Clearly blogging has not been a high priority this month.  But I am determined not to abandon the blogging altogether. So, time for some marathon blogging! 

First, a quick summary of some fun events that happened before Hibou Marron's arrival that never got blogged about. 

First - a little trip to the zoo with some friends.
 Like much of this year, the weather was very unpredictable.  So it was a little colder than we anticipated.
Papillon hung out with this friend (who is also the friend who was a huge help the day of Hibou's birth) most of the time. Which was really nice because I did not have the energy to chase her around very much that day.
Another mom friend and her new little girl came along as well. I think she was 5weeks old at this point. So cute!
Papillon and I with the giraffe's!

We also celebrated Auntie M's birthday with some presents.

And celebrated a little friend's birthday!  Papillon loved the animal crackers.
and the juice boxes. And the cupcakes, for that matter.
Happy Birthday, Birthday Boy!

And of course, the day before Hibou's birthday, there were more birthday festivities for Auntie M.

Papillon and Grandpa

This is totally random, but too cute not to share. 
Papillon and her Grandpa at his bakery, pretending the window is a drive-through (or, walk through I guess...) and ordering "small fries". 

We have not been to the bakery since Hibou was born, and even though we have seen Grandpa, Papillon misses seeing him at the bakery.  At least once a day she says "Grandpa?"  and I say "where is grandpa?".  Papillon: "Hot pan! Hot Pan!"  (which is what he and she shout when he is taking hot pans out of the oven at the bakery)

Due Date

Happy Due Date to me and my little Hibou Marron

So weird to think you could still be inside of me.
So happy you came when you did.

God's Timing: A Birth Story: Part 4

Continued from Part 3

If I could change one thing about this birth story - it would be this. 
Due to some serious communication breakdowns, when they took Hibou away to have her first official bath, she ended up being away from me for more than 2 hours.  We kept asking after her and got different stories (there is a long line for newborn baths in the nursery today and they're understaffed, she needs to warm up on the warmer bed first, we'll give her back when you get to your recovery room, now we are just waiting (for an hour!) for a transport to get you to the recovery room, actually she needs to be cleared by the nurse before you can have her). 
During these two hours I became increasingly miserable. I tried to be patient, tried to be firm about wanting her back.  But I started feeling kind of panicky and eventually I just started crying uncontrollably.

At this point, the nurses wondered why my blood pressure was so high.  They thought I was worried that something was wrong with Hibou and assured me they had just come from the nursery and Hibou was perfectly fine.  This just made me mad - why had the nurses seen my baby but I wasn't holding her, my family hadn't met her, and Papillon who was there to meet her little sister was getting tired and punchy. 

I don't think I could ever do a home birth or even a birth center birth (I do find that being in a hospital is comforting - knowing that an OR, NICU and other such emergency stuff is ready at hand), but in those two hours without my Hibou I really really wished the hospital didn't exist and I was just home with my baby. Hospital procedures are more than obnoxious when you have an uncomplicated, healthy, med-free birth. 

But, eventually I did get her back, and needless to say, I was very possessive of her after that. Any nurse that said she needed to take her to the nursery for this or that test, got snapped at and given a very short window of time in which to bring her back.

Barring that miserable incident, my birth story is very dear to me. It was hard work, it hurt like the dickens, but I love it.  God is very good.  He heard our prayer that she come early (she will be more than a month before Mon Amour goes on his next business trip - hooray).  He laid every thing out - from the friend who came to the OB appointment with me, to canceling Mon Amour's dentist appointment, to letting the doctor post-pone pitocin (can you imagine how fast things would have gone with the drugs? Yikes!).  He scheduled my OB appointment and broke in labor (which was probably 12:30 ish...2ish hours before Hibou arrived) to contact anyone, and who knows how that story would have played out. He even gave me a brief respite from a cold in order to give birth - for just that one day, I wasn't stuffy at all.

Beyond that He has blessed me with many trivial things that I was secretly hoping for. I wanted a small baby, but when my first was a 9+ pounder, I really didn't think it would happen.  I also wished that baby #2 would look significantly different than Papillon; I don't know why exactly, but I wanted to be able to tell right away that she was her own person. And she is. 

