Our Vacation Getaway

Allen and I are having baby 2 at The Birthplace. It is newly renovated, opening this past August. Last night we had the opportunity to take a tour. It is beautiful. It looks like a spa resort. Calming lights. Beautiful wood work. Gorgeous photography. Oh my gosh, it looks downright delightful.

Look at that view of downtown Minneapolis! Sigh. Bliss. Heaven. Vacation!

Wait. Snap out of it! This beautiful room does not hold any restful, peaceful, magical moments. It is deceptive. It is built and designed to make you believe that you are in for a treat – but it is a LIE.

This is a place where you and your newborn are poked and prodded every 2 hours. A place of uterine massages that make your newly vacated tummy feel particularly unattractive and squishy and DEAR GOD will that skin ever fix itself again (answer: sort of). A place of mesh underwear, absorbent disposable leak proof bed pads, witch hazel, vagina ice packs, giant underwear pads, and stool softener. A place where you will begin your tiring parental journey. A place where you will try to breastfeed with people watching you and suggesting a different hold or new way to lie down. A place where someone else will put their hand on your boob to show you how a good latch should look. A place so perfectly mixed with boredom and sleep deprivation and excitement that you will not be able to tell if you are enjoying any given moment of your day. A place that you will simultaneously rejoice and dread leaving. A place where your hormones begin to flush out of your system leaving you in a dizzying array of emotional feels. A place of so so so many feels. Good feels. Bad feels. A place where you will cry. Tears of happiness, tears of fear, tears of anxiety.

Don’t let that bear and those flowers fool you. The beauty belies the truth. This is a hospital. And it is set up to function as such and that nice personal concierge is actually a nurse asking you to turn over to give you a shot in your butt (if you need an rh shot, as I do).

I am not looking forward to our hospital stay. But I am going to let this room seduce me until the reality hits. Ah, the beauty. Ah, the serenity.

Here are a few positive things I can say about this hotel  hospital room: It is the place we are going to get to know baby 2. Where we will stare at his tiny little face and compare it to another tiny face we saw two years ago. Reminder. A place where, unlike the first time around, we will be flooded with visitors and I will be so happy to show off the little bean. A place where Henry will meet his little brother and I will most certainly cry when Henry kisses that tiny head for the first time. A place where, above all else, we will be assured that baby 2 is healthy and ready to come home to be part of our little, amazing, loving, ridiculous, and hilarious family.

I cannot wait. 5 weeks. Let’s do this.

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I Think We’re Having a Baby

Um. You guys. We’re having a second child. The seriousness of this has just recently hit me. And when I go back and read the posts about Henry, at 33 weeks and change I had my shit together. Clothes were washed. Crib assembled. Room assembled. Books organized. WE DON’T EVEN HAVE A CRIB FOR BABY TWO IN OUR HOUSE. The baby’s room still looks like the office because… it is still the office. And I’ve been lackadaisical about it all until very recently when I realized if this baby comes when Henry came, then he’ll be here in a little over a month. WHAT? No. Okay. We need to get some things in order. So, we’ve got a contractor coming out to take out a very weird window in the office that opens to a beautiful view of… the dining room. We’re pretty sure it used to be an external wall and the dining room is an add on. He’ll drywall the hole for us and then we just need to do some minor things like sell Allen’s current crappy computer desk, buy a new computer desk that will fit in the soon-to-be relocated to a small part of the dining room (so sorry, Allen) office, relocate our books to our room, sell a crappy book shelf, clean out the closet, find a home for all the crap (in our house, the office is where all the junk we never or rarely use goes to die) – some of it still in boxes from when we moved in 15 months ago, pick up a crib from Allen’s aunt (at least we know where we are getting it from!), assemble the crib, find and buy a gliding rocker, and, you know, put the whole room together. That doesn’t so bad! Haha. Ha. Ha.

I mean, I guess all we REALLY need to do is make sure we have diapers and get out the cradle for the hellacious time period that baby 2 will stay in our room. (Henry stayed with us for 5 weeks. I am guessing this guy doesn’t make it that long. We’ve learned our lesson.) The rest will fall in place. *Fingers crossed*

But, I kinda miss the hyper-organized woman from my first pregnancy. I know I’ve already lamented her in a previous post, but I thought the more I talked about it the more she might be coaxed to come out.

In other news, I had my 5th ultrasound yesterday. The good news is that it will be the last! That is simultaneously the bad news because I really enjoy getting to see baby 2 wiggle around and suck his thumb. For those that do not know, it was determined at my 20 week ultrasound that baby’s tummy was a little big. I was sent to a specialist because a large stomach organ can indicate a blockage or other serious complications that could require immediate intervention after delivery. Over the last 4 ultrasounds it has been determined that baby’s tummy is normal in two out of three dimensions, and is just slightly big in that third dimension. We’ve been watching him grow, watching the amniotic fluid, watching for any indication of blockage in the bowels. Everything is beautiful. They are more convinced than ever this is just baby 2’s tummy shape – a normal variant.

