Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 5

Everything is great.

The day has been beautiful. We have all the doors open, and the sun has been streaming in. After yesterday's incredible day-long storms, with Tornadoes flying by in surrounding counties and NPR constantly interrupting their programming to extend the warning periods and read off the counties effected, it's a very pleasant change.

Alexe is doing very well. A few hours after my last changing session, I started to notice things around the house. There are these throw rugs that I really can't stand but Alexe insists on putting in front of all the exterior doors; in the big house clean up I did on Monday I laundered, folded, and hid them in the closet. This morning they found their way back to the floors. My alarm clock was repositioned on my night stand, the crib which has been functioning as my convenient changing station had been completely re-organized, (mind you I'm the only one changing diapers at this point, you would think I would get to do it my way) and the love seat had been plumped.

So Alexe is doing just fine.

Annaliese is also doing very well. She was having some eye goop problems with her right eye, but after a day of breast-milk, it's cleared right up. (Amazing stuff, this breast milk.)

She's sleeping for longer periods of time, and also staying awake, without crying, for longer periods. Her nose is growing out from the flattened state it was in right after birth, and her eyes are lightening. (I'm putting a nickle on Blue. One nickle, that is, for all of you to split if I'm wrong.)

Since her massive cleansing of the bowels that activity has slowed down, and she is pooming up a storm. (Pooming seems to be an unfamiliar term to some, it means "pooting", or if you must be so vulgar, "farting".) She's doesn't seem to mind, and it's really amusing to carry her around and feel the little bubbling on her butt.

She's making up for it with lots of pee.

I've got a little video I'm going to try to upload here. It's a little long, and may give you motion sickness, but I really wanted to catch one of her yawns. They're adorable.

OK, the upload failed (the file was almost 90 mb), so click on this link:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 4

(These are probably going to be pure "what's been happening" kinds of posts.)

Everything's going well.

Alexe is getting a couple hours of personal time while Annaliese snoozes in her sling on my chest. She's been eating up a storm, but miraculously is also sleeping for hours at a time. This phenomenon didn't start until around 7 this morning, so the night wasn't the most restful.

The little one was fidgety most of the night, and by 5 in the morning Alexe was long overdue for a break. I took over, and must say, nothing feels quite as big an accomplishment as getting a very upset bundle of lungs to fall asleep. She yelled at me for almost an hour, but when those little eyes closed, I vaulted for the bed and got in a good hour of sleep with Little A lying next to me in the crook of my arm. (A and I are making use of the guest bedroom for taking care of the crying little one. It allows the other one of us get some sleep even at the loudest of times.)

An hour later the little mouth was searching for something to suck on again, so Alexe took over, and miracle of miracles, on a full stomach Annaliese fell asleep again and A and I had a nice couple hours rest.

Turns out Shadow is afraid of Annaliese. I tried another bonding moment between the two of them, and Shadow very quickly exited the room.

I've been to the local library, and Alexe is well stocked with mystery novels. (How might Alexe be stocked with books, kinda a stretch of the grammatical rules, you might say? Oh shush.)

Also bought some walkie talkies for me and Alexe, which turned out to be worthless, so they're going back to Fred's. While our house is not all that expansive, it's not so easy to hear Alexe calling me from the guest room over the sound of crying baby, NPR (silence just wasn't working for our tired brains), the never ending laundry and dishwasher cycles, and me clanging pots and pans or sweeping. Oh yes, the house is spotless.

I'm feeling some squirming in the sling, so I'm off.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 3

Alexe gave me the greatest gift last night. (After her love, hand in marriage, and a cute little baby, of course.) Almost 7 hours of sleep!

We have all been pretty well fried since Saturday.

But as of today:

Alexe is feeling much better, able to walk around with little A, and looking less pale, and emotionally feeling much better. Her milk has come in, which has pleased everyone. (This morning little A's face, all snoozy and looking like she had a question on her mind, was covered, nose cheeks and chin, in dried milk. Super cute.)

The house is finally caught up, laundry done, everything mopped, dishes and kitchen clean, bathrooms bleached down, compost out, trash out, last minute necessities and prescriptions picked up, and I think things should ease up a little bit. (We knew there wouldn't be much rest once she came, but we didn't think the starting point was a sleep starved 38 hour marathon. If we had been handed a new baby without that first step, who knows, so all you not-yet-parents, don't forget that slippery little fact.)

My chores are to keep everyone other than Annaliese in food, drinks, and doting attention. Shadow has taken to staying outside most of the day; she seems very uncomfortable in the house. (Cannot thank our landlords enough for that dog door and fenced in yard.) Dido, on the other hand, is fascinated and worried sick over the bundle that smells funny and cries periodically. She's in almost every picture I take, peeking over the side of the bed, sitting at attention staring up at wherever little A is, or, when she can reach, trying to lick any exposed part of little A.

Alexe is feeling much better. We've made improvements with the latching on, and with milk flowing, Alexe's worries and self doubt that had piled into her exhausted, fragile mind have eased a bit.

