Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's in a name?

Many of you have been asking about baby Twoey's name...and I am happy to report that we DO have a name for her! Before I announce her name, however, I thought I would drag you along for our naming saga.

I think I have mentioned before that it is Jewish tradition to name children after loved ones/family members who have died. DH and I decided that we would like to name our daughter after our beloved grandmother, Berenice, who died in January, and his grandmother, Esther, who died many years ago. We also felt we could easily name after my other grandmother Beyla (who died while I was pregnant with Micah) because her name also began with "B." So began our search for "B" and "E" names.

Another issue for us is that we were looking for "B" and "E" names that were either Biblical or had a Hebrew (or possibly Yiddish) origin. We quickly realized that the options for the letter "B" were quite limited...we identified the names Beyla, Batya, and Bari. We both disliked the name Batya. DH did not like the name Beyla (although it was very much growing on me) and I was a bit iffy about the name Bari (but it was rapidly growing on DH).

We then looked at E names...there were so many that I liked, but Eliana was by far my favorite. DH liked the name...but was concerned that it was too similar to some other family names (again, in Jewish tradition, naming after someone ALIVE is almost like wishing them is a superstition).

So then we kept looking for more names. I also had a great aunt I loved like a grandmother, and her name began with an "H" so we considered "H" names...and we fell in love with the name Hannah. Unfortunately, we did not think it flowed well with our last name, so we were a bit hesitant about the name. Although, Hannah Beyla was a top contender for a name for me. We also looked at "I" and "A" names (because the Hebrew letter used for "E" is also the same letter used for "I" and "A" names). We came up with Alayna and Alana and Isabel. One of the things we liked about the name Isabel is that it contained my grandmother's nickname (Belle) IN the name, so we could easily honor 2 grandmothers with one name! For a long time, Isabel was our top contender...we thought we could call her Izzy (or even Belle or Bella if she preferred). We were thinking Isabel Hannah could work perfectly as a name...but I was sad because I very much wanted to honor my grandmother, Berenice, and I felt the name did not accomplish that goal (and we previously honored my grandmother Beyla with Micah's middle name). Then, horror of horrors happened...okay, I'm being dramatic, but the Social Security list of top 100 names came out, and Isabella was ranked #1. That did it for me...I became very uncomfortable with choosing a name as popular as Isabel! I thought our daughter would be one of 50 Izzy/Isabel/Isabella/Bellas in her class if we selected that as her name.

Ironically, in all of this discussion, we actually agreed on a boy's name (that we did not need). Funny - we had such a hard time choosing a name for Micah - if we'd had a boy this time, we definitely would have named him Asher. But, I digress....

So, we went back to looking at Hannah...we did not like Hannah combined with Bari (it sounded too close to the Hanna Barbera cartoons), and we still did not like it with our last name. We thought about Bari Hannah, but I was still iffy about the name Bari. We tried on Bari Eliana, but DH was a bit unsure about Eliana. We discussed Hannah Beyla and Beyla Hannah and Beyla Eliana...but DH was resolute in his objection to the name Beyla (and since my grandmothers did not get along, I was not sure my grandmother Berenice would feel honored by naming my daughter after my OTHER grandmother).

In the back of my mind through ALL of this was the thought that I STILL loved the name Maya...the name we would have selected for Micah had he been a girl. I brought it up numerous times, but DH always pointed out that we did not plan to name after our "M" family members this time since we already did that. And yet...I just loved the name Maya more than anything else we discussed.

When my water broke, we still had not settled on the name. On the way to the hospital, DH seemed to think we were choosing between Isabel Hannah or Hannah Isabel, and I said I was not really comfortable with either of those names. We discussed Bari again, and Beyla, and all of our other names. We even went off on a tangent with a few S names, but that muddied the waters. I brought up the name Maya again, and DH said he thought it was off the table. Labor then got too intense for me...and we did not discuss names again until after she was born.

For the next few days, we referred to her as either Twoey or Nona Me' (pronounced nonah-may...a play on No Name!). I was certain our fear/joke that the name Twoey would end up on her birth certificate because we couldn't agree on a name was about to become reality!

We were thinking about Isabel initially, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the name, and Hannah was not working for me as a first name. I kept thinking her name was Maya...or possibly Beyla. My mom was in love with the name Bari, but I was a bit unsure of that as a name. I love unusual names...but was not sure if it was TOO unusual.

So, there we sat at the hospital...and every time someone asked us what her name was, we said "we don't know." We debated and debated, and we negotiated and negotiated...and we were not making any progress. By Saturday, we were still all over the place but Bari Eliana seemed to be the top contender, but I couldn't let go of the name Maya, and I was leaning towards Maya Bari. I could have been sold on Beyla Eliana, but DH was completely not open to the name. So, we decided to open up the names for discussion/input from some of our friends/family. Much to our surprise, people were evenly split between the name Maya and Bari. A few more people seemed to prefer the name Maya, but I was surprised by the number of people who really loved the name Bari.

Ultimately, we could not reach a final decision, so we decided to combine them and choose all three names...Maya Bari Eliana. We are currently calling her Maya, but we *may* still decide to drop Maya, or we may choose to call her Bari instead of Maya - we are sorting that out over the next few weeks.

So, there is our saga...and now I can officially welcome our new daughter, Maya Bari Eliana into the world!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It still talks....

I'm sure you will all be happy to know that my pump still talks. Ever since the baby arrived, I have been fairly torn about whether or not I should pump. I struggled with milk supply when I had Micah, and one of the mistakes I made was letting things go too long before I began to pump. I swore that this time, I would not make that same mistake.

In the hospital, before we even arrived at our room, I requested a pump. I had everything set up and ready to go "just in case." Much to my surprise, the baby latched really well at her first nursing session. She fell asleep for about 6 hours after that, but the lactation consultant said that they advise moms of preemies who will be exclusively pumping not to begin pumping until the 6 hour mark. She further suggested that if the baby latched well again and stayed on for 20-30 minutes, that she felt that I should hold off on pumping and only pump if the baby refused to latch or nurse.

Right at the 6 hour mark, we had another great nursing session. The baby continued to latch at least every 3 hours for 20-60 minutes each time. She had the requisite number of wet diapers (and stools, too), and by morning everyone was telling me how well she was nursing and how perfectly everything was going. In the back of my head, however, I kept wondering if it was just too good to be true. I mentioned my supply issues and my concerns, and most felt that if I were to face supply issues, it would likely not crop up for a little while as I should easily be able to meet the baby's early demand...I just might start to fall behind later. It made sense to me, so I decided to trust the "experts." Besides...I always hated pumping, and in the early days, you pump and pump and NOTHING comes out until after your milk starts to come in - who needs that frustration?

At the end of day two, I began to get nervous again. It was our first sign of trouble...salmon colored urine in the diapers. It is a sign that the baby is passing uric acid and not getting enough fluid. Once we saw that with Micah, everything went downhill quickly, so I was fairly concerned. We spoke to the nurse and to the doctor, and everyone pretty much told us it was "nothing" - just feed the baby more often. I asked about supplementing and I asked about pumping, and everyone felt that the baby was doing a great job on her own and I should just trust that it would be okay.

The salmon-colored diapers continued all day on Sunday (and even this morning). She is supposed to be passing 3 stools a day, and she has barely been doing one since Saturday (she did 3 on Friday, and then 1 on Saturday morning, 1 on Sunday morning and none since then). She is definitely hitting the requisite number of wet diapers, but I think my supply might be the issue. we called our pediatrician and we are going in later today for an appointment, but over the phone they said I should start supplementing.

So, this morning, after she nursed on one side, I bit the bullet...and got cozy with my pump. And yes, it still talks. I think it is still pretty salty, too. It started out telling me to "Let it go" and then it called me "Whacko." When my pump switched to the faster pumping setting, it started to tell me to "back up" - since it was hurting, I decided the pump was asking me to turn down the tempo to a lower speed, and I happily obliged. Then it started to say "back hoe" - I'm thinking it was trying to make conversation about our upcoming renovations?

After all of that pumping...I barely got 5ccs. I hate pumping! I know that I did breastfeed shortly before pumping, and that the pump does not do as good a job getting the colostrum out, but I just find the whole process so discouraging! I ended up giving the baby all 5ccs, and I called the pediatrician to discuss her salmon-colored diapers. The pediatrician who had answered the phone read me the riot act about not supplementing yet, and how it was necessary and the baby would get sick and after giving her the 5ccs, I caved and gave her another 10ccs of formula. I decided that maybe that would be all she would need to "get over the hump" and I would wait and see what they said at her doctor's appointment.

