parenthood

The Seacoast Science Center

Yesterday was one of those days where I just had to get out of the house.  I was feeling a bit stir crazy.  The cabin fever has been setting in big time.  So I texted my sister-in-law, Moonshine, to see if she wanted to hang out with the kids somewhere, anywhere, and suggested the museum.  It turns out that the public library in her city has discount passes for pretty much every local museum so she swung by and scored us a 50% off a trip to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH which is a non-profit marine science education organization.  They have so many fun activities and displays to teach the community about the ocean and how to maintain its health.  I am pretty sure I enjoyed it as much as the kids did and am already planning on going back again soon… though perhaps when Catriona is a little bit older and walking.

A Day At The Fair

Today we got up early to go to the Annual Rochester Fair in Rochester, NH after a full night of sleep (thank you Oni!).  It took us quite a while to get out the door this morning as Liam was feeling emotional in the way that only a two year old can causing us to take twice as long as normal to get out the door.

An example of our morning conversation would be this:

Mom: “Lets put on your sneaker so we can go get in the car”

Liam: “I don’t want sneakers, I want boots!”

Mom: “Ok, wear you boots then, that is a good choice”

Liam: “I WANT BOOOOOTTTSSSS!” (throws himself onto the floor for a two minute fit)

Mom: ….

 

Finally we made it out the door and drove off to pick up Aunty Moonshine and Alvine to head on over to the fair.   It was a beautiful day, slightly overcast with perfect fall temperatures.  If you head into the fair before all the rides are open it is free to get in so we enjoyed our day for a cost of only $5 to park.  The kids, Aunty Moonshine, and I all had a blast and Liam even scored a new hat for the winter!

It is (of course) next to impossible to get both two year olds to stand next to each other and smile.

Now I am enjoying nap time to the fullest extent 🙂

3 Months of Catriona

3 Months into our newest adventure in parenting finds us falling more and more in love with our little girl every day.  I can’t imagine a life without her.

At 3 months Catriona has mastered:

  • Rolling from back to belly as well as from belly to back
  • Sitting up with support
  • Grasping toys and bringing them too her mouth
  • Cooing

She loves:

  • Mom and Dad
  • Staring at her puppy brothers
  • Her little toy bunny
  • Endless walks in the baby carrier (as long as she is facing out)

She hates:

  • When mom works more than 3 days in a row
  • Being moved after she falls asleep

She is stating to:

  • Notice her brother and sis-co, and to enjoy interacting with them
  • Play for longer periods
  • Enjoy people other than Mom and Dad
  • Laugh
  • Settle into a nap schedule

That last one is my favorite thing of all 🙂

Adventures in Diaper Cream (take 2)

In the interest of saving my sanity (and personal space) I have been working on having the two toddlers nap in the same room for the last few weeks.  It had been going pretty well.  They usually play for a half an hour or so, read each other books, and when I  creepily tell them (through the monitor I am spying on them with) to turn off the lights and go to bed they listen.  I do wonder what they think is happening when all the sudden my voice comes out of nowhere and I apparently can see everything they are doing.

Today something different happened.  I put the kids down and they both yelled they needed to “go potty” 5 minutes later.  Since we are encouraging potty training I went upstairs and brought them to the potty.  One adult size poop (thankfully in the toilet!) from one child and pee from the other one and then they were back to bed… And immediately into the toys when I shut the door.  I went downstairs with my monitor for some toddler TV, but then Catriona woke up and needed my attention.  During that brief 5 minute period when I was taking care of Catriona the terrible twosome opened up a dresser drawer and found a forgotten tube of diaper cream from when they were babies.  I got Catriona settled and then tuned back into toddler watching.  Liam was sitting on the bed talking to The Bean.  He appeared to be rubbing his belly which I though was a little odd, but the video was too grainy to see exactly what he was doing so I zoomed in.  That’s when I saw it… There was a tube in his hand.  I ran up the stairs with agility I did not know I still had and found Liam covered from head to toe in diaper cream.  The nice thick white stuff with lots of zinc in it that barely comes off a babies bottom when you wash it. It was in his hair, on his arms, nicely coating his stomach and (Thank God) not anywhere near his mouth or eyes.  The Bean had one little dollop on her dress, but otherwise was clean.  

