may the force... well you all know the rest

Karl: Isn't it weird how many kids were dressed in Star Wars costumes at my work Halloween Party?

Me: You work with a bunch of geeks so... um... no. 

(And, yes, that grown up in there = Karl.) 


brotherly love and rotting flesh

So one of the most asked questions we've fielded since NK has been on the scene is: "How is Nate liking being a big brother?" (Or 'how is he adjusting' or 'how is he dealing with her'  or some variation of that question.) 

My answer Weeks 1 and 2?  He's been great.  He wants to love and kiss her (which is better than wanting to claw her face off or hit her, RIGHT?).   We've barely even noticed the adjustment!  (Ha! Naive much?)    

Week 3 got a little (lot) dicey.  Delayed reaction? Reality sinking in?  Either way, this week has definitely been the toughest.  Lots of tears.  Over LOTS of things.  Ahem, MY APPLE SLICES ARE ON A PLATE AND NOT IN A BOWL followed by a massive crying fit.  The Horror.

There has been much:

Me: "Nate, would you like some peanut butter crackers?" 
Him (full on whine/angry voice): "NO.  I DON'T LIKE PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS."

Five minutes pass.

Him: "Mommy, can I have some peanut butter crackers?" 

Pretty much it's a little funny, a little annoying (neither Karl nor I deal well with The Whine), and a lot heartbreaking.  You can just SEE him trying to process his emotions and/or control the situation and not knowing exactly how.  He's been particularly jealous of Karl holding the baby.  Karl has been doing bed time and bath time (and many other things with him) for awhile now.  I was so miserable and huge at the end of my pregnancy with Nora Kate that I just couldn't play with Nate or even hold him like I normally would.  Plus, he's always been kind of a daddy's boy.  (It's okay to say that, right?  Even if his preference for Karl is occasionally hurtful to me?  Cue the: "No I want DADDY to do it!" chorus that's been said way too often in the past month.  I get it, kid.  You see me a lot.) 

PLUS THE SLEEPING.  JESUS.   Who is sleeping better?  The newborn or the toddler?  I would seriously go with Nora Kate.  Bedtime has been an absolute nightmare with Nate.  Additionally, he went through a five-day stretch of waking BEFORE SIX.  Not right with Jesus, child.  (Because even though NK is sleeping well she still gets up to eat every 2-3 hours.)  I think he gets in a light sleep stage in the early morning hours and if he hears the baby crying, he is UP.  (And NEVER has he been one to return to sleep or snuggle in once his eyes pop open.)  Thankfully, I think we are almost through it and the past few nights have been exceptionally better (resulting in much better days as well; lack of sleep is no joke).    Neither Karl nor I are upset about it (well at least not in the rational daytime hours); we're just trying to wade our way through. 

Here are some other tidbits I want to remember (in no particular order):

Nate was terrified of her umbilical cord (What's scary about ROTTING FLESH I ask you?!).  Here's the snapshots of the first time he held her (which lasted approximately 20 seconds):

Photo #1:  "Awwww... she's so cute!  I'm a big brother!" 

Photo #2: "Wait.  Wait.  WHAT THE F IS THAT THING?"  

Photo #3: "GROSS. GROSS.  GROSS.  GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!"  (Commence FREAK OUT and attempt to throw baby on the floor - anything to get that thing AWAY.) 

 What else? 

Nora Kate has been going through some serious hair shedding the past few days, leaving her with a decidedly old man like receeding hairline (photos to come?).    One day I was bouncing her and talking to her (i admit it; possibly in baby talk voice) about her old man ugliness and her baby acne.  Nate stopped me and told me "She's very pretty mommy and she's doing VERY well."  HA.  So right little man.  I stand corrected.  

What else?  

He's somewhat possessive of her when introducing her to others.  As in: "She's my baby.  She comes home WITH US."  (50% Possessive?  50% NOTE TO SELF?)  I seriously can't wait to see the dynamic between them as they grow. 

What else?

Here is a short video of their introduction...about 12 hours after she was born.  You can see where his priorities are.  

Love them.

Cardinals Charm

 My little Cardinals fans; they totally know who they're cheering for. 

I could NOT skip mentioning the Cardinals and their MAGICAL season (TEN GAMES BEHIND to even MAKE the playoffs in a Wild Card position.  TEN. GAMES. IN.  SEPTEMBER.)  and how (maybe just a little) I feel like NK is their good luck charm and how this season has reminded me of EVERYTHING I love about baseball and how I can't wait for my children to watch with me (and, clearly, become Cardinals fans!).  

