Monday, November 30, 2009

I hope not!

I was packing up some baby clothes today. Here is the conversation that followed:

Maya: What are you doing?

Me: Packing up Charlotte's clothes for Miss Sierra to borrow. She has a baby in her belly, just like mommy had Charlotte in her belly. Do you remember that? Do you remember where Charlotte was before she was born?

Maya: Yeah.

Me: Where was Charlotte before she was born?

Maya: Making Jesus sad.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Droid Does

I got a new phone today and it is awesome! Michael is impressed, too (which takes quite a lot for this kind of thing) so expect a post about it over on his blog sometime soon :D I like that it's fast, I can check my email/facebook/forums, I can take pictures, play music, etc. I strongly considered an iPhone, but switching to AT&T wasn't practical.

For about 4 years now, I have held that Google will take over the world. I think it's getting close :P

Ironically, I am writing this post on my computer, though. I can't get it to let me type in the large text box...I'm sure Michael will have it figured out in about a minute :)

Here is your picture for today ~ Charlotte met her cousin Unai (8 months old) for the first time on Thanksgiving. She wasn't sure what to think, but was pretty fascinated by another baby who is about her size (though of course a little bigger :)). The other two people in the picture are Michael's brother Bill and his wife Jen (Unai's parents).

Saturday, November 28, 2009


On Tuesday (Michael's birthday) Maya helped Michael open his birthday gifts ~ I got him an amazing present that, as you can see, he loved very much.

This weekend we did Thanksgiving in Newark and Lancaster. We had a blast ~ we got to hang out with our siblings/parents/nephew, eat lots and lots of good food, and play cards. On our way home, there was very little of this:

I'm hoping that tonight there is a LOT of this:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy BIrthday, Michael

27 years ago today:

In this picture, you look like a boy version of Maya, but with more hair!

Hope you enjoy your gifts!

Monday, November 23, 2009

We were at Cleveland Clinic on Friday to get some more bloodwork done for Maya, and to visit Michael's uncle Mark. Kids aren't allowed beyond the lobby, so the girlies and I hung out and waited while Michael visited.

At pretty much every doctor's office or lab we've been to with Maya, they give the kids stickers as a sort of consolation prize (I wish I got treats for going to the doctor! :)). She usually gets one, gets excited, shows us her sticker a hundred times between the office in the car, and then promptly either loses it or eats it (yup ~ apparently stickers are yummy). But this time it was different. You see that sticker on her arm?

This picture was taken on Friday morning. It is Monday night, and that sticker JUST came off. She guarded that thing like a prized jewel. She bathed with her hand covering the sticker to protect it. We were at the doctor's office today and she had to take off her shirt for the doctor to listen to her chest, and she held her hand over the sticker the entire time. He tried to get her to show him, tried to get her to point at things, tried to ignore it; nothing worked. The sticker finally fell off sometime tonight and was gone when I got her ready for her bath. Good thing, because Michael joked that we were going to have to stealthily remove it in her sleep and replace it with a tattoo that looked like it (which, as you can guess of a 4 day old sticker, was none too pretty).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Charlotte's New Skill...

She can sit!

I think before this shot, Michael must have told us all to make a silly face :)

Our version of the human pyramid:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go Bucks!

(Thanks, Uncle Chris, for the onesie!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Tonight's post is just a random assortment of pictures from today. Enjoy!

You would be surprised how hard it is to get a baby and a toddler to pose at the same time for a picture. I have about 10 shots from this photo shoot and this was the best one! Charlotte, as you can see, is used to Maya's "hugs" :)

Charlotte being cute in her new pants that a friend knitted for her (thanks Lori!).

My girlies in the morning. I think that Aunt Katie will especially appreciate this one!

This is another picture of our "family bed". Michael took this picture (as you probably guessed!). He fits in that tiny space between Maya and Charlotte ~ for some reason Maya has developed an aversion to being within 2 feet of the edge of the bed :P It's like a puzzle!

I was cooking dinner tonight and Maya said, "the cup is nursing. THE CUP IS NURSING!". I thought, surely that's not what she means, right? But lo and behold:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is where it all began...

Michael and I started dating in the eighth grade (way back in 1997). The earliest picture I could find was this...I think it is the embodiment of the word "awkward":

That was our freshman year homecoming. That was also the night of our first kiss (don't tell my mom! :)).

