Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet your big brother, Baby!

As I've mentioned, in The Happiest Toddler on the Block, the author speaks of how whatever attention you may not be able to spend on your second-born child, know that your first-born will give him that attention four times over.  If, when our baby is born, our toddler, D, is anything like he is now, our second born will never be lacking attention. 

While in some ways, I can't give as much attention to this pregnancy as I did my first, in other ways, I have a constant companion who is with me, to talk about "the baby," go to my OB appointments with me, and give me and the belly much needed love--my 3-year-old son.  To him, this pregnancy is brand new.  He has never experienced this before, and he is there with his big blue eyes and toothy smile, excited every step of the way.

So meet your three-year-old big brother, Baby Bouteneff 2! :)  He's been thinking about you since you were the size of a grape!

Starting around 7 weeks pregnant or so (when D is 2 1/2 years old), I bring up the idea of a baby.  We have a few "big brother" books, so I read them to him, to get him familiar with the idea of a baby.  I make no mention of how I have a baby in my belly.  He is still pretty attached, and I am not sure how he would react to sharing me, or inviting a baby to live at our house.  He also has the kind of personality to think about things for a long period of time.  He impresses me how he remembers details, events, people from months or even a year ago.  On the same token, he can remember things that make him unhappy, and bring them up repeatedly, making himself anxious.  I am not certain which direction the news of a baby would take him.  So I go slowly.

I do know however, that he has always had a sweet disposition and is kind to babies.  Months ago, when D was a young 2, we see a baby crying at the library.  I tell D to make a funny face and maybe the baby will stop crying.  "What funny face?" He asks.  I give him an example, the classic "hold the sides of your mouth and stick out your tongue" face.  D does this with great concentration.  The baby stops crying.  Success!  A few minutes later, the baby cries again.  Without a moment's hesitation, D pulls out the serious funny face again.  The baby does not stop crying, but D keeps trying.  He is sincere in his task, even without success this time.

So while I don't plan to tell D about the baby early in the pregnancy, he is smart, and by bringing up the idea of a baby at all, reading "big brother" books, and talking about my friends who are pregnant (and their sons, D's friends, who will become big brothers), D gets the idea.  He gets in the habit of joining me on the bed in the morning, cuddling and asking me questions about "the baby."  No one has actually told him there is a baby in my belly.  But he starts asking questions anyway, touching my belly. 

"How does the baby come out of your belly?"  

"It goes--whooosh!" I gesture from my chest to the bottom of my torso in a fast motion.  "And it comes out!" 

"How does the baby get into your belly?" 

"Hm..." I think.  This is one I'm not prepared to answer at not even 2 months pregnant.  "The mommy and daddy make the baby go into the belly."  Somehow this answer suffices for now, but I know it will not for long.

Finally, while we are having lunch one afternoon, D flat out asks me.  "Is there a baby in your belly?"  I know my son, I know how he reacts to big news, and I know I must be casual about this. 

"Yeah.  There is.  What do you think about that?" 

"Um. That's funny," he smiles.  It doesn't seem like much of a surprise.  He then asks me about what the baby plays with in the belly. 

"The baby has water in there, so the baby can swimg around.  And an umbilical cord to play with.  Not too much though." 

From here on out, the baby is "out of the bag," so to speak, and D takes a particularly strong interest in it.  While most of my friends' children his age are not so curious about their mom's baby bellies, D can't get enough of it.  We take out a few books from the library that friends have recommended, and here D gets some big lessons.  The books are intended for children much older than a 2-year-old, and we skip and summarize many pages.  But D gets the point.  He knows the basics of how a baby is put together and born.  One Saturday afternoon, out of the blue, D asks me, "How come the sperm loses its tail when it reaches the egg?" 


Needless to say, I'm surprised my 2-year-old is asking me this question.  Mike is there as well and recalls seeing this picture in one of the books from the library.  He fields this question for me.  "Because once he reaches the egg, he's done swimming and doesn't need the tail anymore." Ah, that's why.

