Monday, April 30, 2012

3 months

Where has the time gone? Noah is 3 months old today. Last week, Josh turned 2, and Sophie was 4 and 1/2. I have absolutely no idea where all of the days are going, but life just keeps moving faster and faster!

So, current stats:

Eating: well. About every 3 hours when he is napping well, a little more frequently when he's up. No latching issues with him since day one. Also, I haven't begun a pumping schedule yet to prep to go back to work. I've just been pumping before and after I go out of the house (like all the med school teaching stuff I've been doing). Somehow, I always end up with a lot more pumped that he drank. From that, I've got about 250 ounces of breast milk already in the freezer. Glad we have a chest freezer downstairs--I ran out of room in the main freezer! I'm hoping that the success with feeding continues--I know things will get a lot tougher when I am on the wards.

Sleeping: slowly getting better, but not great. I am not exaggerating when I tell you we have tried EVERYTHING to get him to sleep. If it's on babycenter, an online forum, or been done by anyone I know, we've tried it. Against my better judgment, he is sleeping in the bed, between Tim and I, because the only way he sleeps is to hold onto my face with both of his hands. Even then, he is up every 3-4 hours--which is much improved from the up every 90 minutes we were doing before. By the time I feed and change him, that was giving me only about 45 minutes of sleep in bursts. Now I get 2-3 hours at a time--if he isn't restless. Unfortunately for me, he is a loud, active sleeper, so I often get up to make sure he's ok or replace a binky. It's still a work in progress, but it is getting better. I really want to get him out of the bed ASAP (especially since I rolled out of the bed the other night, due to space issues). We know about pillows, blankets, etc, and have tried to make the bed as safe as possible, but I will feel much better when we can get him into the crib. The bassinet is now too small, because he wakes himself up with all of his activity (that inevitably hits the side of the bassinet). I'm working on the crib thing...

Routine: I'm trying to get him more on a schedule, which seems to have gotten him to the 3-4 hours of nighttime sleep stretches he currently has. Baths just wake him up, so we do those in the morning. I am trying the eat-play-sleep routing during the day. I don't wake him up if he is sleeping, but I'll feed/change him, then play with him for a bit to get him tired, and then get him back to sleep no longer than 2 hours since he got up. He likes to be part of the party, and the overtiredness was making him a bear to deal with at night. I'm working on the daytime nap situation too--so far, he'll only sleep in the swing or if I am holding him, which I am trying to work on too.

Can you tell that we were so desperate for any type of sleep that we tried everything?

Otherwise, things are good. The three amigos get along very well, and Sophie and Josh have both taken extreme interest in helping out with their little brother. The car got small quickly. We realize we will have to scale up to a minivan eventually, but we are trying to hold out as long as possible.

We've already upsized from 0-3 month clothes to 3-6 month clothes a few weeks ago, and Noah has hit a growth spurt that suggests we'll be moving up again in a few weeks.

I'm not getting as much done as I had hoped--this is more than twice as long as I was off with the other two--but I'm ok with it. I'm enjoying our time. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss just have some alone time, or time with other adult humans sans kids, but I know residency is going to limit my kid time in the near future.

So yeah, time is flying. We've already brought up the exersaucer and the Bumbo seat, which Noah enjoys for brief periods. He is a loud, chatty boy who loves to smile and squeal (no real belly laughs yet). Pretty soon, he'll be rolling over (he's done it once already by accident), jumping in the jumparoo, sitting up, eating cereal, and probably getting teeth. These next few months will fly by too, I am sure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Temporary quiet

I have a rare few minutes of peace. Josh is home after a nasty GI bug started last night, but he is napping. And Noah is napping in the swing. It's a strange feeling to have the house be quiet during the daytime--and it's rare that I actually have time to myself to think.

It's been a busy few weeks. Ok, let's be real--it's been a busy few months, even years. Things did get easier last week with all three munchkins being home. We didn't do anything outrageous, but I think we all got in a rhythm, and by the time Tim got home Thursday night, the house was in decent shape, and the kids were happy.

It's funny--things went well enough by the end of last week that Tim and I were actually halfway debating leaving open the option of a potential future fourth child (is that enough ambiguous terminology?) I was 99% sure at the end of a rough pregnancy, and 95% sure a month into a tough newborn period, that we were done with kids. At my six week visit, I spoke with my OB, and I was supposed to call back to make an appointment for some long-term pregnancy prevention. Funny thing--I haven't called back. I'm not sure why, but part of it is that as things get more manageable, and I see the kids together, I can almost picture another one.

There are lots of reasons why three is enough. First, my pregnancies have been getting progressively tougher. Second, we already have three. Third, it's a good number--each kid gets their own bedroom, and we all fit in a non-minivan. Fourth, we could start to get rid of baby stuff soon. Fifth, I am starting residency in a few months--and Tim will have his hands full with three. Sixth, they are all close enough in age that in a few short years, we'll actually be able to drive distances and take vacations that can have things to do for all of them. Seventh, if we do want to move out of state for fellowship in three years, the kids will be older--and hopefully won't require as much family backup for sick days. Eighth, while it would be lovely to have a sister for Sophie, each pregnancy's odds are still 50:50 for boys and girls--could I handle three boys? And last, we both have examples in our families of the last pregnancy resulting in twins...

