Friday, December 31, 2010


Quinn had a big day of firsts today-- Zach and I brought him along on a trip to Ikea this morning, and then to In-N-Out for lunch.  He slept in the Moby wrap for almost the entire Ikea venture, up until the end when he started squirming and waking up a bit as we were entering the lower-level warehouse area before the check-out stands.  Which led to another first, his first time to nurse in public.  He did pretty well, then promptly (and loudly) pooped his pants.  Aah, the life of a baby... ; )  He was a bit less content at In-N-Out, though I suspect that was partially b/c his mean parents wouldn't let him have any fries or chocolate shake.

Quinn's been getting a bit fussier lately, it varies by day but can be fairly inconsolable at times.  We're slowly figuring out what helps (and what doesn't) and taking it day by day.  At first anytime he was upset I'd nurse him, and often that helped but not always.  Lately we've been figuring out other ways to soothe him, and that sometimes he's mad bc he can't quite fall asleep and needs a bit of help.  One very nice revelation was last night when Zach gave my mei tai carrier a try.  Quinn kept crying for several minutes and I almost asked Zach to give him back to me to try to feed him, but then he settled down... and slept for a good 1.5-2hrs while Zach wore him.  Which was a relief for me (I'm not the only one who can soothe him!) and I think a good boost for Zach (he's not actually useless just because he lacks lactating boobs!).

I used some christmas money to buy (yet another) baby carrier, which arrived today.  It's now drying after being washed, but I'm looking forward to trying it out.  At Ikea today we bought a couple inexpensive children's area rugs for the living room and our bedroom, to expand the amount of semi-cushioned floor space available for baby play areas, and bought a play mat with the hanging toys and stuff.  Our home is quickly becoming engulfed in BABY stuff.  But, that's life, and I'm hoping that the carriers and floor spaces to set him down on and entertain him with, will help to make life with a toddler + baby a bit easier.  We shall see.  Most of the time I'm feeling fairly confident about being able to handle this (or at least survive past the initial settling-in-and-figuring-out-how-the-heck-to-do-this period), at times I feel utterly terrified by the thought of how to handle those times when both kids need me desperately, at the exact same time.  But, hey, we'll deal with it, and survive, and hopefully with only minimal emotional scarring.  ; )

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

baby fauxtoshoot

Ever since getting pregnant I've been looking forward to having another go at taking photos of a squishy newborn.  It has been fun these past 3 weeks experimenting with photographing Quinn... though I gotta say, I kinda feel lied to.  It's been long enough since D was a baby that I've forgotten, I guess, and every newborn tutorial I've read makes it sound like the "sleepy newborn phase" means having a deeply-asleep baby who can be (gently) molded into different positions, and it being relatively easy.  With Quinn, I tend to have a window of about 30 seconds for taking any sort of attempted posed photo before he starts getting upset with me.  So I have to work FAST.

Last week, I did manage to get some cute shots of him last week.  I took these up in our room, which has the best light of the house.  I waited till a sunny day (it's been super rainy lately), then dressed him in a cute outfit and laid out a brown fleecy blanket on the bed.  I then nursed him to sleep, tried to lay him down and "pose" him as best I could, then snapped as many pictures as I could in the tiny window of time before he woke up and started crying (and repeated the feed-and-photo sequence a couple times).  Of course, the second rude awakening I got was realizing (again) how much more I still have to learn as far as postprocessing.  There's just so much that I don't know how to do.  Oh well...  Next time I'll have to remember to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG...

Constructive criticism/feedback/tips are welcome. ; )

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and baby update

There's kind of a lot, and not much, to say, all at the same time.

Christmas was pretty great.  D really enjoyed his new toys and books, and it was fun sharing the day with my mom and sister.  Jen took the train back to SF this morning, and my mom is here for one more week (I'm in slight denial of that fact).