Other than the scientific questions D asks, he mostly just wants to love the baby.  We get in the habit of singing a lullabye song before nap every day, "A song to make the baby go to sleep."  D loves to hear how I sang this same song to him when he was in the womb, and would wake me up at night.  He asks me to tell him this "story" over and over.  "And then, after I would sing the song to you, you'd calm down and cozy up in my belly, and fall fast asleep." 

D feels the baby moving on my belly before Mike does, and from then on, "I want to feel the baby move" becomes a statement I hear many times a day.  When we visit Mike at work one day, and his coworkers comment on how they hear he will be a big brother soon, he immediately and proudly, lifts up my shirt to point to my belly, explaining that's where the baby is right now.

He kisses my belly; he talks to the baby in a high pitch squeaky voice.  He gives the baby a "marssage" by rubbing my belly.  He tells the baby many times a day that he loves him (my heart melts to the floor the first time he says, "I love you, baby" to my belly!).  He knows my new limitations with my big belly and respects them.  At this point, just a few weeks away from my due date, I can't bend over easily, I can't run fast, I can't go on amusement park rides with him (we go in the winter to Sesame Place), I can't pick him up much.  He even reminds me, "The doctor said you're not supposed to pick me up," when I do, "But you like to pick me up." 

While toward the beginning of my pregnancy, D asks me once, "Who is the baby's mommy when he comes out?" he quickly gets the message--the baby is mine, the baby is ours.  I say how lucky we are to have a baby in my belly because not everyone gets a baby. (And of course, he asks, "Why does not everyone get a baby?" and many other questions follow) 

I don't talk much about the fact that the baby will be living with us at first.  But we do turn a small living area into a new baby room, we give D a toddler bed, a new dresser and move his crib and changing table into the baby room.  We do these steps slowly, gradually, and focus on the changes in a positive way for him, not mentioning it is because of the baby we are doing things.  I remember reading that a parent should not tell the older child, "We can't go to the playground because the baby is sleeping," but rather, phrase it in such a way to not have the baby be a reason for preventing fun things.  "We can't go to the playground right now, but maybe we can go after lunch."  I don't want D to view the baby as an obstacle to anything for him.  At least not yet.  With my physical limitations, I also stress how I will be able to do more of these fun things with D once the baby is born.  I hope that this will give him an added bonus to the baby's birth--I'll be able to pick him up again easily, for instance.

In my last trimester, I ask my son pointedly, "Where is the baby going to live when he comes out of my belly?"  D smiles and speaks in a way as though he thinks I'm silly to ask this question.  "In our house."  I figure he knows this.  He ought to know this, but I am reassured hearing him say this.  D visits a friend who has bunk beds and also enjoyed them in our trip to Club Med.  I tell him maybe one day when the baby is older, he and his brother can have bunk beds.  He is beyond excited about this idea.  Now we talk openly about where the baby will be in the house, what the baby will play with, toys that are for the baby.

A month ago or so, D sighs, "The baby has been in your belly a long long time." 

"Yes, you're right." 

Once our friends have their babies, D begins to ask when our baby is coming out.  My answer starts as, "Not for a long time still," but gradually changes to, "Not for a while, but it's getting closer," to "Not right now, but soon."  As we near my due date, I explain how his grandparents will be with him when I'm at the hospital and the baby is born (he knows Dr. T. will "catch the baby" at the hospital when he comes out).  But I point out that he will get to visit us at the hospital (although he says he'd like to just stay at home and build skyscrapers out of blocks with his grandfather.  I tell him, we'll see when the time comes.).

A few weeks ago, D whimpers from the back of the car one afternoon, "I wish the baby would come out of your belly right now!"

"I know, but we have to wait a little bit longer," I tell him.

He does a tiny cry.  "But I want him here right now!"

Today, D even goes as far as to say, "After you have this baby, I want you to have another baby."

"Oh yeah?"

"Actually, I want you to have five more babies!"

"Wow, that's a lot of babies." 

Mike asks him, "Where would all the babies sleep?"

