The hair, it is a-growin'. Her daddy and I think it'd be cool if it becomes curly like mine. It did start to turn up at the ends a bit today (it was awfully humid...thanks Global Warming!).
In other news,I thought the weaning process was in full swing, but I was mistaken. We did have a bit of a setback when Delaney got sick and nursing was one of the only ways she could get any liquids or nutrition. So now, instead of nursing less, she's banging on my chest and demanding it more than ever. The bright spot is that we've stopped the before-bed nursing session and Delaney doesn't seem to miss it. For the last week, Roger's been putting her to bed. So, now I nurse her either right before or right after her dinner. Next, she gets a bath and has some playtime and then Roger reads her a story, brushes her teeth and puts her to bed. It was a hard habit for me to give up because I nursed her, brushed her teeth and put her to bed every single night of her life up until recently. Delaney, on the other hand, is taking it like a champ. She hasn't put up a fuss once or acted like she misses it one bit. She's so easy-going and adaptable. I will admit that there are benefits for me. I can finish my chores or take a bath and sip a glass of wine or sit and read while Roger handles bedtime. And, he gets the benefit of spending more time with Delaney and reading to her and bonding with her before she goes to sleep.
Although we've dropped this one nursing session, I'm torn about whether and when to drop others and whether or not to wean now altogether. Roger's expressed an interest in me weaning her now because he thinks she's gotten the major benefits from nursing that we hoped she'd get. He wants to be able to be the one to give her breakfast in the morning so I can sleep in. And, he wants me to be able to eat lobster and crawfish with him again (I avoid high-allergy foods, such as shellfish, just in case Delaney would have problems with them). I'll admit, these are all great reasons.
But, I just don't know if I'm ready or if she's ready. Our nursing relationship is one that I deeply enjoy. Once it's over, it's over. So, I want to pick when it should be over very carefully. On the other hand, I've heard that the closer kids get to two years of age, the less flexible they are (God, help me!) and the harder it is to wean. I don't want weaning to be a battle of wills in the months ahead. Maybe I should start the process now. The only feeding that I think Delaney will really miss is the morning one. When she wakes up, Roger gets her and changes her diaper and brings her to me in bed. I nurse her there for about a half hour while the three of us drift in and out of sleep. It's a peaceful, wonderful, lovely time of the day. Delaney's very attached to this time and would miss it and I really would too.
Until I can figure out when and how to wean her, I'm going to continue with business as usual and feed her when she wants it. I think the answer to the if and the when will come naturally and if it doesn't and I develop a strong feeling that it's time to wean, I'll follow that gut instinct. No matter what, it will be a bittersweet time and I'm pretty sure nothing can prepare me for it. It's something she and I will experience together and something that I'll always remember.
One year ago tonight, Delaney was born. She was 1 1/2 weeks overdue and my doctor wanted to induce. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. on the day of the scheduled induction (a day that was also my fifth of battling a serious sinus infection) and we got to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. By 9:00 a.m. the pitocin was a-flowin' and for eight hours I easily tolerated contractions in the company of my husband, mother and sister. I'd prepared for labor by listening to hypbirth CDs for 8 1/2 weeks and other than the fact that I was sick and couldn't breathe through my nose (which made me just a tad bitchy), I was fairly comfortable, if more than a little tired.
As the ninth hour approached, I dialated to 6 centimeters. The contractions began coming closer together and became harder to ignore. And, although I'd hoped and prepared for a natural childbirth, these stronger contractions (on top of being exhausted and sick for the fifth day in a row) were taking their toll. I considered my options and decided to get an epidural. Sometime around 8:00 p.m. I got a fever and Delaney's heart rate began to fluctuate in a manner that concerned the nurse. My doctor stopped in around 9:00 p.m. and checked me. I kept getting stuck between five and six centimeters. Delaney's head bumped into my cervix during every contraction and it was getting pretty swollen. Due to everything listed above, my doctor strongly suggested a C-section. It was the last thing I wanted, but I was so sick and tired at that point that I was just ready for Delaney to be born safely so we could both rest. By 9:30 p.m. I was wheeled into the OR and at 10:03 p.m. Delaney was born.
