Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Joshua the big brother

It's been a summer of big transitions for our little guy.  First, I stopped working and was home pretty much 24/7.  This transition was unexpectedly tough for Joshua -- while I was working, the limited time I had at home was pretty intensely Mama-and-Joshua time, so it took a few weeks for him to understand that there might be times when I'm home but won't be doing everything he demands.  The tantrums and difficulties that surrounded that first transition made us nervous about everything else coming down the pike for Joshua...

But thankfully, he's been able to roll with things as they changed this summer.  We moved to a new rental in early July -- still in Princeton, but now a townhouse with three bedrooms.  And more importantly, in Joshua's eyes, the new house has stairs!  And a window seat!  And a backyard!  And playgrounds within toddler walking distance!  He weathered this transition without even batting an eye.

Shortly thereafter, we moved Joshua into a big boy bed.  And after just one rough nap time, Joshua adjusted to this change as well -- we think he likes being able to stretch out in his big bed, and he certainly loves having the freedom to get out of his bed to play with his toys.  ;)  We had a lot of fun setting up his big boy room, with car/train/plane wall decals and lots of his favorite toys, and he now loves asking us to "go car room" and play with him.

And then the biggest transition of all -- we brought a baby sister home!  We'd spent a lot of time talking to Joshua about his baby sister, reading him books about being a big brother, and doing what we could to prepare a two-year-old for some major life changes.  Joshua knew that "baby sister" was in Mama's belly, but it's doubtful that he fully understood what that actually meant...

The day after Sophia was born, Joshua got to meet his sister for the first time.  His first reaction was to look askance at the bundle in my arms and then proclaim "bye-bye, baby sister!!"  I think he wanted me to be holding him instead... Then he became more interested in the wires and machines in the hospital room.  We brought out the new plastic animals that "Sophia" had "brought" as a gift for her big brother, and Joshua spent the rest of his visit delightedly playing with them.  Perhaps not the best possible first meeting, but not too bad overall.

As soon as we brought Sophia home, though, Joshua was fascinated by this new member of our family.  It helped a TON that David's mom was here for the first week -- Joshua had a lot of focused attention from Grandma, which made the changes easier for him to take.  But his natural empathy and curiosity also shone through.  He wanted to keep hugging Sophia, so we taught him to gently rest his cheek on Sophia's forehead (rather than body slamming her...).  "I see baby Sophia?  I see Sophia forehead?" has quickly become a refrain around here.  :)  He also loves to help burp Sophia -- and thankfully, she doesn't seem to be much bothered by the vigor with which he smacks her back.

We're still trying to settle into a new family routine around here -- Joshua isn't exactly jealous, but it's hard for him to wait patiently for me to finish nursing Sophia before playing with him, and our energy levels are a lot lower than his these days what with the lack of sleep and learning how to care for two kids at once.  But overall, this transition has gone so much more smoothly than we'd expected, and we're so grateful for that!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Introducing Sophia!

OK, so there's still a huge backlog of blog posts I'd like to write one of these days, covering the last six months or so... But I've decided not to let that backlog prevent me from blogging about the biggest most recent change in our family life!  I do plan to fill in the gaps someday, but for now, we're just going to pick right up with August 2012.  :)

Sophia Jane Keddie was born on Monday, August 6, 2012!  We've already made the announcement via email and Facebook, and I've posted a number of one-off cell phone pics of Sophia, but here's a more "formal" announcement, complete with the birth story and some more photos!

Late Sunday evening (August 5), Joshua was snugly asleep in his big boy bed, and David and I were watching the Olympics coverage.  I was going over my mental checklist of the various things I wanted to get done in the last week before the baby was born -- her due date was August 9, and I was sure that she would follow her big brother's footsteps and be a day or two late.  My weekly OB appointments showed that I was only 1-2 cm dilated and 70% effaced, which is where I was at 39 weeks with Joshua, so I felt safe.  So I'd planned to finish packing our hospital bags, go grocery shopping, finally finish Joshua's baby book before starting a new one for his baby sister, maybe tackle the ol' blog backlog...

I jokingly told David that the baby better not come any time soon, because I still had too many little things I wanted to take care of first.  As we got ready for bed, just after midnight (because hey, you've got to watch all of the Olympics coverage before going to bed!), David asked what we would do if the baby came before Wednesday, when his mother was planning to arrive to help care for Joshua.  We had many offers of babysitting and help from friends, but hadn't put any concrete plans in place.  We decided that in the event of an early labor, we would try calling our friends without children first, and made up a brief priority list of people we thought would be able to come watch Joshua at a moment's notice.  Then we turned out the lights and went to bed, at about 12:30.

