20 July 2014

growing pains

Attachment parenting is a heck of a lot easier when your kid doesn't cry. Dr. Sears just about killed me with his "respond to your baby's cries within 30 seconds if you want to build a trusting relationship." I don't necessarily regret it, but holy cow is it easier when you have a chill baby vs. a high needs one.

Every night as I bounced and nursed my screaming baby to sleep for the 40th time, I would imagine what an awesomely, sensitive person she would be and how all my (and the Engineer's) efforts would pay off. And they did. She's an awesome kid and appears to be very healthily attached to us and able to freely explore her world.

But Vanilla, he's (knock on wood) so chill that I don't even have to think about attachment parenting. It's just happening. And maybe that has a little to do with the 2nd time parenting thing, too.

The transition to two has been easier than expected. We all sleep together in the same room (mostly separate beds - our teeny tiny room now has 4 beds in it!). LE and Vanilla rarely wake each other up at night, which I worried about before. They do however wake their parents up :). LE has been extra clingy to me and the Engineer and "acts out" occasionally. She's a kid, she's jealous... But mostly she loves on her little brother...a little too much love is often our biggest problem.

We have found it most helpful to have close family and friends come take LE for a few hours a day to give us a break and expend her energy (bringing food is an added bonus!). In the Fall she is going to start preschool for 3 mornings a week, which should work out just perfectly to give this mama a break! And lastly, routine seems to be helping both LE and me (I'm struggling with some PPD again, but seems to be easier to handle this time around with experience on our side).

I leave you with a video of our little mama, who often instructs me on what Vanilla needs :)

YouTube Video

17 July 2014

the drama...

Right after Dane was born someone asked what the middle name was going to be and while still in birth pool I replied, "Probably Marshall."

Then the Engineer, having just watched me heroically push out our 7lb 12oz baby, had a moment of weakness and told me I should pick the middle name.

Did he not realize he just gave me way too much decision making power at such a hormonal state?

What pursued next was days of us going back and forth, neither wanting to win or lose, because we are TOO nice like that.

So, then we picked a neutral name, "Vanilla."

Ok, just kidding, "Warren."

I wrote it on the birth certificate this morning and as the Engineer was getting ready to hit the send button on his email of vital documents, I started to panic and tears began to stream down my face. "We are going to mess this up! What is wrong with us?"

So, then the Engineer decided he would just pick and send it in and I could find out when the birth certificate came. Which I knew meant he scratched out Warren and caved to my beloved "Lachlan" (that you all hated...thanks a lot ;).

Then I panicked again...and finally we settled on a name and hit the send button.

And if we should ever find ourselves pregnant again and the Engineer says to me in our THIRD trimester that we still have plenty of time to figure out a name I will say "No, you juice box (this is our LE safe version of a less nice name)." And then I will just name him or her "Lachlan" all on my own.

Consider yourself warned, my dear Engineer.

Dane Warren Oberholzer (AKA Baby Vanilla)

12 July 2014

happy birthday, baby vanilla!

In the past week the Engineer and I have learned a valuable lesson: 
Stop comparing child #1 to child #2.  And this certainly was the case for Baby Vanilla's birth story.
Beginning a little over a week before the birth, I started having "early labor" signs in the middle of the night.  Given LE's rapid entrance into the world and everyone's "2nd babies come quicker!" advice, the Engineer and I were convinced it was game time.  The contractions would stop by 5am and my day would be unlaborful, resulting in a sleepless, babyless, week long, zombie-like trance for both of us. We started to feel like first time parents again.  I was losing my confidence in knowing what may or may not be labor and we were both exhausted from being up all night and in perpetual psyched-up game day mode. It turns out that continuously being in game time mode for a game with an unknown kick-off is a recipe for frazzled existence.