While I'm at it, here are sophomore homecoming, junior prom, and senior prom (in that order)

(though it may look like it from our strange expressions, there was nothing scandalous going on)

(not sure what Michael is thinking...but it doesn't look good)

(I actually like this one ~ we look happy :))

We've come pretty far in the past 12 years (at the very least, we both have better hairstyles...though I'd hesitate to call what I have now a "style").

It's nice to have those pictures to look back on, but I much prefer where we are today :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maya's Birth Story

I wrote this story 3 days after giving birth to Maya. I have processed and processed her birth in the two years since then. I am still so happy about her birth, but there are definitely things I learned and things that I did differently the second time around. But, I am thrilled with how her birth went and how empowered I felt afterward (when I reread this story I can still feel the excitement I had).


On Friday, October 5th I had an ultrasound that showed possible growth restriction and my doctor decided to induce (I was 6 days past my due date). Up to this point I was 1cm dilated, 50% effaced, and had had no contractions. I was upset about the induction and really hoping that I wouldn't need Pitocin. I updated my birth plan to acknowledge that it was probably necessary, though, and tried to mentally prepare.
4pm - arrived at the hospital, checked into perinatal
6pm - cervidil started - this is a drug that is used to prepare your body for labor and to start dilating your cervix; they told me that it was possible (but rare) that the cervidil would put me into labor...the plan was to leave the cervidil in for 12 hours and then to start Pitocin in the morning.
6:10pm - contractions start
6:30pm - contractions worse and don't fully back down before building up again - coming about every 1-2 minutes and lasting as long*. I can breathe through but that's a little rediculous!
6:45pm - after Peanut's heartrate dropped 2x they removed the cervidil and started me on IV fluids to try to get my uterus to relax. contractions continue.
7:00pm - my water breaks!
7:30pm (because perinatal is SLOW) - they have checked to confirm my water breaking, moved me to L&D, and started me on antibiotics for GBS; I am now 4cm dilated (yay!). Contractions were very regular and pretty strong; I cried through some of them but DID NOT ask for drugs :) I labored while walking around, in the bed, on the birthing ball, etc. There was a point where I was becoming afraid of my contractions and as soon as they would start to decrease I would get scared of the next one. I realized this and started to really concentrate on calming myself down. I was also praying between them, which helped.
9:00pm - Midwife arrives (she had no idea I would be going so fast) and I'm dilated to 7cm! I get in the tub and, while it was not easier at this point, I was able to relax a little bit.
10:00pm - My body starts pushing on its own...eek! That is a scary feeling. MW checks and I am still only 7-8cm. I got out of the tub and used the bathroom; at this point I was half-crying and my mom thought I was really losing it. After this, though, I was able to move to the bed. By the time I got in the bed, I was 9-10, they had me lay on my side to try to get Peanut to turn (she was sunny side up - they didn't tell me this at the time, though...probably a good thing :)), and I went to 10 right away.
10:15pm - PUSH! Hehe :) Toward the end Maya's heartrate started to drop and there was a point when they couldn't find it at all. They didn't tell me but I could tell something was up from the looks on people's faces; they also started to call in a doctor. They had me get on my left side and put an oxygen mask on me. I knew that I needed to get her out ASAP so I pushed AND prayed harder than I even thought was possible.
11:03pm - Maya Grace arrived! She came out crying (thank God!) and I got to help deliver her body and pull her up onto my belly. She got to stay there while they cleaned her off and for a while after. She did have to go to the special care nursery just for a few minutes because they didn't have time to get my second round of antibiotics but other than that is totally healthy and got 9s on her apgars :)

This was the most amazing thing I have ever done.

Michael was AMAZING through the whole thing. Around 8:30 or so I became so focused that I literally couldn't speak anymore - this lasted until I was pushing - Michael was guessing what I wanted because I could only answer yes/no questions and he did an amazing job. While I was pushing they brought over a big mirror so that I could see my progress and it helped to bring me back and focus my pushing.

