Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I know I owe more updates than this, but in the meantime...please enjoy this delightful video of Coraline May, and Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My maternity leave: a reflection

Because today is the last day of my maternity leave, I thought I'd share a few Top Five lists. I'll start with the bad stuff so we can end on a positive note.

The Top Five Crappy Events (of the past 4.5 weeks)
5. I mentioned the snowstorm from mid-November; I forgot to mention the power outtage. We lost power Sunday morning and it was out for about 24 hours. No light, no heat. So we had to pack a bag and head unannounced to my dad's house who was out of town for the week. Chason stayed until Romelie went to bed, but he went home since he had to work in the morning and didn't want to sit in traffic for an hour. So I had me, Romelie and Cori all sleeping in the same room. Magically, everyone slept pretty well, but it was a huge pain in everyone's butt.

4. Cori sometimes stops breathing for up to 10 seconds. I've read that this is normal, but it doesn't make it any less scary. She usually does it while she's nursing; she'll suddenly unlatch and strain her head and neck like she's trying to get air but can't. After a few seconds/a year, she'll gasp in once or twice, but then a few more seconds/an eternity will go by before she can breathe out. Scares me every time.

3. The nursing problems. They've resolved themselves for now, but I wasn't expecting it to be so difficult and painful again, so it warrants a place in the top five.

2. Barfing baby. Cori occasionally throws up. It's hard to know if she's sick or if it's because she ate too much or if she choked a little while eating or what the cause is, but it's definitely not just spit up. It's so forceful it comes pouring out of her mouth and nose, and it's horrible to watch. She started doing this last Wednesday and generally barfs once every other day or so. I've washed three pillows and more clothes/bedsheets than I could count, and while I feel much more sympathy for Cori than for myself, I am tired of being barfed upon. Which leads me to the number one sucky thing of the past 4.5 weeks...

1. The past 72 hours. Romelie has been alternating between diarrhea and loose stools since Thanksgiving. Thursday at daycare, I got a call from Jen that her poo was liquid (gross, and it's just going to get grosser, so deal with it or skip this paragraph). After a second one in the afternoon, she was officially excluded from daycare for Friday. Overnight, she threw up in bed twice. Friday morning she peed around 8am...and then didn't pee again for 24 hours. She did, however, have 12 liquid poopies. Yesterday, she peed again in the morning - thankfully or we would have been headed into urgent care - and then did not go to the bathroom all day. Somewhat concerning. Meanwhile, Cori vomited 4 times in 24 hours starting around 5 am.

As of this morning, Romelie has peed once - again, just avoiding an urgent care trip - and pooped twice, not totally normal but definitely better. Cori last threw up at 1 am and seems to be keeping everything down and has plenty of filled diapers, but now has a low fever (99.5-ish). So I'm keeping an eye on that. She's supposed to start daycare tomorrow but can't go if she barfs again or if her fever gets above 100.3 (which would ALSO warrant a trip to urgent care), so we'll see what happens. My mom's coming into town tonight, which is good, cause Chason and I are seriously sleep deprived and in need of a break. Thank you in advance, mom.

Now, on to...

The Top Five Awesome Events
5. Cori's faces. I already mentioned this, but her smiles, wide eyed looks, big mouthed stares, and of course Blue Steel make me grin every time.

4. The food! Yes, I'm lame enough to list food in my top five, but we've eaten seriously well. Between delicious dinners prepared or purchased by family, dinners given to us by friends and co-workers, the food I prepared and froze ahead of time on my own or at Let's Dish, and of course Thanksgiving and its subsequent leftovers, we've eaten better in the last month than I can remember. So thanks to everyone who contributed to our amazing cuisine! Our bellies thank you.

3. Romelie's acceptance of her sister. She had one jealous moment about a week ago...Cori was on my lap and Rom wanted to sit there but couldn't. She put on a genuinely angry/sad face (not just the kind she does to get attention) and muttered "I don't like Cori." So that was sad. But Rom went over and sat on Chason's lap instead, and after a while we switched kids so Rom cuddled with me and Chason hugged Cori. And the next day, Romelie said that she loved Cori. And I believe that she does.

2 Cori's and my afternoon nap. I am looking forward to returning to work (adult time is good), but this I will miss. She naps most afternoons for about 2.5-3 hours. If I'm tired, we'll nap in bed together, but if I'm awake enough, I usually like on the couch on my back with Cori sleeping on her tummy on my tummy with her head right over my heart. I usually put on a movie I've never seen (Date Night and An Education=good, Hot Tub Time Machine=ridiculous) and just relax. I will still be able to do this on weekends, but it's harder with Romelie there, so I'll miss our mommy-baby bonding time.

1. Visits from our family. Paul's unexpected trip into town so he could meet Cori in her first few hours of wonderful patient mom who took care of our whole family for a dad and his amazing way with babies which I love to just watch and smile...Diane giving us breaks by taking Romelie out, making meals, and getting me out of the house...and Steve and Angel braving the cold (not to mention the mall crowds) to meet their granddaughter and spend time with Romelie for her birthday. We love and appreciate you all more than I can say, and we can't wait for the rest of you to meet Cori and see how much Romelie has grown.

