Friday, March 29, 2013

On the road

After a month of being in the house together, we decided that spending Spring Break at home may result in someone's being committed. So we loaded up all five of us, plus the dog, and headed to the coast to visit my dad and step-mom.
Avery was a champ on the drive while Eli and Syd (mostly Syd) snarked at each other for five hours. Avery doesn't love being away from home, but we brought the Ergo, they "baby cage," and four of our stolen hospital blankets so we're surviving. Eli and Syd are having A fabulous time and we've had ice cream and incredibly loose bedtimes every day.
My brother and sister-in-law are joining us tomorrow and we have multiple egg hunts on Easter. So fun!

They LOVE this playground and insist on going every time we visit.

OMG. This place made amazing ice cream sandwiches where you got to pick your cookie, ice cream, and topping. So freaking good.

Later C may have pet this seal (sea lion?). And then run like his ass was on fire when it started to bark at him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pretty little sadist

I took the kids to our little zoo yesterday and spent the majority of my time trying to get my kids to stop climbing the fences. Now Syd keeps asking me to tell her the story about the little girl/boy/dog/who knows who fell off the fence and got eaten by bears/tigers/wolves/ferrets etc. Then she giggles like a maniac. I may have created a monster...

Saturday, March 23, 2013


The weather was absolutely gorgeous today and so I offered to take the kids to the park. We ended up having a great time and spent a couple hours there. Eli was invited by some other kids to join their soccer game, and Syd spent most of her time pushing her backpack on the swings and going down slides face-first. Avery slept in the breeze and I was able to just sit and watch. I didn't lose anyone, and I even managed to take Syd to the bathrooms twice without an accident! (BTW, does the park trigger some switch in newly potty-trained kids? WTF? I don't think she could pick a grosser bathroom to make multiple trips to.)

Side note: We met TWO other Averys at the park today. Really hoping that it's a fluke or she may have to go by Jeffrey in school. Or we might have to change it to "Averson"
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Syd's gramma bought her a couple of bows at a boutique store today and they let Syd pick another bow for being their first customer of the day. She proudly announced that she wanted something for "Baby Jeffrey" (Lord help me, I love it!) and picked out this number. Poor Jeffrey...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Avery's hospital story

I've never really written my kids' birth stories because c-sections aren't as exciting as middle-of-the-night, "Honey, it' time!" stories, but I want to make sure that I remember Avery's as vividly as I do the other two. It's especially important because she got the "bonus stay" just when we thought we might be going home. The surgery itself was so easy and low-key, and Avery was born so fast that we were literally mid-sentence talking about something completely unrelated (or not. It turned out that my anesthesiologist had my grandma's maiden name, and his family was from the same area, so we were trying to figure out if we were related. We may be, but it may be one of those family scandal stories.) My doctor said, "Oh look, there's her bum!" and then "There's a hand!" and then Pop! she was out. Pop! is really the best descriptor I can come up with since that's what it felt like, like she popped out. After they got her cleaned up and gave her a little oxygen I was able to hold her while they finished with me. That part was especially awesome. I had been so prepped for a rough experience because Sydney's was so different. With her, the surgery took a LOT longer than we expected, they had to use the vacuum to get her out, and I had some reaction to the medicine that made me loopy and paranoid. All in all, not awesome. On top of that, it took me a lot longer to recover and I was in a ton of pain. With Avery, I practically jumped out of bed at my first chance. I kept thinking how lucid I felt. The first day, she slept most of the day and then the next day she took to nursing like a champ. It was all so ridiculously easy. And I met my goal of not looking like crap in all the pictures. There was dry shampoo, make-up, real-people clothes, and even a shower at the first possible chance!

Avery's breathing had been a concern since the recovery room, but the general consensus from the pediatritians was that we should just wait it out. Some of the nurses were a lot more concerned and I vacillated between mama-bear, "Don't touch my baby" and concern that Avery was going to suddenly and horribly do...something. I almost hugged the doctor who finally explained that while they couldn't send her home as she was, if something was going to go wrong, it was going to happen slowly and would be caught by the staff. He said, "I don't want you to be watching for anything. Let us do that. You enjoy your baby." Seriously the sweetest, most helpful thing he could have said.

They put Avery in the NICU on Sunday afternoon because her breathing was still rapid and inconsistent. I guess it's not uncommon for babies of mothers with gestational diabetes to have some problems regulating their breathing at first, but it generally resolves itself in 24 hours, or less commonly 48. So after two days, with different people showing vastly different levels of concern ranging from "She looks totally fine and just needs a little time" to "We need to admit her ASAP!", when we were starting to talk about going home, the pediatrician ordered a chest x-ray. Based on that the radiologist "couldn't rule out pneumonia" and so they decided to admit her to the NICU so she could be on antibiotics.  The admission sucked and there were a lot of tears (hers and mine). We were hustled down and a team of four nurses descended upon my tiny, brand-new baby to get all the labs that they needed before they started her on the medication. There was a lot of blood taken and then they put a teeny-tiny IV in her teeny-tiny arm. But thank goodness that was the worst part. I was able to sit with her pretty much 24-7 and, thanks to the pediatrician's urging, I was able to nurse her on demand rather than have to pump and deliver (which is what one of my nurses had said would be the case and was something I was not happy about.) On the second day, the neonatologist noticed that her bilirubin levels were going up and preemptively ordered that she sit under the lights for a day, so that when her breathing stabilized we wouldn't get stuck because of jaundice concerns. Our tiny glowworm didn't love that, but the lights worked and her levels went down by half. But because she was upset, her breathing got wonky again, buying us another night. The next morning her cultures came back clear so she was able to come off the antibiotics and they took the IV out. After that, the nurses started to note that when she was sleeping her heart rate dropped "below standards" (the set floor is 80 and hers was dropping into the 70s) which freaked me out. I was starting to be convinced that the longer we stayed there, the more reasons they'd find to keep her there. The general chorus was "She looks fine and healthy. It's just this one symptom." Luckily the neonatologist and the cardiologist determined that it was a totally normal heart rhythm. Turns out the NICU doesn't see a lot of full-term babies and so their standards are a bit different.

