Reid’s 2 Month Appointment

Yep. A solid MONTH behind schedule! I figure better late than never. Although, when I go back in a few years to try and find this post, I’ll likely be looking [incorrectly] in the archives for the month of February.

At any rate, Reid’s 2-month check-up went off without a hitch. The child still rocks a big noggin. He was running a little smaller, percentile-wise, than either the doctor or I expected him to be – especially since he was in the 50th %ile for height and weight at last checkup – but this is how Graham grew too, so :::shrug:::. My boys are weird.

Note the “eczema” comment. Lordy, this boy has had the skin issues. At this appointment, he had a perfect trifecta: eczema on his arms and chest, baby acne on his face and cradle cap on his scalp.

The cradle cap thing totally threw us for a loop. Graham never had it, so we’re like first-timers again. If you ask people what cradle cap is, they’ll tell you it’s “baby dandruff”. Okay. We had it much worse than that.

Sure, their scalp is flaky, but that’s not the bad part. A little awkward, yes, but it’s handle-able. Reid also had yellow, oily, scabby scales almost around the front part of his scalp, just above the forehead. Yuck. The irritation spread down his forehead to his eyebrows and made his whole forehead just… angry red.

To treat it, we had to rub his entire head with oil, comb out flakes, wash with Selsun Blue, make sure to shampoo every day, brush-brush-brush the flakes out, use some hydrocortisone cream on his forehead and where the hair is thin, and – well -wait for him to grow out of it.

Because, really, time and Wolverine-like healing power is really your best ally when it comes to babies.

All said, it took 6 weeks for the cradle cap to really calm down. Just in time for school to start! :)

Doesn’t mean that he still didn’t win awards for SUPER cuteness, because… well, obviously.

Deep conversations with Jacques the Peacock

Also notable around the 2-month mark were sleep issues. Just like big bro, Reid’s daytime sleep degraded into frustrating nothingness around the 6-week mark. Sometimes swaddling helped, sometimes not. Sometimes he’d sleep in the swing, sometimes the crib, sometimes my arms. Whatever worked yesterday FOR SURE didn’t work today and probably wouldn’t work tomorrow.

Thankfully, that too only lasted a month or so, so by the time I was gearing up to head back to work, the kid was napping like a pro again. Mostly swaddled and in the swing, but whatever, because he was going to have to relearn everything AGAIN when he went to daycare. I figured I might as well have some sanity in the meantime!

Just note that parenting a baby the second time around totally rocks because I’m not spending my waking hours wondering if what I’m doing is totally and irrevocably damaging him in some way. :) I don’t worry so much about the “Should I be”s. So nice!

Coming soon: a post about our first week back in action! To come after we all recover from our respective comas, that is…

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Travel and Two Kids

As intimidating as having two kids may have been, it was nothing compared to the intimidation of knowing Andy was going to have to take his first business trip when Reid was a mere two weeks old.

Knowing other moms of two, I knew that the first time home by yourself with two kids is as momentous as it is terrifying. How do you put one kid down for a nap when the other needs to eat? How do you juggle a crying baby when your toddler is in the bathtub?

Well, said business trip came and went. Graham stayed home with me the first day. Then my friend (and knight in shining armor), Sherryl, offered to run Graham to daycare for me on Day 2. It was trying, but I made it. We made it. It became clear after that trip, though, that a follow-up trip was necessary the week of Christmas – two days after Christmas to be exact.

Again, the boys and I hunkered down in the house and managed to survive. This one was a day trip, so it was a little simpler than the last. Still – a huge sense of accomplishment at having kept two boys fed, well-rested and entertained for a day.

No time to feel relieved though, because – come later that day – I found out that Andy had YET ANOTHER TRIP on the docket for the following week. This week. If you’re keeping track, that’s three business trips for Andy in as many weeks. Two of those weeks being holiday weeks.

Augh.

At this point, I’m getting more confident with two. So confident that I decided to make Graham’s favorite meal for dinner last night: spaghetti and garlic bread. If you’re forgetting the steps involved, that’s boiling water, cooking noodles, browning ground beef, heating up sauce, preheating an oven and toasting garlic bread. That’s about five steps too many for being a man down. But I was cocky, I mean… this was my third time doing this, right?

As I relayed to Andy on the phone at the end of the night: “Handling the two of them by myself is fine… until it’s not.” If Graham is cooperative, it works. If the baby is sleeping or fed and happy, it works. When one of those doesn’t happen, I have to resist the urge to hunker in a fetal position in the corner and wait for reinforcements.

