Thursday, September 6, 2012

My kids - an update

Where have the last 6 months gone? 

I was on here a few nights ago reading through posts when Amelia was Carter's age.  It was helpful for a couple of reasons.  First, I feel like I am, in fact, doing a better job the 2nd time around.  Not that there's a scale, necessarily.  I did the best I could with Millie but she had issues.  Issues sleeping, issues know, just the basics.  Carter's rocking the sleeping and eating thing.  I started Millie on solids at 5 months (!!!).  I didn't even consider starting Carter until 6 months and, true to his nature, I can't shovel them in his sweet little mouth fast enough. 

I'm ending the comparisons now because I don't want it to seem to my grown daughter who may be reading this in the future that she wasn't an awesome baby.  She was.  She is. 

I have too much to catch up on.  Here's the basic overview from the last several months with our boy.  He's a chunk.  He nurses beautifully and will eat anything put in front of him.  There is nothing he doesn't love.  I do remember around months 3 and 4 he didn't really think it would be helpful to us if we actually slept, but other than that he's been so great.  Last night he slept from 6:45pm - 1:30am.  I pulled him in bed with me, fed him, then returned him to his bed where he slept until 7:40am.  He was swaddled until last Thursday, August 30th.  I had put him down for his morning nap and about 10 minutes after falling asleep he rolled himself onto his belly while in the swaddle.  I got rid of it then and there.  The first few days were rough.  He barely napped, but he slept like a dream at night.  Now his naps are getting a bit longer which is fantastic. 

He's, literally, the happiest baby on the face of the planet.  He smiles ALL of the time and at anyone.  Even when he's so tired that his eyes are red and the vein is popping that runs under his right eye...still a smile.  Does he cry?  Of course.  Absolutely.  He's particularly not a fan of the 25+ minute drive on the way home from Bible class on Wednesday nights.  He screams like a banshee most of the time.  Thankfully, he will keep calm for a Mum Mum now that he's on solid food - I hope this isn't a glimpse into the future and we are blamed for his compulsive overeating. 

He rolls.  He Army crawls.  He drools excessively.  He has eczema that comes and goes and caused me to go dairy free until I realized it wasn't making much of a difference.  He's extremely ticklish - even his hands are ticklish. It's adorable.

Millie is amazing with him.  Really, she is amazing.  She loves to hold him and talk to him.  She's not mean, although at time she's a bit bossy but it's just her not really knowing what he understands and what he doesn't.  She even lets him chew on her beloved Cars which is incredible to me.  If he wakes up and I'm in the middle of something, I just have to ask her if she will go talk to him and she says "Of course!" and she stays in there and just chats with him until I can get in there to get him.  I love my girl so much.  She's 3, and she's good at it which means she definitely tests me.  But for the most part she's kind and gentle and likes to make people happy.

Millie is taking ballet/tap and we also put her in swim lessons.  We will see how the swim lessons go - they start on Tuesday.  At this point she won't even get her face wet when I give her a shower.  The other day I took Carter and sat on the front steps waiting for David to get home.  Millie was running around in the front yard and being crazy as usual.  All of a sudden she walks up, sits down next to me, throws her arm around my shoulders, and says "Mom, I know it's hard for you".  I didn't know whether to laugh or kiss her so I did both.

She's still into Cars, cars, trucks, trains...anything with wheels.  About a month or two ago we were sitting on the pew at church waiting for worship to begin and David's mom (who sits behind us), held up a Barbie to Millie, offering to let her play with it.  Millie didn't flinch.  She glanced at the doll then looked at her Grandma and said "Got any cars?"

I love my kids so much, and I feel SO blessed to be their mom. 
Happy Friday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Carter's Birth Story

I have a terrible memory so this is for Carter more than anything else.  It's not that I have the time to sit and write a blog, though I would love that.  But I'm making the time tonight because I'm realizing how the details of Carter's birth and first few weeks of life are slipping from my memory every day.

On the morning of February 10 I was 5 days past my due date and felt it.  I had stayed pretty active during my pregnancy - didn't have much of a choice with a toddler - but at the end I just felt huge and I was ready to meet my baby boy.

