introducing JosephineOur beautiful Josephine Violet Cobb is here. We’ve spent the past nearly four weeks snuggling her, learning to navigate New York and basically life with two girls, and enjoying visiting family. I’ve been dying to share her birth story, among other things, on this blog though. And now she’s down for a nap, and James, Margaret, Chris, and Catherine are out braving the rain to see the Museum of Natural History, and so I find myself with some time – how much, I never know, could be two minutes or two hours – before Josephine wakes up, in which to write.

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Let me start by sharing her birth. She arrived in nearly the exact same fashion as her big sister! My mom and sister Mary came up two days before her due date. We spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday hanging out and enjoying the waterfront and walking around New York.

mom and mary

rollingEach night, we watched a little TV or a movie and then went to bed, wondering if that would be the night it happened. Mary took this picture of us on March 7, the evening of my due date.

May 7 Family Pic

When we took this photo, I was actually frustrated because I felt anxious about capturing our family of three before the baby arrived, yet generally hate getting my picture taken. Luckily, Mary has a knack for bringing out the best in people in photos, so I knew she would get some good ones. And I feel like this photo captures how I was feeling the weeks before Josephine’s birth. Which is calm, happy, and very in love with my family.

That night we went to bed. Just like we did when I was pregnant the first time, with Catherine. And that morning, in the wee hours, at 2:00am – just like with Catherine, except that time it happened at 3:00am – I was dreaming that it was time, and that we were rushing around looking for my doctor to deliver the baby, when I felt a little gush and woke up. I knew my water had broken. And because Catherine had come just six or so hours after my water broke, I knew this baby would likely come much sooner! I questioned whether or it was my water or just a little pee:) and even laid back down a couple times, just for a second. But deep down I knew it was time and that we needed to GO. So I woke Catherine up and moved her into our big bed just because somehow I felt she was closer to me that way. I told her what was happening, and kissed her and told her how much I loved her and that I’d see her at the hospital soon. She had a bag of goodies and presents for the waiting room, and most importantly, my wonderful mom and sister, so I knew she would be beyond fine!

Then we grabbed our bags and went downstairs to catch our Uber. Chris ordered a nice SUV. Perhaps just in case I delivered there? That was a good thing, because by the time we reached the hospital, my contractions were very painful. They’d picked up in intensity rapidly. I knew our baby would be here very soon! As I was quite vocal about my pain, the poor driver kept assuring me “Don’t worry ma’am, we’re almost there.” Lol.

We arrived, and I made sure to let the nurses know that the baby was coming – sooner than later. I could tell they were skeptical at first but I convinced them pretty quickly and they understood the situation and rushed to get me in the delivery room fast. Meanwhile, they were trying to stick a needle in my arm and a scalpel up “there,” at the same time I was having a very, very painful contraction! But I was extremely impressed with the nurses at my hospital. I couldn’t have been happier with how they handled things. I felt very grateful to them.

By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was staring at the door willing him to walk in. I did not have to be in pain for as long with Catherine. The second the contractions got unbearable, I got my epidural. But this time it was happening so fast, that I found myself in a strange zone for coping with the pain. I sort of swayed and lifted my feet one at a time slowly without even consciously choosing to do so. I also said the F word a lot. It seemed to help. Then the anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural, and the obstetrician arrived and check me and I was ten centimeters dilated. It was time to push. This was at 4am. Just two hours after my water broke and woke me. We delayed pushing for a while, while the nurse arranged some things and Chris and I took a moment to soak in what was about to happen. I requested a mirror, like with Catherine. I made a little joke about how they must wonder why in the world I’d want TWO pregnant vaginas in the room. No one laughed, but I thought I was pretty funny.:)  Chris told the doctor that last time he’d held my leg, and he wanted to this time, too. I was really impressed with how he wanted to be involved. It touches my heart to think about it. But I suddenly found myself nervous to push. I told the doctor I didn’t poop on the table with Catherine, and I wanted to keep my record clean. They told me “you HAVE to push hard” so I let go of my modesty and four pushes later, at 4:44am on May 8 – Mother’s Day – her head of dark hair came out and then her body followed right away.