Seems like an obvious list, right? There are other reasons too, though I like to think they are less influential (but I am human). I try not to go by what others think, but I am in a profession where many women don't have kids at all, and the ones that do usually stop at one or two. I already got some interesting looks from other doctors and scientists when I was pregnant with my third. Most people I spoke to though that since I had "the full set" (a girl and a boy), why didn't I just stop at two? However, I usually said that I wanted to be done having kids before residency, hence why they are close together, and that usually got a few understanding nods.  I am sure that if I was pregnant again, I would catch a lot of flack--was I not serious about residency? What about my future career? Did I just not understand how babies are made?

Again, I like to think that I am not influenced by what others think. And I know several male doctors who have large families, and no one says anything. But in those cases, the wife stays home or works part time. I do not have intentions of that, though Tim has offered to scale back once I have an attending/faculty position. Still, I would be an oddity among my colleagues, especially already planning to enter a male-dominated field like cardiology.

So with all of these reasons to be done childbearing, why am I even considering a fourth? Well...I'm not sure. We've got the baby routine down, and we have all of the equipment we'd need. Watching the kids play, I can imagine another one in the mix. They can fight like brothers and sisters, but they are absolutely adorable and loving. They are also each unique, and I'd love to see what a fourth would look and act like (somehow, they all have blond hair and blue eyes so far, despite Tim's dark hair and hazel eyes). We are blessed to have the financial means to take care of four, and who cares if Josh and Noah end up having to share a room? Sophie's current room is larger than the room I shared with my two sisters in high school. They'd be fine.

I guess the reason to think about another is more emotional, and the reason to stop is more practical. It's funny, I am definitely practical by nature, but every now and again the emotional part of me wins.

The funniest thing about all of this is that Tim and I had each been debating the same question, though separately, while publicly maintaining that we were done. On Saturday night, I just happened to say, "Is it crazy that part of me is debating doing this again?" Tim then said, "I was thinking the same thing!" You could feel the wave of relief--neither of us wanted to feel like they were forcing the other to consider something. But we were both thinking about the possibility.

Of course, this happened to leak out during Easter at his family, and now they think it's a sure thing that we are doing this again. I definitely don't think we've decided either way. Last night, as I am giving Josh his third bath at 2 AM and washing another load of dirty sheets, I was pretty good with the idea of being done. Other times, I'd love to have another one.

I think we've decided not to decide for a year. Once Noah is sleeping through the night (hopefully), and Tim has a daycare routine with three, we will revisit the idea. I'll be toward the end of my intern year, and I will have a better idea as to how much I think I can handle. I also want to lose at least 20 pounds before I would get pregnant again, hopefully to lower my risk of gestational diabetes.

I guess we'll see. I honestly don't have any idea on how this will turn out. And life is so topsy-turvy right now for other members of my family (more on that soon) that I am wondering how much of this is just wanting comfort and control in my own life.

Who knows? The ending is still unwritten, I guess. If you had told me toward the end of my pregnancy that I would even consider another, I would've called you crazy. Now, less than three months later, and there's a chance we would do this again. Life is a funny thing.

But we do make cute kids.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Houses, kids, and all those stresses of "adulthood"

I am posting this on Thursday, but writing it on Monday (4/2) night. I don't like to advertise that I am home alone when Tim is traveling, so I try to keep that info limited to people I know. Tim left Sunday night for a business trip and got home late Thursday night. And I had all three kids home this week. By myself. I thought it would be easier than trying to truck them to and from daycare every day. I might've been wrong.

The fun started Saturday. Our water heater gave us a hint that it might be on its way out a month ago, but after turning up the thermostat, we've had no problems. Then, Saturday morning, I was running a bath for Noah and noticed that the water was barely tepid. And it wasn't getting warmer. Tim noticed the same thing at the kitchen faucet. He tried turning the thermostat up again, and turning the tank on and off, but nothing worked. Of course, we had debated running a few loads of laundry and giving the kids their baths on Friday night, but we figured we had all weekend.

And of course, the tank broke on Saturday, and Tim was leaving Sunday. The same thing happened at the old house--the water heater went the day before he left for San Francisco for two weeks. We also knew that replacing a powervent natural gas water heater ran us about $900 in 2005. We checked online and made a few phone calls, and the best we could get was just over $1300 for the same type of tank. Inflation sucks. But, the company said they could have a new tank installed by the afternoon.

Of course, things never go according to plan. The plumbers took a look at the way the builder had installed the old tank, and it wasn't up to code. They had to run new lines, which also meant punching a new hole through the concrete block foundation to vent it out the other side of the house. And the expansion tank needed replaced. All of this added several hundred dollars.

Tim and I are hoping to finish the basement in the next few years, and part of that involved possibly moving the hot water tank (and maybe the furnace, though that is much more complex) in order to gain some floor space in the middle of the basement and wall off some of the mechanical items in a corner. We talked to the plumber about that idea, and he said the cost to install the water heater in its current location and then move it later was very much higher than the cost to just install the new water heater where we wanted it to be. So, after some discussion, we took the first step toward a basement remodel and agreed to move the tank.

