Wednesday, February 22

Tuesday, February 21

Milo: 23 Months

23 months old. That is just one little month away from being two years old. TWO YEARS?! Has that little guy really been here that long? What's he been up to lately, anyway?

Everything is his. My spoon, my bed, my food, my water, my hammer, my shoes. Etc. He doesn't like it when something is not his. He is definitely learning how to get some control of his world.

Milo is silly. He makes silly faces, does a silly dance, and loves tickling and being tickled. He loves running around with Daddy, chasing and being chased.

He is learning how to use his imagination. He holds his arms straight out and flies like an airplane, spinning in a circle. He drives his cars through the "dinosaur tunnel" under his toy dinosaur's legs.

He loves music and is starting to sing a few songs. He sticks his lips out in the most exaggerated kissy face you can imagine and sings "Cookie, cookie, ceeeeeeee." (He's going for "cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C" from Sesame Street.) He sings that there's a party in his tummy. He says "Hokey pokey" but won't do the motions. He thinks Mommy and Daddy are hilarious doing the hokey pokey, though, and I can't exactly argue with that.

He knows so many words and sentences, and he can put four or five words together to form a sentence. I understand most everything he says, though he still pronounces things like a toddler, of course.

Milo is learning how to take his pants on and off. It only recently occurred to us that we should let him try those kind of tasks on his own, but I'm glad it did. He's gotta figure that stuff out, eventually, and it helps reinforce the idea that he is a big boy. Still crossing my fingers that he doesn't decide to start taking off his pants and diaper all the time, of course.

Side note: he has outgrown all his 2T pajamas! They just squeeze his chunky thighs and he complains about it being itchy. So we got him some 3T, can you believe it? Not even two yet, and he's in 3T pj's.

As for adjusting to life as a big brother, well. It's been a little rough. His sleep has regressed; he hates when I leave the room after tucking him in. He cries for an hour or more, fighting sleep with every ounce of strength he has. I know he needs attention, and we're trying so hard to give him positive attention, but he's still adjusting. He is getting in trouble more, and we're putting him in time out pretty much every day. I think he likes Olive, he notices her little mouth and her little ears and her little hands. He asks to give her kisses, which is so sweet. But he needs to make sure we still love him too. Which obviously we do, more than ever, and it breaks my heart that this is rough for him. I cry after leaving him in his room at bedtime, hearing him crying "No, Mommy, no, Mommy!" not wanting me to leave.

Milo is stuck in that place between wanting to be completely independent and needing me and Andrew like he's never needed us before. I hope he gets used to life with Olive soon. He is going to be a fantastic big brother. No, scratch that. He already is a fantastic big brother.

Saturday, February 18

Not how I planned it

Wow. Our little girl is here. Olive May Langford, born February 8, 2012 at 6:55 am. She weighed 8 pounds, 12.5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. She sure surprised us.

About 15 minutes old.

Instead of waiting until 7:00 for my scheduled induction, she decided to come a little earlier. Around 3:30 in the morning I began having contractions. They were about ten minutes apart, and at 4:15 I woke Andrew up, fairly certain I was in labor. It seemed early in the process, so I took a leisurely shower, even taking the time to shave my legs and curl my hair. (What? A girl's gotta look good when her dignity is about to be taken away from her in a room full of medical personnel.)

Contractions started coming closer together, but they seemed fairly erratic to me. Some really close together, some farther apart. None lasting more than 30-40 seconds. Since we were following the 5-1-1 rule--contractions five minutes apart, lasting for one minute, going on for one hour--before calling the doctor, I didn't think we were in any hurry. We considered whether to wait and just go into the hospital at 7:00 like planned, or whether to go in early. I called my doctor and she said we should head on in.

Well. Good thing we did. In the 15-minute car trip, I had four contractions, each lasting about a minute. And man, did they hurt. Every contraction was stronger than the last, so strong that I was literally shrieking in the car. But we made it to the hospital and got taken to my room (Room 314, in case you wondered. Which you didn't, I imagine).

I undressed, put on the gown, and they checked my cervix. Or lack thereof. The nurse couldn't find it, so she called in a second nurse to check. Turns out there was only a sac present, cervix was gone. I still didn't quite understand what was going on, but suddenly there was a flurry of nurses in the room and the overhead surgical lights were on. One nurse said something about me being ready and to call the doctor. I said, "What? Ready? Like I'm fully dilated?" She said yes, fully dilated and ready to go. Andrew said, "So there's no time for an epidural?" Um, no. No time.

And this is when the mild panic set in. No part of my birth plan mentioned anything about no epidural. I did not like the pain, I did not think I could handle the pain, I wanted to be blissfully unaware of when my uterus was contracting. But I didn't get to make that choice. I was going to have this baby the old fashioned way whether I liked it or not.