At 7:45am I woke up needing to use the restroom.  David happened to be on his flex day that day so he was sleeping soundly next to me.  I got up and went to use the restroom.  Sitting on the toilet was painful - I felt strong, strong pangs in my stomach.  Remember, with Millie I was induced so I only ever felt contractions on Pitocin and I had never gone into labor on my own.

I went back to the bedroom after a painful bathroom experience and sat on the bench at the end of our bed.  David sat up and I said "I'm having contractions".  He raised his eyebrows as I said "And these are different".  I tried to think realistically and tell him that it would probably take hours and that I can just time my contractions if he wanted to go back to bed.  As the words were coming out of my mouth I had another contraction that I had to concentrate to breathe through.  I looked at David and said "You should probably shower". 

I went to the living room and timed contractions.  When I stood they were excruciating, but when I sat they were a little less crazy so I sat.  David contacted my friend Nicole who received the phone call as her boys were getting on the bus to go to school.  She and her 3-year-old daughter (who is Millie's best friend) came over and took over getting Millie dressed and fed.  Amelia had awoken at 8:15 and David set her up with breakfast after his shower.

I remember standing at the top of the stairs getting ready to head down to the car and wondering why my contractions were so bad.  Isn't that funny?  I had read my Hypnobirthing book in preparation for a drug-free and LONG labor.  I fully expected the "little" contractions that would "warm me up" for the more painful ones to come.  But no - these hurt right away.

David opened the car door and I gingerly climbed into the passenger seat.  As I did, my water broke.  David opened the garage door and retrieved some towels for me to sit on.  The 20 minute car ride to the hospital was the most painful and uncomfortable car ride I have ever had in my life.  I felt every bump and I got angry at every driver who dared to get in front of us and not drive over the speed limit.  I managed to keep the anger inside, though.  I was not shouting and being ugly to my husband.  That is, until we got into the hospital parking garage. 

My husband plays by the rules.  He makes complete stops at stop signs, always uses his turn signal, and never cuts corners.  Attributes that make him fantastic, unless you're his overdue pregnant wife who is in active labor and he doesn't want to cut corners in the parking garage.  He'll tell you that he couldn't see if there were cars coming, but I remember being able to see through to the next level and I was HURTING.  I only remember saying in a somewhat rushed and aggravated tone "Just cut the corners!"

We reached the top level of the garage and sat there.  The labor and delivery floor was on the 6th floor and the garage only went up to level 5.  Oh no.  We had been here before but they were remodeling and it was 2 1/2 years earlier so we didn't remember much.  I then saw a sign for Labor and Delivery on the 6th floor - just take the elevator.  I love this hospital but an elevator for women who are in active labor doesn't seem brilliant.

David pulls right up to the doors and runs inside to ask for help since I can't stand up, much less walk.  When I had Millie there was a day shift nurse who I didn't care for.  She was an older lady and probably 90 pounds soaking wet.  Guess who brought out the wheelchair to wheel me inside?  Yup!  Same lady.  And she brought a wheelchair that didn't have foot rests.  So here I am, contractions barreling through my ginormous pregnant body and I'm having to hold my legs up while this 90 lb woman tries to push me.  I had to stand up over the doorway transition strips because she couldn't muster the "oomph" to push me over them.

We get upstairs and David isn't far behind with the bags after parking the van.  They strip my clothes (except for my bra which I later would HATE - I just remember saying "WHY am I still in my bra?!) and get me into a gown and into a bed in the triage room.  Fortunately I'm the only person there, because the nurse informs me that there are no rooms available and I might be delivering my baby right there in triage!  I'm checked and I'm already at 6 cm dilated.  My doctor is called and updated.  The triage nurse insisted I get an IV, but after she tried 3 times to get one in I told her that it wasn't necessary and to please STOP IT.

