Life with two (under 2) - 2 months in.

I’m such a crappy blogger that I actually forget we have one and that I should update it. Hmm.

Anyways, we’ve adjusted well to the two kidlets. Daphne is proving to be a pretty mellow kid who really likes to sleep in her own bed, and never on us, which kind of makes me sad. And kind of makes me want to have another baby so he/she will sleep on me.

I would describe Daphne as calm, quiet, and independent. Sometimes I forget she’s here. She sleeps a lot, although it can be a challenge to get her to sleep sometimes. She does not fall asleep nursing. She does not rock to sleep. It took a while to figure that out. She likes the pacifier and she needs to be swaddled or her little arms come up and steal the pacifier out while her mouth isn’t watching. She needs quiet (and not a big loud older brother around) to sleep. But once she’s down, she sleeps pretty well - usually 7 or 8 hours at a time at night, and an hour or more for her daytime naps (or sometimes just a catnap). She spends long amounts of time in her bouncy seat or on our bed just watching toys or the ceiling fan. She’s happy to just look around without being held. She does like to be held up so she can ’stand’ and she’ll give you a big smile if you talk to her. She’s a pretty sweet baby.

Xavier is a little monkey. It’s so fascinating to see how he views the world. Right now, everything is ‘two’. He sees two M’s. Or two bees (even if there’s three). And don’t try to tell him there’s three or four or something. No, two is the only number.

There are also two Sean’s. For some reason, he thinks that both Sean and I are called Sean (in addition to being Mommy and Daddy). If I try to correct him and say, no, I’m not Sean, I’m Mommy, he’ll reply, No, Mommy, TWO Seans. Sigh.

Xavier knows the entire alphabet, upper and lower case and can count to twenty (and often does!). He can count fingers and toes and recognize numbers 1-9. He knows shapes - triangle, square, circle, oval, moon, star, heart. He knows lots of animals, but often wants to call them cows or elephants (in fact, our mobile with a giraffe, elephant and zebra has 2 elephants, didn’t you know?). Colors seem to mistify him still. If you ask him what color something is, it’s usually yellow (but really isn’t). I hope he’s not color blind, just not quite grasping the concept. Sometimes he seems to ‘get’ it, but it’s definitely not consistent.

We’ve taken Xavier out of daycare and I’m so happy with our decision. Seeing him all day is fantastic. We go to the park, eat lunch together, read books and play and be silly with Daphne. He gives her kisses and says HI DAPINES (that’s how he pronounces her name). It’s great. This is one of the happiest times of my life and I really wish I didn’t have to go back to work eventually.

Daphne 10 days old

IMG_0014 by mirandalt
IMG_0014, a photo by mirandalt on Flickr.

New photo gallery

My brain hurts. We have a newborn and a young toddler (who, I might add, are exactly 21 months apart!) and my brain is too full of baby stuff to figure out our old Gallery. If you know how to use Gallery2 and can figure out why I can see thumbnails and not the full size images, let me know! (I did increase the php limit and now I’m stuck). In the meantime, I put photos of Daphne’s birth and first couple of weeks on Flickr. More to come!

Welcome Daphne Katherine

Daphne’s Birth Story

Daphne Katherine was born May 11, 2011 at 1:23 am at Hopital Saint Luc in Montreal. She was 7lbs and 19.75 inches long.

We were expecting my pregnancy to go to 41 weeks or later and had basically planned for it; Xavier was born at 41.5 weeks and probably would have been born later if I hadn’t been induced. He was also a C-section baby since my labor never progressed past 4 cm. We planned on a VBAC and had a midwife to give us the best possible chances.

Early Tuesday morning around 4:30am I woke up to mild, crampy contractions. I had these a few times and usually they petered out so I wasn’t too excited, but kept an eye on them. Around 5:30 I realized they were continuing and I was also hungry, so I got up to see if changing activity would make them go away. I ate a bowl of cereal and surfed the web for a while and then continued. I still wasn’t convinced so I decided to go back to bed to at least get some rest and figured they would either stop or not.

The contractions continued but I managed to sleep in between them and eventually Sean and Xavier woke up around 7:30am. I got up and got Xavier out of bed and changed him, thinking this would be our last day together with him as our baby. During this, I had a few contractions but they were still quite mild. We had breakfast and showered and took Xavier to daycare. I decided to go along as it was only a 10 minute walk or so and I wanted to spend time together as a family and also to see if walking would pick things up. I had a few contractions along the way and had to stop walking through them, but nothing too painful. We decided this was probably it and called our friends who were supposed to take care of Xavier when we went into labor and let them know.

