Saturday, September 30, 2006

Blumkins and Kalmans and Dylan, Oh My

I have just received a treasure trove of pictures from Dylan's Cool Uncle Z (her other uncles include Hulking Uncle T and Most Excellent Provider of Survivor Football Uncle J). These are from the family's visit when Dylan was a week old.

And here, from Baby's First Rosh Hashanah last weekend, I present you with Four Generations of Blumkins

Friday, September 29, 2006

I am awake way too early

This is so sad. The baby is kindly still sleeping, and judging from the past few days she'll probably go for another couple of hours. Yet I am awake. I have a phone conference for work and the guy said he might call as early as nine and I don't know what I'm going to talk about and grump grump grump.

She was up later than she has been last night. I'm afraid she is sensitive to something I'm eating because it seems like she is really uncomfortable sometimes, and she really screams when she has to poop. I have already stopped drinking milk, which I think helped, but now I'll try giving up more dairy stuff to see if that makes a difference. Given my normal cheese consumption, this is going to be ugly.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four Weeks

When we first put Dylan in the cradle swing it started off nice and gently and we thought, oh, how nice, it will slowly rock her to sleep. We looked over after a few minutes and it was violently rocking like one of those pirate ship rides at a carnival. It turned out she weighed too little so we had to pile on blankets and toys to weigh it down. When we put her in the swing now it heaves under the weight. I can put it on the second or third setting and it still goes more slowly than it did at first. We are guessing she'll be plumped up enough to eat by Thanksgiving if we're going for 12-15 pound turkey range.

She has been sleeping during the day a lot less this week. I hope she's not thinking of giving up napping at this tender young age. She also has been waking herself up with her pooping, which is pretty funny to watch.

She found Aaron riveting yesterday.

The claw is my master

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Now we have a chocolate baby AND a chocolate labradoodle

I lost my post because I apparently didn't believe Blogger when it said "you have unsaved data do you still want to navigate away from this page?" The dumbness is strong with me today.

Delicious onesie provided by Saba (aka Papa D) and Ben (sorry Ben I forgot your baby name even though you've told me a million times). I have also smeared chocolate on the baby with my grubby little mitts many times. That makes Snuffy like her a lot.

Aaron has taken to calling the baby Bonk after a video game character who smashes things with his head because she is so ridiculous with the constant headbutting. I hadn't heard of the game before, but after seeing the huge head and eyes I have to agree.

Dylan has been smiling in her sleep a lot lately.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Aha, I'm typing with two hands while feeding the baby. She was really crabby for the first time last night but she still went to bed between 11 and midnight, which is what she has done for the past week or so. Between 10am and 11pm she didn't nap for more than a half hour or so at a time, so she was exhausted by the end of the day. She kicks and kicks all the time, just like before she was born. She seems very alert for longer periods now. She was strangely fascinated by Tommy's face even when she wouldn't focus on anyone else's face. With those senior pictures, I suppose who wouldn't be fascinated by Tommy's face?

Last weekend we watched an episode of What Not to Wear. One of the complaints against the fashion victim (they show the person talking and then label them across the bottom of the screen as fashion victim) was that he wore his wife's maternity clothes all the time. My dad asked Aaron if he ever wore my maternity clothes, and Aaron said that my maternity clothes were his t-shirts. Which is true. So really he wears my maternity clothes all the time.

Snuffy managed to open and eat an entire large jar of fish food. He is not contrite.

Monday, September 25, 2006

We're Back

We had a family extravaganza road trip all weekend in Tully and Ithaca. Much baby love was had by all. Dylan did well in the car, provided she didn't have to burp, in which case she did not do well. I learned that if you put the baby to sleep on the floor in the middle of the room then I will spend the next couple hours telling people not to step on the baby.

Improvised changing station

Grandpa Ted tries to make the baby be quiet

Dylan shows off her Dixie Chicks onesie from Grandma Lisa and Aunt Annie

Friday, September 22, 2006

whoops, should have posted this several days ago

We took Dylan to her first party last night. She is very popular. She wanted to start going out at two weeks, but we told her she wasn't old enough. She did very well, but I got cranky after an hour and had to go home.

I fed her last night around ten. She was wide awake afterwards, so I passed her off to Aaron to get her to sleep. The next thing I know it's 5:45 and she is just starting to squirm. I think she's sleeping better than Aaron, who ended up on the couch two nights ago muttering something about a snake giving birth in the bed. At least he wasn't dreaming about my doughy legs again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Three weeks

They tell you that you can tell when your baby is hungry before she starts crying because she will root around and stick out her tongue. Dylan does those things, but the main thing she does when she's hungry is bash us with her head like a woodpecker. I'll be holding her thinking, hey that's some nice head control, and it will turn out she was just winding up to lunge herself at my shoulder particularly hard.

