Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lucy at 4 months

My sweet baby is four months old and is definitely more "baby" than newborn. She has discovered her feet and the ability to raise her legs and feet, although feet aren't reaching her mouth to suck on yet. It's so fun that warmer weather is here and she wears a lot of tank top onesies because the more of her little body we have access to squeeze, cuddle and kiss the better!

Oh, but how her sleep has changed. Okay, I'm still pretty lucky at night considering that she had been sleeping through the night since 6 weeks but that's exactly why the new unpredictable night-wakings are such a bummer. We went on a trip and the first night she woke a few times at night and early in the morning. I thought maybe she was too warm or she was restless from getting less sleep. It happened near the end of the trip too where she just wouldn't stay asleep for long. Luckily we slept in a king bed so there was room for her with us which seemed to help. She'd wake super early every morning and I'd keep her in our bed because she wouldn't transition back to hers. Now that we're home we've had inconsistent difficulty with sleep - mostly she's difficult to keep asleep and naps are super tough in terms of getting her to fall asleep. I googled the issue and it turns out this is super common! It's called "four month sleep regression" - go figure! Not that it's any easier knowing it's a normal part of development (her sleep is now more adult-like where she's in and out of deep sleep so she wakes easily AND she's more aware of her body and surroundings, making her less likely to want to sleep) except that I'm not now grasping at straws as I try to figure out what the issue is (is her bed to small? is she too warm? does she want her legs free? does she still need her legs swaddled? ....). The plan now is to suffer through it until she's old enough for us to sleep train her.

Speaking of our trip, she was such a good traveler! (aside from issues sleeping at night) We drove 5 hours to Las Vegas and were there for four days, then 5 hours to San Diego for a few days, 5 hours back to Vegas for a night before the last 5 hour stretch home. She was awesome in the car, and if I swaddled her in her carseat her naps were pretty normal in length. Lucy seemed to really love our time away from home - she had so much to look at as we toured various places and loved all the time spent outdoors. Plus, half of our trip was spent with her Grandma and Grandpa who gave her extra love and attention. It made me realize how boring we make her life, laying her in her bouncy seat and giving her only a few things to experience or even look at.

At her four month check-up she was 11 lbs 10 ounces (4thile) and just over 24 inches long (17th %ile). Head circumference was 70th %ile, that big head runs in our family:) I was looking foward to these stats because she seemed so big, especially long, to me and I wondered if she really was big for her age or if my perception is skewed just because she's not my tiny baby anymore. Turns out it's the latter. June and Henry were at the appointment and weren't happy that she had to get four shots. Henry plugged his ears and said he didn't like to hear how much she cried.

Lucy continues to be so smiley and laughs a lot. Her laughing is not a big laugh, just short bursts but it's so so cute. She just loves to have attention - she'll stare at someone with obvious anticipation until they look and then she gives a huge smile.

Of course it feels like the time has gone by so fast since she was born. The newborn stage was not my favorite this time around but I feel like I could keep her at this age and be perfectly content with what having a baby this age brings (four month sleep regression excluded... at least I have one consolation about her growing older than she is now). Time passing is almost so cruel. We're just trying to remember to enjoy our sweet girl while she's still so little.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lucy's birth story

Lucy's birth story starts when my water broke in the middle of the night a couple of days before she was due. I've never had my water break on it's own and I wasn't sure that's what it was, I stayed up on my phone in the dark in my bed trying to figure out if what I think happened is what actually happened - it wasn't obvious, but at the same time, I didn't have an alternative explanation that made sense! I gathered from what I read that, even if my water did break, I didn't need to rush anywhere and since I already had a midwife appointment scheduled for the morning anyway I would just wait until then to figure it out.

The midwife did a quick strip test for amniotic fluid but the result was inconclusive, so she took a sample to test in their lab. In the meantime, I asked for more clarification about being induced. I had been offered an induction weeks before but I declined scheduling one, my births have been so quick and relatively easy and I thought being induced would mess with that. However, I didn't want to go too long before having the baby because my mother in law was in town so I was anxious to not have her have to wait too long and the biggest stress of everything was being able to get Henry and June taken care of during labor. So, for those reasons, I thought I'd revisit the topic. The midwife said that with my history of quick births, being induced should go about the same way. I was happy to hear that and decided I would consider it. ALSO in the meantime of waiting for the lab results I asked for my membranes to be stripped. And when she did... gush - more amniotic fluid, so my water DID break the night before and we assume the baby's head had just plugged it and when she adjusted the baby's position while stripping my membranes, more came out. Well, she said we didn't need to wait for the lab results! Instead, she said to go home and get ready for the hospital.

It ended up being perfect this way, I was able to calmly return home, finish packing up for the hospital and arrange for babysitters for the rest of the day. The irony was that I would be induced and even on the day I probably would have chosen to be. We went into the hospital around 10:30, they started pitocin at 12:30. When the nurse started me on the pitocin at 12:30 she informed me of how it would go, saying that most women start to feel pressure of contractions pretty soon. Despite my water breaking, I had no detectable signs of labor. And sure enough, as soon as she walked out of the room after starting me on the meds I began to feel contractions. The pitocin affects were interesting, the contractions were regular in their timing and consistent in the amount of increasing pain as time went on.

