June 27, 2008

First Four Weeks

Today Senorita Clementina is four weeks old. I am sure that people are expecting some more photographs, so here you go:

The first day that we were home from the hospital, Cooper was bonkers. He had been stuck at home alone during the past two days and although Mom returned in the early evening and spent the night there, this was a big change from what he was used to. Senor CC took him for a nice long walk that first evening, and this helped his energy level immensely. This photo is of the very first time we let him get at all close to her. You can tell that he is just waiting to see if we are going to let him stay there or not. Each day gets better with the dog; we are all learning our new routines and positions in the family.

My brother calls these E.T. Legs. They are very skinny and wrinkly, especially when Sta. Clementina stretches out. She is not a chunky baby yet!

Here is a photo of her in one of her favorite places: on her play-mat from BU. Each day she is usually very alert for about two hours twice during the day, and she will lie on her musical mat and look at all of the hanging toys...and at the crib (it has great contrast between dark and light, which babies can see)...and at the ceiling fan (ditto)...oh, and she loves light, either from a lamp or the windows.

Smiling and laughing are completely random and mean nothing at this stage...although she does tend to do both at appropriate times. One morning Mom was holding her and she kept grinning. This was my best attempt at catching one of her grins in a photograph.

Compared to the photos taken in her first few days of life, it is obvious that she is gaining weight. In fact, I make super-milk. Oh, yes, I do. She gained twelve ounces in eight days. Each nurse(3) and doctor(1) that saw her at her two week appointment asked what I was feeding her, and when I said breast milk, they all said something along the lines of "that's all?", so super-milk indeed.

When Sta. Clementina was two weeks old, her Papa Jim and Aunt Kass came to visit. She really enjoyed spending time with both of them. I love the expression on her face here; she makes it whenever she is trying to focus on something.

Aunt Kass gave her a bouncy-seat while she was here. It vibrates, which makes her open her eyes wide and smoosh her mouth into a bow. Once she gets used to it, she looks like this. Anyone want to make a guess as to what her hair and eye colors will be?

Guga and Papa Jim gave her this Virginia Tech outfit. We are practicing raising our arms and shouting "touch-down!" every day. Sr. CC and I are sure she will be a hokie fan.

Another good purchase was the Aquarium Cradle swing. This one swings forward like a normal swing and also turns so that it can swing side to side. Considering her size, it is a very good thing that we have a cradle-swing; the forward facing option doesn't work so well just yet.

I will try to write some sort of newsletter, a la Dooce, to keep people up to date on Sta. Clementina's developments and to keep a record for us of her growth (since "they grow up so fast"). I don't know if it will be monthly or not, although that seems like a good time-frame to me. I don't intend for this to become a baby-only blog, not that you can tell so far, but I am hoping that once I don't have a baby attached to me all day and night I'll actually have something else to write about. So far, that pretty much sums up my daily activities, though, so for now it is what you get!

Clementina Delivery

Sta. Clementina was born at 4:23 pm on Thursday, May 29th 2008. I arrived out at the hospital west of Houston at 5:30 am. I was checked in and got settled in the bed with my super-fabulous hospital gown and after a bit I had my blood drawn and my I.V. painfully inserted. The nurse tried to take my blood from the I.V. location - I believe this was so that she wouldn't have to stick me again and cause further pain...but I now know that I would much rather someone prick my arms as I am accustomed to than have anyone try to take blood from the I.V. in my hand ever again. A wee bit painful it was indeed.

A bit more time passed while they took my information and added it to their handy-dandy computers and then pitocin was added to my I.V. line to get things started. My doctor came in and broke my water - perhaps the ickiest part of having a baby as there's nothing like warm fluid spontaneously leaking out of you in mass quantities - to move things along.

Originally I was sitting up in bed since gravity helps the baby position itself and dilate you, etc., but unfortunately Sta. Clementina did not like this one bit. She began moving like a groupie at a rock concert, her heart-rate took turns sky-rocketing and dropping off the monitor, and the nurses hurried in and made me lie down. We tried my right side first, but that was a no-go and so I ended up on my left side. This was the side she preferred throughout my pregnancy, so that made sense.

Eventually I had the epidural administered, and that was the tingliest part of delivery. As in when they put it in, I felt some tingles shoot down my right thigh and so forth. It got to working and the nurse came in to double the pitocin. In fact, she came in pretty regularly to do that. A couple of times la bambina didn't like it and they had to give me oxygen and more fluids to regulate her, but overall it was okey dokey.

Back to the water-breaking, fluid-leaking dramas...apparently I had lots of it in there, and that fact coupled with the fact that I couldn't sit upright to help Sta. Clementina get into position meant that I dilated pretty slowly at first. It also meant that I had to sit through a lot of spontaneous leaking. Once so much came out that the sheets and my socks had to be changed. Woo-hoo for hospital gripper-soled socks. They are the epitome of high fashion.

Eventually we got to 9 centimeters and the nurses and doctor were a bit worried about la bambina methinks because the doctor/nurse assisted dilation/stretching began. Good thing I had an epidural. We finally got to the pushing stage and I think that lasted about an hour, but I am not sure. I was pushing pretty well, and got her head past the pelvic bone point, but then I had problems pushing her past the perimeum. It seemed like if I could have pushed for 30 seconds straight instead of 10 at a time, I would have managed it, but every time I breathed I'd lose ground even with Sr. CC holding my head forward and my attempts to take quick breaths without moving my body. Due to all of this, and the desire to get that baby outta there before she became too stressed again, I had an episiotomy.

