Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hobbling along

I've been having an inordinate amount of pain this time, and almost went to the ER the other night. Ran out of Percocet, God help me. I haven't had much time to write anything, between lactating furiously and hobbling around in agony, but thought I should get something out just for the sake of doing so.

Construction has been on hold and time generally standing still here, which I suppose is helpful for the moment. I did get my kitchen fully functioning last week, and have been cooking dinner for the first time since June. It's odd to have to stop what you're doing in the middle of a recipe and wonder where you put your mixing bowls, but I'm getting used to it.

We cannot find doorknobs to match the old ones in our 1920's Dutch Colonial. We did pay a small fortune for five-panel wood doors to match the old ones, and I wanted those crystal doorknobs as well. At the moment, however, all of the new doors in the house have no doorknobs at all. You try going into your powder room after major abdominal surgery and having to bend over to pry the door back open with your finger in the little gap between the door and the floor. OUCH. Please, if anyone knows of a place to find doorknobs ASAP, clue me in.

Well, I have to go "milk the baby" now, as Riley calls it. Adelyn was far more concerned, as she turned to me in horror one day as I was nursing Catie and decreed, "Baby's biting you!!" It seems that she has forgotten completely about nursing herself, which only ended less than a year ago.

Ooooh, engorgement. Back later!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Why did they give me 100 Motrin tablets but only 30 Percocet? I totally need more Percocet and I'm almost out.

Thank you for all of the well wishes. I csan't seem to email back a response individually so I'll have to settle for thanking you here.

Recovery has been harder this time - I don't know if it's the placental abruption, the extra incision, or just that I am on my 4th C-Section. But I'm still in pain and I just want to be well again and move on.

Catherine is showing signs of holding her own against three siblings - she is not afraid to cry to let me know when she's hungry. She is also incredibly alert and remains adorable, of course.

I wish I could type more but I'm spent, and it's two flights of stairs up to my bed. Oh, and my countertop was installed today so it's almost time to post the "After" pics from the (Alleged) Home Addition. And I guess the "Before" pics too, come to think of it. I know that my daughter is beautiful but I have to say that she is getting some stiff competition from our home remodeling in the looks department. I actually have to caress my granite countertops every time I walk past them.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The view from 12:10 pm

Originally uploaded by Stolidoli.
She's here.

Catherine Anne (Cate) arrived at 12:10 pm, weighing in at 7lbs., 1 oz. and 21 inches long after a somewhat greuling C-Section delivery.

For the first time ever, my blood pressure dropped significantly after recieving the spinal, and I started vomiting (OK, dry heaving, there was nothing in my stomach) and blacking out until tyhey gave me some medication to bring my blood pressure back up. This happened twice before Vincent even came into the OR. After that, everything seemed fine to me, except for an inordinate amount of pulling and tugging and the extreme sensation of not being able to breathe. Of course, I couldn't see a thing behind the giant curtain, so I didn't know any better. Actually, in my morphine-induced stupor, I ried to get them to remove the curtain, insisting that I had a "Strong stomach" and that I wanted to see what was going on. Needless to say, they didn't, but they did seem to be amused.

What I couldn't see was that Catherine was very, very stuck, being that I had a good amount of scar tissue, and that she was still pretty high up. In their efforts to remove her from my uterus, my placenta began to abrupt.

This was, I'm told, about the time that they attempted to pull her out with the dreaded vacuum extractor (I know!). Who knew that they used these for C-Sections? Apparantly, that didn't work, and so they resorted to cutting a second, "classical" incision (read: top to bottom) into my uterus to finally remove her before any harm came to either of us. Needless to say, I'm having a harder time recovering than with previous births.

Is it cliche to say it was all worth it? Click on the photo to see more pictures, and see for yourself.

Welcome to the world, sweetheart.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The view from 7:59 am

Friday, August 4th

I can't sleep. Usually when I pull myself out of bed at 5:00 am, it means that I'll be eating an early breakfast, followed by some delicious mid-morning treat to tide me over until lunch. But not today - I sit here starving and anxious because in just under four hours I should be wheeling into surgery to meet baby #4.

I know that I wanted to blog something this morning, but honestly, I have no idea what to write. I found myself crying intermittently yesterday, and especially last night, and I'm also not quite sure why. There are too many reasons, I guess.

First, I hate C-Sections. It is really painful to have that damn numbing medicine to even get the spinal in the first place. I mean, really, really painful. Like, I almost had a panic attack yesterday in the pre-admission center yesterday when the NP was reviewing the procedure with me and commented that oh by the way, that shot hurts and I like to prepare my patients. Actually, probably my second or third thought after finding out that I was pregnant was an anxious "damn, that spinal hurts." I kid you not.

