Thursday, September 30, 2010

So Much for That

Funnily enough my last post about getting real seems to have prompted me to get busy around the house. I feel like if I can get even one thing checked off my never-ending to-do list a day I can call it a success.

Meals: I've cooked every night this week, despite REALLY wanting to call in for pizza at least three times. My favorite was a sausage, sweet potato, and apple dish. Ian and I decided we should eat it with pancakes next time. Regardless it was delicious and easy, two very important things.

DIY: Today Ainsley and I painted a tote bag that our friend Joann sent us back when I was on bedrest. Ainsley dictated what I drew and then she "colored" everything in. There's a truck, a train, a sun, a moon, stars, outside (trees and flowers) and a swingset. It's really cute and oh so Ainsley.
I finally put up some new photos and got rid of the sad dead money tree behind our couch. I LOVE the new picture wall (I did take pictures but it was too light for them to turn out). I also put up some art and photos in our bedroom (finally!). I'm hoping once more good burst of energy (coinciding with Ian being home to watch the girls) will see the few final bigger projects done around the house.
I finally finished knitting Ainsley's red sweater and am in the process of sewing it together and putting on the buttons. I hope it will be ready for the cooler weather we're supposed to get this weekend. Next is finishing her red wool jacket that I'll be felting. I'd better get a move on!

Errands: Today we walked up to the baby consignment shop by us and struck gold. I found both Ainsley and Louise adorable Christmas outfits, two new pairs of shoes for Ainsley and an extra dressy outfit for them both. It was quite the exciting trip.

I am really tired tonight. While it's been a good full week it's EXHAUSTING keeping up with Ainsley and Louise all at once. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to your face. Lunchtime is the hardest because we're all starving, tired, and a tidge cranky. Luckily Louise and Ainsley have synchronized enough to give me at least a 20 minute nap each day. A full nights sleep would be ridiculously amazing. I'm dreaming big I know.

I'm looking forward to a crisp fall weekend of raking leaves and baking, going to the Farmers market and an apple festival Ian says is going on north of us. Life is good, just tiring.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's Get Real

We're pushing 3 hours for Ainsley's nap so we'll see how long I have!

This morning was Louise's 1 month doctor's appointment. She is 10 lbs 13 oz! I new she was bigger than Ainsley was but good golly! She's already grown out of all her newborn clothes and the 3 month sizes are fitting like gloves. I'm mostly concerned that she's going to grow out of her cloth diapers before Ainsley's potty trained (although she did poop in the toilet for the first time the other day so things are looking good).

I can't believe how fast Louise and Ainsley are growing. I'm going through some old pictures right now, FINALLY ordering prints from the summer and Louise's first month. Ainsley looks like a whole different baby, I'm sorry, girl.

She has grown up so much. It is rare now when Ian and I can't decipher what she's saying. She's at this perfect stage of baby-ness (wanting to snuggle and "hold" us, babbling away, telling elaborate stories with her hands and sound effects) and big girl-ness (helping out with Louise, knowing when she's being out of line, being able to understand when we explain something to her). I just can't get over how much our level of communication has grown. It's amazing.

But what this post is really supposed to be about is getting real.

The biggest change I've noticed in the past month, being a mom of two, is that I actually, FINALLY, feel like a mom. I know I know, but Becky, you have a 21 month old. You've been a mom for nearly two years, more if you count being pregnant. I can say now that I never truly felt like a legitimate mom. I felt like a poser, akin to the 12 year old boys carrying around skateboards, wearing baggy pants who have no real "skills". I felt like everyone could see through me. I was an impostor.

Then Louise came along and I just feel amazing. I feel calmer, like I know what I'm doing. I'm not running to her room every 5 minutes at night to check if she's breathing. I realize that she will indeed survive if she doesn't eat every 2 hours (clearly :o). The best part is, I'm one month into this whole mom of 2 business and I'm already more productive and active than I was for months after having Ainsley. I used to be so afraid of how I was viewed. "Look at that mom taking her newborn out in the cold...what is she thinking?" "Will that woman please shut that kid up!"

Now I just don't care (ok, maybe I still care a little). I just feel more secure, more settled in who I am as a mom.

I'm not a hard-ass as it turns out. Ainsley taught me early on to pick my battles. Ian actually tolerates far less than I do. Pretty much if she's not hurting herself or other people and is being polite and kind I let it slide. I'm sure this will change as she gets older, but with this girl I have to have some leeway or I'd be saying no every minute of every day.

