Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday P!

Today is P's ninth birthday.

Seriously, I can not believe that my baby is NINE!

She had some friends sleep over on Friday night (sleep over is a misnomer, since they apparently didn't fall asleep until 3am!)  Then, yesterday we had brunch with family and friends.  Today we spent the day in Manhattan.  P had been talking about going to American Girl Doll Place again and getting another doll for months.  Thankfully, the rain held off until we were on our way home and we had a super special day in the city celebrating P's ninth birthday!!!
Trailside, age 2

On A's birthday, back in November, I told her birth story.  So it only seems fair to do the same today for P.

Jason and I had always known that we wanted more than one child.  We had sold our house in Connecticut when A was 16 months old and we moved back to New Jersey.  We stayed with my parents while we house hunted and waited to close on our second home.  As soon as we were settled into our second home just outside Princeton, New Jersey, we found out that we were pregnant again.

A was twenty months old when I got pregnant with P.  Luckily she was still napping and I was able to take naps with her.  I was nauseous more with my second pregnancy than I remembered having been with my first.  There was a Rita's Water Ices a few blocks from our house and several times a day, I would load a into her stroller and walk to Rita's for an Italian ice.

When I was pregnant with A, I would crave canned fruit.  Canned peaches especially, or fruit cocktail.

With P, I could hardly eat vegetables or fruit.  This is odd for me, as I eat a lot of raw vegetables and fruit.  But I could hardly palate anything healthy when I was pregnant with P.
On the way to the lake, age 3

The early part of my pregnancy was easy and happy.  I felt like I was exactly where I was always meant to be.  I loved the house we had bought, we had wonderful neighbors and we had made some really great friends at the MOMS Club A and I attended weekly (many of whom the girls and I are still quite close with).  After living out of state for 5 years, I was thrilled to live near family again.  I felt like we had our lives together.

I remember going for my 20 week ultrasound, the day after Thanksgiving.  Jason sat in the waiting room with A while I went in so they could take the measurements.  I wanted to know if this baby was a boy or girl so I could get prepared.  Jason wanted to be surprised.  So we had agreed that I could find out and not tell him.  I asked the tech and she said, "It's a girl."  I said, "You're how sure?"  And she said, "100%".  I remember laying there on the table, tears pouring down the sides of my face into my ears, being so happy that A would have a sister.  I didn't have a sister, but had friends that had sisters and I always envied their relationships.  I was thrilled that my girls would have that.
A's first day of kindergarten, P age 3

Around the time I was six months pregnant, Jason began having some issues at work that caused some stress.  At the same time, one of his really good friends had started his own company and asked Jason to come work for him.  After a lot of discussion and negotiation, Jason left his stable job to work with his friend.  A few weeks into it, we realized it was not a good idea.  There was a tremendous amount of stress.  I really believe that it was the stress that brought on the preeclampsia, but I could be wrong.

I didn't really realize what was happening to my body until one evening, my parents came over and I was sitting in the playroom with A, reading her a story in the rocking chair and my mom noticed that the skin on my legs was dimpled and my ankles were non-existent.  Yes, I had cankles.  My fingers were swollen, too, but I really believed that it was just pregnancy.
at the lake, age 3

I had chosen a hospital centered ob-gyn practice, where there were both midwives and doctors.  I preferred to make my prenatal appointments with the midwives, especially this one mid-wife, Jane, who was awesome.

At my next appointment, when Jane took my blood pressure she became alarmed.  I have very low blood pressure, so low that when my blood pressure is taken, I am often asked if I feel faint or if I have ever passed out (I never have).  But my blood pressure was elevated.  After looking at my ankles, Jane put me on modified bedrest with my feet elevated and wanted to see me in three days.

I began going to see Jane every couple of days for a blood pressure check and sometimes some other tests.
at the lake, age 3

One day, Jane was not there and I saw another midwife who told me there was no reason to be on bedrest.  I could do whatever I wanted.

So, I did.  I had a lot to do to get ready for the baby!

She had also told me that I didn't need to come back for a week.

Over the course of that week, my mother became very alarmed.  She wanted to accompany me to my next appointment, but I told her that the midwife had said I was fine.  Not to worry.  It was no problem.
goofy P, age 4

When I went back, I saw Jane.  She looked at me funny.  I was wearing Jason's slippers and they hardly fit on my feet.  Nothing fit on my feet.  Nothing.  My feet were rounded on the bottom.  Actually they were just completely round, like balls.  It was bizarre.

Jane started asking me questions.  I answered and then told her that sometimes I see white spots.  Jane turned around, put her hands on my legs and looked me in the eye and said, "You are having this baby today."

Seeing white spots is a pre-cursor to having a seizure.  A seizure that would cut off my oxygen supply and the baby's oxygen supply.  A seizure that A may witness.

