It's kind of funny: Just as life with Evie is getting super easy, we're bringing a baby into the mix to shake everything up. And when I say easy, I mean we can lounge in our bathrobes on Saturday mornings and drink whole cups of coffee without having to reheat them eight times. (It's awesome! Check out the matching robes we got for Christmas in the photo below. We wear them every chance we get.) We can make pancakes leisurely while evie "cooks" breakfast for her stuffed animals in her play kitchen or colors at her desk. The three of us can leave the house without a diaper bag. We can leave the house without worrying Evie will fall asleep in the car for a few minutes and refuse to nap in the afternoon. Our routine is perfect. Things are predictable. Life is easy.
I hear transitioning from one kid to two is easier than transitioning from zero kids to one. Knowing what to expect makes for more relaxed parents—I'm guessing. There are just a few logistics I'm still not sure about. Like, how do you feed a baby around the clock and give your toddler some attention, too? What happens when the toddler needs her lunch but there's a baby stuck to your boob? When do you clean the house? And in a small house, how do you keep a crying baby from waking your toddler up at night? (Whenever I ask these questions, Jeff reminds me that he'll be around to help. Of course, I'm talking about when he's at work and it's just me at home with the two little monkeys!)
Just a couple more weeks until we get to find out!
i've heard little boys can be more challenging (er, more spirited) than little girls, but i didn't
know that meant starting in utero. you've already proven to be higher
maintenance than your sister, and your due date's not for four more weeks!
first, there's that big kidney. what's up with that? and now, at 36 weeks,
you're among the one percent of babies who haven't settled into the head-down
position. one percent. when i tell people this, they say, "it's because he's a boy.
he's causing trouble already." and then, as if they can't tell i'm already nervous (about everything, not just about you being a boy), they add, "you just wait."
earlier this week, that really cold thing you
felt on your head? was a bag of frozen peas. and that bright light down by your
bottom was the world's biggest and brightest flashlight (500 lumens!). i could
tell you didn't enjoy those peas on your head, and mama felt terrible for
putting them there—she was trying to get you to turn!—but it's either frozen
peas or a version. an external cephalicversion(ecv)
involves doctors applying lots and lots of pressure to mama's tummy and
manually turning you into a head-down position. it works only half to
two-thirds of the time, and my doctor says there are risks, like your umbilical
cord getting pinched or wrapping around your neck, or the placenta tearing away
from the uterus.
some women have ecvs in hopes of avoiding scheduled c-sections, but i decided today an ecv wasn't worth the risks. after eight months of trying to keep you safe and healthy, why would i put you in a potentially dangerous situation? just so i won't have to deal with surgery and a little scar? so i can have an exciting birth story? so i can experience the contractions i was so looking forward to? (ironic, right?) none of that matters as long as when i meet you, you're still healthy and safe.
this weekend or next week, you and i
will be trying acupuncture and some other tricks to get you to turn. most of
the tricks involve frozen peas.
At our twenty-week ultrasound, we found out our baby's kidneys were enlarged. After a thorough conversation with our doctor, I still didn't know what that meant, so I did what any anxious mom-to-be would do: turned to Google. It was the worst decision I've made in a long time. One night, I stayed up until 1am reading stories about Trisomy 18 and stillbirths, sobbing for the women who poured their hearts out over the Internet, convinced my baby wasn't going to make it. His enlarged kidneys were certainly part of a bigger problem. Screw my doctor—Google never lies!
Jeff thought I was crazy, but he followed my orders and called the doctor to ask her about Trisomy 18 and other anomalies. I wouldn't call her myself, too afraid of her reply. The doctor reassured Jeff that the baby looked normal and healthy and advised us, lightheartedly, not to use Google like that again. (Doctors probably hate Google.)
At twenty-four weeks, the baby's kidneys were still dilated, so we scheduled an appointment with a perinatal specialist for a more in-depth ultrasound. At thirty-four weeks, that in-depth ultrasound confirmed one kidney was still enlarged while the other had returned to normal size. I still didn't know what that meant. The doctor told me it was no big deal, not to worry about it too much, it's just something that will need to be monitored. But if it wasn't a big deal, why were we at a specialist? Why couldn't we just forget about it and move on? Pretend that kidney was perfect?