With every contraction I desperately wanted to push. The nurses kept telling me I couldn't, that the doctor wasn't there yet. "Why can't I push?" I shouted at them, still shrieking. (I did not imagine myself as much of a hollering type when in pain, but apparently I am.) Thankfully it was just a couple of contractions later that my doctor arrived, and literally one contraction and three or four pushes later, my daughter was born. Five minutes before we were supposed to even show up at the hospital, she came out, crying like a little goat.

She's so beautiful, looks so much like her brother, but with more hair. Darkish hair, with a reddish tint. Ish. She has tiny little dimples in her cheeks, and the loveliest skin. She's so big, but so small. I marvel at her tiny feet and her itty fingers, with their long narrow fingernails. Absolutely perfect.
Proof that she's mine.
Beautiful. And looks a lot like her brother, I think.

But. Because I tested positive for Group B Strep, I was supposed to get four hours of antibiotics via IV during labor in order to prevent Olive from getting an infection. Clearly the antibiotics during labor didn't happen, so she had to get her blood tested several times. Each time, the doctors were concerned by something. Red blood count not in the normal range, white blood count too high. Her slight fever kept her in the nursery for observation while a blood culture was sent off for testing. A second blood test confirmed that her levels weren't improving, so into the NICU she went for her own course of antibiotics. She had an IV in her foot, that looked so uncomfortable. She had wires attached to her chest and two long cords connecting her to the computer. Her hands and feet were bruised from all the pokes she'd gotten.

While I know that Olive was by far the most robust baby in the NICU and that we are so lucky that a little infection was the worst of her problems, seeing her there in that sterile dim room was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I felt so useless, so unable to be there for her. Every time I left her side, I felt guilty and sad. Leaving the NICU to eat lunch or shower felt like a small betrayal. I know that if she had been in my room the whole time, I still would have set her down in her bassinet to eat and shower, but she would have been close enough to hear my voice and feel like she wasn't alone. In the NICU, all she heard was the sound of machines beeping, alerting the nurses to the other babies' irregular heartbeats.

I cried a lot in the hospital. Cried for my baby, worried about whether she might really get a terrible infection and for the pain she was in when her IV was jostled. I cried for myself, for the physical pain from delivery. Cried for Milo, for how I had just turned his world upside down and that uncertain look on his face when he saw Olive. Cried for no reason other than ridiculous hormones and lack of sleep. It was a difficult 48 hours to say the least. There's something about being in the NICU that made me feel like I was being scrutinized at every turn. I am breastfeeding Olive, and so I spent many hours in the hospital nursing her, which can be a tough thing for a brand new baby. Every time she cried trying to latch on, a nurse would pop in to make sure everything was okay. If we had just been in my room, we wouldn't have had that same level of awareness. I felt all this pressure to get her to latch immediately, and extreme frustration if it took more than 15 seconds. I can't tell you how many times I was asked if I felt like my milk was coming in. Even though Olive only lost a very average amount of weight, the doctors and nurses acted very concerned. I felt like they were placing blame squarely on my shoulders. The only time they didn't seem worried was when I told them I had nursed my son for about 13 months. That seemed to alleviate their fears that I was going to starve or dehydrate my child.

I hated the NICU. Even though the staff was generally wonderful and Olive received great care. I hated that experience and would not wish it on anyone.

We were told that at a minimum, Olive would be on antibiotics for 48 hours. Since she didn't start them until late Wednesday night, we thought she wouldn't be able to go home until Saturday at the earliest. But we got lucky. Her blood culture didn't grow anything, and her blood counts returned to normal levels. After a final dose of antibiotics Friday at 1:00pm, we were both discharged with a clean bill of health. It felt amazing, knowing we were all going home together.
Olive in her adorable going-home outfit.

Nothing about my labor, delivery, and hospital stay happened the way I thought it would. I can't say I wouldn't change a thing, because I actually would change most things about it. However, I am proud of myself for getting through labor and delivery without pain medication, and I'm proud of the way Andrew and I handled Olive's complications. I have an amazing family, I really do.

So that's Olive's birth story. And it only took me ten days to find the time to finish writing this post.

Tuesday, February 7


Tomorrow morning at 7:00am I will be at the hospital, ready to have a baby. After much discussion and deliberation, we decided to induce earlier than originally planned. And so tomorrow it is. I can't tell you how unreal it is, to have felt so incredible ready to have this baby for the last three or four weeks, but now that I actually know that it's happening tomorrow, I barely feel ready at all.

So many questions run through my mind. What is it going to be like, to be induced? Will it be much more uncomfortable from the start? Will I regret this decision? How long will labor take? Will I recognize my daughter the way I remember sort of recognizing Milo? What will she look like? Dark hair? Red hair? No hair? Will I love her right away, or will it take some time? How could my love for her possibly compare to my love for Milo? Is it even possible to love that much again?