Once we got home, we decided to call our midwife, Julie, since I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. She suggested I take a bath to see what happened and then call her back. I got in the bath and everything picked up. The contractions started to be more intense and 3-4 minutes apart and they definitely hurt. We called Julie and let her know and she said I was probably around 4-5 cm and that we could meet her at the hospital. I felt like I probably wasn’t that far along and that I didn’t want to go to the hospital yet so she met us at home. She checked me and I was 1 cm, partly effaced with an anterior cervix. She asked me if I was disappointed and I said no – I really wasn’t – I was pleased that I had gone into labor on my own and things were going. I had gotten a whole cm on my own! This was probably around 10:30am.

At that point, Julie said she needed to visit a family who had their baby the day before so she said I should just continue to labor at home and call her if things got worse. I decided to get back into the bath since it seemed the most comfortable there. Things started to get intense again – about 2-3 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute. I was still tolerating the contractions fairly well, but needed to breathe to get through them. Since things had picked up significantly, we decided to call our midwife and she thought it would be best to go to the hospital and said she would meet us there, although I still felt I probably hadn’t progressed enough to really be at the hospital.

The taxi driver was a combination of wonderful and terrible. Wonderful because he really tried to go fast and burned through several yellow (and red) lights; terrible as a consequence of his speed and rapid starts and stops (plus the potholes here are really bad). We made it in record speed and Sean gave the driver a big tip.

I walked up to the delivery rooms as sitting in the wheelchair was unfathomable. Once we got to the floor, Julie hadn’t yet arrived, but there was another midwife (no clue who) there to meet us. She gave me a yoga ball to sit on, which actually helped me relax a bit in between contractions. By this time I was vocalizing loudly through each contraction and bending over on the sink/bed/whatever. I could feel my cervix being pulled open during each contraction and it was becoming more and more difficult to get through them.

Julie arrived and checked me – 2 cm (but nearly fully effaced). I cried. It wasn’t that I had been labouring very long with that amount of dilation that made me upset, it was the fact that it had become so difficult. Nevertheless, I really wanted to continue with an unmedicated labor for as long as possible so I suggested getting the tub ready as that had helped me at home.

In the 5 minutes it took to get the tub ready, things became even worse – it seemed like each contraction was worse than the previous and I was starting to doubt my abilities to cope. I managed to somehow make it in to the tub and yelled my way through a few contractions. I demanded help. Julie pressed on my back and it did little to relax me; I could barely even feel her hands there.

I got out of the tub and Julie suggested that I try the shower, since standing was more comfortable for me. At this point I was pretty much screaming through each one. I felt completely out of control, like my body was being ripped apart from the insides and the contractions were coming one on top of another. I held on to Sean for during each one and my entire body shook. Is it worth mentioning that the shower wasn’t useful (except to help rinse the copious bloody mucus - which I should have realized was a good sign - away from me)?

This is where everything gets fuzzy. In the shower I realized I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, not for another minute. I asked for the epidural and Julie went to get the nurse and attending OB (the midwife needs to transfer you once you ask for the epidural). Sean and some nurses patted me down and I was bleeding everywhere. The last really bad contraction I clearly remember I was stiff as a board leaning over the bed, screaming and gripping the sheets, etc, as hard as I could. My vision was blurry and I couldn’t hear anything. I asked for something immediately and was offered some nitrous oxide. I screamed into the mask. I was terrified at this point, I thought I might just pass out. At the hospital, they don’t administer the epidural until you have reached 4 cm and at last check I was only 2 cm. I wasn’t sure I could make it that far. The managed to get me to lie down (somehow) and I was examined by a resident to be 5 cm – I dilated 3 cm in about 30 minutes – no wonder it had been so intense. Sean had to go downstairs to get me admitted, since I was no longer officially under the care of the midwife, so Julie, a nurse and the nitrous oxide helped me get through the next however many minutes so they could insert the IV and epidural (neither of which I felt, but I do remember them screaming at me to stay still – have these women not had babies?). A few more really bad contractions, and then things got much better. No pain.