"Right here in my bed with me!  We'd sleep all cuddled up.  And they can share my body heat and I would share their body heat."  Our little boy has it all figured out.

Over the weekend, we let D pick out a gift for the new baby.  He takes a great deal of time choosing between the varius baby items in the aisle.  After much thought and exchanging items multiple times, he settles on a set of nesting cups that can attach in a line, forming a caterpillar.  He is proud of this gift and we wrap it together.  Then he "hides" it under a blanket on his toy car garage.  He knows the baby can't find the gift or open it himself, but D likes to search for gifts, and he says he will help the baby find it and open it for him, "Because the baby can't open a present yet." 

He seems very aware of what the baby can and cannot do.  He knows the baby will cry a lot, "Because the baby can't talk yet.  Why can't the baby talk yet?"  He knows the baby will not be able to walk or crawl yet, will have to wear diapers all the time, will eventually smile and laugh and play--but not at first.  The baby will be able to look around and make little noises. 

He's met a friend's baby sister, and this friend warned him, "Babies cry a lot!"  But he was beyond thrilled patting the baby's back and helping her to burp.  He still smiles and talks "baby talk" to babies he sees at our library classes, at My Gym, and to friends' babies.  He watches out for them, putting his arm around 1-year-old twins to guide them into various rooms of our house, telling us if a baby puts a toy in her mouth.  He even coaches an 11-month-old girl, "that toy is too small for you," patting her on the shoulder.  "Sorry, baby.  You're just too little," sounding like a very mature young man.

He is excited to see the baby on sonograms, to hear the baby's heartbeat, to ask our OB questions.  He is in love with this baby already.  I know he may not always be ecstatic to have a sibling.  They will fight, he may not always want to share.  He may test the limits, he may get jealous.  But above all else, he is thrilled to have this baby in our lives.  He may only be three years old, but he knows this baby is a blessing from God.  A blessing not everyone receives and that we are lucky.  And he loves this little blessing with all his heart.  And I thank God this baby has the blessing of our wonderful first born son as a big brother.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

37 Weeks: The final count down...

 So yeah, I have back pain when I walk, move around or stand up.  This baby jams against my cervix and sometimes my lower back, causing a pretty intense pain (thankfully, always short-lived though). And yeah, somehow this has actually given me a "pregnancy walk."  And it's getting really hard to fake walking normally at this point.  But, despite this, I still love having this baby in my belly.  I want to meet him, of course.  Dying to see what sort of little baby he is.  Will he look like our first son?  What will his temperament be like?  I have to say, from Day 1 with our first born, D, he has made his personality known.  Feisty, demanding a lot of attention, but loving, gentle, curious and strong (among many other characteristics).  So what will this baby do the moment he's born?  At week 1?  Month 2?  What will his awesome little belly laugh sound like?  And who will he grow into as his personality takes shape?  It is going to be such an incredible awesome ride.

But for now, he's in my belly. And he's mine. "Mine, all mine." And while I'll love the world seeing him, I also love our special quiet moments together now, where the world does not see him. Unless they look carefully enough and see that fluid movement of my belly or an elbow pushing out or a sudden WHAM as he kicks. This hasn't been as easy as a pregnancy as my first, just in the nature of its being a second. I have a toddler to take care of and can't rest or relax as I could before. But it has still been a wonderful pregnancy, and I know I will remember these days very fondly. And I know part of me is going to miss having the baby inside of me.  I'll never forget the feeling of after giving birth, my belly feeling so empty, so quiet and still.  Relaxing in some ways, but I also missed it in other ways.  I write this all now while my baby is twisting and spinning and pushing away inside of me, nonstop, continual.

Right now, I know where my baby is at all times. He is safe, within me, my little womb baby. He is adorable in every way, even though I can't see him. I almost can't believe I am capable of bringing another life into this world. It seems such a strange idea that I did this once, but to be able to do this great honorable thing two times? It is an honor, a blessing, and I thank God for my little baby boy.

