Friday, October 8, 2010

The move

So I haven't figured out the couch situation yet. Thanks to many of you, I have several great options. Now I just need to commit...

In other news, we had a very busy summer and I am going to try to document some of it. Today I will talk about the move. I had been itching to move out of our second-floor apartment since about the time we moved in there almost four years ago. We finally jumped ship and we are so happy we did. We moved to a small community called Fairlington, which is actually a historic landmark. At the beginning of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked architects to design these townhomes in order to house Pentagon defense workers. Because of its designation as a historic district, very little change has been made to the exteriors of the townhomes in this community and there is bountiful open space in the middle of the otherwise crowded cities of Arlington and Alexandria. It's quaint and quiet and yet we are just five minutes out of downtown Washington, D.C.

And I loved the idea of having an outdoor space...
... I know you people with backyards are laughing out loud right now, but you have no idea how cramped I have felt the last few years. There aren't many backyards (OK, affordable ones) here but we have a patio! And there are lots of shared grassy places outside of the fence :-). All we really needed was a place to eat ice cream and get really messy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruby is 1!

photo by Jon and Melissa Photography

At exactly 4:30 a.m. a year ago, a deep pain in my lower back and abdomen roused me from my sleep and I turned to Ryan and said, "I think this is it." I wasn't positive that this - Ruby's birth - was really actually happening since it was my first painful contraction and I had never experienced spontaneous labor before (Ethan was induced). I waited and about 10 minutes later, I had another contraction. I told Ryan to get up while I went to call the answering service for my doctor to let them know that little Ruby was on her way.

Five weeks earlier at a regular doctor's visit, the nurse practitioner was almost finished with my appointment when I asked her if she could check if I had dilated at all. She said they don't normally check this early, but... sure, why not? She did and discovered that I was already at a 3. They sent me to labor and delivery to get a stress test, where I found out that I was having contractions five minutes apart... only I couldn't feel them at all.

I was given some medication to slow things down and told to take it easy at home and stop lifting my 2 1/2-year-old. I didn't touch the medication but I was more than happy to hang out on the couch :-). At the next week's appointment, I was told I was at a 4 and that I needed to be on true bed rest for a week. They said the baby would probably be fine if she came that early, but would most likely have to live in the neonatal intensive care unit for a week. I wanted to avoid that at all costs so I listened to their advice and took another week off - thanks to my wonderful husband and friends, who took Ethan without me even asking, brought me delicious dinners and came to just hang out. One girlfriend brought a Ricki Lake documentary about natural childbirth over to watch. I laughed at her, but after watching it, thought I should probably learn how to breath through contractions because I had the feeling that my labor would go so fast that I wouldn't be able to get an epidural.

At three weeks until Ruby's due date (Oct. 8), I was off bed rest and at the park every day. I went on walks and lifted my child and danced around like I normally do. I was told I was at a "4 to 5" (factoring in the diameter of the pinky, maybe?) and I should have this baby "any day now." Every day I woke up without any plans. I prayed every night that I wouldn't go into labor but woke up every morning feeling disappointed that I hadn't.

Normally, a woman in labor is told to stay home until her contractions are regular and occur between 3 to 5 minutes apart. But those two hard contractions 10 minutes apart in the very early morning hours of Oct. 5 2009, were enough to get me out of bed and on the way to the hospital. Since I was already basically halfway through labor, my doctor told me to go to the hospital if I had any painful contractions at all.

So I called our neighbors to come stay on our couch and watch Ethan. My contractions were coming 3 minutes apart as Ryan took a shower and I got everything together. We left the house at about 5:15 a.m. As we started going, my contractions slowed and I thought maybe we should turn around and go back home. I dismissed the thought, feeling too embarrassed after waking my poor neighbors up. Ryan suggested we stop and get gas on our way since the little arm on the gas meter was like 1/4-inch below empty. Luckily, there were no gas stations along the way (and fumes ended up being enough to get us there).

We got to the hospital at about 5:30 a.m. and moseyed our way on up to labor and delivery. I stopped at several places and fell to my knees to labor through a few contractions (they were back with a vengence). I filled out my forms, changed into my gown and by 5:45-ish was lying on the table crying for an epidural. At about 5:55, my water broke. Dr. Meta, the most beautiful older woman I have ever seen, came in and checked me at the same time the anesthesiologist walked in. She turned to him and shook her head. I couldn't hear her but I watched the anesthesiologist walk backward out the door saying, "I'm sorry."

At that point, I just knew I needed to push and I must do it without medication. I was kind of excited to try. And then a contraction forked through my body and took over my determination. It's all a blurry memory to me, but Ryan said I screamed like I was being stabbed. The nurse told me to turn that scream into a push. I did and after about three pushes, Ruby came into this world at 6:04 a.m.

Her speedy delivery might have been an early indication of her personality. She is fiesty and fun and does not like to wait :-). She knows how to defend herself from her 3-year-old brother and is very good at fake crying and getting him in trouble. One of her hobbies is standing on my lap and trying to pull my eyelashes out. All joking aside, she is also really sweet and is constantly giving loves and cooing. She adores her binky and blankey and has a lot to say. Her babble of choice is "tickle-lickle-lickle" and she says a few words like "baby," "ball," "bye-bye," "momma," and "dadda." She loves peek-a-boo and talking on the phone. She stands up easily without pulling herself up but has only taken one step alone. Sometimes she starts dancing spontaneously in the shopping cart to the store music.

And today she is 1! We love her and feel so lucky to have our little Rubster.