And because I promised to share some of Romelie's choice sound bites, here are...

The Top Five Funny Things Romelie's Said Recently
5. Romelie (in a whiny voice this morning): Milk...
Me: No, no milk right now.
Romelie (even whinier): Milk...
Me: Romelie, no milk, and no whining about it.
Romelie (after a pause): I didn't say milk.
Me: What did you say?
Romelie (after another pause): I said meow. I'm saying meow, like a cat...meow.

4. Romelie (pulling up her shirt and pointing to her chest): I have little boobies.

3. Romelie (walking through Target and noticing the decorations; with absolute awe in her voice): Look at all these beautiful things! (Maybe you had to be there, but the tone in her voice was priceless.)

2. Romelie (having decided that the words "poopie" and "butt" are the funniest words ever; singing): Old MacDonald had a poopie. (Giggling hysterically)

1. Chason: Do you need help putting on your shirt?
Romelie: It's okay, dada. My arms are really strong.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Did you know...'s pretty hard to update a blog when your baby refuses to be set down? That's my excuse, anyway.

To be fair, I do set her down sometimes. But I use that precious time to do things like eat and shower. And when Chason gets home, he holds her of course, but then Romelie is home too so I'm trying to spend some time with my family. But I have lots of updates to share, so I'm going to attempt to do so with Cori resting on a pillow on my lap. Let's see how well this works...

...okay, I started this blog on Saturday afternoon. It is now Monday morning. So that's how well it works. Sigh. Cori is downstairs in her blue bouncy chair featured in this picture, and the dishwasher is running. I swear, when we first got our new dishwasher, I couldn't believe how loud it I'm very grateful, cause it's apparently very soothing. My dishes are the only thing in my house that are always, always clean.

So updates. We have had so many wondeful visitors in the last three weeks, which has been fantastic. We've also been on a few outings with one or both kids. We took Cori and Romelie to visit my grandparents so they could meet the new baby, and Cori has been to work with me twice now (nothing like breastfeeding in front of your co-workers...I try to be discreet, using blankets and such, and everyone politely looks away, so hopefully no one has been offended!).

Speaking of breastfeeding, it is FINALLY going well. I had pain for the first three weeks, which was actually worse than with Romelie. I don't know if Cori sucks harder (insert immature giggle), but she really did some serious damage. I used the breast shield for about 2-1/2 weeks, only nursing without it once or twice a day. Finally last Wednesday I just got sick of washing it every time and not losing it, not to mention Cori's extreme reluctance to latch on to it at all, and I just started nursing the normal way. And all is well...thank goodness. I'm also pumping once a day to pre-emptively keep my supply high for when I go back to work (one week from today!) and to store a bunch up. Who missed reading about breastfeeding and breast milk on this blog? Everyone.

On to our wonderful visitors. After Gramma Carol left, we had Grandmommy Diane here from Nov. 6-13, which was fantastic. Romelie was excited to see her (Grandmommy took her to the zoo to give Chason and me some quiet time with baby), and Diane got to spend a few days enjoying our unnaturally warm fall...until Saturday rolled around and it snowed. Not that mid-November snowfalls are unexpected, but it was nearly 70 degrees three days before the snow came. Romelie loved it, though.

With Monday came Romelie's 3-year check up with the doctor. I'm happy to report that Romelie is 36.8 lbs and 40.5 inches tall. Which puts her in the 90th and 96th percentiles, respectively. According to children's ibuprofin, she is the size of a 4-5 year old.

Cori came along too (much harder to maneuver life with two kids versus one! It gets easier, right...?), so I took an opportunity to snap a picture of the girls with their pediatrician and my long-time doc, Dr. Dukinfield. Cori complied, at least!

And on Tuesday, my beautiful Romelie Ann turned three years old. Happy birthday, little monkey!

Gramma Carol came down to celebrate, and I'm very proud of the Winnie the Pooh birthday cake I made (insert "oohs" and "ahhs" here). Romelie got some fantastic gifts including all of the fairies from the Tinkerbell movie, some books, clothes, Dora toys, and other fun stuff. We gave her the choice of going to Nickelodeon Universe to ride the rides or going to Chuck E Cheese to play games. She chose to stay home. Ah, my kid...takes after her homebody mom.

And then last weekend, Papa Steve and Nanny Angel came to visit! It was absolutely freezing while they were here (sorry, guys!), so we weren't able to relax outside as we have on previous visits, so we hung around inside instead! Then Saturday night, they bravely agreed to accompany the girls to the Mall of America with us. Oh, what a crowded place. We brought Romelie to Nickelodeon Universe for a delayed birthday celebration, and she had a great time on the rides, most of which she rode with one of us grown-ups. She got to meet Dora and Diego, which I thought was pretty cool. She was shy at first, but ultimately gave them both hugs. And then came the main reason for the visit...Santa!

