Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carolina Blair is Here!

Just a quick note from a VERY tired mama that Carolina Blair was born
Friday, October 24th at 4:36 pm. She was 36 weeks and 2 days along but still weighed in at 8 lbs. 6.3 oz. and was 18 in long. She spent a couple of days in the NICU due to fluid in her lungs but she is healthy now. We came home today (on Daddy's birthday) and everyone is trying to get some rest. Clay LOVES her and can't get enough of his little sister. Here's a sneak peek until I can get some better pics downloaded. She has jet black hair and lots of it! More to come later...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clay at 17 Months

It's been SO long since I updated with pictures of Clay so today's post is all about Clay and his adventures. He's 17 months old now and cute as can be.

He babbles a lot and still isn't saying a lot of words too clearly. Our pediatrician is expecting a "word explosion" soon so Mike and I are getting ready. His favorite thing to say is "Whassat?" (what's that?) but he also says "dada", "cat", "dog", "baby", "cars", "shoes", "hat", "hot" and probably some other words I can't remember.

The most important word we KNOW he knows and has said maybe five times: "mama". Anytime you ask him who I am he replies, "dada". Stinker.

His newest words are "star" and "wow". He points out star shapes, stars in the sky and every star in every book and on anything you can imagine. He's so excited when he spots one.

He runs everywhere and Daddy and his Nana and Papa keep commenting on how fast he's getting (I don't even bother trying to chase him down anymore). He's still a great eater (eating everything from calamari to carrots) and a happy baby most of the time.

Clay had his first two haircuts this summer (and needs a third one). He has fine hair like his mama but daddy is a very good barber. Clay tries to be really still and watch his shows while he gets his style done. We haven't had any bad styles yet!

I love his tender heart even though it's very tender sometimes. If I say anything that might sound like I'm admonishing him ("Don't do that", "No", "Clay" (in a stern tone)) he starts crying and won't stop until he comes and lays on me and calms down.

He also loves to laugh. His favorite is to have an audience and the more the audience laughs, the more Clay hams it up.
He has pretty much mastered eating with a fork and spoon. It's always faster when Mike and I feed him but we try to encourage his independence so we rarely feed him with a fork or spoon anymore.

He also points to his body parts. So far he does nose, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth and belly button.

He is definitely not a "performance oriented" child. I work with him all the time on his body parts and talking and other age appropriate things but he couldn't care less whether Mike and I know what he knows or not. Half the time he'll be happy to show you where his teeth are and the other half he acts like he's never heard the word in his life. He's a stinker alright!

He loves to read and will sit very still anytime you read him a book. If Mike and I are sitting somewhere it is not uncommon at all for Clay to bring us a book. He points to everything and asks "Whassat?". His new favorite book is "Time for Bed" because there are stars that he can point to on most every page.

It's been fun to watch him go from sitting with a book for 30 seconds to finishing an entire book because he's so focused on what's going on in the pictures. He's focusing on things a lot more now.

He goes from being a very social guy to a very shy guy really quickly. Mike's brother got married this summer and Clay gladly went with anyone (family, of course) who would take him "outside". Normally, he's super shy and buries his head when people talk to him but lately he's been waving and saying "hi".

Two of his favorite people are still his Nana and Papa. He will TOTALLY ditch Mike and I for them. Once they're holding him we can't get him to come back to us for love or money. They spoil him endlessly and he eats it up. Nana loves to hold him and hug him and kiss him and Papa loves to take him outside. Clay divides his time at their house between cuddling with Nana and riding the Mule with Papa.

Clay is so into animals right now and loves to go the pet store and other places with animals. Daddy loves to take him to Bass Pro Shops and look at all of the animals they have there and play with all of the fun stuff.

Last week we took him to Rainforest Cafe so he could look at all of the fun animals there, too. Our seats were right next to the elephants so we got really up close and personal with them.

After he got used to the elephants, he couldn't stop pointing at EVERYTHING and asking, "Whassat?". It was so fun for Mike and I to get to watch him explore everything and try to figure it all out.

One of the things that Clay is not that in to is art. I try and create art projects for him but they are usually a big flop. He will sit with some markers for a while and color a page but he loses interest pretty quickly with paints (finger and watercolor).

Last night Mike and I made him some edible finger paint (vanilla pudding and food coloring) so that he could paint a pumpkin picture for Halloween.

We got out the video camera and the digital (this kid has a picture of every day of his life!) and we put all of his paints and paper in front of him so we could watch the show. All we got was tears. Crocodile tears at our wonderful attempt at Clay's first piece of Halloween art. Oh well. I'm going to keep trying more things as he gets older but it seems like art just isn't his thing right now.

