Tight Ass

Yes, that was our diagnosis. No, I'm not kidding.

Apparently, Addie has a tight muscle in her rectum that is causing her to spray blood when she farts and right before she poops. Then, the poop coming out has a little blood in it from passing through the area, too.

Our doctor (who was fantastic) was very concerned when she first heard about the spraying issue. She promptly called the hospital and spoke with the gastroenterologist who said that they see this issue all of the time. The spraying is what clued him into to our problem.
The fix? I have to insert my finger into her bottom every day for the next 14 days to help "loosen" the overly tight muscle. You heard right.
I can't even begin to put into words how I feel about this development. It's not something I expected to hear, that is for sure. The doctor did say if anything changes, if Addie gets more fussy, has any more blood, mucous, anything to go right into the ER. Her initial concern was that Addie bowels had become blocked or flipped over on themselves. Because we haven't determined for sure if it's tight ass syndrome or something else, she wants us to err on the side of caution if anything else seems amiss. But (pun fully intended), she said that she felt everything the specialist had told her to feel for and thought this was a strong possibility. Before we go in for further testing, she wants us to give this routine a go.
If you subscribe to Freud's theories, Addie has no chance of turning out normal after this round of treatment!

When Will I Learn?

If I've learned anything, it's to keep your mouth shut. Why don't I do it then? With Lexi, I said, "No c-section. We'll be totally prepared. Everything will be perfect." Whack! Got hit upside the head with that one.

With Addie, "We're going full term. Expecting everything to be fine!" Again, slam! We did go full term, but we've already hit our challenges and we're just 2 weeks out! The NICU again and now the bloody poop. Come on!!!

Last night around 1 a.m., Addie had more blood in her poop. More than the first time around, even. It's been getting progressively worse as the day wears on, too. She's eating worse. This morning at 11 a.m., she farted pretty good and sprayed a good amount of blood inside her diaper. She followed that with more blood streaked poop.

We're off to see the doctor...


Night and Day

Well, it seems like the new formula is helping little Addie. She has no more blood in her stool. She's spit up a few times, but that must be normal for most babies.

She is, however, extremely cranky for her 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. feeds. Thus, she's usually awake and rooting around until the next feed because she's not full enough to sleep well. Sometimes, at 1 a.m. she doesn't eat very well either. The rest of the time, however, she seems to be normal. I think she's gassy (hey, her dad is a Riddle after all) at that time during the night. I also think she's not very hungry at 1 a.m. (unless she is starving because she's eaten terribly the 2 feeds prior), but is in the habit of waking up.

She also has her days and nights totally confused. In the night, she's more alert than the day time hours, but usually goes back down within an hour of waking. She's not fussy or crying, but she's awake. This is our first go with a 2 week old who's actually at home so we're working through the issue. Thankfully, she's been resting well in the mornings so she hangs out with Allen and Lexi while I catch a couple of hours of sleep.

Seeing as I haven't ever done this part of the schedule before, I'm a little unsure as to how to proceed. I've heard some conflicting reports about holding a 2 week old to a conventional schedule. Some have said they are way too young to train. The NICU has convinced me that most kids can do a 3 hour feeding schedule easily, but we need to clarify night and day for Addie. Other sources have said from the end of week 1, you can get your baby on a pretty normal routine. Eat, wake time, and then sleep. But, in the night you go straight from eating to back to bed. Addie doesn't go right down, though. She squirms, grunts, farts and burps for about 15 minutes and then goes to sleep. But, then grunts a little more and wakes back up. And then goes down again, but could fart and wake herself up.

The bummer about that is while she's "settling" into sleep, I'm kept up by all of her noises. This is my plan: during the day, encourage wakefulness after eating. Starting with the evening feeds, put her right back down and let her squirm around for a bit. Obviously, if she's uncomfortable or crying, we'll have to get her fixed. Then, back to bed. It may be time for the crib, too. Then, I won't hear all of her bodily functions and I might be able to fall asleep faster. Hey, 15 minutes is a lot of sleep when you're counting by the hour.

I am all ears when it comes to advice at this junture. Like I said, we haven't ever had a 2 week old at home that we could let sleep at night. If you have any tips, please feel free to share them. If they are too long for comment, email me at riddlez@comcast.net!

Woman's Work?

Lexi received a cool workbench for Christmas from some friends of ours. She has been "working" ever since we opened it. She often asks Allen, "You wanna come to work with me, Daddy?" The set has a working drill that Lexi assembles herself and then proceeds to screw in the appropriate bolts to the table top.

Lexi also got some princess shoes for Christmas from Santa Claus. She got the Sleeping Beauty set to go with the new Sleeping Beauty movie she got from Gma and Gpa.

What girl wouldn't wear her new high heels while working with her tools?


Christmas Morn

Even though we hit a rough patch with Addie, we enjoyed our Christmas. Lexi has been anticipating Santi Claus (as she calls him) for the entire month. In fact, one day, we were looking at a picture book of the Great Flood story from the Old Testament when Allen asked Lexi if she knew who the bearded man was (Noah). "Yes!," she replies, "It's Santi Claus!"