It's an unbelievable story.   (Both mine and the Cardinals, right?  That's what you were thinking too, RIGHT?) 

Let's revisit: 

Sept 28: My friend John promised me I'd have a baby when the Cards won the Wild Card race.  In return, I promised to name my unborn child after the player that made that happen (Good thing she is a girl?).  I became a Phillies fan FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY (It's hard to even type that.) and watched Hunter Pence tap out an INFIELD single to score a run and SQUASH the Braves dreams of the playoffs and allow the Cards IN.  

Oct 1 - 7: Both, me, miserably pregnant and trying to avoid EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE and only taking solace in watching the Cards take out the Phillies in five games. NK was born on a day that they lost (10-4 good buddy; also the Cards manager Tony LaRussa's bday) but we won't hold the loss against her.  She knew we couldn't focus.  Both my parents and my sister were here for that final win Friday night.  We were all sitting in our darkened living room, baby on my chest, Nate asleep in the VERY NEAR OTHER ROOM, silently dancing around and (yes) high fiving while Chris Carpenter pitched an INCREDIBLE game. 

Oct 9-16: The NLDS Cards Brewers series was almost as satisfying as a World Series. My sister lives in Milwaukee and there was MUCH texting as she silently cheered in bars amongst hostile Brewers fans and Karl warned me I wouldn't be allowed to hold the baby during games if I didn't STOP SCREAMING and Nate correcting a choice word that flew out of my mouth when I thought he was out of hearing range.  ("We don't say DAMMIT MOMMY!") 

Oct 19-28:  Bi-polar games with the Rangers culminating in last night's absolutely amazing Game 6 comeback in the 11th inning... game ended with a walk-off homer at almost midnight by David Freese, who is a hometown STL boy who played high school baseball there.   The Cardinals just KEPT COMING BACK.  

Tonight is game 7.  


Would I be happy if the Cardinals won their 11th World Series title in 2011? 11 in 11!

Let's just say I'm willing to consider changing Nora Kate's legal name to the player who can do it for me! 

(For my non-baseball loving friends, I understand (I mean, sort of.  I guess.) if you just scanned this post!)  


(It starts at 7:05.)  


the lineup

I dropped Nate off at school (in his sheriff hat; it's cowboy day!) and then NK and I setup shop in the bed.  (Our heat is OUT; snuggling under the covers REQUIRED until it's fixed.)

The lineup: Starbucks, H2O, lanolin, Desitin, Gatorade, Vitamins.


two weeks: WAIT WAIT

I know time is probably passing at a regular, leisurely pace (ha) for the rest of you BUT IT IS FLYING BY for me and I have no idea where my days and nights are going. 

Nora Kate is two weeks old today and here is a jumbled list of what I want to remember today: 

Post birthing food = important.  We're still receiving dinners from friends and family and I've never been so grateful.  (And sorry that I STILL can not eat The Chicken.  I KNOW!  SURELY chicken consumption will come back someday, right?) 

NK weighed (at birth) 8 pounds and 11 oz.  At her two week appointment, she tipped the scales to NINE POUNDS AND TWELVE OUNCES.  Sweet Jesus, I think I might have my chunky baby!  One baby boy string bean baby, one baby girl chunker?!  CUE IMAGES OF GLORIOUS WRIST ROLLS AND ENORMOUS BABY THIGHS!  If you can't tell, baby fat make me happy.  (Not that I wasn't perfectly content with Nate's bird legs and skinny little arms; it's just fun that they are the opposite!) 

The Bravermans on the show Parenthood had their baby this week.  It was a girl.  GUESS what they named her.   UGH.  REALLY?  NO NO NO NO NO.  Who knew this was happening?  My name, people.  Not allowed. (Ok, FINE, allowed but I don't have to like it.) 

I took NK up to visit Nate's teachers and classroom.  When I got there, they were in the middle of circle/story time.  I sat (in a teensy little chair) until they were done and then all the kids rushed over to say hi (and not touch her face!) (well, let's face it, to not really touch her at all.).  One of the little girls came over, looked at me, looked disinterestedly at the baby and said "I got one of those at home."    

Nora Kate: Day 14 Bedtime Story:

nate and nora kate


Nora Kate:


Nora Kate:



7 days of (mostly) bliss

Do you ever have one of those weeks that just affirms the word 'happy' exists and that happy is what you are?  