So there's that, and also that I am already starving and I believe that I won't be allowed to eat again until Sunday. Maybe they'll let me have a drink of water tonight. Some thing to look forward to!

Also, I have a sore throat. When Adelyn was born, I had a cough, and, talk about pain! Try coughing every thirty seconds after major abdominal surgery.

But then there's the bigger stuff, of course. That I really am not doing a great job parenting the kids that I already have. That I got chastised yesterday but a twenty-something lifeguard at the swim club because Riley and Bella were swimming in the deep end of the big pool and Bella was floundering, clutching on to her big brother even though he couldn't stand either. I, of course, was in the baby pool with Adelyn and did not see what was happening. I think he said something to the effect that he couldn't be responsible to watch them and that they needed to be supervised, and only later did I think of such obviously snarky responses like - wait- aren't you paid to be the lifeguard? - but mostly I was just too frustrated and upset that my last day, my last minutes even, at the swim club as the mother of three were spent feeling insecure and incompetent. Neglectful, even.

Plus, the kids are totally on edge. Their basement playroom is covered in plastic from the construction and their swingset unreachable behind the enormous dumpster in our yard. They have been going to "camp" every day at the new preschool, Adelyn too, and then the older two are relegated to sitting on my bed (in the living room!) to watch TV while Adelyn naps, before they head out to the swim club for some good old unsupervised drowning.

Adelyn, my baby girl, cries every morning when I drop her off at camp. She starts just before I gesture to leave, as if the anticipation of our pending separation is too much to bear. Allegedly she plays with wild abandon after about five minutes of tears, and she is admittedly reluctant to stop playing and go home with me when camp is over, but still. I would not have her in camp this young in the first place, but for the construction going on here. I just have nowhere safe for her to be all morning, and lugging her with me to Lowe's to pick up ceiling fans wasn't a terribly viable option either.

So instead, I've missed my opportunity to smother her with affection during our last days before her little sister arrives, after which she will be violently ousted from her throne as the youngest of our clan. The construction has been so all-consuming, in fact, that I have also not taken the opportunity to cherish these last days of pregnancy that I will ever know. And, just to add to my frustration, they have also been the hottest in Philadelphia's history.

So we're hot, we're cranky, we have no kitchen, and we're having another baby. Today. I have no idea if we're doing the right thing, but it's certainly too late to turn back now. I just pray that the baby is healthy, and happy, and that I can be a good mother to her. To all of my children. And while my heart breaks for Adelyn, I hope that she likes being a big sister.

I always wonder what Bella would be like if we'd never had Adelyn. She loves being babied, and she is quite jealous of Adelyn in many ways. But the other day, I asked her how she felt about being a big sister again.

"Good," she said, straining to look around me and see the TV.

"You know that this is going to be the last baby we have in our family," I added. This got her attention.

"That's not good," she said, looking like she wanted to cry. I wanted to cry too, but instead we just hugged, and she turned her attention back to the TV, laughing at the antics on the Cartoon Network.

So, maybe Bella really is OK, and maybe Adelyn will be OK too. Maybe we all will. And maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll be able to emulate my daughter, and accept what is without pausing to regret what might have been. And if I'm really lucky, I'll find laughter there too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A momentous day in the Riley-hood

What is Riley holding?
Originally uploaded by Stolidoli.
This past Sunday, incidentally our last as a family of five, Riley was in dire need of a haircut and anted to spend time with Daddy. So, bearing celery sticks (he can't go anywhere without snacks, I married a snack guy) Vincent packed him up and off the two of them went.

He returned with slightly lopsided bangs and something in his hand. It seems that while chewing on his celery stick, Riley's very first tooth popped right out. And celery being as strange as it is, it stayed stuck inside.

About an hour later, while we were all at the pool eating dinner (did I mention that I have no kitchen?), Riley's other bottom tooth came out.

The tooth fairy and her tooth castle were two teeth richer come Monday morning, and Riley a whopping two dollars richer as well.

My little boy is now a buzz-cut, toothless grinned, diving board jumping big-pool swimming kindergarten-bound almost six year old.

But he still jumps into bed with me every morning with a big hug and an "I love you Mommy." And I reach my arms around him, since I can no longer pick him up, and tell my baby boy how much I love him too. For the sweet baby boy that he once was, and for all of the wonder that he has become.