It was absolutely the worst pain I've ever been in, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat :)

*I have since learned that I was experiencing one of the potential risks of cervidil ~ uterine hyper stimulation; this is what caused the continuous contractions and Maya's heartrate dips. Learn more here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Big Weekend

When you are kidless, you think nothing of spending the weekend bouncing from place to place, scheduling yourself to the max, and generally going going going. When you have kids, this just doesn't work. Even if you have kids that are easygoing (which only describes one of our two), it wears on them. This weekend, we saw that in full force...

On Saturday, we got up bright and early and headed to my grandma's house to celebrate Thanksgiving with all the relatives (18 people in total). We had lots of fun, everyone was playing with, talking to, or holding the girls pretty much all day long. From there, we headed 2 hours away to go to a work party for Michael, and the girls hung out with Michael's mom and brother all evening. Then we got up this morning, went to breakfast, and tried to hit up Whole Foods and Trader Joe's while we were near them. Maya hit a wall. Between being overstimulated all day Saturday, staying up way WAY too late, sleeping away from home (at a hotel where the party was), eating food she doesn't normally eat, getting pretty much everything she asked for and more for the entire day, and not having as much mommy/daddy time as she normally has, she was done. She had a complete meltdown at Whole Foods AND Trader Joe's (we actually left both places without buying anything because it was so bad). She promptly fell asleep in the car after being up for only 3 hours, and took over a 3 hour nap. Then she woke up, ate a huge snack and all of her dinner (which never happens) and is now in bed again.

Michael and I have realized today that it's hard to be frustrated with a 2 year old when you set them up for failure. She acted exactly like we should have expected. It's not that meltdowns are acceptable (and we had this conversation with her after she had calmed down), they aren't. It's just that, at 2, when you're done, you're done. And Maya was done. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Official

Maya is a girlie girl. Not that I didn't know it already (what with her shoe obsession, her desire to wear her "sparky" ~ sparkly ~ pants and shirts, and her love of all hair accessories), but it is now confirmed. We were walking by Justice the other day in our Target plaza. Maya looked in the window, and exclaimed,

"Ooooooooh! Piiiiiink!"

Sorry, Michael :P

Friday, November 13, 2009

Did I Really Just Say That?

When you are a mom of a 2 year old, sometimes you say things that, even as they are coming out of your mouth, you know you will regret. But you say them anyway. And then you have to backpedal, or apologize, or both.

For example, you make threats that you could never follow through on:

"Maya, if you don't eat your breakfast, you can't nurse AT ALL today!"
~the problem here is that I will never follow through. And, the food issues I'm creating by forcing her to eat so that she can have special cuddle time with mommy? Oy.

"Maya, if you don't come here and put your shoes on right now, we aren't going to playgroup (or the park, or to see your friends, or to the library, etc.)!"
~playgroup (etc.) is as much for the moms as it is for the kids. We are going even if it means dragging her out of the house kicking and screaming. She could be wearing a onesie with snowboots and we would still go.

You say things that they start to repeat:

When I was changing Maya's diaper the other day, she said, "Holy crap, child! That's a lotta pooskies!". Um, ya. I've been working on saying "holy cow" or "holy moly" instead. I'm having about 50% success with that.

You say things that are just so utterly ridiculous that even the 2 year old figures that out:

I gave Maya some gross cereal the other day (in hopes that she wouldn't think it was gross). She took one bite, told me it was yummy, but then spent the rest of breakfast squeezing the cereal through her hands and spreading it around on her high chair tray. I said, "Maya! That is not appropriate behavior for a 2 year old!" Um yes, yes it is. It is completely expected and appropriate behavior for a 2 year old. Oops.

And finally, you say things that you never thought you would have to say:

"Maya, Jane (our dog) doesn't want you to ride on her right now" (like Jane ever wants Maya to ride on her?)

"Maya, Charlotte doesn't want you to put your fingers in her eyes (ears, nose, mouth, etc.)"

I'm sure as she gets older (and as Charlotte gets to be old enough that she does more than just sit/lay where we put her), it will only get more ridiculous :) At least I can laugh about it afterward!

Almost forgot to blog today!

Sorry folks ~ lots and lots to do tonight! Almost forgot to blog! Hope this makes it in before midnight...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One of the Best Days of my Life

I'll post Maya's birth story tomorrow (working on some other stuff tonight :)) ~ in the meantime I'll give you a picture of me on the day she was born:

And one of the first pictures ever taken of her:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things I Didn't Know I Didn't Know

Shout Advanced Spray Gel will take crayon out of a comforter and sheet:



It will not, however, remove dry erase marker from a cream colored shirt.



