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.