Tuesday, July 31, 2007
After my friend Holly had her second child I asked for the lowdown. She told me that the whole time she had been pregnant she had been worried about how much work it takes to have a newborn – how it had seemed so hard the first time and she wasn’t sure how she was going to do it again while caring for her older son. But once her second son came she quickly realized that the newborn was a breeze. Sure there was sleeplessness to deal with but really the bulk of her work, her motherly struggle, still revolved around caring for her two year old. Keeping him busy, happy, fed, clothed, and in control. The baby was easy as pie.
Holly was dead on. Ray seems pretty damn easy. It does help (knock on wood) that in comparison to Noah, so far Ray seems to be an easier infant. He sleeps a large portion of the day – still waking to eat every two hours, but often dozing back off. Almost every time I take him out of the house he sleeps through most of it. I’m fairly certain that in his first two and a half weeks that he has gotten more sleep than Noah during his first six months. Also, so far (knock on wood) Ray doesn’t have the acid reflux that tormented Noah during his first six months of life – which means a lot less spitting up and screaming. Of course Ray still has two more weeks before he’s out of the woods as the doc says reflux can pop up anytime within the first month.
So what is Ray like? Well he nurses – A LOT. He’s a hungry mungry. And oddly enough though I was told before that the poop of completely breastfed babies does not stink, and Noah’s didn’t, Ray breaks the mold. He is a seriously stinky boy. But he’s also cuddly, smooshy, wide-eyed and observant when he’s awake, and fairly good natured.
Why do we give our children names and then call them other things? For some odd reason Mark and I have taken to calling Ray by the name of Pete. Sneaky Pete, Stinky Pete, and Sweety Pete to be precise. Noah keeps reminding us that Pete is not Ray’s name. To which we can only reply “Yes, Bug, we know.”
Noah adores Ray. Several times a day he will fawn over him, muttering in a very high pitched voice “He’s SO little. He’s SO cute. Hi Ray! Hi Ray! Ray? Ray? Ray?” He kisses him, pets him and asks to hold him. That isn’t to say there isn’t some tension – but he really takes it out on us. Occasionally telling me to give Mark the baby so I can hold him, climbing on me when I’m nursing Ray, stopping in the middle of meals to say “I’m too far from my Mama. I need to be close to her” while moving his chair right next to mine and pawing at me while I try to eat, and crying for more attention from me particularly when he gets tired. The biggest battle we’ve waged thus far was the nighttime battle. Prior to Ray’s birth, whenever Noah has woken up in the middle of the night I have gone to him and comforted him back to sleep. But now that I’m nightly wetnurse duty this isn’t possible. There were two majorly sleepless night showdowns of tears and yelling – from both Noah and Mark – but since then Noah has been sleeping all night in his bed without calling out for either of us in the middle of the night. It’s too early to consider it a complete success, but so far so good.
How have I been feeling? Almost too good. I was so worn down and achey by the end of my pregnancy and the impact of birth on my body seemed so much less dramatic than last time that I was pretty much up and around the day after I got home from the hospital. However in the last week I started getting crampy and my bleeding increased significantly, rather than dying down as it should. I called my OB office with my concerns and the nurse practitioner asked me a million questions about how I’d been feeling and what I’d been up to before she outright scolded me for not taking it easier. “The postnatal recuperation time should be six weeks of rest and it doesn’t sound like you have taken one of them.” Ahem. But it’s been hard to curtail my activity when I just feel like there is little reason for it.
As for managing two kids, it’s a snap. That is when you have the fulltime assistance of your husband. I’m sure it will get tricky when Mark goes back to work after Labor Day. But I won’t think about that today. One thing that keeps striking me is how much more low key everything feels with a second child. First time parents are bundles of nerves, learning everything, worrying about it all. Mark and I worried about every little grunt and cry – constantly wondering “is that normal?” and always checking Noah’s breathing. With Ray we just assume he’s fine. I don’t well up with tension every time he starts crying. I don’t fear that if he starts wailing to be fed and I don’t attend to him immediately that he’ll feel neglected. It’s all old hat and we just kind of roll with it. That is as much as two over-researching, over-analyzing, overly sensitive folk can roll with it.
