Tenth Day

I have no idea what I ever did to deserve such easy babies who love to sleep! We are well into week #2 with Mack and it has been smooth sailing (mostly)! Please please please dear God don't make me eat those words.

Gus has been a total champ. It doesn't seem to register for him in the slightest that our family just underwent a major expansion. He is the same little guy he always was. He does crawl into my lap more often, especially when I'm nursing Mack. But it honestly seems to be more out of affection than jealousy, as he is never pushy about it and is always smiling. He even likes to give Mack little love pats all over, which sometimes end up being heavy love pushes against major abdominal organs. We're working on that.

The biggest challenge is preparing to leave the house. We had to go back to the hospital today for Mack's hearing test, and it took me a good hour to get all of us ready. And that wasn't even me trying to look nice or put on makeup or anything. God forbid someone really needs me in a pinch this next month or so.

Our biggest hiccup so far was that Gus came down with a fever for a few days, and keeping the babies separated was a bit of a challenge. Is there anything more pitiful than a sick toddler? Nothing comes to mind. He was downright heartbreaking. But oh man was I LOVING the snuggles.

All better now though! 


The hearing screen machine was down last week when we were in the hospital for Mack's birth, so I had to call this morning to schedule a time to bring Mack in.

The lady asked what my baby's name was. "Arthur," I said. "Can you spell that please?" she asked.
Me: "Um, A-R-T-H-U-R"
Her: "And is that a little boy or a little girl?"



Mack's Arrival

Here it is... for the three of you out there wanting to read the birth story of Arthur Mack Lornitzo!

My final scheduled shift before going on maternity leave was last Saturday night. As I left work Sunday morning, I joked about how I was going to go home, get a good nap in, and then go right into labor so I wouldn't waste even a day of my maternity leave just waiting around for the baby.  Little did I know, that's exactly what would happen! Friday and Saturday night were great shifts - a little slow, but I wasn't complaining. I was having tons of contractions and a bit of nausea all weekend, so things were definitely pointing to me having the baby soon.

My last appointment with my doctor had been just a few days prior, where she had measured me at 3 cm. She also kept saying that she wasn't going to "let" me go overdue this time. I just bit my tongue and told her we would cross that bridge if we came to it but that I had no problem going past my due date as long as the baby was tolerating it. Same old song and dance as last pregnancy. I was aggravated but just let it go for the time being.

I got home Sunday morning from work, feeling that feeling when you're a kid and school just let out for the summer. It was incredibly nice to pull up to the house, knowing I didn't have to go back to work until September. I skipped breakfast and went straight to bed, sleeping pretty well right up until 2:00. As soon as my feet hit the floor, my water broke. It took me about 10 minutes to convince myself that that's really what was happening. I wasn't having contractions yet, so there was a bit of uncertainty about what to do.  I called my doula and decided to wait and see what the next few hours would bring. The baby was moving a ton and my water was totally clear, so I felt safe staying at home.

About 4:00, I started feeling somewhat regular contractions, enough to call my sister-in-law and have her make plans to come get Gus for the night. I began to get pretty emotional at this point about Gus and how he was about to become a brother. Adam and I sort of casually began to pack Gus's overnight bag and started wandering around the house taking care of various things - laundry, dishes, charging camera batteries, adjusting straps on the infant car seat, etc.

Cristi showed up with her 2 boys, which put a gigantic smile on Gus's face, as always. This helped me tremendously. She and I sat at the kitchen table for a bit, chatting while the boys played. When it came time for them to go, we walked them out to the van and I managed not to cry as they pulled away, knowing when I saw Gus again, I would be mother of 2!

Now, Adam and I stepped up our game a bit. We packed our own bags as contractions started heating up, now coming every 2-3 minutes but still not painful enough to go to the hospital. The house was now spotless and we considered going out to eat as a distraction, but I decided against it since I was getting pretty crampy at this point. We ordered sushi instead and had one last cozy meal at home. I put on Garcia and Grisman (PERFECT labor music!!), lit some candles, and had about 2 bites of sushi before I started really needing to move around.

Around 9:00, my mom arrived, followed within minutes by the doula. At this point, I was pacing or sitting on the birthing ball during each contraction. It was getting tough, but I was still managing. Not long after this, I made the decision to go on to the hospital. I felt sure that I had made enough progress at home that I wasn't going to put myself in a position where I'd be laboring for hours in the sterile hospital environment with all its restrictions. And I was honestly nervous about going into transition on the way. All you hear is that your 2nd labor goes a lot quicker than your 1st. It was already 8 hours since my water broke and about 3 hours of contractions every 2-3 minutes. So I was nervous.

Maranda, my doula, helped me through a few more contractions while Adam and mom put bags in the car. Off we went!! We live so close to the hospital that I only had 2 or 3 contractions on the ride. Once there, I had to use the bathroom in the main lobby immediately. There were 2 high school girls in the bathroom I used, which led to a pretty hilarious interaction between the 3 of us. I had a major contraction while I was in the stall. When I came out, they were just staring at me, mouths agape, asking me if I was going to get drugs. Ha ha!

We got up to the delivery ward and I decided I didn't want to officially check in just yet. So instead we went to the waiting room, where we were greeted by an incredibly stinky homeless man who had made himself quite comfortable in there. He just sat there and watched us and the tv. Adam went to tell the nurses we were here, just so they could be somewhat prepared. He came back with a nurse, who looked at me disapprovingly and said "Ma'am, you really need to get admitted so we can check that baby out if your water really broke at 2:00."