I wish I could adequately describe for those who have never been in labor before what it feels like to be in transition.  It's like the worst gas and PMS cramps you've ever had, on steroids.  Plus there's pressure...oh, the pressure.  You don't want anyone to touch you unless you want to be touched and if you are touched it better be at the right pressure and the right spots.  My whole body felt like it was radiating pain without much of a break.  Turns out I'm a moaner.  I moaned through the pain and tried to concentrate my thoughts on other things.  I frequently thought of God not giving me something I couldn't handle, and I thought of how many millions of women have done this before.  I knew it could be done and I was on the road to doing it.  I vividly remember asking the nurse why I wanted to cry.  I remember feeling like if I could have a good cry at that moment then maybe I'd feel a little better.  The pressure was so great that I thought I already had to push, but the nurse told me that it was the baby making his way down the birth canal.  This helped me tremendously, as now I could actually envision as I grunted through the pressure that he was making progress.  I was making progress.  We were making progress.

I remember my sweet husband asking if there was a CD player available because we had a CD that I used while in labor with Millie that really helped.  No, they didn't have a CD player and I assured David that we probably didn't have time to worry about it, anyway.

When I had dilated to an 8 my doctor was called and promptly rushed over to the hospital, where she put some fire under the staff to get a room ready.  A few minutes later I was being wheeled out of triage and down the hall to a room.  I did NOT want to be moved, much less wheeled at a high rate of speed.  David said that I was getting quite a lot of attention because of how quickly the nurses were rushing me down the hall. 

We get into the room and my doctor realizes she doesn't have gloves.  While she's getting gloves I'm transferred to the bed.  I only vaguely remember this part.  It seemed that once I was in the room I had 10 faces around me at all times.  I realized later that they were there to finish prepping the room and help get me set up lest I birth the baby on a gurney.  My doctor slips a glove on and it rips.  She had only brought in one pair of gloves, so she chastizes herself and hurries for another pair.

I'm exhausted.  I'm also at a 10 and feeling the pressure to push.  The birth canal movement pressure had nothing on the "get this baby out of here" pressure.  But I was tired and I was hurting.  I remember thinking "I can't do this.  I'm going to have to now push this baby's huge head and shoulders out of my body?  Impossible!"  I voiced as much to my doctor.  I said "I'm sorry, but I can't.  I can't do it.  I'm really sorry."  My doctor looked right into my eyes and said "Yes, you can, Jamie.  Everyone says that they can't do it but you CAN do it!"

I mustered up, literally, every ounce of anything I had left in me and gave it a good push.  I think I pushed 1 1/2 times and Carter was out. I have NEVER been so happy that something was over with in my entire life!  The elation that filled me over having done it and it having been OVER WITH was impossible to describe.

Carter was beautiful.  He looked SO much like Amelia at first.
Born 2 1/2 hours after I stepped foot out of bed that morning at 10:17am.
He weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz and was 20 1/2" long.

He was plopped on my chest immediately.  I kissed him and loved on him for a long time.  I actually had to ask them to take him and clean him up.  I nursed him for the first time and he latched on a little lazily but he did it.  He got a bath (which he LOVED) and then David's mom came in to see him.  I was bleeding pretty heavily and still nursing Carter so his dad stayed in the waiting room.  The nurse (who was amazing) wanted me to get up and use the restroom so I did.  As I sat there I started feeling light-headed.  It lasted a minute and I thought I was feeling better so they started to help me to my bed.  Halfway there I passed out.  Apparently I had some large clots still left so the doctor on call came in and took them out.  That's the simple version.  I was offered a drug that takes effect quickly and wears off in 15 minutes but I refused.  After the doctor did it once I begged for drugs and it was no biggie after that. 

Millie seemed to be curious about "baby Carter", but mostly ignored him.  When she pays attention to him she's always very sweet.

My recovery with Carter was so much better than with Amelia.  SO MUCH BETTER.  It took me months to heal after I had Amelia.  With Carter I had virtually no pain issues at all.  It was wonderful.  The first night in the hospital with our little boy was a bit brutal.  He pooped every 20 minutes.  By the time we left the hospital the next day he was done with meconium...he had already pooped 13 times since birth.  Ridiculous!  It made for an interesting night.