One thing I HAVE to mention is how surrounded and overwhelmed by love I often feel. We are SO incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful circle of family and friends. People so thoughtful and so generous that it really boggles the mind. We’ve had neighbors bringing us food and gifts. Family sending cards and gift certificates, and calling to check in. Friends coming to the hospital and dropping by the house to see the newborn soft pink lump. We even have blog pals crafting! Between Ray’s birth and my birthday my house was so full of flowers it looked briefly like a funeral home. And of course the warm wishes and emails from you folks were overwhelming warm and touching. Thanks. Really, it means a lot.
I have an excellent example of how great our families are. My Dad decided to come to the hospital spur of the moment after I called and told him I was in labor. He stayed in the waiting room almost the whole night and came in to see the baby just after he was born at 1:15 am. It was 5 am by the time Ray and I were put in our room and everyone was beat. I told Mark and Dad to go back to our house and get some sleep and I’d see them in the morning. Meanwhile my Mom had been back at the house all night watching Noah. Playing trains, singing and dancing, painting and trying to follow my ridiculously over detailed schedule. Her fiancé Larry was also with her, he came bearing groceries – and they were spending the night. I knew it might be a little weird for all of them when I sent my Dad, whom had been divorced from my mother for 26 years, back to the house to sleep. But I knew that everyone wanted to be there with me, Mark, Noah and Ray and that it wouldn’t be a big deal. Not only were they civil, they seemed to all get along swimmingly. Larry cooked them all breakfast and after visiting with me for awhile the next morning they all went out to lunch and fought over who would pay the bill. I can’t tell you how great it made me feel. When I was telling my Grammy about how funny it was to have them all hanging out together she said “I guess they must all love you a lot” and I seriously almost cried.
And on a much more light and random note – I’m addicted to Dunkin Donuts iced coffees. I’ve been getting one almost every day since a couple of weeks before Ray was born (half caf and decafs while pregnant). I seriously might need an intervention.
And that’s all the time and all the thoughts I got at the moment.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
We spent about an hour giving my instructions, getting our ducks in a row and setting out for the hospital. And still my contractions were here and there and everywhere. When I got to Pennsylvania Hospital they confirmed that my water had broke and that I was four centimeters dilated. They explained that as it was Friday the 13 – that they were CRAZY busy and apologized that it would be awhile until they moved us along in the process. It took quite a long time to get me checked and moved into a labor and delivery room. In the mean time a nurse came in said “I think your Dad is here.” To which I reacted “I don’t think so” and she said “Bald guy?” Yup. That’s my Dad. He decided he didn’t want to stay home and decided to come join in the fun. Of course he also didn’t want to see any of the messy business so he mostly hung out in the waiting room. Old school style.
As with Noah’s birth, I needed to be put on a Pitocin drip to make my contractions stronger and more regular. And as I well knew Pitocin makes contractions hella painful, hella fast – so they suggested I get an epidural before they put me on the drip. Since I did thirteen hours of pain med-free labor with Noah before finally opting for the drugs – I knew damn well that I wanted the epidural. Problem was the Anesthesiologist was quite busy and wouldn’t be available for a few hours – so we were told to just hang out. It was 10 pm when Dr. Feelgood finally showed. Except he didn’t make me feel so good. After he gave me that lovely, lovely needle my blood pressure plummeted, I nearly passed out and Baby Ray’s heartbeat took a dive, and then raced. It was kind of scary for a couple of minutes. But then glorious, glorious numbness and all was well. At midnight I was kind of puzzled why I was starting to feel quite a bit of pain again. My doc came in and suggested I push the button for more epidural meds and then explained I was at 7 cm and it would probably be at least another two hours. I insisted Mark go get my Dad and head to Coco’s for a beer and something to eat so that I could get some rest. Just after they left the nurse came in and when I explained to her that my glorious numbness was failing me she suggested I’d feel better after she catheterized me and emptied my bladder. When she did it sounded like we were in the room with Niagara freakin’ Falls. And um, NO, the pain didn’t get better it got WORSE. And “OH!” said the nurse. It looks as if my bladder was so full that it was blocking my cervix from dilating. And NOW – the baby is ready to push his way out. But small problem, though I am in incredible pain that will not let up until I push that baby out, we have no doctor and my husband is missing. While the nurse steps into the hallway and frantically shouts for the doctor I call Mark on his cellphone just as he is served a beer and say “Come back NOW!” The Doc comes in and the nurse suggests we wait to push until my husband comes in to which I say “FORGET THAT! WE are GOING.” And just as I bear down for the first push Mark comes in the door. Literally five minutes of pushing and BINGO – BABY. At 1:15 am on Bastille Day 07/14/07 - Hello Ray Konrad Eggerts – 37 weeks gestational, 8 pounds 9 ounces, 20.5 inches. Thank GOD he was early. And of course he’s beautiful. Love at first sight as they say.