I'm sure she is still gaining weight and growing really fast, but I can't tell because I see her so much. When people don't see her for even four or five days they say she looks a lot bigger and more alert. I am still only getting up once or twice in the night but I am still pretty tired. Her bedtime seems to be a couple hours later than mine. Because of the huge eyes and the furtive clenched fists I have started thinking about her as my cute little pet marsupial, which seems really apt a lot of the time.

I took my longest walk yet yesterday, alone with Dylan and Snuffy. It was a little cold out so I was forced to dress the baby up in a bear suit. It was not possible to get a picture with her looking at the camera or without Snuffy's huge head butting in.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Clean Baby

We gave Dylan her first real bath last weekend. She seemed to enjoy it. We think she is losing her hair because she sheds all the time and has a bald spot in back. It sort of looks like she has a hair piece if you arrange it the right way.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fancy Pants

Dylan was up for much of the night wanting to eat, so the two of us have spent most of today sleeping. I think she is waking up now because she must sense that I am trying to have a meal. When I said we were boring yesterday I didn't mean I minded it (yet), I just meant that when you call and ask what we're up to, don't expect much. I still have some paperwork to do, but I have gotten through a lot of it.

Dylan got big enough that I thought I would try out one of her cool cloth diapers. Now I have to figure out how to wash it. She is also demonstrating her fencing reflex in this picture. She has stopped looking quite so much like Popeye when she wants to eat, but for a while there was a striking similarity. Her eyes are not always synchronized. The pediatrician said that is fine until about 8 weeks, but it is strange to watch. We try to give her positive feedback when she has them go in the same direction.

She still curls up into a nice little potato bug ball sometimes.

This outfit is big on her, but I couldn't resist.

I also accessorized it, but Aaron said it made her look eccentric and she had both the socks and the hat off within five minutes anyway.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why do I have so much work even though I'm on leave?

I have spent the entire day feeding the baby and dealing with baby-related paperwork. I'm not good enough at nursing yet to do both at the same time, but I am getting good at eating while nursing. She had one two hour session last night. I can't sit still for two hours during the best of times, but I am still not strong enough to get any real exercise to keep the fidgeting under control. I am definitely getting better though. I walked Snuffy without the walking stick today and ran a few errands and didn't feel dizzy afterwards. Yesterday I was going to say how boring we are around here, but with all the bureaucracy today I feel I have redefined boring. People call and ask how it's going, and it really is going well, but we mostly all sit around on the couch and eat and sometimes Aaron does homework.

Dylan has slept from 10pm to 4am the last two nights and then again from 5:30 until 7:30, so that's not too bad although it didn't prevent me from being really cranky this morning. We took her out to both lunch and dinner yesterday (and also ice cream and the park mid-afternoon, now that I think of it), both times to restaurants loud enough that if she started yelling we could hardly tell. I feel like I am sort of getting spoiled now because she is so small and portable.

Next week I've brilliantly managed to arrange a conference call to do actual school-related work, so I hope I get some sleep the night before.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Aaron doesn't have class Friday and hasn't started working part time yet, so we have all been holed up in the house for several days. We haven't gotten to see each other this much pretty much since he started working at the bakery almost three years ago. Even with taking care of a baby, having him be around this much still feels like a vacation.

Despite the fattening, Dylan actually doesn't seem very chubby. I think she has mostly gotten longer since she was born. She has also uncurled a bit and doesn't like to be swaddled as much, so she is suddenly a tall skinny baby. Aside from the occasional binge she is going about 3-4 hours between feedings and sometimes more at night. She is still transfixed by the stupid mobile that needs to be pushed by hand.

Dylan uncurls

Snuffy keeps the Boppy warm

Friday, September 15, 2006


I am sad you're not supposed to buy bagged spinach right now because I have had a baby spinach addiction pretty much since I got pregnant.

I am probably asking for it by writing this down, but as I mentioned yesterday Dylan has been a really easy baby so far. Possibly because of horror stories about, well, me, I was ready for a baby who wouldn't want to be put down at all, who wouldn't sleep for more than a couple hours at a time, and who would just be sort of cranky all the time. Aside from a two-day breastmilk binge a few days ago, I actually think I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep for having a two-week-old. When I am up with her at night she is eating, not crying, and I am happily watching whatever Aaron gets for me on his computer. In general when she wakes up from naps Dylan just looks around happily to see what's going on. We took her to the grocery store today without any problem and we took her out to a restaurant yesterday (although sadly we ended up leaving after half hour because the server never showed up for work). The hardest part for me so far is remembering that even though I basically feel fine I am a lot weaker than usual and I'm going to be that way for quite a while until I am not so anemic.