I grabbed Liam and the tube and rushed downstairs.  My husband, who was lounging on the couch having recently returned home from the store, took one look at him and helped me get him stripped and in the tub.  He washed the diaper cream off of Liams body with soap and a wash cloth while I stripped The Bean and took a baby wipe to clean off the minuscule (in comparison) spot on her arm.  Liam started screaming.  There is nothing the child hates in the world more than getting his hair washed and daddy was trying to really scrub out the diaper cream.  We tried every shampoo, conditioner, and Internet remedy I could quickly find that we had supplies for in the house (which mostly centered around vinegar and lemon juice as we did not have any Dawn soap).  Nothing worked.  We just ended up making dread locks with his hair from all the scrubbing.  So my husband hopped into his sandals and drove down to the nearest store to pick up a razor to cut his hair with.  Once he returned we gave Liam his first buzz cut.  He loves it.  I want to cry for the loss of his hair.  He now has less hair than what he was born with.    

  They never did get their nap, but I got a whole extra load of laundry to do (thanks kids)!

Cheers!

  
On the plus side we won’t have to scrub his hair for a while… I am sure Liam will love that. 

And Then There Were Two… Catriona’s Birth Story!

Well, this is a long time coming as our little girl has now passed the 7 week mark, but here it goes!

After teasing us for a few weeks with hard a frequent contractions that would last hours and then fade away our little girl decided to (finally) join us mid May, just before her due date.  Catriona’s labor and delivery happened so quickly that it truly took both Conan and I by surprise.  On the day of her birth Conan was leaving for work at a ridiculously early hour as he had a 5 hour commute ahead of him.  Before he left the house at 5am he woke me up to see if I was feeling up to him being so far away.  I had actually slept the night before and had not been feeling any contractions at all and a decrease in fetal movement for the last 24 hours.  I told him that I was fine and he should go.  He informed me that if I called after 9am he would be on the ferry on Lake Champlain and unable to turn around.  I rolled over and promptly fell back asleep.

At 6:30 I woke up feeling a little crampy, looked at the clock, tried to go back to sleep, and then being unsuccessful at that endeavor decided to get up for the day so I could enjoy a shower before Liam woke up.  By the time I was showered and dressed I noticed that the cramping had turned into contractions, but that they didn’t have a rhythm and weren’t as strong as they had been for the previous few weeks.  The contractions were was all in my back, so I decided to take what was left of my free time before Liam woke up to do some pelvic tilt exercises to encourage Catriona to get off my spine.  By the time 7:30 arrived, and Liam woke up, I was in much less pain (the pelvic tilt exercises actually worked!) but the contractions were settling into a rhythm .

At this point I figured it was just going to be another false alarm.  I did stop and time them, they were every 5-6 minutes.  At that point there was no need to call the doctor or my husband, but I did take the time to text my sister-in-law to see if she could come over and give me a hand before I went to get Liam from his room.  After a few weeks of false alarms I knew that the continuous contractions could make me very cranky, especially if Liam was having a whiny/cranky two-year=old type of day.

So I waddled upstairs, picked up Liam for my good morning hug, and immediately had to put him down as I was hit by a very hard contraction.  Liam asked me what was wrong, and I told him Catriona was making my belly hurt again.  He then proceeded to kiss my stomach to make it feel better (and at that point I knew it was going to be a good day with him).  We made it downstairs slowly (he wanted to walk by himself) and without incident, but the contractions were speeding up and getting even stronger at an alarming rate.  I was starting to have to stop and breathe through them.  After getting Liam changed and set up in his chair for breakfast I texted my sister-in-law again and asked if she could come over early as I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctors office and get checked just in case.  I then called my husband at 8:15 am and told him he might want to turn around, but that it  could be another false alarm.  I called the office and was scheduled for a 9:30 appointment.  Conan decided to turn around just in case.  I called up my mom to let her know I was going to drive myself to my doctors to get checked for 9:30 and she (thankfully) insisted that she come and pick me up.   Everyone was ready to spring into action though I was not yet convinced that it wasn’t a false alarm again so I continued to putter around the house doing some last minute cleaning and helping Liam get cleaned up and pick out some clothes for the day while stopping every 4 minutes or so to breathe through a contraction.  When my sister in-law arrived she decided she needed to take some last minute early labor pictures of me.  They prove that while I am breathing through contractions I didn’t care if I had a double chin in pictures or not (lol).  I never did quite get around to getting Liam dressed.

At 9:15 my mother arrived and we headed down to my doctor’s office.  They got me into a room pretty quickly and the nurse practitioner checked to see how dilated I was, looked up at me and said “you are a seven, you aren’t going to have time for an epidural”.  I am pretty sure I stared at her in disbelief and then repeated “seven?”  I could clearly remember being seen centimeters dilated with Liam and the pain was MUCH worse than what I was currently dealing with.