At 2:30, we headed to her appointment. We saw a different doctor, and he thought she looked great and maybe put on an ounce or two. I was just thrilled she is no longer losing weight! We discussed the salmon-colored diapers, and he thought that it was not a big deal before my milk came in, especially since she was gaining weight. He thought her color looked good and everything else was perfect. Naturally, after our long discussion about her lack of normal urine, he checked her diaper guessed it - a beautiful yellow-colored urine-filled diaper! The little stinker made me into a liar...or at least one of those crazy, hypochondriac parents. I am pleased to report she has had two more normal diapers since our appointment, so it looks like all the extra nursing (or perhaps the touch of formula this morning) did the trick. Now, we just need to get her pooping again...she has not pooped since about 5:00 am on Sunday morning. I'm sure when we have a nasty diaper, I'll be regretting WISHING for more poop, but what else can I do? We will return to the doctor on Thursday for another weight check. Hopefully, she'll continue to do well.

In the meantime, Micah shows absolutely NO INTEREST in his sister. I did manage to snap a few photos of him nearby - I'll try to post them soon. We've been doing well during the days - she is nursing easily and so far I'm trying not to worry about my supply. DH and I have been trying to take turns caring for each of the kids, and my parents have come by a few times to help out with the baby. She seems to get very sleepy in the late afternoon/early evening, and then is wide awake from about 10:30 until 3:00 am. Last night, she just did not want to be put down, and I was exhausted - since Wednesday night, I had only had 5 hours of sleep - TOTAL. I finally just latched her on, propped myself up in bed, and the two of us took a 3 hour nap together that way. Yes, I know it is a bad idea to sleep in bed that way, but we needed our rest, and I just could not figure out another way to make it work because she wanted Mommy and no one else to hold her. Hopefully, tonight will be easier, but we shall see.

She has been nursing VERY frequently all day today. The little lady has such sensitive skin - she has completely scratched up her face with her fingernails, and every time she rubs up against something she gets these terrible abrasions/rashes that can last 3-12 hours.

Okay - that is our update for now!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Birth Story

As you all know, I had been waiting quite some time for little Miss Twoey to make her grand debut into this world. I started having issues with contractions and a shrinking cervix very early on in the pregnancy, and everyone expected that I would be lucky to make it as far as 36-38 weeks. So, all pregnancy, I planned for a very early delivery.

As is par for the course, someone up there must have been laughing at my plans! I scheduled regular work hours up through 36 weeks, and from weeks 36-38, I cut back on my schedule and for every meeting, I gave everyone the caveat "unless I go into labor." When I actually made it to 38 weeks, I was shocked. I continued to schedule some work meetings, but never more than a day or two in advance. I had completely cleared my schedule from week 39 and for most of June and July...with the exception of doing a 1 1/2 hour presentation at a conference on June 26 (what I had originally expected to be at least 3-4 weeks after Twoey's birth - my first "post-baby" tentative venture back into the working world). As the date drew closer, I started to worry about how labor would affect that presentation. Last week, when we concluded Little Miss Twoey would never arrive on her own and scheduled the induction, I was relieved - attending the presentation pregnant would be much easier than attending with a newborn baby. Ultimately, I decided to roll the dice and not cancel my presentation - I was certain I would be able to make that meeting.

After my appointment on Wednesday, I was convinced that Twoey would never arrive on her own. My contractions were regular and non-progressive, my cervix was not dilating any further, and after long stretches of intense contractions, the severity would subside. On Thursday morning, I went with the babysitter to attend Micah's classes. My contractions seemed to pick up during class, and I was quite uncomfortable. They were about 3-4 minutes apart and fairly intense. As had become my practice, I did my best to ignore them. They continued all day long, and often were too intense for me to walk or talk through. I had scheduled to meet a friend for a manicure/pedicure at 3:00 pm, and for a few minutes, I hesitated to go in case I went into labor. I then scoffed as I recalled all the other times I stayed put for fear of labor, and decided to go pamper myself.

My manicure/pedicure were wonderful! It felt great to get a leg and foot massage, and I painted my toes a nice pink in honor of Twoey. My contractions continued throughout the appointment, and even on the drive home. I arrived home a little after 6, and DH and I fed Micah dinner. After dinner, DH ran a quick errand and came back and informed me that there was a nice outdoor concert happening down the street, so we decided to walk over. I warned DH that my contractions were quite intense, and I did not know how far I would be able to walk or stay out. We made it to the concert, and I found a chair (next to a friend I spotted). We sat and chatted, and every 3-5 minutes I had to stop to close my eyes and focus on relaxation breathing during the contractions. We stayed for the concert and then headed home. I found the walk quite difficult, and by the time I got home I was extremely uncomfortable.

We bathed Micah and put him to bed, and I took a shower to relax a bit. After my shower, I tried to stretch out and relax on the couch. DH has gotten so sick of my constant contractions that all of my whining about discomfort did nothing to elicit any response from him. I begged for a back massage or a leg massage...but DH was not interested in obliging. Instead, he told me his hand hurt!

I tossed and turned on the couch, and around 12:00 I managed to fall asleep for a few hours. I woke up at maybe 1:30 or 2:00 with a contraction, and once again needed to run to the bathroom. I decided to head upstairs and try to get comfortable in bed and get some rest. I was extremely restless and uncomfortable - I could not find a good spot in the bed, and every 10-20 minutes I needed to run to the bathroom. DH came upstairs to bed around 2:30 or so, and once again I whined about how much discomfort I was in from the contractions, and told him that I might actually be in labor. He asked me if I wanted to call the midwives, and I said that I knew if I'd called, they would either tell me to stay put until my water broke, or tell me to come in and get checked at the hospital...and then send me home because nothing had changed. So, we decided to wait it out. I asked DH to massage my back through some of the contractions...and he told me he was tired and going to sleep.

So, all night, I sat up by myself contracting and laboring. I was breathing through the contractions and trying to stay relaxed, but in the back of my head I was fairly certain I was in labor. At 6:00 am, I told DH that I thought I was in labor...and he said "okay" and went back to sleep. At 7:00, I woke him again and suggested that we should call my father to come down "just in case" because I did not want to be alone while he took Micah to daycare. I also wanted to call the midwives - possibly go in or get checked at the office. We briefly debated the pros and cons of calling my father, and ultimately DH thought it would be easier for me to just wait things out at home while he took Micah to daycare. A few minutes later (7:39) water broke! There was no longer any time to debate what to do.

I immediately called the midwives and my parents. I was a bit sad because I knew that my mom had to go get an iron infusion, and I knew she would not be able to join me for the delivery. I've known this whole time that she was unlikely to be there...but I kept hoping that maybe Twoey had waited all this time so that her Grammy could be with us. My mom started to get emotional on the phone, and I cut her off...I knew I just could not think about what was not going to happen, and I need to focus on getting through it. I then sent DH into Micah's room to wake him up and dress him while I hopped into the shower to rinse off. Like last time, I felt a bit of relief when my water broke...but it was short-lived. Within 5 minutes, my contractions were coming in intense waves - I was doubled over in the shower and barely able to stand or talk. I realized that things were happening quickly, and I worried that we would not make it to the hospital in time. We were out the door a few minutes after 8, and we drove Micah to the daycare. We literally dropped him off barely dressed, with milk and some cheerios and said "here he is - feed him!"

By the time DH returned to the car, I was extremely uncomfortable. The contractions were coming in waves so quickly and so strongly. Unfortunately, while I could play my ipod birthing/relaxation mix, I could not recline, get comfortable, or truly physically relax during the contractions. As we started our trip to the hospital, I realized that I was getting nauseated - a symptom that hit about 20 minutes before I needed to push with Micah. Suddenly, I thought I might give birth in the car. DH drove like a maniac to the hospital to get us there, and about 5-7 minutes out, I told him I thought I needed to push. We arrived to the hospital, and DH had to go get a wheelchair because I could not walk. During one of the contractions, I had to get out of the car and squat down because the pressure was so intense.

We finally made it up to the admittance area around 8:45. The admitting nurse started to ask a ton of questions. I could barely open my eyes or focus, and all I could say was "I need to push." Next thing I know, they are whisking me into a room. I did not have time (or the energy) to change into a gown, so I simply took off my shorts and kept my shirt. The nurse came in and checked me and said "we've got time - you are only 6 cm dilated." I was scared...when I gave birth to Micah, it was about 3 or 4 hours from the time I was at 5 cm until he was born. I was experiencing fairly intense and quick contractions, and I really was not able to get in a comfortable or relaxed position because things had happened so fast. I was extremely nauseated, and worried that I would not be able to keep up that level of intensity for very long and experience natural child birth again. In my head, I started to wonder if I could handle it, and I started to think I might not be able to do this again.

