My online journal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Christmas Miracle!

Nine nights of sleep! Yep, Miss Lucy's been sleeping through the night for the last week and a half. Sure, we get an occasional 3 or 4 AM wakeup, but at least twice we've* put her down at 8PM and she wakes up after 5AM. It is HEAVENLY. I've even managed to learn to pump before I go to bed (around 10PM) to avoid waking up in a puddle of breast milk. Rock and stinkin' roll!
So the main difference really has been putting her to bed at 8:00. We'd been unwittingly keeping her up until 10 or 11, which was apparently wreaking havoc on her little sleep-wake cycle. Anyway, it's much easier on us to put her down at 8; even if she cries for 40 minutes (which is about the max) we can easily re-Nuk her or give her a top-off feeding when we're NOT trying to get to sleep ourselves.

*And when I say "we" I mean Joel. He is some kind of miracle-worker with putting her down.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sleeping Through the Night! ... And Starting Day Care

We had a kind of rough weekend with Lucy -- she can be so happy and gorgeous and then we do one little thing, like put her down, or shift her position and she is screaming. Saturday Jean and I caught a matinee of "Sweeney Todd" at Bloomington Civic Theatre (it was phenomenal, by the way) and I was gone for almost 5 hours, which was way longer than I would have liked. On Sunday JG and I went to visit his parents in Monticello. It was lovely; I got a fabulous nap in and Lucy was an angel, PLUS Donna made a ham for lunch. Mmmmm. Anyway, on the way home we had time to devise a Plan for Lucy's overnights. See, the trouble is, we have this perfect Plan A to make it though the night.

Plan A: We put Lucy down to bed at 10 PM and she sleeps until 7 AM.

Right. You can see where the problem might be with that. So Plan B is put into effect, and when Joel and I are between sleeping and waking, we can never quite read each others' minds as to what Plan B is.

OK, so on Sunday night we decided that we'd put her down at 8:00 and then when she cries for an hour or more, we won't be trying to sleep at the same time. So I fed her at 7:30, put her in bed at 8, and she did cry... for about 40 minutes. We turned in at 10:30 and I woke up at 4:30, bursting... but the Pants stayed sleeping until 5:30!! It felt like a real victory, even though it may be the only time it ever happens.

So that was actually a surprisingly good start for the work week. This morning Joel dropped her off at Dee's daycare. Dee only has one other child there this morning, and Dee's mom was coming over later to meet Lucy. Joel felt really good about the whole thing, but did mention that Dee had to practically kick him out of the house. I want to call, but I am afraid I'll break down if I hear Lucy screaming in the background.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Three Months Old!

Yesterday was Lucy's three-month birthday. I can't believe how fast the time has flown. Developmentally, I understand that she's doing just fine. She pretty much holds her own head up all the time now. We've started putting her in the front carrier, facing forward, which she just loves. She's been drooling a lot for the last week, so she may be starting to teethe, though I understand that that first tooth might not crack for three or four more months. She's just learning to grab at things more purposefully too.
We think she's got a touch of acid-reflux; she isn't vomiting but has some ferocious burps and is usually crabby right after feeding (not like her!). She's taking baby Zantac twice a day but I'm not sure it's helping.

Last night was NOT good for mommy; Lucy was up at midnight and again at 2:00. That second waking she had completely drenched her diaper and all four layers of clothes and blankets she was wearing; she then screamed through her entire diaper/costume change and into the feeding. Grrr. So I got about 4.5 hours of sleep. I'm so glad it's Friday.

Back to Work

It was inevitable -- I went back to work on Wednesday, December 1. And I have to say that I'm taking it better than I expected. I haven't even cried... almost to my disappointment in myself.
My group at work has been so sweet; Marnie brought donuts and McDonald's breakfast, and Kim made a huge welcome-back sign. It really meant a lot to me and has made the transition so much easier.
My dad came up to watch Lucy this week; we start day care on Monday the 6th. It's been great having him up, and he is just so cute with Lucy. Plus it's probably better for my psyche to make only one transition at a time: getting myself out of bed this week; working on Lucy next.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Good Intentions

A funny thing to watch is childless couples visiting your new baby. The women coo and google over the baby, the men mumble about fantasy football... and eventually someone asks the visiting male if he wants to hold the baby.