We went home to a clean house thanks to my sisters (who surprised me by driving all the way up from Portland!) and my parents.
Carter was slightly jaundiced but it was decided that he could be checked again at my appointment with the lactation consultant 2 days from then.  My milk still hadn't come in by Sunday night and I was starting to really worry about my boy.  His lips were chapped and the inside of his mouth was dry.  He was also crying a lot and it wasn't a cry that sounded healthy.  I nursed him constantly but he obviously wasn't getting enough so we gave him some formula that we happened to get in the mail.  He quickly downed it and slept great.  The next morning at my lactation appointment I cried as the consultant told me that he was down more than 10% of his birth weight - he had lost a full pound in just a few days.  I was told to nurse him for 10-15 minutes then pump for 15 minutes every time he ate.  I followed the regimen and he was doing much better a couple of days later at my follow-up.  By a week following his birth he was up a full pound from his birth weight and I was producing an insane amount of milk.  God is good.

I'll have to talk more about his temperament later, as it's getting late.  But he's now an extremely healthy 9 week old.  He's over 13 lbs which puts him in the 95% for his weight and he's also in the 95th % for his height and head.  He eats like a champ!  He's a full 3 pounds heavier than Millie was at his age which I'm SO thankful for.  He's a tank and I love it!

I will update more often.  I must!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update. Inconsistent, but here.

I should do a better job of updating.  I love reading my posts from when Millie was really little - sad that there aren't more.

So, I'm currently 30 weeks pregnant and this baby is a healthy, growing BOY!  His name will be Carter, but we still haven't figured out a middle name.  I thought the middle name would be the easy part seeing that it took us until 4 weeks ago to decide on Carter (names are tough).  We're really only deciding between 2 possibilities for a middle name but we're just too lazy to think about it right now.  Amelia will move to another room and the nursery will be Carter's.  We haven't chosen a theme and we haven't even moved Amelia out of that room yet.  Her new bedroom was our extra guest room but, more accurately, our "throw-it-in-the-back-room-and-we'll-figure-it-out-later" space.  Lots to go through.

My baby is getting so big.  She's almost 2 1/2.  She's a good girl if not a little dramatic.  Lately every request ends in tears.  Being two is so confusing, I'm sure. 

"Want your friend, Katilin, to come over to play?"
{crying} "No" {more crying}. 
"You like playing with Katilin.  Won't it be fun to have her over to play?"
{face brightens} "Yeah!"
Seriously, kid?

Every night before bed I rock her and sing her a song.  Up until a month ago her request was "ABCs".  Then it was "Hickory Dickory Dock".  While we were visiting family out of town she watched her first Christmas movie, and that night before bed she said "I want a song about Christmas".  So, lately it's been Rudolph, Frosty (when I can remember the words), and Santa. 

We've been potty-training her since September.  She ran around our house naked from the waist down for a full 2 months and was doing really well.  We started putting big girl undies on her, even for naptime, and she was doing great!  Then we went to Florida on vacation and she regressed.  She was an old pro at pooping on the potty before our vacation.  Now she exclusively poops in her pants.  Lovely.  I'm hoping it's a phase and that if we're persistent and consistent with the big girl undies she will "get it" again.

Really don't have time to update so I should get going.
Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In Case You Haven't Heard...

We are adding to our Baldwin home in early February.  I'm almost 14 weeks along and feeling pretty good (so glad the first trimester is over!).  We went for an ultrasound last Friday and the tech gave us a gender guess, but we'll make it public once we know for sure at the beginning of September.  We are beyond excited, and Millie couldn't really care less.

Speaking of Amelia, she turned 2 in early July and gets more and more attitude with each passing day.  Some days I feel that I'm on top of her for everything, but I know my persistence will pay off later.  She's hilarious and she talks and sings constantly.  She's entering a shy stage, or should I say a pretend shy stage.  It doesn't take her too long to warm up to people.

I actually just got on here to look up my Spanish Rice recipe but decided to update, so I should probably go get dinner going.

How are you??

I miss blogging, kinda like I miss reading a book or going on a date with my husband.  Okay, I really miss going on dates with my husband.  But, we are remedying that.  Life doesn't slow down!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Music to My Ears

She sings.  All of the time.  Her ABCs, Elmo's World, Twinkle Twinkle, My God is So Big, or really any tune she hears she will attempt to mimic.  She's not unlike her dad in this way.  He makes up lyric to familiar tunes or just generally sings the wrong lyrics unintentionally while he mindlessly does household chores.  I can see Amelia being this way later, as, really, she is that way now.  We have a couple of Little People kids CDs that are on a continuous loop in the van.  I don't listen to "my" music or even the radio.  She has learned the lyrics to all 30-something songs and, although choppy, she sings along. 

