Baby Kate

Posted on Aug 11, 2019 in It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Baby Kate 0

Hello, Friends!

So, I had another kid. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here so if you’ve lost track, that’s number three. Baby Kate made her appearance earlier this month, and I figured I better pop in and document her birth story. After all, I did with my first two and I don’t want her to be that third kid who always complains that her parents don’t love her as much or whatever. (I’m an oldest child – can you tell?)  In case she ever does feel that way, I’d like to state for the record that I’ve already forgotten most details of both Elisabeth and James’ births, as well as their major milestones; I’m equally neglectful toward all my children.*

Anyway! After an interminable pregnancy that felt SO MUCH HARDER than the first two on account of I’m old now, I was induced at 39 weeks + 1 day to put me out of my misery.

I kid, I kid. Here’s the backstory:

Damon is currently in the middle of work-ups. Basically that means that he’s not deployed, but he’s gone all the time training for deployment. If you were a reader five years ago, you may remember that Damon missed James’ birth by a couple of days due to deployment. I was very against a non-medical induction at the time, and so Damon Skyped into the delivery room from Japan. Not ideal, but this is how it goes in the Navy sometimes.

This time we knew Damon would be gone on my due date again, and after talking to my OB we planned on a scheduled induction so he could arrange to be home for the birth. The practice was very understanding and accommodating – serving a military community, they deal with these situations all the time.

I’ll be honest – this was a stressful process. I won’t go into all the boring details but trying to plan Damon getting off the aircraft carrier and then across the country to perfectly time with my induction was a challenge. Not a good challenge. Several factors outside our control could have thwarted Damon’s travel plans, not to mention the baby could have come early.

I was scheduled to go into the hospital on Monday evening for “cervical ripening,” to be followed by the actual induction on Tuesday morning. In a rare display of good judgment, I did not Google, “cervical ripening.”

The stars aligned and Damon arrived Monday morning after a redeye. (As an aside, I would not recommend taking a redeye the day before you are going to have a baby.) Then, at my Monday morning checkup, the NP said that I didn’t actually need to go in for the mysterious cervical ripening.  I was 2cm dilated and my cervix was already… ripe? As this was my third baby, the Pitocin would be enough. Good news! I would get one more night of terrible, uncomfortable sleep in my own instead of the hospital bed!

Tuesday morning Damon and I went to the hospital. A little after 9am, my nurse hooked me up to a Pitocin drip, Damon settled in with the owner’s manual to our new Honda Odyssey, and I… waited.  I had no idea what to expect with an induction, and the nurse explained that it’s different for everyone.  Some people deliver quickly, some take all day. My contractions came on slow, and I feared I would be in the latter camp. A little after 11am my OB checked in. As I had only progressed to 3cm, she broke my water to speed things along. My contractions became stronger and more frequent. Meanwhile, Damon was making great progress with the Honda owner’s manual.  

My nurse had offered to get me an epidural whenever I wanted it. Even though I was 100% going to get an epidural, I felt like I had to wait until I was in legit pain. Like I had to earn it. I don’t know why. That was stupid. Sometime after 12:00pm – after my contractions had reached Extremely Uncomfortable but weren’t quite Unbearable, I stopped being stupid and requested the epidural. What was I trying to prove?

A little while later the nurse anesthetist strolled in… with his student, Jesse, who would be doing the procedure. Did I mind? Um, did I mind that a newbie would be sticking a very large needle in my spine? Yes, yes I did mind, but I tried to be magnanimous. “Jesse, I have to ask. How many of these have you done?” “300,” he replied. That seemed like a high enough number that he probably wouldn’t paralyze me, so I allowed it. As far as I know, nothing disastrous happened while he administered the epidural – though it did seem to take longer than I remembered from before.

As sweet, sweet numbness overcame my lower half, I prepared to settle in for a nap until it was go time. Except my pesky heart rate monitor kept going off. What the heck? The nurse checked in on me and assured me all was well – I have a low resting heart rate to begin with, so the occasional dip was nothing of concern. Except it kept happening, and my chest felt a bit constricted. The doc came by around 2:30/2:45 to check on my progress. At that point I was about 5cm dilated, and I figured I had a few more hours to go. By that point, I was feeling really off. I told the nurse about my shortness of breath and general wooziness. She gave me oxygen, watched my heart rate for a couple minutes, and decided to call for an EKG.

Um, what? I’ve blocked out most of my past labor and delivery experiences but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to need an EKG.   

About 20 minutes later the doctor came back with the EKG – but wait! There was no time for it because baby was ready to be delivered. Like, immediately. Well that was unexpected! Four minutes of pushing later, Kate was born at 3:19pm. (And thankfully, my heart rate immediately returned to normal and all my weird symptoms disappeared.)

It all happened so fast that frankly, I was caught a little off guard. I certainly didn’t anticipate going from 5cm to having a baby in a half-hour. (Luckily, Damon had finished the owner’s manual by then. Phew!) My sweet nurse stayed on past her shift change for the delivery, which I deeply appreciated. Unfortunately, my brain is shot and I can’t remember her name. But she, and her replacement who walked in right as I was about to deliver, were both great. I’ve been very fortunate to have wonderful nurses for all three of my deliveries.