And then the fun starts.

Most of the couples we know are also young, married within the last few years, and probably planning to have kids eventually. So the woman is always TERRIBLY excited to see what parenting is like, and the guy's not totally opposed to the idea... but...

The look that passes across the man's face is generally something like this:
"CRAP, a baby. I'm so glad it's not mine, sure maybe I'd like one someday, oh no now I'd better show some interest in this little person or my wife will be upset, oh NO just don't ask me to hold it DO I HAVE TO HOLD IT OH MY GOD YOU ARE PUTTING IT IN MY ARMS WHY WHY HELP WHY?!?!?"

It's hilarious.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Lucy's Birth Story

People keep asking for her birth story, and while I'm delighted to keep telling it, I'd like to have it written down someplace in case my delight wanes.

Lucy’s Birth Story
At my 39-week checkup (Wednesday, August 25), the doctor told me to take walks, so I was determined to squeeze in a walk every day. Walking had been getting more and more difficult since about month #6, but it seemed to be getting easier now that premature labor was out of the question.
Saturday, August 28
Jean came over and the four of us (Jean, Joel, Hobo and me) went for a nice walk. I was feeling contractions at random when we’d walk, but nothing to write home about.

Sunday, August 29
Joel and his p’s and I went to the State Fair, hoping that the greasy food and a bit of fresh air would moooove the process along. We ate:
French fries
A “blooming onion”
Cheese curds
A nut-roll
A funnel cake
Hot dogs
Cotton candy
Yum. Joel was nervous about me going into labor at any moment, and I was having mild contractions every once in a while. It rained a lot but I was grateful to be outside, moving around.

Monday, August 30
Kristine, the other prego woman at work, didn’t come to work today. Something’s up, but everyone claims she just isn’t feeling well. A cold or something. Balderdash! I KNOW she’s having her baby!!

Tuesday, August 31
Confirmed. Bob (Kristine’s boss) walked by, and Jessica asked “hey, what’s up with Kristine?” and Bob paused, glancing right at me, and I knew.
Me: “Bob, she’s having her baby, isn’t she? You can tell me, I can take it. It’s okay.”
Bob: “Yes.”

Yeah, that part about me being OK? A dirty LIE. I could be found in my cube for the rest of the day, crying. I JUST WANT TO MEET MY BABY!!

I’ve been timing contractions since Monday. They’ve been as frequent as 5 minutes apart, but usually more like eight minutes, and often I’ll go 20 minutes or an hour without one. They don’t hurt at all really.

Wednesday, September 1
Joel and I are awake almost all night last night timing. We had bedded down in the guest room, because I knew I’d be up and couldn’t face the stairs from our bedroom to the bathroom. The contractions were keeping me up, but the good news is that my cell phone has this awesome stopwatch feature so all I have to do is roll over to the nightstand and hit the button. Of course, now, on top of being crabby from no baby, I’m also cranky from no sleep.

I have a doc appt, 40-week checkup, at 3:30pm and I CANNOT WAIT. The contractions are five minutes apart almost regularly, but when I go in I’m only dilated to one. Though that “one” allows the doc to go in and be “a bit more aggressive,” as she puts it. It’s also known as “stripping the membranes” and in retrospect I’m a little surprised she didn’t exactly ask before doing it. I ask how long she thinks now.
Doc: “Well, if what I just did, worked… a couple days.”
Me (being sneaky): “Well, today is a day. So, like, tomorrow?”
Doc (seeing right through me): “Like a couple days.”
Me: “Rats.”

Well, since I’ve essentially been told that I’ll be pregnant for another two months, I decide I’d better keep my 5:00 haircut appointment. Contracting all the way, I call to see if Aubrey can squeeze me in at 4:00, since the doc appt in its entirety took less time than it took me to type that last paragraph. Aubrey’s open, so I truck down to the Highland neighborhood. I time all the way through the haircut and then head over to Jean’s house for a little dinner.