And, of course, that happened about the time the ground beef hit the searing hot frying pan – thus locking me in to the meal I’d originally planned. During that time, Graham was systematically dismantling and destroying everything in the house, the baby was crying anytime he wasn’t held, which was a lot because things were being shuttled in and out of the oven and on and off the stovetop.

At one point in the night, the house was wrecked with toys and other shrapnel resulting from a toddler entertaining himself. The kitchen, disgusting with all the food and dishes sitting out. Graham was miraculously sitting at the table, eating – and covered in spaghetti sauce. My plate of food was getting cold on the counter because, of course, the baby needed to eat RIGHTTHEN.

But then, a miracle happened in the form of a baby falling soundly asleep after his feeding. I not only got to eat my dinner, but I got dishes washed, Graham down to bed, the kitchen and rest of the house cleaned, laundry and dishwasher started and poured a glass of wine for myself.

Because, you know – it’s fine. Until it’s not. And Andy’s coming home today with no more travel in the foreseeable future.

Hallelujah, amen.

Two Weeks In

So, who wants to bankroll a laptop for me so I can post more frequently? I started the process of writing well over an hour ago, but was thwarted at nearly every turn. You wouldn’t think that having a desktop computer at the far end of an upstairs hallway would be that inhibiting to the blogging process, but when you run up and down stairs to attend to nearly every need of the household – baby, dog, doorbell, and the stupid lightning iPhone cord that we only have one of (currently plugged in by my nightstand)… like I said. I started this an hour ago and as it is – I’m still typing one-handed!

Okay, got the baby put down. Let’s go!

Well, we’ve been a family of four for two weeks now, and things have been actually going quite smoothly. Yes, in some ways it feels like a lot longer than 2 weeks have passed. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re awake to bear witness to nearly every single hour of the day.

I’m going to say it right off – Reid is a very different temperament compared to his big brother, Graham. We’re getting into more fussy days now as we hit various growth spurts and otherwise awake and alert periods, but in general, Reid soothes himself pretty darn quickly. Instead of getting progressively more keyed up when he’s upset, he’ll more let out a squawk that sounds like a “YAH!” from wherever he is and wait for someone to come get him. It’s actually sort of endearing.

In fact, Reid’s pretty content to be set down in a bouncy seat or a swing for the most part. If he’s having trouble falling asleep in either position, he’ll cry out for someone to come pick him up and snuggle him so he can fall asleep in our arms. After he’s asleep, he’s pretty good to be transferred back to the baby-holding device of your choosing. (Case in point, I started writing this post one-handed, and now the little guy is snoozing away next to me in his bouncy seat. No biggie.) This makes for a VERY nice maternity leave experience, as I can grab a shower, a meal, a nap or do some household chores fairly easily.

Sleep is going pretty great too. During the day, Reid naps in the swing, his bouncy seat or in our arms. At night, we swaddle him up and put him in the bassinet of the Pack n Play in our room. After that, he’s pretty content to wake up, eat, get swaddled and go back to sleep again. So far there’s been no need for middle-of-the-night walking sessions to try and get him back to sleep after feedings. I’d be super okay if it stays that way.

Most nights, Reid will sleep 2-2.5 hours at a stretch, putting him at around 3 hours between feeding sessions. This, I can deal with. On the one or two bad nights we’ve had, he was only sleeping in hour stretches. Last night, he slept for his first ever 4-hour stretch. I nearly broke out into song this morning when I realized it. Simply glorious.

This baby isn’t big on pacifiers. A really convincing person can get him to take one – and he *does* like them when he’ll actually agree to have the vile thing put in his mouth – but it’s quite the effort. He likes sucking on his fingers though, which I know he did in utero, based on ultrasound pictures.

Reid was born with not one, but TWO, different variations of newborn skin funk: newborn rash (read: nondescript red bumps everywhere on the body) and pustular melanosis. That second one sounds scary, doesn’t it? Basically, on Reid’s second day in the hospital, he broke out in an angry rash with big white bumps everywhere that sort of looked like chicken pox. Sure enough, though, the doc said it was absolutely nothing to be worried about and both rashes healed up within a week. Phew.

He also had a touch of jaundice coupled with a 10-ounce weight loss in the hospital. That weight loss is on the upper limit of normal, but this is where all nursing mothers hold their breath and worry about whether or not the breastfeeding thing is working.

