Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Romanian Cats Are the Most Celebrated Cats in the World

The video takes a minute to load. Just be patient...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Month

This is how someone looks after living with Annie and Roo for three days:
And this is how someone looks after living with Annie and Roo for one month:
Happy one month birthday, Esmé. Thanks for sticking with us!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Face Time

Since I became a mother, I've gotten really good at interpreting my baby's expressions.

For example:

Annie: So Esmé, what did you think of Iron Man 2?

(Interpretation: While Robert Downey Jr. gave an adequate enough performance, I found the overall plot to be less than compelling.)

Annie: Hey Esmé, what does an elephant wear to the pool? Swimming trunks.

(Interpretation: Mom, your sense of humor is impeccable!)

(Interpretation: I am pooping.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Slumber On

This just may be the best baby in the world:

In the nearly three weeks since we've had her home, she has slept through every single night (not counting the night when she was battling dehydration and a potentially life-threatening condition.) We put her in her crib around 10 pm, she slumbers blissfully until 3 or 4 am when I feed her, after which she goes right back to sleep until another feeding at 7 or 8 am. And she really doesn't cry during the night either. I think she realizes it's very unreasonable to be crying when she could be sleeping.

We are all hoping that this pleasant pattern continues well into her twenties--minus the part where I have to feed her at 3 am.
Her exemplary sleeping schedule has allowed her parents to get good sleep, too. I slept so well a few nights ago that I dreamt that Willy Wonka and I were such good friends that I called him "Bill". My buddy, Bill Wonka.

So thank you for letting us sleep, Esmé.

Uncle Bill would be proud.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Crucible

It was Friday afternoon, we'd gotten home from the hospital the day before, and I had just laid down, desperate for even ten minutes of sleep. Esmé was lethargic and hadn't seemed interested in eating again so I just decided to let her sleep for both our sakes. Before I could close my eyes, Roo came into the room and very seriously told me not to panic, but that the pediatrician had just called and told us we needed to get Esmé to Primary Children's Medical Center right away--pack a bag as quickly as you can and go immediately, plan to be there for three nights. And for about the fifteenth time since first going into labor on Monday, I started to panic.

Esmé and I have different blood types. This makes her naturally prone to getting jaundice. This problem was compounded by the fact that she wasn't eating--or that I wasn't able to feed her adequately. With her digestive system not running very well, she wasn't eliminating the biliruben that causes jaundice so it got worse and worse during our stay. The doctors were concerned, but by Thursday morning, she had shown enough improvement that they were comfortable sending us all home.

We were so glad to be going home! Roo had had enough of his fold out chair-bed and I was sick to death of the constant activity of the hospital--what I mean is that at least every two hours of the entire day and night there was some nurse or doctor or technician coming in to prod and poke and discuss things with me. I hadn't slept more than one hour at a time since my sixteen hours of labor. If I didn't get out of there soon, I was going to break some arms!

So on our first evening home, I attempted to feed the baby and planned to get a nice, satisfying rest that night. The feeding did not go well. And then Esmé started to cry. And cry. And cry. And then scream. And then I started to cry. And cry. And I probably screamed some, too. This lasted THE WHOLE NIGHT! She screamed without stopping for the entire, endless abyss of that night. I knew something was seriously wrong--either with the baby or with my parenting techniques.

Thankfully, we had scheduled to see the pediatrician the next day. As we sat in her office and she asked how we were doing, I couldn't hold back the tears. I was at my wit's end. The doctor took some blood from Esmé to test her jaundice and told us the baby was probably just colicky and we'd just have to deal with it the best we could and to come back next week if her eating and digestion didn't improve. She sent us home with the unhappy baby and I felt totally forlorn.

It was that afternoon that the pediatrician called back telling us to get Esmé to the hospital immediately. The jaundice was much worse than she thought and it needed to be treated. In the next hour we were watching them hook our baby up to monitors and IV's. I'm sure as the doctor explained what they were going to do, he thought we were two of the most haggard, sorry looking people he'd ever seen. I was worried and scared, I had been crying nonstop for the past two days, and neither one of us had really slept for five days.