And I can't wait to hold him, to cuddle him, and to bring him into our family.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

37 Weeks Pregnant: Girls' Night Out

As I've expressed before, things, by nature, are going to be different the second time around the ole pregnancy block.  But the baby is just as special as the first one.  You still love the baby in your belly just as much, you pick out a name with just as much care, wash the clothing and set up the crib and stand back to smile, just as much as before.  So this time around, since we didn't have a baby shower, I told Mike I still wanted to feel that special celebration with friends/family.  It isn't about the gifts.  It's about feeling loved, cared for, that others are excited for you, and that you have support around you.  And I definitely feel that way, celebration or not--I have lovely friends and family who give me support and love in so many ways.  But hey, a girl wants a little party every now and then.

So Mike suggested he put together a night for me to go out with my girl friends and just celebrate.  No stress of having to cook, clean, get food or drink ready in the house.  Just have some drinks, sample lots of food and sweets, and enjoy the company of my circle of women.

And that's just what we did.

For only giving friends a few weeks notice, we manage to get 10 of us together on the same night.  My friend picks me up at home (always fun to have a ride in a car with your friend), then we pick up another friend at the train station, and off we go to a fun bar/restaurant in White Plains.  As the other guests stroll in, I introduce each member of the party by name and a few other facts (so many of my friends' introductions end with, "And she's also an artist." :).  By the time the last guest arrives, all the other guests are able to introduce each other, and we have amassed quite a sense of comradery. I have to say, I feel very lucky to have such awesome women in my lives.  Women who have newborn babies themselves come out, a girl who hasn't had a night to herself since her 3 year old daughter was born comes out, girls from over an hour away come out (one even who is 36 weeks pregnant herself).  One friend makes up a fun balderdash-inspired "Bad Baby Names" game (and you know you have great people when they all are actually into it), and one friend champions on our behalf when we spot a bug on the wall (free dessert platter ensues).  Some girls exchange contact information and others comment on how nice it would be to all get together again.  You know you have a great time when you realize your parking meter money is running out, and you never thought you'd use it all up.

I leave the night feeling good.  Not only does it feel nice to have these friends in my life, but it feels pretty darn good just to get out of the house by myself to see a bunch of friends in an intimate party.  Where I can joke around freely, talk seriously, laugh, share stories.  It's just good to be reminded of who you are as a person, outside of a mother.  This is what makes us good mothers to begin with.

So thanks Mike, for getting this ball rolling, and thanks to my ladies for being so awesome!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

36 weeks: As relationships change...

I'm sitting with my toddler, D, one day at his little dining room table, having a smoothie and crackers--quietly, peacefully (although with much talking).  He is looking out the window, commenting on the cars, asking me questions about animals, why smoothies have to be cold.  "What does an owl eat?...And why does he sleep during the day and be awake at night and is called nocturnal?"

This is one part of our day.  He is usually happy and calm, we eat together, or perhaps I am cleaning while he eats, but we are still close, talking.  I'm a stay-at-home mom, so we have a lot of one-on-one time together, but something strikes me about this scene.  This scene of Mom and son, our private little time throughout the day.  I suddenly realize in my heart what I obviously know in my head--this scene is quickly going to change.  My heart gasps.

A friend of mine recently had her second son.  She told me that while she was in the hospital--"And you'll notice this too," she warned--holding her little baby, she realized just how big her 3-year-old really was.  She was used to still cuddling with him, and when you cuddle with your 1-year-old, 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and you have no other child to compare it to, it still feels like you're cuddling your little one.  Maybe he's a little boy now, but he's still little; he's still your baby.

But soon enough, he's not your baby anymore.