Mom and I were went over to the hospital, I popped my head into my friend’s office (who was also my OB for both of my children) on the way out to tell her I was 7 cm, and she said she would pop over to the hospital to deliver me shortly and then we headed out.  The walking continued to be slow with all the stopping I had to do, but we made into the hospital (which is basically across the street), updated Conan, and got to a room by 10:15.  By the time they got my base vitals, IV inserted, and started administering the first round of antibiotics (my GBS was positive on top of everything else with this pregnancy!)   I was starting to feel the urge to push… it was 11 am and neither my doctor (Lauren) nor Conan was there yet.  My doctor walked into the room 10 minutes later followed closely behind by my husband (who must have broken some serious speed records or hit the best batch of no traffic possible).  The first round of antibiotics completed, and Lauren looked at me and said , “you are trying to not push right now aren’t you”.  after I affirmed that she did a quick check, said I was just about 10 cm and asked if I wanted to have my water broken (she did warn me that delivery would be quick because Catriona was more than ready to come out at that point)s, which I quickly agreed to.  Delivery was less than 15 minutes at that point and 3 pushes later we had our beautiful baby girl.

While she was coming out we did have to pause between pushes as her cord was wrapped around her neck twice.  After delivery she also needed a couple of puffs of oxygen as she was in shock from her quick change of scenery and did not start breathing on her own immediately.  There are no words to describe how stressful and elongated those moments after birth were when we didn’t hear a cry right away and then when she did start crying how weak it was.  Thankfully she bounced back quickly and only needed a couple of puffs of oxygen before she was able to maintain a good level without assistance and we were finally able to hold our little girl in our arms!

There are no words to describe how happy Conan and I are that despite the challenges with this pregnancy we are blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  Watching her big brother fall in love with her has been an amazing experience.  She has completed our family perfectly.

36 Weeks and Counting!

We have reached 36 weeks in this pregnancy and are slowly trudging our way towards 37!  Catriona has spent the last few weeks stubbornly not growing (she ended up dropping 4 weeks of growth total prior to this weeks doctors appointment).  So this week we did an ultrasound to check on her growth and the amniotic fluid levels.  Thankfully everything came out well.  She is estimated to be around 6 pounds 11 ounces at this point (which is amazing considering how small my bump is compared to when I was pregnant with Liam!) and while my amniotic fluid levels are on the lower end of normal they should be fine for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Her head is down, the contractions are becoming more frequent, and we are playing a waiting game to meet her.

I continue to have (what has become) my normal migraines, tachycardia, and passing out.  For the last week my symptoms have been somewhat relieved, I even had 3 good days in a row where I was able to be up and about without any chest or head pain, but for an added treat these last few days I have been enjoying some third trimester sickness (which is amazingly just like the first trimester was).   I have a cardiology consult tomorrow and am hopeful to find some answers to what can be done for this chronic chest pressure, shoulder pain, and episodes of tachycardia.  That said, I am very aware that any medication that could be given to relieve those symptoms for me has to wait until after Catriona’s arrival, so I am learning to live with it and take it easy when things really start to act up.

On Monday my sister-in-law came over to the house to take some maternity picture for us since we are currently unable to travel to the photographer that we used to do the maternity shoot we did when pregnant with Liam (Linden Photography in Central NH).  I spent some time this morning playing around on Photoshop and touching up the lighting on the pictures.  I am pretty happy with the results, and so thankful to Aunty Moonshine for taking them for us.  Though this has been a difficult pregnancy we are planning on it being my last pregnancy and I want to be able to look back on this time and remember how it has helped us grow as a family later on.  I wish I had enough Photoshop talent to reduce the (well-earned) shadows and bags under my eyes… you would think someone who spends as much time in bed as I have been lately wouldn’t have any but I can’t seem to sleep for more than two hours at a time thanks to our little girls efforts to escape the womb.

We continue to be grateful for everyone’s prayers and well wishes.  The support of our family and friends  has truly have been an amazing help in us pulling through this pregnancy!

Brave Boy

Poor Liam.  His parents are certainly not winning any Parent of The Year awards this year.

My little guy has had a cold for about a week and a half with a funny little congested cough like it was all upper airway.  His lungs have been clear, but he has been spiking fevers off and on.  He has also been a little cranky off and on, but no other symptoms.    Sunday morning we woke up to find ear wax dripping down the side of his face.  His ear drum had popped due to pressure.  So we brought him in to see the doctor first thing Monday morning and they found a double ear infection.  That’s right, a double ear infection that mom didn’t even come close to catching.  Apparently our boy doesn’t give the usual signs of an ear infection (like tugging on his ears or showing any signs of pain in the area). No changes in appetite or anything.  He is on antibiotics now.  It is the first medicine beyond Tylenol he has ever had so we are monitoring closely for side effects (which we have thankfully seen none of yet).  The bright spot in all of this is that he likes the taste of the medicine so it isn’t a fight to get it into him!