I had been dilated to 4 cm. since arriving at the hospital (since my midwife appointment - another reason she said an induction should go fast for me) so I was "allowed" to have an epidural right away. It felt wrong to have an epidural without even experiencing any labor pains - that would be cheating, right? I held off for a while and I'm glad I asked when I did because in the short time it took to have an anesthesiologist arrive and prep my labor pains and gotten that much worse - like pretty bad. Especially in my lower back. With my previous two births I had been nervous about the pain of the epidural (plus I was always nervous about having contractions during the injection when I'm supposed to remain still) but the pain was never as bad as I was worried it would be. This time was different, it definitely hurt a lot. But, as always, I was so relieved to receive it and so grateful when I started feeling it's effects after a few contractions (those few were tough but I survived knowing I would stop feeling them soon!).

I don't know what time it was when I received an epidural but during all this time I wasn't progressing all that fast, or at least as fast as the nurses made it seem like I would - they're always saying it will be "any time now!" but when I think that means minutes, it turns out to be hours. This whole time Rob was with me and eventually he left to pick up Linda, his mom. She was there by the time I had the epidural. I was really bummed when I remembered I couldn't eat anything - they were going to be picking up food on the way to the hospital and I was totally going to request a burger from Cubby's :) It got pretty boring during this time, we tried watching tv but on a Wednesday afternoon there was nothing entertaining on which just made me more bored.

They had me where an oxygen mask at one point when baby's oxygen levels decreased a little. They reduced the pitocin but then my contractions would stop. This went back and forth a little: increase pitocin to elicit contractions, but then have to reduce it because of baby's oxygen levels. My midwife was in and out (I didn't feel like I saw her much, it was definitely more like I imagine it is having a doctor vs. with my previous births and the midwives in Bellevue, Wa who were with me pretty much the whole time - but I liked the nurse in my room a whole lot, so I decided to get over it) and eventually I asked what we'd do if we couldn't get the levels worked out. She said she wasn't ready for a c-section yet. That made me worried that she even mentioned c-section! She said that hopefully we could get me laboring and the baby would come fast enough that we wouldn't have to worry about it's oxygen levels. There was a definite worry in the room about whether that would be the case though.

Around this time I decided I should get some rest, I still wasn't progressing any faster. I was progressing, just not fast... with my other births I came into the hospital a lot further along than what I had progressed to with this one at this point. I told Rob and Linda that they should go run a couple errands - to the fabric store and toy store up the hill a few miles away. My plan was to try to sleep to get some energy for when I would eventually be ready to deliver. So, they left, and almost right away I started progressing more. The first check after Rob and Linda left I was at 7.5cm. Then they checked again and I was at a 9! Oh no! Not only that but I informed the nurse that I was feeling a lot of pressure, and apparently that was the baby lowering into position ready to be pushed! I texted Rob to forget what I said about errands and get back, then texting him to make sure he got the texts. It was crazy (he later asked why I didn't just call - it's because I was talking to the nurse and midwife as I was texting as well as checking his location on my Find My Friends app!). He had just dropped off his mom at the fabric store and was parking at the nearby toy store, so he called his mom to tell her he was picking her up again. In the meantime the midwife is getting prepped, my legs are going in stirrups and they're telling me not to laugh or cough or the baby was likely to just come out! They, of course, were trying to hold me off until my husband and mother in law arrived! Honestly, I was more worried about Linda missing the birth than Rob - she had flown from Washington in order to be there! I texted Rob telling him to park in valet parking, he said he got yelled at for parking there and he had to yell back that his wife was in labor. They ran to the elevators then to my room, when they ran in, out of breath, the baby was crowning, I was then able to push, and the baby came in just a few pushes! She was born at 5:30pm - just five hours after receiving pitocin. Here is a link to a screen shot of the texts to Rob (posted on instagram)

It was so fun the whole pregnancy not to know the gender of the baby and so exciting during the whole process knowing we would soon find out! When I delivered the midwife put the baby on my chest backwards so I could see for myself the gender (she said she always does that instead of being the one to announce the gender if it's unknown). A girl! We were so excited! We were hoping for a girl (but, of course, would have been happy with a boy too!). Rob and I cried, I'm pretty sure I cried more with this one than with the others - it was the excitement of anticipating and learning the gender. Before putting her on my belly, though, the midwife had to quickly unwrap the cord from around her neck, she said it's usually loose and falls off buy she had to use some effort to unravel it since it was tightly wrapped twice around, which was the cause of the dipping oxygen levels! She also said it looked like the baby had just recently turned, she had been facing down which was the cause of my back labor prior to receiving the epidural.