My recovery story warrants a few sentences as well. 
My drug-free birth was amazing. Within an hour of her birth I felt like I could get out of bed and walk. The entire time in the hospital I marveled at how well I felt. Other than the cold that had returned, I felt 100%.    Following our departure from the hospital, I didn't even fill the prescription for painkillers that they gave me.
They wouldn't tell me anything about my stitches with Papillon (how many? what degree? I have no clue...), but it must have been much worse than these.  I sat down very gently for weeks after Papillon's birth - with in 48 hours of Blondie's birth, I couldn't even tell that a 3rd degree tear had happened.  I wouldn't have known it during the moments of delivery (delivering a small baby is no less work than delivering a big baby) - but it seems there is a significant difference in the recovery from delivering a 9 lb baby in 4 pushes, and delivery a 6 lb11oz baby in the same.

Life at home has been better than I expected as well.  Hibou nurses all the time. With Papillon I was keeping detailed notes about diapers, nursing times, etc.  I started doing that with Hibou, but it felt silly - it was very obvious she was nursing enough and making enough diapers.  It feels so great not to be keeping scientific track of her care. 

Nursing is also a totally different experience. I was sore from nursing for about the first week. But at this point there is only a tiny twinge of pain when Blondie latches badly.  Beyond that, it has been a simply amazing experience. Such a difference from the first time around. 

Baby blues have been very minimal so far. With Papillon there were moments when I couldn't look at her because I was just plain overwhelmed.   Thus far, I have had a few "hormonal moments" where I feel "off".  But other than that, its been smooth sailing. 

I am so blessed.

God's Timing: A Birth Story: Part 3

Continued from Part 2

My doctors office was supposed to have called ahead to let L&D know that I was coming, but apparently they hadn't gotten that far.  So we got to do all the registration paperwork, which we had just about completed when the call finally came in to expedite us through the process.  What lame timing.   I paced through a couple contractions (hooray for contractions finally starting!) in the waiting room while they got us a room.

Once in the room it was time for a hospital gown, monitors, blood pressure, etc. The hospital's on-call doctor (a midwife) had a bit of a passive-aggressive personality and was quick to tell us that they would be starting pitocin right away.   This immediately put me on edge, a fact which it seems was most evident in my veins...or lack thereof.  Three different people tried to get an IV in me - they managed to do a blood draw on one arm, but that spot was good for nothing else (and later bruised up pretty badly). They found one in my other hand, turned on the IV flow and instantly my skin started to bubble - turns out it was not actually in the vein.  My hand was quite sore for sometime. They told me my hands/arms were very cold - but you could have fooled me cause I was feeling overly warm. We call that nerves.  They finally called in an expert who had to search and search, but did manage to get an IV in me.

Side note: I cried sad-tears twice during this whole delivery experience. Once was during the IV. I hate needles. I also hated that they wanted me to have pitocin. The combination of the two prompted tears.  Also side note: With Papillon I have no memory of getting the IV...I am pretty sure I was in transition at that point. Turns out severe contractions are a great way to distract you from pointy needles.

Our militant midwife returned to the room shortly after the IV ordeal and declared it was officially time to start pitocin - doctor's orders. Inwardly, I surrendered. I had no confidence in my ability to handle medically-induced contractions (I am told they are worse), and knew I wasn't up for fighting the institution that was the hospital.    Praise God for Mon Amour.  He asked the midwife if we could hold off on that until the doctor officially insisted.  She said he had officially insisted. And he told her, in that case, we wanted to go against medical advice - there would be no pitocin right now. 

The midwife huffed off to inform my OB who eventually came in to tell me he would give me an hour or so to see what happened - then it would be pitocin time, no arguing.  This was 11:40am.

During this time, we had been trying to get a hold of my doula.  I had met her just a few days before and she was going to send me her work number since she couldn't answer her cell phone during the day.  Since it was still 2.5+ weeks till my due date, it hadn't been a rush. So I didn't have her work number.   Needless to say, we left a few messages on her cell phone, just in case.

Around 12:45pm I was definitely feeling contractions.  Definitely uncomfortable, but not really all that painful. And frustratingly, they weren't really showing up on the monitor (seems it wasn't in a good spot...but gosh darn it, I wanted credit for those contractions!) Being in killing-time mode, and not being terribly uncomfortable, I made some phone calls. Checked in with my mom and Papillon who were working on packing a hospital bag for me. Called my sister to make some small talk. And thought how pleasant an experience this was compared to Papillon's rather hectic birth (little did I know what was to come). 

Thankfully, around 1:15pm my doula arrived. She had checked her messages on her lunch break and rushed right over!  Her timing was impeccable - things were starting to get uncomfortable.  The doula begins coaching me through breathing through contractions. Some are much worse than others (and still only about 50% of them show up on the monitors...I would get through a contraction, inform Mon Amour and the doula that it was the worst one yet, only to look at the monitor and see a tiny blip on the feed. Argh.)