Whenever someone starts singing a song, Clay is immediately attracted. He does the motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "This Little Light of Mine", "Pat a Cake", "God's World" and "Pat the Bible". So many times he'll be singing away and doing motions in the back seat as Mike and I are driving down the road. Precious moments.

This little boy is definitely the light of our lives. We feel extremely blessed to have such a smart, curious, tender, loving and adventurous baby boy. He makes Mike and I laugh every day and we couldn't be happier with the son God chose for us. We love to hold him and rock him and sing with him but most of all we just sit back and watch him enjoy the world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Whew! It's been a busy week already (Shh!- nobody tell the doctor!). I have all of these lists (surprising, I know) of things to do before Carolina comes. Some of them are silly (haircuts, nails, etc.) and others are necessities (pack hospital bag, pick up her crib). We've been in full swing the last couple of weeks trying to get it all done. The best part for Mike is that I only have enough energy for one store and then I'm totally exhausted and ready to go home and rest. I have never felt so much like an old lady in my life!

First on this week's agenda was our doctor's appointment. As opposed to other appointments when I say I feel okay and give any kind of major symptoms I've been having, this week I was all about full disclosure. I'm miserable- my back hurts, my abdomen hurts, my legs keep going numb, there's so much pressure in my pelvis it feels like trying to walk with a bowling ball between my legs, I'm still leaking... Anything else you want to know, doctor???

Well, it didn't make any kind of difference that I was honest but we did get to see our girl again on the ultrasound. She's so sweet with her little hands by her face (in EVERY ultrasound) and her mouth moving. Her current weight is 7 lbs. 4 oz. which is not too terribly big for almost 35 weeks. She seems to be slowing down on growth and staying at just over 2 weeks ahead now (way better than 3 weeks!)

More good news is that my water level went down. I wish I could say that I feel a difference but no, I really don't. For her sake, though, they say the lower fluid levels are better so we'll take it.

Yesterday we went to the Arboretum to have Clay's picture made. I had it done there last Fall and then in the Spring so I wanted to keep up the tradition.

Even though I like to have things "just so" I've had to give up a lot of that perfectionism since being humongous and having a baby already here and toddling around. Mike and I agreed to take our camera, try and get a few pictures and have the professional photographer do the rest. Good plan. We chased that baby all over the place trying to get one decent shot and we were SO tired and sweaty by the time we left.

We had lunch in their restaurant and I was telling Mike how ironic it was that we were at this supposedly relaxing place, having lunch in a cute little cafe and we were STRESSED OUT. They had no high chairs so we were fighting to keep Clay seated and the service was soooo slow. It was kind of crazy but one of those things that when you look back on the pictures, you're so glad you did it. Welcome to Parenthood.

I think the best part of our visit to the Arboretum, though, had to be the photographer. It's one guy who has a high-end studio in Uptown Dallas that we would otherwise not even be able to afford the sitting fee for but he runs specials at the Arboretum each Fall and Spring.

He takes really great pictures and is very nice but yesterday I think he took some goofy pills or something. We watched him shoot a couple of families before us and then it was our turn. When we finished Mike commented, "There's like 10 things you NEVER say to a woman and that guy just hit like 5 in a row!" Here's a few of the things we heard him say:

Photographer to lady with newborn twins: "So did you know you were having twins before they came out?"
Lady: "Uh, yes."
Photographer: "So are you nursing them?"
Lady: "Uh, yes."
Photographer: "So what do you do just put one on either side and let 'em eat?"
Lady: Silence.

Photographer to Mike and I after dealing with Clay throwing the pumpkin on the ground in almost every picture and refusing to smile: "So do you guys think you'll be able to handle two?"
Me in my head: I guess it's too late now if we can't!

Photographer to me as we're leaving: So when is your baby due?
Me: November 19th.
Photographer: Wow. So next time I see you you'll be skinny again!
Me in my head: Gee thanks.

He was totally cracking me up with this stuff because you could tell he had the best of intentions but everything was just coming out WAY wrong. Oh well, can't blame a guy for trying.

After the Arboretum I dropped the boys off at home and got my nails done. It had been a while since I had them done so it was really nice to be pampered for a little while. So relaxing! The good news is that by the end of the day I was so tired I went to bed at eight and slept better than I have in a long time (I only got up 5 times which is wonderful!).

Today's adventure was lunch at Rockfish and a trip to Janie and Jack. I was able to score some good deals on the children's summer clothes which made me happy. I have always shopped a year ahead so now is the perfect time to score a good deal for summer stuff. Even though it's kind of weird picking out white capris and 4th of July outfits in October, I have so much less stress trying to find good sales when the next season rolls around and the man who makes the money appreciates me looking out for the bottom line. So even though it wasn't on any of my official lists, I still got a good deal today!

