30 May 2007

you = me

I have been remiss in mentioning Oliver and how he is dealing with the moving to a new house/turning two/getting a sister transitions. In general, he's doing about as well as can be expected. I think being two is tough, whether you have a new baby sister or not. He's expressing his frustration by hitting most of the time, though we encourage him to "use your words" as often as possible.

There is one time when he has no trouble telling me exactly what he wants. Whenever Eleanor is nursing Oliver says, "Cuddle you?", which means "cuddle me." Of course, there isn't room on my lap for both children so I promise a cuddle as soon as I'm done. Sometimes he remembers or sticks around, sometimes not.

He is fascinated by the whole milk production thing too. He knows that "mama pump-a milk" and what the pump is but this morning he had me laughing so hard there were tears streaming down my face. He took the bottle with the pump attachment off the side table, lifted up his shirt and pretended milk was coming out of his bellybutton. Explanations that "mama makes milk, not Oliver" had no effect, especially once I started laughing.

This is only the second instance of real pretending at home. Over the weekend he started delivering cookies and milk, and the occasional banana, from the nightlight in Eleanor's room. Such a sweet boy to bring his mum snacks, even pretend ones, when she's feeding the baby!

29 May 2007

a to z

Melissa posted this, just when I was trying to think of something to write about. She's in potty training hell so go give her some encouragement and advice.

A- Attached or Single? Attached
B- Best Friend: CD and Tika, I can't choose just one!
C- Cake or Pie: Depends on the flavor. There are some of both I adore.
D- Drink of Choice: When I'm nursing or pregnant it's water. Or maybe the "why bother latte", a tall decaf non-fat sugar-free hazelnut latte.
E- Essential Item: MacBook
F- Favorite Color: Green
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears. Worms are gross.
H- Hometown: Auburn, ME
I- Indulgence: Heated towel rails in the bathroom and a steamer in my kitchen - the new house feels like one big indulgence.
J- January or February: January. It's my birthday. February is Westminster but my birthday still wins.
K- Kids: Oliver and Eleanor
L- Life is incomplete without: My family and Clumber spaniels
M- Marriage Date: May 10, 2003
N - Number of Siblings: four, two of each
O- Oranges or Apples? Braeburn and Macintosh apples
P- Phobias/Fears: The whole list or just the top 10?
Q- Favorite Quote: "Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
R- Reasons to smile: The three people and one dog I live with give me reasons to smile every day, though they are not always awake at the time.
S- Season: Season 1. Oh, wait. You were probably not asking about The West Wing. How about fall? The other three seasons are just for passing the time until it's fall again.
T- Tag Three: Tara, Elizabeth, Dan
U- Unknown Fact About Me: My only real secret is something that happened when I was 17. I may never be ready to talk about. Every week I read PostSecret and consider sending it in, but not yet. Not very revealing. Sorry.
V-Vegetarian or Not: Not. I could be, in a world without bacon.
W- Worst Habit: procrastination
X – X-rays or Ultrasounds? neither?
Y- Your Favorite Foods: read this --we have occasionally talked about food on this blog
Z- Zodiac: Aquarius

25 May 2007


These people are brilliant. I think I have a crush on them.

My former cleaners, who have yet to send back my key to the old house or a final bill, were icky. They blew through the house in less than an hour and while things smelled clean for about a day, I often found things they missed, like a bathroom. The first few weeks they rarely showed up when scheduled or did what was promised. It got a little better but customer service was severely lacking. Still, it was easier to keep them than look for replacements. Everyone I knew who liked their cleaners had fully-booked cleaners. I decided not to bring the icky company with me to the new house.

Then I read this article in the local paper. While I'm hardly an environmental militant, their pitch was attractive, especially given the wee (and furry) ones that inhabit the house.

Heather and Dan were here for nearly four hours yesterday. Four. Hours. The house is scary clean...I'm afraid to touch anything. They love my dog, who barked at them every time they made a sound. Now I just need a job so I can afford them. (They are very reasonably priced compared to icky cleaners. This house is bigger by about 450 square feet, yet they were not much more and did a better job by leaps and bounds. You want these people cleaning your house. And no, they are not giving me a discount for blogging about them.)

24 May 2007

the bitter end....almost

The tile wizard was installing this when I got home from the hospital, and continued to work on it for the next three days. This picture does not do it justice. Though I wanted a "quilted" stainless steel backsplash, this slate tile was an excellent compromise.

You would think this is the end of our renovation saga but alas it is not. There are still two bathrooms waiting for towel bars, a shower waiting for a wire basket, a panel waiting for chalkboard paint and a tackboard, and a countertop waiting for one last hole.