She dove into her stocking and then helped Allen and I open ours. Lexi had a melt down about half way through and decided she was done with presents, though. She quickly recovered, however, and was back at it. She loved some of the toys she got. She said, "How cute!" about the clothes she received, but just threw them aside as she went for the next toy. I think her clothes were adorable, however.

We spent the day watching "Sweeping Booty" and playing with our new toys. Our neighbors brought us home made bread which was a nice treat. We caught up with some family and tried to take naps when the girls went down this afternoon. It was a lazy day, but a nice day. We loved seeing Lexi enjoy her gifts. She says the funniest things sometimes and we are always happy to watch her discover new things in life. Addie was mostly pleasant, but clearly uncomfortable. She has handled her bad tummy with grace and been fairly quiet about the whole thing. It hurts to know your kid is in pain, but we're cautiously hopeful that we're on the road to recovery. We felt really pleased and content to be home together as a family to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, too!

Here We Go...

Again. Last night was pretty rough. Addie threw up 2 of 3 feeds and continued to have bloody stools all night and into today. She was frustrated because she was hungry but didn't want to eat. It took me about an hour to get 10 cc (1/3 of an oz.) down her at our 2 a.m. feed. About noon, we noticed that the blood seemed to be a little less than the night before. She has kept down her last 2 meals, too. She's been really cranky, but my guess is her tummy is still pretty tender.

We will most likely see the dr. tomorrow. It is also extremely likely we will get the "well, stay with what you're doing and see what you get" advice. You know, I wish I could tell people stuff they already know and get paid 100 grand a year for it. Anyways, we'll keep up the Nutramigen for as long as it takes if it keeps Addie growing and happy.

I did have a pretty good sized melt down at 1 in the morning as she heaved up her food again. Allen was on his knees cleaning while I held the baby as she got sick. We both looked at each other and the tears welled up. I started crying and simply said, "I cannot bear this burden again." It's hard enough having a baby at home. To have one with extra needs is so tough. Plus, I'm so intimidated by the idea of caring for a sick Addie and being a good mom to Lexi.

This whole food thing is so hard, too. Some kids hate the car or taking a bath. Having a kid who has a love/hate relationship with food is really tough. They HAVE to eat. You feel like you're torturing them to keep them alive. You have to feed them at least 8 times a day. At a minimum of 1/2 an hour for each feed, that's 4 hours a day of torturing your kid. Not to mention the repercussions that follow if they do get ill after they eat. Allen and I have mentioned to one another that we could be dealing with really serious stuff and this is pretty minor. But, it's still frustrating.

I did a little math while my hamsters (my thoughts) were running circles in my brain last night. That formula is about $10 a day. That makes our food budget (for Addie alone) nearly $300 a month. That's a pretty big hit. That will definitely mean some rearranging of priorities and budget cuts. What I dread most is the failure of the new formula. Now, we have seen an improvement and I hope that continues. I can take paying out the wazoo for food if Addie stays all right. I just want the relief of knowing we've got the right stuff. The waiting game is so obnoxious. Hopefully, tonight will be better than last night. If this is really the fix, it's pretty simple. We're uttering prayers by the hour that our "liquid gold" works and Addie won't suffer anymore.


Spoke Too Soon

I love being a mom. Addie is perfect. Yeah, yeah, yeah. See what optimism gets a person?

At 10 p.m., we fed Addie. She was acting really uncomfortable and refusing the feed. Allen was feeding her and asked me to see if I noticed anything amiss. I took her and she ate ok, but then starting squirming around and acting like she was in pain. Addie has a pretty regular schedule and routinely poops (with much fanfare, I'll add) while she eats her bottle. Tonight, she'd been making all the noise and doing all the grunting, but no poop. Then, she finally gets some action. She's still refused a lot of her bottle, but otherwise seemed ok.

You know the voice. The "this is not ok" voice you hear from your spouse, mom, kid, who ever, when something is serious. "Trace, please come here" and I jump from the couch to the nursery door immediately worried. Addie managed to poop. Blood. Really, there was a little poop with some blood. A little concerning. Not rush to the ER concerning, but bothersome none-the-less.

Can I just mention we had seen the dr. today!?! Did she bloody her pants then? Nooo. Of course not. So, we call our poor neighbor (who, I'm sure, has now changed all of her phone numbers and locks) and she says call the doc. The doc says (and I knew this was coming - I mean when Addie was born I knew this was coming) "milk allergy". Why is that a big deal? It's not. In the grand scheme of things, it's a very small blip. But, it does entail the dreaded "formula game" to figure out if it really is the problem. It also involves buying the incredibly smelly (as in Lexi barfed it up for 18 months, smelly. By the way, did you know that the olfactory senses are some of the strongest for helping to recall memories? As soon as I got a wiff, all of my precious memories came flooding back.) and very, very expensive formula. Like, $28 for 3 days worth, expensive. And that doesn't even guarantee it will work.