Well, guess what? The jaundice went away and at his two-week doctor’s check, he was over his birth weight! BOO-yah.

Official stats:

Weight: 8 lbs, 12 oz (65 %ile)
Height: 21.3 inches (82 %ile)
Head: 14.8 cm (92%ile)

So, that’s it really. Mostly, we just hang around the house and wait for our next opportunity to eat. :)

Oh, and at least one of us has tons of fun dressing the other up in a seemingly endless supply of adorable Christmas outfits.

How cute is that?!

Finally – a couple of bonus pics…

The night before the induction, we were sitting around the living room with our parents joking with Graham about how he was going to have to change the baby’s diapers. Soon after, he started asking for his gloves. “I need gloves!” Asking everybody for his gloves.

Finally it dawned on me: daycare teachers use gloves when they change diapers. So I fished him out a pair of mittens from the closet, and he set out immediately to change Muno’s diaper. See below. 😉

I know *I* never look this happy when I’m changing diapers!!

Hilarious. :)

Reid William

Well… it’s quite the funny feeling to be writing my first post as a mother of 2. Still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I have now carried – and given birth to – two whole children. Makes my head spin.

But where were we? When I last left you, I had just scheduled an induction at 39 weeks – December 4th. The week was long heading up to it. I had two separate – but very convincing – bouts of false labor leading me to believe that I wouldn’t make the date. I even went so far as to make Andy stay home from work on Monday because I’d been up most of the night with steady contractions increasing in frequency.

BUT, nothing came of it. So, the morning of December 4th, we packed up the car and headed to the hospital. Andy, who usually leaves for work before 6:00 a.m., was concerned about heavy traffic en route to the hospital. Traffic was easy on us, and we ended up arriving a full half an hour early at 7:00 a.m. Our L&D nurse was busy entering our admissions information when we arrived. I got changed into my gown, and got my game face on.

I was so ready to have this baby! But I still had butterflies, you know? (Also, see a glimpse of my awesome labor & delivery nurse in the background!)

It was so funny to check into the hospital NOT in active labor like I was last time. They were fully ready for us, so once word spread that we were there, we had a neverending parade of nurses coming in to introduce themselves: the nurse anesthetist, the pediatric nurses, the phlebotomists from the lab, admissions people from the hospital, etc.

The first order of business was getting my IV hooked up. Since we got there a half hour early, we had the pitocin drip going by the time we were supposed to arrive: 7:30 on the dot. At 8:00, my doctor showed up, confirmed I was still at 3 centimeters, and broke my water. And then… we waited.

The contractions got going, but weren’t super painful. Just noticeable, you know? We sat around and chatted and then eventually decided to pop in one of the two DVDs we brought with us…

A Christmas Story. What else? My labor & delivery nurse asked me how uncomfortable I was, to which I answered, “Not very.” She said, “Good, let’s keep it that way. Want me to order your epidural?”

This is how my L&D nurse was about the epidural during my labor with Graham, by the way. Asking if I wanted it before I really felt the urgent need for one. I questioned whether it was the right time, but she asked if I intended to deliver without one. Um, no. So, we decided now was as good a time as any. The anesthesiologist came and got me all hooked up. Then they reclined me in bed and waited to see if I’d have a blood pressure drop that people sometimes experience with these things. I didn’t, so they sat me up a little. I texted Mom to let her know just how great I was feeling, and then my face started to go cold. And I got swimmy. So I called the nurse back in and they ordered me something… ephedrine maybe?… to bring my BP back up. Worked like a charm.

Waiting to see if my BP drops with the epidural

About 10:00 a.m., my nurse checked me and declared that I was a 4. I immediately found myself cursing us for only bringing 2 DVDs. The epidural really slowed my labor progression with Graham, so I settled myself in for the long haul. At about 11:00, my L&D nurse came back and introduced me to a nursing student who would be shadowing her today. My nurse asked the student when she was scheduled until, the student replied “1:00 p.m.”. My nurse chirped back that it was too bad she wouldn’t be able to see the birth.

That’s called “foreshadowing”.

In that same conversation, my nurse told her student that – as is common with women who forego epidurals – I wouldn’t be able to really let them know when it was time to push. She said that I would know I was getting close when I started to feel pressure. She then looked at me, smiled and said, “So just call me if you feel any pressure.” She patted my hand and left.

