Just a Bit

Thank you, thank you...for the advice, prayers, empathy and support you all expressed on my previous post (and in emails!). We are getting a little more sleep and I am so thankful for the solutions you offered. I am in "Sleep is Sacred" mode right now, so blogging is falling off my "Things to Do" list, but I just wanted to let you know how great it felt to know I'm not alone and to have something - anything - to try.

(Elevating her head a bit and changing some things I eat seem to have made a significant difference, as well as some modified swaddling - she HATES her arms to be pinned down, but seems to get calmer when her body is snuggled and her legs are wrapped up - and I am going to check into the lactose thing just to be sure...)

She is actually thriving (developing strong lungs, for sure) and I'm beginning to figure her out while getting through the weepy postpartum hormones. The boys started school in Kiev on Thursday and are both loving it. Charlie has started vying for my attention in naughty ways, but I can't really blame him. Mostly, I am really missing David.

I'd like some ruby slippers so I could tap the heels together and be home, all in one country, one city, one house again, with all my kids and my husband, even though London has been perfectly wonderful. I just need my people. Three more weeks seems like forever (that's how long I have to stay for us to get medically cleared and get the passports / visas fo traveling).


But now to sleep while my babies are sleeping.


I'm Done For

My little Jane? Cries all the time. I think more in the first two weeks of her life than all my boys put together. I cannot figure it out, and with every minute more of lost sleep I lose a little more sanity and a little more confidence in my infant-caring ability.

She breastfeeds better than any of my other babies ever did - truly! (This is a GREAT blessing - I'm not denying that, for sure. I actually say, "Thank you, thank you" every time she latches, I was so worried before about nursing...) She doesn't seem abnormally gassy, although she isn't a regular pooper, so maybe she's having a hard time moving everything through.

But most of all, she does not console. Rocking, sitting, standing, with or without "white noise." I can't do anything. She will finally crash, so tired, but she does not sleep for very long stretches at all. I mean, often not more than 20 minutes, never more than three hours (and that's only happened two or three times). And it was only today that she had any waking time that she wasn't fussing and/or screaming. She goes from zero to hysterical in one second flat, too - no wind up, nothing that seems to set her off.

I'm thinking this is another "Learn Empathy" lesson for Code Yellow Mom. I never REALLY understood moms who talked about their extremely fussy babies until now. I mean, my other babies have had phases and moments and illnesses that caused fussiness, but this is inexplicable and incurable. And I'm going mad. I hear her crying even when she's not. I've just started not bothering going to sleep because being awoken just as I doze is excruciating.

And I'm freaked out because on Wednesday, David is going back to Ukraine with the big boys to start school and I will be here with Charlie and Jane. I'm considering pulling all my hair out ahead of time, as a preemptive strike...

Except I can still appreciate things like this (pictures below), so I know it'll be OK. There is maybe nothing more precious than a newborn who still folds herself up like she's in the womb. Look at those little legs! Can you help loving such a thing?

P.S. Thank you to my friend Debbie who made the flannel blanket Jane is curled up on. We love it - perfect weight, perfect colors, perfectly soft. (Charlie likes the frogs on the opposite side!) It's getting a lot of use!


The Look of Charlie's Week

I caught a grainy snapshot of a little smile in Jane's sleep yesterday:

We decided on Jane Elizabeth. After all that. There are lots of Elizabeths and Elizas in our family tree and it really is one (in my opinion) of the most beautiful girl names ever. Plus I suddenly thought "Jane E." is very cute. So, there you have it.

Charlie is very attentive and interested in his little sister. I think he hears her cry in the night before I, with supersonic mother hearing, hear it. His sleep has been really rough since we came home because he wants to help her stop crying and he can't sleep until she is asleep again, but he remains pleasant and sweet.

He loves to hold the baby and has been so gentle with her. He's very curious about her and he likes to tell her things. My favorite was when he started telling her very seriously, "No bite Mama, Baby! No bite!"

A couple times he has started touching her very soft while she's laying in my lap and saying, "I yike yo toes, Baby...I yike yo yegs, Baby...I yike yo cheeks, Baby...I yike yo hayoh, Baby..." So adoring and adorable.

And once when David left to run an errand and Jane started fussing right after he walked out the door, Charlie said to her, "OK, Baby. OK. Daddy be right back."

His life has looked a little topsy-turvy this week, I think.

On Sunday his brothers left for a visit to Virginia with Auntie S.