Judging by this afternoon, I guess even good-natured babies can wear you out.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Two weeks

Today is our first full day with no one staying here to help us. We just got back from the pediatrician, where Dylan weighed in at 8 pounds, 12.5 ounces. We were going for her birthweight of 8lbs 11ozs, so again she has been obligingly fat. They gave me a box of the vitamin supplements for her, which came packaged with a big thing of formula. It has been bizarre how much both the hospital and the pediatrician have been pushing formula, especially given the recent push for breastfeeding and for a baby who is doing well and gaining weight without it.

Dylan is fascinated by the uglydoll mobile, which is satisfying because I made it, but annoying because it isn't motorized so someone has to stand there and push it. She has been a really easygoing baby so far. She is staying awake for longer and longer stretches during the day.

I am still really pale from losing so much blood, but last weekend I noticed that the tips of my fingers were pink again. The pink has been moving down my fingers all week. I can't walk very far, which is sad because I was really looking forward to wandering around the neighborhood with the baby and the dog, but I am up to a few blocks now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The last birth story post

Friday: Hospital Day 3

Aaron finally left for home around 1:00am. I had to call the nurses for a couple of things, and they never failed to respond within an hour and a half. At 1:30 I called and said I thought I was bleeding a lot. At 2:00 a nurse came in and said she would check again at 3:00 to see how I was doing. Around 2:30 I called again and asked if there was anything else that could be done for pain because by that time I was hurting a lot, as though I were having real contractions again. At 2:45 the intern came in and I passed a couple of huge clots. I immediately felt much better, but they asked how long it had been since someone had checked my blood loss. After I said it had only been since 2:00 the room was suddenly full of people. My blood pressure was really low – 60/40 was the lowest I heard – so they tipped the bed up so my head was down. Because of the clots and the continued bleeding, they decided I probably had retained some pieces of placenta and would need an emergency D&C. There was an exam that involved screaming akin to when the baby was coming out. I heard someone say that my blood pressure was so low that they would have to use ketamine as the anesthetic. They wouldn’t let me or the intern call Aaron because the doctor wanted to do it herself. No one was really talking to me and I think I was only able to follow what was going on because of learning to speak medspeak in school. Although I’m not sure being able to follow what was going on was such a great thing.

So poor Aaron got called at 3:30 in the morning. He told my mom and Annie to stay at the house so they wouldn’t be too scared. He then had to wait in the hospital room for the next couple of hours. He text messaged Annie that they had given me Special K and she and my mom thought it was nice that I was eating cereal.

It turned out to have been a bad decision to take out the IV line they had used for the pitocin. I was soon being prodded in both arms to put two more IVs in. I was wheeled into an operating room. The surgery and recovery room parts seem like a movie montage. It was freezing and I was shivering and there were tons of bright lights and they had to try a couple of times to move me (I hadn’t had time to lose the baby weight yet). Someone eventually put some warm towels over me and I remember seeing one of the nurses standing with my tie-dye pillow saying she would make sure to take it back to my room. I remember them putting the ketamine in one of the IVs. After that I saw a lot of fluorescent orange boxes floating around for a while. As it wore off things would switch back and forth from bright colors to the operating and recovery rooms. They told me they had managed to avoid giving me a transfusion. Eventually I got wheeled back to my room, where Aaron was waiting.

In the morning the intern came in and said there was still a chance that they would give me a transfusion. I didn’t really understand why they would do that if they had managed to not do it during the D&C. They said that if I did okay in the next couple of days it might be possible to avoid it. My hematocrit was 23 that morning, but they said it would probably go down as they gave me more fluids. They checked again later in the day and it was 21. I had lost about a liter and a half of blood overall.

I spent the rest of that day feeling very weak. I didn’t get out of bed for a long time, and I felt dizzy even sitting up. They pay a lot less attention to you in the hospital after you have the baby, so no one gave me any idea of when they were thinking about discharging me and no one was around to help me out of bed. We were all exhausted and spent most of that day just hanging around the hospital. The pediatrician came in and was very nice and said the baby looked good. My dad and Tommy came and saw Dylan.

