Mar 29, 2012

life with Colin at 10 days

This is how Mr. Colin has been spending most of his time lately: staring at us intently or snoozing.  Neither of which we mind.  

Ten days ago, I was pregnant.  It feels like ten weeks ago, maybe even ten months ago.  It's so strange to think that we added another person to our family, but it feels like this is what our family is supposed to be in this moment.  We're all here now.

ColinBear had quite a big day for his 10-days-old birthday.  He went for his second doctor's visit, and showed everyone just how loudly he could cry.  He is also within three ounces of his birthweight!  His doctor told us to take him into the world and show him off, so we promptly took him to Target for the first time.  You would think there would be some fanfare for a person's very first trip to the most awesome store ever, but Colin was not impressed yet.  He slept right through it.  Fortunately, his big sister is beginning to appreciate the awesomeness of Target, but only when we take her to "visit the princesses."

The past ten days have felt like a blur of highs and lows.  The lows have been mainly for me.  I struggle with knowing what to do when Colin is doing the typical newborn crying for an unknown reason--I desperately want to fix it for him because, clearly, whatever it is is quite a big deal to him, but I also keep trying to remind myself that babies cry sometimes and there's not a whole lot anyone can do about it.  We've really only had one bad evening and one bad afternoon, and I think they were bad for me more so than they were actually bad.  Because this is a very laid-back little boy.  He spends most of his time during the day napping peacefully, nursing like a champ, and winning staring contests.  He spent last night in his cradle (yay!!) for the first time, but we made up for the snuggle time with a two hour nap together.  Those eleven work days in May are not going to be my favorite thing, I can already tell.

Cara has been handling this whole baby brother thing with her usual Cara style.  Every time we change his diaper, she announces that "Colin has yellow poopy" and we have to laugh.  She started going back to school this week, which has been really good for her.  On Tuesday afternoon, I brought Colin with me to pick her up, and she introduced him to her teachers.  "This is my baby brother, Colin Cooper Gray." And, we have to laugh again.

We've been taking family walks in the evenings.  I credit these walks, as well as good genes (thanks, Mom and Dad!) for the fact that I was able to button my jeans today.  For the sake of honesty here, these were jeans I bought right after I had Cara, but they are NOT MATERNITY JEANS! 

Cara fell behind a little on our walk tonight, so her daddy helped her out a bit.

Mr. Colin also enjoys our walks. :-)

PJ is headed back to work next week, which scares me a little.  I wonder how I will manage to take a shower or get Cara to school or buy groceries or anything else that seems necessary, but I know I will figure it out.  My friend Melissa says that it's all about building confidence, and she's right.  Yes, I can love, nurture, teach, parent two children. 

Mar 25, 2012

my favorite things {newborn edition}

Hello World!  I'm buried in Babyland over here, and it's hard to want to reemerge anytime soon.  The only thing that would tempt me is 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but even then, serious negotiation would be required.

Round Two of parents vs. newborn has been much less stressful than Round One.  I can say this even though I found myself with two crying children for almost an hour last night and then ended up sitting on the toilet (with the lid closed, obviously [or not so obviously]) nursing Colin with the exhaust fan on for white noise.  In spite of this, I have held it together much better than I did with Cara.  I was so nervous and anxious with her, but experience has taught me that this is but a brief season in my life and in Colin's, and he will be running around the house all too soon.  I am storing up snuggles knowing that at some point, I'll have to ask him to give Mommy an extra hug.

There are a few things that have made the adjustment from pregnant to not pregnant a little easier, and believe me, this is a moment in life when "making things easier" becomes very important.

1)  I am so, so, so glad that I bought a few shirts for that awkward post-pregnancy stage.  I didn't spend a lot of money, but it's been worth it.  I bought a couple of shirts in a size up that would be fairly loose and easy to nurse in, and it was really nice to have something cute and new to put on my new body, especially since we've had lots of visitors in and out.  It may sound a little superficial, and I'm sure that no one would care if I was in my sweats, but just feeling a little less frumpy has been very good for my mental state.

2)  PJ and I left Colin with my mom and took Cara to Target for a few minutes last night.  I have missed my baby girl!  My attention is divided a lot of times now, especially because Colin really likes to nurse, and something as simple as pushing Cara in the cart at Target became a good way to spend time with her and chat about My Little Pony.  It was also good for me to get out of the house and into the world for a few minutes.  We picked up some brownie mix, and Cara and I made brownies together when we got home.  She's only two and a half, so it's doubtful she will remember her first time making brownies with Mommy, but I will.  I think I needed that more than she did.