Then we get to start on the DIY projects, like the powder room.

23 May 2007

the hair

Contrary to predictions, the hair is not falling out.

now blooming...

Peonies! Wish I could take the credit but they came with the house. Click on the photo to go to Flickr and see a few more pics of the front and backyards.

isn't that special

Eleanor and I spent last week at the national specialty for Clumber spaniels. It was great to see so many dogs, though I didn't get to see them doing what they were bred to do at the hunt test, and so many good friends, but in general, a week of root canal would have been more pleasant.

The little one was a trooper, in spite of an interminable board meeting that at times was a lot like watching white, oil-based paint dry (surpassed only by the annual meeting of the parent club membership). It was clear as we approached midnight at the board meeting that some of us should have been at another event going on at the hotel (see photo). All too frequently it wasn't pretty and accomplished little that will benefit the breed.

Two years ago we hosted the show in Pittsburgh. It was six weeks after Oliver arrived (what was I thinking???) and I was responsible for coordinating the whole thing. Suzy came to help and I cannot imagine what it would have been like without her. Unfortunately, some club members were so awful to her, and to me within earshot, that she did not renew her membership. When some friends asked why she didn't come along this time I had the perfect response, at Suzy's suggestion: PTSD.

10 May 2007

catching up

Just a few items to get readers caught up:

I lost almost 30 pounds in two weeks. I have hit a plateau now and (see below) will probably gain over the next few days. As of this morning though, I was 6 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Eleanor and I are off to the Clumber national specialty next week. Oliver and CD are the lucky ones, as they get to stay home. I'd rather spend a week at the dentist than make this trip. It should be fun but due to the various personalities on the board this year, it's going to be a bloody nightmare. Seeing good friends will help tremendously but I still have to get through the blasted board meeting. I probably should be happy that the nominating committee, dominated by one of the feuding factions, chose not to nominate me for next year. I feel badly for the nominees who have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Half of them, at least, have never attended a board meeting. Bon chance, I suppose.

We are surviving the week without CD. I enlisted the help of the nanny who works next door for evenings from about 6 to 8pm. It gives me some time without a baby attached to me, and some special time with Oliver. It's working out well.

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary. CD rose to the occasion, sending roses and chocolate. I really should save some of the chocolate for him but that's not going to happen. I'll have to get him some before he gets home. I did send a card to his hotel. I hope it finds him.

No, I haven't found a job yet and no, our house isn't sold. And no, our renovations isn't quite finished. The list of remaining items is very, very short though. We are just waiting on a couple of towel bars and a hole in the kitchen counter for a soap dispenser. The half bath on the first floor needs our attention next. We're doing that ourselves.

That's just about everything. Now back to more regular blogging.

I know just a little about birthin' babies

Here it is, the perhaps not awaited tale of Eleanor's arrival. It's no doubt abbreviated (mercifully?) since it's taken so darn long for me to find some time to type. Thus far, Eleanor hasn't given me a lot of time for blogging. She isn't high maintenance but the first weeks are still pretty time consuming.

As you may recall, I was told a few days before my scheduled induction that I was having a 7.5-8 pound baby. This turned out to be a very good thing to have in my head as things progressed.

As you may also recall, I was waiting for a phone call from the hospital, expected between 2 and 6am on Monday, April 16, to come in for induction. At 4am I woke up with contractions, about 10 or 11 minutes apart. I wasn't able to go back to sleep so I was pretty sure it was the real thing. Over the next hour or so, the contractions got closer together and still the hospital did not call. At 6am they were eight minutes apart and strong so I called the hospital. Three times. They didn't answer. I decided to call my OB.

My OB called back quickly and said I should come on in and have a baby. Given I could barely speak or move during the contractions, that sounded like a good plan. Oliver woke up and I was able to get him some breakfast, as well as some for Penguin, and wake up Mama 'Cia before we left.

In the car, the contractions were five minutes apart. I called Suzy to let her know we'd probably be having a baby soon. Once we got checked in to the hospital and to a bed, a process greatly slowed by an employee I hope was in training taking care of the paperwork, it was about 8am and contractions were about 3 minutes apart.

I don't think "epidural" was my first word to the nurse but pretty close. I thought about trying to tough it out but only for about half a second. I was actually a little worried things were moving too fast and I wouldn't get one.

My OB came by and decided I was 5 cm dilated. She broke my water, after I warned her that the last time her colleague tried to do that, three times, my son was born with three big scratches on his head, and I immediately went to 6cm. She promised the baby would have no scratches.

There was meconium in the fluid but that seemed to bother me more than anyone else. The OB told us there would be a neonatologist in the room when she arrived just as a precaution. I expected there to be some urgency in getting the baby out but there wasn't. All the professionals seemed content to let things take their course.