At this point, Julie told me she had thought the epidural was a good idea; my labor seemed to be more intense than other women’s. She said it was good to see me smile. We chatted a bit and I felt guilty I couldn’t have a natural childbirth but tried to stay positive – I had gotten half way on my own and things still seemed to be going well. At that point, Julie said she would go back to her office to do some paperwork but that we should call if we needed anything, or if it was time to push.

A couple hours later, I was checked by a resident and was found to still be at 5 cm, with some swelling. This was not good news. My waters were still intact, however, so they decided to break them to see if that would pick up the contractions, which were still regular, but just not strong enough.

My waters were broken and they left me for a few hours. When they came back to check me I was still at 5 cm. I pretty much lost it at this point – this was almost exactly what happened with Xavier (except that I only got to 4 cm). The resident tried to be supportive and explained that we would start pitocin, we weren’t talking about a C-section. I called Julie and she explained that this was pretty typical after getting an epidural – labor slows down, pitocin is needed, but that it should probably work. She also said we should ask about other signs of progress, such as the station of the baby’s head to see if those were progressing as well, and that she would be at the hospital in an hour. The resident said they would come back and check me again in a couple of hours but if I hadn’t made any progress they would go straight to a C-section and not make me exhaust myself more by waiting.  In the meantime, I could hear women in adjacent rooms screaming and yelling and babies being born. I cried and felt like crap. Why was I so weak that I couldn’t make it without medication? Why could other women ‘just have’ their babies? Why was this happening again?

Julie showed up at we talked again. I told her about my fears and cried a little. The resident finally came in and asked me how big my last baby was (8 lbs at 41.5 weeks – average, actually) and asked if I thought this one was bigger or smaller. I said smaller, not to mention the fact that she was a full 2 weeks earlier. She remarked about how high the baby felt. She was indeed still up near my ribs, but I thought that it was probably that she was stretched out. I knew for certain that she was smaller than her big brother and Julie had agreed with me. When the resident finally checked me – she (and Sean and I) were surprised that I was 7 cm and the baby was at -1 station, and therefore had moved down considerably. I was relieved. I knew we weren’t ‘out of the woods’ yet, but at least things were going again. She said someone would come back again in a bit but to let them know if I felt any rectal pressure.

Once they left, we all tried to get some sleep. Julie said she would be down the hall taking a nap and to call her cell when it was time to push.

At 11:45 on May 10th, the resident who had started the pitocin came in. I was 9.5cm, with a tiny lip on one side and she managed to stretch it out to 10cm -  I was complete! And so, so relieved. Normally they like to let mothers labor down – let the contractions do the work for an hour or so before pushing, but because I was a VBAC they decided not to – the baby had shown some slight heart decelerations so they decided that once the next shift came in, I would start pushing. We called Julie to let her know.

At 12:10am I started pushing. We did one practice push and the nurse remarked that I was an effective pusher. I told Sean that if those fat ladies in the TLC shows could push their babies out, I could, too.

Pushing was awesome. They set up a mirror and showed me that the head was there, along with a head full of dark hair!  Either the nurse, or Julie and Sean would hold my legs and I would push during each contraction, which I couldn’t really feel. After an hour of pushing, she was nearly crowning so the residents came into the room to deliver the baby. They asked Sean if he wanted to catch her and he did. I felt her head come out and then the shoulders and everything else just slid out. Sean caught her and placed her on my bare chest and she was a slimy, squirmy delight, and so tiny, so much smaller than her brother. She had a head full of dark hair and her eyes were dark – we’re still not sure what color they are, exactly.

She was born exactly 21 months and 1 hr after her big brother and is absolutely perfect. 7lbs, even, 19.75 inches long.

14.5 months

These are currently Xavier’s favourite things:

Pretending everything (I mean everything, including a potato peeler - don’t worry, I took it away!) is a phone and saying ‘allo? while he ‘answers’ it.

Pointing his finger and saying ‘no’ to the cats.

Here’s a video example of this cuteness:

New Videos! Standing and crawling at 8.5 months.

Xavier went from ’swimming’ to ‘creeping’ at around 7 months and dragged himself along the floor/did bearwalk for about a month before he was really, truly crawling.  Before he was actually crawling he started pulling himself up on everything - the bathtub (yup, that’s fun at bath time!), us, furniture.  The day he started to crawl he was just standing up all over the place, happy as can be!  Here’s some videos.