So yeah, it happened super fast and Kate was definitely my most squished and purple-y baby. I was a tad alarmed at first, but the doctor and nurses assured me it was normal. Apparently when a baby comes out that fast they don’t have time to get all the gunk squeezed out of them so Kate had to cry quite a bit to clear her lungs. But you know what – she hasn’t really cried since. She is an incredibly sweet, chill baby (knock on wood – it’s only been 2 weeks).

She’s also my littlest! At 7lbs, 1oz (rounded up!), she was a full pound lighter than Elisabeth’s birth weight. That pound is a big difference on a newborn! She’s gaining weight well but she still looks and feels tiny to me.

We stayed in the hospital two nights, returning home Thursday afternoon. Damon had to leave that Saturday morning at 4am, which of course was too soon, but he’ll be back in a few weeks. My mom has been here the entire time holding down the fort and managing the big kids.

Speaking of the big kids– they are adjusting fairly well. They are both smitten with Kate, but not so smitten with all the attention she is receiving from me. Nothing unexpected there. The first few days we were home, sweet James would only whisper around her and gently pat her head. That has passed. He is back to being a loud, rambunctious 5-year-old boy with no regard for sleeping baby (or sleeping mother.)  Elisabeth, who was initially a little disinterested in the baby, now loves to hold and sing to her, but has a hard time with boundaries. Thus far, miraculously, Kate has survived both older siblings unscathed. 

*This post was written four weeks before I published it. As of today, I have already forgotten most of the details of Kate’s birth, and only remembered them after re-reading this. Sleep deprivation is a bitch.

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2018 Book Reviews

Posted on Jan 16, 2019 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

I always love seeing everyone’s recommended reading lists at beginning of the new year, so in 2018 I decided to keep a log of all my books with brief reviews. I meant to publish this at the beginning of Jan, but alas, I’m pregnant and have been sick and solo parenting for much of the month… so here we are on Jan 16th. Better late than never? I use the term “review” lightly, as these are mostly quickly jotted down impressions – hardly fully formed thoughts on each book. But maybe you’ll find something that piques your interest! And even better, if you have any thoughts you’d like to share on any of these books, I’d love to hear them! Lastly – please share your own favorite reads of last year. I’m always looking for new books.   (1) Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, The Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned by Alvin Townley This was a book club selection. If you think this is an odd choice for a book club comprised of many naval aviator spouses – you’d be right! This was a powerful, emotional book that had me sobbing, but I’m so glad I read it. The POWs’ courage, leadership, and resilience are inspiring, but I also loved how Townley focuses on their remarkable, er, defiant wives. Highly recommend. (2) 1984 by George Orwell I read this because I felt like it was one of those books I should have read by now. And now I have. (3) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Nearly everyone in my book club hated this – but I say give it a chance! Admittedly, I struggled in the beginning. It’s a very unconventional narrative and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. But once I did, I really enjoyed it. It’s imaginative, humorous, and very sweet and tender in some parts. I particularly liked the ending – If you’re up for a challenge, give this a try. (4) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without...

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New Year, New You… Not Happening

Posted on Jan 6, 2018 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

New Year, New You… Not Happening 1

Happy New Year, Friends! How is 2018 going for you so far? Getting fit? Eating healthy? Meditating daily? Good for you! I have spent the first days of 2018 stuffing my face with muffins and watching old episodes of Downton Abbey. Meanwhile there is a massive pile of boxes sitting in my family room, a not-so-subtle reminder that I still have to put away all the Christmas decorations. While most people seem to relish the New Year as an opportunity to reset and strive to be a better version of themselves, I just want it to be March already. You know, when nobody cares about that stuff anymore. I rang in the New Year with my parents and a bottle of Nyquil. (I was in California for a quick trip with the kids while Damon stayed back East.) On New Year’s Day, instead of kickstarting a healthy diet, I munched on day-old donuts and In-N-Out. (So good, by the way.) On the second day of the New Year, I endured a 15-hour travel day with my darling children. After a several hour delay in Dallas, including deplaning our first aircraft due to a mechanical problem, we landed home at 2:00am and waited an hour for luggage that – oops! – never actually made it on the plane. We got home at 3:30AM. Elisabeth talked at me for about 14.5 out of those 15 hours. On the third day of the New Year I went to Trader Joe’s with the rest of Hampton Roads in preparation of BOMB CYCLONE 2018. Then I slept because, again, I traveled 15 hours the day before with both my kids. Oh, and I probably have an upper respiratory virus. Whatever. On the fourth day of the New Year it SNOWED. Gosh, I love being a Virginia resident when it snows. People lose their damn minds. Every. Freaking. Year. For all you folks making vegetable soups from scratch and working out in your home gyms – New Year! New You! – you won’t shame me into being healthy! If I’m stuck in my house with...