birthI reached down and grabbed her and looked her all over.  WOW. She was stunning. I was madly, utterly, head over heels in love with this perfect, pretty little peanut. I was floored by how pretty she was! I was so proud of her. I looked over at Chris and he was crying. He asked to cut the cord, and did. Then I decided to give her the chance to nurse. This time, instead of letting the nurses assist as I did with Catherine, I relaxed and put our new baby on my breast. She found my nipple, latched on right away, and didn’t let go for an hour and a half. I just kept saying ecstatically to Chris, “She’s a champ!” and this isn’t something I normally say.:-) Even when Chris and the nurse took her to the table to weigh her I just stared after her saying “I’m soooo happy.” She weighed 7 pounds and 1 ounce, and was 20 inches long (though later the pediatrician’s nurse would measure her in their office at 19 inches). The nurse looked at her and said, “Wow, she is a little peanut!” And her hair! It is so long and dark and lovely!

photo 1So that’s part one of Josephine’s birth story. Somewhat graphic and quite hastily told, but it’s better I get it down quickly while I can. And I’ll be back for part two, which includes Catherine meeting Josephine, our hospital stay, and the first few days at home.

Figured I should document this since I loved looking back on Catherine’s for reference this go round.

This pregnancy has been similar to the last, and I’d be quite comfortable here in my third trimester except that I cannot stop burping after I eat. After many miserable nights, I finally realized that if I go to bed hungry I get a better night’s sleep. So dinner around 6:30 is the last thing I eat. I then sit on the sofa, uncomfortable, and burp for the next hour or so without stopping until it finally subsides, my tummy starts growling, and I drink glass after glass of ice-cold water – which surprisingly, I so crave that it almost feels as luxurious as enjoying a huge bowl of ice cream – until I go to bed.

Speaking of cravings. I FINALLY have some! And they’re the same as last pregnancy. I just want cold, watery things like watermelon, slushies, water, fruit, and more water. Oh, and peaches. I am also enjoying the taste of food a lot more, finally. For the longest time nothing really appealed to me or tasted good, and I’m not sure why. It’s only been in the past few weeks that I’ve enjoyed food again.

Other symptoms include trouble walking because I get braxton hicks throughout the day and feel like the baby could fall out at any minute, plus I get random sniper-like sciatic pains that shoot down my thighs and stop me cold in my tracks. Heartburn isn’t awful, and Tums take care of it right away.

Otherwise, I’m feeling just fine! I’m enjoying myself and find I feel better and happier this trimester than the two before it.

Yay!

Baby,

Well hello.  I fear I’ve failed you little one, where keeping a written record is concerned. Even though I’d said I’d document everything. But I do want to make sure to have the chance to chime in about things while you’re still safely tucked away where you began. I love having you here, and I have to say, this time, for me, the third trimester is the best trimester. We’re going out on a sweet note. Life is really, really good!

photo 4

photo 1photo 2Right now, we’ve just moved into a new apartment and we’re all settled in. We moved for several reasons, but one of the main ones was to have a home that made us really happy and seemed fitting to welcome YOU! We’ve found that! I’ll post pictures of our place soon. It’s sunny, cheerful, pretty, and just right for our family of four people and one dog.

Everything is washed. Your baby clothes – both new and inherited from your big sis, because I wanted to make sure you had plenty of your own new things too, and family and friends have been kind enough to give us lots of beautiful things, too – sheets, crib bedding, blankets, bouncer cushions, boppy covers, and everything else that will touch your brand-new skin.

New furniture is put together, and paintings and photos are hung – thanks to your Daddy, who doesn’t play around when it comes to taking care of things! Oh how I have loved hanging out with him these past few weeks, listening to music, and watching him work while he throws around plenty of choice words when things don’t go just right for a second.:)

photoOur hospital bags are packed and waiting, since as of Thursday, our doctor says it could be any day now (but I’m really, really hoping you hold out until your Grandmama and Aunt Mary get here [Aunt Laurie will be shortly behind them]).

Your big sister even has a bag packed, with a few special gifts and snacks. I want to make sure that she has some treats to keep her occupied and make her feel special, since you will be getting a lot of the attention that has always been just hers. She is so ready to meet you, and gives you plenty of snuggles and hugs through my belly, and asks me constantly “Can my baby sister feel this? [lighting stroking my belly] How about this? [rubbing harder] Can she hear this? [singing loudly] What about this? [whispering]” and points to different spots on my belly and wants to know whether she’s pointing to your legs, your head, or your bottom. She also likes to talk about the various things you guys will do together (she wants to rock and snuggle you and show you her toys), and things you won’t do because you’re too little (you won’t be eating ice cream with her just yet).

photo-2You’re joining a family that’s full of love and can’t wait to meet and get to know you. We can’t believe how lucky we are!