I love this Santa. We've seen him three years in a row now, and he's awesome. Unfortunately, everyone else knows this, too, so we had to wait almost an hour to see him, even with an appointment. Try asking a 3 year old to wait to see Santa. Didn't go super well. But we had four adults to take turns keeping her distracted as best we could, and ultimately we got to see Santa and got an adorable picture. Love this guy. And though Romelie wasn't fully cooperative, I managed to get a pretty cute picture of Nanny and Papa with the girls. Merry early Christmas!

And speaking of the holidays...happy Thanksgiving, too! I failed to bust out the camera, but we had a delicious dinner at my dad's house and are still enjoying the last of the leftovers.

Finally, some info on what this new baby is like, for those who've yet to meet her. She's pretty chill, as long as she's being held and/or fed. We are still co-sleeping, and I got an awesome little bed for her on craigslist to keep her safe. She's not as curious about the world around her as Rom was, but she makes the greatest faces of any baby I've met. These are two of her classics...I also love her Blue Steel look in the picture towards the top of this entry (that's a Zoolander reference, and if you haven't seen that movie, you should!). She is also a professional spit-upper. We both have the delightful odor of sour milk no matter how often I shower or do laundry. She's also thrown up three times already (I think due to some nasal drainage, not a virus) and it's so forceful it comes out her nose. Horrifying. She's ridiculously loud. I don't mean crying...she squeaks, grunts, sneezes, hiccups and snorts constantly, and she's louder than most adults I know. I have a tough time sleeping when someone in the room is snoring; imagine sharing a room with a baby alternating between echoing hiccups and bed-vibrating belches. And like her sister, she prefers sucking on a finger to a pacifier, which is either more or less convenient depending on the situation.

There's more to say of course (Romelie's had some truly gem soundbites that need to be shared!), but Cori's been awake and sitting on my lap for the last few paragraphs (darn you, end of the dishwashing cycle!) and I've been typing with one hand. Which is both time consuming and obnoxious. More later!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good morning, here's the news, and all of it is good!

That's a fantastic song called "The News" by Carbon/Silicon. Look it up, give it a listen. Worth it.

So hey! Lots to share. Easiest way to do it is chronologically, so here goes.

Friday, Oct 29 - Romelie and I did go cheer on BSM's volleyball team, but Romelie got fussy and we left after the second game and didn't stay for the Halloween stuff. S'okay.

Saturday, Oct 30 - Carved one pumpkin, painted the other. It was pretty awesome - Romelie painted a smiley face, which I didn't know she could do (I've only seen scribbles and dots before, so this was pretty advanced art to me). Ended up skipping the leaf crawl because it was too close to the start of Kaelin's birthday party. Heard it was fun, though! Kaelin's party was pretty fantastic. Nothing like watching a dozen toddlers in a Build-a-Bear Workshop. All in all, a tiring but fun Saturday.

Sunday, Oct 31 - Happy Halloween! We went to church in the morning then went home to watch the Vikings lose again. Boo. After her nap, my mom and I got Romelie dressed up in her Tinkerbell costume and we went Trick-or-Treating for the first time! We went to my Grandma Hurley's house and around her neighborhood, then to my Grandma and Grandpa Schwantz's house and around their neighborhood. Romelie was really well-behaved, very polite, and super excited to say "trick or treat" or "happy halloween" to all the neighbors. Good times. Went home, went to bed around 9:30.

Monday, Nov 1 - Woke up shortly after midnight with horrible stomach pain. Felt like the stomach flu. Watched a movie since I couldn't sleep. Finally threw up all of my dinner (ew) around 3:00 am. Tried to sleep through stomach pain. Threw up again around 5:30. Tried to eat a piece of toast and drink some water and blue Gatorade. Threw up again around 7:45. Hmm. I had a doctor's appointment at 9:30, so my mom drove me there about 30 minutes early to see if I could get in to see someone sooner. They hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor to make sure baby was okay (she was). Around this time, I also started to have contractions. Hmm. I then spoke with all three of the doctors I had seen throughout my pregnancy and they said that because I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday anyway (I was? News to me!), they were going to send me over to the hospital immediately to (a) monitor me and the baby, (b) give me fluids if necessary to make sure I wasn't dehydrated, and (c) see if they could get me in to be induced a day early. Called Chason at work, told him to go home and gave a huge list of stuff I needed him to gather together to bring to the hospital since I hadn't had any warning to pack a bag first!

To the hospital. Got checked into a sort of waiting room with a bed around 10:00. They started monitoring my contractions as well as baby's heart rate and told me I was about 1-1/2 cm dialated. Chason arrived around 11:00, and we hung out until about 3:00 not knowing whether I was in early labor or whether a room would open up for me to be induced or whether they would eventually send me home. Meanwhile, contractions are starting to occur every 4-5 minutes and getting a bit more intense. Finally they saw that I had progressed to 3 cm and was about 70% effaced, decided I was actually in labor, and moved us to a labor & delivery room. It's happening all on it's own - yippee!