That sort of defines Nora Kate's first week on the outside.  

It's somewhat ridiculous that I'm feeling that way (HELLO HORMONES!) as her birth was DRAMA, and it was probably one of the more physically pain-filled weeks of my life.  Those contractions that shrink your uterus back up?  THOSE ARE NO JOKE.  I remember them from last time.  Evil.  My midwives assure me that they are stronger with each child (hooray!) and that, due to my freak of nature rocket births, mine most likely even a little stronger as it was shrinking faster (than the average uterus?  unteri?).  Oh, and also, that whole med-free child birth thing comes with a recommendation to 'take some Advil' for the pain after, you know, the actual birthing the baby part is over.  Which I did.  Religiously.  (And also an herbal supplement called 'After Ease' - seriously - which tasted like ass and I'm not sure did anything but make me want to vomit.)  Anyway, I would just lay in bed and moan while Karl rubbed my back and legs.... somehow I thought that would happen BEFORE the baby came out not after.  But whatever.   In between those I felt great and they only lasted a day or two.  

But enough about that (if you want to talk extensive stitches, lingering pelvic pain and numbness, and new-to-me hot flashes CALL ME!).

 Betty White sums it up: 



Let's talk about The Happy.  

(And let's keep it real:  As I just typed that sentence I can hear Nate in the other room crying hysterically about watching an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba before bed.)  

I think my favorite part of this week is being home.  That part I DID plan and that part is working out exceptionally well.   I know it's not for everyone but it works for me.  I sort of love the idea that we (and our family and friends and midwives) are the only people to love and hold her so far.  Selfish?  Silly?  Perhaps so but it's how I'm feeling today (And in a post-partum world TODAY is what matters, right?!)  and I want to remember the feeling for those days when I would pass her off to the gypsies.   

Nora Kate is sort of a dream baby.  I realize she is seven days old and could be a screaming banshee by next week but I AM LOVING THIS WEEK and I intend to enjoy it.  (See also: Newborns sleep an average of 16-22 hours.) 

One, my sister arrived less than 24 hours after NK was born.  When we booked her flight, we were SO SURE the baby would be at least a few weeks old, but, um she was, in fact, about 12 hours old.  Aunt Jenny was ridiculously helpful and spent a lot of time holding her sweet niece!  

(Why yes I did take a five-day-old to the pumpkin patch.) 

Two, SO FAR, Nora Kate has rarely cried and is easily calmed down by a boob, a swaddle or some white noise/shushing.   As mentioned I have been nursing the shit (uh, and the pee.  WHAT? SORRY!) out of her (did I not mention that?).  At this point with Nate I was already pumping myself into an oversupply that was HORRIBLE and I think back to our admission to the hospital for jaundice and I get all angry inside b/c they wouldn't "let" me take him out of his little tanning bed to nurse and it took weeks to work it out (Not BITTER at all!).  Also she's just BETTER at the boobage than he was (maybe because she was baking inside so much longer?) so that helps and it's just made everything much easier and less stressful.  

Three, Nate has been in school so that REALLY helps (both routine-wise for him and attention-wise for me).  I've had three days alone with her and they've been a dreamy mix of napping, nursing aaaaaand repeat until he gets home from school.  Then I sling her up and we go outside to play (One advantage to fall babies in the South - it's GORGEOUS here.).  Who knew you could pitch wiffle balls with a 6 day old sleeping in a sling or play Lighting McQueen video games whilst nursing? 

Four, (it must be mentioned!) the Cardinals are currently playing the Brewers for the National League Championship (the series before the World Series).  I realize this may not be important to some of you but it makes me REAL happy.  NK must be their good luck charm.  (I'm not allowed to watch baseball and hold the baby at the same time.)

Five, I just don't care as much to listen to advice (NOT YOURS!).  (As in, she has barely been set down.  Don't care.  She has been nursed on demand (Why on earth did I ever think a one week old needed anything even resembling an eating schedule? Does NOT work for me.).  Don't care.  She has been sleeping in our bed.  Don't care.) We've been doing what we know works for us and not questioning it.  And, you know what?  Based on the low stress and calmness this week, I feel like (maybe?)  IT IS WORKING!  

NK's 'crib' = day 7. 

She's sleeping on my chest right now and I'm going to attempt to write a "Nate's reaction to Nora" post.