Part of me feels guilty writing about this, expressing this on a blog about my second pregnancy, my second baby to come.  I want to have only excitement, only joy in thinking of having my second baby.  And I do have an extreme amount of excitement and joy.  But however you slice and dice it, the second pregnancy, and your second baby (especially if you are having the same sex baby as your first) is not going to get the same kind of attention as your first.  Starting from conception, a second pregnancy cannot get the same kind of devotion as a first.  I struggle to find time to write in this blog; I had 7 baby showers (yes, a lot!) for my first pregnancy, none for my second; my husband came to all my OB appointments for the first, and only 2 or 3 for this second.  I can't sit and rest and relax, breathing in the joys of my pregnancy in the same way I could with the first.  But in a lot of ways, this seems to work out.  People say their second babies tend to be more relaxed, less needy than their first.  Indeed, if they can't have 100% of their parents' attention from the beginning, maybe some of them do learn to cope, adjust, go with the flow more. 

Your second child may not get as much attention as your first did at the same age, but then, your first is not going to get as much attention as he has been used to his entire life.  We all know this.  Of course this is the case.  Your time is divided now.  Parents are creative though--they are excellent at multi-tasking--playing a game with your 1st while rocking your 2nd, reading a book to your first while nursing your 2nd, kicking a ball around with your 1st while your 2nd relaxes in a sling around your body.  We figure things out.  But still.  We know this is a challenge parents and children face.

Karp mentions in Happiest Toddler on a Block two things that have always stood out to me:
1) Don't feel guilty about not giving your 2nd child as much attention as you did your first.  This 2nd child doesn't know any different.  Instead, try to keep things up with your 1st child, who does know the difference.  And know that whatever attention you can't give your 2nd baby, be confident that the baby will receive four times that amount of attention from his older sibling. :)
2) Karp points out that a first born child is a child in an adult's world.  A second born child, however, is a child in a child's world.  There is something about that idea that actually brings a tear to my eyes, makes me smile.  As adults, we like to think we get on our 1st born child's level, going to "dinosaur land" with him, making up silly songs and rhymes, telling weird stories, going on adventures in the backyard, painting pictures and doing crafts.  But we are adults.  We bend down to our child's level, and this is special in its own right, but we're still bending.  Inviting a younger sibling into the magical world of an older sibling is exciting.  It's special, unique, and a bond that is made for sibling to sibling.

And how amazing that we are giving these two children this gift.  That we are going to be able to witness this awesome awesome gift unfold right before us.

Still, there will be an adjustment.  An adjustment I have talked about to numerous friends, family members, even acquaintances or strangers in a doctor's waiting room.  I want advice, I want stories, I want ideas to make things easier for this huge life changing transition for our amazing toddler.


What people don't seem to talk about is the transition a parent might feel as she loses her only child, and becomes a mother of two.  Yes, we talk about practical things--"When will I sleep?  How will I shower?  How can I get dinner and bath done for my 1st born when my baby is going through the 'witching hour' of constant crying?  What about my 1st born child's classes?  Will my baby get to nap properly?" etc etc etc.  And yes, we talk about the emotional changes of having a baby, any baby. Your body goes through a lot, and your mind and your heart go through a lot too.  One of my friends, a mother of 4, said every car ride back from the hospital, after each birth, she would break down in tears.  We are emotional, hormonal, our lives have changed,  and we've given a new life to the world.  It is huge.

But these are things we expect somewhat--things that are mentioned at least in books, with some friends.  What my friends have not seemed to talk about, is how having a second child will make you feel about no longer having that first child all to yourself.  We think so much about how our first born child will feel, losing the spotlight, losing the devoted attention of his stay-at-home-mom.  But how will the mom feel losing the devoted relationship of that first born--her the only child, and herself?

When I look at my toddler, sitting a this table, looking out as the sun beams down on his face, I think of this.  I smile and I savor this moment.  This is tranquility.  We don't get this through a lot of the day, when he is riding cars around the house, singing at the top of his lungs, whining about putting clothes on, or announcing his actions as he shoots a ball through the basketball hoop.  Through the noise, the playgrounds, the classes, the play dates, I don't think of the change our relationship is going to have.  It is active; it moves me along and I don't always have time to think.  We have other peaceful moments too though--cuddling on the glider before bed, snuggling in with a book, painting a picture...but there is something...I don't know, just something about lunch at this table...What is it about lunch at this table that makes this feeling wash over me?