We've started to work out a process: Alexe is resting whenever she can. The feedings take a long time, and there isn't much time in between, so that's her sole job, along with consuming whatever food, tea, etc. I put in front of her.

When little A has had her fill, I swoop in and put her in a sling, where she snoozes while I do the dishes, sweep, take out the garbage, and generally act like Alexe did while little A was still in the womb. It's amazing how she'll sleep through me mopping, with her knocking into my chest, or clanging garbage can lids, or running water in the tub, or doing dishes. She seems to be more peaceful at these times than when I sit still.

Whenever that delightful odor drifts up to my nose, the sling is perfectly shaped to funnel it straight up, we visit the changing station and yet again break the 2 hour old record of ginormous amounts of poo. I had been using her cloth diapers without the plastic liners, but the amount of laundry that little bundle was producing was mind boggling. On one fun occasion she managed to thrust a poo covered leg into a clean stack of diapers. Rookie mistake, keeping clean diapers within reach. So, we're in plastic liners, and that seems to be containing things nicely.

Eventually little A starts seeking with her mouth for something to suck on, and will attach herself to anything within reach. Her hand and the cloth wraps will keep her happy for a few minutes. My pinkie, nose, neck, shoulder, will do for no more than a minute. Then it's back to her mama, who has mastered the side by side feeding method, and is sleeping right now while little A is snacking away.

It's all quite fun, and helps that she's so cute.

(I don't have any pictures downloaded to this computer. Those will certainly come later.)

She's Here!

(This is 2 days late, I've been busy.)

Annaliese Lee Coughlin was born at 11:06 pm on Sunday, January 6th, 2008.
Our gift for the 12th day of Christmas.

The Short version: 7 lbs 10 oz, 20+ inches long, with lots of hair.She's healthy, calm, and has turned into a cute pink little person in the past few hours. Alexe is doing fine. She went through 25 hours of drug free labor like a champion, and is resting in bed next to me with Annaliese suckling away happily.

The Long version:
An important note: very late in our pregnancy we decided to have a home birth with licensed professionals.

Saturday night Alexe started having contractions while we were watching To Catch a Thief, the last in our pile of Carry Grant films. Good movie.

By 10 pm they were under 10 minutes apart, and strong enough to launch us out of bed to work through them, so we're starting the labor clock there.

The midwives arrived at 4 am.

(I have here deleted the even longer version, that ran through vomiting, bathes, water breaking, etc. because my fuzzy brain can't write it without making it too graphic for all but a few, and I want to send this out once.)

Annaliese was born at 11:06 that night, after 25 hours of, honestly, miserable labor. She came out with a little cry, went straight to Alexe's chest, and in a few seconds had pooped and latched on.

We had a bit of a scare immediately following delivery. Alexe was bleeding heavily; we called 911, and as soon as I hung up the phone the bleeding stopped. The ambulance folks were very nice, checked over the baby and Alexe, and went away.

The midwives did all their checks, cleaned up the house, did some laundry, and left around 2:30 am this morning, with Alexe and Petunia in bed together, and me wandering the house on wobbly legs that had been holding Alexe up for a day, and a mind that was catching up with the fear of Alexe's bleeding.

We were up at 4 and 8:30, Annaliese and Alexe are snoozing and eating in shifts, I gave the little one her first bath this morning, (Thank you Paula) and we're generally glazed and enjoying the little noises that Annaliese makes. (Oh, and changing diapers. She's pooped 3 times in her first 12 hours here.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Petunia seems to be cozy where she is

And it's driving my darling young bride nuts.

Alexe is not the most patient person in the world, as many of you may know. She's the sort of person who opens Christmas presents early, looks through my Amazon account periodically to check on what might be for her, will decide she is ready to go for a walk when I have just stepped into the shower, and rather than wait, will sit on the toilette and glare at me until I'm ready.

We've filled these past 2 weeks or so, (we're only 8 days past the due date, but were prepared for Petunia the day after Christmas) with some really pleasant together time. Lots of long walks, lounging, we've read through a huge pile of library books, (I've made it through 5 Terry Pratchett books in the past 10 days, imagine what Alexe has read.) Watched a few Cary Grant movies, Arsenic and Old Lace most recently. Many bathe, a bit of working on the ole' building, replacing the kitchen door, cleaning the cars, installing the car seat, turning up the garden, listening to lots of public radio, etc. etc. Generally puttering around the house, making lots of food, and lamenting the need to return to money-making activities in the near future that make this sort of life style a "vacation" instead of the norm.

It's a dreary, rainy Saturday, with the pooches still tuckered from our long walk yesterday. A is reading in bed, periodically calling out for a bit of reassurance that she's doing just fine.

There's a chicken stew on the stove, a heater blowing gently on my feet, and it's a blessed life.

Some pictures from our walk yesterday:

Big ole bird that kept crossing our path. We never saw it, just these huge tracks.

Filthy little Dido. This required a bath and scissors to clean up.

Shadow and her stick.

Shadow and her stick, and me.

Isn't she lovely?


Cheerios everyone. When there is some News, you'll be some of the first to know.