They continued to try and ask me questions and try to hook me up to the monitors, and about 5-7 minutes later, I again repeated "I need to push." They checked me again...and realized it was go time! I was so relieved...I knew that if it was time to push, we were almost there and I definitely could get through it. They suited up, and asked me to hold on for 1 or 2 more contractions. It must have been around 9:15 or so at this point, and I started to push.

Things were happening quickly - I could immediately feel the baby descending, and apparently the top of her head was easily visible. They kept asking me to push a little harder and longer, but she seemed to move down during the contraction then bounce back up. While things happened faster than with Micah, it was somehow more exhausting. A few times when I was pushing, I wanted to just stop and quit, and it just felt like maybe I wouldn't be able to push hard enough and finish this out. All of the sudden, I heard some whispering and the midwife sounded a bit anxious when she asked me to push a little harder and longer. My first thought was "I don't think I can" but I asked what was wrong and she responded that the baby's heart rate was dropping during contractions. I immediately knew that meant her cord was likely wrapped around her neck. I had a moment of panic...often, when they suspect the cord is wrapped around the neck, they rush to have you do a c-section. I then focused in on the midwife and did my best to push her out as quickly as I could. Since I was only pushing for about 10 minutes, it must have only been another 3-5 minutes. I think I pushed about 3 more times and finally felt her head push through. It stung for a moment, and then the relief was instant. A second later I did one more push and her shoulders started to follow. I heard the midwife yelling "wait" and taking over from DH (who was helping to "catch" the baby). I then did one more small push and she was out! There was some scurrying to quickly cut the cord, and she seemed quiet for a minute. After what seemed like a very long pause, I heard her crying out! They then placed her on my belly while they finished cutting the cord.

I later learned that when she popped through, her cord was wrapped around her neck...twice. They scurried a bit to untangle her, and did not want me to finish pushing her out for fear that the cord would tighten. Because of the commotion, DH was deprived a bit of doing the final part of the delivery...but her safety obviously came first. They cut the cord and collected the cord blood. We also learned that there was some meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they had to bring in a neonatalogist to check her lungs. Luckily, she had started breathing on her own and her lungs were clear. I managed to escape without a single need for any stitches and minimal swelling/bruising.

Her apgar scores were perfect...9 and 9. She weighed 6 lbs 10 ozs and they measured her at 19 1/4 inches long. She has very long fingers and toes, and her feet are so skinny (unlike her brother who had wide and square feet). Her finger nails are actually long, too - even longer than mine! She will have beautiful hands and nails one day. I think we might need to go take her for a manicure this week! Her skin is very dry, and she has all this hangy...well, old lady skin on her hands and feet. Her skin appears to be very sensitive - she seems to be breaking out at every little thing (must get that from me). She has hair...but not nearly as much as Micah or as dark. It was also kind of curly. It is very long...just not as thick. Too bad - Micah had such great hear it would have been amazing on a little girl!

My best friend was waiting outside, and they sent her in a few minutes after I gave birth. About 15 minutes after she was born, we received another delivery - a pink teddy bear and some balloons from a family friend! It was amazing. They had to give her a couple of vaccinations, and then I got to breast feed for a bit. Unlike her brother, Twoey latched! She seemed to be doing well. They had to test her blood sugars, and those were perfect. About an hour or so later, the nurse gave her a bath and cleaned her up, and then we were moved into our room.

My parents came by to visit as we were moving and got a chance to meet her. They only stayed for a little while, though, and then they went home to take care of a few things. They returned a few hours later, and my father and DH went to go pick up Micah from daycare. Micah met his sister around 5:30...but, to be honest, he was not so interested in her. In fact, he would not come anywhere near me while I was holding her! Micah spent most of the time playing with the balloons.

Around 7:00, my friend returned to the hospital with dinner for all of us - we sat together in the family room and ate dinner before everyone went home. It was a nice evening. I guess all I can say is that Micah, while indifferent to his sister, seemed just fine.

Remember that I mentioned my Saturday afternoon conference that Twoey conveniently mucked up? Well, they have been quite kind and are setting up a conference line for me, so I will be giving my presentation by phone from the hospital today. In the end, it all worked out!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Baby "Twoey" arrived at 9:27 am, weighing 6 lbs 10 ozs, measuring 19 1/4 inches long. We are both doing well! Name and birth story to soon as we decide on her name!

Here are some pictures to start you off:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Picture Post

Just thought I'd share a few photos from the past few weeks. Let's start with pictures of Micah enjoying his new helmet and his bike seat.

Ice cream at Ben & Jerry's:

Fun at the basketball court:

Photos of Micah rolling around in bed saying "night-night":

Fun at the pool:

Belly shots:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mixed Emotions

Today we had our 40 week OB appointment. They were very backed up, so we did have quite a wait to be seen. The midwife who delivered Micah (and who has been on maternity leave since February) was on duty, and it was great to see her!

I was initially hooked up to the NST (non-stress test) machine...and once again, Twoey was sleeping and not moving so much. Her heartbeat was not jumping around as it is supposed to - it was just very steady. I had DH go get me some apple juice, and luckily, she started to cooperate. Even better, my contractions returned and we got them recorded as well.

Shortly thereafter, the midwife came in to see us. She was very kind, and talked to me about my situation. Naturally, we immediately began to discuss induction. I talked about my fears and she said she understood. She did say she felt that simply breaking my water would likely do the trick at this point, but she could understand why I would be concerned. Initially, she recommended waiting until 42 weeks to induce me (2 weeks from yesterday - July 6), but as we looked at the calendar and she reviewed my file, she waffled. Her concern was that I am flagged as a "possible" case of gestational diabetes (because I failed the 1 hour glucose test) and they generally do not like to allow people with gestational diabetes to go beyond 41 weeks. She suggested setting an induction for the end of next week - when I am 41 1/2 weeks (July 1 or 2). As we looked at the calendar for Thursday and Friday, we realized several things: 1) the midwife I dislike is on duty those days and would be doing the induction; 2) that would put me in the hospital over the weekend when we do not have daytime childcare coverage for Micah; and 3) it is a holiday weekend (4th of July).

The more we spoke, the more we leaned towards doing the induction earlier in the week - on Tuesday or Wednesday (when the midwife we like is on call). On Wednesday, the midwife we like is only on call until 6 pm. Our concern was that if simply breaking my water does not work, I could end up with needles, and that would like happen during the nighttime when the less sympathetic midwife would take over. So, we decided that we would induce on Tuesday so we could guarantee which midwife would deliver Twoey.

After we tentatively set the induction, she checked me. I'm still 3-4 centimeters dilated and 80% (or more) effaced and the baby's head was nice and low (and pressing on my cervix). She said she really thought a few good contractions should kick me into labor, and she gave breaking my water a 75% chance of succeeding. We talked about all the "natural" induction techniques...walking, raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, castor oil, black cohosh, pineapple, and sex. She stripped my membranes AGAIN (not as uncomfortable this time) in the hopes it would stir things up. She said I should come back in again on Monday and have my membranes stripped one more time before the induction...or if I change my mind, I can postpone the induction on Monday and reschedule.

I really would like to have this baby...and sooner rather than later. I guess I'm hoping she decides to come on her own so that I don't have to think about induction options. The whole thought of induction just really terrifies me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It was a good night

Okay - so after my slightly foul post, we actually had a nice evening, so I thought I would try and update with a little more positivity. Micah walked in from daycare screaming...because he was having so much fun on his new bike seat, and his Daddy made him get off the bike and take his new Mickey Mouse helmet off. After some tears (and a little music), Micah was all smiles again while he sat at the dinner table being entertained by Mommy and Daddy.

By 7:00, we were all finished with dinner. Micah played with his toys for a few minutes - he loves to sit on his riding toy and push himself around the room (and as he runs into toys in the way, he says "beep beep"). We decided it was time for our nightly walk (our recent tradition the past few weeks). I announced to DH that Twoey wanted chocolate ice cream (ahhh...the best part of pregnancy - who can deny a baby anything?), so off to Ben & Jerry's we walked. I decided to get a cup of 1/2 Chocolate Therapy and 1/2 Phish Food, and immediately Micah was whining and grabbing. He has only tried ice cream once or twice before, and he did not seem all that interested. Well, tonight he proved he is ABSOLUTELY and UNDENIABLY my son...he went to town on some serious chocolate ice cream! I had one of those little taster spoons for him, so I gave him a bit on the spoon. He scarfed it down immediately and said "MMMM." He immediately reached out for more ice cream. Spoonful after spoonful, Micah kept eating the chocolate, and each and every bite was greeted with a resounding "MMMM." I have to say, like his Mommy, he cried a bit when the ice cream was gone. He was very cute all covered in chocolate, and I'm certain I've got a chocoholic on my hands!

