Sunday, December 14, 2014

What you should NEVER say to a pregnant woman. Ever.

You've probably read posts like this before, but apparently not everyone has.  As a pregnant woman who seems to invite comments, let me say, it is NEVER appropriate to speculate on a woman's due date.  Chances are you will be wrong. 

I'm firmly convinced that most people don't know what a full-term, 40-week pregnant woman looks like.  Even if you've been one, apparently you can forget.  Here is a small sampling of what I heard in the last week (between 25 and 26 weeks pregnant.)

"Oh a New Year's baby!"  (only if you count mid-March as the new year)
"Looks like we're having a Christmas baby!"  (No. Not even close.)
"You look like you could go into labor any minute."  (Trust me, this is not what I'd be acting like if I were verging on labor.)
"Have you dropped or is it a boy?" (Can we please refrain from talking about things dropping in my pelvis?")

To the common "Not too much longer, eh?" I generally respond "It's longer than you might think."  Then I smile and walk away.  It's easier to be vague and let the comments roll off.  But depending on the wording, sometimes I end up answering "No, not due until March."  To which I heard this week:

"Well then it must be twins." 

Don't ever tell someone they look like they are having twins.  Why is it even necessary to write this?  Why would you TELL someone they look like they have two babies inside their belly? The few pregnant women who are indeed having twins will probably readily offer that information to you. A bystander doesn't need to "diagnose" twins!  I mean really!

Would you believe the below conversation really happened?

"Actually, I'm not due until March."
"Well then it must be twins."
"No, just one baby."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"I mean you're really sure?  They can check for that now, right?"

 That is just so wrong.
26 weeks with big sister Cora


Saturday, December 06, 2014

A Party in Pictures

It is awesome to celebrate someone you love with such nice people!  Today, we celebrated Jack's 5th birthday with his 5th park birthday party.

5 parties, 5 years, 5 different parks.  All in December in New Orleans with a track record of four great 60s/70s weather days and one cold, misty day.  Today was one of the beautiful weather days!

Our invite list has varied some, from mainly our own friends to expanding to friends we've made through our children, to now a large group of these friends + Jack's great Waldorf class community.

A look back:

1st Birthday - he's maintained the great appetite


2nd Birthday - a double ear infection didn't slow him down!




3rd Birthday - it's all fire, all the time - and the fire truck visits the party!


Probably my favorite Mommy-Jack picture of all time

4th Birthday - we started at the NOLA Fire Museum

Our one cold birthday party, but still so much fun thanks to our friends' bounce house!


5th Birthday - it's Officer Jack this year

This kid has some awesome friends and they all had a blast playing together

Jack requested kiwi on his cupcake

A visit from Officer White - he said Jack's party came up in roll call today!


A visit from Captain Hennessey and the Magazine Station's Engine #1






The only thing we forgot to bring was extra clothes for Cora. (Diaper blowout)  In 75 degree weather, it didn't matter!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

FIVE!

Well you know it's going to be a good day when the first thing you hear is...

"Mommy and Daddy - it's time for some birthday snuggles!" as the birthday boy runs into our room to jump into bed with us.

That about sums up Jack at five.  He's just a sweetheart.

I love celebrating this little guy.  His December 3rd birthday tends to fall at a crazy time as we typically travel for Thanksgiving and then come home to the rush of December, but we managed to pack a lot into this week, somewhat successfully (i.e. we (I) didn't get too tired and lose my temper too often).

Birthday eve had us out buying and decorating our Christmas tree, which the kids LOVED!

Birthday morning (post-snuggles) consisted of breakfast in bed and some presents.



Birthday school-day was a fun affair for Jack as he got to wear the birthday crown and cape, enjoyed birthday privileges (line leader and a special story), and got to bring in a special snack. We decided on yogurt with special toppings which Jack picked (kiwi, blackberries, pineapple, chocolate chips, and Craisins.)

Birthday afternoon was a Mommy-Jack affair as he accompanied me for the first time to a midwife appointment.  There, he got to measure my belly and hold the Doppler to hear baby's heartbeat.  Then we hand delivered birthday party invitations to the police and fire stations, hoping that some community heroes might be free this weekend to stop by Jack's birthday party.

Then some play time.  A few new toys make old toys more interesting.



Birthday dinner was pizza at church before choir practice.  Our church was offering pizza to anyone coming to choir or to help decorate for the holidays.  Jack loves his weekly choir practices and play time with friends, so this worked out great.  After sweetly telling a few people it was his birthday, he got a little amped and suddenly yelled out to some newcomers: "Say Happy Birthday to me!"  He's not perfect ;)

Birthday culmination was eating the kiwi-strawberry sorbet that Jacob and Jack had made together earlier and opening the final presents.