Lexi had a milk allergy so why wouldn't Addie? Allen's family has seriously jacked up stomachs, too, so why wouldn't he pass it on down the line with our second kid? She's already on lactose free stuff because the nurses in the NICU felt she was fussy. I just had a mommy hunch that this whole formula thing wouldn't iron out very easily. So, I ran out to the 24 hour store at 11:15 to get our "miracle gold". Of course, I'd made all the bottles for the night so I dumped those, washed the bottles, and made brand new when I got home. We get to be on poop patrol for the next couple of feeds. If it gets any worse, we'll be on our way to the ER. If it looks better, we will likely be on this ultra high end formula for the first year. I'm still trying to see the bright side, but it just proves there are no free rides on the parent trap.

Mini Me

Allen scanned this picture for comparison's sake.

That's me, on the day I was born.

Addie, the day after she was born.

I say we have one that looks like Allen and one that looks like me.

That means we're done, right?

Mentioning the Unmentionables

So, you all saw my "I'm happy to be a mommy" post. You all also know that I'm not one to hide the truth, sugarcoat the miserable, or quietly work through my struggles. If I'm not happy, every one gets to hear about it.

I will say, without any if's, and's or but's, the mommy responsibilities with Addie have been pretty dang pleasant. She's reasonable, quiet, a great eater, sleeper and a nice little baby (so far). I am still waiting for the bottom to fall out, though. I keep expecting her to cry endlessly throughout the night. I anticipate having to play the "formula game", and I sit on the edge of my seat with baited breath as she eats wondering when she'll start arching her back and spewing forth formula like the Exorcist baby.

But, let's talk about me for a minute. I honestly, and foolishly, thought I'd be ready for the New York marathon after having Addie. I figured if I wasn't having surgery, I'd be in tip-top shape. I'd push her out and bound out of bed eager to fulfill my new mommy duties. I mean, really, what could be so painful about a regular birth? Ok. Let me just say that was one stupid thing to think! My ribs felt like a gang of misfits had their way with me. My legs were shaky and weak. I had an awful, sharp, pulling pain in my lower gut area every time I got out of bed. My back was so sore, I thought someone had sucker punched me while I wasn't looking. Even though I had no incision, no surgery, I couldn't stand up straight and I limped around for the first few days wondering who had beat me with a 2x4! Each time I laugh, I'm reminded of a certain song only I substitue some words: "Does your gut hang low, does it wobble to and fro?" And let's not forget that it does take some time and pain for your insides to fall back into their respective places after having been shoved aside for the last 9 months while the baby took up occupancy in your guts. I was tired after showering, let alone walking up to the NICU to see the kid. And honestly, that leaves out the most personal part of the journey as even I have enough scruples not to blog about that situation. I'm sure you can all figure it out, though.

I know this method of delivering has been an easier recovery overall. I think back on my c-section and I can't seem to remember why I hated it so much. Baby out early, good drugs, even better drugs after they take the baby, etc. etc. I do remember a very bad ripping feeling in my tummy area when I first tried to stand up, falling into bed because I couldn't support my own weight, and feeling like I had a hernia every time I tried to do anything. But, God has mercifully stripped my memory of most of those things. You know, if he didn't do that for us moms, the human race would die out pretty quickly.

So, this time around hasn't been all roses. I had myself so psyched up for this VBAC thing and I have been a little put off by the recovery time. I guess you can't expect to bring forth another human being, out of your own body no-less, and not have some battle wounds, though. Anyhow, I've done my fair share of complaining as my body has slowly come back from the whole birth process. Thank goodness Addie has been a good kid and I've had gobs of good help these last 2 weeks. And really, the extra week of recovery while Addie enjoyed the room service in the NICU was pretty helpful. Again, no matter what the method, a woman must go through the gates of Hell to bring back those little Spirits from Heaven.

Help From Nana

My mom came in the night we went into the hospital and stayed until Monday, the 22nd. What a blessing! Mom jumped right in without any help or idea of how we run things at home and did a great job.

We were totally blindsided by this NICU stay and if mom hadn't been here, getting time at the hospital would have been a lot more difficult to arrange. She only got 4 days at home with Addie, but was so helpful. She went from cooking meals, to watching Lexi, to laundry, to play time with Lexi, to organizing my cookbooks and closets, to running errands and then would jump in to help with Addie, too. She did get a few hours of quality "holding the baby" time before she had to leave.

With Allen home and mom here, all ran pretty smoothly. We are so glad she got to come and meet Addie, catch up with Lexi, and hang out a little. Thanks mom!


It's almost been 2 weeks since Addie was born. Time is flying by! We went to our first check up today. She's weighing in at 9 lbs. 8 oz. and is 21 1/2 inches long. So, she obviously growing!

This time around has been vastly different from our experience with Lexi. When we brought Lexi home, we literally had an Excel spreadsheet for all of her meds and she projectile vomited at least 4 of the 8 feeds we gave her (and did so for 18 months). What a special time. Allen was mentioning how he doesn't fear the "HELP!" call at 2 a.m. with Addie. I remember how I would call out for his help and sometimes he'd wake up, sometimes he wouldn't. One long night, I was once again cleaning up barf and I remember just sitting down after I was done and crying and crying and crying. Allen hadn't heard me and it was, what felt like, the umpteenth time I'd cleaned up that night. Because we had spent a week in the hospital before Lexi was even born, Allen had used all of his time off and didn't stay home at all after Lexi came home. Oh, it was really hard sometimes.

