Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Month

Thea's Birth
A little background - this was my third pregnancy and birth, full of little quirks and oddities. It was my longest pregnancy, commencing in January during a rare time alone with Tom. I distinctly remember uttering the disclaimer regarding possible pregnancy, as I had done many times previously. This time turned out to be different, as early February found me looking at two lines on the pregnancy test and calculating October 18 as 38 weeks from that January rendezvous.
Like my first two pregnancies I had very little nausea, and no vomiting. I continued working, thankful to not be working with radioactive materials this time around (thus saving me the awkwardness of telling my boss that I was pregnant as soon as I knew it myself). Käthe continued nursing, and I began to eat the mass quantities of food as only a breastfeeding pregnant woman can.
It was a happily uneventful pregnancy, my first that went through the heat and humidity of a midwest summer. (Ella and Käthe being born in the glorious month of June). My only goal was to remain pregnant through October 12th, as Ella and Käthe were flower girls, and I a personal attendant at my friend Jamie's wedding. I made it through the wedding and beyond, thinking for the first time that I might be seeing labor on the 20th. My Mother-in-law Dede came to watch the big girls, and labor ceased. She was called again on the 29th, when I was now 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant and tying my previous record. Again the contractions stopped.
My wonderful doula, Jun-Nicole, had been assisting me in so many ways - offering suggestions for self-inducing labor, doing massage and acupressure, and helping me do exercises to get the baby into optimal position. On Halloween, the day before I was scheduled for induction, Jun-Nicole suggested I ask the midwives if they would try stripping my membranes, again. They agreed, and I rushed off to the University before their office closed. Paula declared me to be 2-3 cm and stripped my membranes for the second time that week. I went home to help Ella and Käthe into their costumes and sent them off with their dad and Grandma to trick-or-treat. I stayed home to hand out candy, read blogs, and eventually just focus on the contractions that were coming about every three minutes. At 7:30 I called Tom to come home, and about 8:30 we headed off the hospital.
The resident on call measured me at 4-5 cm and called Lynne, the midwife who had caught Käthe two years ago. Jun-Nicole joined us at the hospital about 9:30 and began gathering things like the birth balls and squat bar. The contractions continued with about the same timing and intensity. Sometime around 11:30 I got into the whirlpool, and I remember Tom telling me that we would have a November baby. As midnight passed I got the rare privilege of being pregnant in 11 different months. I know that Lynne checked me at least twice, and at 6:30 or so I was still at 4 cm. After laboring all night I decided to try to rest for a little while before starting pitocin.
Tom, Jun-Nicole and I all slept for a couple of hours, then had breakfast while the nurse readied the IV. (I had a highly nutritious and vomiting-friendly breakfast of oatmeal and chocolate pudding, assuming that I was likely to see it again later.)
I was really quite terrified of having pitocin, having had it and and epidural with Ella. In my mind the pitocin had been the center of everything that I hated about Ella's birth, and I was really worried that the pain would be unbearable. The nurse started it slowly, and I found that I was pleased to feel my contractions intensify. At 42 weeks pregnant I was exhausted and ready to be finished; anything that assisted me was welcome. The nurse slowly increased the dosage the contractions picked 11:30 AM I felt a painful jump of my uterus and a pop, and with the next contraction amniotic fluid began streaming off the bed and toward the nurse's shoes. She kindly shut off the pitocin and I began the low loud vocalizing that signals things are about to get interesting. (It is akin to chanting the Psalms, but louder and without any distinct words.)
Around 12:20 I was 7 cm and I begged Lynne to let me get into the tub. As the midwives do not yet have clearance from the University to do water births, I promised to get out of the tub when I wanted to push. (Some of the midwives will kindly write "patient refused to leave tub", but Lynne is not one of them. I was rapidly yanked from the tub when I started pushing with Käthe.)
The next half hour was perhaps the most difficult physical feat I have ever endured. I distinctly remember telling Tom and Jun-Nicole that I needed to rest, that there was no way I could go on. I was past my groanings, and though I had been reassuring myself with Psalm 131 running through my head, that was gone as well. Suddenly I felt the baby coming and got out of the tub.
Jun-Nicole had placed blankets and towels on the floor of the bathroom, and she and Tom tried in vain to get me to get on my hands and knees. Instead they both held me in a suspended squat as a new nurse (who had just walked in the room) and Lynne tried frantically to get there in time to catch. I thought for sure that I was going to tear a bit, and suddenly out she slipped. I sat down on the floor and held Thea while her cord stopped pulsing. When it had quit Tom cut the cord and we made our way back to the bed. Her APGARs must have been done while I walked back to the bed; Tom had her for those couple of minutes and her scores were 9 and 9. She latched on immediately and quietly stared at me. Lynne examined me and declared no tears, and I began my most comfortable recovery.
So November began with the birth of Thea Fae at 1:01 PM, 8 lbs 11.7 ounces, 21". My longest pregnancy, my middle sized newborn, my third beautiful daughter. Happy one month, darling:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dumb move for the day