As I type this, I lean my head back for a moment, look at the ceiling, rest.  Can I answer my own question?  "What is it about lunch at this table..."  I don't know what it is.  What makes this lunch time throw me into the realm of nostalgia.  But...I know I will miss it.  A doula I meet with tells me, "Enjoy these last few weeks with your son," and it hits home.  Yes, enjoy these weeks (weeks!), because through all the chores and projects and clothing to be washed, mattress to be ordered, these are my last precious times alone, in this way, with my only child.  And I will miss them.

I will miss it...yes...but it still makes me smile.  Perhaps a little wistful, but mostly a smile filled with peace.  I guess that's the thing about  this sort of change.  You know why it's going to change.  My little boy is going to be a big brother.  He is going to teach our baby, show him the world, care for him, give him kisses on his booboos.  He is incredibly sweet with babies and shows more interest than any child his age that I've seen.  He is a little child in an adult's world.  But he will have the chance to give his world to his baby brother.

And that is why I think my smile is still peaceful.  I'm treasuring this moment, storing it in my heart.  My only child and me.  This is our time.  Our special time which is going to very soon change...But the change is going to incredible.  We have been blessed--all of us--my husband, myself, my son.  How can you imagine how amazing something so incomprehensible is going to be until you experience it?  There is a loss of our relationship as mother and only child.  But there are so many gains in the change of our relationship.  Like seeing my husband blossom into a truly amazing father after the birth of our life-changing first-born, I will witness this special child blossom into an older brother.  He will be my helper, my buddy, we will go through adjusting to this baby in our lives together.  There won't be those quiet hours when I have my baby with no one else to talk to.  I will have my toddler.  And no doubt, he is going to be filled with things to say to me.  I use the words "amazing" and "incredible" so often because I truly believe these events are those descriptions.

While I can't know what our new lives have in store for us, I can imagine the things that make you want to have a second baby in the first place.  The cuddles of infancy, the little baby movements, hands above the head while lying down, all the baby firsts you witness...and the trips our boys will take with us, playing in the yard together, sharing (or not always sharing) toys, laughing and fighting together, going on adventures (as D likes to say), canoeing 1 adult and 1 child per boat, giving each other surprises on birthdays, holding family traditions around holidays...

When a special relationship changes, recognize it and feel it.  But as you remember why this special relationship is changing--that it is changing because of an incredible gift God has given you, a gift you have wanted, and do want, so badly...then you have to smile, because you have been blessed.  You are lucky.  I mean, really really lucky.


I have snapped this picture in my mind.  And now I snap another picture in my mind, of my two boys, sitting at the table, drinking their smoothies, looking outside the window, talking to one another about the cars going by, about the cat across the road, D explaining how owls eat mice, and even stinky skunks.  And this makes me smile too.  My boys...

My boys.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

35 Weeks Pregnant: OB appointment

This week, I've continued with my pattern of many braxton hicks contractions an hour, for a few days in a row.  On Saturday, we go car shopping yet again (we have been maybe 4 times in the past month or so).  Our toddler, D, is a great sport.  He loves being able to sit in the driver's seat and "push all the buttons."  This time, with the automatic key sensor, D almost decks the poor salesman when, from the driver's seat, he opens the automatic trunk of a Toyota Highlander, as the man is standing there.  Automatic sensor-based keys (i.e. the dealer has the key, but it is close to the car, so it allows some of the buttons to actually work) are not always a good thing.

There seems to be something about visiting car dealerships that brings out my BH contractions.  This particular day, I am having them every few minutes.  I drink as much water as I have with me, and when we return home, I dedicate myself to resting.  It's hard as my list of things to do pre-baby is extensive, but I'm grateful it's a weekend and Mike is around to help.  I am drinking at least 32 oz of water an hour, probably more, but they are still coming every few minutes.  At my 31 week OB appointment, my doctor told me that if I have more than 5 an hour, to rest, and drink water.  If I continue to have more at that rate for the next hour, to call to get checked out.  There is no way I can get them to under 5 an hour, try as I might.  But they do seem to be getting perhaps a little less frequent.  But by the next day, they are just as often, as strong, so I finally break down and call my OB.  I don't want to do the wrong thing by waiting too long, but I also do not want to go to the hospital.