Little Addie, bless her little heart (or stomach), keeps her feeds down, rarely spits-up (but when she does, it's almost everything she's had - there's no doing stuff half-way for this one), eats every 3 hours and so far (now, if tonight she's up I'm going to curse even mentioning this) goes right back down after our middle of the night feeds. Her first night, she was up from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. (oh, and Lexi had to join the fray, too, so I was running from the newborn to the 2 year old in the night). The next day, we (meaning, my mom while I got a good 3 hour nap) kept Addie up for some of the day. The next night, she got up, ate, and went quietly back to sleep. Now, she has a couple of hours of quiet wakefulness during the day and has maintained her solid night-time sleepiness.
We got the ok from dr. today to let her sleep thru one feed at night, too. She's already done that once and her weight gain has been good so dr. said to let the sleeping baby lie. How nice! Again, Lexi was so close to going back into the hospital for failure to thrive that we had to feed her every 3 hours for at least the first month she was home - it might have been two.

We've had one little bump in the road with feeding when she started crying during her feeds, wouldn't eat, and then cried after all while seeming so hungry. Of course, I freaked out and immediately thought we'd be changing formula and dealing with a sensitive stomach again. Instead of making a rash decision, I called our neighbor (who happens to be a NICU nurse - and yes, at the hospital where Addie stayed) and asked for her advice. She recommended a new bottle/nipple combination. She said it sounded like Addie was collapsing the nipple, thus, getting frustrated, eating less and always seeming hungry. We quickly went out and got a new kind of bottle/nipple arrangement and wa la! everything is right back on track. Thank goodness for our neighbor!!!

"I'm done!!!"
Otherwise, Addie has been a really nice baby to be around. She needs her gas drops to be totally happy, but doesn't complain much otherwise. When something does bother her, she goes from zero to pissed in about 3 seconds flat! I can't believe how much more quickly time has been passing, too. I'm sure having Lexi around has made the days go by faster. Allen has been home and will be for the next 2 weeks so I haven't been on my own either. I have to say this round of mommyhood has been pretty great so far!


Home, Sweet, Home

This morning Allen and I left at 7 a.m. to head up to ABQ. Allen was going into work to finish up some things. He's been dropping me at the hospital and then picks me up on his way home from work. He was going to drop me off and try to come back in about 2 hours so we could be discharged from the NICU. Since he's taking the next 2 weeks off, today was pretty important. Well, we took the Excursion to put the car seat in and forgot Allen's badge in his car at home. So, we both hung out in the NICU for about 5 hours.

They had to give us "instructions" and do one last hearing test, too. It's probably a good thing we were sitting there with the car seat looking eager to leave since the hearing people didn't get to us until after 10 a.m. (that was with 2 phone calls requesting their presence, too).

We brought a cute pink outfit for Addie to wear home. She's been wearing those awful wrap shirts the whole time and using the hospital linens. We were so excited to have her wire free and in real clothes. As we were getting ready to leave, we took off her leads (the wires connected to the monitor), got the IV out, and dressed her in her cute outfit. We fed her one last feed and sat around waiting for the official word that we could leave. As Allen put Addie in the car seat, she spit up all over her cute outfit (let me state that Addie has only spit up one other time in the week she's been alive!). I knew that was going to happen. So, she came home in a hospital t-shirt and cute pants. Figures.

Lexi has been really nice to "baby sista" since we got home. She's held her and asked to feed her. She doesn't understand why she can't hold her all of the time, though. I'm sure we'll have lots of learning experiences in the next months. We are really glad to have all of us in one place and home for the Holidays.


Addie Update

Addie is doing great. In the NICU, they monitor everything. She eats every 3 hours. Approximately 5 minutes before she eats, we have to take her temp, change her diaper, and then report the findings of both to the nurse. After she eats, we have to report the number of mL she's taking. For her weight, she needs to eat at least 60 mL or 2 oz at each feed. If not, she'll go on a feeding tube. Thankfully, she's been eating an average of 75 mL per feed.

She's left "the beach" and is back up to her birth weight. She's wearing size 1 diapers. She recognizes me when I go and loves to be held. When she's awake, she just looks around and is happy to chill out.

If all continues the way it has been for the last 2 days, we'll be discharged Friday morning. She receives the last of her medication at 3 a.m. Friday and we should be able to be home before noon.

We're so excited to finally have all of our family members at home. One of the things I dislike the most about having a baby in the NICU is that I have to shower and leave the house right after having a baby. The last thing I feel like doing is going out in public. I just want to feed my kid and wear PJ's all day, you know?
The dreaded scalp IV.

Who needs one of those fancy paci-holders when you have a bulb syringe?


Let It Snow!

We got a little winter treat today. It started snowing this morning. Nothing really heavy, but just enough for Lexi to go out and play when we got home from the NICU. She mastered the art of throwing snowballs at Allen pretty quickly, too.

Trip To The Beach

When we went in to see Addie today, she was under the "bili-lights". She developed jaundice so they put her under these lights to help her body get rid of the extra bilirubin. We call it "a trip to the beach" since it's like being under the sun and the baby can't wear anything but her diaper while she's there. When she's under the lights, we can't hold her because they want her exposed for as much of the day as possible.