I have to say that the food in the hospital was fun. They call it room service and give you a big menu and you just call when you want food and they bring it right to your bed. I recommend the tofu ravioli.

That night was marked by the Bullying Night Nurse of Aggression who alternated between passive aggressive and outright aggressive techniques. She brutalized me in the process of trying to help me breastfeed. Twice in the middle of the night she gave me the baby, said she would help me nurse, then left to give someone else meds and didn’t come back for an hour and a half. Then she told me she would take the baby to the nursery to give me a break and never did. She tried in a very manipulative way to get us to give the baby both formula and a pacifier, which are not such terrible things, but are not things that brand new emotional parents who have experienced massive blood loss want to talk about.

Saturday & Sunday: Hospital Days 4 & 5

I was worried about being too weak to take care of the baby, but once I stopped taking percocet I felt a lot better and everyone said I perked up a lot. My hematocrit was back up to 23 by Saturday morning. The doctor mentioned a transfusion one more time, but they seemed to think I was doing well enough not to have one. When they drew my blood I had been on IV fluids for over a day, so I was really puffed up. I usually have easy veins, but one of the nurses trying to draw blood said she had been doing this for 20 years and had never had so much trouble as with me. She then tried to tell me the swelling was normal for postpartum and she would be surprised if I didn’t get worse for the next two weeks. I was about ten times more swollen than I had been at any point during the pregnancy and had a hard time believing that, and by the next day I was back down to a less alarming level of puffiness.

We again spent most of the day hanging around the hospital not doing much. They wanted to watch me for one more day and thought they would discharge me Sunday morning.

Saturday night I had the Nice Night Nurse of Helpfulness, who did a wonderful job helping with the breastfeeding. The lactation consultant said the next day that I was lucky and that I got the best night nurse.

Sunday morning the nurse asked about my plans and when I thought I could head home. We agreed that I would pack up and shower and be ready to go in an hour. I called for reinforcements and we were all sitting there holding bags and pillows, ready to head home. We foolishly tried to walk out the door of the room, which I hadn’t left in five days aside from the surgery, and were shooed back in since I had to be wheeled out in a wheelchair with the baby in my lap. Two hours later all the paperwork was done and the wheelchair arrived. We didn’t feel like learning how to use the car seat, so my mom just walked home with the baby while Aaron drove me. From Wednesday to Sunday that was five days in the hospital, and we were really happy to be home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pretty pictures

We're breeding Ithaca pride.

Snuffy squeezed himself into a very small
space on the couch to cuddle the baby.

Dylan manages to suck her thumb quite a bit
despite having no apparent control over her arms.

She used her startle reflex to take her
outfit away from the manatee.

She was contrite afterwards though.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dylan's Birth Story, continued

Thursday: Hospital Day 2

Here and here are the first parts, written by Aaron. I’ll start where he left off.

They gradually increased the pitocin throughout the morning, but the contractions were still not doing much. I wasn’t in any real pain or discomfort and it was fun to watch the contractions on the monitor, ineffective though they were. Around 11am the doctor on call said they would break my water if things didn't get moving and made a veiled threat of a c-section if things REALLY didn’t get moving. Then she disappeared for the next three hours. At 2pm she reappeared and broke my water as promised. She asked if I was planning to use pain meds and nodded enthusiastically when I said I was, and told me to put in my order for an epidural early because it was busy and could take a while and contractions can get pretty intense pretty quickly once they break your water. I found that intimidating and asked for an epidural as soon as she left, even though it was not something I was happy to do without being in any actual pain.

An hour and a half later, the anesthesiology team arrived. By that time the contractions were every 2-3 minutes and were quite painful, although I am not sure they were that much more intense than contractions without pitocin would have been. So there were about 45 minutes when I really wanted the epidural before I actually got it. When the team did arrive with their cool pain-relief-on-wheels cart, they had to ask me a bunch of questions about drug allergies, etc. This was ludicrous due to my having already answered all the same questions, having told them ahead of time that I would want an epidural, and being in intense pain. It took about 4 sessions of question asking between contractions to get everything answered. My mom and Annie had to leave the room while they actually placed the epidural, and I later learned they snuck back to the house and made a cake. Once the epidural was in I could feel the contractions less and less until I couldn’t feel anything at all. It was cool because they target the pain relief so precisely toward the uterus that I could still move my legs and scootch around the bed. They placed a catheter and I impressed everyone with my kidney function. When they placed the catheter I was about 5 centimeters dilated. There was another, less-veiled, reference to a c-section, as though I could do anything about how things were going. Aaron and I both napped out for the next two hours because we were tired and because everyone kept making dark allusions to the work I would soon have to do.