I got a deal on Groupon for Gymboree classes.  A month's worth which, at the time, I envisioned being going to these classes at least twice a week.  Nope - it's for 4 classes.  We had to choose between a variety of options whether we wanted her in an art class (she gets bored after scribbling for a few minutes so that probably wouldn't work), a music class (she'll play instruments and learn about reggae and jazz?  Maybe not), or a "play and learn" class which sounded good to me.  She would be able to get out all of her energy and be tired for naptime!  It was basically a glorified Open Play with some fancy equipment.  There wasn't much structure at all and there were about 15 kids which seemed excessive.  Amelia wasn't interested in climbing on anything - she was being shy and decided to try to round up every bouncing ball she could get her hands on.

I was able to switch her to the music class and that went much better.  She loved playing the instruments and she watched the teacher very closely to try to keep time with the teacher's taps and beats.  There were only about 8 kids in the class which felt much more personal, and the teacher actually taught the entire time.  We learned about Celtic music but it wasn't about Celtic music - that was just what music played in the background and what the kids tried to keep beat to.  I'm really excited about her next class.

She's hilarious.  I need to start writing things down.  The other day, she put her shoes on her baby's feet:
I mean, come on.  What's funnier than that?  The fact that her baby could stand, literally, on its own two feet.

She loves Elmo and Caillou.  Every morning when she wakes up, she yells "Mommy!  Mommy, Daddy!  Mommy!" and when I go in to get her she says "Elmo?  Caillou?"  The routine is that I let her watch TV while she eats breakfast then we get ready for the day and try to get out of the house.  Getting out of the house is a must with a least with my toddler.  We drive each other crazy if we don't get out at least 3 or 4 times a week (during the day).  That's why I love MOMS Club...something to do every day.

I better get off of here.  A lot of work to do. 

I'm doing a Deserving Mom contest on my Millie's Bows Facebook Page.  If you know of a mom who puts others above herself and, despite her circumstances, pushes through and keeps going, please tell me her story and get her some recognition (and $50 worth of bows!).  Email me at or visit my fan page for more info.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I planned for days to write a post lamenting the fact that my child will not eat anything.  It was going to be good, too.  I thought of adjectives and acronyms and dusted off my sense of humor.  Mostly I was frustrated and you know how much sense it makes for that to bring out the best writing in someone.

Amelia hasn't been a good eater since day 1, literally.  I've been in a constant state of maternal angst, metaphorically and literally ringing my hands worrying about if she's getting enough nutrients and, if she decides to become a fruitarian, will she waste away to nothingness?  My sister gave me good advice.  She said not to push it - not to force her to eat.  I nodded emphatically and agreed with her.  Eating shouldn't be a warzone. 

The next meal I shoved a green bean in Amelia's mouth.  You may think I'm kidding about the force-feeding bit, but I'm not.  Usually if I could just get a taste of a food on Amelia's tongue she would decide she liked it and eat at least a few bites.  If she couldn't bear the taste on her tongue then I didn't push it.  I've had to start pushing it.  She refuses any and every food - even foods I know she has liked in the past like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  She will not touch a noodle.  Of any kind.  Which means she won't eat spaghetti or macaroni and cheese - childhood staples!  I know it's a texture thing and she'll grow out of it, but she needs the carbs!  My waft of a girl is just a few pounds more than her 7 month old cousin!  Granted, he's a tank, but still.

Things she'll eat for sure:
- A Costco hot dog (go figure)
- Fruit of any kind
- Goldfish crackers
- Pizza
- Donuts (that's my girl!)
- Fruit Roll-ups
- Chocolate (of course)
- Sticks of Colby Jack cheese
- Waffles
- Her daddy's Chicken Fried Rice (we tried living off of it for a while and got burned out)
- Ice cream

Things she won't even touch no matter how often she's offered them:
- Eggs
- Pasta
- Any kind of vegetable (although she ate a couple of tiny bites of broccoli lately)

That list may seem short but it covers a vast array of foods that her father and I happen to enjoy.  I still offer her everything we eat but she usually won't eat it.

