Friday, November 28, 2008

i hate diapers

Brace yourself, because it doesn't get any funnier than this: Carly (3 weeks old) is peeing and pooping in the potty. I laugh every single time, but it's true. Let's back up a little, shall we?...

I started sitting Rachel on the potty when she was very young (7 months old) after reading up on a method called "Elimination Communication" or EC. Unfortunately, as I read, I realized I had waited too late to really start, so what I did with Rachel was more like potty teaching; I taught her that peepee and poopy belongs in the potty, and she eventually got it.

I was excited (albeit skeptical) to try true EC when Carly arrived. It's a simple concept with a few books on the subject--none of which I've read. Anyway, if you've ever been around a newborn, you know how obviously and frequently they "eliminate." So, from the beginning, I've been making a sound (I chose to whisper "keekeekee") every time she goes.

Yesterday afternoon, I checked her diaper because I assumed it would be wet, and, when it was still clean, I decided to give EC a whirl. I held her over the potty and made the noise several times. AND WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT SHE WENT??? She peed AND pooped! Woah. Since then, I've managed to catch about half her pees and poops this way, including twice before her two feedings in the middle of the night. HA! It's been more than a day, and, while I'm not ready to say for sure that it's not mere coincidence, it really does seem that she responds to the sound. Amazing. Hilarious. I hope it lasts.

Monday, November 24, 2008

still in love

sisters forever...whether they like it or not...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

love at first sight

Three days after Carly's birth, we received a home visit from our midwife. She checked my vitals and gave Carly the once-over before she commenced with the dreaded PKU test.

I had myself geared up for the test. It's a long, sad time of squeezing blood from baby's heel. The have to fill up five circles on their test page, and it has to soak through each circle (the page is made of cardstock). It's awful. When we had Rachel, they did the test while she was staying in the hospital nursery, so we didn't have to witness it at all. But I was ready to be grateful to be able to hold my girl and comfort her as much as possible, and nurse her as soon as it was over. I reminded myself that it's a necessary test and how valuable it is. I was ready.

Or, at least, I thought I was ready. Carly reacted as expected, and it was difficult. What I had not anticipated was Rachel's reaction. She cried through the whole thing. She kept repeating, through her tears, "I want Baby Sister to be haaaaaappy." I cried...such empathy and compassion for her sister, whom she'd only met the day before.

Rachel has had nothing but sweetness for our little Carly from the time we brought her home. It has blessed my heart to see how much she loves her. A friend pointed out to me that Rachel will never remember life without Carly. What a sweet thought. I can't wait to see how God shapes their hearts as they learn so many of life's lessons together. I'm so happy for these two little girls.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a baby story

I wasn't prepared for this.

But then, who is? Bringing home a newborn for the second time sounded easy enough. After all, I know what to expect this time. I know not to panic when she goes through the various strange but short-lived stages of changing sleep cycles and feeding habits. I didn't plan to be so worried.

But I am. It is unbelievable how I can worry so. I was not anticipating the wave of emotions that would accompany this new little one: fear that I can't take care of her adequately, guilt that her big sister suddenly cannot have all my attention, and dread at the thought of figuring out how to care for all three of us once things are supposed to be back to 'normal.' How do people do this?

But they do. And I will. I just want so much to do it well.

Carly Britt came on November 4, 2008--an historic election day in our country. My labor was almost identical to my labor with my firstborn, Rachel. As with Rachel, contractions stirred me from my slumber around 2:45am. I timed them, and, although they were mild, they were frequent. The first time around, I woke Jarrad almost immediately, and he jumped out of bed and started dancing around, excited to meet our little girl. This time, I got up and scurried around putting the finishing touches on each element of planning for the day. I did wake Jarrad, who grunted and grinned, called his dad (who lives 3 hours away), rolled over and went back to sleep. My contractions continued with regularity, but did not get much stronger. With Rachel, I remember these same contractions feeling painful, but this time, having already experienced what was to come, I knew to go about my business. By 4:30am with Rachel, we had called the doc and convinced her we needed to be admitted for labor and delivery, but that left us with a very long day of very slow progress. This time, I went back to sleep at 4:30am for almost an hour, and was discouraged to wake up and find that the contractions had almost disappeared. I was determined not to rest again until this baby came. Not wishing to spend that frustrating day walking around a birthing facility, but convinced things would move along much quicker this time, Jarrad and I finalized arrangements for Rachel and made our way to the mall.

We walked. We walked and we walked. We had lunch and we walked. We rested on a bench, had a milkshake, and walked. Almost four hours ticked away. My contractions were getting vaguely stronger, but not regular. We were exhausted, and I was beginning to feel defeated. So we returned home around 4:30pm to get some rest.