We will see you soon, my dear.

All my love since the day you were conceived,

Your Mommy

The last time I breastfed Catherine, she was three years and three months old. I was about six to eight weeks pregnant. Morning sickness was setting in, as was breast tenderness. We’d already been “forgetting” to breastfeed more days than not, so it was only a matter of time anyway. We stopped for a few days, and that could have been it, but we had one last time. And it was special.

The reason we had one last time, when I had really intended it to be over, is because we both needed comforting. I’d had some signs of miscarriage, and was scared I was losing the baby. Then, they found a cyst and ordered an MRI, and I was terrified of the possibilities. It was an exhausting and stressful time. I honestly don’t remember what was going on with Catherine that day and that moment, but I just felt we both needed to snuggle up.

If you haven’t breastfed, you might not know that doing it releases calming endorphins instantly. And I can’t speak for Catherine, but I can tell you that there’s something addictive about breastfeeding for little ones, too. To this day, she still loves my boobies. Anyway, we curled up on the bed with the sunlight coming through the sides of the window shades and nursed one last time.

Breastfeeding is not just a gift you give your child. It’s one she gives to you, too.

I’m looking forward to what I hope will be an equally great breastfeeding relationship with our new baby in May.

A blah thing:

My company lost a big account and so announced impending layoffs of pretty much everyone I work with. And yeah, they have no qualms about laying off an eight-months pregnant lady.

I’ve got some angry feelings about that, and some ideas about what to do about it, but what I really ought to do is see it for what it is – nothing personal, just a company looking out for itself and its bottom line, as companies do. And I can do the same. All we did was write spam emails anyway. Frankly, that experience wasn’t worth the money or time away from Catherine. Though, as with all experiences, it did teach me – and Catherine – some things and so was valuable in its own way.

I’m lucky to have Chris who has always been successful at his career, and allows me to spend so much precious time with my babies that, sadly, many women in this country don’t get to enjoy.

And on that note, here are some more good things:

  • We’re moving into our new, sunny, lovely apartment right on the water in a week.
  • Spring is arriving.
  • Shopping for fun new furniture and baby things is in progress.
  • My mom will be coming up soon to hang out and help me do last minute things before the baby arrives.
  • Catherine is about to be a big sister.
  • Chris and I are very close to meeting our precious new baby girl!

One thing I’ve learned from our wedding and this second pregnancy – both of which were SO carefully planned – is that the things you plan the most seem to go the least according to plan! I need to learn to roll with the punches and not ruminate so much. Life is short. I want to focus on the fun things and stop trying to anticipate every possible thing that could go wrong. It won’t change anything.

Well…more later!

So you know how I just said we found a home in that previous post? Well, right before we signed the lease, we found a different home. A better home, zoned for the same great elementary school. It’s a sunny corner apartment with big windows, plentiful closets, its own washer and dryer, a pretty kitchen, and a great view of the water where the East and Hudson Rivers merge. We’re at the very tip of lower Manhattan, slightly more removed (5 minutes walking) than the Wall Street location (but it’s worth it). Here’s a picture of the kitchen.

kitchenIt’s going to be tricky to figure out sleeping arrangements, but we’ll do it. And the living room is large, so it shouldn’t be a problem fitting all of our stuff and the kids larger toys, like their play kitchen and craft table.

The building itself is super nice! There’s a roof top deck with grass that overlooks the water. They show kids’ movies during the summer with a projector on the wall and serve popcorn. We get a free membership to a health center next door with a lap pool! So I have no excuse to not get back in shape after the baby.

We really love it, and I can’t wait to move in and start making it home. I’ve been dying to nest and get everything prepared to welcome our new baby, and haven’t been able to do that. So it’ll be great to finally start. We move in March 30. What an awesome end to a grueling search!

I’ll post more pictures once we move in.

So, we got an apartment! And while it is tiny (many would balk, especially those accustomed to living anywhere but New York), and definitely not fancy, it is located right above the Tiffany & Co. on Wall Street. Not the one from the movie – that one’s on 5th Avenue – but still, not too shabby. It’s also nice that our street and others surrounding the New York Stock Exchange are cobblestoned and closed to through traffic, if you don’t count tourists, of which there are hoards (but it’s always something you have to contend with in NY).