I managed to launder the cell phone today - it appears to be totally ruined. As we are still 10 months out from a contract renewal\free upgrade it looks like we will be going back to our old phone (that doesn't really hold a charge) and trying to find a friend that has recently upgraded to give us an old phone. Poop!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Thankful to be typing with one hand, nursing my new baby. She has that little nursing callous on her lip, I had forgotten about those. Thankful that my older girls got to spend the day playing with cousins. Thankful for family and friends and health. May you all have as much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Over the river and through the woods... grandmother's house we went. Thanksgiving festivities tomorrow, lots of kiddo for the girls to play with. And, Thea's debut to the family. It should be a good time. We have convinced Ella that it is all turkey, all day - even grandma has told her that there will be turkey for breakfast. She is currently pleading her case for something different for breakfast. Ehemann is offering her turkey pancakes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yesterday just slipped away

We had family pictures yesterday, which turned out well, to my surprise. They were at 3:00 and began the longest 2 hours I have recently experienced. The big girls were surprisingly cranky and uncooperative, and the photographer had difficulty engaging them. I think that we will be happy with the ones we ordered, and most of them are for others anyway. In the spring we will probably have some outdoor ones done with a friend of Ehemann's from high school, I really enjoy her work. Hopefully Thea will actually be awake for a family picture at some point!
Thea was up from 3:30 to 5:30 last night, at which point Ehemann got up to sit with Ella who is in another asthmatic hell these days. I did get to sleep from 6-8, and snooze in the recliner with Thea this afternoon, but Ehemann has essentially been up since 4 AM and we are both about to collapse. Time for bed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So frustrated...

TOmorrow we are having family pictures taken, and though I feel really guilty about spending money on things we don't need I also hate spending money on pictures that I will hate because none of my clothes fit "properly". By properly I mean "does not showcase my body like I am wearing a taut sausage casing". And so I have two new shirts ($35 for both, so it could have been worse, but still).
I am sure that I am being too hard on myself - just three weeks age there was a nearly 9lb person inside that stomach, I cannot and should not expect that it will be flat. But the combo of squishy stomach and broad hips and big boobs that are just not my body fill me with frustration. I am a thin person and I am incredibly frustrated to not be a thin person right now. It is incredibly conceited and ridiculous to think that I am fat, because I am not. I am a woman with a post-partum body, who cannot stand to see that 140 on the scale and the 10 in my jeans when I want my 125 and my 4 back. And really, I don't care that lots of people would like to see the numbers I currently have, because they are not me, and I just want me back.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Smiles

Yesterday I got my first responsive smiles from to get them on film. Right now she is sleeping on the couch having a fantastic dream - she is actually laughing out loud. She actually started doing that when she was just a couple of days old...I always wonder what was so funny in their short life experience that they laugh in their sleep.
Käthe is fascinated when Thea happens to "touch" her, meaning that Kate has put herself close enough to Thea's hands to get brushed by them. Kate then exclaims "she touched me, she touched me!" Ehemann reminded me that Ella used to do the same thing with Kate. Oh, these funny little people.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How to tell if Käthe is tired.