(Did I put the 'it works for ME' disclaimer in there enough?  I know it works your way at your house and I fully understand and respect that.  JUST SO WE ARE CLEAR!)  


We're still adjusting to life on the outside.

I've been trying to write down some thoughts and feelings from her birth but they're still pretty jumbled in my head.  It was insane.  I will tell you one thing: I am so ridiculously happy to be UN-pregnant.  I hope that doesn't make me sound terrible as I am appreciative and grateful that I carried this healthy, gorgeous baby to term but JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH I wanted that child out.  When your first baby comes at 38 weeks and you're second at 42...

For those of you that don't know (and, trust me, I talked to very few people about it), my grandmother passed away last Thursday.   I haven't really talked about it b/c I'm still sad and angry about the whole situation (her passing was not entirely unexpected as she's been sick for the last few months...this is my maternal grandmother who lost her husband - my grandfather - last November and was not sick at the time of his death) and, at the time it happened, I was UNABLE to drive to St. Louis (I called my midwife and asked her if she'd be up for a road trip birth but she said no.) and be with the rest of my family AND UNABLE to produce a child from my insides.  Mostly, I spent a lot of time last weekend crying and talking to my midwives and walking (miles and miles people) and avoiding the world and the ever-present "are you still pregnant" question and trying to block out my own concerns and others regarding post-date babies. 

My grandmother's wake was Monday and I spent a long time being angry I wasn't there and knowing that everyone was asking excitedly about the baby that I had yet to produce.  Her funeral was Tuesday morning, mere hours after Nora Kate shot out.  I feel like, if anything, Nora was a bit of great news on a horribly sad day.  I'm still processing the fact that I wasn't there but I can't change it.   And, well, Nora is just gorgeous and it's hard not to be happy when you see this:

Hello from NK. 

So, what do you guys want to know?  

I DID get to watch my labor video and it was PERFECT.  We watched it almost immediately after she came out when the whole room (me, karl, nora kate, the midwives) needed to CALM THE HELL DOWN.   It took us ALL to a much calmer place and I can't thank you guys enough for sending in pictures and videos and sharing your sweet babies and thoughts with us.  It's set to music and amazing and I'm going to find a way to share it but I'm not sure how yet - all babies and mamas private parts are covered up and no babies are named but I am still going to password protect it for viewing.... and I'm going to add some video and photos at the end of NK's story.  I'll let you know details. 

What else?  

I'm recovering.   I'm still processing what happened.  It's going to take awhile (forever?).  I definitely feel more than a little bit like a freak of nature.  I keep remembering all the jokes we made about how this birth couldn't possibly go any faster than Nate's birth (ha bloody ha).   Poor Karl.   I can't stop hearing Karl saying... "You're fine.  I'm fine.  We've done this before.  Go ahead and push out the baby" as my legs were shaking and I'm hollering and praying the neighbors don't think someone is getting murdered at our house at 3 a.m.  (All the windows were open and the attic fan was on.)    Do you guys want to hear more?   I wish I had a recording of him on the phone with our midwife when he called her back to see where she was.  He said "It's happening again" in such a resigned voice.... like not really worried about the situation but just stating the facts.) 

What else? 

NK is nursing like a freaking champ and looking decidedly less jaundiced than Nate.   We haven't seen the pediatrician yet or filled out a birth certificate but there's time for all that.  We're too busy staring. 


nora kate by the number


11 p.m. Bed time, 41 weeks, 5 days pregnant and totally discouraged.  Appointment made for visit to Labor and Delivery at 42 weeks.  Appointment/assessment the day before.  Baby looked perfect.  I looked perfect.  (Vital-wise).  Blah.  No hope of baby emerging as I fell asleep.

1:58 a.m. Wake up.  MASSIVE contraction.  Party started.

2:03 a.m. Call to Kim (midwife): Come quick!

2:15 a.m. Nate wakes up to do his usual night crawl into our bed.  Karl tells him mommy's tummy is giving the baby hugs to get out the baby.  HAHA.

2:25 a.m. Mary Kay picks up Nate.

2:50 a.m.  Nora Kate rockets out of my body.  Literally.  All at once.  Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

Yeeeea.  So once my body decided, it was GO TIME.  (Karl did catch her and yes, we were in a bathroom and yes, I was standing again.)  


8 lbs. 11 oz.
21.5 inches
Girl parts! (which we forgot to look at for a solid 10 minutes!)
Number of stitches: lets not talk about it.

Everyone is happy and healthy, will post some more pictures soon!