One

The thing that every mom says when any one of her children turns one year old, but I’m going to say it anyway because what’s a birthday without a good cliche:

I can’t believe she’s already one.

This year went by so fast, I’m nearly out of breath. I was bound! and! determined! to “enjoy every moment” since she’s the last baby. And I didn’t even expect another baby. Ferris was the last baby, so I got this bonus baby and by golly I’m going to stop and smell the roses with her.

And I tried, I super duper tried, to make time slow down, make things a little slower. Except there’s elementary school, and teaching the middle kid his alphabet, and camping trips, and holidays, and visitors from out of town, and the sleepless nights that bleed into zombie days, and summer vacation, and piano lessons, and you get the idea. You don’t really have the luxury of slowing down and enjoying all the tiny moments with your third kid. It doesn’t really work that way. But I tried.

She’s still tiny for her age, 17%th percentile for weight and 43rd for height. Also she still has no teeth. So most passersby think she’s about 6 months old. I think she’ll catch up in height. When she outgrows her clothes, they’re always too short before they’re too tight. And the teeth will come when they come. I have alternated about being panicked and being flippant about it. The pediatrician doesn’t care, and I’ve heard a zillion anecdotal things about other kids, so I won’t worry. For now. And I will continue to enjoy watching people think I’m raising a prodigy as she stands and talks and uses her fine motor skills.

She is friendly, but shy. She’s fine with people saying hi and smiling and waving at her, so long as I am holding her. Otherwise it’s a no-go. And if she’s tired or otherwise in a bad mood, you can absolutely forget it. When calm, she will stare into your soul. She just takes people in, she really studies them. But they may not touch her.

She’s very sweet and loving. She loves to cuddle and give hugs. She pats my back when pick her up. She squeezes all of her stuffies and says, “Awww,” while she does it. Cuddling is her absolute favorite thing to do in the world, which is just fine with this mama. As long as she realized at some point that you don’t have to drink milk while cuddling with your mama. She nurses a lot. Like, a lot. By her age, Ferris was already totally on whole milk, and Bowie was down to one nursing session before bedtime.

She’s very adventurous and will crawl into any room. She is a pro at cruising on the furniture, and has quickly learned to use smaller things to boost her up onto the furniture. Which is brilliant and cute and everything, except she still needs to learn to get back down without hurting herself. She will be walking anytime now. She’s a pro at standing unassisted and will take a few steps here and there if she’s holding someone’s hand. She took two small steps on her own one night, but I think it was a fluke and she didn’t even realize she’d done it.

She is saying hi and bye, and uh-oh. I think she’s attempting to say Bowie. She says keeeee for kitty (and gives him unsolicited squeezes, of course). And she says dada all the time but I’m not 100% sure she knows that dada is dada.

She still is not sleeping through the night. This is unusual for our kids, but again, normal for the most part. She will nurse and fall back asleep. Sometimes she doesn’t even need to nurse, just cuddle. She loves to cuddle. Cuddling is her favorite. Sometimes I think the sleep issue is tied to a temperature issue, because her bed is in the direct path of the air duct, and the air coming out of it right now is pretty cold. Perhaps in the winter when it’s no air, or warm air, she’ll do better. She definitely prefers to be very warm.

I am going to continue to nurse her as long as she wants to. Like I said, she’s still very enthusiastic about it. It’s easy for us, most importantly for me. No matter what, I always have something to feed her. But I do need to step up the food game. She’s very excited about food and she loves to try new things. She’s got a great appetite. Her favorite food is bananas and she’ll eat 2-3 of them a day. She can also handle a half pound of tofu a day. When she’s decided she’s done eating, she has taken to throwing the remainder on the floor. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep up with the mess when the dog dies.

I think we are going to have a very exciting second year together. Both boys will be in school, so she’ll have me all to herself for most of the day. I’m looking for things to do with toddlers in Tucson, which has not been a fruitful search, but there must be something. There’s always the zoo.

I thought after two kids, I knew everything there was to know about babies. Then came Finley. So different from her brothers, so unique in her likes and dislikes, so very attached to me. It just goes to show, none of us knows it all, and all parents are doing the best they can every single day.

Thanks to everyone far and wide who wished her a happy birthday yesterday!

One! Impossible!

finley smash cake

Finley’s Birth Story!

For those who hadn’t heard, my sweet lady made her appearance two weeks early! She arrived July 18 at 9:20 in the morning. We named her Finley Jeanne. She weighed a mere 6lbs 10oz, compared to her brothers at nearly 9 pounds. And she’s 19 3/4 inches. Tall and skinny.