As we walked, I noticed that every time Micah saw a chair or a bench, he said "sit down." I realized that while that is one of his favorite phrases recently, I think he is not just simply ordering everyone to sit, he actually thinks that chairs and benches are called "sit down." We were laughing - it was just so cute! He also made sure to point out the trees, the birds (and tweet like birds), and all the different lights. His vocabulary is just growing exponentially every day!

On our way back, we were a little earlier than usual. I was just not feeling up to walking with all the contractions, and I really needed to head home. We arrived at the park around 7:45, and DH asked if I wanted to stop and sit on the bench and let Micah run around in the park for a little while. I said sure, but warned him we'd have trouble getting Micah to leave (and made him promise he'd deal with any tempertantrums) so off Micah ran to the slides. He was so cute as he climbed and laughed and yelled "sit down" at every bench and chair he saw. After 15-20 minutes, I told DH I needed to head back. We snagged Micah after one of his trips down the slide, and he was clearly not happy to be taken away from his fun. I got creative, and remembered that we passed by the basketball courts on the way in (and Micah loves basketball), so I asked Micah if he wanted to walk with me to the basketball. He clapped, grabbed my hand, and off we went to the basketball court. As we drew near, Micah spotted a basketball sitting on the grass...and off he ran to grab it. He walked with DH to the court, started bouncing the ball and trying to throw it in the basket. There were about 10-15 men shooting hoops on the court, and they were all so nice to clear out of the way and let him play for a few minutes. He was clapping and laughing and screaming "bah-ball" - I could see his grin from 30 feet away! A few of the guys were dribbling the ball and dunking it in the basket, and Micah was WOWED. He tried to dribble, too (well, he took the ball and banged it on the ground a few times) then did his imitation of a jump shot (lifting it over his head and picking up a leg while he dropped the ball and clapped for himself).

After another 5-7 minutes, we had to put an end to Micah's basketball time and head home. Unfortunately, Micah was devastated...and had a complete and utter screaming meltdown. He would not let us put him in his stroller, and DH had to carry him home, shrieking and screaming. He was hysterical, and kept screaming "bah-ball." Note to self...perhaps bed time is a bad time for basketball. He was just so devastated to be leaving, and we felt a little bad about the whole thing. We finally got home and he was still a mess when we walked through the door. We debated just bringing him upstairs for bath and bed kicking and screaming, but instead I thought that a quick tv program might be a better idea. I asked Micah if he'd like to watch tv, and he got quiet (well, those little hiccupy snivels were still left) and he looked at the tv. I told him he needed to stop crying, sit on the couch and say "please" and I'd put the tv on for him. He immediately ran over to the couch, climbed up and said "peez." So, I put on an episode of Between the Lions and Micah was all cuddly, happy and content. Just after the episode, Micah happily went upstairs for bath time.

For the past few nights, after bath time, Micah loves to roll around in our bed, pull the covers and pillow around him as he snuggles in and declare "night-night." I think he is starting to express his desire to sleep in a big bed! It isn't going to happen any time soon, but it sure is cute.

So, while I'm still very uncomfortable and unhappy that Twoey has not yet declared her arrival...tonight was a wonderful night. I'm loving these last few precious moments as our family of three, with Micah as my only focus and attention. I will definitely miss this special time with him - and I'm so sad that my little boy is growing up so quickly before my eyes.

Father's Day

We had a very nice (but kind of mellow) Father's Day yesterday. It was a bit hectic because we had people coming over...and I probably should have done more to make the day extra special for DH, but I just don't have the energy right now. I had gotten DH a card from Micah and one from me. Micah made his Daddy a tie-dyed t-shirt in daycare, so that was his gift to his Daddy. I also had ordered DH a new "jump seat" for the bike for Micah. We have a bike trailer, but now that Micah is older, I thought DH might find it easier to transport Micah in the seat instead of the trailer (he bikes him to daycare 3x/week and they run errands together). I also ordered a few other "odds and ends" he needed for his bike.

Because DH is particular about his bike, I ruined the surprise gift about a week or two ago so DH could investigate my gift and see if he thought it was the best option for his bike. Naturally, he had other ideas, so he asked if we could order a different seat. That seat arrived last week...and long story short, DH wasn't so thrilled with the seat. After doing more research, he concluded that I might have actually identified a better option! We re-ordered that seat, and it just arrived today. DH spent this afternoon attaching it, and we should know in a bit if he likes this seat better. I hope he likes his gift...but I feel badly that there was no Father's Day gift-opening surprise for him.

DH doesn't know this, but I had planned to order him some personalized gifts with pictures of Twoey for Father's Day as well...but she has not been so cooperative. I'm also now missing all the Father's Day sales and free shipping on items, but, hey, I guess that will just have to do. Once she arrives, I'll complete his gift with something from Twoey (and perhaps a nice picture of the three of them together).

We did not have any big plans for Father's Day (mostly because we were afraid to plan anything with my supposedly impending labor). My brother, SIL and their girls decided to come down to our house, and my parents came over. We had my parents' anniversary to celebrate, my brother's birthday AND Father's Day that all deserved some attention. Unfortunately, I just did not have it in me to bake a cake, nor did any of us feel like doing any real cooking.

Instead, I pre-ordered a dozen bagels on Saturday, and DH, Micah and I walked over to pick them up in the morning. Round trip, the walk was almost 2 miles. I was hoping the effort would send me into labor...but as you can see, I'm still here. When we got home, we threw together some egg salad and some tuna fish. Everyone arrived around 12 (it was later than we had originally planned because my brother had a slight scare...they thought their dog ran away...turned out, she was just stuck and hiding under a bed). Anyway, we all sat down to a light lunch together. The kids were so cute playing together - Micah was running loops around the house being chased by his cousins, and they were all happily screaming together. We all gave my father a Keurig coffee maker and some accessories. I just gave my brother a card for his birthday, and a card to my parents for their anniversary. My brother and I felt a little bad that we did not have anything special for their anniversary...we'll have to come up with something later this year when things calm back down again.

Anyway, my mom is still quite exhausted - she was upstairs napping for a bit while the kids played together. I love watching Micah interact with his cousins! Everyone left around 2:30, and we put Micah down for his afternoon nap. He only slept about 2 hours...but it seemed to be enough. When he woke up, we played for a few hours, and then DH grilled some burgers for them for dinner. Micah gobbled up about 1/2 a burger and some strawberries. He was very cute. The little monkey has been climbing INTO his high chair lately - we have to really watch him to make sure he doesn't hurt himself.

After dinner, we decided to go on another walk. We ended up walking another 2-2.5 miles and stopping at the grocery store. It was a nice long walk, and we got back just in time to give Micah a quick bath and put him to bed.

I haven't felt much like blogging lately...I'm kind of miserable from all the contractions, and I cannot believe little Miss Twoey has refused to make her appearance yet. I never wanted to be one of those women who complained about still being pregnant...but this is not fun, especially with the contractions and the prior expectation of pre-term labor. I'm now officially worried that they will have to induce me, and that would involve needles. Perhaps worried is an needle phobia has started to kick into high gear, and panic is beginning to reign every time I think about when/if this baby is going to show up.

Things have been MUCH better with Micah since he has been on the more night wakings, and his grump factor has gone way down. We have only been giving him the Zantac at night, but I'm wondering if we should consider a daytime dosage, too.

Wish I had more to add...I'll post again when I have more updates. I have a doctor appointment on Wednesday and another ultrasound later this week. Keep your fingers crossed I can miss those appointments!

Anyway, just wanted to wish a very Happy Father's Day to DH, to my father, and to Poppy Ira! You are all very much loved and appreciated as fathers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reflux Returns

Yesterday morning, Micah woke up again at 5:00 am, screaming. It has been a rough few weeks - even when we do not have to go in and get him, he has been waking a few times a night coughing and crying. This morning, his voice was raspy and I could hear all the congestion in his nose and throat. I started to wonder if perhaps Micah was really sick...either fighting a low-grade sinus infection or an ear infection. So, we called the doctor and made an appointment to go get Micah checked out.

We saw one of the female doctors we like. She checked out Micah, and immediately pronounced that while he was congested, he was definitely not sick. Naturally, I felt like a crazy mother bringing my child in for absolutely no good reason. As we got to talking about what to do and possible causes, we circled back to the question of Micah's reflux. She said that Micah was definitely teething, could have allergies (or congestion from teething), and that everything we were seeing *could* be related to that. BUT, she also said that the congestion and coughing could be a sign that Micah was still suffering from reflux. For some babies, the reflux can back into their noses and irritate the nasal passages, causing congestion and coughing. She suggested that we try putting Micah back on Zantac, at least at night, and see if it made a difference.