This dude is already estimated to be 5.7 pounds. WHICH FREAKED ME THE HELL OUT. That seems WAY to big for this stage in the game. He gained 2 pounds in the last month! Turns out, that’s fine and normal and I need to settle the hell down. He is consistently measuring in the 64th to 68th percentile, no crazy abnormal growth. Henry was 7.9 and was 2.5 weeks early. So, in another 4 weeks if he gains another 2 pounds he and Henry will be roughly the same size at birth. Henry was exceedingly normally sized. Oh. Phew. EXCEPT! What if this one DOES hang in until his due date! An 8.9 pound baby seems MUCH MUCH too big. Side note: a medically large baby is one that weighs 8.13 and over. Not that I am concerned about such things and looked it up. Also, there’s been a lot of chatter on the intertubesocialmedias lately about 3rd trimester weight estimates that’s got my brain a-going. But, in all likelihood, he won’t gain 4 pounds in the next 6.5 weeks. PROBABLY. Please don’t, baby 2. Please don’t.

Baby 2 was adamantly sucking his thumb yesterday. Adorable. We’ve seen him do this 3 times in our ultrasound visits. I won’t be surprised if he comes out with a thumb callus. I do despise 4D pictures because they are creepy as heck, but here he is in all his thumb sucking glory (note, his eyes are closed and therefore not showing up – CREEPY, and his face isn’t that fat – which I thought it was and commented on his chubby cheeks – he’s using my placenta as a pillow giving him a fluffy looking appearance).

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And here is a little video treat of baby boy happily sucking away on his thumb:

Again, these are pretty creepy, but this also makes me nostalgic about Henry. He used to suck his thumb with an open hand, too.

Awww… little boy! I’m ready to meet you!

A recent conversation with a 4 and 6 year old:

6YO: You’re going to have a baby!
Me: Yes! I am. A little boy. Just like you guys!
4YO: How does he get out of there?
6YO: YEAH! Do they cut him out?
Me: *desperately looking for their mom* No, I really hope not.
6YO: How then?
Me: *where the f*ck is their mom??* Um. Naturally.
4YO: Does he come out of your mouth? *Makes incredibly compelling vomit sounds*
Me: *chuckles* Yes. Exactly!
6YO: Really?
Me: No.
6YO: GOOD! That would be SO GROSS!!!
Me: *dying of laughter, must get up and walk away*

Yes, child. Vomiting up a baby would be so gross.

TWO!

It is nearly unfathomable to me that Henry is two. I can just barely remember what it was like to sleep until 10, go the dog park at whim, go to movies without arranging for care, make coffee without a toddler yelling “CAW-FEEEEEEEEE” and insisting on “helping,” pee on my own, or consume alcoholic beverages with friends without worrying about how much regret I’ll have the next morning at my 7am wake-up call. See, just barely.

Honestly, the real truth is this: for me, being a parent is the best thing I have ever done with my life. So much so that I find myself weepy eyed simply typing that one sentence. YES, I KNOW I AM PREGNANT AND EVERYTHING MAKES ME WEEPY. But this would anyway. I swear it. Because the reality is that I love making cawfee with Henry. There is such wonderment in it for him. Even though he’s done it 500 times, he still gets so excited about pressing the grinder button, at steam, at the kettle whistle, at smelling coffee grounds. And it makes me sad that he’ll lose that one day. We all do. Coffee won’t be amazing anymore. And he won’t want to hang with me in the bathroom and ask for his one square of toilet paper and yell “BYE BYE PEE PEE” when we flush. One day it will be hard to convince him to hang out with me for any length of time outside of a bathroom. So, I’m going to take whatever I can get.

I love him so incomprehensibly much. It sometime astounds me. Like the night I was overwhelmed with feelings a few weeks ago and started crying when singing him his bedtime song (You Are My Sunshine) and he picked his head up off my shoulder where he was snuggling and started to laugh. Like, uncontrollable belly rolling hiccup inducing laughter. And it made me laugh. And cry. The more I laughed, the more I loved, the more I cried. And then Henry’s laugh became so out of control that he threw up on me. I’m always going to look back on that memory with nothing but love for that child. The whole thing was absolutely amazing.

That’s what this child has done to me. And it is lovely.

There is too much good and too much hilarity and just enough tears and ohdeargod, please don’t be a toddler to recount from this past year. But here are some of my highlights:

At 14 months, Henry learned to walk. I swear the next day he learned to run and he has not stopped ever since.

Language explosion. We went from mama and dada to the entire alphabet and singing Jingle Bells unaided on his own. Which is really its own memory.