And…it’s zoned for what I hear is a truly wonderful elementary school. We got it just in time for the pre-k application deadline. So now hopefully I can sleep at night.

Now we just have to figure out how we’re going to fit two grown-ups, an almost-four-year old, a newborn, and a miniature schnauzer into…a one-bedroom apartment. Are we nuts?

We’ll find out.:)

I will be 30 weeks pregnant on Saturday. And boy have things changed since my last post.

I want to start by saying that I think right now I am at my very happiest in the middle of the night or early in the morning, when I wake up for no reason, am able to still my brain – it doesn’t always happen that way – and snuggle down warm in the covers while everything is quiet, with my hands on my belly feeling my baby’s strong kicks in response.

The baby is growing and so am I. This pregnancy has passed differently than my first one. Last pregnancy, Chris and I spent most of our time preparing our home and our minds for our baby’s arrival. But this time, we’ve been consumed with finding a new home for our family of five. I’m including Meeks here because he very much counts, since he’s the reason we didn’t get our dream apartment. It didn’t allow pets.

All that talk two posts ago about a sunny two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan? Let’s just say we have lowered our standards. Sure, we could move to another neighborhood and find it, probably, but to stay in lower Manhattan where Chris works and we know our way around and, most importantly, we know the schools, we’re sacrificing what we thought we needed and considering one bedrooms. It isn’t that we can’t afford a two bedroom, but that we can’t find an affordable two bedroom we agree on. Chris wants it to be new. I want natural light. What we are willing to give up in square footage, we apparently won’t give up in sunshine and amenities. Chris says he didn’t know he married a plant. But he did. He absolutely did. I’ll wither up and die in a dark place. I crave the sun, even from behind the clouds, with the deepest part of my soul. It’s a physical reaction that I don’t choose. It’s just who I am.

So these are the choices we’re making. And somehow, I think our babies will look back on these days, what they’ll remember of them, with joy. I doubt they’ll care they shared a bedroom with Mommy and Daddy; in fact, I’m pretty sure they prefer it.

All this searching and all these tough choices, though, have taken their toll on me. Coupled with the cold and overcast winter weather, it’s put me in a bit of a negative rut. I snap at Chris and Catherine and Meeks, then apologize, over and over again. And this is the time when Catherine needs me to be my best! After all, she’s going through lots of BIG changes, too.

I complain too much and feel sorry for myself too much and wake up in the middle of the night, those times when I am not able to still my mind, and can’t go back to sleep for hours.

Instead, I want to be dreaming of baby names and picking out crib bedding and – most importantly – savoring the last months as a family of three and contemplating my new role as a mother of two.

This weekend, we’re making a final push to find a suitable apartment so I can apply to the right schools for Catherine with our new address, and then enjoy the rest of my pregnancy with some peace of mind, and though there will be packing and unpacking to do, at least it can be done. And with just ten weeks to go, that’s what I feel the need to do – the doing.

The sun is just around the corner!

And with that off my chest, let’s so some stats.

Weight: I think I’ve gained about 20-25 lbs. Hoping it levels off now.

Sleep: Not great, but should get better after I stop stressing about our apt search.

Baby’s size: She’s a large cabbage!

Baby’s sex: She’s a sweet little girl who kicks like a boy.

Cravings: None. I wish they would arrive! Food doesn’t taste like I want it to.

Aversions: I don’t like the spicy things that I used to love.

What I miss: Running.

What I’m looking forward to: Being settled in a new home that we all love.

Best moment of the week: Besides those quiet, peaceful nighttime bonding sessions with baby…I really enjoyed Saturday, because it was sunny and mild, and we spent it outside together at various playgrounds with Catherine. It was a happy day.

More soon.

This weekend, we’re expecting a foot of snow. Sadly, Chris won’t be here. He’s going skiing with friends in Jackson Hole. Poor Chris. But Catherine and I will be here, and Catherine has been asking for snow since before Christmas. I rush-ordered the sled, snow boots, and snow mittens I’d been meaning to have ready for her. They should be in today. She’s already got a snow bib. I’m going to go to the grocery store with her on Friday night to stock up on goodies for the week. So Saturday morning, all we have to do is wait for snow, grab our gear, and beeline to Central Park to get first dibs.

Chris is so much better at this sort of thing than me, especially with me being pregnant. But I’m determined to step up my game in his absence.

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