So, last night, just before bed, we gave Micah a dosage of Zantac. We knew that it can take a few weeks to fully kick in, so we certainly did not expect any immediate response. Much to our amazement, Micah slept through the night last night! No wakings, no crying, and even snoring or coughing. It might be premature for us to proclaim victory after just one night, but I do think that we might just have identified the source of Micah's crankiness and night wakings. I feel awful that it took us so long to figure it out, but I hope putting him back on Zantac will take care of his discomfort.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No, no, no...Part 2

Thought I'd share the video I captured tonight (by the way, you'll notice at the end that he says "more" when he is "all done"):

By the way, Micah has recently been obsessed with making DH put on his bike helmet in the house...he had to keep it on all night tonight. We had someone come to our door, and DH had a conversation with wasn't until she left that I realized he had been wearing the bike helmet the entire time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No, no, no!!

I mentioned that on Sunday, we were at my parents' house for a few hours, and my brother, SIL and their kids were there. They were on their way back from vacation, and stopped by to check on my mom and pick up their dog. We went over to meet up with them, and Micah spent a lot of time playing with the dog.

As is to be expected, gentle is not a skill Micah has exactly mastered yet. My brother's dog is very sweet, but, unlike Nugget, she will bite/snap if prompted. Micah was rolling around on top of her, grabbing at her fur/skin, pinching her, and generally giving her reason to get nervous and snap. A number of times, I ran over to Micah, shook my finger at him and said "No" and told him to be gentle. I would demonstrate gentle...and usually he'd resume pinching and rough-housing with the dog.

Well, yesterday and today, Micah was sitting and reading his "Animals" book. The very first page is a picture of about 4 different dogs, with the word "DOG" printed at the top. As Micah reads the book, I ask him what the different animals are, and I ask him what sound they make. If he is able, he tells me, and if he doesn't know the words, I tell him. There are other pictures on the pages (balls, bubbles, balloons), and he likes to point out the different items and tell me what they are. Dog is one of the words he knows well. For the past two days, he points at the dogs, I ask what it is, he says "doggy," and then I ask him "What sound do doggies make?" As I prepare to tell him "Woof, woof," Micah now takes his finger, shakes it at the picture and says "No, no, no!" Yup, apparently he now things that dogs say "No, no, no." I'm guessing I must have inadvertently taught him that this weekend! In fact, tonight, as he was flipping through the book, all he needed to do was look at the picture of the dogs, and he started to shake his finger and say "No, no, no!" Up until now, he was only shaking his head "no" - not only does he think you have to say "No" to dogs, he now knows how to VOCALIZE the word no while he shakes his head (and his finger). This is going to be fun, isn't it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

18 months

Wow - I cannot believe how the last 18 months have flown by - my little man is now 18 months old!! Each and every day, he amazes me. I do have to say, I was certain he'd be a big brother already...perhaps soon!

We have not weighed or measured Micah in a while - I'd guess he is around 22 lbs right now, and maybe 34-35 inches tall. He is wearing 18 months (or 12-18 months) clothing and a size 5W shoes. We are still having issues keeping his pants on his skinny tush - so far, we can only wear the shorts that have adjustable tabs in the waist. We have not set up his 18 month checkup yet - I assumed that Twoey would be here, and we'd just bring Micah in at the same time we brought Twoey in for one of her appointments, so we will not have his stats for a little while still.

As for milestones, his language skills are increasing each and every day. He is repeating more words, and he seems to be using more and more words to communicate. He is even stringing a few words together (like "sit down" and "get out"). He does seem to be confusing a few words lately - apparently, "more" and "all done" seem to be synonymous. He also seems to be calling lots of people "Mommy" lately - it seems to be his word when he wants comfort from any person. He is also so loving and sweet - I just love how he gives hugs and kisses all the time.

Physically, he is very strong and seems to be developing as he should. He climbs on and off furniture and loves to sit on grownup chairs. He loves to play catch and throw his basketball. He loves using all of his different toys, and he runs around the house. He keeps trying to walk down stairs (I don't think he is *quite* ready for that yet, though). He seems to do pretty well with some of the smaller steps (like the one leading out of our house). He LOVES to be outside, and he does everything he can to spend as much time as possible outdoors.

Here is some video I took a few days before Nugget died - we had a "playdate" with one of my best friend's dog, Bentley. Micah was showing off his reading/talking skills and loving on Bentley:

We are still having a big challenge with eating - he gets very stubborn and picky at meal time. It is a big guessing game - what he will eat, how he will eat it, etc. One minute he'll eat something and the next minute he is throwing it. Sometimes all it takes is handing him a fork, or putting some dipping sauce down for him. Other times, we have to get entirely different food for him. Lately, he wants to do things himself with food - sandwiches need to be whole, he wants the whole banana and the whole piece of chicken. He likes to hold the bag of raisins and eat directly out of that (or the cereal box or the cracker box). Often, I try to insist that he eat from his tray, but sometimes, it is just easier to give in to him. Sometimes, he just wants to eat out of a bowl or a plate like a "big boy." We never know if he'll eat a ton or practically nothing!

His sleeping habits are improving...he has been napping better and sleeping later again, but we've had a few mornings when he wakes up extra early. I think it is still related to teething (and his new bug bites) that are bothering him. Unfortunately, he has been a bit challenging to put down most nights and for naps - he has been crying a bit more lately. Luckily, he usually doesn't cry that long, but I wish he wouldn't get so upset!

As I mentioned, Micah seems to be plagued with some bug bites this week. He had a spider bite on his arm about 1 month ago, but this was different. On Thursday night, I noticed a small red bump on his leg when we were getting him ready for bed. I didn't think much about it - it was fairly small and I figured it was no big deal. I checked it out in the morning before he left for daycare, and told DH to ask the daycare to keep an eye on it. On Friday night when we were bathing him and getting him ready for bed, the small red bump had turned into this:

It was very blistery - tons of tiny little blisters. I started to wonder if it was poison ivy or a spider bite. It did not look infected and it did not seem to be bothering Micah, so I cleaned it off with hydrogen peroxide, put some caladryl on it, and kept it covered. We also gave him some benadryl to help with the swelling and itching. I also noticed a small red bump on the bridge of his nose. When we woke up on Saturday morning, the bite on his leg looked much better. The bump on the bridge of his nose was more swollen - according to DH, he looked a bit like a Klingon from Star Trek! I called the doctor to see if we should bring him in to the office. She said that as long as his eye was not irritated and while the mark on his leg was not looking infected, streaking, or expanding in size, we should just keep doing what we were doing. We kept the bite on his leg covered and cleaned, and we did not pay too much attention to the bite on his nose. Micah went to services with his Daddy in the morning, took a VERY short nap, then we all went to the pool to play. After pool time, we visited my parents for dinner - my mom hadn't see Micah in almost 1 month! I think this is the longest stretch she'd ever gone. We had a good night, and left after a few hours.

Sunday morning when Micah woke up, his left eye was practically swollen shut! I couldn't tell if the bite from his nose was causing the swelling or if it was a new bite, but it looked terrible. We debated taking him to the emergency room, but his eye looked clear and he did not seem to be in any discomfort. We took some benadryl cream and put it on his eye. DH took him out for a few hours, and my dad came by and picked me up. DH, Micah, me, my brother, my SIL and my two nieces all met up around lunch time at my parents' house to visit my mom. She is doing better, but still so wiped out. Micah spent the afternoon trying to talk to his cousins and chasing them around the house. They were so cute playing together!! I was actually impressed at how well he was playing and interacting with them. He kept trying to communicate with them, too. At one point, the kids were VERY quiet - I got worried something was wrong. I found them in the other room, with my eldest niece showing Micah how to play with this set of nesting dolls. It was so cute to see them together! My youngest niece asked me where Nugget was...that was a tough conversation for me. She did not understand and kept asking why Nugget was gone. Over the course of the day, Micah's eye improved dramatically. I think the cream helped, and the extra dosage of Benadryl at naptime probably didn't hurt either.

Tonight, after dinner, Micah, DH and I went on a long walk. I think I discovered where Micah is getting all of his bites - on his nightly evening walk! We are going to have to start covering him in the organic bug spray we have. I was hoping to kick things up on the walk and get this labor on the road! Well, it worked - I am contracting like crazy and I barely made it home. I'm sure it will stall out again, but I'm getting pretty fed up! I'm starting to worry I'll end up OVERDUE after all of this! My system is still a mess, and I'm feeling terrible. I'm not sure this baby is EVER going to come out!!