Quinn goes in to the pediatrician tomorrow for his "2 week" well check (though he'll be nearly 3 weeks).  I'm curious to see what he weighs now...  He's eating constantly.  He'll occasionally go 2 hours between feedings, but most of the time during the day he's eating about every hour, and sometimes more often.  At night he's been going a bit longer, about 3-3.5 hours or so.  I've been able to get a good bit of sleep at I try to head to bed around 8-9pm, and if Q permits will nap in the morning till sometime between 7-9am.  I know that will change dramatically once I don't have mom here to hand Q off to in the evenings, or to watch D in the mornings.  For now, I'm enjoying feeling miraculously well rested, especially compared to how I felt while still pregnant.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Quinn is 12 days old today, almost 2 weeks.  It's been a pretty interesting experience so far, all of it.  Donovan blows me away with how well he's taking everything, how interested he is in his brother.  Every so often he'll kinda crack and you can tell he misses the way things used to be, but the vast majority of the time he's amazing.  I am so taken with him right now, watching him be cute and listening to him play with my mom, my heart just melts over and over.  I'm enjoying the "newborn phase" with Quinn, but I also find myself really looking forward to the time when he's a couple years older, and watching both he and D play and interact and talk, and be able to go out and do all sorts of fun family things together like take both boys up to the snow to play, etc (some of that pining might stem from the fact that I've barely left the house in the past 2 weeks...)

I've had a few moments/days that felt rough, but for the most part I continue to be amazed at how good everything feels, especially when I think back and compare to how things were with D when he was this young.  We've settled nicely into breastfeeding, it's comfortable and pretty easy by now.  Q has had some days when he's been fussier and more difficult to deal with, and others where he's been more mellow and, for example, able to sleep on a surface other than someone's arms.  For the most part he's quite happy as long as he's being nursed and held.  I've brought out my Moby wrap and CatBird Baby mei tai carrier, and he seems to like both-- I can tell I'll be getting plenty of use out of them in the coming months.  It was wonderful to get those first several days of not doing much other than focusing on my new baby, but it's also feeling really good now to be able to wear him and get some things done around the house-- it gives me a chance to see that I can still take care of at least some of this stuff even with a new baby, and that things will be ok once we're more on our own again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quinn's Birth Story

If you've been keeping up with the blog, you know that I spent the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy whining a good deal.  I was tired, uncomfortable, and fairly convinced labor would start ANY DAY thanks to all the pre-labor symptoms I was feeling.  There were 2 night when, due to a mixture of "intuition" and increasing contractions, etc, the previous days & nights, I'd been convinced that I would go into labor that night... only to wake up the next morning, still pregnant.  Finally, I got tired of trying to guess my body and baby's timetable, and gave up... I resigned myself to the idea that he might not  come till his due date or even later, and to just not think about it anymore.

That was Wednesday.

I woke up Thursday morning around 1-1:30am with some pretty uncomfortable pains in my belly.  I suspected they might be contractions, but was also confused because Quinn was moving and putting pressure on my bladder, etc, which was also causing pain and was throwing me off on the "pattern" of the contractions I was having.  I tried to sleep through it for a bit, then got up and went downstairs.  By this time they did feel more clearly like labor contractions, so I started timing them-- they were coming every 3-5 minutes, lasting about 45seconds-1minute, and were strong enough that I had to stop what I was doing when one came on.

In the previous weeks I'd had many people tell me about their (or their friends') VERY short second labor stories, so I definitely had it in mind that I could go quickly...  so after timing contractions for 20-30minutes I went ahead and called Claudia, one of my midwives, and asked her to come over and bring the birth tub.  It was about 2:15am by this time.  I had a snack, made myself an energy drink, and went upstairs to wake Zach (my mom was already awake, having heard me moving around downstairs).  We started getting things ready-- making the bed, setting up the few supplies the midwives had asked me to set up ahead of time, I did a Hibiclens wash (since I'd tested positive for GBS), and then I started just pacing around the house between contractions.  I remember thinking that maybe I should be trying to rest, but I just wanted to walk.  When a contraction came on I'd find something to lean forward onto, breathe slowly in and out, and rocked my hips from side to side.  Zach called my sister, Jen, to let her know I was in labor since she wanted to come out for the birth.