I'm not supermom. Trust me, I'd LOVE to be. Heck, I grew up with a supermom. Ian's mom is a supermom. Maybe I'll get there, but I'm definitely not one now. I can't do 12 things at one time, nor do I want to. I like being physically active and productive but I need my down time too. You'll find me knitting on the couch watching a good show or movie just about any night in lieu of folding laundry or cleaning, and I'm ok with that.

I'm not a gourmet chef. For some reason it took me 3 years to come to this conclusion (thank you Ian for understanding and putting up with my many failed attempts). While I will always love to make a new complex recipe a Thursday night after chasing after Ainsley all day and changing 15 diapers and keeping the house in some semblance of shape is not the time to do it. I've resigned myself to stocking the pantry and freezer and flying by the seat of my pants most nights. It's working for me and so much less time consuming.

I can't train for a marathon (not yet at least). It'd probably be a good idea to be able to jog 1 whole mile without feeling like certain body parts are going to drop out of me, before dreaming of 26.2 (and maybe be able to fit into normal pants?). I am still salivating for a good 5 miler, but for now will take walking to and from the park, musikgarten, and close errands with my girls in tow.

I'm not Martha Stewart and I will STOP biting off more than I can chew (in the DIY department). There is a reason that there are stores for things called presents. I can't hand make everything and honestly it doesn't save me much money and certainly no time, in the end. My girls will survive with one new hand knit sweater and hat each.

I know that I will relapse from time to time but for now I feel confident in who I am as a mom, a person. I am still figuring it out as I adjust to having two, but I am so thankful for this break in the delirium that was my idea of motherhood. We're all surviving, thriving and doing great. I'm happier than I've been in a long time!

I'm off to take something out of the freezer for dinner, and I'm totally ok with that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Due Date

September 17, my official due date. Here I sit with my 3 week old baby snoozing on my chest and I can hardly believe that we could have not met her yet. It feels like Louise has been in our family forever. I can't imagine our lives without her.

I keep waiting for Louise to "wake up" and become the feisty outspoken newborn that Ainsley was. After 3 full weeks I am more and more confident that that's just not who she is. Louise is calm and quiet. When she is awake (still mostly in the morning and right before bed for longer and longer chunks of time) she gazes around with her big dark blue eyes and takes everything in. She has started to focus on our faces and likes looking up at toys hanging from the arch above her playmat and bouncy chair. Her cry is getting louder and more definitive. Usually she just wants to be held or fed and quiets down immediately. We have hardly had to utilize the pacifier at all. I still don't think she's fussed for more than 2 minutes straight. She is up every three hours at night to eat and I'm hoping to get her down to just two feedings a night soon. She loves to be swaddled but gets very warm and sweaty even in just a onesie. I am hoping the cooler nights will help with this. She is an adorable pudgy baby with a big round face and good chub on her limbs. Ainsley never had much excess fat so it's fun to have a differently built little girl. Louise is already outgrowing all of the newborn clothes we have (due in part to the cloth diapers). We have SO many because we were all convinced she was going to be so small at birth. I'll be interested to see how much she's grown at her one month appointment in a couple of weeks. She was just under 8 lbs at the last one. She does spit up but not nearly as much as Ainsley. Just yesterday I noted that she wore the same outfit overnight and throughout the whole day! I have to stay on top of bathing her and changing her clothes because with Ainsley it was such a frequent occassion due to all of the barfing that it just happened out of necessity.

Today has been much better with Ainsley. She is definitely more whiny than usual but with a bit more effort on my part she's been kept relatively active and happy. We spent the morning at Target getting her a new train book and her first play doh set to play with during Louise's feedings. We came home and went down to the basement where she immediately put them to good use. We then rearranged and cleaned the whole basement. I'm hoping to have the energy (and time) to finally paint the basement this weekend and get curtains made. It's starting to look like a proper play room.

Ainsley screamed when I put her down for her nap and when I went up 15 minutes later to see what was going on she just wanted to snuggle and rock and sing with me. It breaks my heart that she is so starved for cuddle time when I feel like I dont give Louise enough attention as it is. I love that she wants to snuggle though. I'll take what I can get!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rough Day


Last night went surprisingly well. I had a burst of energy from the "break" I got at my 2 week postpartum appointment. The 30 minute wait was a welcome respite from the chaos of the past few days.

I really can't complain. Ainsley has continued to do so well with her new little sister and Louise continues to be as undemanding as a newborn can be. While the sleep deprivation has started to take its toll my body is healing much better and I'm starting to feel like my old self again.

