Saturday, March 11, 2017

four months

dear cece,

it's so much fun watching you grow -- mentally, physically, and socially! your personality continues to be the epitome of chill. you nurse every 3 to 3 1/2 hours during the day, then one last time around 11 pm before I go to bed, and sleep through until 7-7:30 a.m. (although as the days get longer and mornings get brighter, you start to stir earlier!). you love your sleep, although you're happy to stay awake for 90 minutes, sometimes up to two hours before you nap.

in the past few weeks, you have started playing with toys, especially your Sophie giraffe, your green rattle, and your soft books. you also love looking at the mini board book attached to your carseat handle. you sit on my lap and look intently at the book when I read aloud. and you found your feet!

you're making all kinds of new noises, too: growling, blowing raspberries, and laughing! all the noise we make in our house doesn't seem to bother you. even when Kaiser barks, you just blink, unperturbed.

this week, you mastered rolling over from your tummy to your back. you're actually enjoying tummy time more now, and will play with your crinkly soft books for up to 10 minutes before rolling, or sometimes just squawking for help. you haven't quite managed to roll from your back to your tummy yet, but you're close -- you'll flip your whole body over except for one shoulder. once you figure that out, we'll have to stop swaddling you, and i'm a little nervous that that transition will ruin your phenomenal sleep. oh well!

you absolutely adore Greta. you crane your neck to watch her as she plays, and when she talks to you or sings to you, your face just lights up. sometimes I still have to remind her to be gentle with you, but you don't seem to mind when she hugs you a little too tight. she calls you "Cece-ceece" and "little darling". 

as always, i'm curious to see how much you weigh at your four month well visit (three days from now). you are definitely getting some chub! you're wearing 3-6 month clothing now, and even some 6 month sleepers in brands that run small. and you're drooling up a storm!

you love when we sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and do the motions, especially the dramatic arm movement for "wash the spider OUT"; and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"; and your eponymous song "Cecilia", although I use Grammie's substitute lyrics ("you're melting my heart" instead of "breaking my heart"). and before every nap, I sing "All the Pretty Little Horses" while rocking you. as soon as I sing the first phrase, you smile up at me and then your eyelids start to get heavy.

we love you so much, cecilia marie!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

three months

dearest cecilia,

you are, quite simply, the happiest baby i've ever met. when i wake you up in the morning, you open your blue eyes and immediately smile up at me. your whole body wriggles with delight when strangers say hi to you. and you absolutely melt when Greta talks to you. although when you're displeased with something, you make that very clear (you screamed at your poor daycare teacher once when she didn't warm up your bottle quite enough, and sometimes when i put you down for a quick diaper change before you eat, your whole body goes rigid and you yell until your face goes red). 

you're starting to hold on to toys for longer periods of time now, and when you shake your rattle, you kick your legs in triumph. you're still not a huge fan of tummy time, but you tolerate it a little more when i set up your mirror so you can see yourself. and you've started laughing, the cutest, happiest little laugh. 

at your two-month well check, we discovered your growth rate had dropped to the 12th percentile for weight (from the 40th percentile at one month). you also started to fight nursing, refused to stay latched and seemed to be uncomfortable while eating. so i scheduled a consultation for us at the Breastfeeding Center in Greenfield. they got us in the very next day, and we spent an hour at the center with a lactation consultant and then a physician. it turns out that i wasn't keeping your body properly aligned using the football hold, so your little GI tract was twisting and making you feel like you had gas pains. poor baby! in literally thirty seconds, the lactation consultant identified the problem and showed me how to latch you properly using the cross-cradle hold, and you love it. she also recommended that i nurse from both sides each feeding. i had previously just fed on one side because you seemed content, but ninety percent of the time now when i offer the second side, you chow down. so we'll see how your weight looks at your appointment this week! {update: you weighed 11 lbs 5 ounces, up to the 25th percentile!} i'm so grateful to have such wonderful resources close by! 

you do crunches just like your sister did at this age -- we call it "doing your Pilates". and you love to chew on your hands, and grab at my hair. you're talking up a storm, complete with dramatic facial expressions. 

we love you so much, peanut! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

two months

dearest cecilia marie,

the last month has absolutely flown by! you celebrated your first Christmas and met your great-grandparents. on New Year's Eve, you stayed with your first babysitter, Nana, while Mommy and Daddy went to a party for a few hours. and you were baptized on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (for whom you were named). amidst all the hustle and bustle of the past month, you've slowly but surely transformed from a sleepy newborn into a smiling, easygoing baby. 