I was so overjoyed with having a girl, seeing her dark hair and seeing how beautiful she was! I even said out loud, "she's so beautiful!" And she was so tiny! My favorite is holding my baby on my chest for the first time and feeling how small they feel as I run their back, and at 6 lbs 10 ounces, she was my smallest! That is just the best moment ever, holding her for the first time and finally meeting her, but knowing at the same time that she already knows me - my voice, my heartbeat.

One weird thing was how I began to shiver pretty much the second she was born. I couldn't stop for a while, over an hour. The nurse said it was just adrenaline.

We had pretty much decided on a name for each gender: Charlie if we had a boy, Frances if we had a girl. The name was not going to be Lucy even though the kids wanted it (Charlie and Lucy were their preferences because of the Peanuts cartoon). I've always liked the name Lucy a lot but there were many other names I wanted for my baby and I wasn't interested naming a baby after a character who wasn't very nice! But, a few hours after she was born Rob admitted he didn't think Frances really fit her. I was surprised and worried about how we were going to choose a new name - how could we choose one quickly if it took so long to come up with our first! To be honest, I agreed with Rob but if it were my choice I would have still gone with Frances because I love the name (and because my grandma Adeline, whose middle name is Frances, knew we were naming our baby after her... which isn't a reason to stick with a name you don't think is right but I did feel bad). None of the other names on our list fit her either and the name Lucy was on both our minds since our kids had been wanting it. Some friends, who had heard the kids request the name, began suggesting it on social media when we posted that our baby girl was here but unnamed. So - we went with it. We didn't decide until the day after she was born, I thought about it whenever I was awake at night and I knew she looked like a Lucy. It took me over a week to come to terms with the name and the fact I felt like my naming rights were stripped from me:) For the sake of remembering: other names I liked and were high on the list: Georgia for a girl and Arthur for a boy. Lucy's middle name is after my Grandma Annette, my Grandpa Bill's second wife and the Grandma who I felt a special closeness to as I was growing up. My consolation naming her Lucy was that it worked really well with Annette (if her name was Frances her middle name was probably going to be Elizabeth, another grandmother's middle name). In the middle of the night when I was wrestling with a name for her "Lucy Ann" is what I knew she looked like. Since then I've been pushing that as a nickname but I'm still the only one who calls her that:)

Next up was telling the kids. Even though we hadn't really called her Frances yet (I think when you don't know the gender of a baby, after they're born they don't need a name, their new identify of boy/girl is sufficient at first!) the kids knew that was her name. We had spent months convincing them that Lucy wasn't a name we wanted for our baby so we had to have a conversation to reverse that, "Lucy on Charlie Brown wasn't a nice girl but our Lucy will be." June seemed a little disappointed or maybe just confused in the end and for a couple of weeks after Lucy was born, if you were to ask June what her new sister's name was she'd say, "Lucy. Not Frances"

That's probably enough details to record. In the end, the birth was just as wonderful and easy as my others, which was my main hope this time around. I loved my role in this process as I carried and delivered Lucy. What a miracle and what a blessing that this baby girl is in our family and in our lives.

The video!

Lucy Annette // February 8, 2016 from New Land Media Works on Vimeo.

Lucy at 3 Months

I'm regretting putting off Lucy's 3 month update blog post until now because I can't remember what she was doing at 3 months now that she's over 4 months! I'll do my best

Lucy continues to be an amazing night-sleeper! Yay! Naps are great too, she isn't consistent with how long she sleeps, anywhere from 45 min to 2.5 hours, but she falls asleep easy enough with Rob or I rocking her. It's so much easier now that I weaned her from nursing before a nap - rocking her is much easier because she transitions easier from arms to bed and, of course, Rob is able to put her down as easily as I am. SPOILER ALERT: this all changes next month :(

The constant loves from big brother and sister are starting to bother her for the first time. Before this I was amazed how tolerant she was of how much they smothered her but now she gets annoyed and doesn't 100% love to be kissed, hugged and held by them. She still loves watching them and when they talk to her.

Her hands have found each other, and as pictured, are usually together and in her mouth. She loves to have her fingers and whole hand in her mouth.

She loves to stand, this isn't new for this month. It's her favorite position.

Lucy has discovered the power of crying. Previous to this she only cried if she was super hungry, like if I didn't get to feeding her the minute she woke in the morning, or if really tired. One night, though, I had a really rough time getting her to sleep, it took two hours for her to finally fall and stay asleep (I found out later she had a messy diaper and I think that's all it was - so sorry baby! Mom fail!.. she's never tolerated a messy diaper, and usually I think of that when I can't figure out why she's upset but this time I missed it.). She was so tired and sad that night, I'd never seen her so sad and for so long. It seems like since that night she'll cry easier, like it clicked for her that crying is a tool she can use on us. She's still super easy and her attempts at a manipulative cry are obvious, short-lived and even cute (for now...).

We love our Lucy Baby so so much. Watching how much the kids love her, especially my tender Henry - he practically bursts with adoration for her - has made me realize even more what a blessing a baby is to a family.