Dear Dexter (two week letter)

Dear Dexter,
Yesterday was my due date but you’ve been here with us for 2 whole weeks today.  I can’t imagine having to wait another day to see you, forget waiting two extra weeks!  We were extremely lucky that your delivery went so smoothly and that you were/are so perfectly healthy.
We just got home from the pediatrician’s office for your 2 week check-up. You weighed 7 pounds and 6.5 ounces, just an ounce and a half less than your birth weight. You’ve gained 8 ounces in just 9 days!  What a big boy and good eater you are!  You are hungry all throughout the day, eating anywhere from every hour to every three hours. You’re sleeping well at night and you’ll go for 4, sometimes 5 hours between feedings. I feel like we’ve gotten lucky because you’ve been such an easy newborn to take care of so far.
You’re starting to be awake more now and I love to watch you watching the world around you. There’s a lot to figure out, but just try to take it one day at a time. That’s what I’m doing with you. I don’t want to waste today by focusing too much on how big you’ll be a few weeks, months, or years from now.  I’m just soaking up every second that you want to spend in my arms, lying on my chest, and staring into my eyes.
Knowing that you rely on me for everything makes me feel so honored and privileged. It’s true, before you were born I had a lot of anxiety about how things would change and I worried about how hard things would be. You are the perfect addition to our family and I couldn’t be happier that you’re here. I know it won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
Mommy loves you more than you’ll ever know.

the good and the bad

Little Dexter is 9 days old now and we’ve been home from the hospital for an entire week. The good, no…great news is that Dexter has been a fabulous baby so far.  He hasn’t cried much (yet) and while he loves to be held, he can also be sat down and has been sleeping (fairly) well in the pack n’ play next to our bed. Last night he had his longest stretch yet from 1:15am until 6am. I couldn’t believe it when I woke up and looked at the clock. I think as a parent, your heart always leaps a little out of fear when that happens for the first time.

The even greater news is that Dexter has not (yet) woken Theo up at night. Theo has been sleeping like a champ. Dexter had a doctor’s appointment last Wednesday so we took him to the babysitter’s for the day. I was a little worried that it would hurt his feelings that we were leaving him behind but apparently not because he ran straight to the toy box and never looked back. He loves his babysitter and the other little boy there so I think it was some normalcy for him in a world that’s pretty confusing right now.

Back to Dexter’s doctor’s appointment… everything was good. He weighed 7lb 8oz at birth and was 6lb 13oz the last time he got weighed at the hospital. At his appointment last Wednesday, he weighed 6lb 14.5oz so we are headed in the right direction. Last week was pretty rough for me physically. Pain from my tear, some continued uterine cramping, and engorgement made me kind of miserable. Luckily, my hormones have stayed in check thus far and I’m not feeling too crazy. 

More great news – breastfeeding is about a bazillion times easier this time around. Not to say it’s painless, but that’s to be expected when you’ve got someone latched on to a sensitive body part 10 different times a day. I don’t dread feeding my baby. He has a great latch and I suppose I’m probably more relaxed with the whole scenario. Regardless of who gets the credit, I’m happy with the outcome.

Finally, the not so great stuff. I don’t know what to make of Theo’s behavior since we’ve been home. He goes from one extreme to the other. Half the time he totally ignores Dex and then when he does pay attention to him, he’s either throwing a shoe in his face (yes, that happened) or laying his head down on him to give him a hug. I never know what he’s going to do, so I find myself cupping Dexter’s head and shielding his face anytime Theo walks by. I don’t want to give Theo the impression that he can’t touch his baby brother but I can’t allow him to be mean to him. It’s tough. Theo has thrown a few out of character fits for no apparent reason so of course I’m left to wonder if it has something to do with Dexter, being mad at me, his teeth hurting, or something else.  It’s stressful not being able to drop what I’m doing to read Theo a book or play with him when he asks me to.

All in all, we’re making the transition and so far it’s gone okay. I’m not sure I’ll ever leave the house with both babies, but going with a helper isn’t so bad.

I kinda like living in a house full of cute guys.