She begins to recite the following litany: "I cold, I hot, I hungry, I really miss you when you at work mommy." If you hear those words, find the girl a bed, lest you miss the window and have a cranky, overtired toddler on you hands.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not my best NaBloPoMo...

but not my worst either. Last year I was out by the 6th, I think, and didn't post again until this November. But last night I dozed off and when I woke and thought...oh crap, my post, well - it was 1:30 am and the day was over. But I am going to cut myself a little slack...I have an 18 day old baby here that I am trying to integrate into a family and house that are quite full already. So far, things are going well. Aside from the sickness that plagued Ella and Käthe during Thea's first days, everyone is doing fine.
As I approached (and achieved) 42 weeks of pregnancy, Ehemann was joking with our neighbors, whose baby was due January 5th. "Ours is just waiting for yours" he said. Unfortunately, their baby boy was born just 10 days after Thea, at 32 weeks gestation, weighing in at 3lbs, 11 oz. They did have time for steroids to help his lungs mature, and he is breathing on his own, but watch them come home from the hospital each evening, without their baby, is heartbreaking. So as Thanksgiving approaches I am again reminded of how much I have to be thankful for, and I lift up a prayer for those who are struggling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

mom, i not being nice

Evidently Kate has been kicked out of the bedroom while Ella goes to bed. She wandered out here to tell me "mom, i not being nice!". "Did they ask you to leave?", I said..."Yes" she says, "Now I an angry girl!" So it's just me and an angry girl and a sleeping baby in my arms, trying to blog one-handed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Maternity Leave is over

So technically I am a stay at home mom these days, starting last June. Aside from a little (unpaid) freelancing at my lab, working on a paper that will be a year in the works before it is finished I have been hanging out with my girls, my first time ever as a SAHM. For the first time I have a newborn baby and I am not counting the days with dread. Ella got 6 weeks of mommy before I went back to work and she got to hang out with daddy for the mornings and spend afternoons in daycare. Käthe got 10 weeks, as I spent the first two weeks of my maternity leave still pregnant. And as an even better deal, Kate got to spend her mornings with daddy and afternoons with me, as we were engaged in the 3 crazy years of splitting the workday (someone was at work or staying home with kids from 6 AM - 6 PM, there was a tradeoff at 12:30 each was fantastic and hellish all at the same time).
Thea, however, has no cutoff. There is no looming expiration date of this time with my baby, no transition from totally hers to the split loyalties and sinking futility of trying to be both mother and scientist. It is refreshing, and as much as I miss the rewards of my job I do not miss the sheer mental and physical exhaustion of trying to be both devoted mother and dedicated researcher. It hasn't quite sunk in that this time, as I watch her little lips sucking in her sleep, I am not waiting for the other shoe to drop. Ehemann went back to work today, after 2 weeks of paternity leave. It was a bit tough, being on my own all day for the first time with Kate and Thea; it was a million times easier than leaving my newborn in exchange for long hours of work interrupted by the cold suck-whoosh of the breast pump. How wonderful to instead cuddle the softest baby head imaginable to my breast and read stories to the beautiful toddler snuggled next to me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too tired..cheating with a picture post

Käthe curled up and fell asleep around my big belly one night last July - so cute.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Weeks