We called this evening and she was still under the lights. We also found out she had to have an IV put her in scalp as the one in her arm infiltrated. It's awful seeing a needle sticking out of your child's head. I'm not looking forward to that, but this is all part of the NICU journey. Tomorrow, they'll draw blood to check her count and determine if she needs more time or not.


Alexis and Addison

Alexis Michelle Riddle
March 23, 2006

Addison May Riddle
December 12, 2008


So, we have another NICU baby. We really thought letting her bake for 40 weeks would help us skirt another long hospital stay. But, noooooo, here we go again!

They had noticed meconium in my water and when that happens, they automatically call in the NICU staff to make sure they suction the lungs of the baby. I knew they would whisk her away and I wouldn't get to hold her, but we didn't expect her to have to be admitted.

Actually, there wasn't meconium, but she had inhaled lots of fluid during the birth process. They cleaned her all out, but within 1/2 an hour, could see she wasn't breathing well on her own. They decided to take her to the NICU and put her on oxygen. They told us it would be a couple of hours and then she'd come to our room. Five hours later, we still had no baby. So, we walked on down to get a report.

Her little lungs hadn't inflated correctly and she needed oxygen. They also saw what could be an infection in her lungs and were watching to see what developed. So, she spent the night in the NICU Friday. Allen went home and I got a good night's rest.

Friday in the NICU

Saturday, the x-rays revealed she had an infection and would require a 7 day treatment of antibiotics. Saturday night she came off of the oxygen. She had been eating well, too.

Today, she was off of IV fluids, but still has the IV in her arm to administer the medication thru next Friday. She's eating well and was totally awake when we saw her last.

Being back in the NICU has pressed a few buttons for us. However, having been there for so long with Lexi, this seems like nothing. We're taking advantage of the extra recovery time and want to make sure Addie's lungs are completely healthy before she comes home.

Baby Makes 4!

Be careful what you wish for! Thursday morning at 5 a.m., I started having more contractions. Then, my water broke, but it wasn't very much so I didn't think much of it. About 9 a.m., the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and pretty strong. I still had my 10 a.m. appointment for a massage and wasn't about to miss it if this was just false labor again. I called my massage therapist and she came over. She helped me for an hour and a half while the contractions got stronger. Believe me, I never thought I would ever, in my life, have an in-home massage while I was in labor! It was really helpful, though.

The doctor had told me not to come into until my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart for an hour straight. Around noon, we decided that this was the real deal and would be going in to the hospital at some point. So, I was in bed in labor while Allen made arrangements for Lexi and my mom finalized plans to fly in. At 1 p.m., the contractions were starting to get pretty uncomfortable so we made our way into the hospital.

They took me back to triage to make sure I was in true labor. They also did a quick test to see if my water had really broken. It had, so even if my contractions weren't perfect, I was still going to be admitted and have a baby. We got settled in our room and made a plan with our nurse. I had been laboring for about 10 hours and was at 3 cm. We made a plan to try and get to 5 cm and then contemplate pain relief. At 6 p.m., I was finally a 4 but I had been in labor for 12 hours and was feeling pretty tired. By 7, the contractions were still 5 minutes apart, but really strong. So, we called in for an epidural. What a blessing! When those things work, they are awesome.

It took another 12 hours for me to get to a 10. But, the baby was still way too high. The nurses had all said they don't advocate 2 and 3 hour pushing marathons. They prefer the baby to "labor down" and then go about pushing. So, it took another 4 hours for the baby drop enough for pushing to commence. We started at 9:45 and Addison was born at 10:32 a.m.

I certainly did not expect 30 hours of labor. I am actually surprised that I managed 12 hours of labor without any pain meds, either. But, I had made a plan and am glad I stuck with it. I am really, really glad we avoided another C-section. Having been on both sides of that coin, I can say this recovery is much faster and easier. I still feel like I have been run over by a truck, but I'm walking and caring for myself. This kind of birth is a really different experience and it has been interesting to compare the two ways of bringing people here.
Allen, I know, felt more involved and was totally impressed by the whole process. Our nurses and midwives were awesome and we feel very positive about the whole thing. This is my philosophy about childbirth (if you want it in one neat sentence): You must go through the gates of hell to bring a person back from heaven.

Addison May Riddle

8 lbs. 12 oz.

21 inches long

10:32 a.m.



Practice Makes Perfect?

It certainly doesn't make for a baby.

Well, I think the very fact that I'm writing this is a strong sign that we didn't have a baby. My contractions stayed consistent until about 11:30 a.m. My massage therapist worked on my feet and I had 8 really strong contractions in the 30 minutes she was doing those pressure points. We had a friend come and get Lexi and we got to the hospital around noon.

We had to wait a while for our own testing room and of course, they hooked me up to the monitors. I had lots of contractions. Allen rubbed the pressure points in my feet and I had lots more. But, they weren't enough. So, after 2 hours of being on the monitor, they said to go back home.