Even so, I am getting tired. Nearing my the end of my first full week back in action I am reminded of the glory that a Friday evening brings. Ian home for the weekend, time to bathe and do maybe one thing on my to do list without Ainsley and her antics underfoot.

Of course this lovely Thursday morning we wake up to rain. I was actually excited to have an excuse to stay indoors with the girls. The past three days have been filled with outings, walks, and excursions to the backyard and park, all fun but immensely more physically and mentally draining then they used to be with just Ainsley. The morning went well. I put up Ainsley's dome "house" which she LOVED. She hauled all of her blankies and her little kitchen inside and spent the morning playing and running around the house. We even baked a banana cake to enjoy for dessert and Ainsley played in the sink with water and bowls while I measured and mixed.

Unfortunately she was awoken early from her nap by the trucks outside repaving our street, aiding in the crankiness. Thankfully Ainsley is obsessed with trucks (and cars, and trains, and anything that moves or beeps when it backs up) and stood happily munching on her snack while watching the pavers in action by the window.

With the end of the paving came the trouble. Ainsley was all over the place, deliberately testing boundaries and defying well established rules (climbing up chairs, turning electronics off and on, balancing precariously on chairs and tables, putting buttons, coins, and rubber bands in her mouth...the list goes on and on). It was exhausting trying to give Louise any kind of attention and affection whilst keeping Ainsley redirected and occupied. When Ian walked in the door early (thank goodness) I quickly pawned our sweet little toddler off on him for the remainder of the evening.

It has been bizarre and wonderful having another baby, but one emotion that I did not expect was so much guilt. First the guilt of Louise being born early and having to be poked and prodded in the nicu for 4 days. Then the guilt of missing out on so much time with Ainsley while on bedrest and in those first critical days of Louise's life. Now I have guilt that I can't have the same experience with Louise that I had with Ainsley. I remember fondly those first weeks with Ainsley taking naps on the couch, staring at her sweet little face, lying on the ground next to her little playmat during tummy time. I am lucky if I get to squeeze Louise's hand while feeding her, otherwise she is usually in either her bouncer or swing while I chase after Ainsley. While I certainly have enough love to share between the two of them, time, hands, and stamina are a completely different story. I already agonize over not spending enough time with either of them and know that Ansley's acting out is a direct result of having to share her mommy time. I know that we will all find a balance soon. Until then I'm hoping a Target run tomorrow to get a few fun new things* for Ainsley will entice her to at least let me nurse Louise in relative peace and quiet.

*As a general rule we don't buy Ainsley toys "just because". I truly think other than her 1st birthday and Christmas I have bought maybe one or two things for her. I'm hoping the unexpected treat of getting a few new things and bringing them out only while I'm nursing Louise will be a fun new routine we can get into. Any other suggestions for taming the wild beast are welcome.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Little Gift

This is what I refer to Louise as now, "my little gift". Not that Ainsley is NOT a little gift, just of a different kind. Louise is everything I could have asked for in a second child. I can't get over how low key she is when compared to Ainsley at this age. I truly don't know how I would be handling this transition if I had another spitfire on my hands. Thank you Louise!

My mom and dad left this morning. It was emotional. Even though I know we were both ready to get back to our "normal" lives, this had become our new normal and it is sad to see it end.

I decided to dive right in and make my first day back in the driver's seat the best it could be. After playing the early morning away I took the girls grocery shopping and to Michaels to get some supplies to make thank you cards with Ainsley. Both errands went surprisingly well. Louise slept the whole time, purring in the sling, and Ainsley only had issues when she fell asleep in the car on the way to Michaels and I had to carry her and Louise for a while until she woke up. While it was definitely more difficult doing errands with two, I think I'll get the hang of it soon, and it was so fun to get out and feel like a mom again.

After managing to get them both and the groceries inside we had lunch and took naps. Louise and I snuggled in our bed while Ainsley napped in her crib. It was a great afternoon. We went the the park after snack and got home just in time to feed Louise before Ian came home. I managed to concoct something (chicken sausages, baked beans, and carrot slaw) for dinner...not the best but at least it's a start.

I think I could get the hang of this.

Fast Forward 1 day...

Ainsley woke up all stuffed up and cranky as all get out. Louise has been wonderful but the day started off with the thought "what were we thinking" crossing my mind more than once. Ainsley can be so helpful and sweet but needs a lot of direction to stay on that course when she's not at her best.