Claudia arrived pretty quickly, and then Jen (my other midwife) and they started setting up the tub upstairs in our bedroom.  Claudia checked my blood pressure, heart rate, and the baby's heartbeat, then started timing my contractions.  After a little while she made a joke that before she'd started timing me it seemed I was having a contraction each time she turned around, but now that she was timing them they seemed to slow down a bit.  So then she stopped and went upstairs to check on the tub.... and interestingly enough, within a few minutes the contractions started coming sooner, and feeling a bit more intense.

Eventually, the tub was ready.  The midwives thought about checking me, but figured from how I was acting that I was pretty far along already so I went ahead and got in the tub (around 4:30-5am?).  The water felt nice.  The first two contractions after getting in the tub felt much milder than what I'd been having.  Then I got hit by a doozy-- this one was much longer and stronger than the others, and just felt... different (I think the word I used at the time was that it felt "productive").  Before, the pain had been concentrated in one spot at the base of my belly/uterus.  This time, I felt a ring of pain (for lack of a better word) that started at the base of my belly, and went around my hips and to my back, and it was as if I could actually feel my cervix opening up (I'm guessing this was me entering transition).  The contractions that followed weren't quite as strong as that one, but had that same opening-ring sensation.  Sometimes I had a few minutes between them, other times one would start just as the previous one was fading and I'd have two or three in a row.  Zach was sitting opposite me outside the tub, and my mom started rubbing my back.  A few times I started feeling overwhelmed by the pain, but then reminded myself to stop and breathe, taking each moment/contraction as it came.  I wanted it to be over, but knew the only way for that to happen was to work through the rest of labor.

Soon we heard Donovan moving around in his room.  I heard (midwife) Jen whisper to Zach that that (D being up) meant the baby would be coming soon.  I remember thinking, Oh please let it be so.  Things were just feeling so intense by then, I couldn't imagine going on like that for several more hours still.  I was coping by breathing slowly in and out, and repeating "breathe", "open", "I can do this", and "Come on out, baby. Come on out, Quinn" in my head through each contraction.

During my pregnancy Zach and I had talked about doing a water birth.  I knew I wanted to use the tub during labor, but was also curious about birthing in the water.  Zach was kinda freaked out by the idea, though, and the (very, very rare but does sometimes happen) possibility of the baby taking a breath while still underwater.  So I figured I'd labor in the water, then get out to push.  Well, at one point while I was laboring in the water Zach reached over and said I could give birth wherever I wanted, in the water or out.  It was nice to have his "blessing" since as it turned out I didn't even have time to think about getting out of the tub.  I had a couple contractions where I almost felt like I could feel the head starting to come down, and then midway through the next one I went from just breathing through it to starting to push.  From then on I don't remember feeling distinct contractions anymore, I was just pushing and resting guided only by instinct and the overwhelming desire to GET THIS BABY OUT NOW.

I'd been quiet all through labor up till now, just breathing through contractions.  When I started pushing, though, I started crying out with each push.  Pushing was INTENSE.  It hurt to push, and it hurt to rest between pushes.  I heard (midwife) Jen tell me to breathe and ease up a bit when I started feeling the burning of the head crowning, but I didn't really care and kept pushing-- I just wanted him out.  Somewhere in the middle of all this, my mom heard D crying in his room.  She went to check on him, and found him sitting in a corner of his room, a small tear rolling down his cheek.  It kinda breaks my heart now to think of how scary that must have been for him, to hear his mom crying out like that and not know what was going on.  But mom told him what was happening, and she picked him up and brought him into the bedroom to see us and once he knew I was ok and that his baby brother was about to be born, he was happy and excited and found the whole thing really cool.

I soon felt his head crowning.  It took a couple pushes, and then I felt the sweet, sweet relief of his head coming all the way out.  Another push or two, and his whole body was out-- at 5:37am, a whopping seven minutes after the first push.  They lifted him up into my arms and I was just amazed, relieved, delighted.  I was so over the moon happy to be holding him!