This was exactly what we needed, though. Esmé was dehydrated, hungry, and sick. The doctors and nurses were all so kind and caring. They were able to take care of her while we could go home and get our first full night's sleep since Sunday. I was also able to see a lactation specialist who helped me learn how to feed the baby better. After three days there at the hospital, Esmé got back to full health, and I felt like Roo and I had regained our sanity and were now ready to take on parenthood.

In our time home since, Esmé has slept through the night like an angel. She is a calm and happy baby with a very grateful mother.

Introducing Esmé

Our baby, Esmé Lorraine Phillips, was born just after midnight on Tuesday, June 29th. And as I was laying there in the delivery room, exhausted and a bit delirious, my nurses and doctors and mothers working and hurrying about in the chaos, I couldn't believe how what I had just been through could be at once so terrible and so wonderful.

Here is the story:

Esmé decided to start her trip to earth on Sunday night, the 27th. I had some small contractions throughout the night--they were a little uncomfortable, but not so bad that I couldn't sleep. Because I had never before had any contractions throughout the pregnancy and because I was completely fed up with my fat feet, I felt especially excited that the end could be near.

Monday morning I had my first real, painful contraction which tempered my excitement somewhat because it hurt like sin. After about an hour, we decided to relocate to a relative's house in Salt Lake so we could be closer to our hospital once the contractions got closer together. By 12:30 pm the contractions were coming close enough that we headed to the hospital. As Roo wheeled me into Labor and Delivery, the realization of what was about to happen really dawned on me. I was afraid and in pain and quickly brushing away my tears while they checked me in and had me fill out the paperwork.

Once I was settled in my room and my mom had arrived, I started to feel better. Once the anesthesiologist came around, I felt even better. We spent the next few hours watching the contractions peak on the monitor and being enormously grateful that I couldn't feel any of it. When I arrived, I was dilated to a 4, and three hours later I was at a 7, so we all cheerfully anticipated that the baby would arrive in a few more hours at the most. Piece of cake.

However, once my body got to a 7, it decided to stop progressing altogether. And speaking of cake, I had not eaten since dinner on Sunday and my stomach was screaming at me--I was starving and weak! Each time the nurse came in and told me I wasn't progressing made me feel a little weaker and more anxious. By late afternoon, the doctor broke my water, assuring me that this would definitely speed things up. I don't think any of us anticipated that it would take a further six hours. Nor did I anticipate that the epidural would wear off. In the time it took to get to a 10, the medication would dull the pain on only one side and the intense pain was starting to come through. Even after getting a pain killer on top of the epidural, I was incredibly uncomfortable and had terrible stomach cramps and a headache for about six hours. As you might imagine, my emotional state was equally unstable and starting to lose patience and hope as the nurse repeatedly came in hour after hour telling me that I was still at a 9.

Finally, at 10 pm it was time to push. This is when I started to really panic because I was completely exhausted and now they were asking me to run a marathon. I was too numb to actually feel what or where I was supposed to be pushing, but not numb enough to not feel the intense charlie-horse-like cramps in my stomach. Then I threw up all over and cried because I was so embarrassed. I also developed a fever. I was in agony. This lasted for two hours. By then it was Tuesday morning and all the breathing exercises and focus points I'd been taught to help me get through labor had been long forgotten. I had seriously started to question whether anything could possibly be worth this and whether I could actually do this without dying. But finally after some intense pushing and intense cutting on the doctor's part, little Esme was born. She was 7 lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long.

I was too exhausted to do anything but cry. Esme, however, was not crying. She was completely tangled in the umbilical cord and I could see the doctor frantically trying to free her. He managed to get her untangled and the nurses took her away.

I couldn't believe it was over. From my first contraction Monday morning it had been sixteen long hours. Probably the worst sixteen hours of my life. But as I laid there and looked at my little baby, I knew they were the most important hours of my life so far.

Photographic proof of how beat up/delirious I felt