Aunt KiKi came around 6:00pm to pick up Rachel for a sleepover. By the time she got to our house, my contractions had suddenly become frequent and debilitating. It was time--finally.

We rushed to the birth center, where a midwife and nurse were waiting. They had already filled the tub, as I desired a water birth. Things progressed so quickly--we arrived at 6:30pm, and Carly was born at 8:30pm. Almost identically, the end went very quickly with Rachel, too. With Rachel, though, the doctor had not yet arrived at the hospital when I was suddenly ready to push. Rachel was born at 8:43pm, and I had an episiotomy and third degree tears, resulting in a lot of stitches and a two-week recovery. At the birth center, the midwife talked me through the pushing stage. She told me that I would be much more likely to tear again because the scar tissue is just not as strong as the original tissue, and that I should focus on letting the contractions do the work. She talked me through each contraction, and I was able to exercise enough control that I didn't need even the first stitch this time.

So, Rachel was born at 8:43pm, and Carly at 8:30pm. Although Rachel was born on her due date, and Carly was 7 days late, my two girls weighed the same: 7lb 12oz. Bizarre. The difference? Rachel was born with the tiniest bit of fuzzy red hair, but our Carly's fuzz is quite a bit darker. Rachel has looked like her father and her PopPop from the beginning, but tiny Carly already favors me and my family. These two girls will probably scarcely look related. My thought is that this is a good thing--maybe they will be less likely to be compared to one another if they look so different. I already know that my love is not split equally between the two, but is, rather, quite impossibly doubled.

These two long days of labor that I experienced with my girls has done one more amazing thing: made me love my husband even more. He is the most wonderful man, who knew all the right things to say and do with each passing moment and each intense contraction. Both times, I remember being completely focused on the hard work of labor and on him. He was the only one I could hear--he even had to repeat everything the midwife said as she talked me through to the end. I was unaware of the others in the room (there were several this time around), and I wanted his touch and his voice only. I am still in awe at how close we feel after working together to bring our babies into this world. He still looks at me like I have accomplished the impossible, and I imagine him to be the strongest, most perfect man alive. I am so grateful.

This process of labor is so moving to me. It is perfectly laid out in such a way that my body instinctively knew what to do. Our Creator created a miracle in this, and I am so blessed to have experienced it twice.

Here is a sampling from Carly's first pictures. It's hard to believe that she was barely 12 hours old when we took her home. BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween sans baby

First of all, the cute little Baby Ticker at the top of my page now just serves as a reminder that I am PAST DUE. But I'm trying to remind myself that we have a little time to take it easy before she arrives, and to be grateful for every second of peace and quiet I have for now. It's going to get crazy any day now! I am terribly uncomfortable, and I am really anxious to meet our little girl and give her a name, but other than that, I really cannot complain. I have been blessed with two uneventful pregnancies, and I am so thankful for that!

One of the bonuses of Baby Sister still being in her cushy little home is that I got to go to the mall for Trick-or-Treating with Daddy and Rachel. It was going to be a special Daddy-Daughter night, and I was planning to be home with Baby, but we got to go as a family instead! It is unfortunate that Baby has two very cute Halloween bodysuits that she won't get to wear, though. At the suggestion of a friend, I dressed her up anyway. We got lots of points and chuckles. Rachel was Little Red Riding Hood, and her best friend Wolfie was her Big Bad Wolf. I checked out a really simple (and not-scary) version of Little Red Riding Hood at the library this week, and we've been reading it every day. Rachel was very excited to get dressed up, and even agreed to TWO ponytails like Red Riding Hood has in the book. On a side-note, I was very proud of myself for making the basket liner to go in her Easter basket for her costume

I took Rachel to the mall last year and she had such a fun time. I didn't remember it being too terribly crowded, but I remembered terribly WRONG. It was a mad-house! We will not be doing that again. I guess I failed to consider that 16-month-old Rachel stayed content sitting in front of the candy store sorting a big bucket of gum, and then helping hand out candy the whole night. We never even ventured into the big part of the mall last year. It was almost unnerving how crowded it was this time. I was very thankful to have Jarrad there!

On the pregnancy side of things, I will be going back to see the midwife on Monday. They will give me some sort of stress test to be sure it's safe to continue. I think 42 weeks is the max they will let me go, and then they will try one drug-free option to get things started before ultimately sending me to the hospital to be induced with Pitocin. I will be really out-done if I end up in the hospital to have this little girl. I have been looking forward to trying a water birth and being in a home setting, letting my mother-in-law catch the baby, and just generally being supported in a different kind of way. I am trusting God that she will come how she comes, though, and I'm trying not to get stressed out about it...anxiety can't possibly help move things along.