The final result was ~$2200 and a delayed install--because of code requirements and re-doing lines, they couldn't put the new tank in until Tuesday. At least we had gotten our tax refund back. Instead of going into the minivan fund, it'll get us hot water for a while. Hopefully the furnace isn't next--it acted up a little over a month ago as well. Both are original to the house (12 years old). That's old for a water heater and on the young side for a furnace. Crossing fingers for only one major repair at a time...

We headed down to Tim's parents for dinner, laundry, and baths/showers. We had planned to go visit Tim's grandma in the nursing home, but we unfortunately had to reschedule. She's in hospice with stage 4 colon cancer, with an ileostomy and ureteral stents because of the size of the tumor. From the sounds of things, she's also in heart failure. She's doing well though, considering she was diagnosed last summer and has had two heart attacks and a minor stroke just in the last few weeks. We saw her a few weekends ago, and we wanted to bring the kids this time, but I think we are rescheduling for Easter. She's a tough lady--she's made it 90 years. She's already beaten the statistics, so I am making no predictions at this point.

We got home late Saturday night--late enough that Tim and I both stayed up past two until Noah stopped fussing enough to attempt sleep. Sleep didn't happen much, as usual, but time marches on. Sophie and I went to Palm Sunday services and the grocery store (which I should remember never to visit on a Sunday). After naps, the kids and I headed to my parents for dinner, and Tim went to the airport. Dinner went fine, though bathtime was marred by Josh pooping in the tub--and it was green from the blue icing he had on his cupcake the night before. He and Sophie had been sharing a bath, and I think Sophie was scarred for life by the poop. She started screaming and crying, "I want to go home!" It was all my mom and I could do to not laugh hysterically. I showered Sophie and Josh off in another bathroom while mom scrubbed the tub of green poop.

Trying to get three sleepy kids in the house and into beds by myself was tricky, but the big two went down without much complaint. Noah and I had a rougher time, but he did have an almost two hour block of sleep. The rest of it was fussing and replacing the binky every few minutes, with a feeding and a diaper change about every two hours.

Monday morning went ok--low expectations helped. We watched cartoons in my bed for a while, then an easy breakfast. Tim's parents came up to watch Sophie and Josh (and wire new electrical for the hot water heater, just in case). I took Noah to his two month checkup. 23 inches (from 19.5) and 12 lbs 11 oz (from 8 lb 8 oz). Both the other kids were sleeping several hour stretches--Sophie was at 5 or 6 hours--by the time they were at 12 lbs. Noah, not so much... The doc thought he looked fine otherwise and just suggested patience. He said most kids sleep through the night between 2 and 4 months. Here's hoping.

Things fell apart a bit in the afternoon. Sophie and Josh didn't nap, despite my efforts. Sophie was mostly quiet, though awake. Josh was climbing and jumping off things most of the time. About 3:30, Sophie came downstairs (and cried because I told her she had to rest with no tv for a while), Noah started screaming bloody murder from a dead sleep, and Josh was crying in his room when I told him for the umpteenth time to stop jumping and lay down. For about half an hour, it was total chaos. I gave Noah a dose of tylenol for his red, warm legs from his shots, but it took a bit to kick in. Finally, a little after 4, Sophie calmed down, Noah ate and fell asleep, and I brought Josh downstairs.

Things got better. We did pancakes for dinner. And then, just before bed, Josh walked over and said, "Poop." I turned him around to check his pants, and I saw poop up his back, outside of his shirt, and down his pants. I unrolled a bunch of paper towels, laid him down on them, and proceeded to de-fecalize him with wipes. Since we had no hot water, a bath was out. He had a similar (though less voluminous) blowout on Saturday for Tim, so maybe he knows there's no hot water for a bath. After cleaning him up, I looked for where the blowout had occurred. I found a bum-sized area on top of a small legal pad filled with Sophie's drawings--and some overlap on the rug.  I cleaned that up, and as I was taking the big two to bed, I saw the biggest spot: there was a bum-level spot on the front edge of the microsuede recliner. As in, the recliner that is one of two pieces of furniture that is NOT a hand me down in the house. I cleaned it up as best I could, and I am praying I didn't ruin the nicest piece we own.

Since bedtime, Noah has been awake. He's feisty from about 9 PM until, well, about 9 AM. It's not as simple as having his days and night confused. He tried to sleep at night. But he is just...ANGRY. He fusses and cries. He doesn't like the swing or the buzzy seat (which he loves during the day). It's not textbook colic, because he doesn't cry continuously the entire time, and he can be calmed briefly. But brief is the key word. It's not usually more than 5-10 minutes before he's fussing again. And the ear-piercing screams at 2 AM. Ugh. But here is hoping he grows out of that.

In all, my first day of single parenting three kids was a FAIL. And I even had Tim's parents to help for a few hours! I'm not sure what else will happen before Tim gets home, but I know I will need a nap. Desperately.