when we talk to you, you smile with your whole body, crinkling up your eyes and wriggling with delight. your sister gets the biggest smiles out of you! and you're starting to laugh, which is just about the sweetest sound ever. you squeal and kick when i set up the musical mobile for you in your co-sleeper. you'll hold onto a toy for a few seconds if i put it in your hand, and you still love the zebra and butterfly toys on your bouncer. 

this week, you started daycare along with Greta, three days per week. you've adjusted very well, and although i miss you so much while i'm working, i am so grateful that you're in good hands -- most of your teachers have worked in the nursery for years, and they took equally good care of your sister. 

you've outgrown the 0-3 month clothes and easily fit into 3 month outfits. my growing girl! at your two-month checkup, we found out that you hadn't grown quite as much as i thought, though -- you now weigh exactly 10 pounds, which dropped you down to the 12th percentile for weight. you are 23 inches long (64th percentile). so it looks like you'll be long and lean, like your sister! we will take you back for a weight check in 1 month to make sure you're following your new growth curve. 

and now for the most exciting update (from my perspective): you started sleeping through the night two weeks ago! you typically fall asleep while nursing around 10:30 or 11 pm, and sleep til 7 or 8 am. there's no other word for it but GLORIOUS! 

at the end of the photo shoot ... this is the "over it" look.

and on that note, it's time for bed for us both. we love you so much, peanut! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

one month

dear cecilia,

how can it already have been a month since you were born? the days have absolutely flown by. you are possibly the easiest baby ever -- it's like you read the textbook. you nurse like a champ, every 3 hours during the day, and by this point you sleep for 5-7 hours at night before nursing and then sleeping again for another 2 hours. and you're efficient -- it only takes you about ten to fifteen minutes to eat. you make it easy on me, kiddo!

you typically take your late afternoon nap in the bouncer on the kitchen counter while we eat dinner, but otherwise you sleep in your swaddle blanket in the cosleeper in our room. you love your pacifier and sometimes suck your fingers too. you rarely fuss -- typically just when you're hungry, or need your diaper changed, or when you're tired, and you're easily soothed. sometimes it does take you a while to fall asleep on your own, but once you're asleep you'll typically sleep for at least 1 1/2 hours.

you make the sweetest little humming noises when you eat, and occasionally you coo and trill at the stuffed animals on your bouncer. we love to hear your little voice! you especially like to look at the towel rack in the bathroom when you're getting your diaper changed ... silly girl!

you turn to look at us when we talk to you, and you're starting to track objects with your eyes. you often hold your head up like a little meerkat if i'm holding you on my shoulder, and you lift up your head and chest in a cobra pose when we have tummy time (which is admittedly not very often).

at your one month well visit today, you weighed 8 lbs 15 oz (34th percentile) and were 21.5 inches long (62nd percentile). it's hard to believe you've grown two whole inches, and over a pound and a half, since you were born! no wonder you don't fit your newborn clothes anymore. this past week i pulled out the 0-3 month and 3 month outfits and now you can stretch out to your heart's content.

we love you so much, and we're so happy to have you as part of our family. your big sister especially loves to help us take care of you. if you start to fuss, she runs over to give you a binky or a kiss, and you tell her, "it's okay, baby, big sister is here." i'm so excited for your friendship to grow!

someone was done with the photo shoot!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

hello, little peanut!

and... she's here!! our baby girl made a very dramatic entrance on Friday, November 11. and i'm still in disbelief over how it all happened!

our little peanut was due on Tuesday, November 8. Mom arrived the night before, with plans to stay for two weeks. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went without much fanfare. i was still working my usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. on Thursday, i had an appointment at the midwife center, where i learned that my cervix was still closed. i was hoping to have dilated at least a little bit, so at that point i figured we would just be waiting it out until my scheduled induction the following Tuesday. Friday dawned clear and cold, and i headed off to work at Mercy while Mom watched Greta at home. the whole day on Friday i had just a few painless Braxton Hicks contractions. i finished up with work around 4:45 pm and headed to the chiropractor for another adjustment. he did some work on my pelvic muscles and ligaments, and gently adjusted my low back and neck (which felt amazing!). then i headed home and threw together an easy supper of frozen pizzas and green salad. Nick was attending a drama production at the university where he teaches (35 minutes away), and was planning to be home around 10 pm or a little later. he had called earlier that afternoon to let me know his phone charger wasn't working and his cell phone was dead, so i could reach him on his office number if need be, but i told him nothing was going on.