Once in the room, contractions slow down. We watched nearly all of season 3 of "30 Rock." I paced. I waited. Maybe around 7:00 or so, contractions start to pick up and get pretty intense. My mom brings Romelie by to see us, but I'm not doing so well at this point and they don't stay long. Around 9:30, they check my cervix again--still 3 cm, 70%. What? Yup. So now my doctor suggests that because I really haven't had any sleep, I should try to sleep and they can check me in the morning and maybe start pitocin then if labor isn't progressing on its own. Um, you want me to sleep through these contractions? How? They had me take a bath to try to relax and then gave me three drugs around 11:00 - a sleeping pill orally, something in my IV (maybe that was morphine?), and some other shot in my butt. I didn't ask; I was in pain. Well, that lessened the pain just a smidge and definitely made me woozy and out of it, so I laid on my side for a couple of hours...but the pain was only slightly less intense, definitely noticable enough that I couldn't sleep through it, and finally got back up to the point where I was in some serious pain. So they checked my cervix again - and I was at 6-7 cm. Whoa! Guess we're not waiting until morning!

Tuesday, Nov 2 - Now here comes the big decision that I regret, but with understanding that in the end, it doesn't matter. Would you like to (a) get an epidural to deal with the horrible pain, or (b) have the doctor break your water to speed this thing up, but then no possible pain relief? I moaned through half a dozen more contractions, debating that decision with myself. No I don't want an epidural. Also, I don't think I can handle greater pain than this. Finally, mid-contraction, I gave in - fine, get me an epidural! They page the anethesiologist, but it takes about 10 minutes for him to arrive. By this time, the pain is pretty unbearable (and I'm at 7 cm). It takes another five minutes for him to actually get the epidural in, and then he says that it'll probably take another five minutes for the effects to kick in. I lay down and moan my way through another contraction, sit up - and my water breaks. Wow. With Romelie, my water broke after the epidural. I neither saw nor felt it. This I saw, I felt, and I started to panic. It was excessive. After 2-3 contractions with no pain relief, I started to get really scared. It's not working, it's not working, when is it going to work? I was so ready for that complete absence of pain I remember from my first delivery, when it didn't happen, I got scared. Finally, I had a horrible, horrible contraction that actually started forcing my body to push before I'm allowed, and I LOST it. I mean, I'd been moaning and crying until this point, but I screamed and screamed HELP! over and over. I knew I was losing it, I knew I was probably scaring Chason (not to mention any other patients unfortunate enough to hear me), and I knew the doctors were trying really hard to calm my crazy ass down, but I had lost control of my body and it scared the heck out of me. I'm telling you - I know lots of women do the whole childbirth with no pain medication at all, but I now know that I should not have been one of those women. Unfortunately, I had made the decision about the epidural too late, so I never got any pain relief from it.

Course, I'll still have to pay for it. Stupid!

Anyway...that was the worst point. The contractions over the next 10 minutes or so were just as bad as that, but I was (mostly) able to force myself to stay (relatively) calm(er) and breathe through them. And suddenly - 10 cm! Time to push? No!


The supervising doctor had been called in but she wasn't there yet. Since Dr. McEvoy is a resident, we need to try to wait until the doctor arrives. Seriously? Screw that. Fortunately, while my body continued to push against my will, and I tried to prevent that and breathe through it, I also knew that it wasn't as dangerous as before so I wasn't panicking about it. And the doc arrived probably 5 minutes later, and they had me push - and it only took 3 pushes! Well, 3 sets of 3 - each time you have a contraction, you do 3 pushes total. First set I wasn't pushing very hard at all - I had to kind of remember how that worked. Second set I pushed super hard - and then had to stop with baby's head partway out. Gross and ow. Everyone's telling me she has hair. Who cares? Get her out!! Third set I push and push and push again, and out she comes. Oh my God. It's over.

We have another baby girl.
Coraline May Dancer was born at 2:48 am. She was 7 lbs, 8 oz, and 20 inches long.

Let's now zoom through the events of the last 6 days. My mom and my dad got to visit Cori, as we call her, in the hospital, and my brother actually flew home from Chicago for 24 hours so he could see her, too! Romelie came to visit and seemed ambivalent-to-friendly towards her baby sister. My pastor Jamie stops by as does my old classmate, now doctor himself, Greg Dukinfield. I had very little tearing and no stitches and Cori's very healthy, so we get permission to leave Wednesday around noon. My mom helps take care of Romelie (not to mention our home, which she cleaned from top to bottom - thanks, mom!) while we adjust to life with a newborn again. Friday we go in to the breastfeeding clinic because nursing hurts just as much as it did with Romelie and it's getting worse instead of better. I get a few helpful tips as well as a magical, though inconvenient, tool called a breast shield. I now use it nearly every time we nurse, though I hope this isn't a permanent problem.