That begged the question, why wasn't that kidney perfect? Was it something I did? Last pregnancy, I wouldn't go near soft cheese let alone eat it. I drank only decaf coffee. When I used hairspray, I held my breath until I was done styling my hair and then ran to the nearest open window before inhaling. I went to the gym. I avoided nail salons. I ate a lot of carrot sticks and broccoli. This time around, I breathe while using hairspray. I drink one small latte a day. When I really want it, I eat soft cheese without asking the waiter if it's been pasteurized. I don’t have time for the gym, so I count walking up and down the stairs at home as exercise. Right now, I'm eating my second piece of chocolate cake instead of carrot sticks.
Could any of that have led to an enlarged kidney?
Our sweet little boy will need an ultrasound before he's three months old to check on his kidney. There's a twenty percent chance it won't shrink on its own, which means he could be more at risk for urinary tract infections and bladder problems. I'm still not really sure what that means for the long term, but Jeff and I are following doctors' orders not to worry. (Turns out it's really not that big of a deal.) We're just excited to meet him, hold him and love him.
When we found out Evie's droopy eyelid wouldn't open on its own and she'd eventually need surgery, my heart ached worse than I can ever remember. I called my dad crying. He told me, that's life—that droopy lid is part of what makes her Evelyn. He told me in the grand scheme of things, that little eyelid problem was trivial. Our baby had ten fingers and ten toes and air in her lungs. We were so, so very lucky. I'm treasuring his wise words now as we get ready to welcome our baby boy—who has a strong heartbeat and is growing healthily—into the world. Five more weeks!
at 33 weeks pregnant, i think evelyn's finally starting to understand what's happening inside my growing belly—there's a baby in there! sometimes she talks about her baby brother and how he'll sleep in her old room ("the baby room," not to be confused with "the big girl room") when he arrives.
earlier this week, after i'd given her a bath, i was sitting on the floor and helping her into her pajamas as she stood in front of me. before she was completely dressed, she grabbed the front of my tank top and peered down my shirt. then she lifted a leg and tried to step inside. she was trying to climb inside of my shirt. it was weird. i asked, "what are you doing, silly?" and she replied, pointing at my tummy, "i want to get in there with my baby brother."
it was so funny and sweet! i hope i never forget that.
at two years old, evie loves dressing up, tea parties, singing, dancing, bath time, sesame street and reading books. her favorite song to sing is old macdonald had a farm (but now that it's christmas time, her new favorites are jingle bells and jingle bell rock). her favorite tv show is the wiggles. her latest best quotes: (1) "that's daddy. it's name is jeff." (2) "i'm so happy." (3) "daddy's laying on a elephant!"
since evie's really into sesame street—the characters, the books, everything—it wasn't hard to come up with a birthday party theme this year.
there were mostly adults at the party, which made me feel a bit silly for putting so much effort into the sesame street decor, but i like to think evie appreciated it. for the kiddos (there were five kids ages two through six, plus two babies) i set up a kids' station: a table covered with crayons, sesame street coloring books, sesame street puzzles, stuffed animals, stickers, board books and more.
we gave each kid a sesame street party favor. the big kids got crayons, goldfish, cookies and sesame street stickers, and the babies got a sesame street board book, sesame street bath bubbles and an elmo bath book.
evie told me her favorite part of the party was getting to eat a cupcake. not opening a zillion presents or playing with her friends or getting to see all of her favorite family members. eating a cupcake. she about peed her pants when everyone sang happy birthday to her, she was so excited. it was really fun to see her like that.
no birthday party is complete until the birthday girl gets a new bike, right? our friends gave evie this cute little training bike to scoot around on, and even though evie's legs aren't quite long enough yet, she absolutely loves it.
happy birthday, evie girl! the past two years have been the most meaningful and rewarding of my life—and i hear they only get better from here. i don't know how that could be, but i can't wait to find out. i love you all the world!