3)  I think this is probably obvious, but I am so thankful for the help that we have had so far.  My mom stayed with us last week, PJ's mom is here for a few days this week, and my dad has brought by dinner and special treats for the babies (including that awesome, amazing, Cara's most favorite thing ever, Belle balloon).  Having our family here has been such a blessing, especially for Cara.  She loves the extra attention she gets from her grandparents, and the extra pair of hands has been invaluable.  Especially when I realized it had been a few days since my last shower...

4)  The bouncy seat, hands down, is the best baby invention ever.  So far, it's the only place Colin will sleep besides in our bed or in someone's arms.  Granted, he is only five days old, so he's allowed to be picky about his sleeping locations, but being able to put him down means that PJ and I can eat dinner!  WooHoo!  The bouncy seat was also Cara's favorite put-down spot, so I'm sensing a trend.  This morning, the bouncy seat allowed me an entire hour of sleep unattached to the newborn, and it was amazing.  The whole bed to myself!  Thank you, bouncy seat!

And because everyone loves pictures of babies, here they are:

Mar 22, 2012

Colin Gray Cooper {a birth story}

This story actually started on Friday at the doctor's office.  I was officially a full week overdue, so we went in for an ultrasound and NST to check on the baby boy.

During the ultrasound, we got to see baby boy all over again, which is always exciting, but we also got an estimate of his weight...9 pounds, 12 ounces.  And everything looked great.  Plenty of amniotic fluid, lots of fetal activity, and no signs of labor or distress.  I'm not going to act like that number, NINE pounds TWELVE ounces, didn't scare me.  My doctor said that the machine typically overestimates the baby's weight, but he also said that he was confident baby boy was over 9 pounds and that if this were my first pregnancy, we might be talking about a c-section.  He scheduled us for an induction Monday morning.  The plan was for us to check in at the hospital Sunday night for a little help softening my cervix and then to start the induction drugs early Monday morning.  He estimated that we would have a baby before noon on Monday.

I spent all weekend cleaning and desperately hoping to go into labor and then desperately wishing it away.  I was so tired of being pregnant, but at the same time, so afraid of getting an almost 10 pound baby out of there.  It seemed like the opposite of what I wanted in terms of labor and birth.  I gave up the idea that I would make it through delivery without an epidural; I was already too scared.

We arrived at the hospital Sunday night, and I spent the next several hours randomly bursting into tears.  It was kind of ridiculous.  I will blame it on hormones, fear, anticipation, and general craziness, but in retrospect, I really feel bad for my poor husband.  I couldn't explain why I was crying or give him anything to do to help me, and it seemed to happen every time someone tried to talk to me.  The nurse and the doctor both got cried on.  I was waiting for the next person to walk in the door to be from the psych ward...

The doctor put a gel on my cervix to soften it, and he said that it very rarely actually starts labor, but I am one of the very rare.  Within an hour, I was having serious contractions about two minutes apart and it looked like we might have a baby that night.  Yay!  I labored for about three hours (I think; time is a little fuzzy), the crying episodes ended, and the nurse told me that the aneasthesiologist was right next door.  Epidural time!  He and I had a long talk about that headache that I got last time.  Obviously, he couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't get it again, but he assured me that he would be extra cautious.  He was wonderful (no headache!), and the epidural worked great on the pain.  Unfortunately, it also completely stopped my contractions.

We spent the night trying unsuccessfully to sleep.  My contractions never really started back up, so early Monday morning, the nurse started a small dose of Pitocin.  I thought being upright might give gravity a chance to help out, so I sat up, and my blood pressure promptly dropped.  I began to feel weak and baby boy's heartrate started dropping during each contraction.  There was an oxygen mask and a few attempts at laying in different positions, but I was pretty out of it at that point; all I wanted was to hold PJ's hand.  I was worried that the next step would be a c-section if baby boy's heartrate continued the drop or if I didn't progress fast enough.  However, I came back to life when I realized a short time later that it was probably time to push.  The epidural blocks most of the pain, but not pressure, so I could definitely tell when the pressure of a contraction increased.  The nurses told me that it took 16 minutes from the time I said "it's time to push" until baby Colin was born. 

Colin Gray Cooper
born at 8:03 AM, March 19, 2012
9 pounds, 8 ounces

The doctors and nurses were truly wonderful and so encouraging while I was doing the actual pushing.  I had a huge baby with only a small tear, and I think that speaks very highly of the medical staff's patience and caring for me and my sweet boy.