At 12:55, I thought I felt a little leakage.  I lay in bed for a second, trying to decide whether I had just imagined it, but then definitely felt a little bit more.  So I did what any modern pregnant woman would do -- I reached for my phone and Googled "water breaking," to see if what I felt was indeed what Google considered to be my water breaking.  I got up to go to the bathroom, and as soon as I stood, lots of fluid leaked out -- my water had definitely broken.  So I woke David up and called my OB practice.  The doctor on call was very relaxed, and started asking me routine questions.  Typically, if your water breaks but you don't have any contractions, they'll have you wait it out at home for up to 24 hours, so I thought that was going to be the case for us.  Then the doctor asked whether this was my first pregnancy, and how fast my labor had been the first time around.  When I told her Joshua had been born after only 6 hours of active labor, she got very quiet for a second, and then said we should probably head to the hospital right away.

Cue a comical sequence of frantic last-minute preparation.  I threw stacks of clothes into a suitcase, grabbed my phone, and started calling around looking for someone to stay with Joshua.  The one major problem with our call list?  No one was actually officially on call, so no one was expecting a possible late-night call from us.  And almost all of our friends have cell phones, not land lines, and they typically turn off their phones at night.  By this point, it was 1:45am, and even the few people we know with land lines weren't picking up.  I finally got ahold of Bill and Debbie -- clearly waking them up -- and Bill agreed to come over for the rest of the night to keep an eye on Joshua.  I then sent out a quick email to a bunch of local friends asking them for help with Joshua care for the next day, and then we were off to the hospital!

We arrived at around 2:30am, and got checked into a labor and delivery room.  I'd started having mild, irregular contractions in the car on the way over, but still wasn't in active labor.  So the nurses told us to try to get some sleep, and said that they'd start me on a low dose of Pitocin in the morning.  Neither of us really got any rest -- the occasional contraction kept me awake, and poor David was on this very squeaky and uncomfortable pull-out recliner.  I ended up spending most of the night distracting myself by reading about the Olympics and the landing of the Curiosity rover -- thank goodness for the iPhone!  :)

Early the next morning, David got a phone call from Andrea, offering to pick up Joshua and have him play with Caleb and Joel for the day.  This was such a Godsend -- I'd been stressing about figuring out childcare and hoping to line up a few people who would be available to come over for a few hours each, so to have a fun day-long play date all lined up for Joshua was such a relief!

At 8:25am, I was still only at 3cm dilated, 90% effaced, so they decided they would get me set up for Pitocin to induce active labor.  I got my IV (after a couple false starts -- apparently, I have "curly" veins...), and then the Pitocin drip started at 9am.  The contractions started coming faster and fiercer then.  At around 10:45, the OB came to check on me and suggested that if I wanted an epidural, I should get it then before the window closed.  I was doing okay with the contraction pains, but knew it would just get worse, so I decided to request the epidural.  The process of getting the epidural was a little more painful than I remembered it being the last time around, but it was instantly effective -- and this time, it didn't cause the baby's heartrate to slow or any other adverse effects, so they didn't have to turn it down any!  Woohoo!  :)  Though I did discover that the epidural only deadens the pain in certain areas, mostly across the front and sides of the uterus -- the really big, fun contractions and pressure that happen lower in the abdomen near the end of labor are still very much felt.

At around 12:30, the contractions started getting really painful, and I needed to grip David's hand to get my way through them.  I got checked again at 1:05, and was at 7cm.  Thinking back to how things went with Joshua, I figured that meant I had another couple hours of labor to go.  But after I told the L&D nurse that I was feeling a lot of pressure and maybe the beginnings of the urge to push, she went ahead and called for the OB and the delivery team.

The doctor arrived at about 1:24pm, and told me to start pushing with my next contraction.  At 1:33pm, just three pushes later, Sophia was born!  She started crying as soon as she was out, and that whimpering little newborn cry was the most beautiful sound in the world.  As the team cleaned her up, I looked over at her sweet little face, and was immediately struck by how much she looked just like her brother -- there's no denying the family resemblance between our two kids!

We're so thankful for such a good labor and delivery experience, and beyond grateful for our healthy and strong little girl.  And we're so thankful for the love and support of all our family and friends!  Having to care for Joshua on top of giving birth and caring for Sophia has underscored for us, once again, the blessings of being a part of such an awesome community, and we certainly do not take a single one of you for granted.  Thank you for caring for us, celebrating with us, and praying for us!

And now some photos!  We've shared a few of these on Facebook already, but here are some of our favorites from Sophia's first few days of life!