15 minutes later, we were getting somewhere close to the end of When Harry Met Sally when, on a contraction, sure enough – I felt a little bit of pressure. Not a ton, but – following orders, I buzzed the nurse. The nurse at the desk said she’d tell my nurse. Then we waited. Another contraction came, along with a little more pressure. Again – not tons.

We waited more.

Eventually a nurse who was not mine walked in and said that my nurse was finishing up admitting a new patient and would be in but that my nurse had told her to go ahead and set up for delivery.

Um, what? I kind of stuttered at her that my last check was a 4 and that I wasn’t sure but that my nurse had told her to buzz if things felt different. Yadda yadda yadda. That nurse smiled at me but kept at her work of pulling out tables, laying out sterile papers and several medical instruments. I felt kinda stupid, figuring all this was a false alarm.

Then more contractions came. Each one with more pressure. Then I started to shiver and shake a little bit. I remember repeatedly telling Andy that I really wished my nurse would show up.

At 11:40, she did. She checked me, said, “Well, missy, you’re ready to have a baby!” So.. 4 to 10 centimeters, just like that.

Then she said something that made my jaw drop. She looked at the clock and said, “Dr. Campbell is finishing up her day downstairs, so for the next 20 minutes, I’m going to have you sit up and let that baby continue to drop so you’ll have less work to do when you’re pushing. You’re going to feel loads of pressure, but that’s okay.” Then she taught me how to breath through contractions. She turned to her student, smiled and said, “Awesome! Looks like you’re going to see a birth after all!”

Watching the clock and trying to breathe

So those next 20 minutes were the longest 20 minutes of MY LIFE. I pretty much sat there staring at the second hand on the clock willing the baby not to fall out with each contraction.

Steadily, the landing crew trickled in. With more people that came in, the better I felt. But it wasn’t until just before Noon that my doctor walked in that I really breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I remember it still felt like it took her forever to get her gown and everything on.

After she took a seat shortly after Noon, my nurse talked me through how to push. The very next contraction, I got three pushes in. We waited until the next contraction and half a push later, Reid William was born… at 12:08 p.m. :)

At a whopping 8 lbs, 10.5 oz. My doc had said at my appointment the day before that she didn’t think – judging by feeling my belly – that I had a “big baby in there… certainly not an 8 or 9 pounder”. The second she caught Reid, she said, “Whoa.. I’m going to have to eat my words. That’s a big guy!”

A full pound bigger than his older brother, to be exact. :)

Later that day, after Graham’s naptime, family rolled in to see us.

Grandma P getting her first peek

My sweet boy was overwhelmed by everything. Here, he’s looking at me in my hospital bed. I’m all hooked up to an IV still and well… it’s just a lot for a little kid to take in. He was SO happy to see his Daddy, but it took him a solid half hour or so to feel comfortable enough to come see me in bed.

Hanging with Grandma Sue

What Graham really, really enjoyed was holding his baby brother. He was primed and ready for action after that sibling class. He was so excited to see him and so, so sweet with him.

And guess what? Baby Brother came into this world prepared! He gave Graham a Thomas train engine – a hit. :)

Getting to know Grandpa Craig

Eventually my love bug felt comfortable enough to come see me. And my heart was completely full in that moment.

I still have trouble believing that Andy and I have two boys!

Grandma P knitted Baby Reid a super super soft blanket that I swear has magical sleeping powers. Or maybe it’s just that it’s crazy warm. Either way, cover Reid in this green-and-blue number and he is lights OUT.

Reid had his first bath in our hospital room while everyone was there. Look at all that hair!

All swaddled up and cozy. Our hospital gave us a Halo swaddling sleep sack to take home with us – score! Finally we realize that with all the swaddling blankets available today there’s no need to persist with the simple cotton square blanket. There’s no merit badge to be won here. Let’s make this easy. :)

We had friends come visit us in the hospital too. Ms. Jaime took an earlier flight out of North Carolina so she could stop in and see us.

Ms. Andrea came too! Along with friends Sherryl and Kim at different times. So much fun to see (and meet!) everybody! Can’t wait for playdates with these ladies’ kiddos.

I love snuggles!

We took FULL advantage of the nursery at the hospital this time. It’s a “rooming in” hospital, meaning they encourage the babies to stay in the patients’ rooms with them all night. We learned last time, though, that the nursery will still take the babies if you ask them to, in order to get some much-needed rest. We did our best to get Reid to sleep in his bassinet in the room with us, but once he started to give us some trouble, we called the nursery nurse for a pickup.