We had a wonderful, compassionate nurse. I explained to her that every day I have 2 or 3 hours of consistent contractions and I have no way of knowing what is really going on. She said that is the hard part about late pregnancy. Lots of contractions and really the only way to know is to come in and get checked. She made sure I had lunch and was ever so kind to us when the contractions didn't pan out. She even went and got my Dr. for me so I could discuss the issue with him. I thanked him for coming all the way over to see me and he said he'd just gotten out of a c-section. I jokingly asked him if he wanted to do another one. He said all looked great with the baby, but we were just in the early stages of labor. He said if I want to schedule a c-section, we can do one on Tuesday. I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that, but if you think about it, at this point, I would have already had the baby and would be through the worst of the recovery. But, I really want to try and avoid surgery so we're going to remain patient. Of course, my biggest concern is going to 42 weeks, being induced again, and having to have a c-section anyways. Oh, that would be terrible.

I also told the Dr. I have this gut feeling that I won't go into real labor on my own. He got this very stern look and said, "Don't think that way! Be positive! You're doing it already. This is how it goes. You can do it!" I'm frustrated about the false alarm, but grateful for the good care we received. I still have my massage tomorrow and maybe that will help things keep rolling. Until then: baths and Tylenol for the fake contractions. Oh, a whole lot of keeping a good attitude...

Could It Be?

I couldn't sleep thru them anymore. I woke up at 4 with contractions. More by 4:22, then 4:27, then...5:22 until 7:30 every 4-5 minutes. I called the hospital and they said to make my way in by noon. I ate, drank, walked, took a shower, you know...all the things that should make it stop or really make it go. The shower made the contractions stronger and closer together so the midwife says it sounds like my body is really trying. Because I'm VBAC, they would like to do more monitoring than typical so they don't mind me coming in a little early.

Who knows? They could watch me and send me home. I'm really hoping they'll see that I've been making an attempt at this labor thing for a good 4 or 5 days and may just need a little push. My massage therapist is going to be here at 9:30 to do my pressure points to help the contractions continue to be strong and regular.

Anyhow, we're going in around 10 and we'll see what the machines are saying. Another embarrassing adventure? It's likely. The real thing? Let's hope!



I took a look at our blog and what a bunch of text. Great place for me to write, really boring for those who want to see us (well, Lexi, really).

Here's some pics of Lexi's latest habit. She has been sleeping, watching TV, and just hanging out in the laundry baskets. If one isn't available, she finds it and drags it out. If they are being used, she get the actual hamper and drags it out. She puts her pillow, babies, juice and blanket in there and is as happy as a clam. We could have saved so much time and energy and just bought her a deluxe laundry hamper rather than nice furniture for her room. Live and learn!

Here, she told me she was busy reading her book. It's a book about sleep training for babies. Looks like Lexi's in charge.

Getting ready to go to bed.

I'm also going to post some pics of myself. I have to admit, it ain't pretty. Here are some stats:

  • 20 lbs. gained
  • measuring 40.5 cm
  • no makeup
  • late at night = swelling in full effect
  • yeah, I took an ambien too.

So, um, things are looking pretty wide here to me. The picture below is for comparison sakes. I was just about 30 weeks pregnant with Lexi. I did have make up on, though.

I remember feeling soooo pregnant, too.


One week to go. At least, that is what the calendar says. Sometimes, I think they give you a due date just to make you crazy. Like I said before, I'm trying not to dwell on it. But, I'm totally dwelling!

I've been having some legitimate contractions, but they won't stay consistent. I have 3 or 4, maybe 5 or 6, about 5 minutes apart and then they go away. I'm taking some recommended home remedies and I'm pretty sure they aren't amounting to much. The deal with that kind of stuff is, if you're ready, they usually help. But, if you're not, they don't. Unfortunately, I must not be ready.

I feel like I'm getting close to the end of a lease with a roommate. You know, when you know you have to make it work to live with someone, you make it work. But, as that move out date approaches, you start to get more and more annoyed with them because you know you're only days away from being rid of their obnoxious habits. So it is with me and this kid. We're getting close to the end of the lease (read: I'm ready to evict the child) and now I'm less and less happy about the rolling, punching, kicking and general abuse I've been putting up with.

I'm sure when I look back, all of this will seem like a blink. I have been contemplating happiness v. joy as I've been unhappy most of these days because of the discomfort. My conclusion is this: happiness is momentary and is usually comprised of the worldly things that occupy much of our lives. When I say momentary, I mean within the bounds of our mortal lifetime. Happiness can masquerade as joy for a long time, but it is not enduring. Happiness isn't a bad thing; it just isn't true joy. Happiness can last for years. We all need happiness in our lives. Joy is the real peace and contentment that comes from the eternal things. I have to say I'm really grateful to know I have an eternal family. Getting people to this Earth isn't always easy and it certainly isn't always happiness. Living with people here on Earth isn't either. But, there are those times where you can experience joy, which is in essence, eternal happiness, when you are doing things of eternal consequence. Having the eternal perspective makes bearing the worldly struggles, well, bearable. I'm not sure how I would do it if I really believed my family wouldn't be intact throughout eternity. Knowing this little person is linked to us long after this life makes this miserable time worth it. I also have a firm testimony that each person belongs to the family they are with. I know with all my heart and mind that this person is supposed to be in our family at this time. How could I know these things and not find the 9 months of sacrifice (and let's face it, lifetime, of sacrifice) more worthwhile? How can I ignore the big picture? The gospel makes a lot of sense.