Dexter: a birth story

I was all set to be induced at 10am on Thursday 5/12/11. Bags packed, house cleaned, baby dropped off at the babysitter. They had instructed me to call an hour in advance to confirm that there was a bed for me in Labor & Delivery.  No biggie, I had to do the same thing when Theo was born.
I called at exactly 9am and there was a pause. And a “um, actually we doooon’t have a bed at this time. We’ll call you at 11 to let you know what’s going on.”  So devastated. I was so ready to get the show on the road. Everything was ready and waiting. I sat down and got caught up on some DVR’d shows. 
At 11:20 I called them. “Oh I was just getting ready to call you.”  Uh huh. Sure. Still no bed, still depressed. Skip past 2 more phone calls like this to when they did actually call me at 3pm to say they were ready for me.
We got to the hospital and got checked in. I think my Pitocin was started around 4:30pm. 6.5 hours past the scheduled time. And thoughts and fears were already dancing around my brain about what time my doctor went off call and whether she would be there for this much anticipated, much planned event. I never even saw another doctor during the entire pregnancy.
I was checked around 5:30 and was shocked to learn that I was 2-3cm dilated, which they rounded up to 3cm, and 80% effaced. That was quite a change from one week earlier and made me wonder when I would’ve gone into labor on my own.  The problem was that my cervix was super high and posterior (the opening was behind the baby’s head) and checking it for dilation was painful. They said since I still had a way to go, they wouldn’t do routine 2 hour checks.
I was crampy and anxious and watched the clock and the pitocin pump as the nurse cranked it up to the max drip (20mL/whatever).  The contractions were steady and strong and I was sure they were super productive. The nurse checked me again around 10pm and said that I was at 4cm. FOUR measly centimeters. And the cervix was still super high. I started to get paranoid that the cervix would not come down and that I was going to end up on the operating table.  With Theo, I got my epidural at 4cm and had my bag of waters popped shortly thereafter. I asked if my doc would break my water and learned that #1 – this doctor doesn’t like to break water because of a higher risk of complications and #2 – it wasn’t even an option because with my cervix still so high, it could cause the umbilical cord to come out first. I was disappointed because with Theo, as soon as my water broke I went from 4cm to 8cm in less than 2 hrs. I guess I should have stopped comparing the two babies then.
She said she’d be back to check me in a couple of hours. Midnight came and went. The contractions were getting stronger and more painful and more irritating. Basically the worst pms cramps imaginable, so not like something that you’d go to the ER for but not something you want to endure for hours and hours with no end in sight. I finally gave up and hit the call button, asking for my epidural. I think I got it around 1am or shortly thereafter. I was kind of nervous because it wasn’t taking effect immediately like I remembered with Theo’s. The nurse checked me around 1:30. FIVE. Cervix still high. Are you freaking kidding me?
I was trying to tell myself that it wasn’t a big deal if my doctor didn’t deliver the baby. At this rate, I was sure that it would be noon before I saw my babe. I started getting numb and decided to try and get some sleep. The nurse came in and cath’d me at 3 and stayed in the room until 330. Other than that 30 minutes, I pretty much slept from 130ish until 6am. I woke up at 6 sooo uncomfortable from lying on my side with these crazy heavy, numb legs. I couldn’t move from the waist down. I called for the nurse to come help me roll to my other side.
She came quickly and checked me. While she was trying to gauge my progress, we both heard a gush and I knew that my water had finally broken. She said I was 8cm. She said she’d check me again at 7am. With only an hour from 7am until my doctor left for the day, I asked the nurse how likely she thought it was that I’d have the baby before 8. She predicted we’d have a baby by 730. She was more optimistic than I was, but I went ahead and told my husband to call his mom and dad and tell them to be at the hospital with Theo by 8am.
The nurse started to leave the room to call the doctor at about 620 and decided to just check me again. NINE!  I couldn’t believe it. She called the doctor and checked me again at 645 just before the doctor came in the room.
I was so happy at that point that I could have cried. Contraptions started coming out of the ceiling and the day nurse arrived just before 7. She told me to give one tiny push for practice to see how low the head was. She said the baby had lots of hair, as I expected that he or she would. By 7, it was all systems go and everyone was in their place. The doctor told me to put my chin to chest, take a deep breath, and push. A few seconds later, I opened my eyes and saw a head as the doc exclaimed “not so fast!”  Seconds later, a gooey, pink, beautiful baby was plopped down on my chest. There was noise and excitement but I never heard anyone say what the gender was. The cord was between the baby’s legs so I picked it up and saw that my little one was indeed a boy. I had a strong sense all night that it would be a boy, but I don’t know if that was legit or if I was just trying to prepare myself for whatever happened. My husband thought it would be a girl and I didn’t want there to be the slightest hint of disappointment, either way.
All I remember at that point was laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing.  I think after the baby was born in one little push, I said “that’s it!?”  I was overcome with happiness that the delivery went so smoothly and that my second born baby was a little boy.  It was a beautiful moment.  I wish I could experience that euphoria again.  Well, you know, without having another baby.
We had spent a good part of my labor discussing what this child’s name would be and were still not decided when he was born. My initial reaction was “he looks like a Crosby,” but for whatever reason, it didn’t seem liike the name I wanted to live with.  He was born at 705am and we didn’t settle on his name – Dexter Jay – until after 12pm.  Even then, it felt fake. My first instinct when someone asks “what’s his name?” is to say “Theodore, but he goes by Theo,” and I had to stop myself and then pause to think “what DID we decide?” for about the first 24 hours. Now, the name feels like a perfect fit (and I’ve only called him “Theo” once or twice so far)! 
Dexter laid on my chest for most of his first hour, nursing sporadically and looking at me, putting a face to the voice I suppose. Theo was whisked away to the warming table because he wouldn’t cry. Ryan got to cut the cord this time. Looking back, everything kind of happened in a magical, Hollywood kind of way. Of course the movies never talk about second degree tears or post-natal uterine cramps from hell. But that’s a post for another day.
The moral of the story … it couldn’t have gone better and I couldn’t be happier.
So much more to come,