And wouldn't you know, Jack, who knew he wasn't actually five until sometime in the evening, called out from his bed "Am I 5 yet?" at exactly 8:38, the moment he was born.  So that got him some extra hugs and kisses.

We love this guy SO MUCH.  He's so smart, so loving, and such an interesting little fellow to spend our days with.

*The bandaid in all the pictures came from our book-loving little guy's excitement at the public library on Monday night, when he tripped and fell head first into the corner of the fish aquarium.  After a lot of blood and some super-caring assistance from our favorite librarian Ms. Jo, I managed to load both kids back into the stroller and walk home.  The cut didn't seem that deep, but since it was SMACK in the middle of his forehead, I wanted confirmation it didn't need some help to heal well, so I took Jack to Urgent Care where he got a good cleaning and a $25 bandaid :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

23 Weeks Pregnant

Time for a little update on the bun cooking in this oven!

My nausea seemed to be mostly gone by 19 weeks and completely in the past by 20 weeks.  That was a long three months of not feeling well, but it's amazing how once it was gone, it seems so far in the past.  Amusingly, one of my first clues that I might truly have turned a corner was that I started wanting to eat dark chocolate after every meal.  After three months of very few desserts, I thought I might actually have been cured of my sweets addiction, but that is definitely not the case!  And just in time for the triumvirate of sweets holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

From the day of the ultrasound at 20.5 weeks, I've felt the baby move on a daily basis.  Such an amazing experience!!  Since I hadn't really felt much movement before the ultrasound, I honestly was still in doubt that a real, live baby was going to show up on that monitor.  Seeing our little baby boy moving all around in the ultrasound images and now feeling him daily has finally pushed away my doubts that this pregnancy is going to lead anywhere but to a baby.

This past week Jacob felt baby boy move for the first time.  Jack has been so interested in my pregnancy and has patiently waited to see if he could feel, but it wasn't until today that he felt some kicks for the first time.  His little face lit up and it was so sweet to see that amazement in his eyes!  Cora has also been asking to feel, but I don't think she expects to actually feel anything.  She just laughs and says "no baby move!"  I think it'll take a big kick for her to make the connection but I'm sure that will come in the weeks ahead.

Overall, I feel great because I have a hearty appetite and I feel pretty spry and energetic.  My difficult time is at night as I require no less than six pillows to sleep comfortably (at one point it was four, but the number has been creeping upward lately).  I have a lot of soreness in my abdomen (ligament pain?) and lower back so rolling from side to side during the night has me moaning and groaning. 

After having lots of early contractions with Cora, I was expecting to have a similar experience this go-round.  I had occasional tightening sensations throughout my first trimester and starting at 19 weeks, I have had episodes of actual contractions.  In Cora's pregnancy, those started at 23 weeks and from that point on, I had at least a few every day until I delivered her.  So far this round, it's pretty similar, with a few days of no contractions, but the main difference is that the contractions I'm having now hurt more than they did last pregnancy.  Trying to change position during a contraction is hard; a few have made me yelp; walking during one is possible, but not comfortable. 

My overall sense is that this is just normal for me.  It was helpful to have had contractions for a week before my ultrasound because I was able to have my cervix measured during the ultrasound and there is no indication of any changes there.  My contractions with Cora never led to dilation or any change in my cervix, but while I know that, it's hard not to worry some with each new bout.  My philosophy is to just pay attention to whether there is anything different about any particular day's contractions and to stay aware for the list of other impending labor signs that my doctor gave me. 

I'm more than happy to grow nice and big this winter and let this baby hibernate and grow all the way until March.  Speaking of growing, my oh my!  The comments have started but so far I've not been offended because I'm thinking the same thought: "Seriously, not due until March?!"



Sunday, November 09, 2014

Towa!

On the occasion of her 2 year - 5 month birthday, it's time for a little Cora update.

21 weeks pregnant with 2 sweeties
I would imagine every mother feels this big mix of pride and awe in her children. To watch them grow and become such interesting, intelligent, unique little beings is very cool - a lot of times fun and sometimes just plain sucky.

Jacob and I constantly comment on Cora.  Things like "She's something else" or our favorite "She's your daughter" (aka "This is all your fault.)

We were playing around with astrological signs when we found out we were having a new baby and we looked up Jack's and Cora's signs.  Cora is a Gemini and her zodiac symbol is "the twins."  Yeah, that about sums her up - two personalities in one!

We can be at our wit's end with her one moment and then so enamored with her charm and sweetness the next.  It's a bit of a roller coaster but it keeps life very interesting and I couldn't love a little girl more!


I mean these two pictures were obviously taken less than a minute apart!!