At some point my mom and friend brought by my "hospital bag".  The anesthesiologists came by to introduce themselves, just in case I wanted or needed an epidural;  I was impressed how they did not push their 'product'; if you didn't know they were anesthesiologists you would have thought they were just there to congratulate me and give me some encouraging words!  Also at some point around this time, it seems the medical professionals had decided I was officially in labor, cause they didn't bother me about Pitocin anymore - and simply told me to give them a heads up if things seems to be changing/progressing. 

Around 2:20pm we inform the medical professionals that things are much more painful and the doctor returns to check on progress.  5 centimeters and the baby is much lower than she was - success! But, honestly, 5 was not the number I wanted to hear. 5 sounds like half way - 5 more slow centimeters to go. I remember feeling the same way when I was 5cm with Papillon - but clearly was much closer to the finish than "half way"

Since Hibou had finally "dropped" the doctor told me I could get out of bed and walk around (she was not very low before and they didn't want my walking around to allow the cord to drop down before the baby did).  They say they will come back in about an hour to do a little more monitoring. 

In between contractions I get out of bed.  I think I had maybe 4 or 5 contractions out of bed. Each on noticeably worse than the one before. I suddenly got incredibly warm (cue Mon Amour to bring cool wet towels  - he was a lifesaver!) and each contraction made me feel nauseous.  Time to get back in bed!

Not wanting to call a false alarm (I mean, seriously, 10 minutes before I was only 5 cms), I was hesitant to summon the nurse back in.  And my doula just kept dutifully coaching through contractions. It was Mon Amour who decided it was time to summon the doctor. He convinced me to do so under the pretense of summoning the nurse to put the monitors back on. Once the nurse came in, a contraction peaked, and my body involuntarily pushed.  Now it was definitely time to call summon the doctor.

I was 8 centimeters. My first thought was "no, don't push, I don't want to push till I am really really tearing this time." That thought was very shortly followed by the thought "to heck with tearing, I am getting this baby out now".

I pushed 4 times.

My doula was dutifully coaching some breathing - but I wasn't listening.
The doctor was putting on his gloves.
The nurse was in the hallway grabbing another nurse to help.

No one was ready. But at 2:52pm Hibou Marron arrived.

They handed her to me and I burst into happy tears.  First thought "this kid is tiny! definitely not 9lbs".
 (Later we officially confirmed she was a tiny-ish 6lbs 11oz.  Had she been born closer to her due date she would have likely been up there closer to Papillon's initial 9lbs. I guess she just wanted to be nice to her momma by coming early)

The moments immediately after her birth are ones I will never forget. For which I am very grateful.  With Papillon, they gave me some kind of pain killer immediately after the birth in order to stitch me up.  But it made me really really loopy. And I have almost no memories of first holding her.

Not so with Hibou. I remember her face, her hands, her tiny nose, her hair that I could tell was blonde even before they wiped it off. I remember allowing her to nurse and how she took to it like a champion.  I also remember every stitch (thank you, 3rd degree tearing. It seems Hibou followed the path Papillon had prepped 20 months before).  But I didn't care - those memories will fade.  Hibou's face never will.

To be continued...

God's Timing: A Birth Story: Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Disclaimer: This birth story is excessively long. Apologies if you were looking for the quick summary version. But I wanted to write down as many details as I remember cause my memories are very dear to me, and I don't want to forget anything!  

The day before I gave birth to Papillon, I slept a LOT.  We are talking lots of naps. At the time I didn't know why, but clearly my body knew it needed to rest up for the upcoming adventures.  The same was true of Hibou's birth.  Sunday night I slept like a rock!  Went to bed around 9ish, and didn't wake up until around 3am.  If this doesn't seem like much, just know that for many weeks leading up to this I would wake up every hour to hour and a half and have to readjust all the pillows and covers and what not in order to get comfortable enough to return to sleep.  So 9 to 3 without waking up was amazing.

3am ish is officially when this birth story starts, I suppose. Though I won't even pretend to call it labor since I wasn't feeling any contractions.  I woke up, felt like I had to go to the bathroom, but decided to try and ignore it - the sleep was just too good. I rolled over, then sighed as I realize the very large baby inside of me meant I didn't have the bladder control that I once had.  (Or so I thought - turns out this was my water breaking.   A very different experience from when my water broke in the middle of a severe contraction as we were driving to the hospital.)

After a quick trip to the bathroom - during which I had the fleeting thought "Wouldn't it be funny if that was my water breaking. I think there is some way to test that but I can't remember. Oh well. I doubt that is what it was".