As for Cori, she is a very chill baby. She really only cries for two reasons. One is when she's hungry. Easy - feed her. The other is when you lay her down. More problematic. She sleeps in your arms, but she won't sleep in her bassinet. So we're co-sleeping currently. Which makes me nervous, but we both need to sleep, so we're doing it for now. Bronwyn and Shane co-slept with Greta and apparently there's something you can buy to help keep her safe and make sure no one rolls over on her, so we're looking into that.

As for Romelie, she seems to like her sister well enough, though her behavior in the last week has been pretty whiny and defiant. Since she's been acting this way for a while now, it's hard to tell if it's baby-related or just 2-almost-3-year-old related. Time will tell.

Gramma Carol just left for home, but Grandmommy Diane arrived yesterday, so we've got great help and support. We've made visits to Great Grandparents' homes the last two nights, and we will be heading to see Dr. Mike Dukinfield in about 20 minutes for her one-week check up. So even though there's plenty more to share and lots of things I've missed, I think this is officially my longest blog entry to date, so I'm signing off so I can go give that sleeping baby a big smooch.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One week late...

...and no one took me up on my bet. Dang, I could be rich by now! But I suppose I'd still be pregnant.

On the plus side, Chason painted the kitchen last weekend...the dishes are pretty much all clean...the baby's laundry is washed and put away...I've even purchased a couple of Christmas gifts! Since I was technically supposed to start my 6 weeks of maternity leave on Monday, I'm not putting in a full work week this week (probably 30 hours when all is said and done rather than 40), so I've gotten a few other things done. That's good, right?

Argh, I'm anxious. Unfortunately, I shared a few of my anxieties with my doctor on Monday, and since then I've had to do two non-stress tests (one at Monday's appointment, one this morning) and an ultrasound on Wednesday to check the baby's AFI (amniotic fluid index). All the tests have been fine. Baby's fine. She's just not showing up when she was supposed to, which is causing me anxiety.

So here's the update everyone is looking for: basically, the doctors will not let me go past 42 weeks. Period. They will induce before then. I have an appointment on Monday, and assuming baby hasn't arrived by then, they will call over to Methodist Hospital and schedule me for an induction sometime next week - before Friday. I'm going to suggest/request Wednesday, but there's no guarantee they'll take my suggestion. And it's of course still possible that my body could suddenly realize that it's not doing what it's supposed to be doing and go into labor on its own. But we'll see.

That's all I know.

Meanwhile, we have lots of fun plans to keep us busy this weekend. Romelie and I may go cheer on BSM's varsity volleyball team at Southwest High School tonight, and then stay for a Halloween party afterwards. Tomorrow my mom comes into town to wait this thing out with us. We need to carve pumpkins, which we'll probably do Saturday morning. We've been invited to a leaf crawl with some friends from church as well as a birthday party for Jen's daughter, Kaelin, at Build-a-Bear Workshop at the Mall of America Saturday afternoon / evening. Sunday will bring my first day attending church at Bryn Mawr (and Romelie's first day in the nursery without me...we'll see how that goes...), another Vikings game to look forward to and dread at the same time, and trick-or-treating with Romelie Sunday evening. Of course, if baby decides to come out today, then I'm fine scrapping all of those plans. But again...we'll see.

No new pictures...nothing else to share...back to staring at the clock...

Monday, October 25, 2010

No baby yet, huh?

I get that question so many times every day. It totally doesn't bother me at all (so feel free to continue to ask; it shows you care!), but I do get it in all its varied formats many, many, many times. Consequently, I can answer the question pretty succinctly. For example:

Question from teacher this morning: When are you due?
Answer: Three days ago!

Question from 4th grader this morning: Are you having a baby?
Answer: Hopefully soon!

Question from co-worker: You're still here?
Answer: Unfortunately!

Question from folks at church yesterday: Wasn't your due date on Friday?
Answer: Apparently not!

Question from people over the phone who can't see me: Are you in labor yet?
Answer: I wish!
Note the exclamation points at the end of each of my responses. I have all the enthusiasm in the world for these loving friends, family, and strangers. At the same time, I'm so far past being ready to deliver this baby, if she doesn't get here in the next day or so, my answers will start to become a bit strained. You've been warned.

So here's the full update: I have been having contractions since last Thursday (10/14). Last Saturday I was actually starting to believe I was in labor. Well, obviously not, since it's been 9 days since then. I had a doctor's appointment last Monday, and I'm at zero centimeters. I'm closed. Not dialated at all. Stupid cervix! I have been having contractions off and on the past week, but none particularly severe or noteworthy. I have a doctor's appointment today at 3:15, so I will update again if anything has changed...but I'm trying really, really hard to go in with no expections other than still being at zero. I do plan on discussing induction with my doctor today even though I've been so adament against it this whole pregnancy. I'm not going to do it sooner than necessary, but I don't want to go past two weeks late for fear of giant baby c-section, bad placenta, or any of the other scary side effects. So my personal induction goal date would be Nov. 3 or 4 (12-13 days past due), and we'll see what Dr. McEvoy says about that.