I was so impressed with how cooperative and well-behaved he was at the doctor’s office yesterday.  I strongly suspect it is because one of his favorite dress up games to play is “playing doctor” with his Melissa and Doug Doctor Role Play Costume Set.  He loves listening to “heart beeps”, checking ears, giving shots, and checking reflexes.  Over the last few months of playing with this set he has also learned to stay still when his ears, eyes, and chest are getting checked.  We were able to put those lessons into practice the other day at the doctor’s office.  Sometimes Liam acts like such a big boy it makes me incredibly proud and sad at the same time (and now I have Bittersweet Symphony running through my head).  In less than a month he will be two (and a big brother as well).  Time just seems to be going by so fast.  My baby boy doesn’t really act like a baby anymore.  Although I don’t wish to slow down his growing up I do miss the first years as we have stepped fully into the adventures of the toddler years (which thankfully still include the occasional snuggle for mom) and prepping to be an awesome big brother.

 

 

 

 

27 weeks and counting!

We have hit the 27 week mark and celebrated the last week of the second trimester with a big appointment at the OB office, complete with a follow-up ultrasound.  I have spent the last week in frequent contact with my OB office and on frequent bed rest due to a headache that wouldn’t go away, blurred vision, and high blood pressures.  All of these are unfortunately signs of preeclampsia.  Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can affect 5-8% of pregnancies, but that typically starts later in the third trimester (Preeclampsia Foundation).  For me to be having signs of this condition this early into the pregnancy was scary to say the least.  Thankfully my blood pressure has been staying down with bed rest.  Unfortunately Tylenol has not been effective for the headaches or blurred vision for me and I stopped taking it after a few days due to the ineffectiveness and some right upper quadrant abdominal pain (which can indicate liver problems).    So I ventured into this appointment with my Mom at my side (my husband was unable to take the day off of work) with a bit of trepidation.

First up was the ultrasound.  Catriona is a bit of a mover and a shaker so it created a challenge for picture-taking, but everything look great.  The fluid levels were good, the placenta is healthy, her head is down and she is ready to roll and the best news of all is that the membranes fused!  Although there are still some (slight) risks for early delivery that go along with a late fusion we are now talking a week or two early as opposed to months early which technically means we have an excellent chance for a full term (after 37 weeks) healthy and happy baby.  Now lets just hope that she doesn’t come on Liam’s birthday!  Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers for the last few months that we would get our miracle, they certainly helped to get us through this stressful time.  We feel so lucky to have this great news to share and to see how healthy our little girl is now that my body has decided to behave properly!

Next up was the visit with the nurse midwife and the OB.  It was a tag team visit due to the high blood pressures today, that ended up with a trip to the hospital.  While we have an excellent health care system up here in the Northeast, and some of the best prenatal care in the country, it is still very concerning to have more than a week of high blood pressures and headaches, so it was off to the hospital for me to test for preeclampsia ( a set of tests that includes a urine collection, liver function panel, creatinine, and CBC), and calling out of work for at least the next week until my next OB visit.  The midwife and OB were hopeful that the headaches, blurred vision, and high blood pressures (because they were not critically high and were only pre-hypertensive) could be due to a migraine headache caused by increased estrogen levels rather than preeclampsia because it was so early in the pregnancy.  After a couple of hours in the hospital, and a couple of blood draws we had our second round of good news for the day, no preeclampsia!  I am now on migraine medication and monitoring side effects, but my blood pressure is almost back to normal and right now I am pain free for the first time in 8 days (though a bit foggy and tired from the medication).

 

 

For me the best part of the day was being able to make it home in time to tuck my little guy into bed.  He loved seeing the new pictures of his sister and was so happy to get some extra Momma snuggles tonight!

Conan and I are thrilled with the news, and are very hopeful that after the next week life will get back to as close to normal as we can!  Thank you again to everyone for the thoughts and prayers!  Lets hope the remainder of the pregnancy is now stress free!