It's less than 12 hours away, the beginning of the end of pregnancy. Probably my last pregnancy. I feel relief and sadness all at once. I had a sonogram this morning to check my fluid levels. Since we'd already decided to induce, it wasn't really necessary, but I'm so glad I kept the appointment. Even though she's too squished for me to see her face, I loved getting one last glimpse of her beating heart, her spine, and her cramped little body. I do feel connected in some way to this baby, and I hope that translates into love when I first hold her in my arms. I hear parents of two or more kids say that they, too, worried about loving the second child as much as they love the first, but that they just do. Can't explain it, you just do.

Tomorrow we'll become a family of four. Tomorrow Milo will meet his little sister. Tomorrow will be a day forever etched in my mind. And tomorrow, I just might start to believe that this is all really happening.

Sunday, February 5

Sigh... and Random Thoughts

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (a reference sure to sail over Sissy's head, if/when she ever arrives), I still have not had the baby. Today is my due date. I'm going to start charging her late fees after this. Three weeks ago when my doctor told me I was three centimeters, I did not think for one second that I would still be pregnant at this point. And yet here I am.

Andrew and I went to a movie this afternoon while Grandma Susan watched Milo. We saw The Descendants, starring George Clooney. Good film, but made me cry a lot. I'm a crier in general, but pregnancy doesn't help matters. But it was nice to get out and go on a date. It reminded me of the days just before Milo was born, when Andrew and I thought, better get out and see movies while we still can.

Last night we actually watched the MU-kU game (I'm still a Tiger at heart; see how I lowercased the k?). To say that we are not sports fans is an understatement, but it was fun and our team won, so that's always good. Tonight I hear there is another sporting event on the television. Something called the Super Bowl. Maybe Sissy is just not into the sports, so she figured she'd wait until all this hullabaloo was over before making her appearance. Crossing my fingers that that is the case.

Milo has learned how to cross his fingers. To explain what it meant in simple terms, I said it meant good luck. So he's been crossing his fingers a lot lately and saying "guh lllluck." It's adorable, the way he works so hard to get the right finger crossed over the one next to it. Hearing him learn all these new phrases and things is so fun. Weird to think that this new baby won't be able to talk at all. She'll have everything to learn still. Good thing she'll have her big brother to explain it all.

Signing off, before I start crying for the second time today.

Friday, February 3

Getting close?

Today I am two days away from my due date. A certain someone who shares my DNA was born two days before his due date. So clearly today ought to be the day. But so far, no dice.

Things have been rough in the Langford household lately. Milo spent the better part of the week sick. Throwing up and feeling extra sleepy (except at night, obviously). Good for cuddles, not good for our stress levels. I've had a cold, and so has Andrew, but we have avoided the stomach bug, it seems. I've spent more than one evening in absolute misery, crying while every single part of my body ached. Convinced that I could not be pregnant another night.

Every night I'm up multiple times for bathroom trips and leg cramps. Oh my god, the leg cramps. After the months of nausea and vomiting, they're my least favorite part of pregnancy. "Get your sleep now," random people say. Shut it, I think. I'd much rather be awake nursing a baby several times a night than up peeing and whimpering in leg-cramp pain several times a night.

Today is my last day at work. That's for the best, as I am completely unable to focus for more than five minutes at a time. I cannot tell you how many times I've had the same conversation at work. It goes something like this:
Other person: You still here?
Me: Yep, still here.
Other person: When are you due?
Me: Sunday.
Other person: Oh wow, so soon!
Me: I know, any day now!

It's really happening, though. Hard as it is to believe, I will go into labor at some point and end up with a baby. A baby girl, my daughter. I will soon be a mommy of two, and my son will be a big brother—the oldest child rather than the only child. I'll see my husband turn into a father all over again, and I'll fall in love with him all over again.

Soon. Very soon.

Thursday, February 2

Wednesday, February 1


Milo and I have been reading a book called Animals Everywhere. It's been in the rotation for several weeks now, so it's gotten quite a bit of play at bedtime. The book has an environmental theme and features real animals in their real environments, animals that most toddlers might not know. Brown marmots, pheasants, manatees, that sort of thing. As we read, I like to point out the different animals, count them, whatever.

So tonight we were reading the page about the turtles, frogs, alligators, and egrets in the bog. I asked Milo how many turtles he saw. He said nothing. "Where are the turtles?" I asked him. Silence. I pointed to the egrets and said, "Are those the turtles, Milo?" He took his paci out of his mouth and said "Egrets." Who knew he actually picked up on what an egret was? Such a brilliant kid I have.

Then I pointed to the turtles and said, "There are the turtles; how many turtles are there?" And he said, "Three!" which is totally the right answer, further confirming his intelligence. He's so awesome.