So that's our week so far. Compared to our weeks six months ago I think it would be pretty lame but we're doing what we can! We're going to keep crossing things off the lists and hopefully we'll be done when we meet Carolina. Wish us luck!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bed rest with a 17 month old

On a typical night at my house Clay sleeps through the night and wakes up happy between 6:45 and 7:45 am. Here's a look into last evening and our day so far....

Last night, 8:00 pm: I feel tired AND like I might be able to sleep- a combination I have not felt in months. Maybe it's a good night for an early bedtime.

11:00 pm: I finally make it to bed after doing chores, resting, doing chores, resting, doing chores..... I'm really tired and wonder if I might sleep well tonight since I haven't been this tired in a while.

12:15 pm: Clay wakes up so I go in and replace his pacifier

1:15 am: Clay is up again so I give him teething tablets

1:30 am: Clay is up again so I give him some Tylenol and bring him into my bed (Mike's sleeping in the guest room due to my endless tossing and turning)

2:30 am: Chatty Cathy has not stopped talking for the last hour asking "What's that?" and pointing to things nobody else can see because it's so dark. I take him back to his own bed and he's happy to be there.

6:07 am: Clay is up crying and cannot be calmed so I end up bringing him in my bed.

6:15 am: Chatty Cathy is back so we might as well get up.

6:30 am: Clay is crying incessantly and not satisfied with anything. It's looking like a fun day! Honestly, he NEVER acts like this in the morning.

6:45 am: I feed Clay some french toast and try to give him a banana. He eats all of the french toast but won't take the banana. I keep asking him if he's "all done" or wants "more". He's crying and won't tell me anything so I clean him up and take him out of his highchair.

6:48 am: He's in the kitchen signing for more. More what? I take out some yogurt to see what he'll do and he seems okay with this. I put him in his highchair (causing a Braxton-Hicks contraction). He eats most of the yogurt while I sit and wait for the contraction to stop.

7:00-7:55 am: We play with stacking cups, read and try to keep the crying to a minimum (lots of climbing onto my lap and getting back down). A game of chase ensues between Clay and Lindsay (the dog). He's laughing so I'm more than happy.

7:56 am: It's back to bed (WAY earlier than usual) for a morning nap.

8:34 am: He's fussing again but calms himself after just seconds.

11:00 am: Nap time is over but a success. He's in a good mood.

11:10-11:40 am: Bath time. He's corralled and entertained. Peace.

11:40 am: Mike calls to talk about lunch and Clay starts whining to get out of the tub. Good timing.

11:45 am: I get Clay out of the tub as I'm having a Braxton-Hicks and manage to wrestle some lotion and some clothes on him. Victory.

12:00 pm: Daddy's home for lunch. We try to teach Clay the word "chip" by repeating it over and over but he's just giving us a blank stare and trying to figure out what the sign language is. He tries using both "drink" and "more" to get us to hand him a chip. Maybe next time.

1:00 pm: Daddy's gone. I'm in the bathroom and it gets really quiet in the house. I hurry into the dining room to see what is happening. Wow. Clay is STANDING ON A KITCHEN CHAIR trying to get a drink off the table. There's a first time for everything. How do you child proof for that???

1:05 pm: I'm cleaning off the kitchen table so there's nothing fun to "get" and it's too quiet again. Knowing my son, I immediately go back to my bathroom. In my haste, I hadn't put down the toilet seat lid. Clay is cleaning the seat with a piece of toilet paper from the roll- luckily it's dry. He's seen me do this a million times with bleach wipes- little eyes are always watching.

1:35 pm: I hear him dump all the dog food from her bowl all over the kitchen floor. Luckily, she ate it and cleaned it up.

2:00 pm: Nap time again and Mike's headed home.

Thank God Mike gets off early today AND his parents are coming in for the weekend. This bed rest is wearing me out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Is she crazy??

I just wanted to share a post with you so everyone can rest assured that I'm not crazy- just really pregnant and hoping I'm right. I keep sharing (okay, complaining) about how ready I am to be done being pregnant and how we are so anxious for our doctor to move our date. I guess the part I hadn't shared because I wasn't sure what was TMI was the reasoning behind our push for a "due date move".

From my first ultrasound with the doctor they kept asking what my LMP (last menstrual period) was. When I would tell them the date (1.30.08) the due date we all got was 11.05.08. Easy enough. Then they did an ultrasound where they had a hard time measuring and they changed the date to 11.19.08 based on what they had seen. The new date was two weeks later.