Mealtimes for the last year have been filled with frustration and crying - and not just from me.

Yesterday she was feeling really sick so she ate next to nothing all day.  I could have penned the most angst-ridden blog from the heart yesterday about what a horrible mother I was.  That is, until about 5:30pm.  She just wanted to snuggle and I realized she had a slight fever and was exhausted and, from what I could tell, had the chills and body aches.  We put her to bed with not much in her tummy.  Even her beloved Fruit by the Foot didn't get eaten.

This morning when she woke up I offered her a blueberry waffle (I made them last week and froze the leftovers) and turkey bacon.  She didn't touch the bacon but she ate almost the entire waffle and about 1/2 of a pear.  That's good for her, people.

Lunch was nothing to write home about.  I cut up leftover pork chops to look like chicken strips and even gave her some dip to dunk them in and all she did was take a couple of bites then suck down the sweet and sour sauce I gave her for dipping.  Then she had a Fruit By the Foot and called it good.

We cut back on the snacks today.  When David got home Millie had developed somewhat of a cabin fever and really wanted to go outside even though it had snowed today and was freezing.  We bundled her up and David took her out and let her run around the cul de sac for a while.  Pizza was for dinner and that's all she talked about until it was ready.  She was offered a slice of pizza and carrots.  David thought the piece of pizza was too difficult for her to eat so he cut it up and she wouldn't touch it.  Ah!  Presentation!  We then gave her another piece that was whole and she gobbled it up...toppings first.  Then she asked for more!  MORE!  I noticed teeth imprints in the carrots but not a full bite - she didn't want anything to do with them.  But after dinner David gave her as much applesauce as she wanted and she had quite a bit.

Hopefully this is a turning point to better eating.  And with that, I'm taking my sick self to bed.
Supposedly we'll have snow tomorrow.  Doubt it.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Arrival

The thought occured to me today that between my two sisters and I, we have given birth 5 times in the last 2 years.  I've given birth once so perhaps this isn't my bragging point.

My sister, Lindsay, gave birth to her second beautiful daughter on Saturday.  Lainey Elizabeth bolted into the world around 11am after a not-so-long labor and only a few minutes of pushing.  Amazing.  I would love to say that we were able to make it in time for me to see her be born but she came so fast that we were still on the road.  I have yet to witness one of my sisters giving birth - or anyone for that matter.  I've only been in the driver's seat in that situation, so to speak.   Lainey is beautiful!  She looks so much like her big sister, Kate.  Lainey's oxygen levels were a little low so she has been in the NICU since Saturday evening.  We are praying for her to be released tomorrow.

Amelia is growing up fast.  Too fast.  Let me rephrase that.  I haven't met an age of hers I didn't like better than the age before it.  Up until a couple of months ago I wasn't even ready to entertain the idea of another newborn in our house.  I love that Amelia can mostly understand and respond to what I say to her or ask of her.  Car trips can still be a little brutal, but we never have to stop on the 3-hour drive to Portland anymore.  If she gets bored I give her another book or a Fruit by the Foot ("loll-ups" as Amelia calls them).

We recently went to Florida on vacation and had such a good time.  We stayed with friends who were amazing hosts - we didn't want to leave!  We initially went down there for my college reunion.  I went to a small, 2-year liberal arts school and I actually left one semester early but they consider me part of the class anyway and for that I'm grateful.  It was fun to reconnect with my classmates.  We drove into Orlando for a quick trip one afternoon and walked around Downtown Disney (it's FREE).  We had no desire to spend the $200 on one theme park for one day when our 19-month-old would likely last 2 hours. 

I need to be better at blogging.  I am wanting to ramble because these stories need backstories but I don't have the time or energy (my family is currently fighting a nasty cold) to expand on this topic.

We had fun.  How's that?

We ate all the Chic-Fil-A and Dunkin Donuts we could handle.  Washington state needs to step up their fast-food game.

I will write tomorrow.  I must document the eating habits of my child so that when her child gives her a hard time about food I can show her a post that exactly portrays my true feelings as they are in the moment.  I'll give you a sneak peek:  complete and utter frustration.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul & strength.  He deserves more than we could give so give everything you can.

Have a good Monday!