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Recovery Update: Hangry

Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

Recovery Update: Hangry 1

Hi, Friends. I’m nearly four weeks post-surgery and doing fairly well. Some minor discomfort, which is to be expected. And as I mentioned in my previous post, this recovery has been so much better than my last that I can’t complain. My bruising has diminished a lot, but I still look like a puffer fish. This swelling is stubborn, man. And my jaw will be rubber-banded shut for about two more weeks. Which means I’m still on a liquid diet. Which means… I’m officially hangry. You guys – I would trade my children for a cheeseburger right now if I could actually eat it. In some messed-up, masochistic form of torture, I can’t stop watching food videos. You know the ones that demonstrate an entire recipe in about 60 seconds? Literally, can’t stop watching them. Hey, it’s 11:43pm and I should be sleeping, but instead I’m going to watch “Oven-Baked Chicken Wings 4 Ways.” This is my life now. It’s sick, I know. But it all looks so good. The trashier, more junked-up food, the better. A giant meatball filled with spaghetti? OMG I need. Oreo-stuffed donut holes? Get in my belly. Every possible variation on stir-fry you could possibly imagine? I want them all.     At first glance a Mac-N-Cheese Bun Burger looks disgusting. But after you haven’t eaten solid food in a month, it’s pure genius. I would so eat a Mac-N-Cheese bun burger. Speaking of Mac-N-Cheese, did you know there are 14,738 ways to make it? It’s true. I know because I’ve watched/read every single variation on how to do so. Quesadillas compete with Mac-N-Cheese in terms of sheer volume of recipes. Before I would’ve just thrown some cheese on a tortilla and stuck it in the microwave. Maybe a little guac if I was feeling feisty. But quesadillas can be so much more than that! They hold endless culinary potential! I would’ve never thought to make a quesadilla with flank steak fajitas or BBQ chicken and Gouda or sautéed mushrooms and spinach. So fancy! Thankfully my eyes have been opened. I now realize what...

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Recovery Update

Posted on Aug 24, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Recovery Update 10

Hi, Friends. I’m one week post-surgery, and the hardest part is (or should be) over! First of all, thank you to everyone who sent prayers or positive thoughts or good vibes my way. Hearing from you all has been such an encouragement. Second of all, I hadn’t planned on writing about my surgery, but as it turns out I have a lot of time on my hands these days! If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that I’ve been slated to have jaw surgery for several months in order to close an open bite. This is the second time I’ve had this surgery; the first was when I was 19. Unfortunately, my bite gradually reopened over the past decade and a second surgery was the best option to permanently solve my problem. (And yes, we’ll be taking measures to prevent a relapse again. We’ve learned a few things in 13 years!) The first surgery was traumatic. Whereas this time I had a single jaw surgery on my upper jaw, the first time I had a triple surgery (upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin.) My surgeon-orthodontist team warned me that the two weeks following surgery would be hell. There was no getting around that. I was going to be in a lot of pain, I’d probably have nausea, I’d be bruised and swollen, and I would just generally feel shitty all the time. Okay. I mentally prepared myself for two weeks. I could get through two weeks. Actually, I would do better than that. I would face my surgery with optimism and humor!     At the time I had a sorority t-shirt that said, “Cute and Fun to Date.”* I knew I was going to look absolutely wrecked after the surgery, but I was going to wear that t-shirt out of the hospital. I had to maintain my sense of humor. The surgery may break my jaw, but it wouldn’t break my spirit! It broke my spirit. Immediately upon waking from anesthesia, I found a nurse hovering over me with suction telling me to cough up blood. What?...

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Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me?

Posted on Aug 15, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me? 0

In two days I head into corrective jaw surgery. I’m not going to get into all the medical technicalities of the surgery, but post-surgery my jaw will be wired or rubber banded shut for about six weeks. This means a liquid diet for six weeks. I’m not super stoked about that, but here’s the thing – I had this surgery 13 years ago*, and I managed to survive then. So I’ll survive now. Anyway, when you’re recovering from surgery you need a lot of protein and other nutrients to aid your body in healing. If I remember correctly, my former surgeon encouraged me to get 3000 calories/day during recovery. HAHAHA. Yeah, I don’t get 3000 calories/day when I’m actually eating solid food, so to try to consume that much on a liquid diet is nearly impossible. But hey, it’s good to have goals. At the time my mother – on the advice of the surgeon – went to Costco and stocked up on Ensure. I took one sip and decided that would be my last. So I subsisted on Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks (remember those?), Jamba Juice, and milkshakes. Eventually my mom started putting ice cream into the breakfast drinks and the smoothies because – CALORIES! After about a month I was ready for a change and asked my mom to blend me up some clam chowder – a weird request I know, not least because I don’t particularly like seafood. Not eating solid food for that long will lead to some weird cravings. For example, I also desperately wanted some  Taco Bell creation that I kept seeing advertised on TV (it looked like a quesadilla but was a hexagon, maybe) – but I couldn’t blend that, so clam chowder it was. Like the Ensure, I had one sip of the chowder and almost retched. Back to ice cream smoothies. It wasn’t exactly the healthiest post-surgery diet.     This time around, I vowed to be more mindful about my recovery diet. I definitely need more protein, and probably less ice cream. (Apparently sugar is bad for you?) Luckily...

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