I think I mentioned before that with Nugget gone, our house has been a mess! We counted on her to do a lot of our vacuuming. Well, we invested in a lightweight vacuum we are now using on a regular basis to clean up after ourselves. The first day we used it, Micah fell in love - he came running over, took control of the vacuum, and went to work. So, there is a new housekeeper in town!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twoey's 38 week appointments

Today was appointment day...we took Twoey for her ultrasound and biophysical profile this morning, and she passed with flying colors! She was moving and breathing well, and we did get a few photos I will try to scan and share. Twoey has been very low - it used to be that her face was even with the placenta, but now she has descended so much that the placenta is even with her belly.

This afternoon, we met with the midwife. This was one of my favorite midwives, and today was her last day with the practice. So, she will definitely NOT be delivering Twoey. The good news is that the midwife who delivered Micah will be covering hospital hours over the next few weeks, so she may be delivering Twoey! I like one of the other two midwives on call - the third one is not so friendly, though.

As for my appointment, at 38 weeks, my belly is measuring 34 weeks...and shrinking. I haven't put on any weight, and I've been having horrible nausea again. The contractions are pretty regular, but I don't seem to be making any progress. I'm about 2 cm dilated and 70-80% effaced, so no real progress from last week. I'm pretty disappointed. She didn't think it was a good time to strip my membranes - she did stretch my cervix to hope to stir things up. I had to be hooked up to the machines for an NST (non-stress test) and little Miss Twoey flunked at first. I had to stay hooked up a while longer - they eventually let me go (because she was being cooperative this morning), but all she wanted to do was sleep this afternoon.

I really hope things start to move - I'm so uncomfortable right now with all the contractions, and I'm starting to worry that I won't go into labor on my own (side effect of those stupid progesterone shots I had to take). Inductions require needles, and I really don't want to go that route. So...hope little Miss Twoey decides to make an appearance. My only thought is that she is holding out for June 15 - the one day I didn't want her to arrive because it is my brother's birthday, my parents' anniversary, and every few years it is also Father's Day!

We had a really good day with Micah today - he seems much less grumpy, he napped well, and he went to bed easily tonight. Hopefully a good sign!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Still Here

Well, I'm still here...hanging in there. I cannot believe little Miss Twoey has not made her arrival yet!! I've been having fairly regular contractions for the past several days, and they've been about 2 minutes apart for the last 24 hours or so. I'm having a fair amount of pain and discomfort, and frankly, I'm ready to get this show on the road! We are about as ready as we are going to get - house is clean and in order, the necessities are washed, the car seat is in the car, the hospital bag is packed, and we are probably about as on top of our work as we are going to get. I should probably do about another month worth of work before labor hits, but hey, I've actually accomplished more than I expected so far. Now...if we could just come up with a name for Twoey!

This week has been a little better. My mom seems to be regaining her strength, and I'm trying to move forward with everything in my life, too. Yesterday was a good day with Micah. He woke up at 3:15 am screaming again, but he was laying down the entire time, so I decided to see if he could put himself back to sleep. Luckily, he was only awake about 15 minutes and then slept until about 7:30 or so. Still not perfect, but it was progress! Of course, I felt like a horrible mom the entire time for not going in to comfort him, but he was just upset, not hysterical, and I had a feeling that going in to his room would just make it all worse and have him up all night. I just don't want him to develop a 3:00 am wake up habit and think that is snuggle time with mommy and daddy.

I haven't been spending as much time on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Micah since our babysitter started a few weeks ago. It has been a great opportunity for me to get some things accomplished and take care of myself, but...I have been missing my Micah time! So, I decided to take the morning (perhaps one of my last with only 1 child) and spend some time with Micah. For our morning activity, I scheduled a haircut for Micah. We walked over there, got his hair cut, and then stopped off at a park to play. The babysitter helped with the chasing, but we had a fun time together! He gave me kisses, and he seemed fascinated by the other children. He saw one boy drinking water from a bottle, and he wanted one, too, so I gave him his milk. Then, the boy started to eat one of those sippy pouches of fruit. Luckily, I had one on hand, and Micah downed that, too. He then seemed ravenous, so I gave him a cheese stick. Unfortunately, he was still hungry and was searching through the bags for more food. I happened to remember that the restaurant across the street has a kids' performer and lunch every Tuesday, so we popped across the street. We missed the performer, but we were able to join in for the lunch special. Micah ate pita and hummus and a few french fries (okay, the fries are not super healthy, but he did already eat cheese, fruit and veggies before this, and I gave him whole wheat pita and hummus).

After lunch, the three of us headed back home. We immediately put Micah down for his nap and I went back to getting some work done. I was having horrible contractions and struggling with nausea, so the afternoon was a bit rough for me. Normally, Micah sleeps about 2.5- 3 hours. Naturally, 50 minutes after we put him down for his nap, the screaming began! I had the babysitter go get him, and I could hear that he was in a horrible mood.

I came upstairs to help out for a bit...and he was just a mess. I took him and hugged him for a while, but he was still yelling. I am fairly certain this is teething pain, but this has been going on quite some time. I decided to give him some Tylenol, and then I administered the next best medication I know...Sesame Street. I usually hate to use tv as a soothing device, but sometimes....well, it works. I flipped on the tv, Micah put his thumb in his mouth and curled up on top of me. After a little while, I scooted away from Micah (and let the babysitter sneak in to cuddle with him). I decided to make him some popsicles (I did 2 yogurt/applesauce and 2 applesauce) because I thought perhaps the cold would help his gums. I then went back downstairs and went back to work. I told the babysitter she should take him outside after the show ended - either for a walk or to play "basketball." I heard them go outside, and I could hear Micah screaming a bit. I checked on him - apparently, he wanted to sit and play in the bike trailer, and probably wanted to go for a ride. They stayed outside for about 30-40 minutes, and then the babysitter brought him in because it was so buggy outside. Micah was protesting loudly, but he brought his basketball inside. I came upstairs to play with them for a bit. I made a "basket" with my arms and showed Micah he could play that way. He actually giggled! Then I showed him how to bounce the ball, which is apparently hysterically funny. He spent the next 40 minutes throwing and bouncing the ball.

The babysitter left at 5:00, and Micah and I continued to play. He started to get grumpy again and he was banging on one of the cabinets, so I assumed that meant he was hungry. Lately, feeding him has been a challenge. I offered him a cracker and he threw it on the ground. I gave him a graham cracker, and he smashed that in his hands and screamed. I asked him if he wanted cheese, and he shook his head "NO." I asked if he wanted strawberries - again, I got a no. I opened the cabinet again and Micah lunged for the bag of raisins. I tried to give him a few raisins, but he threw a fit because he wanted to hold the bag and take the raisins out himself. I decided it wasn't worth the battle, so I let him have the bag of raisins. He sat on the floor happily munching on raisins for a while, but then started to get upset again. I offered him some cereal (we struggled over the box - he just wanted to dump cereal from the box on the floor), and then I decided that I would just feed him dinner because it was almost 6. I pulled out some turkey for him - and he was throwing it back at me before I even got it on his tray. I cleared that off and offered him some kidney beans...and again, those hit the floor. At this point, I got a bit frustrated. I put some fish sticks in to cook and I went in search of something for Micah to munch on while we waited. The cereal flew, crackers were smashed, and there was much yelling and screaming. I cut up a few strawberries, and Micah went to town on those.

A little after 6, DH walked through the door. Thankfully, he took over feeding our grumpy little bugger. He figured out that Micah did want the kidney beans - as long as he could eat them with a fork. Micah also ate a few fish sticks, followed up by a peach. In the end, he had a very good dinner. After dinner, Micah started to get cranky again, so DH took him on a walk. The babysitter returned around 7:30 (we had to go to a new student meeting at the preschool), and I warned her that Micah might be difficult at bedtime. DH returned with Micah and we took off for the preschool meeting. It went well - we met several other parents whose children will be in class with Micah next year (it turns out, I already know two of them), and we received copies of all the forms we need to fill out and submit in the next few months. When we got home, we learned that Micah went to bed immediately...and much to our amazement, he slept soundly until 8:15 this morning (and played quietly in bed until 8:30).

Today has been rather uneventful - I had a rough night dealing with all the contractions, but apparently it was not enough to send me into full labor. I'm still contracting and uncomfortable, but no need to run to the hospital yet. Micah is at daycare and I have been focusing on getting some last-minute work done. I also ran out and met my mom and dad for lunch.

