Wednesday, April 24, 2013


One year ago today, we got up and went to the hospital at the remarkably civilized hour of 9 to have a stubborn baby curled in a ball at the top of my uterus extracted. At this point, it was all pretty much old hat: the coldness of the operating room and the lovely warmed blankets, the sting of the numbing shot before the odd but not painful administration of the spinal, followed by rapid numbness, the weirdness of having your innards jostled. Really, the only real difference has been when the numbness would reach the nerves in my chest and make it feel like it was hard to breathe, and when I would throw up. In this case, it was after the baby came out. I was lying there after the spinal, feeling a little worried because I still had some feeling around the edges and hoping they wouldn't start before I was completely numb when I smelled something burning and realized - oh, cautery. They've already started. It wasn't too long at all before James appeared and expressed his displeasure at his eviction. We were shocked at his weight - 6 pounds, 15 ounces, a good two pounds lighter than his siblings, and he was wrapped up and given to B to hold. Then the breathlessness and nausea hit, so I closed my eyes and thought very hard about breathing until it eased. Eventually, the jostling of my digestive system stopped, which relieved the nausea and after a while longer, they closed me up. B told me later it took longer to close me up because they were having trouble finding all of the sponges, to the point that they had to empty the waste basket onto a mat to recount them. Thankfully, it was found on the floor, but I don't really mind them taking the time to make sure they weren't leaving anything behind that didn't belong there.

At that point, I was transferred to a gurney, had James tucked in next to me and was taken to recovery, and actually got to get to know our new baby. He was a lot like he is now - calm, cuddly and a good sleeper. He was long and bony then, and while he has a nice layer of fat, he's still pretty skinny now. He has just about the same amount of hair too.

I can't believe how fast this year has gone. There have been parts of having three children that have been very hard, but as babies go, James has been a dream. He gave me a chance to finally get breastfeeding right, and he remains passionately devoted to nursing. He wasn't planned or expected, but I wouldn't give him back for anything.

Happy birthday, baby boy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

James, 9 to 11 months

My tiny newborn baby is turning one in less a week. I refuse to acknowledge this as any sort of reality. He's still a baby, dammit.

It's really no wonder 9 month olds don't sleep. They're far too busy developing skills in all directions, from crawling to eating finger foods to making detailed macrame sculptures. Most of the past two months can be summed up as acquiring new skills, then enhancing them:

At 9 months, James started crawling, in a hesitant and awkward sort of way. At ten months, he suddenly discovered speed and we actually had to start putting up gates to keep him from getting away from us. He still does a hilariously awkward crawl when he's on tile though, because he doesn't like the cold on his shins. So he attempts to crawl by putting his weight on one knee and the opposite foot, which doesn't really work at all.

9 months, he started pulling to stand. At 10 months, he started travelling.

At 8 months, he started clapping and waving. At 9 months, he suddenly found the entire world applause-worthy and felt the need to greet everyone like the Queen of England (he also discovered separation anxiety at 9 months, so while he's always been friendly when approached but not outgoing, he's turned into our shy guy. He's still quite adorable when he hides his face in my shoulder and coyly smiles at people though). At 10 months, he added to his fine motor/social skills with pointing. He also started trying to scribble on paper (specifically, his sister's schoolwork) or the Magnadoodle.

At 9 months, he got interested in peek-a-boo when we played it with him. At ten months, he started playing with us, by standing at the coffee table and lowering himself until his face was covered, then standing back up, or by covering his face with a handy blanket. Cutest milestone ever.

At 9 months, he started occasionally saying "Mama" and "Dada" to us as appropriate. At ten months, he started waving to us and saying "Mama!" or "Dada!" whenever we came into the room.

At 9 months, he was 29 inches tall and 19 pounds, 8 ounces. Since then, he's had two week-long bouts of stomach flu, in addition to an ear infection, so I'm desperately hoping that he turns out to weigh more than that at his one year appointment. Fortunately, when he's not puking for a week at a time, he's an excellent eater. He was even begging me for bites of lentil soup the other day and flapping his arms in excitement between bites. Apparently our baby likes soup with kale.

He acquired four more teeth in the space of about three days at 8 months, bringing the total to 8. He hasn't produced any more since, but he's clearly working on some. He still has very little hair. What little hair he has looks like it's going to be blond.

He's still a baby for another week. Our sweet, happy baby.