You are two weeks old today, Miss Thea. Over 10 lbs., according to my bathroom scale. Not-so-skinny wrists are starting to hang out of your newborn sized sleeves, and your toes are pushing at the seams of the littlest sleepers. You think that you need to hold your head up and look around at everything; you are starting to reach out and grab at things on the changing table. Waiting until 42 weeks to come out has diminished your teeny-tiny newborn-ness to a small flash of time - I am barely able to cherish it as it slips through my fingers.
You are likely my last newborn, and I love the newborn stage. Despite the lack of sleep and swollen breasts and overall exhaustion I love having a little tiny creation of my own to gaze upon and feed and love. That small window between part of me and most definitely your own is one of my favorite times, and with you, Thea, it has been all too brief. Even so, I am amazed each day at the the little person you are becoming, likes and dislikes starting to show, your personality emerging. We are all so glad you are here Thea, and we love you very much. Happy two-week birthday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alice of Finslippy had a great Wonderland column about parental expectations at Alphamom today - I suggest everyone stop over and check it out. My response was as follows:
As an oldest child I hated that the expectations my parents had for me were so much higher than those for my younger brother; despite that experience I still expect too much from my oldest. It became glaringly clear when my second was born, and I stress much less about parenting her than I do my first. (And I must admit, I stress more about how their behavior reflects on me than I do about the behavior itself.)
Unfortunately, even though I recognize that my expectations are too high, that doesn't make them automatically adjust. It is still a struggle, and I often don't realize how ridiculous my expectations for my oldest were until my second comes to that age herself. I am expecting that my third will likely get the most rational mommy, and I struggle to keep myself in check with my oldest in the hopes of having a better relationship with her than I do with my own mother.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And then there were three

All three of my daughters are the same time. Everyone has been out since 7:00, though I have a feeling Thea might not stay out for long. I should be loading the dishwasher, putting away laundry, etc. etc. but instead I am enjoying the quiet. Ehemann is off playing handball with friends, so the house is mine for a few moments.
I cannot really believe that I have three daughters. I had wanted a family that was different than my own: mom, dad, brother, sister. My husband and I had the same nuclear family format: older sister, younger brother. I though for sure that I would replicate it, until Little Whompers turned out to be a girl. And those two little girls were wonderful. In some ways I wanted to have one more baby, but I couldn't imagine us any different than with our two girls. And then that little blue line appeared...and I was doubtful. Yes, I knew we could get pregnant, and I knew that I had wanted another baby, but suddenly I was about to disrupt the perfect grouping that we had. It was a long pregnancy (42 weeks) and there was a lot of doubt. Was I up to the challenge? What would it be like to have three kids in a family? (Suddenly I was in uncharted territory). What would it do to my girls, to have another sibling? Would it disrupt their relationship? Would they pick a favorite to the exclusion of another? How would I relate to them all? Would I have a favorite?
Most of those questions have yet to play out, but I do know that Ella and Käthe love little Thea; they are so excited to be big sisters together. And somehow, I feel my feelings for them all are a bit more balanced, that instead of one or the other I have a better perspective of the needs of all three. For the moment, though things are a bit chaotic, I have an overwhelming sense of there are three, and we are still doing fine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baby Body

For the past 6 years I have been pregnant, nursing, or both. My body has been on loan to others. My shape had expanded and contracted, and though it has come close to being mine, all mine, it never quite is. Immediate postpartum is by far the most difficult for me - no longer pregnant, breasts that do not even remotely resemble what I am used to, a shape in the mirror that always surprises me. I know that time will once again bring me back to the familiar, and likely this nursing babe will be the last. The end is in sight, though a couple of years still lay ahead. But I am on my way to being my own again; today, as a first step, I managed to put on my engagement ring for the first time in several months.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A real post

This probably won't be one - I have few free moments these days. Even though there are multitudes of things I'd like to write about, and posts that compose themselves throughout the day, I never manage to get them down. So it goes with a newborn, but at least I will have a brief record of her first month, those little moments that you forget so easily in a blur of sleepless nights and milk-soaked days.
Ehemann has been home last week and this, and I have managed a shower every day of T's short life (most of them before noon, even). Next week he will go back to work, and I am not sure how I will manage to get E ready for school, with a lunch and to the bus stop by 8:05. She is reluctant to walk the block there by herself, and I cannot imagine how I will get her, K, and T down there in the cold by myself. There is a cold drizzle today, by next week there will likely be snow on the ground. New adventures we will all adjust to, I guess.
A family shot from T's baptism last Sunday:

