise, we're struggling with sleep in our house. Meg slept beautifully the first couple of days at home, waking just twice to eat and go right back to sleep. Then she went through two days in a row of waking every hour, at least, and then refusing to go back to sleep. Fortunately, Bjorn is still home and has been able to help out a ton and let me get a little rest. Last night, she was up off and on from like 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., but then settled down from 1 to 4 a.m., I fed her and changed her diaper until about 4:45 a.m. and then she slept until 9:30 a.m. I can handle a schedule like that. The only problem will be when Bjorn goes back to work this week and we don't have the luxury of sleeping as late.

The hard part I'm finding is understanding her cries. Well, they're more like shrieks and they really do command my attention immediately or I start to sweat a little. Seriously. What a clever trick of biology to cause such anxiety in the mother of the infant so ensure I care for her immediately. Good thing she doesn't know what she's doing or her teenage years could be even more difficult.

Andy continues to be a good sport about the whole thing. He hasn't yet said he wants the baby to go back. We have been trying really hard to make sure he feels he's still getting lots of attention. It also doesn't hurt that all our friends who come by have brought a present for him, too. He's not excited about going to school right now though. I don't think he's put it together that the rest of us aren't going to work right now, but I think he definitely senses something is up.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bilirubin down

Good news - bilirubin count is finally on the way down so we're finally done with the daily heel sticks. Part of the problem the last two days had been her lack of, er, output. Apparently bilirubin is removed from the body through poop and she wasn't pooping so we were instructed to get children's glycerin suppositories, cut one in half, insert (I know, ew) and wait. Bjorn kindly volunteered to do the dirty work and about 9 last night, he put her on the diaper table for the procedure that somehow, she slept through. Within about a minute, before the diaper even went back on, she had pooped and managed to have three more dirty diapers in the next hour. She hadn't been particularly fussy yesterday, but I imagine she felt much better afterwards.

Today Bjorn took her for her doctor's appointment where her bili count was down to 17.6 from 18.1 yesterday. Apparently once the counts start to go down, they rarely come back up so she should be home free from jaundice. Jaundice certainly isn't that big a deal, nothing like what's happening over here, but it was still a little scary and we're glad it's over. Our next appointment isn't for another week.

While Bjorn was at the doctor's, I took Andy to our regular Friday playgroup to try to get some one on one time with him. It was good for both of us to see our friends and check out some more Thomas books. This time as we looked at the books on the shelves, he kept saying, "We have that one," to just about every title. I do believe we have read every Thomas book in the entire Fairfax County Library selection at least half a dozen times so it's funny that he's just NOW catching on to that fact. I suggested we pick another type of book and he said no and opted for two Thomas books instead. You can't blame a guy for knowing what he likes.