Bedtime Buddies

We have our crib set up next to the bed with only three sides assembled, so the crib mattress is sort of an extension of our big mattress. This gives E her own space to sleep while still keeping her close enough to keep an eye on her and breastfeed her easily in the middle of the night. It works – and she sleeps like a rock most nights. I get a good three to four hours before she wakes up to feed most

She’s been cranky the last couple of days and has had trouble sleeping. After putting her to bed, I went downstairs to catch up on Game of Thrones. I thought she was sleeping almost too soundly given how she’s been acting the last couple of days. As it turns out, R had gotten out of bed and got on our bed to lay in my spot on the bed, next to where E was laying in the crib.

R is so incredibly jealous of E most of the time, and this warms my heart. I have no doubt that E is sleeping better tonight because R is laying with her. (She always sleeps better when I’m in bed too.)

I love them both so much.

I’m going to finish this episode of Game of Thrones and then head to bed. I’m not quite sure I have the heart to move R back into her room tonight. We’ll see.

The Transition

I’ve heard so many times that the transition from one to two children is the hardest, no matter how many kids you end up with. I think I finally believe those people. Having two kids is like trying to landscape your yard in the middle of a hurricane.

My day goes a little something like this…

may postE wakes up, then she’s changed and nursed. Sometime during that nursing session, R wakes up and demands breakfast. I ask her to be patient. She throws a tantrum. I set the baby in the crib to change R’s diaper (because she’s still so freaking resistant to potty training) and if I’m lucky, E will fall back to sleep, but usually all three of us head downstairs.

Once we’re downstairs, I put E in the swing and turn it on to distract her while I get R breakfast. By the time she’s got breakfast, E is crying and wants to be picked up. I pick her up and interact with her while R eats, and at some point, R asks for more food, usually after only eating about half of what I’ve given her. I ask her to finish what she has. Another meltdown.

I nurse E again and, if the stars align, she’ll let me put her in her swing so I can go about my day trying to get things done, like dishes, laundry, or whatever else has to be taken care of. My chores are usually interrupted by a toddler who wants my attention, so I spend some time with her, and then E wakes up crying for the boob once more. My day is spent mostly with trying to keep the baby happy, while the toddler throws constant tantrums because she’s still not used to sharing her time with me yet.

It’s hard. It’s both emotionally and physically draining at times. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I’m not the mom I want to be, but I’m trying so hard to be a good one to both my girls.

Some days, I feel like I’m trying to tread water with weights tied around my ankles and I’m so close to drowning.

Today was not a good day. R is recovering from an ear infection and E has been abnormally clingy too – maybe it’s a wonder week, maybe it’s a growth spurt, maybe she isn’t feeling great, I don’t know – so both kids needed me. R threw tantrums. E cried more than usual. I could have been more patient and more understanding, but today was hard.

Tomorrow will be better. I have hope that eventually, at some point, parenting two littles will become easier. Until then, I’ll just work to keep my head above water.

My Birth Story – Take Two

Baby E has arrived! It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago, I was still pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our newest addition.

Easter (the 27th) was my due date and it came and went with no real signs of labor. On Tuesday the 29th, I had my 40-week appointment with the nurse practitioner, who asked if she could sweep my membranes and I told her to go for it. I was induced with R and wanted to avoid that again.

On Wednesday the 30th, I felt kind of awful and crampy on and off all day. My husband got home around 7pm, and as I began cooking dinner, the contractions started to come regularly. They were 1.5 to 2.5 minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds each. We called triage and they didn’t really seem at all concerned about us coming in. They told me to come in if I felt like I needed to, but otherwise to keep an eye on my contractions.

I was hungry so I finished cooking dinner and ate really fast and then we decided to go to the hospital, since it’s 40 minutes from our house and I had a feeling that the contractions weren’t going to let up. (As it turns out, I was correct in that.)

My gas tank was on empty, so we had to stop halfway; my husband says he’ll never let me live it down.

The contractions got stronger by the time we got to the hospital. We went up to triage and I checked in only to have them tell me, “We don’t have any rooms right now.” (Where are your patients supposed to deliver if all the rooms are full?) We sat in the waiting room for a few minutes and ended up being taken back to one of the triage rooms. At the time, it was literally the last bed available. Instead of getting an actual birthing room, they said delivery would happen there. It’s not as comfortable as a birthing room but it’s fully prepped for labor and delivery and it was preferable to having the baby in the waiting room.

It was sometime after 10pm, my mother-in-law had already picked up our older daughter and taken her home, and my husband offered to go get me some sherbet because I was hungry. My mom was with us by then, so she hung out in the room with me while he left. He had been gone just a few minutes when my contractions got really intense and I had five in a row, one right after the other, and the pain was unbearable. I began sobbing and begging for the epidural.

My husband got back just before the anesthesiologist arrived. They placed the epidural and I waited for it to work. Eventually, it made the pain more tolerable for a bit but it never fully went away. That ended up wearing off and my pain was back, and by then, a birthing room had opened up and they wanted to move me and then replace the epidural once we got to the new room.

They wheeled me down the hall and made me switch beds, and then the anesthesiologist came back to move the needle in my back. This time, she had someone with her. They tried two more spots, and the second time did a combined spinal. Both failed. I was not prepared for an unmedicated birth and it was far more intense than I imagined it would be.

They also checked my progress at that point and I think I was at an 8. My husband said that it was during that check that the nurse stated that she was pushing my cervix up over the baby’s head a bit, but I don’t remember her saying that at all. (After doing done research and talking to people later, it sounds like my cervix had a bit of a lip and that’s probably why she did it.)

The baby’s heart rate kept slowing down so they had me get on all fours, which seemed to help her. Moving made the pain a lot more intense and I was pretty uncomfortable. I labored that way for a while with an oxygen mask on my face, sobbing and swearing during contractions. My water had been broken for a bit but now it seemed to be trickling out more and I had a feeling it wouldn’t be much longer before it was time to push.

ElizaThey eventually let me lay on my back again and I continued to beg for something to ease the pain. By the time the anesthesiologist came back again, I was yelling at my nurses that I needed to push. They checked me again, and sure enough, I was at a 10 and ready to go. It took about three long pushes and she was out at 3:19am on Thursday, March 31. She came out so fast that her lungs didn’t get clear in the birth canal (usually that liquid in their lungs gets squeezed out during labor), so we dealt with that for a couple of days.

She was 8 lbs 2oz, 21.5″ long with a head circumference just under 14″. My recovery has been a thousand times easier than it was the first time, but unmedicated birth is no joke. I salute you moms who choose to do it, and do it more than once.

By the way, I never did get to eat my damn sherbet. It melted.