My Nephew Is Here

January 31, 2008

My nephew was born sometime this afternoon.  I don’t have a specific time, but she was supposed to be going in for a c-section at 2:30, so I’m assuming shortly after then.  As of about ten minutes ago, neither of them had seen their son yet.  He’s a reasonable 3 lbs, 11 oz–reasonable for his gestational age anyway.  He’s not as healthy as PJ was, though.  He’s on a ventilator and will be for the next few days.  They went ahead and put in a central line because they’re not expecting him to be able to handle real food for some time.  My SIL also isn’t doing as well as hoped; she’s on oxygen right now because they can’t get her O2 up to normal levels yet.  Keep praying for all of them.

It sounds like these are fairly typical setbacks, as much as we wish they weren’t happening.  They will probably keep them both from leaving as soon as they would hope, but the doctors know how to handle them and they will probably not become life-threatening.  Still, I have to wonder how things would be different if they were in a big-city hospital.

One funny thing…they were still debating names up until the last day or so.  M’s brother gave up and passed all his naming rights on to my SIL.  He decided she’d been through enough with the baby that she got to decide what he was going to be named.  I sure am glad M and I agreed on names all along so I wouldn’t have to go through something like this to get my way!

Two Really Are Better Than One

January 31, 2008

Despite what it may sound like at times, I really enjoy being a mother of two.  It is what I was meant to do–mother children (plural, not necessarily two specifically).  Sure there are moments when I imagine myself in a Calgon commercial.  I let myself soak in a quiet, immaculately clean bathroom, in one of those nifty claw-foot bathtubs, up to my neck in subs with a glass of wine (if I drank anyway) sitting within arms’ reach.  The daydream can tune out any matter of screaming for a few minutes at a time.

Then I realize the silence in my dream is actually coming from the room around me.  The screaming miraculously stops.  I look around to see what trouble my boys must be getting into to warrant such quiet.  I find PJ hovering over BabyN, trying to undress him–a favorite activity for both boys (what’s with boys and nudity anyway?)–or gently stroking his head.  BabyN is gazing up in rapt attention at his big brother with a smile of adoration plastered on his face, much different from the flirtatious smile the rest of us get.  PJ is softly chattering to his brother, saving his ear-piercing shrieks for when I’m hovering on the edge of insanity already: “Bye-bye, Gaga [his pet name for his brother].  See you in a little while.”  Or if his brother begins fussing again: “It’s okay, Gaga.  Ssssssss.  It’s okay.”

My life would be much less rich if I didn’t get to watch my two children interact from this young age.  It helps me get to know both my boys so much better.  It turns out that PJ is truly my little man, eager to grow up and be just like Mommy or Daddy.  He mimics our every move (like right now, he’s sitting next to me also typing on his own play laptop), including nurturing BabyN.  He is growing into a truly nurturing child as a result.  Sometimes he acts so mature (when he’s not throwing the mother of all tantrums) that I forget he’s only two.  I have to remind myself to not encourage him to take on too much responsibility and to play with him like the little kid he is.

BabyN is my big little boy (compared to PJ, my little big boy).  I expect the two to be the same size shortly after BabyN’s first birthday.  Already I don’t treat him with the same overprotectiveness I gave PJ; I just don’t worry as much about hurting my sturdy boy.  Yet, even though he will catch up to PJ size-wise, he will always be my baby.  He will take much longer to catch up to PJ in maturity.  Long after he’s outgrown his “big” brother, he will still look “up” to him with the same adoration I see now.  (As someone with a younger sister who is bigger than her, I can kind of relate to PJ in this instance.  My sister still gives me her hand-me-ups from time to time.)

As much as I whine about the two of my boys and the chaos that takes over our house on a daily basis, I love my boys so much and couldn’t imagine life without them, screaming and all.  I love them each with all my heart for who they are, and I love them that much more for who they are together.  Being a mom of two is scary to begin with, but it doesn’t take long until this is the only life you could dream of living–with the occasional Calgon daydream escape.

By the way, we haven’t heard anything new about my SIL and nephew.  As of yesterday at one in the afternoon, they were starting to induce her.  I’m assuming that since we haven’t heard anything, that means her labor is progressing, although slowly as you might expect.  I suspect we would have heard if she was getting worse or if they’d decided to do a c-section.  I’ll let you know as soon as we hear news from them.  Keep praying!