And now the quick details. He was a fast latch – no crying about breastfeeding this time. This time it seems we’re both old pros. Though DAMN my nipples hurt. He looks less like Mark than Noah, and more like a Maersch – my paternal side of the family. His hair is decidedly reddish, as is his ruddy complexion and for now his eyes are a steely blue. Noah adores him. He’ll give him ten minute intervals of full-on overwhelming affection. Cooing about how cute he is, repeatedly asking “What he trying to say to me?” and kissing his head – and then he goes back to fixating on trains or the vintage Fisher Price Little People Airport that Ray brought him for being such a great big brother. Noah did absolutely great while having a flurry of attention from his Grandparents, but has had some meltdown moments here and there since. This is of course to be expected when you factor in some lack of sleep and a head cold with the fact that he is no longer alone at the center of the universe. But for the most part he is handling the situation rather well. It of course helps to no end that Mr. Mark will be home from work with us for the next six weeks. He might not get the big bucks but he has great time off. I’m still looking six months pregnant and pissy that I’m still all puffed up from extra liquid. My hands, feet and even legs are bloated and throbbing. But other than that I can’t complain too much. Whereas last time I spent at least a week on the couch – this time I was up and around in no time. Sure I’ve got some pain – but it’s manageable and I’m not letting it hold me back. I took Ray on the subway and downtown to his pediatrician appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday – and will again tomorrow. He’s got some jaundice so they just keep testing his blood levels and waiting for the counts to go down. He’s SO sleepy – like seriously awake for six hours a day – with periodic waking to eat about every two hours and then back to dreamland. If only it was always this easy.
So that’s what I’ve got for now. Too much? Not enough. From my standpoint it's just the tip of the iceberg. But you be the judge. More pictures coming soon.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Of course the most noteworthy thing in all of this is that less than a week after this happened last time – my water broke and Noah was born. The clock is ticking.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
While I’m in the hospital birthing Baby Eggerts part deux, my Mom is coming to our place to care for Noah. In an effort to assist her I thought I’d jot down some notes on what we do on a typical day. I by no means intend for her to follow this to the letter – but merely give her an idea of our routine so that she can take or depart from it as she wishes. Plus once I got started it just became an interesting and odd effort in documentation. Of course in writing all this down I was struck by a couple of things. First – holy anal! It’s funny – I don’t consider myself a letter of the law person but I’ve always been pretty organized and disciplined about work. And since THIS is my work I’ve gotten fairly regimented. And two – goodbye routine! Once Baby Ray enters this world the whole routine flies right out the window and the next couple of months will be me floundering to put some order back in our days. It’s like starting a new job.
So welcome to our minutiae.
- Noah typically wakes up at around 7:30 am but could sleep as late as 9 am – if you are really lucky.
- He’s usually cuddly and wants to play a little bit in his room before going downstairs for breakfast.
- Breakfast is normally around 8:30. He typically eats an Eggo waffle, with a puddle of whip cream for dipping and some fruit. He also drinks a little orange juice in one of his big boy plastic cups.
- He might play for awhile in the kitchen after breakfast depending on the time. I typically try to take him up to the third floor in time to watch Big, Big World on PBS channel 12 at 9:30 am on weekdays. We take a breakfast snack upstairs – a sippy cup of watered down apple juice and a small plastic bowl of dried cherries and cheerios.
- On the way upstairs I will also grab his clothes – but I don’t normally change him until after I’m showered and hopefully he’s pooped.
- He watches TV while I shower, dress and check email – Big Big World is followed by Sesame Street or he might ask to watch something on On Demand. Typically Zoboomafoo which is under Kids, PBS Sprout, and then on the second page. Sometimes it’s Berenstein Bears which is in the same section.
- I try not to let him watch more than an hour of TV in the morning –and he doesn’t normally give me any problems when I tell him to turn the TV off when his second show is done. We then go downstairs and either head out for a planned activity or find something to play.
- Our biggest windows of free times are 10:30 to 1 and 1:30 to 3. Noah will tell you what he wants to do and it’s most often playing trains, “baby and big sister,” blocks, art (supplies in one of kitchen wicker bins), or going out on the town to visit friends, or see the park, the Y, a museum, etc.