I tried to tame the wild beast with baked goods. We made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for breakfast while Louise snoozed in the swing. This worked for a while until we were done with breakfast and EVERYTHING made her upset. After calling my mom "Ga ga, Ga ga!" to help calm her down we went for a walk and ended up at the park. My thought was to let her play it out in the sandbox so I could just sit with Louise. Of course Ainsley had other plans. Her new favorite thing is the train which is great when I'm alone with her but toting around Louise and trying to chorale Ainsley so she doesn't run across the street to see the train is really hard, and physically exhausting! Thank goodness we all ate a good lunch and were able to nap again. Ainsley is still down so I'm hoping for a better mood when she wakes up.

I treasure the time alone with Louise, even if it means less naptime for me. She is so sweet and snuggly and now I know how fast that all changes.

I have my 2 week postpartum appointment today so Ian's coming home early from work. Then he's off to the twins/socks game downtown. Second day of being on our own and he leaves me for the night! He can't ever say I don't love him :o).

I'm feeling a more profound post about re-emerging as a parent coming on, just not right now. I'm still too tired!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Mom Told Me So

So...after 4 days going back and forth to the hospital, 4 doctors visits, and 7 days of the biliblanket Louise has a clean bill of health and I have finally realized "hey, I gave birth two weeks ago" a little too late...whoops.

I have been so preoccupied with Louise and Ainsley's adjustment to Louise, and trying to get life back to normal that I've neglected to pay much attention to my healing body. I think the 4 days of taking the maximum dose of motrin should have tipped me off. I chuckled when I finally cleaned out my hospital bag and found the guide to postpartum care (unread) that the midwives gave me. My mom rolled her eyes at me today when I came clean "I'm not feeling so hot". I don't blame her. She told me to take it easy, it's just TOO HARD! All I want is to lace up my running shoes and go for a hard run, or really even a brisk walk at this point.

It is so frustrating to be so out of shape and in so much pain from such little activity. I have taken Ainsley to the park once, started cooking dinners again, gone grocery shopping, and attempted to be more active in Ainsley's life (playing, bathtime, putting her down for naps and bedtime). This coupled with being up at night with, caring for, and breastfeeding a newborn apparently is just too much. What did me in today was walking to Musikgarten with Ainsley in the backpack carrier, chasing her around the class and then walking back. Whoops again. I wanted to try it out while my mom was still here to help with Louise if need be.

Louise did great and Ainsley, after taking a few minutes to warm up to the idea, jumped right back into her old rambunctious ways, exploring the classroom and sitting in the middle of the circle. She did throw her rhythm sticks twice which worries me. She's never been destructive before in class and I'm going to have to nip that one in the bud. Otherwise our first class back went great. Ainsley LOVES musikgarten as much as ever and I'm excited to get back into that routine each week.

I was reminded by a fellow blogger, and good family friend, to take things one day at a time. While I am salivating to be fully healed and back in action, I need to remember to appreciate today. My sweet Louise snoozing on my chest with a full tummy, my mom still in town for support and companionship, Ainsley blissfully sleeping off the active morning, and the beautiful near-fall weather outside are all good enough reasons to slow down and savor the moment.

Soon enough life will return to normal, I will be able to run again, and I will get the hang of being a parent of two. For now I will do my best to take care of myself and my family so that we can all enjoy that day to come.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mother of Two

I am realizing that part of the blessing of being on bedrest for 7 weeks and then the scare of having Louise in the hospital for 4 days was that my mind was kept pretty preoccupied. I wasn't able to focus on the future much, or worry for that matter, about how life was going to change.

While I still haven't ventured fully back into reality, as my mom is still in town helping out as much as ever, I am feeling as ready as I think I'll ever be.

After living so long in an altered state of "normal" I am craving REAL normal more than ever. Mundane things, like getting back into a schedule, cooking and cleaning, being active, even disciplining Ainsley are all things I've so missed. Ok, maybe not the disciplining so much, but it needs to be done.

My mom went on a trial grocery run with me and the two babes and I have to say it's going to be interesting for a while. I think the getting to the store and buying the groceries won't pose as many issues as the unloading of both the produce and the children. This is why new moms don't need to work out as much. Try unloading 4-5 bags of groceries (including at least 2 gallons of milk and juice) and an infant in a carseat and a toddler. Still, I'm excited to figure it all out.

Ainsley starts musikgarten tomorrow and I can't wait to take her. My mom is going to come with Louise to see how it all goes, but again, next week I'm on my own!