Her birth story is mostly boring with a few interesting tidbits, but here it is for those of you who love a good birth story:

On Monday morning (July 17), I ate a bowl of cereal and then for the rest of the day, I felt sick. Like I had eaten something bad, or had gotten the stomach flu or something. Not a lot of vomiting, but a terrible stomach ache and no desire to eat. I wasn’t having any contractions. This is quite similar to the way my labor with Bowie started, but his started with a bang. Violent vomiting and the trots, heavy contractions.

In the evening, things got a little worse and a little worse until I was having contractions. Still very mild, but enough to make me wonder if things were getting started. I called Labor and Delivery, and because of my history of being dilated well before my due date, they wanted to see me.

While getting admitted, I had to jet off and do some major damage to a hospital bathroom, and though there was still no bleeding, I was pretty sure this was it.

Once hooked up to the monitor, they could see I was indeed having regular contractions, albeit mild. I was at 3cm and held there for a very long time. Pretty much all night. I walked around the halls of the hospital, I bounced around on a birthing ball, but not much happened. I went to bed and tried to sleep, it was about midnight at the point. I had a few contractions strong enough to wake me up, but still nothing to really write home about.

in the hospital

After I got up in the morning, I turned a corner. The contractions got really uncomfortable, and finally some blood showed up to the party. Then suddenly, after hours of seeing no one, a nurse came in and said some really antsy OB wanted to put me on Pitocin (though I don’t know what the rush was, given that they had no recovery rooms available for hours after I gave birth). I not so politely declined, saying I was having strong contractions, and no one had checked my cervix for hours, and I had never needed it in the past and certainly wasn’t going to be put on it for no reason. (Kind of a breakthrough moment for me really, I have a very hard time questioning anyone in the field of medicine. I digress.)

I was only at 6cm, but things were moving quickly. I was in a lot of pain, and seemed to be going nowhere, so I asked for an epidural. They had seriously asked me every 5 minutes since my arrival if I wanted an epidural. But suddenly the dude was nowhere to be found. In the 45 minutes that it took for the anesthesiologist to show up and hook me up to the magic juice, I had dilated from 6cm to 10cm and my water broke and it was time to deliver her. My feet and lower legs were numb, but I could feel everything else. All the contractions, the ring of fire, all of it.

I felt so damn foolish for asking for it! I did without one with Ferris, after all. But the rate at which I was dilating made the pain unbearable. I thought, if I’m only at 6cm, and this is what the contractions are like, I don’t think I can handle this anymore.  I just had no idea that I was dilating at the speed of light.

Just as the OB suggested they break my water for me, my water broke on its own. And exactly like my labor with Ferris, I immediately felt the insatiable need to push. I think about 5 pushes later, she was out. They kept saying, I see her head! Her head is out! Here come her shoulders! But I wasn’t believing a word they said. It felt like I was pushing and pushing and getting nowhere. Then, they dropped that dirty, bloody, beautiful baby girl onto my belly. One of the most surreal moments of my life. From beginning to end, this pregnancy did not seem real. Did not seem possible. And then suddenly, there she was.

We did skin-to-skin for hours, and it was glorious. She nursed within 10 minutes of being born, and I hardly even had to help her latch. Total natural. (And now she never! stops! eating!) I was not in a lot of pain afterward, but I had to sit around and wait for that stupid, worthless epidural to wear off.

And then there were the blood clots. Apparently, I had a lot of large clots in my uterus, which can sometimes mean trouble. So, they had to “massage” my uterus about every 15 minutes to get out what they could, and make sure there was no placenta left. And by “massage”, I basically mean “jackhammer.” It was extremely painful, and would cause me to have more contractions every time. And blood got everywhere. But hey, better safe than sorry.

After hours and hours of waiting for a recovery room (see earlier where I mention no need to make my labor go faster), and having visitors, and already having the billing department tell us we needed to drop $2000 before leaving (story for another time), I finally got moved to a recovery room, with a much nicer, softer bed.

Brien went home that night to be with the boys, and it was very overwhelming being all alone with this brand new baby who I knew nothing about. She would nurse for a few minutes and fall asleep. I’d put her in the bassinet and she’d wake up 10 minutes later, wanting to eat again. She wanted to nurse constantly, which, after several hours of this, I finally figured out meant she needed a pacifier. And I was just so worried, being all sleep deprived and having hormones coursing through me. I barely slept at all that first night. And there’d be many sleepless or very-little-sleep nights to come. The hospital didn’t have a nursery (!!!) or I’d definitely have taken advantage.

We arrived at home very late the next night. I kept waking up (when I would be able to snooze) and wondering when the nurse was going to come in. I was completely delusional. But, I had Brien there to help, which was a huge relief. As was learning she likes the pacifier. Total game changer.

We are a family of five now, and I still can’t believe it. It’s amazing how this perfect little something comes from basically nothing, and it’s all yours to love and cherish forever. That’s the hormones talking. We will revisit in a year, when she’s tearing through the house and making me crazy.

finley day 1