My mantra soon became "Slow down, calm down. Don't hurry, don't worry. Trust the process."
About a week later I had my routine midwife appointment, looking for some sort of validation that we aren't incompetent. They checked me and was 4cm dilated and Baby Vanilla was engaged with my pelvis.  "Any moment or day now," our midwife assured us, confirming that I am indeed not out of touch with my instincts...a welcome assurance.  She taught the Engineer how to check my cervix, so we would have a better sense of my progress if contractions started again in the middle of the night. Always a good skill for a man to have, even if he is under-slept.
 Timing the night before contractions.
Auntie Sarah decided to stay the night (determined to not miss this baby).  Sure enough I had contractions all night and by 2am I was 6cm.  Then 5am rolled around and just like clock work my body shut off.  The mood of the house was gloomy as we had yet another "false alarm".  We had even broken out the birth tub and began filling it with optimism, newfound confidence, and water. Double depressing. The Engineer proceeded off to work in the morning and Auntie Sarah stayed home with me and LE.  
We decided to keep the day active and went to a park for a play date with friends.  We walked through the woods and I did a set of stairs a few times while the kids played.  LE, conveniently, turned into a bear complete with snotty nose and sneezes...always good to have around babies.
Next up was Frozen (isn't this what all parents do with a bear child?) and a Chipotle run by Auntie Sarah.  I sat on my birth ball, hand expressing colostrum, trying to encourage some irregular contractions from the play date, and scarfed down some Chipotle (with spicy salsa, of course).  After about an hour of 5 minute contractions I called the Engineer home and very gun shyly texted the midwives...Not wanting to jinx my DAYtime contractions!  They suggested we get the birthtub setup and have one of them come check me and start setting up (smart ladies). Time for some more optimistic and confident water!
 Hand expressing and trying not to get too excited about daytime contractions!
At this point I was moving into every 3 min contractions and was 7cm when the midwife checked me.  It still didn't feel like the real deal to me, because I was fairly comfortable and able to talk and move through each contraction.  I decided to get in the tub mostly because I figured I should get my money's worth out of it.  After a while I began having to quiet down and breathe through my contractions, the water was liquid magic injected straight into my womb.  The midwives (we had 2 and an apprentice) hung outside with LE giving me space "to get in my zone."  They'd come in and listen to baby's heart rate from time to time.   At some point, the Engineer turned on some lovely mood music to set a relaxing environment.

Enjoying the warm water.
After awhile they checked me again and I was 9cm.  Everyone came inside and I continued my breathing and relaxing as contractions came and went.  Finally, I felt my body pushing and to be honest I remembered this stage with LE and felt a little reluctant to be entering into it. For me this is when labor begins.  This is when I feel uncomfortable and unsure that I really want to be doing this.  Big E and Little E took turns fanning me with a portable princess fan (eventually LE wanted to be held by Mammy and Auntie Sarah) and for 11 excruciatingly bountiful minutes my body completely turned over to my birthing and brought my baby to me.
Bess checking baby's heart tones.
Pushing and listening to the Engineer's encouraging whispers.
During this most intense of 11 minutes, I remember the thoughts "This is a bad idea" and "We should just adopt" coursing through my mind, only to be told later that it was also coursing out of my mouth as well. That piece is to be continued...
My water had broke a few minutes before I birthed, but it was still intact around Baby Vanilla's head as he emerged.  I felt some intense cramping and stinging, the midwife put counter pressure on my perineum and within a push or two he was out.  

"Thank goodness" he's finally out!

 I was in the birth pool, kneeling.  It was perfect - calm and quick.
(The Engineer would like to add that I bit him (and clawed him) at one point.  Which he took like a man.  He's the best birth partner!)

Baby Vanilla entered the world as cool as a cucumber.  He didn't make a peep pretty much his whole first day (about as opposite of his sister as one could be).  His transition into the world was so smooth it was almost like he didn't know it happened.  I think he is going to be a like his daddy.   I'm completely in love again!

Thank you to our lovely midwives for providing excellent care and for making a beautiful birth experience possible!  (Might I add that my crotch looks amazing...I didn't know it was possible to have no tearing AND no swelling!)

Thanks to Auntie Sarah for AMAZING birth photography and to my parents for helping with LE.  (And to LE for sharing her princess fan ;)
Welcome to the world, Dane Vanilla!  We are so in love with you!
7/9/14 @ 3:55pm
7lbs 12oz
20 inches
(Middle name still to be determined...)

05 July 2014

i'm the map, part 2

LE woke up this morning and said "Remember last Summer when Dora left me a map?" I'm amazed at how well she can remember things.

I decided to throw a quick map together and tuck it into her Dora backpack. I don't know why I forgot about this, it's such an easy way to make an ordinary day special.

1st stop hot chocolate.

Followed by the Columbus Commons carousel (can't beat this one for $1).

Then a nice long walk through the park. The Engineer and I pre-walk, 39 weeks and yep that's our birth tub in the background.

It was a nice relaxing day, just the three of us. I'm feeling grateful and ready to love a fourth.

04 July 2014

happy 4th

39 weeks!

Grilling good food with good friends.

Looks like Baby Vanilla is going to wait until after the holiday festivities before his grand arrival. Mama has been crampy and having braxton hicks, which makes the Engineer quite nervous based on LE's quick arrival. You just bake as long as you need and when you're ready to show your cute little face we have lots of kisses waiting for you :-)