On the first night, about 5:30 in the morning, Reid showed back up to our room wearing a festive Christmas hat with a red pom-pom on top. The nurses switched out all the nursery babies’ hats in the middle of the night. So much fun. :)

Thursday morning, we were discharged and – quite frankly – very ready to get home again to our family. Especially Graham.

Mom had lunch in the works, ready for our arrival.  Grandpa and Grandma F were there keeping our little buddy entertained. Uncle Brian and Auntie M sent us this adorable sign for the front yard. (Not in this picture is a smaller star by the stork’s feet that says, “Big Brother Graham” on it.) What an awesome homecoming! Grandpa P made it complete when he arrived on Friday night.

Now we’re home and really figuring out what it takes to be a Party of Four. I thank God that we are still at a 1:1 parent-to-kid ratio. It also really helps that Graham is a major Daddy’s boy because I’m spending so much time with the baby.

So far, Reid has been a remarkably good baby. He relaxes quickly, eats well, and sleeps reasonably okay (for a newborn, right?) – getting anywhere from 2-3 hour stretches of sleep between feedings at night this week. He likes both his bouncy seat and his swing, and he prefers Soothie pacifiers to the Avent ones that Graham held a preference for.

So, that’s the beginning of Reid’s story! We’ll try and keep posted here as much as possible. Until next time, send us wishes and prayers for more sleep! 😉

38 Weeks

Well we’re at the end of the road here, no doubt about it. Saw my doctor on Monday and she said I was 3 cm dilated. Maybe TMI, depending on the audience, but I think it’s darn interesting. Not unheard of, just a sign that I’m gearing up for something.

At that doctor’s appointment, she went ahead and scheduled me for an induction at 39 weeks… next Tuesday. (Eek!) Baby now has a birthdate of “no later than December 4”, making this – officially – our last week as a Party of 3.

So now we wait to see if I go into labor before then! Just like with Graham’s pregnancy, for which I was a *horrible* documenter of actual events and more complained about fankles and curtains – so most of the details about what symptoms, etc. preceded his birth (at 38 weeks, 3 days, I might mention) are completely missing.  I have time-able Braxton Hicks contractions at night now. Mostly 15 minutes apart. Sometimes 10 minutes apart.

Yesterday, though, after a visit to the chiropractor (my last visit, I decided) I was super uncomfortable all night. The contractions were strong and fairly unrelenting, lasting 2-3 minutes each. (Usually they last a minute to a minute-and-a-half). Not painful though. Until the middle of the night, that is, where two woke me up 45 minutes apart with oppressive lower back pain. They both felt like actual labor contractions. I got up and timed things for about an hour and a half. They came about 5-8 minutes apart. At about 3:00 a.m., they became less painful again, so I decided to see if I could sleep. I was actually able to, and so here we are resuming our normal daily routine today. Just… not all that well rested!

How Far Along: 38 Weeks 

Baby’s the size of: A small pumpkin.
Total Weight Gain: 35 pounds.
Gender: It’s a boy!
Best Moment this week: Lots of things! We had our sleeper sofa delivered, meaning we now have basic guest accommodations again. (Yay!) I made some freezer meals to store away until after baby is born. Thanks to my friend Andrea and a very cooperative baby Jase! We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with our friends, the Pratts. We took full advantage of our non-travel weekend and built shelves inside our upstairs hall closet. Okay, Andy built them. I tried to keep Graham busy by taking him with me Black Friday shopping and on a playdate another day with the Reeves family. Andy hung curtains in the baby’s room, so now I think we can call it complete! (See, I told you… LOTS of things!)
Maternity Clothes: I’m ready for round-the-clock housecoat status.
Movement: Jabby and pointy. This kid is ready for the outside.
Sleep: Yuck, awful. Contractions are waking me up at night now.
Cravings: I’m basically comforting myself with food at this point. Baby had better come soon, because I’m going to gain a ton of weight if I keep this up!
Symptoms: Let’s see. Braxton Hicks.  A waddle that is impossible to avoid. Tons of pressure. No sleep. Stuffy sinuses. Fatigue (probably because I’m not sleeping!) I don’t have fankles this time, thank goodness. But my joints are still achey and ready for me to not be huge again!
What I miss: Every movement not causing a contraction. I mean, really. With all this contracting going on – why no baby yet? Just curious.
What I’m looking forward to: Oh, just getting to meet our new little boy. That’s all. :)

Soak this one in, folks. It might just be my last belly shot! Otherwise… see you next week!