About 10 minutes ago, they called today from the crematorium...Nugget's remains should be ready today. I just cried all over again. I am still missing that little stinker!! We went out and bought one of those little surface brooms - we have a lot of mess we need to start cleaning. I'm not ready to have that box of her ashes here...I guess I'll just have to face that soon enough.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today was a LONG day...Micah decided to wake up screaming at 5:00 am. Quite unusual for him, but his sleep habits lately have been a bit erratic. It is either from teething or because he senses some changes, but I have no idea! We tried bringing him into bed with us for a while, but Micah wanted to get up and play. By 6:00 or so, DH bit the bullet and agreed to let me sleep and bring Micah downstairs. I slept until about 8 and then joined them.

We took Micah to daycare after breakfast (and Micah was definitely difficult about breakfast again). It was a crazy day for me - we had a conference call for work at 11, and then I needed to go to my condo to wait for a cleaning service to clean the carpet and the HVAC repair guy to come and fix the broken AC. Luckily, the issue with the AC was fairly minor - apparently, one of the wires on the contact circuit burned out and just needed to be replaced. So, the AC is working again, the carpet is clean, and my condo is ready for sale! While we were waiting on the carpet cleaning, we had our architect come and meet us so we could review the bid from our contractor. We had a few questions we need to nail down, but we are in a good place, and we've okayed our architect to move forward and finalize things and start applying for permits!

When Micah got home from daycare, he wanted to play out back for a while - he was busy playing "basketball" - and he was just so cute!! He loves to throw the ball through the hoop and clap each and every time. We dragged him inside after 20 minutes to feed him dinner (I think Micah would live outside if he could). Unfortunately, he started to melt down while we tried to feed him dinner. He threw the chicken on the floor, and the cheerios, and he did not want to eat much fruit. He was just grumpy, and we were shocked that he refused the food. After a screaming fit, I decided that he was probably exhausted since he woke up at 5:00 am. We decided we would plop him in front of the tv to watch an episode of Word World before bed. At 7:45, DH took Micah upstairs for an early bath and bed. For the second night in a row, he screamed his head off at bedtime before crashing. I wish I knew what was going on with him!! Anyway, he has been sleeping soundly so far - I hope he is just exhausted and sleeps through the night tonight.

Things went pretty well for my mom today at her appointments today. The good news is the gastroenterologist thinks he knows what is wrong and believes the issue is her stomach. The bad news is she has to go through several more tests to figure out how he wants to proceed with treating her, and it could be a bit of time before she really bounces back. She is having some other bloodwork done to see if there are any other crazy things going on that could be causing her exhaustion. Tomorrow she will go see her cardiologist and do a quick follow-up to make sure everything is in order. She has bloodwork and follow-up tests scheduled later this week, so hopefully she'll get more answers and a plan of action by next week.

As for me...well, Twoey seems to be clawing her way out tonight. I'm having regular contractions and a lot of pain and pressure and tons of sharp stabbing pains. We'll see if this is just another rough night or for real.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I have had my blog listed for some time on the Stirrup Queen's blogroll. For many months, I participated in the "IComLeaveWe" (international comment leaving week), but I have not been as active for the past few months. Well, among other wonderful aspects of the Stirrup Queen's blog, she has a "Lost and Found Connections Abound" blog where she posts good news, losses, etc. and encourages the blogging community to get out there and support people in need.

I have noticed the past few days that I have been receiving a TON of comments marked LFCA (Lost and Found Connections Abound) and I was a bit surprised...not exactly sure what was going on, or what brought about the sudden influx of comments from people who do not normally read my blog. So, I went and checked out the LFCA listing/blog, and sure enough...there it was. A post in the "Miscellaneous Support and Celebrations" section directing people to come to my blog and lend their support for the loss of my dog. I teared up all over again - I have no idea how she managed to notice with all the other blogs she tracks/publicizes, but the support I have been getting from the blogging community really does mean a lot. I'm sure many of you are thinking "hey, it is just a dog" but this time has been tough for me, and the support truly means so much to me.

So...thank you. Thank you for adding me to the LFCA page, and thank you to all who have shown up just to lend support. I greatly appreciate it! And I think that I, too, will work harder to check out the LFCA list and lend some virtual support where needed in the future. So...thank you again.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I'm having a difficult time adjusting to life without my dog. It probably sounds crazy to you...especially those of you who do not have pets. I find myself looking for Nugget - unconsciously. I wake up in the night and notice she isn't on the bed, so I sit up and search the room for her...until I remember that she is gone. I find myself glancing around the room and searching for her throughout the day, or checking my path as I walk to the bathroom to be sure I avoid tripping over her. I pause to hold the gate open as I go up the stairs to make sure that she can get through and follow me...only to realize that she isn't there to follow me. I wake up at a noise in the early morning, and I peer over the edge of the bed, expecting Nugget to be there pawing at the side of the bed to tell me she is ready to get up and start the day. I miss her crazy "burrowing" that she does every morning when we all wake up, and her digging on the bed covers at night to make a comfortable spot for herself. I notice the odd silence (lack of jingling from her tags) and wonder what she has gotten into, and then remember why it is so quiet in the house. I find myself doing the defensive moves to rescue fallen food from the floor and grabbing stray dishes so that Nugget doesn't have a chance to get in there and steal it...and then realize the food is safe now. Out of habit, I gave Micah a cheese stick earlier today and immediately picked him up and put him on the couch and started to stand guard so Nugget didn't steal it from him - and then realized he could walk freely around the house (and even put the stick down on the coffee table) without any worries right now.

I've also learned that Nugget might have been the best housekeeper in this family - in the 3 days since her passing, this house has become a complete and utter mess! There are trails of crumbs and food all over the place - my carpet has never looked so disgusting! After 12 years, I have apparently developed horrible habits as well - I noticed today as I was eating a graham cracker and leaving a trail behind me that I had grown to rely on my furry little hoover who always stood right beneath me to catch my crumb trail. We are going to have to re-learn new habits, and quickly!

I have to say, I thought Micah would show more visible signs of missing Nugget. He doesn't really seem to look for her or call her at all. I think he has already moved on, but perhaps that is for the best. In the next few months, we will be turning his world upside down - first, his dog is gone, next, we will be bringing a baby home, and then we will be moving from the only house he has ever known. I hope he is able to easily adjust.

In slightly better news, my mom was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon. I'm being a bit cautious about writing this out because we still never seemed to get a firm diagnosis and she is still not feeling great. Since Friday, she has been extremely tired. I understand sickness can wipe you out, but I'm still a bit worried - I would like to see her regain her energy again. She has a bunch of doctors appointments to go to this week, so perhaps we will get some more definitive answers. All we know is that she has been dealing with nausea and stomach issues, that she can eat and function while she is on a ton of anti-nausea meds, and they found fluid in her lungs so they told her it was pneumonia and put her on two antibiotics. They have not yet confirmed by xray that the fluid in her lungs has cleared up (in fact, it had gotten worse on Thursday). I'm hoping at least we can get that cleared up this week.

Micah was a bear to put to bed tonight - he fought and cried for about 45 minutes. We had to go back in a few times, but he just did not want us to leave him alone tonight. I guess I can understand that - some nights, I hate to leave him, too. Micah has been talking more and more every day. He has been stringing two words together (sit down, get out) at times, and he is repeating a lot of words. He has been loving tennis, and he dutifully cheered with me for Rafael Nadal as he won his 5th French Open title today. Every time Rafa hit the ball, Micah would raise his arms and yell "Go!" He saw an apple on my shirt today (I got it at the grand opening of an Apple Store years ago) and he spent the night pointing at it and saying "apple." He seems to be repeating letters of the alphabet when we show them in a book or on some of the TV shows like Sesame Street and Between the Lions. He also seems to be recognizing some numbers. We have been counting backwards from 20 or 10 every time we change his diaper (he seems to enjoy it and it keeps him still until we get to 1 - not sure why, but it works). The last few days, he tries to count with us - he repeats some of the numbers, and a few times I even *think* he might have said a number or two with me!

As for me - well, I'm shocked this baby hasn't arrived yet, but a little relieved because I'm not sure how I could handle it. I've been contracting every 4-5 minutes for most of the past few days. I've had periods when the contractions are stronger, but they do not seem to be converting into full-blown labor yet. I am having a lot of pain/discomfort from the baby when I stand, so I keep thinking we are close. I just hope after all this pre-term labor nonsense I don't end up going PAST my due date! I really thought she would arrive today. My next guess is June 15, since that is the date for everything parents' anniversary, my brother's birthday, and every few years it is Father's Day, too. I really hope I have the baby this week, though - I have a conference I am supposed to present at on June 26!