 

Why Cora is so sweet

- The way she talks!  Her vocabulary is extensive with lots of big words, but she continues to be missing many consonants so everything she says sounds cute!  And she's so expressive, which just adds to the show.  With Halloween recently passing and many houses in our neighborhood decorated, we constantly hear about how things are "Toe Tary!" with clinched fists and a big grimace.  She also continues to say "My" rather than "I" most of the time: "My like peanut butter Mommy; do you like peanut butter?  Oh my LOVE i-keem; do you love i-keem Mommy?"  And when she's been told something and she wants to make sure you know she's planning on listening; she emphasizes "WILL or WILL NOT" as in "I WILL NOT run, Mommy" with hands pressing downward in emphasis or a finger wagging.
The way she commands life - After a few walks where she'd screech "Toe Tary!" when we'd pass spiders or witches on porches, she came up with a way to repel the fear.  Now she roars at anything that scares her.  It's her way of dealing with fear and I love that she came up with it on her own!  She's also not shy to tell you what she wants, when, and how.  If I ask her to go get something, she makes sure I know my instructions too.  "You stay RIGHT here Mommy; DON'T move!  I'll be RIGHT BACK!"  Which leads me to...
- The way she moves - anytime Cora's on a mission, it's a sashaying one.  She definitely is a toddler as she toddles wherever she goes.  She's also one for big movements.  She'll throw herself in your arms for a hug or launch herself up at you when she sees you coming through the door.
- Her helper instinct - The child spends a good portion of each day perched on the counter top "to help."  She sits up there as I get lunches packed and breakfast made and she'd rather sit up and watch Jacob or I make dinner than play.
- Her joy in playing - With her being in school until 1:00 and then taking a long afternoon nap, she doesn't get as much time at home to play.  When she does have time to play in the dollhouse (our child sized room under the eaves of our house), you could not find a happier child.  She likes to fix meals of pretend foods and then call us:  "Tum see Mommy, tum see what I made!"
Look at me on the BIG GIRL swing!
- The upside to her Mommy attachment - It's awesome to get so much love.  I love having her little body all collapsed into mine for a big hug.  I love how she lays her head on my shoulder.  I love her kisses.  But...

Why Cora is such a rascal

- The downside to her Mommy attachment: I have no desire to do EVERYTHING for Cora.  And that's the way she'd like it currently.  It's equally frustrating to me and Jacob to have to listen to her whine and complain if Mommy's not the one putting her in her high chair, getting her out of the car, putting on her shoes, reading her a story, etc!
- The whining; the crying: There are no shortage of tears from this child.  We've had our windows open over the last month and our neighbors must think we spend the day beating the poor child.  She cries when we don't carry her up the stairs; she SCREAMS throughout her bath, especially if we have to in any way touch her hair; she screams some more when it's time to comb her hair; she cries and cries and cries about half the time when it's bedtime because "I don't WANT to go night-night!" 
- The sibling drama:  There's no denying that any toy Jack wants, Cora also must have and probably has already snatched.  She's also been known to knock Jack over the head for reasons that only she knows.  Now he's not entirely innocent as he also enjoys watching the Cora show when he does things to get under her skin.  But she's two and definitely the aggressor most of the time!
A double time-out: two at fault this time!
- The need to be disagreeable: I try to be extra patient at school pick-up because I know she's overdue for her nap, BUT it's amazing how quickly a disagreeable child can wear down your patience.  First she doesn't want to leave school, then she doesn't want to hold my hand in the parking lot; then she's having to be pulled reluctantly because I've insisted she hold my hand.  Then she doesn't want to go get her brother.  Then she doesn't like the level of independence I allow her in buckling her carseat.  Then she wants whatever Jack has...   Once home, she announces in no uncertain terms that she doesn't want her diaper changed or to go night-night.  They don't sell patience in such large quantities!
- The borderline cute rascally-ness: This is the "In a MINUTE, Mommy" which is what she loves to tell us when we ask her to come get ready/come eat/etc.  This is also the cute little coy face that walks in the room when we're about half a second from yelling "THREE!" after the "Cora, if you do not come and get dressed by the time I count to three..."

Other Updates

- Potty training: what was going great in June, fell apart in the late summer as Cora became very anti-potty.  We dialed our efforts down, but still kept up a before school focus on going to the potty.  She's no longer disagreeable to pottying and is very proud of her successes.  We're planning a big push over Thanksgiving.  If she's ready, great; if not, we're in an okay place now, saving a few diapers a day.