It should be noted that the shirt had been washed and dried at least twice, and that the comforter had not been washed and dried. The product is supposed to work on "set in" stains, though, so I give it an "eh". Worked well on a new stain, not so well on the set in one.

Onto another topic: Maya takes very good care of her babies. She told me that her baby was sad. Carrying her in the wrap made her happy.

That wrap was made from fabric leftover from when I made a wrap in which to *carry* Maya. We wore her in that thing until she was way too big and way too heavy to be carried in a piece of stretchy material, when we moved into structured carriers. I wear Charlotte in the wrap still, though she doesn't adore it like her big sister did.
Here is a picture of Michael wearing Maya at 2 months old (notice how sleep deprived he looks...I can assure you that I looked the same way)

Monday, November 9, 2009

They're Only Little Once

After reading (and maybe participating...just a little bit ;)) in an online debate about whether 4 month old babies are too young to "cry-it-out" and about the merits of the method in general, I felt very happy for my family. Babies need to know that their needs will be met, even when it isn't convenient for Mom and Dad :)

Michael and Charlotte:

Our Family Bed (don't worry ~ they are placed like that for the photo op :) Normally Maya and Charlotte do not sleep next to each other)

Grandma holding Maya while she takes a much-needed nap (shopping for value is exhausting!)

Grandma and Charlotte:

Charlotte with Aunt Katie:

Michael and Maya:

Like Father, Like Daughter:

Apparently I make a comfy pillow:

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Long day, sick child (not the one pictured), short post. Night ya'll! :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Birth of Charlotte Mae

Born July 2, 2009 @ 9:30pm (due date was July 4th)
6lb 1oz
18.5 inches long

I haven't put Maya's birth story up on here yet but will post it soon ~ the quick and dirty is that I was induced with Cervidil at 41 weeks (growth hindsight I don't think it was necessary), the Cervidil put me into hard and fast labor, and she was born with no drugs (besides the Cervidil) in about 4 hours. The hospital experience wasn't bad, per se, but DH and I knew we wanted something different the second time around. I hadn't done much research and my main reason for wanting to go natural was because so many people told me I wouldn't be able to do it, and I'm kinda stubborn :) FTR, she was 7 pounds and 20 inches long, and due to pushing too hard and when I didn't feel like pushing, I had a relatively long recovery.

When Maya was about 9 months old, I watched “The Business of Being Born”. I. love. that. movie. Seriously. I was SO EXCITED about having a home birth after that movie that I couldn't sleep. For 3 days. Oh, and I wasn't even pregnant yet. Just the PROSPECT of having a home birth was literally keeping me up at night (that and a 9 month old who hadn't yet figured out that nighttime is for sleep :)). I watched the movie 2 more times, then bought a copy so I could watch it as much as I wanted. DH wasn't 100% on board with home birth, but I figured I'd work on him when it was actually a possibility.

When Maya turned one, we started trying to get pregnant. It had taken us 18 months, several infertility tests, surgery, hormones, and 2 rounds of clomid to get pregnant the first time. This time it took 5 days. When I was about 7 weeks pregnant DH and I met with Pam Kolanz. He went from being totally skeptical about home birth to being very comfortable with the whole thing (thanks, Pam!!!). After meeting with a couple other midwives we decided that Pam was definitely the best fit for us. We (I :)) did lots of reading and preparing for this birth, and took a NCB class from Karen Edwards that really boosted our confidence in the whole birth process. Fast forward through a relatively uneventful pregnancy...the only “complication” was the same as the first time. I started measuring small at 30-some weeks. After an ultrasound confirmed that the baby was growing fine, we determined that I just carry babies small.

