Saturday, December 31, 2011

Boys vs. Girls (A guest post by Brett)

Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into a sporting event where we intentionally put one team at a disadvantage.  Having one of each now I have really started to think about the real differences between the sexes.  Each man that finds out that he is going to have a daughter handles the situation differently.  Some experience paralyzing fear while others express cautious optimism.  I like to think I was one optimistic ones.  Knowing my mother helped me understand that a girl could do anything a boy could do short of using a urinal.  When my mom used to beat up a would-be-bully to use the ally way on the way home from school rather than take the long around the block… yeh, girls can be fun too. 

Having little firsthand experience with female siblings Laura and I have talked a lot about growing up.  I was really young when my Heather went off to college, so all I remember of her living at home was sneaking down stairs together to get ice cream after everyone had gone to bed.  When we compare notes I am surprised how few of Laura’s arguments from elementary school were solved with physical altercations.  There were lots of situations that ended with both parties walking away with pent up frustration.  I never remember being too angry the day after the argument.  So when does it all start?  When do we tell little girls to internalize everything and tell little boys to duke it out?  On the nature vs. nurture argument I have always been firmly in the nurture camp until we had kids.  My Dad always told me we came with some of our personality hardwired in.  So, let’s compare the two kids in the first month of life.  I can’t have influenced the boy too much at this point, right?

·        - Screamed on arrival, while being weighed, and basically the whole time she was in the birthing room.
·         -Woke up to eat, went back to sleep.
·         -Slept through the night almost from the beginning.  Started with 5-6 hours at night and went up from there.
·         -Seemed annoyed about being unable to move.  Constantly tried to move around by using her head.
·         -Wanted to be swaddled any time a nap was involved and had little use for a binky.

·         -Had to be encouraged to cry.  Stopped soon after starting.  Cried when unwrapped because he was cold.
·         -Doesn’t seem to be too concerned about keeping a regular meal schedule.
·         -Slept all day.  Woke up every night around 3 and decided to test his lung capacity.
·         -Wants to be held as much as possible.
·         -Wants layers to keep warm and doesn’t care about swaddling.  Wants the binky even thought he can’t keep it in.

Both of the little ones had lots of hair and were a little bit jaundiced.  So far Amy has shown that she is strong willed and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  David has proven to be laid back as long as he has someone that will pay attention to him.  The two could not be any more different.  Maybe we will have a little girl that wants to play contact sports and a little boy that like to hang out in the drama department.  I will try to keep an open mind and not get caught up in gender-roles and stereotypes.  I’ll tell you this, the idea about boy diapers being easier to change than girl diapers is a myth.  Amy may have peed on the changing mat a few times but I never got the feeling I was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. (his aim is deadly)  I will continue to watch David as he gets older to see how his first year differs from his older sister’s.  It is a good thing that he will have a weight advantage because he’s going to need all the help he can get.

Pictures of Baby David

The last post was really lengthy and short on pictures, so let's show off the brand new squishy boy! These aren't in order, but oh well. :D

After David's first bath up in the nursery:

Sleeping in his bassinet Minster style:

Big sister Amy meeting her new baby brother:


Our little Santa baby:

Sweet boy snuggled up on Mama:

Bath time after peeing all over himself (gotta watch out for that!):

Grumpy little man:

Post-bath towel baby:

Being weighed right after birth:

David and his proud parents:

A closer shot of David:
 David and Brett with Heather:

Meeting her newest grandson:

Mom, Heather, and David:

Tiny feet:

David Alexander's Birth

He's here! He's here! Woo hoo! I'm so glad he has arrived (and that I'm not pregnant anymore). This post will be about his birth, and for the sake of any menfolk that read this, I'll try to share without completely oversharing. :)

My estimated due date was December 19th. It came and went, alas, without me going into labor. I'd been having the occasional contraction, though, which I'd never had with Amy, so I was hopeful it would be happening soon. I had an appointment with my OB on Tuesday the 20th. Remember that whole "there's protein in your urine so you're going on bedrest" thing? Yeah. Well, there was a TON of protein in my urine this time. My OB was worried enough that he wanted to send me straight to L&D to be induced. Well, I didn't really want to since I was NOT looking forward to another induction, so I, um, convinced him that my services were vitally important for Heather that afternoon and that we should hold off until later that evening. He was less than thrilled, but agreed. He set up the induction and told me the hospital would call sometime after 7pm whenever they were ready for me.