I started crying hysterically.  I had no idea what was going on.  I was 36 weeks pregnant.

I had A, who was 28 months old, there with me.  What was I going to do with her?

I will never forget that the doctors must not have wanted to do an emergency c-section, but I heard Jane yelling at them down the hall.  The doctors wanted to send me home with a jug and have me save my urine and bring it back the following day and then they would consider doing the c-section.
at the shore, age 4

It didn't sit right with Jane.

She put me in a room with a nurse and a blood pressure cuff.  Jane took my blood pressure and the nurse looked at it.  You know how you get a gut feeling?  My gut feeling was that they were saving my life.

Fortunately, this ob practice was attached to the hospital.  A and I were whisked upstairs and given our own room.  I was frantically calling Jason and my parents. The nurses put A in front of the TV with cartoons, I asked for something for her to eat, since she had missed lunch.  I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors.  I couldn't get a hold of Jason or my parents and they wanted to take me into surgery.  I was more concerned with someone staying with A than with anything else at that point.  Although they assured me that the nurses would watch her, I knew I would not be relaxed unless A was with someone we knew.  I was begging them to wait on the c-section and frantically calling Jason and my parents.  Thankfully, my dad's secretary is a good friend of mine and she took over the mad calling for me.

I have no idea how my parents got from where they were to the hospital as fast as they did.  Seriously, they were far away and they had NO IDEA where the hospital was, they had never been there before.  Do you need reasons to believe in God?  If holding a newborn is not reason enough, the way things work out definitely should make believers.

Although, of course, I really wanted Jason to be there for the birth of our second child, I was really relieved when my dad got there because now at least A would be in good hands.  (My dad bought her an ice cream sundae for lunch/dinner when they wheeled me out of the room--this is what A remembers with glee!).

Somehow my mom made it there before they took me into surgery.

And then Jason blew through the door of the hospital room like there was a storm outside.  I remember the door swinging open and I was finally able to relax.

Everyone had made it!

In another complete act of God, an old co-worker of Jason's with whom Jason had not spoken in YEARS, called up out of the blue several weeks before P was born to chat and told Jason that the company he was working for was looking for someone with Jason's qualifications.  Jason set up an interview and was offered a job, which he gladly accepted with the company that he still works for today.  The company was located an hour North of where we were living, but on March 6 Jason was at Princeton University.  Unfortunately, he had left his cell phone in his car, so someone hunted him down and told him, "Your wife is having a baby!"  His boss told him to take his company truck to the hospital.  He remembers running red lights like crazy.
age 3

It may have been the stress leading up to the event, but I don't think the anesthesiologist did a good job.  I felt EVERYTHING and I felt groggy like I really wanted to sleep.

P was 3 and a half weeks early.  She was fully developed and her lungs were fine.  She had a layer of downy hair and no eyebrows or eyelashes.  She was 5 pounds and 15 inches long.

The hospital was undergoing major renovations so I had to share a room (which was horrible, as my roommate's husband would come visit at 1am and they would talk all night).  It was also a lot more crowded and I didn't get the same attention I had gotten in the tiny hospital where A was born.  But,  I had a fabulous pediatrician and experience at being a mom.  So, where A had slept in an isolette, P slept with me.
age 4

I nursed both of my girls for 14 months each.  A had trouble latching on.  P took to it like a pro and was gaining weight by the time we left the hospital.

Our neighbors decorated the outside of our house with balloons and welcome home banners.

Although she had seen her sister in the hospital, A couldn't wait to hold her sister.  That was the first thing we did when we walked in the house.  We had A, then 28 months old, sit on the couch and we placed P in her arms.  A fell in love with P right then!

A's motto was, "Never let her cry!"

If P made the slightest whimper, A was on it like white on rice.  She demanded that I drop whatever I was doing and get her sister, who she called "little lamb" at first.  (I think because my mom always sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to A.)

A had been placed in a bassinet as a baby.  But, one night, I fell asleep in the rocking chair when I was feeding her.  I woke up hunched over her and was so afraid that I could have smothered her or dropped her, that from then on, I kept her in our bed.
Swimming lessons, age 4

P napped in a bassinet, but slept with us until she was six months old.

P liked to be in bed by 8pm.  If it was 8:05 and I was sitting in a chair holding her, she would start crying and fuss and be inconsolable until we put her in bed between us.

When P was a little older, I always tell the girls, I could sit there and coo at her and make faces at her and she would look at me like I was wasting my time.  Then A would walk by, not necessarily even look at P, and P would start squirming and wiggling and cooing and smiling.  Those girls had an unbelievable bond, even then.
Every day when A got out of kindergarten, P would jump into her arms!
They are still inseparable!