 

*****Preeclampsia is a pretty scary and potentially life threatening condition that affects 5-8% of pregnancies in the United States and accounts for approximately 18% of maternal deaths in this country.  To educate yourself more on this condition please visit preeclampsia.org which provides excellent resources in learning the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.  Also keep in mind that while giving birth does solve the problems caused by preeclampsia for your infant it does not always solve the problems caused by it for mothers.  Be aware and educate yourself on the potential post birth problems that can occur for mothers who experience this condition.*****

Preeclampsia Foundation. (n.d.). Preeclampsia Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from Preeclampsia Fact Sheet : http://www.preeclampsia.org/pdf/Preeclampsia%20Fact%20sheet%20v2.pdf

 

24 Weeks and Counting, an update

Well, it has been a rough couple of weeks for me.  As it turns out, I am REALLY bad about taking it easy without constantly giving myself reminders.  My husband has become a professional at telling me not to do things I am not supposed to do, and reminding me to stop and take breaks.  I have become crabby, which is not a usual thing for me and I don’t like it.  The kids, well, they have really taken to the encouraged independence.  Liam and The Bean now put themselves to bed at nap and bedtime.  I am trying to not miss the snuggles I use to steal when carrying them upstairs too much.

For Catriona things are going well, or at least as good as we can hope for!  We had a very positive checkup at 23 weeks where she measured exactly on target (which is amazing for a little girl who is most likely going to be tiny!) and her heart rate was a lovely 145.  Her kick counts have been perfect.  The only concerning thing that has come up recently have been frequent Braxton Hicks contractions.  Thankfully they are not following any pattern at this point and have only been over the 6 an hour allowed at this stage of pregnancy a handful of times.  At the 23 week appointment they found an infection so I am hopeful that after a week of antibiotics things will calm down in the contraction department.  Our next ultrasound is at 27 weeks and I am still hoping for a miracle!  At this point, however, I am simply thankful to have made it this far.

At 23-24 weeks babies begin making a substance called surfactant.  This is used by the body to help stabilize the alveoli in the lungs (The alveoli help oxygen get from the air to the bloodstream, but in order to do this they need to be nice and plump like a grape, surfactants help keep them from collapsing when you exhale).  With the production of surfactant comes the chance for survival with pre-term births, so if something were to happen tonight Catriona would have a fighting chance, especially with the awesome hospitals in this area.  24 weeks was a big milestone for us.  I celebrated with a braided chicken pot pie bread with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for dessert 🙂

On a personal note, because I am carrying so low this time (thanks to the less than stable environment my body created for Catriona) life is becoming uncomfortable.  There are definitely times where it already feels like the last (everlasting) month of pregnancy.  clothing is also becoming uncomfortable.  Maternity pants with the cloth panel fall off of me because my belly isn’t quite large enough for them, but the ones with the low band are too tight for me to wear and do essential things like breathe, or not walk like a penguin.  My go to pants of choice for this pregnancy are becoming yoga pants.  I could sing a song for how much I love them lately.  I see a lot of dresses coming up in my future as well.  The plus side? My maternity scrubs are the most comfortable articles of clothing ever (even if one pocket does oddly fall right on the center of my expanding stomach).

15 months later…

I can’t believe how the time has flown, Liam is 15 months already! It has been so exciting to watch him play, grow, and learn these last few months. Everything happens so fast at this point, it’s like a neural explosion. Over the last 3 months Liam has:

  • Gone from stumbling to run-stumbling
  • Learned to say over 25 words, although he mostly refers to animals by the sounds they make, except our youngest dog, Bruise, who he calls Rooze.
  • Learned how to walk backwards and spin in a circle
  • Begun helping Conan and I with simple tasks (carrying light things mostly)

His favorite things right now are:

  • Reading… By himself, to the bear, to Conan and I… This little boy loves to be the one reading the story.
  • His big white bear, “Baby”… When Liam was born Conan’s company sent us a present, a giant white polar bear which I never named because I figured it would be too big to drag around. Liam has proven me wrong and he has named it “Baby”. The other stuffed animals are babies too, but there is only one Baby and he goes everywhere with Liam.
  • Yogurt, cereal bars, and berries
  • Going to the park
  • The tub, this little guy loves his baths (and his bath toys)

He has had a lot of adventures over the last three months, including:

  • His first sleepovers with Grammy and Grampy F.
  • His second annual Flynnstock with Conan
  • His first trip to the beach!

While I have tried (desperately sometimes) to be there for every single event it just hasn’t been possible and sometimes Conan and Liam are a two man team while I am at home with the puppy brothers doing homework or at work.  We do our best with the time we have and try to make every moment count.

Today the three of us went out to lunch to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and then to the park for some quality time (and to exhaust Liam before his nap).  It was suppose to rain all day today so it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get out and about.  My park plan however backfired as it was not just Liam that needed the nap when we got home 😉

And now a parting message from Liam himself and a few more of my favorite pictures from the last few months….

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I can’t wait to see what the next three months brings!