Anyhow, spirituality aside, I'm still eager to move beyond the pregnancy part of the deal and get to the raising part. My (supposedly) final doctor's appointment in on Friday and hopefully, it'll be good news! (Like, you can stay and have your baby!) Again, not holding my breath since I tried that and I've just been passing out way too much.



This morning when I woke up, I hadn't felt the baby move in about 4 hours. Now, I had been asleep for 3 of those 4, so I didn't make much of it. I ate breakfast, moved around, did some chores, sat down, etc. About an hour later, I still hadn't had any movement. I've had those moments "um, hmmm, haven't felt the baby, better pay attention" before and within 5 minutes time, I get something. This girl is always on the move. An hour was a really long time for her to be so quiet. Plus, my guts felt like they were just hanging off of me. Usually, it feels stretched, tight and really uncomfortable. So, we gave the hospital a call.

They told me to drink juice and come on in. Of course, we had to find someone to come and watch Lexi. We also grabbed our bags (we did learn something from last time when I just showed up with my purse). We ended up taking about an hour to get everything settled, just in case.

They put me on the monitor and gave me lots of water and juice. I drank and drank and they watched and watched. About 1/2 an hour later, they came back and said everything looked great. I'd been having contractions every 8-10 minutes, but they told me to wait until they are 2-3 minutes apart for an hour before I come in for the real deal. I hadn't felt any of the contractions and if they are still happening, I'm still not feeling them.

I felt really dumb and told Allen I wasn't going back in until the baby was on it's way out to save any further embarrassment. Of course, everyone says, "better safe than sorry", but when you're the safe one, it can make you feel kind of silly. We were glad the baby was ok. The juice did make her move a little more, but she has definitely changed her ways in the last day. I'm not seeking any signs so I have no idea why it's happened other than the logical: she's just running out of room. (I will say, though, the change in her movement was overnight and not gradual, but whatever.)

I did get to keep a really nice water bottle and we had breakfast so I guess it wasn't all for not!



I had an appointment with my midwife today. Well, she was actually out sick so I met another. I really, really liked the stand-in.

I'm measuring 40.5 cm, so just a little ahead of where I should be. She guesstimates at least 8 lbs., if not more. She also told me to get a support belt because of how far out and low the baby is this time around. She said it's pretty common for the first to be a little higher, but after that, everything falls way faster. She couldn't believe how far out the baby was. I'm definitely not carrying "wide", but deep and narrow (as if narrow applies to any part of pregnancy!).

I asked the dreaded question, "How far past my due date will you let me go?" Well, if you get to 41 weeks, we do an ultrasound. If everything looks good and you're not dilating, we let you go to 42 weeks. Then we do a gentle induction (nothing about inducing labor is gentle, if you ask me) to try and mimic mother nature. If at 41, you are dilated and pretty much ready, we'll start induction then. I had expected this answer, but I just wanted to check to give those planning on coming a heads up.

I asked about home induction remedies and she recommended a few. I'm definitely open to any and all suggestions from anyone who reads the blog. I'll be 39 weeks on Saturday and that's plenty long enough, people! I still have my "induction" massage on the 11th if things haven't moved on their own by then. I kind of don't want to go into labor before then because I really want the massage (and I'm having my hair washed and styled). But, I don't know if I want the massage bad enough to stay pregnant! I can always get a post-partum massage though, huh?

I do feel like this time things will be lots different. The staff has a way different approach and they seem very empathetic. Even the docs, who tend to be all business, are way in tune with the different methods, medications, and helps available to pregnant people.

So, best case scenario: December 15th (or earlier), worst case December 30th and we're induced. Please include us in your prayers with the #15 tied into that favor.

Here's to the big push!


People Say...

Allen: You are acting like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you know?
Traci: Um, I have been possessed for the last 9 months, you know?

Traci: I've been having lots of pressure and contractions. I'm not sure what is normal, so I thought I'd call and check in.
Nurse: Well, it is common to feel like you're being ripped in half for the last month of pregnancy.

Lexi: Mommy, you got a beard?
Traci: I hope not!



I keep hearing that song that goes "second verse, same as the first" in my head over and over. We are at week 38 and guess what! it's all the same as the last week. No contractions at all, though. Nothing had changed when we saw the doctor last week and I'm pretty sure it'll be the same this week, too.

We wanted to go full-term and we are officially there. So, I'm officially ready to meet this kid (read: officially sick of packing someone else around in my gut 24/7). I look forward to losing the full time stuffy nose and having to sleep on my side. While I won't be sleeping much at all for a while, any time on my back is way better than side sleep. I just hate it. I still always wake up on my back and I feel like a whale who is killing itself with its own weight. I've had 5 colds during this pregnancy which means I've been sick every other month. That has been horrible! I hope that ends with the birth of the baby, too.

I'll be sure to post if anything changes, but don't go holding your breath unless you're just really looking forward to passing out. My gut is telling me we'll be a while yet with this one.