we ate a leisurely dinner, and afterwards i read some books to Greta. around 8:30 pm i began having contractions while reading to her. they were about 4-5 minutes apart, and stronger than Braxton Hicks, but still not painful, so i didn't mention anything to Mom yet. i then excused myself to use the bathroom, and started to have a little cramping. i thought perhaps something might happen this weekend after all! but i had a full two days of prodromal labor with Greta that felt exactly like this, so i figured we might possibly have a baby by the next day, but certainly no sooner than that.

while i was in the bathroom, Nick called from someone else's phone during intermission at the drama production. it was 8:45 pm and he just wanted to check in. Mom answered and told him everything was fine here (which is what i would have told him too), and he said he felt that he should head home just in case, rather than staying for the second act. i came back to the family room, sat down on the exercise ball, and chatted with Mom for a bit about the symptoms i was having and we agreed it was probably a good thing that Nick was headed home, but certainly there was no rush. at 9:10 pm, i felt that i needed to use the bathroom again. i stood up and immediately my water broke all over the floor. thank goodness for Mom, who grabbed some beach towels and helped keep Greta occupied. i headed back to the bathroom and just as i got there, a real contraction hit, and all i could do was lean over the counter, sway my hips, and "tone" (the long, low vocalization that somehow helps focus your breath and thoughts during a contraction). and then another ... and another ... and another. i thought, "well, at least this is going somewhere faster than Greta's labor did!" and texted our doula and had the midwife paged. Mom started gathering my hospital bags while also timing my contractions (unbeknownst to me). they were coming two minutes apart and lasting for sixty to ninety seconds. when the midwife called me back at 9:30 pm, we agreed that i would go ahead and head over to Mercy since the contractions were already so intense, and i told her we would be there around 10 pm.

Nick arrived home shortly after that, and from then on there was lots of running around as he changed clothes, packed another change of clothes and toiletries for himself, and put our bags in the car. i was trying to collect the last few things i needed for myself, but i wanted to stay in the bathroom during each contraction so i didn't scare Greta. periodically Mom or Nick would come in to put warm washcloths on my back or provide counterpressure. finally i was able to walk out to the front hallway and say goodbye to Greta and give her a hug. i had another contraction while going down our porch steps and had to hold on to the railing for support, and then another once i got to Nick's car. i wanted to wait to sit down until we were actually ready to leave, because the most comfortable position for me during a contraction was to stand up and lean over something so my belly could hang. i put my purse on the seat with my ipod on top, ready to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks (and thinking that it was a little crazy that i hadn't even had a chance to enter hypnosis yet).

at this point Mom and Nick started discussing if they should call an ambulance to transport me to Mercy, but i thought it would be quicker if we just drove ourselves rather than waiting for an ambulance to arrive. and then another contraction hit -- far more intense than the last, and i could feel the baby's head extremely low in my pelvis. i remembered having a similar contraction during labor with Greta, and that after about an hour of those contractions, i was ready to push. i thought again that this was definitely going faster than Greta's labor, but figured we had at least another few hours to go.

at this point, Nick was coaxing me to get in the car, but i really couldn't imagine sitting down for the drive. and yet, i knew that things were only going to get more intense from here, and i also still thought it seemed ridiculous to call an ambulance. so i just kept standing there, and then, all of a sudden, i had the uncontrollable urge to push. there was absolutely no stopping it. i just had to bear down with all of my might, and in that moment i was suddenly afraid. Nick called 911, and also ran to our next door neighbors' house for help (our neighbor is a PA and his wife had also offered to watch Greta for us if need be). i had another involuntary pushing contraction, and felt her head crowning. my mind was racing, thinking about how or if i'd be able to catch her myself, and if the cord was wrapped around her neck, and if she was going to be okay, and praying that EMS would get there soon, and panicking that if i had another strong contraction she was just going to drop to the ground. so before another contraction hit, i gently pushed her head out just as the ambulance came racing up our street.

