Dear Julien … Letters to my second son.

Tuesday, 4th October, 2005

2 Months

Filed under: General,Pictures,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 14:56

Dear Julien,

Today you are 2 months old and it seems as if an eternity and yet no time has gone by at the same time. It’s hard to remember life the way it was before you arrived, in some ways, it seems as if you’ve always been with us. You continue to grow like a weed and delight us daily with the sweetness of your smiles, the gentle thoughtfulness of your personality as you continue to take in the world with innocent solemnity.

Smiling has been your biggest development over the last two weeks. There were a few first tentative grins that have turned into sunny flashes of your gums that wreath your face with gladness. Along with the smiles have come laughter, big baby belly chuckles to accompany your delight as I tickle your chin lightly or beep your nose. That’s your favorite game so far, and you love it so, when Mommy beeps your nose and smiles at you. We spend a goodly amount of time every morning and evening doing that, you and I, just beeping and laughing and snuggling.

Your brother is still just as enamored of you as ever, though he’s learning to dislike your crying. He comes to tell me right away when you start crying and orders me to do something about it: “Mommy, Julien’s CRYING. Mommy, give MILK!” He loves helping us to take care of you and asks to hold you often, though he gets tired pretty quickly because you are a big boy!

You’re starting to outgrow your newborn-sized clothing and I’m pulling the 3-6 month sized things out of the bin and the closet, especially pants. Though your legs seem shorter than your brother’s were, it’s still the hems on pants that you’re outgrowing first, just like Vic. Other than the growth curve and how much you look alike, you’re very clearly different little people though. You’re very easy-going and content to sit or be held or walk around on a shoulder for the most part unless your tummy is bothering you. Then you vastly prefer to be held upright over someone’s shoulder until the bubble passes.

You love to look at patterns of light and shadow on the wall, the checkered pattern on the bassinet, and the toys on your toy arch. You enjoy baths and kick your feet around and ‘float’ well with my hands just under your shoulder blades. You like to cuddle up in the sling in an upright position and will snooze or curl up quietly awake in there for hours. Your hands are very strong and you cling to my shirt like a little monkey when you’re in there or you feel me unwrapping the sling.

You’re still nursing well and I’m pumping 12-14 ounces a day for you at work and you usually drink 9-12 ounces of them and sometimes all 14! This would probably explain why you’re growing so well and have the cute double chin and little rolls of fat on your thighs, arms and have such soft, chubby hands.

You’re still sleeping no more than 4-5 hours at a time, and we haven’t had a 6 hour stretch at night yet, but I know we’ll get there when you’ve grown enough and your tummy can hold enough yummies to get you through a nighttime sleep. In the meantime, Daddy and I just try to get a nap in on weekends and take turns taking care of you and your brother so we’ll be rested enough to make it through the week.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you learn next and more of those sweet gummy smiles before your teeth come in!

Love,
Mommy

Julien Smiles

Monday, 8th August, 2005

Julien Exploring the World

Filed under: General,Pictures,Year 1 — Beth @ 18:06

Julien

This was taken on August 6th, not long after we came home from the hospital. Julien settled in on my maternity, now nursing pillow and just checked things out, very calmly.

Mug Shot

Filed under: General,Pictures,Year 1 — Beth @ 12:42

Here’s Julien’s mug shot from the hospital. He’s all zen-buddha-like in the pose because he wouldn’t sit still and look straight at the camera. Hee.

Saturday, 6th August, 2005

Birth Story!

Filed under: 39 Weeks,Birth,General,Pictures,Year 1 — Beth @ 14:45

Warning – this is a birth story and rather graphic.

Julien Robert was born on August 4th, 2005 at 18:22pm about 7 hours from the onset of active labor. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and measured 20 3/4 inches. I had what some might call a textbook labor up until the actual delivery. The contractions that died off the night before picked back up again when I got up in the morning and stablized at five minutes apart, one minute long between 10 and 11am.

They’d been regular and 6-7 minutes apart starting around 9am when I got up, so I called my doctor and they told me to come into the office for a check. Dr. G. saw me around 11am and said I was nearly completely effaced and 3cm dilated. Given what happened with Vic’s labor, Dr. G thought it best that we go over to the hospital, which we did, straight from the office.

When we got there just before noon, I was at 4cm, they monitored me for about half an hour and my water broke while I was being evaluated. They checked me into an LDR room and there was more monitoring, then Dr. H. came over and checked me again and broke a forebag of water that was in the way and then left us to settle in and labor.

Things progressed at that stately pace of 1cm dilation per hour, roughly. I used everything I learned in my Bradley classes with this labor that I didn’t get to use for Vic’s labor. I walked, rocked, squatted, hopped into the shower and swayed through contractions, did tension release exercises, thoe whole nine yards.

At 5:30pm I hit 6cm dilation and about 15 minutes later, just like with Victor things got very hectic. I hopped into the shower because I could feel transition coming on and knew I’d need the warm water to take the edge off. This worked really well, for most of transition, and let me stay on top of the contractions which were pretty much coming one right on top of the other with no break. I started to feel a little like pushing while I was still in the shower. They made me get out at that point, because they needed to check on things and get things set up.

And just like with Vic I was being … stubborn. I did get out of the shower and moseyed over to the bed, but trying to get up on that thing just felt wrong. It hurt to pull my legs up in towards my body, so there I was leaning against the bed, rocking through each contraction and then I had the urge to squat. I squatted down, leaning across the bed and just breathed and breathed and breathed, trying to stay focused.