Anesthesia showed up not long after that. It wasn't all sweetness and light this time, or the same anesthesiologist. This time it took longer for me to feel some relief, and there was one spot the size of a tennis ball on my left side, between my pelvis and hip, that the epidural wasn't touching. It was very disconcerting but the pain was manageable, and gave me something to think about as we watched news of the Virginia Tech massacre began to trickle in. Just a word about that.... I have a clumber friend who works there. Not long after the news said there were two dead in a dorm it was time to push and I had the TV turned off. Thinking it was just a dorm incident, and my friend was not likely to be in a dorm, I stopped worrying. I didn't find out the horror of what really happened until later in the afternoon, after I was in the post-partum unit. It would be almost a week before I knew my friend was okay.

My OB came back and I was close to 8 cm. The pressure was getting worse, but still manageable. I should mention CD at this point. He was great every step of the way. At this stage his primary job was keeping my supplied with ice chips but his presence and calm were helping me as much as the ice.

I wish I had been keeping track of how these contractions were different from the pitocin-enhanced ones I had with Oliver but I was the stereo-typical woman in labor. Lots of loud breathing, lots of cursing (in my head mostly), the standard stuff. Looking back, I think the whole middle-of-the-night thing with Oliver, combined with pitocin, made it all the more surreal. This one seemed a bit more normal, to the extent that's possible. In many ways, it was right out of the pregnancy books and their "standard" labor descriptions.

It was probably around 10:45 or 11 that they decided I was fully dilated but the baby wasn't as low as they'd like before I started to push. I could tell the contractions were moving her down though so the room was prepped and the general level of activity increased. I noticed that as the contractions got more intense, the tennis ball spot I could still feel shrunk and eventually disappeared.

The rest is a bit of a blur. I know I moved her about 2/3 of the way out with one push. The remaining pushes were not nearly as productive and I kind of fell apart near the end. No, not "kind of"...I really did fall apart. CD's encouragement put me back together enough to get her out. Since I thought I was pushing out a smaller baby I felt incredibly silly for falling apart. When they told me she was over 9 pounds, I felt better and a bit less silly. I was even happier to find I had just a tiny tear and not the second-degree episiotomy I had last time.

Eleanor arrived at 11:46am, less than 8 hours after I woke up with contractions. Interestingly, Oliver also arrived on a Monday morning, but at 10:21am. That was just over 12 hours after the induction started.

As with Oliver, it was an overwhelming experience to have her placed on my chest. I loved the hair. Her head was wet so I couldn't see how long it was. And it was wavy. The more heartburn I had during the pregnancy, the more I was convinced she would have lots of hair. As you saw in the picture Suzy posted, I was right. It had to be dry to get the full effect though.

Apgars were 8 and 9, very close to Oliver's 9 and 9. I know I asked about her ears, hoping she didn't have the preauricular tags Oliver had. The neonatologist didn't stay very long. She latched right away too, for her first meal.

Overall, this was a much easier delivery and I bounced back a lot faster. I was up walking around by the afternoon and felt human by the end of the day. I'm not sure I felt human for a week after delivering Oliver.

Just a few other notables...Eleanor had the lowest bilirubin score the attending pediatrician had ever seen. It was one point something. She did not pass her hearing test in one ear. We get to check that again next month but our doctor isn't concerned. She was 8 pounds, 8 ounces at 24 hours, and 8 pounds 4 ounces at 48 hours. Not as much of a loss as Oliver had and in general, the docs were not concerned. She lived up to that confidence, getting back to birthweight in a week (Oliver took about three weeks). At three weeks she was 10 pounds 1 ounce. She gained 29 ounces in 18 days. Needless to say, we are not weighing her every day as we did with Oliver and I am not stressing about my milk supply. And finally, she has a dimple in her butt crack. Three docs had to look at it before they decided it was nothing. Sometimes a dimple is just a dimple. According to my mom, this comes from my side of the family. With her abundant dark hair, delicate fingers and feet, it's nice to know something came from me!

Check out the pics from the hospital CD posted here.

06 May 2007

while you wait...

Here's a little something to amuse you while you wait for me to get myself together and get back to regular blogging. There are pictures of Eleanor at home and some of Oliver playing with his birthday present, a sand and water table. I think he played contentedly for about an hour yesterday, allowing his parents to get a few things done.

CD is abandoning me for the week so that means I will either fall apart entirely or really get organized and find the time to write. We will be apart for our fourth anniversary but with all the travel he does it was bound to happen someday. I'm getting over it with some shopping therapy.