Since I hadn't gone into labor with Maya on my own, I wasn't sure what to expect this time. I also had never had “early” labor with her (went straight from no contractions at all to contractions every 3 minutes). On Monday June 29th I nursed Maya around 5am, and had some stronger and slightly more uncomfortable BH contractions than I had been having. They were about 7 minutes apart and after an hour I was totally convinced I was in labor. I forced myself to go back to sleep, though, and when I woke up around 8 they were gone. I walked, I nursed Maya, I tried to be active all day to bring the contractions back, but nothing worked. The next morning, the same thing happened. And the morning after that. By Thursday I was getting used to the pattern, but the morning contractions were definitely stronger and more uncomfortable. I almost told DH to stay home from work, but got up and took a shower first, and the contractions went away. I didn't tell him what was going on because I knew things weren't happening right then, and I didn't want him to freak out (he was excited, but tends to worry, and I didn't need that! :)). I had my 40-week appointment with Pam at 9am, and was feeling crampy on the way there. We talked at the appointment about how it was very possible that I had 2 weeks left, that it was good I was having these contractions to prepare my body (frustrating as they were!), etc. I was out and about for most of the day, and still feeling very crampy. At 3:45pm we were at home and I nursed Maya ~ while I was nursing her I started having contractions about 3 minutes apart, but they spaced to 5 minutes when she was done. I still wasn't convinced it would last, but started timing them just in case. DH got home at 6:15pm and I was still having contractions 5 minutes apart. I was out walking with the stroller when he got home, and I had 2 more contractions before I told him what was up. We decided to call Pam, but told her she didn't need to come yet as I was still able to walk and talk through the contractions. She called us back at 7:45pm and I still wasn't convinced she needed to come. DH looked at the contraction chart and realized that they had started being 3 minutes apart and were lasting for over a minute, so Pam thought it was probably a good idea to head our way. About 8:00pm we called our friend Sierra who was coming to help with Maya during the labor.

Sierra and Pam both arrived around 8:30pm, and at that point my labor ramped up. I was moaning through contractions and trying to rest between. By 8:50pm I wanted to get into the birth pool ~ the water felt AMAZING. At 9:15pm I had a contraction and felt my body push a little bit. I was worried that it was too soon, and I asked Pam if I should feel like I needed to push. She told me that I was probably feeling the amniotic sac and to just go with what my body was telling me. On the next contraction I pushed a little and it felt much better than just trying to breathe through it! For some reason at that point I flipped over so that I was on my knees and leaning over the edge of the pool. I had a contraction almost right away and pushed ~ I felt what felt like a big clot and Pam said (in her very calm voice) something like “That was your amniotic sac. And we have a baby coming” (it's all kinda fuzzy at this point, so don't quote me/her on that!). She was right ~ on that same contraction Charlotte's head was born, all at once. DH reminds me that Pam suggested I slow down...but that clearly didn't happen. The cord was around her neck so Pam unlooped it and Charlotte's body was born with the next push, at 9:30pm. Charlotte wasn't breathing on her own at first, so I was rubbing her back and Pam gave her a few little helping breaths, and then she started crying and turned pink :) After that DH cut the cord (after it stopped pulsing), I got out of the tub and into bed, ate some soup, got checked over (all good!), Charlotte had her newborn exam, and we got to relax as a new family of four! She latched on easily and within an hour of her being born I was able to tandem nurse (Maya wasn't really sure what to do with this new little person, though!). Being at home was everything I thought it would be and so so so much more (as cliché as that sounds). I can't describe the feeling except to say that I would do it again 100 times over. I've already told DH that I want 10 more :) He's happy with the two we have, so I'll have to convince him one at a time :)

One last thing (since this is already really long!) ~ looking back, as much research as I did about birth since Maya was born, and as convinced as I was that birth works if we just let it, I didn't truly in my heart believe that my body would do what it needed to do all on its own. Until I had this experience, I didn't realize how much my first birth had taken away from me. It makes me sad for women who choose to put their birth into someone else's hands. After experiencing a truly natural, intervention-free birth, I can't imagine doing it any other way.

And now for picture overload!

Contractions are not enjoyable:

Michael was an amazing birth partner:

Maya didn't really know what was going on, but she wanted to help, too:

One of my last contractions before she was born:

My beautiful baby girl!

Daddy cutting the cord:

Family of Four:

I think what I was feeling was written all over my face!

Big beautiful eyes :)

Charlotte's first diaper:

Charlotte's first night (and the only time she would ever sleep in the cosleeper :P)

Charlotte (at 3 months) with our midwife:

Charlotte and Maya when Charlotte was 6 days old:

Charlotte and Maya today: