Friday, December 8, 2006

Welcome to the World!

Beckett Dylan surfed into the world at 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6. He weighed 7 lbs, 12 oz. (exactly the same size as his big brother) and was 20 inches long.

He's gorgeous, if I do say so myself, and amazing. He's a world of difference from his brother. He has slept a lot so far, although I haven't. I have a weird sort of insomnia where I can't relax when I should.

The labor and delivery were amazingly fast and trouble-free. I went in Wednesday morning for my weekly check and learned that I was leaking fluid and was already at 4 cm dilation. Next thing I know, it's "Go directly to the hospital, do not pass Go, do not collect $200."

I arrived at the hospital at 11:25, at 11:45 they had me hooked up to a Pitocin drip. At first the contractions were very mild, but with every incremental increase in the Pitocin, the contractions became much more intense and by 1:30 when Judith, my midwife, checked me, I was at 6 cm. She told me it would be about two hours until I was ready to deliver, one hour if were lucky.

Just then, the contractions really started to go into overdrive. I was beginning to freak out, but Judith and Scott and our nurse, Missy, just kept telling me how wonderful I was doing. Scott was sitting on the bed behind me, rubbing my shoulders and back while Judith massaged my legs. I kind of started to lose it and could tell I was entering transition when I suddenly felt like I might need to push. I told Judith and she checked me and I was 9 cm. Thirty minutes had passed since she last checked me and I was at 6 cm. They quickly broke the bed down and got me on my back and the fun began.

Roughly four pushes and Beckett came flying into the world. He immediately began grabbing everything he could get his hands on. It took forever for me to deliver the placenta and my midwife had just paged the OB when it decided to come out. So, it seemed like I couldn't hold my darling for an eternity, but it was very cool because they did all the baby exam stuff right in the room instead of taking him to the nursery.

He barely cried and still has only cried two or three times, once when he was hungry and once with a tummy ache.

I love him. Naturally, I do. But, I am just so happy about the way he came into the world and our first few days together. He's nursing like a champ and even though my milk isn't in fully, he's trying hard to help me get it in. It's so different than my first few with Brendan. I just feel far happier and more confident in my abilities.

Really, all I can say is that I'm relieved that he's finally here and happy he's such a wonderful baby two days into the journey.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Beautiful Wreck

Saturday was a great day! Scott, Brendan, and I attended two parties together, a birthday party in the morning and then the MOMS Club Christmas party around dinner time. After that, we brought Brendan home and left him with his favorite babysitter and went to a wonderful grown-up Christmas party at the Tula Galleries. The party was hosted by our friends Mark and Ginny and their friend Melanie and was a benefit for Toys for Tots.

The party was great. It was so nice to put on a pretty dress and heels and feel like a woman, instead of someone's mom. I was shocked and flattered by the number of compliments I received from total strangers. Several people told me I was beautiful and glowing. It was really, really nice. And totally unexpected.

Of course, it would be wonderful if that feeling could last. By yesterday I was back into my spiral of anxiety. I have worried about everything from money (I'm being blown off by my editor at ADL again) to how to care for a newborn to how having a newborn is going to affect my sanity and marriage to Brendan's reaction. It's non-stop. The only time I let go of my negative thinking was while Scott and I watched Prime Suspect 7 and The Wire. Within 15 minutes of starting The Wire, I fell asleep, but woke for the second half of it. But when I got in bed, my mind wouldn't stop. Finally, Scott suggested self-hypnosis and walked me through a relaxation exercise. In minutes I was fast asleep. I used the same technique again when I awoke with ligament pain at 4:00 a.m.

At the moment, I realize there's not a lot I can do about any of this. I have to take everything a day at a time. Maybe even a moment at a time. I'm hoping that all the tears I've shed the last few days can be attributed to a hormonal shift as my body gets ready to deliver this baby. I never felt like this while carrying Brendan but fell apart following his delivery, so hopefully, I'll be happier and more stable following this birth.

If nothing else, I will have to hold it together in order to help Brendan with his transition. Last night he overheard his dad talking to MeMe about the logistics of when she should get here and where she should go, etc. He started freaking out and saying that he didn't want her to come, he wanted to stay with his dad if I wasn't here. He asked me, "Mommy, who is going to protect me?"

It just killed me. All I could do was hold him and cry silently. After holding him and thinking he was okay, I stood up to go cook supper and he started wailing and sobbing, clinging at me. Again, I just held him and walked around with him. It took around 20 minutes for him to settle down. I just feel awful for doing this to him.

I know he'll get over it and in the end he'll be so blessed to have a brother. But as a mother, it breaks my heart to see him so scared and upset. And I know exactly how he feels.

Scott gave me some wonderful advice. He reminded me of how his first few days at his new job were really difficult for him. He reminded me that he couldn't eat and had to throw up because he was so upset that he wouldn't have as much time to spend with Brendan. He thinks that I'm going through the same thing and reminded me that although he was right, it has worked out. He makes the most of the time he does have with Brendan and Brendan seems happier and closer to his dad than ever.

So, I guess our weekend -- like the rest of life -- was filled with joy and sadness. Ultimately, it's all good. Simply life, rich and full.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

My Angel

I was told at my midwife appointment last Wednesday that if I haven't gone into labor on my own by the following Wednesday they will strip my membranes. Sounds like fun stuff. Given that warning, we've been trying to kick start labor ourselves the last few days. I've eaten more than my share of Thai curry, Mexican, and egglpant. We've walked. I've drunk raspberry leaf tea. And still nothing so far. Yet, we know that it will be relatively soon and I think Brendan knows, too, though we haven't been real specific with him.

It seems like ever since that appointment, Brendan has been on a crusade to be as cute as possible. Sadly, I can't even remember half the funny, wise, and profound things that have slipped off his tongue. But there have been several things.

Yesterday, as we were driving home from his friend Lyle's birthday party, Brendan says from the backseat, "It's wonderful to relax in the sun with a lollipop."

This morning in the kitchen he asked me if Mao, our orange tabby cat was a girl. Of course, he knows that Mao is a boy cat, but said he wished Mao were a girl because as he put it, "Mommy, you need a girl you can talk to and we're all boys." It was all I could do not to cry. I've never said anything to him about that, but it was so sensitive and perceptive of him. I have been feeling a very strong need for someone I can talk to about something specific, and obviously a baby daughter would not be what I need at all, but strange that he chose that turn of phrase.

I'm sure he's feeling some anxiety on part of me and Scott and knows something is going to happen soon. He has told us he loves us repeatedly (and happily), but has also asked us if we love him, which gives me pause. Still, he seems pretty happy and has been very well-behaved lately, aside from refusing to apologize to his dad for throwing something at him when he was angry one night. That aside, he has been behaving very well and has just been so easy the last week or so.

It has been enough to make me think it might not be so hard. I imagine I'm kidding myself. I remember how hard it was with just a single newborn. Mostly because I felt so isolated and jealous of my husband for getting to go out into the real world. I remember how much I hated my body for not doing what I wanted it to do...for not producing the milk needed to sustain my baby...for not shedding the weight I put on while pregnant. I imagine that feeling of jealousy will be exacerbated this time and my depression deeper, though I hope not. I'm afraid of not having any time to exercise or the wherewithal to prepare healthy foods for myself and family. I know what grand ambitions I had last time and they all fell through as I fell into a spiral of hopelessness. This time I have no such grand plans. I just want to survive and thrive.

I hope I can just focus on my new baby boy and his darling big brother and get through.