Almost everyone has their eyes open!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

And I missed a day...

technically I already missed the first day, what with the giving birth and all, but I was going to let that one slide. Yesterday my parents came into town for T's baptism today, and before I knew it it was past midnight and the day was over.
The baptism was wonderful, T's first time in church, straight to the font, to become a child of God, safe in His salvation. Even without postpartum hormones, I think I would fight back tears...I have at all the girls' Baptisms. Pictures tomorrow, I am ignoring my guests again.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Last night, the first sleep laughing, including an audible chuckle. So very very cute. Also yesterday, first bath. Today I awoke to another first - first snow of the season. Winter arrives.
And yet another for the day - T's first day with a belly button; the stump came off this morning.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Baby...doing well, having a 3-4 am eat and poopfest the past two nights. Note to baby: poop before mommy goes to bed. You are super cute gazing at me in the wee hours of the morning, but mommy's body thinks any time after 4:30 = time to get up for the day. This cannot continue. getting sick. And my chest hurts. Just "C" cups should not turn into DD cups overnight. Mommy is currently wearing a fancy girdle and cabbage leaves in her bra; a throbbing throat is foreshadowing the impending sinus snotfest that is currently torturing the rest of the family. And grandpa and grandma are coming for the weekend. Mommy really hopes they have found a hotel!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

For E

Oh E, I know that this is hard for you. You are sick, and you feel awful, and not only is there a new baby invading your life, but you don't even get to touch her. I know that you want nothing more to hug and hold your new sister, to touch her little tiny hands and stroke her incredibly soft head. I know, because that is all I want to do with her too. I know that you also want to be hugged and snuggled yourself, and that I cannot because your are coughing and oozing and I just cannot get sick 4 days postpartum.
I tried to explain to you today, in your fit of tears, that we love you - that if I didn't care I would let you sob and yell about how we don't care; that I came to hold you and comfort you because I love you more than I can ever make you know. I tried to tell you once again that all of this is temporary, and that someday your sisters will be the most important people in your life. I wish that it were easy for you and I, but it isn't. I expect too much of you, I know I do. And I remember being the oldest in my family, where the expectations often seemed so out of line with my place in the family. I don't want to do that to you, to give you responsibility without privelege, to make you be both grownup and child at the same time. I'm trying, honey, to do my best, and I hope that someday you can see that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This was the first birth that I had a doula in attendance, and it was wonderful. Perhaps it is my midwestern upbringing, but I just couldn't believe her willingness to help me labor - massage, accupressure, suggestions for position changes...this was my longest labor, and my second unmedicated labor. There is no way I could have made it through without her. Having her there allowed my husband to rest through the night and be there when I needed him; she was able to offer him suggestions to help me, which I know he appreciated. When I went all the way to 42 weeks pregnant she went above and beyond - coming out to my house for accupressure and massage, emailing me suggestions for optimal positioning and getting labor started. I will definitely be recommending her to others.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Day 3

Three days into motherhood of far the E (the oldest) has pneumonia, K (second) has a cold, and T (fresh new baby) is being shielded in an attempt to keep her healthy. On the plus side, T is sleeping well - nursing at night and going right back to sleep, no bright eyes wanting to hang out and see what's going on at 3 am. Hopefully that will continue, right now she sleeps most of the time regardless. I am trying to encourage her to wake up a bit during the day, she peers around with big blue eyes, trying to take it all in.
She is a beautiful baby, as all my girls have been. Fuzzy blond hair, tiny ears, a well proportioned head with a little cleft chin. I just love them when they are so tiny like this, every conceivable human feature in miniature. And I feel fantastic - labor was my hardest by far, but birth was fast (2 pushes), no tearing, milk is in, and I am getting is pretty great these days.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 2

Wee Whompers, girl #3. 8 lbs, 11.7 oz, 21 in. Nursing well, settling in to life on the outside. Already adored by her sisters.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

11/01/08, 1:01 pm

Technically I missed the first day - I was a little busy doing this: