Little Big Man

Well the gift of time lasted a little while and I still didn't come around to post.  Go figure!  Now Max is nearly 5 months old and life is a lot busier and fuller.  I'm still unemployed but without the benefits (though I am in the running for a couple of positions, hopefully one comes through soon!), and enjoying being a SAHM as much as someone who doesn't really have the temperament for the job can.  Yes, I don't mind admitting I am already nostalgic for the days I was staying at home with just my little girl.  Lucky for me Cadence is an enthusiastic and loving big sister, and Max loves her right back.  So at least there's no sibling drama to deal with just yet.  Only the perpetual exhaustion of parenting a baby and a preschooler all day every day.

About that baby!  Oh, well, he is a cutie, and so much to love!  My little almost-five-month-old is bigger than your average one-year-old already.  I am on the late train for his 4 month visit so I'm not sure how much he weighs now, but at his 2 month checkup he was in the 99th percentile for weight and 95th for height.  I am often stopped by people asking how old he is, accompanied by comments about how big he is.  But he is truly cute, which buffers the "OMG HE IS HUGE" comments a little.  He has a great personality too, smiles freely since he was about 3 weeks old, giggles, and is just a little lover.

And here's his birth story.  

I was so ready to have the same, or at least a similar, birth experience as I did with Cadence.  But also, I was (cleverly, IMHO) very open-minded about the whole thing.  I had no lofty goals of managing without pain medication this time, and I knew my options, so I decided my plan was basically to have no plan, except to get an epidural whenever the timing was right.  Anyway, I was right to be open-minded because this time things went very differently than they did last time.  Max was about a week late, and labor began with my water breaking.  Which is so annoying to me, because I am always the first to lament how in movies and on TV labor is always starting with the mom's water breaking and that so rarely happens in real life!  Well, okay, my water didn't really BREAK so much as it sprung a leak.  I woke up in the morning, hoisted myself over, felt a little moist, and thought, "Did I just pee myself?"  Turned out I would go on to ask myself that very same question at least a dozen times over the course of the day.  It wasn't until about noon when I went to pick up Cadence from school and tried to keep up with her dragging me through the parking lot that I felt a little more than a leak and thought my water was finally actually breaking.  And to answer your question, YES, I did have contractions throughout the day, but they were never painful so I had a hard time determining whether they were real contractions and not Braxton Hicks.  

Isn't labor wonderful?

So after my schoolyard gush I figured I better hit up the OBGYN and see what's up.  My regular midwife wasn't there so I saw the doctor, who did some sort of pH test on the fluid coming out of me and determined that...........he couldn't say for sure it was amniotic fluid!  Super.  Plus I was only 1 or 2 cm dilated.  So back home I went, to wait it out.  I spent the afternoon walking and walking and walking around, bouncing and bouncing and bouncing on my exercise ball, and waiting.  It didn't take long until I was sure I wasn't peeing myself and the amniotic fluid was flowing much more freely, although the contractions never got very painful and, as with Cadence, never got evenly spaced.  So I waited some more.  Finally I noticed a little blood in the fluid and that's when we headed for the hospital, about 9pm.

At the hospital I walked and walked and walked some more, hoping to kick labor into high gear naturally.  Apparently you don't want to go too long between your water breaking and pushing that baby out because of the risk of infection.  Well, unfortunately my body is loathe to do anything very naturally, and it never happened.  I finally went to bed with the nurse's promise of an epidural and a hefty dose of pitocin in the morning, and spent a 100% sleepless night in a tiny uncomfortable hospital bed.  Around 3am the contractions were getting stronger and more painful, and blessedly the anesthesiologist was making her rounds and hooked me right up.  (Side note about epidurals, tell me if anyone else has had this experience, but my second epidural was completely different than the first!  With Cadence I couldn't feel a THING.  With Max I wasn't in pain but I could still feel contractions, lots of pressure, and I could feel when it was time to push, even though I didn't really have the urge to push.  So strange.)  I still didn't sleep after that but at least I wasn't in pain anymore.  

My nurse was amazing.  She was probably 10 years younger than me and did so much with such an awesome attitude.  I got the promised pitocin first thing in the morning because it had been 24 hours since my water had broken and apparently that's about as long as the doctors give you before the risk of infection is too high.  So, shit got real, real fast after that.  Turns out my midwife was out of town, just like she was for my first baby (I still love her though!), so I got the female doctor at my practice, who is also wonderful, but didn't show up until it was literally time to push.  And OMG the pushing.  I definitely had to work harder to get Max out than I did Cadence, but I was determined to get him out in as few pushes as possible, and he came after about 4 GIGANTIC, face-turning-purple, veins-a-bulging pushes.  Maxwell Charles was born at 12:18 p.m., weighing in at 8lbs 12oz.  And such a cutie at birth!  It almost made the 3rd degree tear, 10 stitches, and new asshole he gave me worth it.  (Apparently getting a huge dose of pitocin increases your odds of getting a gnarly tear by like a million times.  So if you can avoid it, try not to get induced.)

At that point I was pretty zombie-esque since I hadn't slept in a good 36 hours, which turns out was good practice for the months ahead.  As I mentioned Max grew like a champ, and had no nursing problems like I had with Cadence (tongue-tie).  He also pooped like a  champ for about the first 3 months; we are talking 20 poopy diapers a day.  THANK THE GODS he grew out of it and for the past month we've been only dealing with 1-2 per day like a normal kid.  

And that's it, that's everything.  

I have some new ideas for the blog that maybe I'll get around to actually putting in place.  Probably when I get a job and have some spare time on my hands!  I'm serious though.  All hail to real SAHM's because I have no idea how you ever get anything done outside of the children.  I went Christmas shopping today with both kids for 2-3 hours and was so exhausted I literally did nothing else productive for the rest of the day.  

Max then

Max now


It's on

I've been thinking a lot about starting up the ol' blog again lately.  The gift of time has been bestowed upon me once again, in the form of yet another layoff this past January.  I had been hunting for a job for the first few months of unemployment, however since I was 3 months pregnant at the time of layoff it soon became very difficult to hide the bump.  That's right, the VonD's have managed to procreate a second time!  Well, almost.  Baby boy is due at the end of July and right now I'm as big as a house so I've given up on finding a job until after he's born.

How did this miracle happen, you wonder?  It wasn't without it's difficulties, but didn't take nearly as long as it did for the first one, so that was a nice change!  We tried for a year, with another miscarriage last April, and juuuust when I was ready to give up, BAM.  It happened.  (By the way, fate has an interesting sense of humor - I always said I didn't want to have a baby after age 35, well this one is due the day before I turn 36.)  It was another rough start, though.  I had spotting on and off until about 13 weeks, plus my HCG rose VERY, VERY slowly (like less than 30% in 48 hours around 6 weeks) so I was positive it would end in another miscarriage.  It was a very stressful first trimester.  But, turns out I was wrong.  We're very lucky, he's been growing right on track, I had all the AMA testing done and he's apparently healthy, so now we just wait around another 8 weeks for him to arrive.  Amazing, right?  I'm still amazed anyway.

So in addition to having that news to share, I've just been in need of some kind of creative outlet.  Cadence (3 now) is in school a few mornings a week so I do get a little time to myself.  I may just be back here from time to time!

Otherwise things are good and busy here.  Hubs finished a 2 year degree completion program this month and finally has his college diploma, so that is exciting and a relief.  We finished a total backyard renovation so our tiny house has more "living space" with a big pergola-covered patio, a sizable playground for the tykes, small grassy area, drought-tolerant garden (gotta love living in California), and lots of room for my busy girl to run around and blow off steam.  I have a feeling we'll be spending lots of time out there this summer!  It's perfect for entertaining too; we had Cady's birthday party out there a few weeks ago and Hubs's graduation party will be this weekend.  Then next month he and I will be taking a very short babymoon (just 1 night) to Solvang where I can eat my weight in pastries and float in the pool, and after that a few of my friends are throwing me a little shower so I can stock on baby boy goodies.  When that's done I'm not planning anything until Hubs's family leave is up - FOUR MONTHS after the baby is born!  Yep, he'll be home with us that whole time, and then I plan on finding some temp work quickly until something full time and promising arises.  Preferably somewhere I won't get laid off after 3 years.  I swear I must be cursed.

And that's it, that's all I got for now.  I apologize for the hodgepodge of news and updates.  I'm more than a little out of practice with blogging and writing in general.  Maybe I'll get better!