Sta. Clementina came quickly then, as she was basically pulled out at that point. I got a very brief look at her and they took her over to get her cleaned up, etc. I had to deliver the placenta and then get stitched up. Unfortunately, something happened to the stitch the first time and they had to take it out and start again. This was made even more fun for me due to the fact that I could feel the stitches going in...twice. It wasn't as bad as the needle that numbs the epidural area, but prickly and uncomfortable indeed.

I would say that the most disappointing thing about the whole ordeal was that everyone else got to see her before I did. Sr. CC and my Mom were able to watch her get cleaned up, etc. and take photos (thank goodness) while I got to get poked with a needle twice as much as I needed to be. Along the same lines is the fact that I didn't get to tell anyone the news. It will sound selfish I am sure, but I did all of the work - being pregnant and pushing her out - and then I didn't get to tell anyone about her arrival; everyone did that before I had a chance. My advice to people having a baby is that if you want to share the news (I didn't even think about that very much and when I did, it never crossed my mind that if I didn't get to tell people I'd be disappointed, so I am not blaming or complaining, just stating facts and being honest about how I felt/feel), if telling people is important to you - and it may be more so than you think - then let people know. Tell whoever is there who they can and cannot tell immediately. My experience is that you will want to save a chunk of the people for telling yourself. Every person told immediately goes out and tells everyone you know and you are left with no one to tell yourself. Basically it felt like I got the short end of the stick because I did the hard and icky part and everyone else got to watch and do the fun parts. Just being honest.

Once I was stitched up and Sta. Clementina was cleaned up and ready, they gave her to Sr. CC and he brought her over to me so she could eat. That part was pretty easy, considering. She latched onto one side like she'd been doing it in the womb and the other was a little more difficult and a bit painful for a few days. Nowadays we are both old pros.

About an hour passed and they took her to be bathed, pricked, and poked in the nursery. I was transferred to a room in the recovery section of the labor and delivery wing. That was interesting since my legs were jello, especially the right one. I could lift the left one up off the bed the whole time, but the right one was dead weight. The nurse helped me into the wheelchair and off we went. Once I was in the bed, the nurses came in every hour for the first four to check my temperature and blood pressure.

The big deal after delivery is that you manage to go to the bathroom on your own. What with the massive amounts of fluids pumped into your body, I can understand why that is so important. I had to be helped to the bathroom the first couple of times. The first time I felt like I had to go, but couldn't, so the nurse brought me two cranberry juice drinks and I had a huge thing of water also. Once those took effect I had no trouble...aside from the walking.

My right thigh remained completely numb until mid-morning the following day, so my legs were a little hinky as far as using them goes, and I had the two-week residual headache that can occur with an epidural. My muscles were sore and tired from holding myself in pushing position the day after as well. Night number one was fairly easy because babies fall into a deep sleep about an hour after they are born, so I fed her every 2-3 hours, but then she slept. Sr. CC changed the first two-three diapers, which are a doozy, so he earns points for that. She got to stay in our room the whole time we were there except for a couple of hours each day when she returned to the nursery to be checked out by the pediatrician and to have a bath.

Night number two was not so great. She was given a pacifier that first day, and it made feeding her more difficult because things felt different in her mouth. We eventually got that sorted out and aside from some excruciating pain due to cracked, raw skin, her feedings went well. She certainly ate a lot.

She was 6 pounds, 2 ounces when she arrived and when we left she was 5 pounds 12 ounces. Itty bitty and skinny. She was 18 inches long, but we think that was a bit on the short side of accurate since they didn't stretch her legs out to be sure.

There you have it. Her birth from start to finish and our stay in the hospital. For the most part I have included everything, although I am sure I've missed a bit. My Mom and Sr. CC probably remember a bit more than I do, since they weren't drugged, so if they let me know I've told something incorrectly, I'll be sure to amend the post. For now, I shall leave you with some photos from the hospital.

Getting cleaned up after making footprints.

Hello, Daddy!

Me and my Guga.

Little enchilada, swaddled indeed.

June 13, 2008

June 12 of 12: A Return and An Introduction

I know what you are all thinking: FINALLY!

As usual, I've been a bit busy. Yeah, yeah - I've said that before what with being pregnant and moving overseas and all that move includes...but now I'm busy in a different way. I am sure it will be obvious with this installment of 12 of 12.

Stop by Chad's site to see what everyone else has been doing today.

I introduce to you all Señorita Clementina. Her online persona was chosen simply because I absolutely loved the clementines in Spain. They were fabulous and so is she, so there you go.

Everyone wants to see more photos, so I decided to do a 12 of 12 of her day. Yup, eating, pooping and sleeping are the main items on the itinerary, but there are a couple of other things we enjoy as well:

9:29; Houston, Texas
Good morning! This is me right before I open up my eyes to greet the day.

9:45; Houston, Texas
My uncle was visiting today so I spent some time getting to know him. He already has a couple of little girls, so he knew just what to do with me.

10:24; Houston, Texas
Today I am exactly two weeks old. Right on schedule, I lost my umbilical cord today. Here is my brand-new belly-button.

11:47; Houston, Texas
Ahhhh - a morning nap.

12:28; Houston, Texas
Waking up is so hard to do.

12:29; Houston, Texas
Goodness! Stretching again to wake myself up.

13:18; Houston, Texas
Yay for bright eyes after eating!

13:30; Houston, Texas
Uncle time number two - gotta get the quality time in before he flies home.

14:42; Houston, Texas
My favorite thing to do each afternoon is take a nap with my Guga.

19:07; Houston, Texas
After some food and some awake-time, I fell asleep in Mom's arms.

19:43; Houston, Texas
While everyone else ate some dinner, I provided the entertainment.

21:16; Houston, Texas
More food and I am ready to investigate my surroundings one last time before I go to bed.

So that is a day in the life of la bambina. Hope you enjoyed the photos and hopefully we'll see you again next month!

~ CC