Thankfully Louise has so far proved to be the mellowest, most sweet little baby we could have asked for. I know it's still early to tell but her temperament thus far could not be more different from Ainsley's. Her "fussing" (if you can call it that) consists of maybe one or two moderate cries and then a bunch of grunts. She wakes up every 2-3 hours at night to eat but I'm thinking that a lot of that has to do with how hot she gets in her biliblanket. (Barring one last good reading today she'll be off the blanket and I'm hoping I may get a good 4 or 5 hour stretch at night out of her). Ian has only had to get up with her 2 or 3 times since she was born to help her settle back into sleep, otherwise I need only feed and change her and she's down for the count. She is awake for a few hours a day, of course not all in one stretch. Her most wakeful times seem to be right away in the morning when we're all up sipping coffee (even Ainsley joins in now with her new coffee maker "weez" got her as a gift) and right before/around dinner time. The only issue I'm foreseeing so far is that Louise loves being held. If she's left on her own, whether in the bouncy chair, swing, or floor for too long she fusses until someone picks her up. She is so snuggly and sweet, I don't mind.

So far the transition from being a parent of one to a parent of two has gone so smoothly. Ainsley still loves her Weez and we've made sure to shower them both with lots of kisses and hugs, not that it's a chore when you've been blessed with two beautiful girls.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Glow Little Gloworm

Louise's jaundice is the last piece of the well baby puzzle that we need to solve. Although wrapping her torso in a light blanket, in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal it is just one more hurdle to contend with in this whole "getting back to normal" thing that I am SO ready to do.

We can't dress her in her cute newborn clothes (and she's going to grow out of them soon!), she's attached to this thick cord all the time which makes it hard to hold her comfortably, her little torso is all sweaty from the plastic blanket, and we can't take her anywhere, even out for a walk.

After two days of this I was understandably anxious for this morning's doctors visit. We were getting another bilirubin reading and I was terrified that it would go up again and we'd have to head back to the hospital (although our pediatrician just said we'd have to come back tomorrow to check again at worst).

Thankfully about an hour ago I got the call that her number went WAY down (from 17.1-12.9). Under 10 is what we're aiming for but over 20 is in the danger zone...we're on our way! So this weekend we're going to be able to take her out into the real world! I'm hoping for good weather for the farmers market tomorrow morning and possibly even a walk? I'm so thankful to be out of the woods!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Louise Adele: Homecoming

Our sweet Louise came home Monday August 30 at 5pm. It was a tense day waiting for test results to clear her to come home. Her breathing and eating was great, she just needed a low bilirubin reading. At 4:30 we got the call that while her bilirubin reading was up a little it was low enough for her to come home and follow up with our pediatrician. What a relief!

Ainsley was ready and waiting to meet her new sister (complete in her coordinating outfit). We pulled up alongside the house and her little face was poking up from underneath the window. She ran to the front door to meet us and went immediately to Louise. "Baby, baby. Weez, weez (Louise)". It was love at first sight. My mom got the whole thing on video. It was such a precious moment.

The first evening and night went so well. Louise is very mellow (so far!) She only fusses when she's hungry, has a dirty diaper, or is being changed (she does not like being naked). Ainsley does so well with her. She is fascinated by Louise. She loves to watch her get changed and me pumping milk "milk, baby, Weezy, boobie" she says over and over. She shares all of her favorite things with Louise, skunkers, nankers, is so cute. She has tried poking her in the eye a few times and can be a bit rough when trying to show affection but for the most part it's gone so well.

The first night I actually had to wake Louise up to feed her. As she's still getting used to breastfeeding I wanted her to eat at least every 3 hours. She is quit the champ sleeper and Ian only had to get up once to help her get back to sleep.

The second day home we had to get up and head to the doctor to check her bilirubin level. Louise looked great and had gained back some weight since discharge from the hospital (up to 7 lbs 4 oz from 6 lbs 14 oz). Unfortunately her level went up which meant we'd have to go back the next day to check again.

The rest of the day was spent just enjoying our new family. We sat outside, listened to music and played. My mom blew up this great new splash pool for Ainsley and Louise and I watched her splash around while Ian ran into work for a little while.

The second night went as well as the first. Louise ate every 2.5-3 hours but never cried, just whimpered and grunted to let me know she was up. She always fell right back asleep and we got up for good at 7 with the rest of the family.

We had to head out even earlier this morning to get another bilirubin reading. We just got word that it went up again :o(. While it's still not dangerously high, it's high enough that we're going to have to get a biliblanket at home for Louise. I cried a little when I got the news. Louise has already been through so much in her short little life and I'm heartbroken that we still have one more obstacle to overcome. I am thankful that she doesn't have to go back to the hospital and am hopeful that this will solve her jaundice so that we can get life back to normal!