I spent the afternoon with Mom and Heather, and that evening Brett and I finished up collecting/packing for the hospital stay and Amy's stay with friends. We were a little surprised that we didn't get a call until almost 11pm, but I knew the hospital would be super busy. We dropped Amy off with the Walkers and checked into the hospital around midnight. It took them a while to get me admitted, especially since it took 4 different nurses 5 tries to get an IV in me. Around 1:15 AM, the resident came in and put in the Cervadil, which is a gel that helps the cervix to dilate and efface. I honestly was rather pessimistic about its use, since I had it in for 12 hours with Amy and it had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. But this time was different! By 4 AM I was having regular contractions. Around 8 AM after the shift change, my OB came and talked with me. He broke my water, and we decided that since everything was going so well they would remove the Cervadil and that I would be able to labor WITHOUT the use of Pitocin. I was so happy! The Pitocin was really hard on me with Amy, which is why I had eventually gotten an epidural. I wanted so badly to do without one this time. But I'm droning.

My contractions picked up pretty quickly, and I was dilating well. It seemed like things were going faster than anticipated, so around noon or so Brett called my mom to tell her to head up to the hospital. Mom had been there for Amy's birth, and I was looking forward to having her support again. Plus, Heather was going to come with her! I was excited to have my sister there as well.

I was doing well handling the contractions without medication. It started getting much more difficult when I was dilated to around a 7. They were coming closer together and were getting increasingly more intense. I started getting hopeful that I would be delivering soon. My nurse was very encouraging, and was very knowledgeable about natural childbirth. She spent a lot of time with me, rubbing my back, talking me through the more painful contractions when I started having trouble focusing through them, and just generally being amazing. I'm so grateful I had such a fantastic nurse. Brett was also amazing during this whole time. He said later that he hadn't realized how much more involved he would have to be with me "going natural" than he was with Amy's birth. I kept him busy! Especially the last couple of hours, when I was stuck at not QUITE dilated enough to deliver.

That was the hardest part. For about 2 1/2 hours, I was dilated to, like, a 9 1/2. Almost there, but not quite, and for some reason, my body just did not want to dilate that last little bit. We tried several times to start pushing with my OB stretching my cervix open the last bit, but it just was not working. And it hurt. A lot. I yelled at him.

My nurse realized eventually that he was sunny-side up (meaning he was face up--the "correct" position for delivery is with the baby facing back toward your spine). Because of his position, he wasn't putting enough pressure on that last lip of cervix to make it dilate. So, after a couple of hours, the nurse helped me to get up onto my hands and knees, a maneuver that often will encourage the baby to turn. Well, it worked! After maybe 20 minutes or so of being on all fours, David spun around. It was strange, because I definitely felt it, and suddenly WHAM! A TON of pressure. My doctor had actually left the room for something. But it was time to go. I remember shouting that whoa, I needed to push! The nurse sent Brett running for the doctor. Fortunately he got back in the room quickly, because David was born after only 3 minutes of pushing!

I managed to labor and deliver with no pain medication, and other than the initial dose of Cervadil, with no medical interventions. It got incredibly difficult, especially at the end, although I knew it would. I'm glad I had Brett to remind me how much I wanted a natural childbirth when the epidural started to look like a very attractive option. With his help and the help of my nurse, I made it! It was such a powerful experience. I understand now why people say that childbirth can be so empowering! I'm glad I had the experience, although to be perfectly honest, I very well may opt for an epidural next time.