I should have known that this meant business, but once again I was too far gone to really make sense out of anything, let alone express what I was feeling. It all came out in ineffective words: “No no no, I can’t I can’t I can’t” meaning – I can’t get up on the damn bed.

I was vaguely aware of the fact that my mother was using her very best Mom voice on me and Dr. H was threatening me with an internal fetal monitor if they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, which they’d completely lost and couldn’t get because I couldn’t turn around. I could hear Sabs saying stuff too, but I don’t remember what now, or what I said to him in response. He says that I wasn’t answering anyone else’s questions – only responding to him.

I managed to lean off the bed long enough to sit in the rocker again, to let them try to find the heartbeat and they still couldn’t get it. I lunged forward to try to get on the bed, and got stuck there again, leaning against it and then wham, the urge to push just hit me over and over again like a ton of bricks. I know they were still telling me to get up on the bed and turn around so they could get a monitor on Julien, but it was like everything was coming to me from under water.

My body did some very funky things in the next few minutes. It’s not in any of the labor books I’ve ever read, the position I wound up in. The closest I can think of, for anyone who’s ever done yoga, is the Downward Dog. I had my hands on the bed, and my feet braced out behind me somewhere and I was pushing my butt up into the air with every contraction.

This happened twice, while they were still trying to get me up on the bed, and then Dr. H. wise woman that she is, just got down next to me, and stuck her hand in there, and said “Never mind, let’s just have a baby.” Turns out there was still a little bit of a forebag of waters in the way but Julien’s head was right there. I was only at 9cm, so I think she did some quick monkeying around to stretch me the rest of the way and clear the remaining bag. And then BAM, Downward Dog again for me and this huge powerful push with a hint of stinging in it (no Ring of Fire this time) and there was water and meconium everywhere and Dr. H. caught Jules and then I collapsed backward into my mother’s arms and just sat there staring in shock at this naked baby boy on a towel on the floor! “It’s a boy!” I remember hearing myself say, in complete surprise and awe and delight.

It was a complete and total mess of course, baby poop, amniotic fluid, blood, and Julien’s cord stretching between me and him. Dr. H. had only had time to stick on some protective gear for her feet and legs but she just waded right in, clamped and snipped his cord and handed him up to the nurses right quick to get his mouth and nose cleaned out and his lungs checked. While they were dealing with Julien, Mom helped me up to the bed, which I could finally do, now that the baby was out of me, and within just a few minutes, the placenta arrived, without incident. I took a shot of pitocin again, just to be sure and Dr. H. had a look as things got all cleaned up and she winked at me over my knees. “Guess how many stitches?” she asked, because I remember babbling something about bad tears when I saw all the blood on the floor. “One? Two?” I hazarded and she grinned. “Zero, honey, great job, just a little skid.” I gaped at her than laughed delightedly. There was more laughter when they cleaned me up a bit later with hot water and it tickled, from both me and the folks around me.

I got Julien back within only 15 minutes or so of his birth, Sabs stayed with him while they cleaned him up just like he did with Vic and then he cuddled up with me and got to nursing almost right away.

The little guy is a champion nurser – he nursed for 45 minutes right off the bat and then conked out for a bit. He’s kept up the good nursing for the last 48 hours, at least 30 minutes every time and that boy sure can -sleep-.

We’ll see if this keeps up, but the recovery from this labor and Vic’s are miles apart. I had a little bit of shaking after Julien was born, but it was quite minor and I was able to hold him and warm him up myself. Later during his first night, he was cold in his bassinet and the nurse, just unwrapped him briskly, tucked him in on my chest under my nightie, put the blankets over us both, flipped off the lights and said “Good night!” I was able to warm Julien up all by myself then too, and he’s been much better about regulating his own temp since.

We both got lots of rest in the hospital, so far he seems to like to sleep in 4-6 hour cycles already, instead of the shorter ones his big brother favored. He’s also very laid back about all the noise Vic makes, likely accustomed to it from hearing it all the time in the womb.

We’re home now, and adjusting to being a family of four, so far so good for Vic, though he’s been just a little bit strident about his needs.

So there you go, I have another whacky labor story to go with Vic’s, different, but just as whacky, and I couldn’t be happier.

My Boys

Friday, 18th March, 2005

Ultrasound

Filed under: 19 Weeks,General,Pictures,Prenatals,Weeks in Utero — Beth @ 14:14

Pip is a very mellow baby. She/he did not oblige us with a view of relevant parts for identification of gender. In fact, Pip pretty much stayed put in one place, happily hanging out waving an arm at us, yawning or hiccuping the entire time.

There’s a perfect little heart beating as well as everything that should be, where it should be, working away. Growth is just about right on target, though Pip is measuring ‘ahead’ by about a week. The tech said that Pip weighs 13oz give or take 2, so we’re just shy of the pound mark. Pip is also already firmly head down – he/she really didn’t move much during the entirety of the ultrasound except to wave in irritation when the u/s wand would stay put for too long. At least, that’s what it looked like to me. This probably explains why I’ve been feeling flutters in my stomach – when Pip is active, those little feet are pummeling away at my innards! Babies can still flip around a lot at this stage, but it’s pretty heartening to see the kiddo so attached to the head-down position 😉

We also stopped by the lab (and waited forever) to get a bunch of lab work done that I should have done a while ago. It’s all taken care of now … seven vials of blood later. Sheesh.

Here’s two face shots of Pip:

Pip's Ultrasound 1

Pip's Ultrasound 2

And here’s Vic’s 18 week face shot:

Victor's Ultrasound

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