So...I'm hanging in there. I'm feeling pretty down a lot - still having some random crying fits here and there. I really hope all of this pre-baby stress doesn't turn into post-partum depression for me. I'm just worn down right now, and definitely feeling a little blue from everything. I am trying my best to pick myself up by my boot straps, though, but right now it is feeling like a challenge.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Goodbye, Nugget

My dog died tonight. I'm not even sure where to begin, or exactly what to say. I'm still pretty shocked and devastated. As you all know, we found out in early April that she was suffering from congestive heart failure. I knew her time was limited...but somehow I thought we had more time. They stabilized her on medication, and all seemed to be going well. On May 24, I noticed that Nugget's breathing was a bit more labored and she was coughing a tad. I took her in to the vet, and he confirmed that fluid was backing up in her lungs again. At that point, I knew that if we could not maintain her for even 6 weeks on medication, her time was likely limited.

The vet increased her Lasix and sent her home. Over the next days, she seemed much better. She was coughing less frequently, and her breathing seemed to ease up a bit. I brought her in for a re-check the following Wednesday, and the vet decided to keep her on the higher dose of Lasix until this week. She was due for a re-check again this week, but I had noticed her breathing was a bit more labored again and she was waking up in the morning with a cough. I was fairly certain that they would not be reducing her medication as hoped, and I wondered if she would need an even higher dose of medication or a trip back to the cardiologist.

I took Nugget to the vet around 1:30 today. He noted that she had a slight fever, and suggested that he keep her overnight (at his house) and monitor her. He felt that she likely had an infection and he wanted to keep track of her and put her on antibiotics and monitor her breathing and coughing. I gave him a whole list of information about my she steals food, that she is deaf, and I warned him about all the trouble she was likely to cause him. After giving him my laundry list, I reluctantly agreed to leave her and headed back home without my dog. I called up around 3:30 to confirm that she still had a fever. The doctor spoke to me and said he really thought she had a mild infection and he thought from her breathing and lack of coughing that she was stable and fine. DH went to pick her up right around 5:00 pm.

I was thrilled to have Nugget home again, but as she sat here, I became convinced she was not doing well. Her breathing seemed very labored, and I definitely thought it almost sounded like a rattle. She sounded as awful as she did that night I brought her to the emergency hospital. Around 6:30 or so, I told DH that I thought I should bring Nugget to the hospital. He thought I should give the antibiotics more time to work. We debated a bit, and then I decided that I'd feed her dinner early and give her pills a bit early and see if that improved her breathing.

I went to give her the chewable pill...and she refused it. I immediately knew she was quite sick. I got the rest of her pills and put them in her mouth - she refused to swallow them, and then she threw up. At this point, DH confessed to giving her some fatty meat from his lamb ribs, and I was so angry. I managed to get the meds in her, but she still refused to eat. At that point, Micah was being really cranky and making a ton of noise and agitating the dog. I asked DH to take him out for a bit so that I could try and calm Nugget back down again.

Nugget just seemed lethargic and restless at the same time. She wouldn't sit still, but I kept thinking she was unsteady and seemed off. I called DH and told him I was going to the hospital, and he asked me to wait until he and Micah returned. They came back around 7:15 or so. DH was convinced that Nugget was doing better and I should wait a bit and see if she was feeling better after vomiting. I noticed that Nugget was not running from Micah, and she just sort of stayed in one place. I agreed to wait until DH put Micah to bed before I left with Nugget.

DH took Micah upstairs a few minutes after 8. Nugget had moved to the steps and sort of sprawled out, and Micah had been rolling around and kissing and hugging her just before bed. I kept thinking Nugget was giving me these "help me mommy" looks all night, and I was worried that she was not eating dinner and not trying to run from Micah. I planned on leaving immediately, but DH asked that I wait so he could send us off.

He came down around 8:15 or 8:20, and I had Nugget on a leash. She wouldn't walk herself outside, and I knew it was not a good sign. I picked her up, and she vomited again...but this time, there was some watered down blood. I just knew that the night wasn't going to end well. DH quickly grabbed a cloth diaper for me to take with us, and I carried Nugget to the car. I placed her on the seat next to me, and she didn't even try to move into a more comfortable position - she just stayed exactly as I placed her. I started the drive to the vet, and about 2 blocks into the drive, she vomited again - she didn't even try to move out of the vomit. I was watching the dog when I suddenly realized I'd veered across 3 lanes of traffic and nearly killed us both. I then stayed focused on the road and kept one hand on Nugget. She was very still and breathing very shallow and heavily. She was making choking sounds and she spit up a few more times. I just knew she would never make it to the hospital.

The hospital is about 3-4 miles away. We were about 1 mile or so into the drive when Nugget started to get quieter. The rattling sound stopped, and her breathing remained shallow but slowed. I started to cry because I knew she was dying. I kept telling her to hang in there and begged her not to die. I told her that I loved her. Her breathing continued to slow and there were long pauses between her breaths. She stopped blinking her eyes, and she twitched a few times. I then realized that the pauses between her breaths were just too long. And then I didn't feel any more breaths at all. At this point, I was a little more than halfway to the hospital. I stopped at a light, and I just knew she had died. I started to wail and sob uncontrollably. I could barely see in front of me. I took my hand off of Nugget and grabbed my cell phone to call DH. I couldn't even speak, I was just sobbing.

A few minutes later I arrived at the hospital. I was sobbing so loudly and I felt like I couldn't breathe. I walked around to the passenger side of the car and scooped Nugget up into my arms. I walked inside, wailing and sobbing. When they asked me what was wrong, I simply said "I think my dog just died." They took her from me and they took her in the back...and confirmed that Nugget died.

The rest is sort of a blur...talking about cremation or asking me if I wanted to bring her body back home. I asked if I could see her again and say goodbye. They brought her in to me, and she lay on the table, wrapped in a blanket. She was still warm and her fur was so soft. If I didn't know better, I could almost believe she was just sleeping. I kissed her goodbye and I stroked her fur for a few minutes. Someone came in to talk to me some more about my choices, and I'm not really sure what I said. Cremation is something I do not believe in (religious reasons), yet...I couldn't see how I would take her body home with me. I don't know where I would bury her (in our small backyard that we will be tearing apart soon for renovations, not to mention that I kind of hate the house and hope to sell it one day? At my parents' house? At my cousins' farm?) I kept imagining her rotting in the heat in the car overnight because I didn't know what to do with her. I couldn't exactly put her on the couch until morning, or carry her up to our bed, or keep her in the fridge until I figured out what to do either. All of the options just seemed so awful to me - it was almost laughable. Part of me wanted to look into a pet cemetery...but I think the cost for maintaining a grave is a little crazy, too. I was just in such shock. I could have told them to hold on to her body until I decide, too, but I just didn't think it would get easier to decide later.

All I've been able to think about is that I really didn't take advantage of the time I had left with Nugget. I should have cuddled with her more, and paid more attention to her. I was content to just let her be - rest and sleep and not interact with her. Even tonight, when she kept looking at me with those sad eyes, I spent a lot of the night just watching her, letting her be by herself. I should have picked her up and held her, or curled up next to her on the floor to pet her. I hope she knew I was concerned and that she didn't feel alone.

The hardest part was walking away with her sitting there on that table, wrapped in the blanket. I just left my baby alone there. I felt horrible that, even though she died, her body was alone. It started to feel really morbid to stay with her and touch her, but I hated to just leave her like that. And yet, I did. My Nugget is gone, and right now, she is sitting alone at that animal hospital. And I'm sending her to be cremated, and that just seems horrible to me, too.

I have never really believed in a "heaven" - I like the thought, but it just isn't part of my belief system. Tonight, I hope I'm really wrong about that, and I hope that Nugget has found my Grammy up in a heaven somewhere - I know how much my Grammy loved her, and they would take great care of each other. So, I hope Nugget is happily snuggled in Grammy's lap, maybe stealing food from the snack bowl. But...I just miss her, and wish I had more time with her. I always thought she'd live to a ripe old age. I wanted Micah to spend more time with her, and I wanted her to continue to be our family hoover. I wanted Nugget to meet Twoey, and I wanted Twoey to develop a love for dogs because of Nugget's presence in the house. But, most of all, I wanted to keep my first baby with me as long as I could. Nugget has been with me for 12 years...from law school graduation, through my first legal job, through unemployment and starting my business, through bad relationships, through a good relationship, through marriage and through a baby. For many years, she was THE reason I got up in the morning and got myself out of bed. She is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the middle of the night, and she has been my focus for so long. I just feel like there is this big, gaping hole in my heart...and my life.