i would give anything to have had a birds-eye view of what happened then. i was still standing fully dressed outside Nick's car, in shock, with the baby's head between my legs. our neighbor was standing on my left side giving me encouragement. i kept repeating, "her head is out! her head is out!" the EMTs came running around with the gurney and one of them asked "so you're in labor?" and i think i screamed "HER HEAD IS OUT!" the EMTs were saying that they needed to have me lie down to deliver her, and i couldn't imagine how i was going to get down on the ground without squishing her little head. Mom grabbed the towels from the front seat of the car and laid them down on the little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the curb, and somehow, the EMTs supported me as i lay back. they cut off my pants and i thought, "this cannot be happening! this is insanity!" next thing i knew, there was another contraction and the rest of her body was born. i found out later that our neighbor was actually the one who caught her head, while Mom held a flashlight overhead.

the spot where Cece was born (in daylight!)

it was a clear night, about forty degrees, with sparkling stars and a huge supermoon brightening the sky. the sight of my beautiful baby girl being lifted up in the air as i lay on the ground is forever etched in my brain. she was blue and silent at first, but i could see her chest moving as she breathed and her eyes were open and looking all around. Nick asked, "is she alright? is she alright?!" they suctioned her mouth and wrapped her in a reflective heating blanket and then we heard her first cries. "thanks be to God!" Nick said. all i could say was, "oh my goodness. oh my goodness. i can't believe it!" it was 10:13 pm.

they were still trying to keep her bundled up when Mom suggested they put her on my chest. of course! i unzipped my coat and lifted up my shirt (i was still wearing my dress shirt from work that day) and snuggled our sweet girl onto my chest. Mom grabbed the baby elephant hat from the hospital bag, and the EMTs covered us with blankets, and Nick's leather jacket. we lay there for several minutes just resting together. then the EMTs lifted us onto the gurney and into the ambulance, where we had several more minutes of skin-to-skin time while they warmed blankets to put in her carseat, and Nick called our doula to explain what had happened. our neighbor's wife generously offered to stay with Greta so that Mom could come to the hospital with us.

and so it was that about seven hours after leaving Mercy that afternoon, i returned, being wheeled through the ER on an ambulance gurney with a baby on my chest. our beautiful baby girl weighed seven pounds five ounces (exactly Greta's weight) and was 19 1/2 inches long (half an inch shorter than Greta). she is absolutely perfect and healthy, and my recovery has been easy given that i was only in active labor for one hour! i was in such shock over the whole thing that we didn't officially decide on her name until the next day, and ultimately we kept the name we had previously had in mind: Cecilia Marie.

despite her dramatic entrance, Cece is such a calm, even-tempered baby. she eats well, sleeps well, and rarely fusses. and big sister Greta is absolutely in love. we can't imagine our family without you, baby girl!



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

forty weeks!

bump watch: little peanut seems pretty happy to just hang out! today is Election Day, and with all the craziness between Trump and Hillary, i'm not surprised she doesn't want to come out just yet. she has dropped down a little bit (i measured 39 cm at my appointment last week, after two weeks in a row of measuring at 40 cm) but not fully engaged. meanwhile, i'm running out of wardrobe options that are up to the task of covering this belly!

little peanut: is fully baked! every day from here on out, she's just continuing to grow, although there is a definite end date in sight (more on that below). she's still moving around regularly, but she doesn't have much room at this point! thankfully she's remained head down, although her back is still rotated towards my right side. i've still been seeing the chiropractor, who is helping to keep my pelvis in alignment and loosen up tight muscles and ligaments so she can move exactly where she needs to be!

Fetal Development Week 41

best moment: Mom is here! she arrived last night and it's been so great to visit. and i'm much more relaxed now ... Little Peanut can arrive any time!

symptoms: getting a little bit annoyed with maneuvering the belly, finding clothes that fit comfortably, peeing frequently, etc. overall i can't complain though -- i've had minimal swelling, and i'm still sleeping well at night despite getting up to use the bathroom. i alternate between feeling so ready to be done being pregnant, and also feeling anxious about labor. so glad i have Hypnobabies again, along with Nick and our doula for support!

cravings: French onion wavy chips. lucky husband!

what i miss: lying flat on my back to sleep.
looking forward to: meeting our sweet baby girl! we went ahead and scheduled an induction for November 15, one week from today, if she hasn't come on her own before then. the midwives gave me the option of starting regular non-stress tests at 41 weeks to monitor placental function versus scheduling the induction, and i didn't even hesitate. my induction experience with Greta was great (not so much the 2 days of prodromal labor leading up to it), and i feel better having a definite plan! one way or the other, we'll be seeing our baby soon, and i can't wait.