Baby Colin is a snuggler and a snoozer.  He seems to be content almost anywhere, but he especially likes to be cuddled up next to you with lots of blankets.  I keep trying to decide if he looks like Cara did as a newborn.  He doesn't have the hair or the chubby cheeks, but he has the same gorgeous dark eyes.  I can't even talk about his little lips without kissing them.  And he definitely takes the cake on size. :-)

Big sister was not at all forgotten throughout the hospital stay.  She's been hanging out with Grandmama at home, and I think it's been like a vacation for her. 

She seems to be adjusting to the idea of a baby brother slowly.  She hasn't been very interested in him, although she did acknowledge that he was crying and want to check on him this morning.  She's still doing her thing, being a big girl, as adorable as ever.  I rocked her for a few minutes before she took her nap today, and the difference in size between my two babies absolutely blew my mind.  It was like she grew up in three days. 

All in all, I'm so glad to begin this journey of mommy of two.  I wondered out loud last weekend if I would miss being pregnant.  The answer is a loud, echoing "NO." :-) Cuddling Colin under the warm spring sunshine is way better than being pregnant.

Mar 15, 2012

borrowed time

PJ came home from work the other night and said that he was left out of the agenda for a meeting on Friday. Of course, I was all like "How could they leave you out of a meeting?? That's not fair!" He shrugged and said, "They know I'm on borrowed time."  Oh, the wisdom of those words.

That's what this week has been: borrowed time. Time for tying up loose ends, finishing projects, and enjoying my last few days alone with my firstborn. We played hooky yesterday to have a date with the craft store, a Happy Meal or two, and the park, and it was perfection. Not only was McDonalds giving out My Little Pony toys (which is about the best thing ever if you ask my two-year-old), not only was it a glorious 80 degrees, but Cara was good as gold on our mommy-daughter all-day date. I've mentioned that she's gotten a bit more *ahem* willful lately, but a day to ourselves seems to be what she needed. All our problems aren't solved by any means, but it was nice to give some much needed undivided attention to my sweet girl.  I think I needed some from her too.

Mar 12, 2012


What to do when you are overdue?

Well, on Friday, I worked at school grading midterms and trying to get every detail right for my sub until 7 pm.  I am still not quite done with the grading, but it will get done eventually.

On Saturday, I took Cara on a lunch date to Chic-Fil-A with my two favorite girlfriends.  She made Jillian take her to the potty (No, mom!  It's Jillian's turn!) and had lots of fun climbing up into the playplace.  She has just now gotten tall enough to climb all the way in, and I've been afraid to take her to play by myself because if she happened to get stuck, this gigantic mama would not be able to save her.  We had no such problems though.  I had some pretty good contractions almost all day long.  I wanted to be hopeful, but I also wanted to be skeptical because it's really hard to come down from the "I might be in labor!" and "This will all be over soon!" high. 

My wonderful, wonderful husband took me on a date Saturday night, contractions and all.  (Cara's daycare offers up babysitting one Saturday a month...$25 for FIVE HOURS of fun.  It's the best deal ever.)  We had a giftcard for Outback, but we left once we realized there was a 90 minute wait.  90 minutes.  What the crap.  We went to a local restaurant that turned out to be the perfect date location.  It was in an old bank downtown, quiet and romantic, with delicious food.  And zero wait.

On Sunday, the contractions had pretty much stopped, so we tempted fate some more by going to church and sending me to the grocery store alone.  Fate resisted.  I have been very concerned with getting things ready in our house in case someone else, like Grandaddy, Grandmama, or Bitsy, has to take care of Cara.  I wanted our freezer stocked with chicken nuggets and tons of fruit in the fridge, and I wanted Cara's clothes all washed and put away.  Still nesting, I guess?

So that brings me to today and a doctor's appointment.  Baby's heartrate is very strong and gets stronger when he moves, which the doctor says is a very good thing.  I asked not to be checked because I didn't think I could handle hearing that I am still about a fingertip dilated and beginning to efface.  I also couldn't hear that I was 3 cm dilated either because it might not mean anything at all...I'm desperately trying to take care of my mental state! :-) PJ decided to hang out at home with me today, so our project is getting our office/sewing room/guest room actually ready to house guests.  Projects are good, right?  Pass the time, make the waiting seem more bearable.