One picture

Xavi’s first and only meeting with his great-grandpa.  The smile on both of their faces was worth every penny and minute it took us to get to Victoria over Christmas.

Xavier will never really know his great-grandpa personally, but he’ll hear all about what an amazing, strong, smart and funny man he was from the rest of the family.  We’ll miss you, Gramps.

Xavier at 7.5 months

So, it’s been a while.  Here’s what’s going on with, well, everything.

We moved again on December 1 - most of our stuff was left intact.  The important part is that we luuuuurve our new place.  We’re still in the plateau, on St-Denis just above Laurier.  Our new place is further north, and further from the MNI (35 min walk), but quiet and beautiful.  An elderly lady lived there before we moved in and owned the entire triplex so it’s well maintained.  It’s also on the ground floor, making stroller usage much easier.  Hooray for awesome apartments!  Xavi has a nice room all to his own.

Christmas was spent with the Tradewells in Victoria.  Xavi got to meet his Great Grandparents (Miranda’s maternal Grandparents).  The child was ridiculously spoiled: he got tons of new clothes, books, some soft blocks from his uncle Mike, stackable rings from his aunt Kelly, a super cute penguin hat (with matching gloves!), and the baby crack that is the Jolly Jumper.  Xavi loves jumping!  Unfortunately, jumping also involves excessive drooling and often vomiting (and subsequent jumping in the vomit).  Blech.

Xavi started daycare on January 4th, when he was 4.5 months old.  It broke my heart to leave him all day, but it was important I get back to work to insure future employment! Luckily Xavi is taken care of by two wonderful women who dote on him all day.  He’s the youngest at the daycare - most of the other kids are around 2 years old and they love him - they bring him toys and tell the caregivers if he’s crying or needs attention, and ‘pet’ him when he’s being fed.  Luckily Xavier likes the other kids, too.

He started rolling front to back around 3.5 months, and rolling back to front around 4.5 months.  He could sit unassisted just before 6 months, but only really well just after 7 months.  And he got his two bottom teeth at 6.5 months!

Xavi’s first couple of months in daycare were also marked by illness.  He had a cold from Jan until the first week or so of March, accompanied by ear infections, for which we gave him amoxicillin.  The antibiotics caused lots of problems - diarrhea, diaper rash, thrush and finally, hives!  Needless to say, we weren’t thrilled about the second round.  Luckily we were given wise advice from our friend Anca and we gave him probiotics at the same time.  No diarrhea (although we’re still battling the thrush, almost a month later!).

Xavi also started solid foods.  We’d been trying on and off since he was around 5 months, since he wasn’t taking a bottle at daycare, but mostly the food ended up not being swallowed and just on his chin.  Finally when he was 6.5 months, he suddenly ‘got it’.  He opened his little wee mouth like a birdie, leaned into the spoon, closed his mouth around the spoon and swallowed!  Then ate the whole bowl of oatmeal I had made for him and wanted more!  He’s been an enthusiastic eater ever since - miso soup, yogurt, avocado, peaches, oatmeal, rice cereal, squash, carrots, pears!  Not much love for bananas, though.

OK, well, this was sort of a rambly update, but I figured better rambly than never!  It’s so hard to do this well while being at work.  I’ll just close by saying that Xavier is such an awesome, crazy happy baby and we love him so much.

Three months!

Xavier is 3 months old! This has definitely been the coolest month so far - he’s started smiling and cooing up a storm - he’s such a little flirt!  He weighs 15lbs and is 25.5 inches long (or so).  Still no hair, but he’s got eyebrows and tons of eyelashes.

Xavi can say booo (and makes a boobooboo noise when he’s tired), agooo, maaaa, and makes lots of raspberries and spit bubbles.  He’s not a fan of tummy time, but still has strong neck and head control.  He’s learned how to bat at his toys, and can grab onto objects such as his sophie the giraffe (which he promptly puts in his mouth!).  He loves sucking on his hands and on his bottom and top lips, too.  He’s sleeping through the night consistently and taking about 3-4 naps per day (and eating a ton).  He’s already wearing size 6-12 month clothes.

This month we also moved to a different apartment.  The apartment is much bigger, and very bright, but we’re not sure we’re staying - there’s quite a bit of noise from the resto-bar below and it just doesn’t feel like the right kind of apartment to us (lesson learned too late).  So, be prepared for more moving news!

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