Reliving the Nightmare

January 30, 2008

It looks like all of PJ’s preemie clothes will indeed get a second use.  We packed up anything BabyN had outgrown before Christmas to give to M’s brother and SIL for their baby due in March.  This included all PJ’s hand-me-downs, preemie size and up.  We put the preemie clothes in there just in case, more in case they had a smaller term baby that could still wear the bigger preemie ones for a couple of weeks.  We never dreamed he would actually need those clothes.

In the next few days, though, he will probably be wearing them.  That baby will be born today, tomorrow morning at the absolute latest.  My SIL was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome last night, which was a result from her severe preeclampsia (that they apparently weren’t treating aggressively enough, since she’s had it since before Christmas but nothing was being done for it).  Basically, from what they told us, her liver was shutting down.  The only treatment for this is getting that baby out.

Last night they transferred her to the nearest hospital with a NICU (they live in the boonies) so they could induce labor this morning.  If the labor doesn’t progress quickly or if she gets any worse, she’s getting a C-section.  As I mentioned last night, she’s only 32 weeks, a couple days farther along than PJ was.

I had trouble falling back asleep after the last phone call last night, when we knew for sure our nephew’s birth was imminent.  M’s stoic brother was having trouble holding it together for that short conversation.  We were both immediately forced back to that moment in the labor/delivery triage room where they discovered I was 9 1/2 cm dilated and would be delivering PJ literally any minute–nine weeks early.

We remember every bit of horror they are experiencing, the fear of the unknown in their future, their worry about their unborn baby.  We know that despite having had a little more time than we did to prepare for seeing their newborn baby in the NICU, there truly is no preparing for it.  We know the grief they will go through and the grief that has already started.  We also know how good of an outcome they will likely have at 32 weeks.  The stay in the NICU won’t be easy, but they have every reason to expect to take that little boy home with them healthy in a matter of weeks.  But we know the roller coaster ride they will experience between now and then.

At last, I see a reason behind PJ’s birth.  I wondered for a long time why God let him be born early, if there was something I did.  There was no physical reason they could give me.  Now I suspect it was a way to strengthen us, to prepare us to be there for others going through the same thing, especially his brother.  I will gladly relive that nightmare with a happy ending if it means we can ease someone else’s load as they walk the same road we’ve already traveled.

Anyway, keep this family in your prayers today–and the next few weeks, please.  Pray for a healthy baby and for her health to return immediately after the birth.  And pray that they won’t be too afraid and that they’ll be able to handle the challenges in their future.

Prayer Request

January 29, 2008

We found out a little while ago that my SIL is in the hospital.  She’s 32 weeks pregnant and was just diagnosed with preeclampsia.  It’s bad enough that they’re prepping her to get that baby out at a moment’s notice while doing everything they can to keep him in there as long as possible.  Obviously they’re scared, and we’re scared for them after having been through a premature birth of our own.  We know what they could be in store for, and that’s not even considering the worry about her health (never a problem in my case).  Please keep them and that baby in your prayers.  I’ll keep you updated as we find out more.

All Over the Place

January 29, 2008

–This story may not be funny to anyone but me, but I think it’s hilarious.  Remember how I mentioned my dad is visiting?  Well, he’s a bit anal about certain things.  One of those things is his toilet paper.  It must be “under.”  My husband is just as anal about his toilet paper, which must be “over.”  (I prefer over, but I can handle it when I’m at someone else’s house and theirs is under.)  Within minutes of my dad’s arrival, the toilet paper in our guest bathroom mysteriously got changed to under.  Since it’s centrally located in the house, we all use that bathroom often during the day.  I can tell it’s driving M crazy to use the toilet paper.  I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t changed it back yet.  It’s hilarious for me to watch this standoff take place.  By the way, is it considered appropriate to change someone’s toilet paper when you’re visiting at their house?  It seems to me like it might be overstepping some bounds if you’re not the only one who will be using the bathroom while you’re visiting.

–PJ woke up in the middle of the night last night.  We’re not sure, but it might have been a nightmare.  It felt so good to have a reason to hold him close in my lap, even if he was crying at the time.  There’s something so sweet about being able to comfort your child by holding him close like that.  Anyway, it cracked me up when he suddenly stopped crying, pulled back from me, and told me “All done!”  After that, he was ready to go back to bed.  How’s that for a quick recovery?  That kid cracks me up.