Mar 9, 2012

random news

  • Today is Baby Colin's due date as well as my last day of a work for while.  I am strangely at peace with the fact that he is making no signs of coming into the world today or even tomorrow.  My mom and husband can attest that I was a certified LUNATIC when Cara was late.  Certified.
  • I bought Cara some hairbows (as well as a huge puzzle and a princess memory game) at a consignment sale last week, and she is loving them.  She wants to wear one every day, in addition to her lipstick (which is really just lip balm) and glitter on her cheeks.  (I swear that I do not encourage the make up.  She asks for her lipstick and glitter almost every morning.  Apple and tree or something like that...)  The picture on the right was sent to me by Cara's teacher at school.  This girl knows she's adorable.

  • My husband really knows the way to my heart.  Not only did he sweep the vaulted ceiling in our living room, but he also set up a carpet cleaning this week.  Our ceiling was covered in dust and cobwebs, which sounds so gross, but it's just not something I notice very often.  Ooops!  All clean now!

  • Friday nights have become movie nights at our house, and Cara has started to really look forward to picking out a movie from the "movie shop."  She talked about wanting Peter Pan for a week before we actually made it to Blockbuster to rent it, and I think this week's pick is going to the The Little Mermaid. 
  • In addition to talking about movies, here is another recent conversation: "Mommy is too tired.  Daddy, you better take me to the beach."  Um, the beach is over three hours away, but yesterday, little girl was determined to find a way to get there. 

Mar 6, 2012

40 weeks

So, yeah.  Here we are at 40 weeks pregnant.  It's sort of scary, ridiculous, and comical all at the same time.  I ended up wearing the same shirt that I wore in my 13 week pictures, so I thought it might be funny fun to post those pics side by side so that we can all marvel at how much change the human body can undergo in a relatively short period of time.

13 weeks vs. 40 weeks

40 weeks pregnant makes most things a little awkward.  Walking, eating, breathing, you know, all those things that must be done on a fairly regular basis.  My poor husband is up with me most of the night because every time I roll over, I wake up and groan, and he's too sweet to tell me to sleep on the couch.  My muscles are definitely ready for this little boy to arrive.

I'm feeling ready for the most part too.  I met with my long term sub earlier this week, and she's ready to take over after Friday.  Woo-Hoo!  I've given my notice to my students, and I think they are secretly (and some not-so-secretly) glad to see me head out because I will admit that I've been a little grumpy lately.  The mouse sighting in my classroom hasn't helped matters. 

The nursing and postpartum essentials have all been rounded up, either from Target or from the depths of my closet, and I even bought a few spring shirts, a dress (all nursing friendly, of course), and a pair of jeans in a size up to help me kick the frump after the baby is born. 

I wish I could say that my body is as ready for the baby boy as my head is, but I have made very little progress in the whole dilating and effacing business.  In fact, my next doctor's appointment is next week, three days after my due date.  But I'm trying very hard to be patient.  Baby boy will be here when he's good and ready, and the doctor has already said that he probably won't let me go more than a week and a half past my due date.  I'm going to hope that he comes on his own before then, but if not, it will all be okay.  At the end of it all, I will have a new baby boy to bring home to my sweet baby girl.  And that's really all that matters to me anyway.

linking up with The Pleated Poppy because I'm still wearing clothes! :-)

Mar 4, 2012

getting ready {part 3}

(adorable t-shirt courtesy of my wonderful friend Carol from school)

I have been nesting like a crazy person for the last two weeks, but "nesting" seems to take a different form for me: sewing.  (As if anyone is surprised...)  I have been on a mission, perhaps even a little obsessed, but baby boy has lots of snuggly boy-ness for whenever he decides to arrive.

We never seemed to have enough bibs and burp cloths when Cara was tiny, and I'm not sure if that was unique to her or if it's just a newborn thing, but those are two baby items that I knew for certain we would use again this time.  These burp cloths are just Gerber cloth diapers that my mom altered a bit.  The middle section of the diapers is always the thickest and most absorbent, so my mom folded and sewed the thinner sides in toward the middle to make the whole thing a little thicker and the perfect size for a shoulder.

two flannel blankets with matching quilted burp cloths

All of the fabric I used here came from my stash of scraps.  I am pretty excited that I didn't have to spend any money for this nesting insanity, especially since I ended up make six burp cloths and six bibs...

Cara is having a hard time sharing her C.  When she saw this one, she said "C for Cara" because that's what a C usually means.  I tried to explain that Colin starts with a C too, but my arguments fell on deaf ears.  It took her a while to decide that we could all have the same last name too.  She thought Cooper was just hers.

These were the easiest baby pants to make, and I love the extra panel in the booty.  Even though we are not cloth diapering, I think a little extra room for diapers will be nice.
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