Otherwise...things are fine. As of this morning, I'm officially done with all work commitments. Finished volleyball on Tuesday; I have included some lovely pictures of my team's end-of-season celebration as well as pictures of me in the team shirt I made at that celebration. I ended up working one more Sunday (yesterday) at Bryn Mawr, but I plan to continue to attend church as a member. I finished up at the schools I'd been teaching in and even made it out for some surveys at a school this morning. Now all I have on my to-do list are a few non-essential meetings that no one was expecting me to attend anyway.

In other news, the Vikings are hugely disappointing me. Sad, sad loss to the Packers, not helped by the two questionable ref calls that cost us 4 points (the difference between a loss and a tie) and gave them 7 points (the difference between a loss and a win). I hate losing games that way.

And Romelie has been given a new mantra. Stay calm; ask for help. I've started to say that to her anytime she has a panic attack over something trivial, which unfortunately she does a lot. I've always said she's a pretty senstive kid, and I'm okay with that. She's smart and creative and loving and emotional. But remember that scene in "Parenthood?" The oldest son of Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen is at Chuck-E-Cheese or something and loses his retainer and immediately throws this huge, panicky, crying fit. Everyone's looking, and the parents are stressed and embarrassed. Later, the parents are outside in the alley digging through the trash to try to find the retainer, and Steve Martin is frustrated at how his son just goes into these instantaneous freak-outs. "He's so high strung." And he laments about how he doesn't know what to do to change this behavior.

That's how I feel these days. I understand that Romelie is still 2 years old, and that this is not crazy uncommon for toddlers. I also can't help but feel frustrated when she's playing nicely or reading, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, she's crying and screaming "Where are my shoes?" I mean, I get it - in her head, she decides she wants her shoes, realizes that she doesn't know where they are, concludes that the shoes are gone forever, and panics and cries. However, to my logical grown-up brain, particularly when I know exactly where her shoes are, it stresses the heck out of me. I just want her to calmly ask "Where are my shoes?" and give me a 5-second opportunity to at least try to answer her question before the freak out begins. So, new mantra. Stay calm; ask for help.

I'll let you know if it works.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Work commitment countdown

Sunday, October 17 - last day at Bryn Mawr church
Monday, October 18 - last day teaching in a Minneapolis classroom
Tuesday, October 19 - last day of volleyball

Friday, October 22 - baby's due date according to my doctor
Monday, October 25 - baby's due date according to me

As far as I'm concerned, baby needs to stay where she is for one more week, but anytime on or after the 20th is fine by me. Is it too much to hope for just one more week of pregnancy? I'm ready to be done being pregnant!

To be fair, this trimester has been much easier than my 3rd trimester with Romelie. Last time around, I had horrible heartburn and acid reflux, carpal tunnel to the extreme so that I had to wear wrist guards, back and hip pain so bad I had to sleep on the couch...this time around, I feel more tired than I remember feeling with Rom (though the fact that Rom is here this time around could have something to do with it!) and I still get pretty nauseated in the morning. I don't throw up but feel like I could some days, so I have to lie down after eating breakfast until that feeling goes away. But comparatively, not too bad. All in all, I'm feeling healthy, and I feel lucky for that.

By the way, since I work with kids for all three of my jobs, here are some sound bites I've heard lately:

4th grade girl - Are you going to have a baby?
Me - I am.
4th grade girl - Is it a girl?
Me - She is.
All 4th grade boys in the class - Awww!!!! (As in "boo," not as in "aww fer cute!")

Random boy walking past me in the hallway at a school - Let me guess. You're pregnant.
Me - Yup.
Random boy to his friend - Knew it. (Like I'm trying to hide it?)

Random boy on a field trip to the museum - You look pregnant.
Me - I am. (Uh...thank you?)

Also, all of my volleyball players call me Waffles. Why? Because everyone got nicknames. I'm preggo. Like leggo my Eggo. Like Eggo waffles. Hence...waffles. And because I'm pregnant, the baby also gets a name - Chicken. Together we are Chicken and Waffles. Seriously, no one calls me Danni or Coach Dancer or just Coach...they call me Waffles. I kind of like it.

While we're on sound bites, here's one from Romelie that made me giggle recently:

Rom, pointing to a scratch on her face: I got an owie.
Me: How did that happen?
Rom: Pointer did it.

Translation - she accidently scratched herself with her pointer finger. Hence, it's Pointer's fault.