SO. MANY. SONGS. The child loves to sing. I think 60% of our word exchanges are in song format. And yes, it IS best to laugh after you have sung Bingo 15 times in a row with no stop in sight.

I love you, too. I melted the first time he said it. Now even if he is the first to say I love you, he still says I love you, too.

Henry’s obsession with the animals. He loves to ride Cash. I am thankful every day for a dog who is incredibly tolerant and lazy. I protect Cash as best I can from toddler abuses, but I am comforted in Cash’s incredible disposition. And Bibi. Poor poor stupid Bibi. Henry insists on playing a game called “Bibi in box” in which Bibi is forced to sit in a box. We remind him that we cannot make Bibi do things, but Henry doesn’t care and here is the weird part… neither does Bibi. That cat allows Henry to pick her up, sometimes by a leg, or her guts, or just barely not in a choke-hold, drag her across the floor and put her in a box. She purrs the whole time. She rubs against his legs and just waits for the next form of torture. I used to feel so bad for her. But she is clearly a very willing participant. Moby is the only sensible toddler fearing animal in this house. He will do nearly anything to stay out of Henry’s reach.

Henry developing relationships with his classmates. He is so darn social. It sometimes takes us fooooorever to leave school because of the endless goodbyes and hugs.

The way he smiles so big and runs, full bodied without regard of consequences, into my legs when we pick him up from school.

Cuddles and books.

Talking to the new baby in mommy’s belly.

Watching the amazing relationship between Allen and Henry. Their wrestling and roughhousing and games that are just for the two of them (Henry has literally told me to stop participating when I try to join in).

The way that he will do anything to make us laugh.

Being alerted that he can any number of things on his own. Including the things he really can’t and we watch as he painfully struggles along.

His intelligence.

I could go on forever. But it is bedtime. So we close out birthday #2 with sweet memories from the day (Children’s Museum, grilled cheese, tator tots, shopping (which is just an opportunity to say hi to every person he passes), running around like a maniac, and opening Valentine’s) and from the year.

Allen at one point this past year expressed concern that Henry has peaked. That after 22 months it MUST be down hill. Because, how can it possibly get better than this? Oh, but I think it will.

Happy birthday to the most precious gift I have ever received. Though I remember the sweet freedoms of life without a child, I cannot fathom going back – nor is it something I even want.

Toddlerhood

Last night was the kind of night where if Allen and I had to make a choice about having a second child based on that single three-hour period, we would definitely not be having a second child. Alas, it is too late to play that game. Instead, I will try to remember the 95% of the time that Henry is an absolute hilarious delight where looking at his adorable little face brings me to tears because I am overflowing with love.

Except, I am not going to do that right now. Right now I am going to detail for you, as catharsis for myself, the horrors that await parents of toddlers.

First off, we welcomed 8.8 inches of snow yesterday. I truly mean this. We welcomed it. I love the snow. Winter without snow is the pits. However, the ferocity of the snowfall dictated leaving work a little early to nab Henry and battle traffic (which was remarkably tame – it was as if people realized leaving a little space between bumpers might be a good idea). We got to Henry at 3:54, a full hour earlier than normal. I was genuinely excited to spend an extra hour with him because, most of the time, he is amazing.

By 3:59 I began to develop serious regrets about getting Henry at all, let alone getting him early. It started when he did not get to use the “beep beep card” to open a door at school. He was fairly easily distracted, though, and we carried on. But he could not be distracted when, in the car, he ran out of/spilled the water out of his pixie cup that he began to chew to pieces and occasionally spit out in rapid fire over himself and his car seat. The great water shortage of 2.2.16 is forever marked in history by a 20-minute tantrum of “Water! Waaaaater! WATER!” It turns out that toddlers are unable to understand such confounding statements as “There is more water at home.” and “We will be home in a few minutes.” No amount of Wheels on the Bus, Ba Ba Black Sheep, or Old MacDonald could quiet him. This set the tone for the duration of our evening.

At home, after a thorough watering, it was on to the “Hung-geeee! Hung-geeeeeeee!” tantrum. Normally, this is an easy one to solve. Henry, here is food. Food in mouth. Oh, actually, I’m a normal human now. Thanks, mom. But last night there was no food that could make things right. Sadly, we ran out of yellow cheese. This set him off. Then I cut up a piece of string cheese. This was a doubly bad idea because a) it wasn’t yellow cheese and b) I cut it up. I’m a tyrant. This led to another 20-minute melt down. Well, 20 minutes of severe melt down mixed with manic moments of laughter. In retrospect, it was quite frightening.

It may come to no surprise of parents with toddlers that this melt down management took a toll on Allen and I, who began to be at odds with one another over appropriate management techniques. Nothing makes an evening better than when your toddler is having a particularly rough evening and you and your spouse disagree on how to deal with the situation causing tension – fiiiiiine, a fight – over tiny monster.