Glorious sleep continued and I woke up in time to kiss Mon Amour good bye as he left for work.  As I got started on my day I got increasingly frustrated at my seeming "incontinence".  It was truly obnoxious and I began to wonder if it really was my water that had broken in the middle of the night.  I had promised Mon Amour that I would keep him fully up to date with anything remotely possibly labor related (since last time I wouldn't acknowledge the fact that labor had started despite the 60 second contracts 2-3 minute apart).  So I called him and said something nonchalant like "so, you may want to keep the bus schedule pulled up today cause there is a slight chance my water has broken".

I told him not to come home yet cause I had a regularly scheduled OB appointment shortly and we would know more then. Until then, I wasn't having contractions, so there was no rush.  "Should I cancel my dentist appointment for this morning" Mon Amour asked.  "No, I really doubt this is the real thing. So, just go to the dentist".

God is good. The dentist called Mon Amour shortly thereafter saying he had to reschedule as someone was out sick.  Totally providential. Otherwise Mon Amour would likely have been in the dentist chair when I called him later in the morning....

Shortly thereafter a good friend arrived who was going to watch Papillon while I went to the doctor.  Once again, in an attempt to be nonchalant, I opened our conversation with something eloquent like "In an interesting turn of events, it seems that my water may have broken. So would you come with me to the doctors and possibly be on Papllion-duty if I find I need to stay at the hospital"

Fortunately I have wonderful friends. This particular friend said she had no plans all day and could help out how ever was needed.  Another God moment: I originally had plans to have someone else watch Papillon for this appointment, when they fell through, I almost didn't bother to find a back up. In which case it would have been just me and Papillon at the doctors when we got word that Hibou was definitely on her way.  Again, praise God, He had a plan.

Off to the doctors we went. Once there, I casually informed the receptionist that I suspected my water had broken, so perhaps it would be nice to be seen promptly.  After a brief moment in the waiting room, they called me back. I stood up....and no longer had any doubts that my water had broken. Oops.

Another note about the God's awesome timing: If my labor hadn't started with my water breaking, and if I hadn't had a regular appointment that morning, I would have waited until I was really uncomfortable and definitely having regular contractions before I informed anyone. And chaos would have insued (as you will later see)

The actual appointment was a comedy of errors. The doctor had a student tagging along which made it even more interesting.

Dr: So you think your water has broken
Me: Well, I thought that this morning. I now know that it has
Dr: *chuckle*  Well, let's check.
*looks for appropriate medical stuff for exam. finds none. Calls for the nurse*

Dr: Well, let's check the baby's heart rate while we wait.
*looks for doppler. can't find it. exits the room to get one leaving the clearly uncomfortable student wondering what to do/say*

Dr:  Found one! .... Baby's heart looks good.
*still waiting for the nurse*
Dr: So, are you ready to have a baby today? *a little awkwardly and definitely amused by the situation*
Me: I suppose so.  *shrugging and trying to seem nonchalant*

After more awkward waiting, the nurse finally returns. Water is confirmed broken, I am 2, maybe 3 centimeters dilated, and I am instructed to head to the hospital and check myself in.  I return to the waiting room to inform Papillon and my friend that it looks like Hibou is on her way.  I would like to think I remained fairly calm and collected, but my friend informed me afterwards that she could see the news written all over my face.

I called Mon Amour and told him to catch the next possible bus - today was the day!  (This was 10:10am) Then I called my mom as Papillon, my friend, and myself walked across the hospital campus to Labor and Delivery.  Yes, I drove myself to the hospital and walked myself to Labor and Delivery - but no, this is not actually impressive since I wasn't having any noticeable contractions at this point.

At the security check in I informed the security lady that I was there to have a baby.  She seemed surprised, but said nothing by way of congratulations and simply informed me that Papillon could not come back with me...not even to the waiting room.  Weird.  Since I didn't feel woman enough to check into L&D alone, I informed the lady that if that was the case, I would come back later. And we walked out leaving a rather confused security lady behind us.

After a bit of pacing around hospital grounds, and trying to figure out what my friend needed to know about caring for Papillon that day (I ended up giving her zero helpful notes...oh well. She did great without direction), and also trying to compile a rough list of what someone could put in a hospital bag for me,  Mon Amour arrived (yay for co-workers willing to drive him to the hospital).  I was reluctant to say goodbye to Papillon for some reason it was weird to think that that was going to be the very last time that it would be just the two of us. I didn't feel real that I was going to have a baby that day - until I had to say goodbye to my first baby.  Weird.  But, we said goodbye and Mon Amour returned to officially check in.

To be continued...