Romelie is a pretty funny kid. She has a memory like you wouldn't believe and she becomes fixated on the strangest things, so we really have to watch what we say to her. For example, one time I put on her coat and I said I wasn't going to button the top button because I didn't want it to pinch her neck. Now every single time we put on that coat - Mom, don't button the top button; I don't want it to pinch my neck. She also learned somewhere that green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. Now I hear it at every single stoplight. Mom, the light's red - you have to stop. Green means go, yellow means--yeah, Rom, I get it. Thank you.

I've also started using the proper names for body parts, so she knows the words butt and vagina. I was using the phrase "girl parts" because of course she's only 2, but when we were potty training, I felt like I needed a real word to use with her to talk about wiping and stuff like that, so there it is. On the one hand, they're just words, and I have no problem with her knowing them. On the other hand, it was pretty embarrassing at church on Sunday when she returned from using the toilet and promptly told our adult volunteer, "Poop comes out of my butt, and potty comes out of my 'gina."

Yup. That's what she said.

Ah, almost three years old. Bring on the "kids say the darndest things" moments. I'm ready.

I did find my camera, but I've been slacking on the photo taking. I got a few pics this past Saturday, though. It's been unseasonably warm and gorgeous in Minnesota, so we've been able to spend time outside without having to get too bundled up. I got a few pictures of Rom playing in the backyard (see above and note the adorable hat/shirt ensemble - thanks again Nanny and Papa!), and then we headed to the MN Zoo. The animals were unusually active, so I got a few pictures of Romelie hanging with the beasts. My favorite moments were of Romelie and this little girl laughing at this leopard. The animal was pacing back and forth in front of the glass looking for all the world like it wanted to attack and eat these two adorable toddlers, and they're just laughing hysterically like it's the funniest thing ever. Totally brought me back to this moment from just over a year ago: - the picture of Romelie mocking the enormous tiger. Good to see some things don't change.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Three more weeks.. theory. Anyone want to take bets? I'm predicting I'll be late again, and I'll give good odds to anyone who wants to challenge me on that...

So starting with some great news: apparently baby is going to be a gymnast. Or a diver. Or a politican. Why?

She flipped. (Got all those brilliantly punny references now?)

I went in for my doctor's appointment last Tuesday (once a week appointments now, woo-hoo!). Dr. McEvoy did the belly pushing routine and was hopeful that she was feeling baby's butt up...but couldn't tell where the head was, so it was still possible that she was transverse breech (aka sideways, which I'm pretty sure she was for a while at least, based on the movements I was feeling). Went in for the ultrasound early Wednesday morning and was told - yay! She's head down. Just where she needs to be.

This means no version, which is great cause I hear they can be pretty uncomfortable, but so much better than that, it means no scheduled c-section. This is not to say that something couldn't go wrong that leads to a c-section...but I get to at least start this thing the way I want to - naturally. As I have pretty much refused to be induced this time around unless I'm more than two weeks late (in which case they'll do it anyway because a whole bunch of complications/concerns come up at that point), I get to actually find out what it's like to just go into labor. Like you're supposed to.

Could always lead to an embarrassing moment (in the middle of teaching, at the grocery store, at an away game for volleyball, or any number of other awkward scenarios), but I'm not concerned about any of those. I'm just looking forward to going into labor. Is that weird? Probably.

In other news...very very busy with work these days. Between The Bakken and volleyball (not to mention my Sunday nursery job!), I'm on my feet a lot and I'm working very long hours, which means I'm super tired by the time I get home. Luckily my husband is a rockstar and keeps Romelie entertained when I need to crash at 7:30 pm, which happens more than I like to admit.

Also, I misplaced my camera for a few weeks (Hey, remember last pregnancy when I misplaced my wedding ring for a year and a half? This is better.), so I only have a few older photos of Romelie to share. But she's still cute even if there really isn't any context for them.

Speaking of whom, Romelie plans to be Tinkerbell for Halloween this year. To be fair, I offered the suggestion, but she seemed enthusiastic about it. She loves Tinkerbell. I've never seen it, and we don't have any Tinkerbell toys at the house (though there is one currently sitting in the trunk of my car - baby's gift to Romelie at the hospital), so I guess it's a daycare thing. I've tried to buy the costume at Target twice and they've been sold out both times, so apparently it's not just my almost-3-year-old who loves that rude little fairy.

Finally, speaking of presents for Romelie...yesterday I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Here's what she said (I kid you not): I want to play with my sister.

If I put that in a Hallmark movie, people would think it was too cheesy to be real. Sometimes being a parent really, really rocks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Breech? Who allowed that?

Tiny Dancer #2 is in breech position. She's pretty much been that way since week 20 or so, and the chances of her flipping on her own at this point are unlikely as she's obviously comfortable sitting upright. Therefore, c-section has become a new possibility/likelihood. And I'm not going to lie - I'm pretty unhappy about this. With Romelie, I had no idea what to expect, so any delivery was a good one as far as I was concerned, but with baby, I never really considered anything other than a vaginal delivery (I hate that term, but there's not much else you can call it) would be necessary. And now it just might be. Boo.