The C-section freaked me out. Here's how it went down: I was strapped to a flat, narrow table with my arms outstretched and bound. The room was a sparkling, blinding white and it was freezing cold. I couldn't breathe through my nose. I felt claustrophobic. I was scared I'd feel something when they cut me. I was scared I wouldn't feel anything at all. I had to cough, but couldn't feel my diaphragm because it was numb so I couldn't take a deep enough breath. I got nauseous and tried to vomit, but ended up dry-heaving and gasping for breath through my mouth because my nose was totally blocked. It was TOUGH. I was terrified. But, Roger was there and he (and a spectacular anesthesiologist) talked me through it. They kept me calm and sane. The next thing I remember hearing was one of the doctors saying, "Oh, my god, she's a WHOPPER!" Our 10 lb., 6 oz. girl had arrived. In the flurry of activity, Roger took a few photos and tried not to look at my bloody innards. He was feeling somewhat nauseous at this point himself.
What happened next? I'm not sure. But, I do remember that later I was in a recovery room and Roger was there. They brought Delaney to me and I got to hold her for a few minutes. She was calm and beautiful and sucked on my finger while looking up at me with clear, bright eyes. The nurses were running some tests on her and discovered she had low blood sugar, which apparently is not unusual for Whopper babies. They told me she had to go to the nursery even though I'd wanted to breastfeed right away and didn't want her to leave me. The nurses insisted that she needed some formula to bring her blood sugar up and that they'd bring her to me in my room as soon as she had some. Again, I was too tired and woozy from the drugs to argue or fight. I didn't want her to have any formula or any bottles, but I also wanted her to be healthy and safe. They took our baby away, but Roger went with them. At some point, my sister said goodnight. She needed to get home to her kids. My parents were with me and escorted me to my room. Roger met us there and I insisted that they all go home to get some rest. Roger could have stayed with me, but he'd been sick recently too and I knew he wouldn't get any rest in a hospital bedchair. He promised me he'd be back bright and early the next day. I drifted in and out of sleep as we all said our goodbyes. I was spent.
What seemed like minutes, but was actually hours, later the phone next to my bed rang. A nurse, identifying herself as being from the "special care" nursery, told me that they'd found a few other problems with Delaney and that she'd have to stay there overnight. I'm sure she told me what the problems were, but I was so out of it that none of it made sense to me. That's how I know that the drugs took over at that point. I never would have been OK with it all if I'd been sober. I'd have gotten details, called Roger and probably cried or screamed. Instead, I hung up the phone and drifted in and out of an itchy, morphine-induced sleep, waking every few minutes when an alarm in my room blared loudly.
The alarm signaled that the oxygen saturation in my blood was inadequate and dropping to a dangerous level. Delaney and I, it turned out, shared a few medical problems. We both had the same oxgen saturation issues as well as high white cell counts, pointing to possible infections. She was kept in the NICU for four days (the first two under an oxygen hood) to bring up her O2 levels and to rule out a bacterial infection. I had a CT scan of my lungs to rule out blood clots and then a CT of my sinuses which confirmed my particularly virulent sinus infection. We were both treated with IV antibiotics throughout our hospital stays and I was injected with Lovenox daily as a precaution for possible blood clots.
This was not the lovely, blissed-out, natural birth I'd hoped for my child but after four days in the hospital she was pronounced healthy, I was on the mend from surgery and not only did we get to go home on the same day, but we also had plenty of time to work on our breastfeeding technique with the help of many wonderful nurses. I whole-heartedly believe that their support and encouragement led us to the successful breastfeeding experience we still enjoy to this day.
So, while our birth experience was certainly not something we'd anticipated, it had a happy ending. Actually, I should say, it was our happy beginning. Delaney Jane has provided us with 365 days of love and bliss and we've proud and thrilled to be her parents.
Delaney turned nine months old today and it feels as if I'm experiencing Christmas for the first time. It's amazing that we have this beautiful child and we're starting holiday traditions with her and for her, both with our extended families and within our small family unit. We spent a nice evening at my parents' house having an Italian dinner and opening one present apiece. Tomorrow morning, the three of us will get up, open presents and have a wonderful, leisurely breakfast together. In the afternoon, we'll go to my parents' house again where we'll open more presents and have Christmas dinner. My aunt is visiting and my sister and her family will be there too. It's been three years since I've been home for Christmas so I'm really looking forward to it. Merry Christmas!
Our gorgeous girl is eight months old today. She's growing and changing faster than I ever thought possible. The days speed by while the vocabulary of words she understands grows exponentially. She answers and responds to many different requests, including, "Delaney, where's Mommy's nose?" and "Where's the monkey?" in addition to her old standbys of "Where's the light?""Can you clap?" "Where's Daddy?" and "Where's Mathilde?"