I arrive at 5:00ish and Jean and Jan are making a feast!! BLTs with fresh tomatoes, fresh sweet corn… something wonderful for dessert… it’s all my favorite foods. But the contractions are now starting to get worse, and the 5-minute barrier is being breached with some regularity. So I wolf down everything I can, knowing that if these contractions continue I might not get to eat again until I give birth, and that might be another couple months, as we previously discussed. At 6:30 I decide I can’t take it anymore and I call the hospital… they say to wait one more hour and then to go in. Though I believe I could drive myself home, I enlist Jean and Jan’s assistance and they drive me. At 7:30 Joel and I call the hospital and they tell us to come on in. I shower and Joel packs about 14 bags, and we arrive at the hospital around 8:30 PM.

When they check me, I’m STILL only dilated to one. Damn! But at least I’m 75% effaced. They keep me for a couple hours, and Joel and I watch the Twins game, joking and enjoying ourselves. At 10:30 they send me home with some Vistaril (a sedative) and tell me to try to get some rest. Joel and I drive back home, stopping at White Castle. Mind you, I’m still contracting.
White Castle Worker (WCW): ThankyouforstoppingatWhiteCastlewouldyouliketotryournewfishsandwich?
Joel: I’ll have four cheeseburgers… and some chicken rings…
WCW: How many rings?
Joel: Six. Noooo… nine.
WCW: OK, that’ll be four cheeseburgers and nine –
Joel: And two more cheeseburgers. And –

Back home, we climb into bed, not realistically thinking we’d be getting any sleep. The Vistaril makes me really drowsy, though, and I sort of nod off for a bit…

11:30 PM. I get up to go to the bathroom, and my water breaks. I holler to Joel, he calls the hospital, and we’re on our way again.

We arrive at the hospital, and as soon as I step out of the car the first REALLY bad contraction hits. I lean hard on Joel as he helps me up, and we stumble into the maternity ward again.
A nurse behind the desk says “Not having the best day, huh?” and I think “You nincompoop, this IS the best day, because I’m having my baby!” But I’m in too much pain. We go back into Room 5, and they have to check me to make SURE my water really broke. I’m still only dilated to 2, so they have me turn on my side and cough so they can try to get some of the stuff that’s coming out of me, in order to test it. Gross.

The nurse asks if I want to labor in the tub. I thought this option was ruled out because my water had broken, but apparently not. I also thought that because I was positive for Group B Strep, that I'd have to have the IV in me the whole time for the antibiotics. Also not the case. I climbed into the tub and somewhere around this time I realize that we forgot to grab my contacts on the way out the door the second time. Damn! So I'm stuck in my glasses, which probably come off when I'm in the tub. And for those of you who don't know me that well, I'm REALLY blind without my glasses. So in the tub I keep grabbing on to Joel and pulling him closer so I can get his face in focus. I remember the nurse kept calling me "Megan" but here I am, naked and writhing in the tub, so I kept asking Joel to tell her to call me Meg. At some point Joel runs outside to move the car and grab the overnight bag, since we'd abandoned the car in the turnaround when we returned to the hospital. The nurse is so wonderful; she holds my hand and talks me through the horrid contractions. The pain is unbelievable; nothing could have prepared me for how badly it hurt. I'm in the tub for about 45 minutes and I'm getting so uncomfortable that I keep flipping around; first laying on my back in the tub, then sitting up, then kneeling; it is so awkward. I stumble back into bed and they check my cervix; dilated to a "stretchy 8"!! I'd gone from a 2 to almost 9 in only 45 minutes.

Well, that sends the nurses into a bit of a tizzy. They hadn't called the doctor yet; they hadn't started my IV yet; basically nobody thought I'd go that fast, since it had taken me eight hours to go from a one to a two. The nurse asks me if I want something for the pain. "Whaddaya got?" I ask.

Nubain was what they had. Before I went in the tub, I remember thinking, "well, I was insane for thinking I'd be fine without pain meds; I need something! But even now, the thought of an epidural needle in my back is just too much. I couldn't have gone that route and, as it turns out, there was no time. It takes them several tries to get my IV in; the other nurse keeps apologizing because, she says, I "have wonderful veins! I don't know why I can't get it in!" I'm starting to get nervous; will I get the antibiotics in time? How fast is this baby coming??