"But Danni, can't they do something to flip the baby?"

Why yes, inquisitive one, they can. It's called an external cephalic version, or an ECV. Basically, the doctor tries to manually flip the baby from the outside by pushing on her through my giagantic belly as though kneeding dough. Apparently it hurts like a bejeezus.

"What? Is that even medical?"

Yup, that's how it's done. Science, ladies and gentlemen.

So I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow (every 2 weeks now) and I'm hoping at that time to schedule the ECV. Dr. McEvoy wants me to do it during my 37th week, so I'm looking at October 7. From what I understand, one of a few things may happen:
1. The ECV is not successful. Baby cannot be safely flipped, and then we schedule a c-section shortly down the road.
2. The ECV is successful. Baby stays head down and I wait to go into labor naturally.
3. The ECV is initially successful, but the baby flips back on her own (ouch again) and we move to the scheduled c-section plan.
4. Something goes wrong during the ECV and they have to perform an emergency c-section.

Possibility #4 is why they wait until 37 weeks, because the baby is big enough to do fine on her own should that happen. It's also the worst possible scenario, which is why, of course, I'm obsessing about it. In addition to not expecting a c-section, I also never expected the baby to be early. I have work commitments up through MEA (Oct. 20, basically), and it would be both scary and inconvenient to have the baby 3 weeks early! I guess the moral of this story is, everyone send prayers that baby suprises us all by flipping (safely) on her own sometime in the next 3 weeks so we don't have to deal with any of this!

In other news...Nanny and Papa were here Labor Day weekend! We got to spend a little time with Romelie's wonderful Texas grandparents, which included a trip to the very crowded MN State Fair. Romelie was a little cranky off and on - little did we know this was the start of a week's worth of illness (cough and fever) that kept her out of daycare most of the past week. Boo again. But she enjoyed petting animals, doing some painting, and riding a bunch of rides. Because of the whole pregnant thing, Chason did all of the riding with her, which led to some pretty cute daddy-daughter pictures as you can see.

I also managed to get a video of Chason and Romelie going down the really big slide (don't know if that's the official name, but it should be). She was less enthusiastic about that particular experience.

Sunday night we went to the wedding of our friends Nick and Emily (congratulations guys!) while Nanny and Papa babysat the kiddo. Monday we got to do some shopping (thanks for the adorable new Romelie outfits! Look for them in future photos) and had lunch before heading to the airport. All in all, it was a pretty chill weekend, and we can't wait to see you both again soon!

Now we're just trying to take care of details before baby arrives. We moved bedrooms (we're back upstairs, Romelie stays on the main floor, and the second bedroom on the main floor currently doubles as baby room/guest room. It'll work for at least as long as she's in a bassinet, then we'll have to reassess). I sorted through Romelie's old clothes and toys and now have a huge selection of newborn-3 month clothes all ready to go. Chason and my dad have done some painting in the kitchen and hung lights just yesterday (so close to being done!!). I'm nearly halfway through the volleyball season already, and I start teaching in schools again with The Bakken in a week. All in all, time is moving rather quickly, which is okay by me. I know new baby will bring lots of joy and lots of stress, and while I don't want her to arrive early, I do want the next few weeks to pass as quickly as possible. We'll see.

Speaking of volleyball - two pictures just as a frame of reference taken from BSM's website. The first is me line judging for varsity this time last year. The second is me line judging for varsity about a week ago. I should never compare pictures like this side by side. It's quite damaging to the self esteem.

And through all of this, our lovely little Romelie is getting short-changed again in the blog updates. Well, what can I share quickly? Everyone who meets her comments on her curly hair or her height, both of which you can see in the pictures. She has started dressing herself, which can occasionally be pretty amusing (she picks her own clothes). She has a new favorite book that we checked out from the library and will eventually have to return, so if anyone's looking for a birthday gift for her, it's called "This Little Piggy and other favorite action rhymes," illustrated by Hannah Wood. When she's mad at you, she says "Fine!" in a really huffy, pouty, whiny 6-year-old sort of way which is both amusing and annoying. She loves to ride her red tricycle around the neighborhood and says "hi" to everyone we pass. She dances to records with her dad and leans her head on his shoulder, which is too adorable for words. She has cheese crackers and milk every day when she gets home from daycare. She's finally learning how to pet the kitties nicely. She doesn't listen very well these days, which sometimes earns her a time out, and then she'll beg and scream the entire time (i.e. if I say "Go to bed" and she refuses, she gets a time out; she then scream-cries "I'll go to bed! I'll go to bed!!" for two minutes); we're struggling with this, but I don't have a better plan at the moment. She likes playing with my phone and occasionally calls people on it accidently (sorry). She still gets upset at the church daycare if I pick up another kid, but she's also discovered new joys such as dress up. She often says her colors in both English and Spanish thanks to too much Dora the Explorer. And when we say goodnight, Romelie, we love you, she often responds with "I love you too." Gotta love that.