- Nursing update: I go back and forth between wanting to be very open about still nursing a 2 year old and then giving in to the notion that it's easier not to broadcast since I know this is a novel concept to many.  Breastfeeding an older child has been a rewarding experience at our house.  As a La Leche League leader, I'm well educated on the fact that the benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding never diminish so there's that knowledge in the back of my mind.  But mainly I'm just after a natural and peaceful conclusion to a part of my mothering I've known from the first day my children were born.  Jack weaned gradually between 18-23 months.  Cora was resistant to weaning in that timeframe, but I did set some limits in those months.  By the time she was 2, it wasn't hard for her to transition to a once a day nursing session.  Those after-school moments I spoke of above?  Being able to pull her into my lap and have her calm down immediately (and usually fall fast asleep) while nursing has been such a blessing for both of us.  As my belly has grown and knowing that Cora has a strong Mommy attachment, I do want her weaned several months before the baby comes to help separate these two transitions.  This past week we made the big step toward ultimate weaning and she's been nursing only every other day.  Knowing that the end of our nursing relationship is now just a few weeks away if that, I'm sure I'll feel a little sadness but mainly I'm happy to know that we shared this long bonding and nurturing experience.

Photo Updates




Wednesday, November 05, 2014

It's a ....

Indulge me for a second.

What were we hoping for you might wonder? Well, we happen to know firsthand that boys are pretty amazing:




as are little girls:



You might think girls are the more snuggly and loving gender, but I get amazing snuggles and acts of love and sweetness from both of these two:

My bedmate early this morning
A small sampling of the "loving cards" Jack has made me in recent weeks
So we were not hoping for one or the other.  We were just so curious to know who this new member of our family is.  Jack got to stay home from school today and come with us.  I got to introduce him to The Price is Right during our waiting room time and then he managed to sit (not entirely quietly) during our 20-week anatomy ultrasound scan.

And we saw this sweet little face:



A clear shot of his genitalia left no guessing.  IT'S A BOY!  Another sweet little Landry boy.  He was a "model fetal scan" and gave good looks at a full body of healthy parts. We are richly, richly blessed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

19 weeks pregnant

Sporting fall duds for those "brisk" mornings
First off, I love this time of year.  A subtle change in temperature makes life in New Orleans really pleasant!  (Currently we are mid 60s - low 80s each day with some upper 50s/upper 70s popping in now and then.)  And then there are the holidays!

I love celebrating life with my children.  Anticipation of holidays is an easy way to do this.  This year we have been looking forward to five Halloween events.  First, a family night at Boo at the Zoo, tickets complimentary thanks to my writing for the New Orleans Moms Blog.  Then, the annual Fall Festival at our church, which is just a great afternoon of family fun, bounce houses, and a chili cook-off.  Those events were this past weekend.

Doesn't he look like the sweetest police officer ever?

"I-keem Cone"

4 1/2 Landrys
Next weekend, we have Halloween festivities at school on Friday.  The kids just get to wear a special hat, but it doesn't take much to make a child excited.  Cora and I are making pumpkin cookies for her class and I know Jack's class will be doing the hands-on grapes/noodles/etc. Halloween food experience.  Halloween night will be spent at Jack & Cora's friend Weeks' combined birthday party and trick or treating party.  Then we'll end the weekend with the Irish Channel Halloween Festival, complete with more bounce houses, costumes, and food.

In pregnancy news...

19 weeks with two sweeties
We are nearing the big gender reveal and I'm so excited!  This pregnancy as a BABY and CHILD has been hard for me to firmly grasp, so I can't wait to actually see the little baby at our 20 week ultrasound and then know if this is a Baby Girl Landry or a Baby Boy Landry.  I was so convinced at first that it is a girl but I'm less sure now.  I'm not sure if that's just an unwillingness to blindly trust intuition or if my intuition is changing.  TBD...

The nausea is almost entirely gone.  I have some moments still of regretting eating, but for the most part I'm feeling better about food.  My two current challenges: constantly feeling like I need a nap and assorted pains.

Falling asleep at 8:30 on a day I took a nap, staying in bed until 6:30 the next morning and then needing another nap that day = problem!  It's hard to get much done when you are sleeping most of the time your kids are sleeping.

And the assorted pains vary.  For the past few days it felt like my hip was out of joint and so I was hobbling around not due to pregnancy but due to hip/back pain on the right side.  I have other pains that come and go.  It just makes me feel kind of old!

More revealing 19 week shot
As for baby movements, this definitely continues to be its own UNIQUE pregnancy.  Once I felt movement in my other pregnancies, I remember being able to feel the baby at least some every day thereafter.  This time, I've been trying so hard to feel the baby since around 17 weeks.  This has left me thinking I'd feel a little kick but never being sure.  I'm finally to the point where I feel confident I've felt the baby move, but it's very occasional and not even every day.  I know this could be due to placenta placement, but it's another reason why I can't wait to see this baby on the ultrasound!!