When I woke up I felt a lot of pressure. It got more and more intense and I was pretty uncomfortable. I knew that that probably meant the baby was moving down farther than where they target the epidural, but I asked them to increase the epidural just in case that would help. That was enough to get someone in my room to do a cervix check, and it turned out I was 10cm, had just gone through transition, and was ready to push. I was displeased with this decision because one of the interns had just mentioned that the baby was really high up and I did not want to push for many hours. Later the doctor told me she was pretty convinced for most of the day that I would need a c-section. They quickly called in reinforcements. The intern had me start to push while the catheter was still in. The doctor came in and was dismayed and immediately took out the catheter. I pushed for two hours. It hurt and I spent most of the time begging Aaron to make it stop. I had always thought ahead of time that I would not want a team of people telling me what a good job I was doing, but it turned out I did want that, and they were very convincing. About halfway through I said that it was sucky and everyone laughed, but I was serious. I know no one knows exactly how long it will take, but I thought everyone was more evasive than necessary about how things were going, other than “great” and “soon.”

Aaron said that he had never seen anything like the change from when I was yelling unhappily to when they handed me the baby. I was all ready for a squished up newborn, but apparently Dylan had incubated for long enough that she didn’t do that part, so she came out looking like a real baby and had her eyes open and was tracking faces. Annie and my mom came out from the corner where they had been rocking to hold her. We all thought she was adorable and we were so happy.

Afterwards I felt pretty good, and it really was only an hour of contractions and a couple hours of pushing that had been painful. I mostly didn’t like being strapped to the bed for so long and not being able to eat and also pushing. Luckily I was fed pizza right away and the cake that had been made during the epidural placement showed up and all was well. Dylan was born at 8:16pm, so soon it was bedtime for all. We agreed that since the baby and I were doing so well Aaron would go home to sleep since it was so much more comfortable (cue foreboding music)…

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Annie's video

Here is a video Aaron made for Annie to take with her to Morocco. Warning: it is 6 minutes long so you will probably get bored if you are not related to the baby, and also if you are.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sorry to delay your picture fix

We are having some technical difficulties with Flickr (ahem, Aaron), so we can't upload anymore pictures there right now. But here are a few from today. Last night was sort of ugly as some of us stayed up eating until 3:30AM, but the pain was dulled by the Project Runway and Laguna Beach episodes Aaron got me.

We took the sling out for a test drive. At first there was much screaming, but then all was well. I am excited for the hands-free potential it gives us.

This auto-wrap velcro swaddley thing is great since none of us is any good at swaddling and the baby doesn't like to be exposed to the air even for one second.

And who am I to resist another dog and baby picture.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One Week

We've had Dylan for exactly a week tonight. She is doing great and even let me get four hours of sleep in a row one night. We still don't know who she looks like except for possibly Popeye.

At the pediatrician two days ago they said she had lost enough weight since birth that we would have to come back for a weight check (we're pretty sure they tell that to everyone and she is nice and chubby and pink, so we weren't worried). They want them to gain an ounce a day at this stage. She obligingly stayed up most of last night eating. When we went back today she had gained five ounces in two days. That's our little fatty.

MummyP and BadAnnie (note new link on the sidebar) left this afternoon so tonight is our first night on our own. It was a beautiful evening so we took Dylan and Snuffy to the park and then went to get some nutritious donuts. Snuffy is so awesome with the baby and wags his tail every time he goes near her.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Still working on the birth story

It will probably come in installments. Here are some pictures to tide you over. I'm hoping to put a bunch more on Flickr later today. Thanks everyone in Rochester for taking such good care of us since we got home from the hospital.

Monday, September 04, 2006

This morning

Sunday, September 03, 2006

We're Home!

We got back around noon today. Everyone is healthy and doing well. More pictures and the rest of the birth story to follow as soon as I have the energy. To hold you over, here is your Moment of Zen:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Snuffy 2

Kate and the baby are doing well. They'll both probably be discharged tomorrow. I'm told that all of the pictures so far are misleading and they make her look bigger than she actually is. You know what they say, the camera adds ten pounds. Anyway here is a professional picture of the happy baby:
Here is little Dylan sleeping with her new lion and the quilt that Great Aunt Cathe made for her.
Thank you everybody who has wished Dylan a happy birthday and thank you to those who have visited us. All four of us really appreciate it. Perhaps later today or tomorrow we'll have a longer post describing the labor and so forth.