On Monday when Charlie woke up, his parents were gone (to the hospital) and he was at home alone with someone that he didn't know very well (Nobody's darling niece, incidentally).

On Tuesday his parents reappeared, with a squeaky, squidgy, needy little bundle. And his mom can't really pick him up and is a little slow about playing a lot with him.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, he's mostly hung out with Dad - a great thing, but still not the "norm." And all the while the disrupted sleep of having a newborn in the house.

And yet, I think he's pretty OK with it all:


22 Hours Later

Our little Jane was born yesterday (August 10th) at 3:31 p.m. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces (tiny!) and is peaches and creamy - light colored hair and blue eyes.

We walked to the hospital at five o'clock yesterday morning after about ten hours of laboring at home (and a few hours more than that of really bad back pain - the precursor of labor, I guess). Then we walked home from the hospital this afternoon with a baby less than 24 hours old!

Labor and delivery was a bit more traumatic at moments than we bargained for - mostly because Jane insisted on keeping her arm above her head (her little hand came out on top, even still!), her umbilical cord was wrapped around her tummy and got pinched a bit, and meconium was thrown into the mix in a big way. But we are doing great. I was mostly just thrilled that I went into labor on my own and didn't have to be induced. And blessedly, no C-section.

For those who took a gander at her vital stats: No one guessed her date of birth right on (she came overdue, but still earlier than even I expected!), BUT she was born on her grandma's 60th birthday. What's more is that her grandmother is also the mother of three boys and one girl, so in addition to a granddaughter on her birthday, we are going to send her something extra special.

Mrs. Lemon was the closest to the date and she absolutely wins the weight guess. (Code Yellow Dad was technically the closest on the weight, but he got a daughter.) So, Mrs. Lemon, look for your prize later this fall once I get back to Ukraine. And thank you for guessing kindly. My hips appreciate it.

(My grandmother sent the beautiful quilt that Jane is laying on. Each of my kids has a quilt tied and edged with points by her. They are such treasures. Thank you, Grandma B!)

Uh oh. I hear Charlie getting the "You can't drive cars on the baby's head" lesson. Gotta go.


She is SO Due

So when I was nine months along with Calvin, I went to church one Sunday and our Bishop took one look at me and instead of saying, "Hello," he said, "Ouch." It was very empathetic and somewhat funny, and I think it applies right about now.

I'm not sure if my family walks so far ahead of me when we go out places because it's painful for me to keep up, or because it's painful for them to seen with me like this. Ah well.

I am getting some special treatment, though. All kinds of seats vacated for me on the Tube. An usher chased down an extra seat cushion for me (because HE decided I needed one - I didn't ask!) so I could enjoy Les Mis in more comfort. A clerk at a street cafe let me have a 30 pence discount because I was out of change - I was scrounging for it and he said, "It's OK, Mummy. It's OK. Enjoy your drink." So nice! I like it!

In other news, we're still waffling about a middle name for Jane. I consulted Swistle and if you want to go weigh in on the Jane's middle name issue, check it out and comment! Some very sweet ideas. I need them. We're stumped.

And I'm trying ot make these last few heavy days/weeks a little more fun, so here's a chance for you to win a little prize...

1. Guess Jane's birth date and you will receive an authentic Ukrainian handpainted matryoshka nesting doll (a "mommy" with four littles, each inside the other!) Choose any date between today and August 21st. Just for reference, I've gone one week over every time, but two of those were inductions, so...it really could be any day. Once a date has been chosen by another commenter, you can't duplicate it, so guess soon.

2. My doctor says I might top Charlie's 10 pound birthweight with this little girl. Whaddaya think? Guess her weight (pounds and ounces) in a comment on this post - if you are the closest guess, you will receive a Ukrainian pysanky (painted egg) - they have beautiful and intricate symbols of life and birth and being a woman incorporated in the design. Just for reference on this one, Calvin was 8-8, Henry was 9-6, and Charlie was an even 10.

Guessing is open until the baby is born and I'll send the prizes as soon as I am back in Ukraine with her.

And that is all.

Except that the next picture I take with a London phone booth I hope to fit inside it.


Hiatus Again

I'm still pregnant.

Auntie S and my cousin are in town.

We are busy.

I'm still tired.

Until I give birth, I am just taking a little blog break so I can fit in more shopping, more nesting, more London, and more naps.

And also because then I will have more to share than travel-loggishness and food obsessions.


But hey - throw out some middles names for Jane if you'd like. Or tell me what you think of Jane Lisette...