–I think BabyN may have developed a decent routine, at last.  I recognize it from PJ’s early days; he had the same basic routine for several months.  Right now, BabyN wakes up and eats and then plays for a little while.  Two hours after getting up, he’s exhausted and needs a nap.  The two hours is the key.  I remember it got much easier to care for PJ once I discovered the two-hour rule because I could almost always figure out why he was crying.  It’s the same thing with BabyN now.  Our morning routine isn’t as set, so it takes some time to adjust back to the three-hour rotation, but once we’re there things are good.  Now if only he would sleep all the way through the night.  We’re still working on that one.

–I’m putting off writing anything deep right now.  I just can’t find the motivation.  I keep promising these cool, deep posts that I have running through my mind, but when it comes to putting the words down on paper, it just doesn’t happen.  Eventually.  In the meantime I’m blaming hormones.  It’s great being a woman when you can pass off nearly every shortcoming as hormone-related, isn’t it?

–I’ve decided next week we finally give up and start potty training.  I’ve put it off long enough.  Any hints from you more experienced mothers?  I don’t have any idea how to get started.  And this is the part that I’m least looking forward to:  how do you clean out a used potty?  Everything I’ve read discussion about effective use of bribes, underpants v. pull-ups, etc, but none of them talk about this aspect of it.

Some Business

January 28, 2008

By the way, I’m making an effort to update my blogroll today.  I hadn’t realized how many dead blogs I had on it or how many people had moved since I last updated it.  I’m pretty sure every blog on there now at least links to the most recent address, but you might check yours just to make sure.  Also, I’ve added a few.  If yours is on there and you’d prefer it wasn’t, either leave me a comment or e-mail me and I’ll remove it.  The same goes if you want to be added.  I’m always on the search for good new blogs.

Taking Back My Blog

January 28, 2008

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been making an effort to write more positive–or at least neutral posts–since that anonymous commenter from a week or so ago.  Several days that has kept me from writing altogether.  When I’m already not in a great mood and only able to think of less than happy things to say, I can’t handle criticism like that.

I’m sick of it.  I hate editing myself.  I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter, it’s my blog, and I can say whatever I want.  But while I’m fully aware I can write what I want, that doesn’t mean I can handle the responses to what I say.  Besides, sometimes I’m not aware of what kind of mood my words are conveying; I’ll think I’m saying some complaint jokingly, but it doesn’t come out that way at all.  Something that was meant light-hearted ends up drawing criticism.

My gut reaction is usually to just shut down the blog, but I rely on it–and you guys–too much.  I don’t get a lot of peer communication during my day, so I’m grateful that this outlet is there for me.  And I know a lot of you guys feel the same.  For that reason, I’m appealing to you to put up with my whiny days, of which there will likely be many, and take the advice we tell our own kids (or will in the next couple of years): If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

All of that leading up to the same complaint from a week or so ago–I still hurt everywhere.  The joint pain continues to get worse every day, and M and I are at a loss as to what could be causing it or how to ease the pain.  I’ve been reluctant to say anything about it to anyone for fear of being annoying with my complaining, so not even my mom knows about the problem yet.  And that’s a problem in itself because my dad is staying with us for the week.  I’m trying to act like everything’s fine when he’s around so that he won’t suspect something is wrong.  Silly, isn’t it?

I know it’s probably time to go to the doctor.  I could make a billion excuses as to why I don’t want to go–all of them real and reasonable–but none of them are going to fix the problem.  Not that that means I’m calling the doctor yet.  It really is a pain to go.  I’ll probably put up with this for another few days before giving up and going through all the trouble of setting up and attending an appointment (with two kids in tow).

On the bright side, I have a really happy, sweet post coming up in the next couple of days.  So anonymous commenter, stay tuned for that one.  It should prove to you that I’m not all doom and gloom.

Taking Action at Last

January 26, 2008

BabyN’s four-month check-up yesterday didn’t go quite as expected.  Not with BabyN, though; he’s fine.  He’s healthy as a horse, strong for his age, and gaining weight impressively (but not too much either).

The unexpected part happened just before the doctor was leaving.  He asked PJ if everything was okay with him.  Before even thinking about it, I blurted out my worries about his language development.  The doctor listened, not validating my concerns but not brushing them off either.  He advised I contact our area’s Early Childhood Intervention.  When the nurses had to really search to find me that number, I got the impression they aren’t asked to look that up often.  The doctor really is at least somewhat concerned, as he suggested something that is obviously unusual for him.