I then noticed that he wasn't crying.  He made little hiccupy noises every once in a while, but no crying.  I wasn't worried, and figured everything was fine, but did register this as a red flag.  Jen checked his heartbeat (90bpm) and Claudia suctioned his airway.  He still didn't really react, but then just as Claudia was about to put the mask on him to give oxygen he let out the loudest SCREAM and his heartbeat went up to 140bpm, and everyone in the room relaxed.  As it turned out, a loop of his umbilical cord had prolapsed somewhat, sitting next to his head as he came out and so got compressed for a few minutes while in the birth canal (Jen had noticed this right as his head came out, and said normally she coaches mothers to take it easier with pushing but because of the cord let me plow through).  It had taken him one minute to start breathing on his own, but even still his APGAR scores were 8 and 9.
So then we were all just reveling in the moment. Zach took a few pictures, and we ogled our gorgeous newborn son.  I stayed in the tub with Quinn for several minutes, then everyone helped me out and onto the bed and D came to sit next to me and look at his baby brother.  We all snuggled together for a good hour (or more...?) while the midwives busied themselves draining the tub and cleaning everything up, until eventually I started feeling ravenously hungry.  Mom got to cut the cord, and then the midwives took Quinn to weigh and check him out while I had a bite to eat.  Poor Jen (my sister) finally arrived at about 8am (the earliest she could get here from SF via public transit), right around the time that I was ready to take a nap.  I think Jen was bummed to miss the birth itself, but it was really nice to have her around still and be here for the full weekend after.
Mom cutting the cord
Baby Quinn
Quinn asleep, later that day
So in the end labor lasted about 4-4.5 hours, with 7 minutes of pushing.  So, um, yeah, I suppose I had one of those fast labors people kept warning me about...   It was certainly not easy, but the whole thing was a pretty amazing experience and I love that we got to do it at home.  =)


EDIT 3/21/11-- I just got a copy of my birth records back from my midwives.  It was really cool for me to look through them and see the exact timeline and notes they took during my labor, as I wasn't aware of the time very much.  So I figured I'd go ahead and update with the timeline here:

1:00/1:30am- Labor starts
3:00am- Claudia arrives
3:25am- Jen arrives, with birth tub, start filling it up.
4:30am- I got into the tub.
5:30am- First slight push at peak of contraction
5:33am- Can see the head!
5:37am- Quinn is born!  APGARs at 1/5/10 mins are 8/9/9
5:50am- Climb out of tub, into bed.  Skin-to-skin, Quinn starts nursing.
5:55am- Placenta comes out.
6:10am- My mom cuts the cord.
7:30am- I finally hand him over for his newborn exam.
8:30am- After cleaning everything up and setting appointment for follow-up the next day, midwives leave. Quinn and I take a nap.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hey, everyone! I had a BABY!

Yup, after all my whining and kvetching I finally (er, 2 days before my due date) went into labor. ; )  Little Quinn was born early Thursday morning, at home, in a big tub, in the presence of my 2 midwives, Zach, my mom, and D who'd woken up just in time.  I'll write out the full birth story eventually, but it was fast and furious and the whole thing pretty amazing.

What's also amazing? How different these first few days with a newborn have felt compared to my first days with D.  When D was born I was, of course, overjoyed, but also overwhelmed.  Despite all my reading and attempts at preparation, once he was in my arms I felt fairly clueless.  I didn't quite know how to soothe him, how to feed him, and it didn't help that jaundice made him too sleepy to eat or poop well, and by day 3 I was a sobbing mess as we had to leave the comfort of our home to take him to a hospital to get the blue light treatment.

I had suspected that things would feel very different this time, and that does seem to be the case.  As soon as Q came out and went in my arms, I was beaming.  I was able to fully take him in and just enjoy the moment, feeling already so much more comfortable and confident in my ability to handle a newborn.  Thanks to orders from my midwives to rest as much as possible, I've had my mom and Zach pretty much waiting on me hand and foot, allowing me to rest and focus on the little one.  He's also a champ nurser, and has been exceeding the "required" number of wet and poopy diapers each day.  I'm healing up much faster than after D's birth, and my mental/emotional state is much better, both of which I attribute at least partially to the extra rest and frequent nursing (yay oxytocin!).