Tantrumy melt downs wore on and off throughout the evening, sometimes for reasons that we could not understand. A toddler that can talk and communicate is awesome; however, he is unable to do so effectively 100% of the time. So sometimes he will repeat something over and over and I can see him get frustrated because Allen and I cannot figure out what he means and that leads to a shit storm of crying. In those moments, you feel completely and utterly hopeless and helpless. In those moments you, you want to sit down and cry with him. In those moments, you’d give anything to fast forward to a time where crying is not the current means of communication. In summary, you feel like a total failure as a parent.

Last night was hard. I cried twice. Which is better than Henry’s tally. But still not awesome.

In the end, Allen and I think he was incredibly tired. 7pm hit and he was in bed and did not make a peep until I went in to wake him up this morning at 7:30am. But, sometimes toddlers have really rough nights and you will never truly understand why, and you will feel like a failure, and you will wonder if the rest of all your days will feel the same, and you will contemplate giving your toddler away or sending him to a toddler boarding school (those exist, right?). And sometimes when your toddler has a really rough night you have a rough night. And your spouse has a rough night.

And on those days, you open a beer and drink one three five. Except, you’re pregnant. So, instead, you go to a good friend’s house in a snow storm – because if you do not leave your house you will murder someone – and sit on a couch for 2.5 hours under a blanket next to a fire while eating gingerbread cookies, cupcakes, chocolate covered peanuts, tortilla chips, and drinking Joia and talk until you smile and life seems okay again and you remember that you love your spouse and child so deeply and profoundly that you would give anything to live in those terrible three hours for the rest of eternity rather than have a lifetime without them at all.

 

Do What You Want With My Body

And not in the Lady Gaga pop sense (though, admittedly, I have very serious issues with that song and when I first learned it was Gaga I was utterly shocked that she would send a message like that. YES, I get that it isn’t really a song about sex but still… I digress). I mean it in the a life has taken over my body and I really do not get a say any longer in what happens with my body.

Allen summed it up best when yesterday he told his mom and aunt, “I can tell something has changed in the pregnancy because today when getting in the car there was lots of noise-making and shifting for Heather to get in the car.” Yes. We are there. To that fun space where doing normal things are getting more difficult.

In the past week sleep has become more difficult. Though, *champion arms to me* I am still sleeping pretty well, but I now wake up and am aware every time I have to turn over. It’s like a 3-point turn for my body. Brace arm. Grunt. Shift. Repeat until new appropriate position is achieved. But if I am really sleepy it seems that I can’t make the full right to left or vice versa turn and for the 3rd night in a row I woke up this morning on… gasp!!! …my back.

I grunted as I ungracefully whale-rolled to my side and waited for baby 2 to make some movements to ensure that I hadn’t just cut off his blood supply. As I laid there I realized that I couldn’t actually remember why I wasn’t supposed to lie on my back. If it was bad for me, bad for him, bad for us. It’s bad for both of us. Sigh. Though reading about the problems that could happen do lead me to believe that for something truly bad to happen to me and baby all the stars need to align perfectly, I need to get struck by lightning, and win the lottery all at the same time. So while I’ll try to keep my semi-conscious self from back sleeping, I am also not going to freak out about it if when it happens.

Though my OB says everything is measuring normally, my belly feels gargantuan compared to Henry. I am certain that I already look how I did at the very end of my 1st pregnancy. That does fun things to your psychological well-being. Despite the giant-ness of my belly, no new stretch marks (yet). I kind of thought I would have a billion new ones. And yes, sure, there is still plenty of time for them to come, I am still going to rejoice in the fact that none are here yet.

But, dear friends, here is the good news. I can, with what I’m currently considering ease, still put on my own boots, tights, pants, etc. I know there will come a time when even that is not true. And this knowledge is both sad and happy to me. Happy because I am still independent. Sad because there is still THAT MUCH more time before baby 2 comes and I’m already ready to be done. Not because I’m miserable but because… well, I hate being pregnant, generally speaking. And I’m impatient. Remember all that stuff I said in my last post about newborns being awful? They are for throwing your life into upheaval, but I still want to snuggle the hell out of this little guy. Like. Now.

You all may remember that Henry came 2.5 weeks early. Because of this fact, wishful thinking, what we’ll call mother’s intuition, and my OB all but promising me… we expect baby 2 to come early, too. So, even though I’m TECHNICALLY due on April 3rd, if I get anywhere NEAR that date, I’m going to be such an unbearable beast that I will not be fit to be around any living creature. I’ve unofficially declared March 19th as my due date. Because I’m qualified to do such things and because getting my hopes up over something for which I have no proof is something in which I specialize.

Gratuitous Henry pictures to follow.

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Time for an oil change.
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Cheese ball.
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My favorite new ornament this year.
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Gymnastics!