2 Weeks - and a Blog Name

 Blondie is officially two weeks old today. 
Holy Smokes does time fly by! 
As does nap time...which is about to end. So I must keep this short again, just a few notes. 

First - theses pictures are from Saturday - St Patrick's day! I think they are all cute; not the best pictures ever, but I think it gives you a glimpse of how Papillon interacts with her little sister.

Second - Blondie (who is already less blonde than she was when she was born) officially has a blog name.  Hibou Marron.  The Brown Owl.  It's almost alliterative - her initials are actually I.M., but I is a very difficult letter to find a cute animal for. The "h" is not pronounced in its almost an "I" word.  

 Lastly - Hibou is growing!!  At her appointment today she weighed in at 6lbs 15oz.  4ozs ahead of her birth weight.  11ozs ahead of her hospital-discharge weight.  She is not setting any growth records - but she is growing. And that makes me happy.

Say "Cheese"

 Papillon has perfected her "say cheese" face. It's precious.

She is also becoming a pro at kissing her little sister. 

Who, in turn, has perfected the "why am I awake and not being fed" face. Talk about cluster feeding, yikes does she ever love to eat.  (for which I am very very grateful) 
Life with my girls is very good!

10 Days of Life with 2

 Today is day 10 with Blondie and so far, life is wonderful! I have to keep this short cause nap time is almost over, but a quick summary. 

Blondie is a great eater! Hooray!

She also sleeps impressively for a newborn. 
Isn't this an impressive swaddle job? Mon Amour did it.  It's a shame she hates being swaddled; she much prefers to stretch out with her hands near her face.

 She lost her umbilical cord at day 7 and had her first official bath on day 8.  Papillon enjoyed helping with the bath.  Blondie didn't mind the experience too much.

 She actually has periods of awake-ness!  Papillon never did at this age.  I love seeing newborn eyes open - just chillin.

 We tested out the ergo a couple days in.  It's kind of amazing!

Thus far, the transition from 1 to 2 kids has been easier than the transition from 0 to 1 kids.  Easier recovery physically. Less baby-blues.  Not that its not a lot work, but we focus on priorities - getting everyone fed, clothed and rested - and anything else that gets done is just bonus!  
So far,  we are loving life as a family of 4.

God's Timing: A Birth Story: Part 1

The story of Blondie's (maybe or maybe not her official blog name...that is TBD) birth is kind of amazing. Looking back God's hand is so amazingly clear and even as the story unfolded it was hard to miss the incredible "God Moments" as He put things in place for her arrival.    

In my mind, the story of her birth starts on Sunday, the day before she was born.  As I was drawing near to the end of pregnancy and the imminent arrival of a 2nd Child, I was becoming more and more aware of how my relationship with Papillon was going to change once a 2nd Baby was demanding my attention, and I was trying to be purposeful about spending some quality moments with her while she was still my one focus. 

Insert: Papillon's terrible head cold. 

She woke up around 4am Sunday morning and was very sad and fighting going back to sleep. I thought about just laying her down and letting her work through her misery herself. But, at that point I was pretty uncomfortable as well (sleep in the last few weeks of pregnancy was pretty terrible) so I figured we may as well just snuggle. We snuggled in her bed for a bit, but then decided that sleeping upright in the rocker would probably make breathing easier.  So up we went to the nursery, where we slept in the rocker together until the sun began to come up. 

I didn't realize it then, but looking back I love that God worked some time for Papillon into his plan for Blondie's birth. 

Due to a terrible night's sleep for all of us, we decided to skip church on Sunday morning.
That afternoon we went to a birthday party for my little sister. 

Perhaps it was that sip of Sangria at the party that inspired the events that followed...

Or perhaps it was the prayers of my Church Small Group that night. Blondie was very active inside of me that evening and I asked for prayers for a smooth and possibly early arrival. Little did I know she would arrive within 24 hours.

to be continued.

She's Here!

 It's a good thing I got that 36/37 week post in when I did cause we didn't make it much beyond 37 weeks. 

On Monday, March 5 at 2:52pm, a full 2.5 weeks early, our 2nd Bundle of Joy entered the world. 
She was wide awake and ready to meet me! Here she is just a couple minutes old.

I knew as soon as they handed her to me that she was tiny. (Compared to her 9lb 3 oz sister).
6lbs 11 oz of blonde perfection. 

Here she is today.   
She ate all night long and so far has been sleeping all morning. Like a good new born does, right?
Hopefully before too long the sleep will be at night with more eating during the day. 
Also, eventually she will have a blog-name. 
And there will be some birth-story posts soon too
But for now...time to sleep when I can. Nap time!