And D, has been amazing me.  All through my pregnancy he was very interested in my belly, in the baby, in talking about his baby brother, etc.  I wondered if his interest would continue once he realized what "baby brother" actually means... Well, he's been fascinated with his little brother.  I'm so glad he got to be there for the birth, and from that very moment he's been so excited and so interested in Quinn.  He'll sit next to me, holding my chin with his hand, watching Q nurse.  This morning he even said, "I love my baby brother" which is HUGE to me seeing as he's only said that to me once, ever.  Right now he's helping my mom push Q around outside in the stroller.  There have been a few heartbreaking moments when he's screaming for me to do something for him when I'm not available, but overall he's been adjusting really well to the new baby, and to having to share Mommy with him.  I'm crossing my fingers that this continues.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

fall in december

It looks like around here we get 3 seasons- summer, fall, and spring.  I'm ok skipping the snowy-winter bit...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

waiting waiting waiting

No baby yet.

I kinda feel like a ticking time bomb.  I keep feeling like my body is getting ready for labor, especially with all the Braxton-Hicks... but then nothing really happens.  I'm trying to just relax and not think about it, but it's hard not to get frustrated at times, like when the BHs and general crampiness keep me from being able to sleep at night.  Days are sometimes better, but then I've spent a lot of today with a constant dull ache in my lower back and belly, punctuated by BHs throughout the day.  And, this is basically how it's been all week long and it's getting pretty old.  At least now with Mom here (she flew in Thursday night) I'm able to rest/take naps while she plays with D.

Yesterday morning Zach and I went on a sort-of date to REI to check out their scratch-and-dent sale (he's looking for snow shoes).  I figured a morning walking around and spending time on my feet might help bring labor on... but nope.  I'm thinking I need to figure out a project to work on or books to read or something to keep me occupied and busy so I'm not just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs waiting for this baby to come.  I suppose I should be enjoying this time, the "calm before the storm" so to speak, but I just feel so ready to a) be done being pregnant and b) get to meet this baby (and also, I'd really like to maximize on having this help from my mom, which is great now but will be even more needed post-baby).

So. That's where we're at.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

38 wks 4 days

After enjoying a good week or so of almost no pregnancy complaints last week, this week is now kicking my ass.  I'm having tons of braxton-hicks contractions at night, and they're uncomfortable enough that they seem to wake me up every couple of hours and I think also keep me from getting much deep sleep.  A couple of nights I've also had some period-like cramping, and sometimes the cramps get pretty strong/intense (the BHs and cramps happen some during the day, but are definitely worse at night).  All this combined with 2-4 trips to the bathroom each night, and you can understand why I'm feeling somewhat zombie-like these days.  Zach has even resorted to sleeping in the guestroom the past 2 nights since all my tossing, turning, and getting up is waking him up, too, and well, there's no point in both of us being mind-numbingly exhausted.

The in-laws left yesterday afternoon.  My mom flies in tomorrow evening, and will be with us for a month to help with the baby... which means that these couple days between grandparent visits are the last days that D and I have together, alone, as a twosome.  I feel like we should be doing special things, cherishing these last days of uninterrupted one-on-one time.  Instead, I'm too tired (thus, grumpy) to be an effective parent or really enjoy this time.  Thankfully he's been relatively easy-going and we are getting a good bit of cuddle time together.  I guess that will just have to be good enough.

I'm curious/anxious/worried about how D will react to a new baby.  He likes talking about his baby brother, and I'm very encouraged by how much he likes watching videos of and skyping with his newborn cousin.  But he's also been extra mom-centric the past week or 2, demanding that I be the one to read to him and lay with him before bed, etc, so it'll be a tough transition, I imagine, to have Mommy spending so much time with someone else and not be as available to him.  I'm glad my mom will be here to help, as he's pretty fond of her so hopefully they can do enough fun things together to help make up for his lost mommy-time.  


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