Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Story 1997

Early in spring 1997, we finally decided to get a puppy. (Well, I decided and pressured Dave until he gave in). He always said we’d have a dog and I firmly disagreed. Then I saw a puppy in a pet store and started doing research on breeds assuring Dave it was just an academic interest - we weren’t getting a dog. I fell deeply in love with Golden Retrievers - Dave’s dream dog. I overcame all Dave’s rational objections (not enough space, tremendous training time, Dd#1 being only 1 yr old...) not with reason but with pouty faces.

We started an intensive search for the perfect puppy and were about 2 weeks from making a final decision when we found out we were pregnant. We thought we were about 3 weeks along, but were really almost 2 months pregnant (all that puppy talk distracted us from charting NFP). Dave swore the puppy thing is my maternal instict kicking in and next time, he'll get me that puppy BEFORE I get pregnant (hindsight hint - it didn't happen).
The pregnancy (other than being miserable because that’s the nature of my pregnancies) was uneventful, healthy, and happily much easier than with Dd#1. In the first 2 trimesters I was frustratingly exhausted and threw up most of the time, but as with Dd#1, the more time went on the better I felt so that by the due date I felt just like every other pregnant woman.

Throughout the pregnancy we were expecting a boy. The ultrasound was pretty conclusive and that baby was kicking the ....out of me. At a stress test 4 days before I got induced, we found out she was a girl. We were stunned and went to the hospital without a name chosen. Dave was holding me to my promise to have a Jessica after we compromised on Dd#1's name. I still didn't like the name and couldn't reconcile calling her a name I didn't like.

Dd#2 was born in late November and weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and was 21 inches long. We went to the hospital for induction at 11am and they broke my water at 2pm to get things moving (my contractions just petered off). After 2 pushes she was ours at 4:09 in the afternoon.
My big fear during pregnancy was Dd#1's adjustment to the new baby. She was incredible! She was more in love with her new sister than we were (if that's possible). She wanted to hold and touch and be near Baby all the time. They were both such a joy and a blessing. (They don't always feel that way about each other, now.)

It amazed us how hard it is to get work done on the house with children around and yet how motivating that same factor can be. The big project of that year didn’t start until 6-8 weeks before my due date. Dave completely gutted and renovated our upstairs bathroom. What a messy, difficult job at an already stressful time. Dave said that 3 out of the 4 holiday seasons we’ve been together we introduced extra stress : 1994 we bought a house and moved, 1995 we had a baby, and 1997 we had a baby and redid the bathroom - you’d think we’d learn timing. He ripped off the walls and ceiling down to the wood & lathe and put up new drywall, redid the electrical and most of the plumbing. He left the old-fashioned tub, but built walls and tiled them to create a tub/shower with new fixtures and lighting. He ripped out the sink and installed a vanity, medicine chest and lighting. He ripped out the recessed toilet (who recesses a toilet into the wall?) and reinstalled it fixing all the walls. He ripped up the flooring and had carpet laid. It was definitely stressful not having much use of our main bathroom while I was 9 months pregnant, but when it was done a year later, it looked and felt wonderful.

My new baby had a broken collar bone we didn’t know about until she was 2 1/2 weeks old. The pediatrician said I'd broken it pushing her out. That was the last baby I allowed to be induced, those labors are more difficult and I didn't want to chance doing that to my baby again. That year was a rough Christmas. We had our new baby with a broken collar bone, it took 3 1/2 weeks - almost Christmas, until she stopped crying with the pain and could finally start sleeping. We all caught some wicked cold and had to miss some of our families’ Christmas celebrations. I had to go to bed for a few days when I had problems healing from having the baby. My mom helped out a ton that December. I’d been exhausted, discouraged, drained, and frustrated. David was exhausted, stressed, and frustrated. It seemed like a miserable Christmas. As I looked back on it, it was a most beautiful Christmas. Dd#1 must’ve watched "The Little Drummer Boy" over 100 times that month, while cuddling with the baby and me as I nursed by the Christmas tree lights. Friends and family showered us with what we needed to get through. Isn’t it funny how time can do that to a memory? The distance of time blurs our memory, or does it bring life into sharper focus so we can see what was really going on?

As winter turned to spring I had a very difficult time adjusting to 2 children. I had a hard time bonding with the baby since I didn’t get much one-on-one time with her. She was a lovely baby with a fabulous disposition and so easy I questioned the pediatrician that something must be wrong with her. Dd#1 had slept through the night at 6weeks, but at 1 1/2yrs, Dd#2 still woke up several times in the night. As Dd#2 turned 6months old, I started sleeping a little more and though the girls had opposite nap schedules, I realized I had my coveted alone-time with Dd#2. As my brain began to clear when she was around 9 months old, I realized I'd had post partum depression. It didn't feel like depression, but it was classic symptoms.

The baby was incredibly physically strong (which was one reason I was sure we were having a boy) and was about to crawl at 8 months...until I fell down the steps carrying her. My feet went out from under me and I fell half way down the steps landing on her leg, but her head cracked hard twice on the edge of the steps. After 10minutes of uncontrollable crying she started falling asleep. Dave rushed home and we took her to the emergency room. They checked her out (while she screamed the whole time) and said she was probably OK and sent her home. All weekend she cried on & off and favored that leg. By Monday she was still very uncomfortable (she was a very stoic baby and it can be hard to tell the difference between a surprised cry and just fussing), so I took her to her doctor. During the x-ray when they had to twist her ankle and hold it while I held her thrashing screaming body still to take the picture. After that painful x-ray, we found a broken ankle. A broken ankle doesn’t sound bad, but that was my 8month old baby I had hurt and had to hold down while they hurt her again. I barely remained standing and can hardly breath every time I think of that afternoon. They put a cast on her leg and she immediately felt better and didn’t need much Tylenol after the cast. She looked so adorable and pitiful.

The cast was on for 2 weeks and during that time I took both girls (yes, in her cast) to a friend’s parents’ home in Tennessee for 5 days without Dave. My kids were as good as could be, but pretty unhappy. Dd#1 desperately missed her daddy and both girls missed home and their normal schedule. I was never so happy to get home!! I won’t leave the state without Dave again. What was I thinking? There’s no lasting effects, but Dd#2 had been just ready to crawl when we fell, and I think that it delayed her development for at least a year. But boy could she move fast!

Dd#2 subsequently had a very high tolerance for pain and almost never cried as a baby (unless she was hungry). She was quiet and content to stare at everyone's face -- such a happy baby. She didn't sleep much and caught every cold that winter. Dd#2 was such a sweet baby. Her eyes would become brown and her brown hair had a blonde spot (all her hair eventually turned blonde and her blonde spot turned white). She wanted to be held all the time and ate past the point of being full. Daddy was so much better at burping than Mama (but I had nursing down pat.) She started her "terrible two's" at 13 months and they didn't start to ease up until she was 4 years old. We came to find out that was just her personality (and an additional reason for homeschooling). I pulled out the "boy" blanket I crocheted for our new baby and it was so soft and comfey -- but I couldn't put those boy colors on my new baby girl, so she rarely used it.

Now, Dd#2 is the most excited in the house about our upcomming new baby!!

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