So Monday I’ll be making that call and probably soon after that he will have someone coming to evaluate him.  I’m already nervous about it all.  I can’t help but hope and pray I’m just neurotic this time.  I can’t bear to think that there’s something wrong with my little boy.  But in my heart I know there is.  At least now we’ll be doing something about it instead of trying to ignore it and worrying anyway.

I’ll probably be describing the whole process here.  M and I have agreed not to mention this to our families just yet–not until we know what’s going on anyway.  So you guys get to be my sounding board and the poor ears (eyes?) who get to listen to all my rants.

My Hubby

January 24, 2008

I’ve had a hankering to write about politics lately, but today I find I’m not really in the mood for that kind of debate so I think I’ll put it off for another couple of days.  Instead I’ll take my cues from the comments from yesterday’s post and elaborate some on my hubby and our relationship.

M really and truly is the man of my dreams.  I doubt any of your husbands are quite as considerate and sweet as mine (okay, you’ll probably say so, but let me pretend I have the best, okay?).  He treats me like a queen, to the point that I actually feel guilty about it.  Both times I was pregnant, he was basically my cook, maid, and personal servant any second he was home.  That was when he started the routine of driving home during his lunch break, even if he spent twice as much time on the road as he did at home.  He never complained about all the extra work he was doing because I was too sick to do it myself.

Even now he is all too caring about me.  He knows that it stresses me out to have to deal with cooking dinner most nights when I’m also working around feeding BabyN and have fought PJ all day long, so he jumps to take care of it without hesitation (and yes, he is definitely the better cook).  I don’t feel comfortable taking both boys places very often, so we go grocery shopping together in the evenings–and if I need a break, he will do it by himself and take PJ.  He does at least half the housecleaning, if not more, and never asks me to do the chores that annoy me most (of course, I don’t ask him to do the ones he doesn’t like either).  Can you see why I feel like I take advantage of him?

M works all day long yet still has sympathy for me when I’ve had a bad day, even though we both know he still worked harder than I did.  That’s part of the reason I try to be considerate about not disturbing him at night.  He makes many more sacrifices for me, so if I can make even this one for him, I feel a little better about what he does.  His job is also very important.  Without giving too many specifics, he works around giant motors with high voltage.  They are really quite dangerous for people who aren’t careful.  If he makes even one tiny mistake, it could have fatal results, either for him or one of his co-workers.  And if he hurt someone else, even accidentally, he would be held liable, would certainly lose his job, and possibly even be jailed for it (according to what he has told me).  For that reason, he needs to be at his best every day, which can’t happen if he doesn’t get enough sleep during the week.

But on weekends he does his best to give me a break.  He voluntarily gets up early at least one morning to watch the boys while I sleep late.  He will take over nighttime feedings if I ask him to.  And that’s exactly why I don’t, if that makes any sense.  I hate feeling like I’m taking advantage of his generosity.  I try to keep things as balanced as possible by doing everything I possibly can on my own and only letting him help me out occasionally, but it still happens more than I’d like.  I know he’s making many more sacrifices for our family–and me–than I ever will be able to do for him.

Lack of Sleep

January 23, 2008

I wish the boys had a grandma who lived close that I could pawn them off to every so often.  They’ve been quite the handful this morning.  PJ is being your average toddler, complete with ear-piercing shrieks when he doesn’t get what he wants.  In fact, those shrieks are what woke me up.  I’m kind of surprised they didn’t wake up the dog next door as well.  At least once the tantrum ends, it’s several minutes before the next begins.  I like the breaks.

BabyN is generally sweet, but he kept me from getting much sleep last night.  Apparently my attempts to tweak his sleep schedule backfired last night.  He was awake and angry every three hours all night and wouldn’t calm down until I’d fed him.  He was also so tired that he did his sleep-eat thing that takes forever.  Maybe that’s why I’m so easily frustrated by it today–I’m exhausted and cranky.

And it’s been about three hours since he ate, so he’s getting fussy again.  Do you think it could be a growth spurt?  Maybe my attempts to change his schedule have nothing to do with all the waking because he’s just that hungry no matter what.  I can hope.  I’m SOOO ready to have my nights back.  Really, I was just spoiled with PJ.  There’s a good sleeper for you.  I knew before BabyN was born that the odds of having a repeat with the sleeping were slim, but it seems I didn’t quite fully prepare myself for this.