Finally on the fourth day we got the all-clear to go home, as long as Avery was able to maintain her temperature without benefit of the warming bed (another overly cautious move on the part of a night nurse). So we bundled her up as best we could and waited. We also cuddled her as much as possible, knowing that she'd do better in our arms than lying in the bed. After six long, long hours we got the all-clear and loaded her up (after an embarrassing few minutes where we couldn't figure out the damn carseat.) They offered, seriously, to play "Pomp and Circumstance" as we walked out the door. Even though we turned it down, I hummed it in my head as we walked out :)

It was so humbling and weird, to know that there was something going on but not having any answers. There were quite a few other babies in the same room as Avery that had been born on Friday, and so it was bittersweet when someone was discharged. And then there were the families who had been there two weeks, or in some cases months. There became a weird comraderie between the people you saw on the elevator, going to "that floor." And for the most part, the nurses in the NICU were amazingly wonderful and supportive. I will be eternally grateful for them, especially the night nurses who quietly let me snuggle my baby and who encouraged me to both rest and advocate for my daughter. As I tend to do, I got really focused and upset about the fact that the staff kept referring to Avery as "he." A very sweet and intuitive nurse must have noticed, and the next thing I knew Avery was wearing a pink onesie and a flowered hat. Exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. And a few days after we got home we got a card from the NICU staff, signed by several of the nurses who had helped take care of Avery and some we hadn't met. I'm sure that they do it for everyone, but I was touched that they did it. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How we're doing

For all my worry about going from 2 to 3 kids, the transition has been pretty uneventful so far. I really thought that Syd would have a hard time not being the baby anymore, but she's totally embraced the Big Girl/Big Sister role. In fact, thanks to my mom, she was totally potty-trained before we got home from the hospital! And the last three nights have been diaper free as well. I guess she meant it when she said she'd do it after Baby Waldo was born :) Syd loves "Baby Jeffrey" (seriously, this poor kid will never know what her real name is), and is constantly wanting to touch her, hold her, or know what she's doing. Eli is a bit less "emotive" but definitely likes her. He mostly wants her to lay with him while he watches TV and likes to catch her when she's awake.

Avery is, knock on wood, such an easy baby. She pretty much eats and sleeps and poops. She has a strong, loud cry but once she snuggles into your neck she's golden. She's starting to have more awake times, including a lovely stretch of about an hour first thing in the morning. We put her in her bouncy seat on the dining room table and everyone gets to goo-goo-ga-ga over her while we eat our breakfast.

I was really worried about my recovery, since Sydney's was so rough, but this one has been, by far, the easiest yet. I was up and around my second day in the hospital. By day three when they put Avery in the NICU, I was able to walk from my room, to the elevators, and then to the NICU without any problems. I've only taken a few of the "good" pills and really could have lived without them. Seriously, at this point I feel almost back to normal. I'm convinced that the universe knew that with everything else, I was going to need the extra emotional energy and so it threw me an easy pitch. That and I think my surgeon and anesthesiologist were awesome.
I am noticing that while I'm not so nervous with Avery, I am more cautious. This is the first kid that I diligently swaddle at night, and that wears a hat every day. I'm mindful of how many diapers she's had and how much she's eating, and I'm more careful about noticing her temperature.

I know that 7 lbs isn't small, but when I compare her to my 9lb Eli and my 10lb Sydney, she seems so dainty. She's practically swimming in the few newborn clothes that we bought for her. So my mission this weekend is to stock up on more teeny clothes. Tough life, I know. But I figure she's still got about 2 lbs before she'll outgrow those, so its money well spent.

I think her size, coupled with all the concerns in the hospital, has reminded me that she is so little and vulnerable. Which, of course, means that this will be the kid with the record for most broken bones/bruises/flying leaps from trees. We almost named her "Avery Danger" and she may live up to that nickname.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Avery Paige
March 1, 2013
7 lbs 1 oz

She's absolutely amazing. She's already proving that she's a girl with her own mind and her own way of doing things. I keep finding myself surprised that she's really here and she's really ours. At the same time, it feels like she's been here forever.

And after a long four days in the NICU, she's home

And then there were five :)
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baby update

Isn't it amazing how quickly you can fall so head over heels with such a tiny peanut?
We're about 95% committed to a name, but we haven't announced it to the family yet, so it's not quite official.
The kids are totally in love. Eli was so excited when he was holding her and she opened her eyes to look straight at him. Syd wants to carry her and push her around in the bassinet every time she visits.
We're still in the hospital. She looks great except that she's breathing too fast. We just found out that they "can't rule out" pneumonia, so they're going to admit her to the NICU. I'm trying to stay positive but I'm pretty bummed out about this. We need her to be at less than 60 breaths per minute for at least 12 hours, so prayers and good wishes would be appreciated.

Friday, March 1, 2013

She's here!

Just a quick update. Baby Waldo is here and she's amazing. 7lbs 1oz, born at 7:00 am on the dot via the world's easiest c-section. She seems so amazingly tiny, compared to Eli and Syd. We're both doing great and enjoying some quiet time before the kids come to meet her. No name yet. Still waiting/hoping for a little divine intervention :)

Baby Day!!!

We're waiting to be admitted now. I woke up SO excited! It's coming so soon!