Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shaking It Up

It's kind of funny: Just as life with Evie is getting super easy, we're bringing a baby into the mix to shake everything up. And when I say easy, I mean we can lounge in our bathrobes on Saturday mornings and drink whole cups of coffee without having to reheat them eight times. (It's awesome! Check out the matching robes we got for Christmas in the photo below. We wear them every chance we get.) We can make pancakes leisurely while evie "cooks" breakfast for her stuffed animals in her play kitchen or colors at her desk. The three of us can leave the house without a diaper bag. We can leave the house without worrying Evie will fall asleep in the car for a few minutes and refuse to nap in the afternoon. Our routine is perfect. Things are predictable. Life is easy. 

I hear transitioning from one kid to two is easier than transitioning from zero kids to one. Knowing what to expect makes for more relaxed parents—I'm guessing. There are just a few logistics I'm still not sure about. Like, how do you feed a baby around the clock and give your toddler some attention, too? What happens when the toddler needs her lunch but there's a baby stuck to your boob? When do you clean the house? And in a small house, how do you keep a crying baby from waking your toddler up at night? (Whenever I ask these questions, Jeff reminds me that he'll be around to help. Of course, I'm talking about when he's at work and it's just me at home with the two little monkeys!)

Just a couple more weeks until we get to find out! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heads Up: You're Upside Down!

dear baby,

i've heard little boys can be more challenging (er, more spirited) than little girls, but i didn't know that meant starting in utero. you've already proven to be higher maintenance than your sister, and your due date's not for four more weeks! first, there's that big kidney. what's up with that? and now, at 36 weeks, you're among the one percent of babies who haven't settled into the head-down position. one percent. when i tell people this, they say, "it's because he's a boy. he's causing trouble already." and then, as if they can't tell i'm already nervous (about everything, not just about you being a boy), they add, "you just wait." 

earlier this week, that really cold thing you felt on your head? was a bag of frozen peas. and that bright light down by your bottom was the world's biggest and brightest flashlight (500 lumens!). i could tell you didn't enjoy those peas on your head, and mama felt terrible for putting them there—she was trying to get you to turn!—but it's either frozen peas or a version. an external cephalic version (ecv) involves doctors applying lots and lots of pressure to mama's tummy and manually turning you into a head-down position. it works only half to two-thirds of the time, and my doctor says there are risks, like your umbilical cord getting pinched or wrapping around your neck, or the placenta tearing away from the uterus. 

some women have ecvs in hopes of avoiding scheduled c-sections, but i decided today an ecv wasn't worth the risks. after eight months of trying to keep you safe and healthy, why would i put you in a potentially dangerous situation? just so i won't have to deal with surgery and a little scar? so i can have an exciting birth story? so i can experience the contractions i was so looking forward to? (ironic, right?) none of that matters as long as when i meet you, you're still healthy and safe.

this weekend or next week, you and i will be trying acupuncture and some other tricks to get you to turn. most of the tricks involve frozen peas.

i love you so much already,


ps—will you turn now, pretty please?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

kidneys and questions

At our twenty-week ultrasound, we found out our baby's kidneys were enlarged. After a thorough conversation with our doctor, I still didn't know what that meant, so I did what any anxious mom-to-be would do: turned to Google. It was the worst decision I've made in a long time. One night, I stayed up until 1am reading stories about Trisomy 18 and stillbirths, sobbing for the women who poured their hearts out over the Internet, convinced my baby wasn't going to make it. His enlarged kidneys were certainly part of a bigger problem. Screw my doctor—Google never lies!

Jeff thought I was crazy, but he followed my orders and called the doctor to ask her about Trisomy 18 and other anomalies. I wouldn't call her myself, too afraid of her reply. The doctor reassured Jeff that the baby looked normal and healthy and advised us, lightheartedly, not to use Google like that again. (Doctors probably hate Google.) 

At twenty-four weeks, the baby's kidneys were still dilated, so we scheduled an appointment with a perinatal specialist for a more in-depth ultrasound. At thirty-four weeks, that in-depth ultrasound confirmed one kidney was still enlarged while the other had returned to normal size. I still didn't know what that meant. The doctor told me it was no big deal, not to worry about it too much, it's just something that will need to be monitored. But if it wasn't a big deal, why were we at a specialist? Why couldn't we just forget about it and move on? Pretend that kidney was perfect?

That begged the question, why wasn't that kidney perfect? Was it something I did? Last pregnancy, I wouldn't go near soft cheese let alone eat it. I drank only decaf coffee. When I used hairspray, I held my breath until I was done styling my hair and then ran to the nearest open window before inhaling. I went to the gym. I avoided nail salons. I ate a lot of carrot sticks and broccoli. This time around, I breathe while using hairspray. I drink one small latte a day. When I really want it, I eat soft cheese without asking the waiter if it's been pasteurized. I don’t have time for the gym, so I count walking up and down the stairs at home as exercise. Right now, I'm eating my second piece of chocolate cake instead of carrot sticks. 

Could any of that have led to an enlarged kidney?

Our sweet little boy will need an ultrasound before he's three months old to check on his kidney. There's a twenty percent chance it won't shrink on its own, which means he could be more at risk for urinary tract infections and bladder problems. I'm still not really sure what that means for the long term, but Jeff and I are following doctors' orders not to worry. (Turns out it's really not that big of a deal.) We're just excited to meet him, hold him and love him.

When we found out Evie's droopy eyelid wouldn't open on its own and she'd eventually need surgery, my heart ached worse than I can ever remember. I called my dad crying. He told me, that's life—that droopy lid is part of what makes her Evelyn. He told me in the grand scheme of things, that little eyelid problem was trivial. Our baby had ten fingers and ten toes and air in her lungs. We were so, so very lucky. I'm treasuring his wise words now as we get ready to welcome our baby boy—who has a strong heartbeat and is growing healthily—into the world. Five more weeks!