- Lunch is normally around 1 pm. He normally has lunchmeat, cheese, bread veggies, and fruit cut up. I don’t usually give him his juice cup until he’s done his meal otherwise he fills up on juice. And sometimes he’ll have dessert if he asks for it or you need it to bribe him to finish his meal. Jello, 8 jelly beans, or a couple of cookies or kisses.
- Quiet time is typically between 3 pm and 4pm. I ask him what he wants to play with during QT and put it in his room. Then I close the gate and set the cooking timer for 45 minutes. I close the door and lay on the bed in “Ray’s room” and nap. You could probably read a book if you prefer. He’ll come in to get you when the timer goes off.
- After QT and a little bit of play comes Mr. Rogers on DVR and a popsicle. He’ll often ask for more snack after the popsicle and I’ll give him some crackers and juice. And he’ll typically watch a second show after Mr. Rogers – either another episode or Bears – at which time I’m normally starting dinner.
- Dinner is normally around 6 pm. I feed him what we are eating – some meat, some veggies, some fruit – and normally a cheese stick too. And a watered down sippy cup of juice after he starts eating. Dessert is normally reward for eating most of his food. I do negotiate with him if he’s obviously not going to eat everything – you know “Eat two more pieces of meat, three green beans and the rest of your strawberries and then you can have dessert.” And the dessert list is pretty much the same as lunch.
- After he eats dinner I usually set the timer on the microwave telling him exactly how much time there is to play before bath time which is typically between 7 and 7:30 pm. When we go upstairs for bath we take up a plastic straw cup of water which we leave in his bedroom when we go in so he can pick out his own pajamas – and take the timer upstairs.
- Start the bath water and ask him if he wants bubbles or color. Bubbles is one cap full and he has to put it in the water himself. Color – ask him which one he wants and then he gets to put in three pellets.
- Undress him and he pees on the potty before he gets in. Set the timer for 20 minutes bath time – give him his toys. I’m sure you will have to remind him at least once to not splash water out of the tub. Sit on the floor next to the tub – use the Johnson Baby Wash to soap up his hair and the cup to rinse him off – after reminding him to try to put his head back. Then tell him to stand up and ask him what letter he wants you to write on his belly with foamy soap. Then help him distribute the soap everywhere and wash himself before rinsing off.
- When the timer goes off he should put all the toys back in the green bin, give you the wash cloth and pull the plug.
- Then he gets ten minutes on the timer for naked time. When the timer rings, ask him if he wants to pee on the potty and then dress him and give him an additional ten minutes on the timer to play before going downstairs.
- Brush teeth. Put his paste on his brush – he brushes first and then gives you a turn. Then he likes to weigh himself before going into his room.
- Turn on his lullaby CD. Press power, play, then p.mode twice for repeat and then timer until you see the number 90 for the sleep timer.
- Noah picks out three books – two for you and one for him. The one he reads means that you just let him finish the sentences – though he can do this with most books. He’ll drink his water while you read.
- After books, turn on the monitor, give him a stuffed animal, turn off the light and lay down with him.
- We talk a little bit about the day (“I had a lot of fun with you today. What did we do?”) and then I tell him it’s time to get ready to sleep. If he’s restless he might roll around a bit but I just kind of lay there like I’m already sleeping and will occasionally quietly go “shhh” if it goes on too long. After he nods off I cover him up and leave the room. The monitor receiver should be on the windowsill.
- Later when you go to bed in “Ray’s Room” close the gate so that if he walks in his sleep in the middle of the night he won’t fall down the steps.
- The odds are fifty/fifty that he’ll sleep all night in his bed. Or he’ll come in and get you around 4:30 and you can either lay with him until he falls back asleep or just sleep with him.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Noah’s pretty excited too. Last week we went to see our friend Wendy’s new baby, Ivan. Noah was absolutely adorable with him. He asked to hold him, to touch his hands, to kiss his head. And both times we left he got upset about leaving and said “But I want to spend more time with him.” He’s such a caring and gentle little soul and though I’m certain the adjustment of sharing Mama will be a hard one – I can already see how much love he’s storing up for his baby brother and it makes me so proud.
It’s in the mid-nineties and will remain so for the next three days. I’m literally about to pop – and I’ve just acquired the head cold that Noah has been battling since Friday. Physically I’m feeling like ass. Emotionally I’m overwhelmed. And mentally I’m a raging to-do list with no energy to get a damn thing done. But ya know what – things are good.