Meanwhile the contractions are more and more intense all the time. The breathing exercises had stopped working while I was in the tub; now I'm howling in agony. Someone gives me a washcloth to bite on; that helps. At about 2:30 AM I start having an irresistable urge to push. Not an urge, though -- more like, I just started to push, almost like a reflex. Up to this point it had been all I could do just to get through each contraction; now that I need to push, it's so wonderful to be able to take some action to deal with the pain. When I tell the nurses I need to push, they, surprisingly, tell me "don't fight what your body is telling you to do." This astounds me; everything I'd heard and read said that I would be told NOT to push. But push I do.

That was one thing I wish I'd had more instruction on; how to push. The nurse coached me through it, but I felt a little unprepared for that part. At some point I am given oxygen; Joel says I may have been hyperventilating a little. I KNEW we should have practiced that breathing some more!!

I push for an hour; at 3:34 AM Lucy comes into the world, screaming, with a full head of brown hair. "Is it really a girl?" I ask. What a beauty. What a miracle.

8 lbs., 7 oz.
19.75 inches long


Election Day Blues, November 2, 2004

Election Day! The plan today was for me to get an early-bird-special oil change for the Corolla, then vote, then hit PetCo, Target, Cub Foods and Babies R Us, and make it home for a nice afternoon nap.
All of this was, of course, thwarted by Miss Pants, who slept from the ending of her 5:30AM feeding until approximately 10 AM. Yay for sleeping for 5 hours, Boo for my errands! Finishing her 10:30 feeding by 11 meant I missed the early-bird, no great shakes due to my irrational fear of Jiffy-Lube. Actually it’s not all that irrational; the guys there are terribly nice while they’re pushing $500 worth of unnecessary services on me. Of course, for all I know they ARE necessary – what the heck do I know about transmission flushing???
I did manage to vote, after spending ½ hour dressing Lucy for cold rain and loading her into the Bjorn – the same half hour, it turns out, in which the weather switched from cold rain to beautiful warm sunshine. Undaunted and very cozy warm, we ventured out in search of the local polling place. We learned that the East Side Rec Center is NOT the same thing as the East Side Community Center, but nevertheless managed to do our civic duty. Setting a good example for the kids right from the start!

Took a nice three-hour nap in the afternoon; Joel got home at 5:30 and decided that we didn’t really need to go to PetCo just tonight. He visited Alley Joel and then went out to vote himself, then retired to the couch, which is where he lays as I type.

I’m starting to get a little stir-crazy; it’s VERY difficult to take walks during the day with both Lucy and the dog, and it’s futile to guilt JG into an evening walk, especially now that it’s dark at 5:30. I get a little cranky without exercise. Also, I’m sure that I’m a bad parent for craving the routine of going to work every day, and I know that I should be grateful for every minute I have at home with the little munchkin, but it’s just difficult for me not to be super-busy all the time.

But golly she sure is beautiful!! She’s smiling a lot these days, and she loves to lie on her back and watch me or Joel make silly faces. She does a lot of grunting and, well, I guess the baby magazines would call it cooing, but it’s really more like barking. Anyway, it’s great fun. If you shake a toy or something above her face, and then move it, she’ll follow it all over with her eyes and head, and she holds up her own head most of the time, though frequently with a wavy bobble.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Pants Is Two Months Old

The Ryan clan stopped by on Saturday, Oct. 30 for a little meet-the-Pants party. Lucy met her great-grandma Nana (Dorothy Ryan) for the first time, as well as:
Uncle Dan
Mike & Shannon Ryan and Shaedon
Peggy & Randy Holndoner and Liam and Ellen
Uncle Jim & Aunt Mary
Mary and Tom Fuller
Uncle Tom and Aunt Kathi Ryan
Uncle Larry & Aunt Betty
Bridget and Dan Fors and Megan
Uncle Ralph and Aunt Rosemary Karner
Aunt Margie
Molly Gorski and Joey and Jimmy
Mary Hagerty and Dan Harden
Uncle Gary and Aunt Norine Polidori

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Friday, August 13, 2004

Monday, May 10, 2004