Each time we went over my LMP at different ultrasounds, they would tell me I must be wrong. We were TRYING to get pregnant, I KNOW when it was! Since I had been nursing Clay when I got pregnant and had only had two cycles between the pregnancies, I went against my instinct and went along with the new date. After all, they must know what they're talking about right?

The next ultrasound (with a perinatologist) and the ten or so that have followed have all shown Carolina growing at 2-3 weeks ahead. Wow, big surprise. The specialist has asked us several times if our due date is right but our doctor bases it all on that first ultrasound (where they had trouble measuring anyway).

So, all that to say--- it's not that I just want my baby out early or that I don't believe what the doctors are saying. I know doctors have a degree for a reason BUT there have been a lot of inconsistencies and something tells me this time the dates might be off (even though I know there's always a 2 week window). I promise, if I thought I really had six weeks to go I would never be saying I was ready for her to come out. Even in my crazy lady state, I know that's too early. I don't want her to have to go to the NICU or come any earlier than she's ready and healthy. It's just that at this point I don't want to be uncomfortable an extra two weeks just because they had some trouble measuring at that first ultrasound and nothing before or since then has backed up that date. And yes, I am almost finished with my whining.

To add to our confusion about a time line, right before we went into the hospital the doctor talked about taking her at the end of October (36-37 weeks?) because of her size and the polyhydramnios. Then when I had my hospital stay a couple of days later he talked about taking her at 34 weeks to avoid any infections with the leaking I was having or going to 35 weeks to try and avoid a NICU stay (Mike and I didn't like this idea of 34-35 weeks). And we all know that when it gets to the end of the pregnancy, a woman will listen to anyone short of a fortune teller to try and get some idea of when the baby will come (or maybe that's just me!) so Mike and I were beginning to feel like we might have an idea of a due date based on what the doctor was saying.

On top of what the doctor was saying, all of the literature I'm reading on polyhydramnios says that it's common for babies to come early because the mama's bodies can't handle all of the large babies and the fluid. But what does early mean considering we're not sure what her real due date is anyway? So- lots of dates thrown out there and now our doctor wants to take it week by week. All of his dates put together with ours is super confusing!

I must say though that we love our doctor and we know he only wants the best outcome for us so we are totally trusting his judgment for a healthy Carolina.

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of why I'm feeling ready (and by ready I mean her in a couple of weeks, not now). It's a lot of info I know but I wanted to make sure no one thought I would really want a preemie or a baby who wasn't done cooking just because I'm uncomfortable (no one's implied it but just to be on the safe side!). And I also know that babies come on their own schedule and they in no way base that schedule on their mother's comfort level. But if I could talk her into it.....

So thank you for all of your words of advice, encouragement and prayers. I really do appreciate them and I hope you still don't think I've taken a step off the deep end. Soon enough all my logic will come back and I will return to my normal, rational state. Promise.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

34 Weeks and Counting

We went for a check up yesterday for Carolina. We had our fingers crossed that with the hospital visit and the fact that she has been measuring so big AND the polyhydramnios that maybe, just maybe our doctor would revise our due date. No luck. He said he'll see us for weekly visits until she comes. Mike pressed him for some kind of time line and he just said we'll have to take it week by week and wait and see. So so disappointing.

I'm still not sleeping and didn't even sleep when they gave me Ambien in the hospital so I've kind of given up on it. Not that I can even be productive in my "not sleeping" time because I'm too tired but oh well.

I feel like I'm getting to the very end of this pregnancy in so many ways I never felt with Clay. My back hurts, my abdomen hurts (but only sporadically), my legs keep going numb on me and all the other fun parts of being really pregnant. I'm so glad that nothing hurts all the time and that at least Carolina and I are both healthy but I'm so ready to be comfortable again.

He told me to be on bed rest after I left the hospital so I am doing my best. Mike's mom came to help over the weekend and Clay loved having her here to play with. We kept it calm and I didn't get up and around (too much).

The doctor reminded me again this visit to take it easy and not do a whole lot. Do you think they know when they're telling you this that you just want the baby OUT? I'm giving bed rest my best shot but in the back of my mind I just want to run a marathon and see if I can spur on some labor here! I have to know it's all in the name of a healthy baby (and I'll do whatever it takes for that).

Her growth is slowing down a little. She's now measuring only 2 weeks ahead at 6 lbs. 10 oz. I was glad to hear she's slowing down- it gives her just a little more room in my belly.

I know every mama feels the disappointment when they get to those last appointments with the doctor only to be told "nothing's progressing, see you next week". At least I'm in good company. So that's our visit from this week. Hopefully, next week there will be something fun to report- like a new birthday date!

Stay tuned...