However, when I speak with my doctor, I'm relieved that he tells me that at 34 1/2 weeks, they would not stop my contractions anyway, so to continue to rest, but not to worry about getting checked out.  "If it starts to feel like labor, then call, of course, but otherwise, just rest for the day, and call me if it gets more intense."  I am utterly relieved.  I'm so glad I called because now I can rest, knowing there is no need to go to the hospital even though I'm having so many BHCs. I take his advice, and thankfully, by the next morning, they are back under control (i.e. still more than 5 an hour sometimes, but not as frequently as before).

So when I have my 35 week doctor's appointment toward the end of the week, I am curious to hear his thoughts.  I explain how my BH contractions did subside somewhat, although I still get them frequently.  I've had a few that have also had a little pain with them, and some that have lasted a few minutes, making it even difficult to walk.  He doesn't seem too concerned, and says this sometimes happens.  He doesn't check to see if I'm dilated this time either, as he says, again, it won't make a difference at this point.  I mention my history of "symptoms" this pregnancy (more pressure, feeling the baby push against my cervix, all the contractions from 16 weeks on) and say I've felt like I've been a month ahead of my pregnancy from last time.  "But that doesn't mean necessarily that I'll have the baby early, right?"  He nods hesitantly.  "Nooo....not necessarily."

The realization that, wow, I'm probably less than a month away starts to hit home.  It seems everyone I meet--from friends to doulas to my chiropractor--thinks that I will have this baby by 38 weeks.  Of course, time will tell, but with time marching on, my having too many things to do, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Of course, this constant state of doing-doing-doing probably does not help keep my body relaxed and rested.  But.  We do what we can!  And I am grateful that no matter when the baby comes, from this point on, his body is developed enough that he should not have any major health problems.  We are almost to the 36 week mark, and this is a relief.

My appointment goes well otherwise.  D is a champ again, attending with me, asking questions.  He has been wondering how one machine/light turns on for the last several appointments.  I've told him where I think the on/off button is, but he asks me again in front of Dr. T.  I tell him quickly to the side, but then he clearly doesn't believe me, so he asks the doctor.  My OB doesn't respond, as he's talking to me, and then I say, "Would you mind answering his question?  I don't think he believes me and he's going to keep asking it."

And finally, D gets some nice attention from the doctor.  Dr. T. turns to him and suddenly changes his demeanor from the gentle OB to his patient, to a smiling man with a toddler.  "Sure!  What did you want to know, buddy?"  D asks him about the light, and not only does he tell him, but he says, "Do you want me to turn it on?"  Does he ever!  Dr. T. tries to turn it on; it doesn't work at first.  He is a bit stumped, then figures it out.  D asks, "Why doesn't it turn all the way around?"  "That's just because there's too much stuff in the way."  "What stuff is in the way?"  "Oh, like the walls."

D is clearly pleased that he got a response, and got to see the machine turned on, lights and all.  When we get home, he tells Mike almost word-for-word the conversation he has with the doctor.

I also ask his opinion on cord blood banking for a 2nd child.  His response is thoughtful, mixed, and in the end, doesn't necessarily sway me one way or another.  He does, however, talk about delayed cord clamping, and the associated benefits they have found for the baby.  This delay somehow makes it more difficult to bank the blood, but he says they can delay it some, but not quite as long, if we choose to bank.  If the baby were born early, say, at 35 weeks (or certainly earlier than that), there should be no question to delay the clamping so the baby receives the iron etc.  But if the baby is born full term, it is not as crucial.  Mike and I need to think about this more, although we also know we need to decide soon (have to fill out lots of paperwork, pay for it, have them ship the kit).

It's an informative appointment that leaves me with some thought.  And leaves me, again, appreciating my awesome supportive toddler, and excited to meet the next child my husband and I have created.