Family Tag

Well, I thought I'd covered it, but Shannon's latest tag was a family tag so the all about me (as fascinating as I'm sure it was) didn't quite cut it.

1. How many people are in your family?
3, soon to be 4
2. When did you get married?
September 21, 2002
3. Are your children girls or boys?
2 girls
4. What do you do for fun?
Fun? What? Who said anything about life being fun? We like to go to the zoo, go on walks, go hiking, play outside, and anything else that will keep a 2 year old happy for more than 10 minutes.
5. Is your family complete, or do you plan on having more children?
Wouldn't you like to know! Seriously, with our history, we are taking it one at a time and that's about as far as we'll go.

Oh, and I'm supposed to tag 7 people or something, but I don't know 7 people who blog (does that make me a loser?). The people I do know that blog have already been tagged. I guess the buck is going to stop here.


Gotta Give Props

So, I have to give a shout out to Allen. We all know he busted his butt all year long on the exterior of the house. This left me exclusively to the kid raising and household duties. We had agreed to this plan and it ended up working out ok.

As we came to a close on the landscaping work, I was getting pretty far along in the pregnancy. I could definitely feel myself getting more and more tired and really wanting some extra help at the end of a long day. When Allen was in full throttle, that wasn't possible. There either wasn't an end to the day until we passed out in bed, or he was so dang tired from working, I didn't ask for much when he did join us again. I just pushed through the pain or fatigue.

After about 2 months of warning Allen about my increasing needs, they reared their ugly heads in a big way. I thought I had done a nice job of casually mentioning what I needed before it became a problem so we could avoid the whole anger-resentment issue. I have to admit, it still took a minor throw down for the message to make it to the receiver, but make it, it did. Since that fateful night - you all know the kind - the sobbing wife who's voice escalates to the point that only marine life can hear her while the husband looks on with total and complete fear -things have been great.

Allen has made a real effort to pick up where I can't anymore. He quotes me all of the time, "Allen, sometimes we have to do things, even when we're tired. Even when we don't want to." It's sad but true. So, he's engaged with Lexi tons more when he's home, he gets up with her when he is home so I can sleep in, he takes her outside or to the park, he gets her lunch when he's home, he calls in or emails to check on us during the day, he even took the day off of work last week when I was sick and had slept terribly. He's been cleaning the house like the Merry Maids, feeding all of the animals, doing all of the dishes if I cook, and all of the extra things that need to get done that I don't get to. Not to mention, he's finished all of the work in Lexi's room and the nursery and continued to plow through the last bits of work in the backyard.

This is not normal Allen, here, people. He never misses a day of work. It really isn't sustainable for long as he does have a regular schedule to honor at work and chores that take him away from the family. We know that, too. He did, however, work lots of extra hours and Sundays to try and save up time so that if he needed to or wanted to take extra time off to help me, he could. He has made a choice to put my comfort and happiness before many things, when reasonable, until the baby comes.

It's made a world of difference in my little world. As I get more and more slow, less and less patient, more and more uncomfortable all while becoming less tolerant, it sure has been nice to know that Allen will pick up where I'm letting off - and is doing a great job. I just want to say thanks for hearing and listening to me and trying so hard to make my life just a little easier. Thanks, Allen!


I was tagged by Laura a long time ago and then again by Shannon a little more recently. So, finally, here's 7 unique (or weird) things about me:

1. I put deodorant on before bed. Hey people, you do sweat in bed, you know!
2. Seeing people eating alone makes me very sad. Almost sad enough to cry. Seriously.
3. I LOVE to eat alone.
4. I learned to knit and crochet as a kid.
5. I used to be a band nerd. I played the flute.
6. I was in Girl Scouts for, like, 6 years. I will never make my girls be in Girl Scouts. Sorry, Mom, I know you were just trying to keep me well-rounded (but, you were there and I think will agree with me now).
7. I have naturally curly hair (no one here in New Mexico knows that and no one on the street can figure out where Lexi got her curls). I've been frying it straight for the last 5 years.


Giving Thanks

With much to be grateful for this year, we had a great time this Thanksgiving holiday. Some friends of ours invited us over on Thanksgiving Day. There were 19 of us total and gobs of great food.

Friday, we went to the mall (total chaos and a true miracle the whole event did not end in a mass murder with me at the helm) and I made a small turkey for us later that day. Being invited to someone else's place is awesome, but the leftovers are usually a little sparse. Plus, there's no skin. It's just not polite to eat someone else's skin. So, I made a big enough turkey to have lots of wickedly good skin and leftovers.

We also put up Christmas. We kind of feel like it's now or never. Last year, we had just moved in and didn't have the desire to do any type of decorating. With the baby coming (cross your fingers, people) in 2 weeks, we felt we should get it done while we had a few good days of down time. Lexi loved putting up the ornaments with Allen.

Winter was hard on us last year and we had pretty terrible attitudes about the whole thing. What a difference a year can make! While we pitter-patted around this weekend, we took stock of all of the progress we've made in the yard, the closeness Allen and I have developed in our relationship, the miracle that is Lexi and the uber-miracle we feel this little alien is for our family. We are truly blessed and want for nothing.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.