When she thinks something's really funny, she crinkles up her nose, opens her mouth wide (displaying her two adorable bottom teeth) and laughs heartily. But, only truly funny things elicit this response. She's got quite a discriminating sense of humor.
Delaney waves both hello and goodbye. She can identify blocks among her toys and can hand one to me when I ask for it. When we're reading books, I ask her to show me where the babies are and she points to pictures of them (nearly) every time. I'm telling ya, this kid's brilliant!
She loves fruits, especially fresh mangoes, and tolerates vegetables, especially the homemade ones. I think it's got something to do with their texture. If I offer her something she doesn't like, she'll look right at me and gently push my hand away while grunting disapproval.
Probably the most amazing thing to me is that when we talk to Delaney now, she understands us. And, she's learning to communicate back. R. and I are connecting with her. After those many months of our give, give, give and her take, take, take, our relationship is now reciprocal. It's amazing and delightful. And for that, among our many other blessings, we are truly thankful.
Today our darling girl turned six months old. I cannot believe the last six months have gone as fast as they have. I've tried to be a sponge soaking it all up, every little minute. My hard drive is screaming for more space as Delaney fills every last nook and cranny. Photos of Delaney. Letters to Delaney. Video of Delaney. Emails about Delaney.
She evolves and changes daily. She sits unasisted. She works constantly at crawling and nearly has it down. She grabs for and grips all sorts of things and can hold separate items in each hand, manipulating them and moving them around at will. She laughs and smiles at the good jokes. Frowns at the poorly told ones. This kid's got it all going on.
Delaney has a healthy appetite and so far she's tried rice cereal, oatmeal, bananas, carrots, acorn squash, butternut squash, green beans, apples, sweet potatoes and peas. She loves them all and hasn't turned any down.
She sleeps like a champ: 12+ hours per night and two naps each day.
I want the power to slow down the next six months. Assuming I can't, I plan to savor every day and continue obsessively documenting Delaney's babyhood. It'll pass so quickly. I know I'll wake up one day and it will seem so long ago that she laughed uproariously at me simply winking at her.
Delaney turned five months old today and decided to celebrate by exercising her newfound will...she WOULD NOT GO TO SLEEP tonight. That has never happened. We had just congratulated ourselves on having such a good, easy baby and then WHAM! She discovered her free will. While that makes her an infinitely more interesting baby, it also makes her a severely unhappy baby (and me an unhappy mother) at bedtime.
Normally, she gets tired and we put her to bed. Over the last month, she's transitioned her bedtime from 10:00 to 9:30 and most recently from 9:30 to 9:00 and finally to 8:30. Tonight I fed her, cleaned her pearly little teeth and changed her diaper. I placed her in her crib awake, but drowsy, and told her that it was bed time and that I loved her. I closed the door and walked away. Minutes later, I heard small cries. They were more like complaints, really.
"Hey. Heeeeey. Hey, you. Hey, you, lady. Lady! Laaaaaady!"
Then the cries escalated into full-blown sobbing. And it didn't stop. It went on. And on. And on. For 12 hours it went on. OK. Not 12 hours. More like 12 minutes, but it FELT that long (aside: I think there's been a study done on how mothers feel time as if it were quadrupled when their children cry, while fathers fall asleep.).
I've read about Julie's and Tertia's experiences with CIO (cry it out -- a popular sleep training method whereby the child cries until they are tired or realize they can't win the battle and go to sleep) and I sympathized with their struggles. I thanked God that Delaney was so easy. She didn't have to CIO and she's slept through the night without waking since she was 5-6 weeks old.
I hate--HATE--to admit it, but if I'm being honest, I was a bit smug about the whole thing. Well, it reared up and bit me in the ass, that smugness did. Tonight, our babe CIO'd and I let her. I stood by and, other than going in every 10 minutes to reassure her that she was OK and that I love her, I didn't do anything. I didn't pick her up (apparently, that is v. bad in the world of CIO sleep training), I didn't rock her, I didn't take her into the living room with us. And, it almost worked. Until I started to fall apart.
As I've done many times in my life, I leaned on my husband and he came through. After having gone into Delaney's room three times to console and recede without any success, I asked R. to do it. I thought that maybe she would react differently to him. I know when my Dad told me to do something when I was a kid, I did it (well, most of the time).
He went in. He consoled (in a firm, fatherly way) and he receded. She sobbed once or twice more, whimpered for a while and then...silence. She fell asleep. And the angels sang and the heavens opened and God smiled down upon us and asked,
"Still smug now, Mama?"