They ushered me and Adam back. I got in the gown, put on the fetal monitor, and laid down on my back while they prepared to put in an IV. The nurse asked me what my plans were for pain relief. I told her I was hoping to do this drug-free and she all but rolled her eyes at me. She told me the anesthesiologist was not in-house and would have to be called in, so if I was going to change my mind, I had better change it soon. Then, worst moment of my life - she did a cervical check and told me I was "just about 1 cm dilated." I nearly hit the roof. WHAT?? How could that be?? I told her I had been 3 cm just days ago. I completely lost it. I had been in such good control of my contractions but this news just totally derailed me. And poor Adam, he had no idea what to do, what to say. I was spiraling out of control, just thinking about being in labor for God knows how many more hours. I didn't think I could do it. Honestly. I told the nurse I would be letting her know about the epidural. She rechecked me not long after and said I was "3 and change." I didn't find this new assessment very helpful, as I had been fully expecting to be about 6-7 cm dilated by now.

The nurse finally allowed mom and Maranda in the room. We filled them in, and Maranda miraculously got me back on track. I don't remember what she said or what she did, but she talked me through a few contractions and got me to believe again that I could do it. I was refocused and back in control of the pain.We talked the nurse into letting me get out of the bed (how ridiculous that I need permission for this), and she was actually quite accommodating. So I sat on the ball and tried a bunch of different positions to help bring the baby down. It was about 11:00 PM now. 1 hour left of Father's Day.

Not too long after midnight, I was 7 cm. The on-call doctor came in to introduce himself and to tell me it was basically now or never on the epidural. I settled on "never" and forged ahead. He and I had a little more talking to do regarding some of my wishes, such as holding the baby immediately, not getting put on a pitocin drip after delivering the baby, and, most importantly, I told him do NOT cut me down there unless there is a damned good reason. He balked on all 3 of them, but he seemed at least to understand how passionately against an episiotomy I was. When he left, I could tell he wasn't super happy with me. The feeling was pretty mutual.

Labor was incredibly hard work now. But I still felt mostly in control. We had the lights down low, we were talking softly, everyone was wiping down my arms and legs with cold rags, feeding me ice chips. I imagined the baby moving down. I thought, as I did with Gus, about all the other women and creatures laboring at that moment, without epidurals. This REALLY helped me, more than anything else. It was a relatively calm and serene environment. The nurse really left us alone for the vast majority of the time I was there, once she realized I wasn't going to be some raging lunatic without drugs.

At about 1:30, I started feeling slight pressure, a desire to push but without the overwhelming need to. I was not quite fully dilated yet, so the nurse had me push a bit through a contraction to see if that would do the trick. Nope. More labor. On the one hand, I could not believe how long this was all taking. On the other hand, time was flying. Weird.

Finally, around 2, we started getting serious about pushing. Keep in mind, I only pushed 3 times with Gus and he was born, a very rapid delivery that resulted in a painful recovery. I was not quite sure how I could deal with a long session of pushing, but I kept telling myself that a slower delivery would be easier on me in the end, even if it prolonged the pain in the moment. It took me several contractions to practice pushing before I really got it right. There is so much to coordinate between your mind and your body. In between contractions, I was having to close my eyes and really muster up strength and sheer will for the next one. I have never wanted something to be over and done with so badly in all of my life.

The doctor came in and ended up totally impressing me in the end. He worked with me and coached me and was quite gentle and friendly. I had the nurse set up a mirror so I could see the delivery, which was just the coolest thing ever. After almost an hour of pushing, a little baby boy was born! We were pretty stunned to see a boy! But oh so happy!!

No cuts, no tears, I was completely intact. They gave me my baby boy right away, still attached to the cord, which Adam got to cut. I was much more clear-headed this time immediately after the delivery, aware of everything that was going on. I was not so mentally zoned out as I was with Gus.

In retrospect, I have to hand it to my nurse and doctor. We all got off on the wrong foot, and I think we mutually misjudged one another. But in the end, we all worked together and had a very successful outcome. The doctor said it was a perfect delivery, then he chuckled and said it was anything BUT a modern birth. I considered that high praise. We all parted ways with the warm fuzzies. Much different feeling than with the doctor who delivered Gus, who I pretty much wanted to kick in the face.

Mack was a champion eater right out of the womb. He had a little problem with low blood sugar that landed him in the NICU for a couple of hours, but it resolved quickly. He was a quiet, good-natured baby right away, such a little beast at 8 lbs 12 oz.

All in all, I'd say it was a harder labor than with Gus. Maybe my memory is just bad and the most recent experience of pain just seems worse. But I really think this was harder.  CERTAINLY not easier, as many women like to tell you it will be. I guess I was just thinking I could handle harder as long as it was a lot quicker. But it was not quick. That being said, this is an experience like no other and part of the beauty is all of the uncertainty and the mystery and the not knowing.

Again, I am struck with overwhelming love for Adam, who is just the sweetest, kindest, best person you could have at your side. What a man! And the gift of my dear mother being present for the birth, what a blessing, after all the sadness in our family recently. And, of course, my doula. Every laboring woman should be so lucky as to have an incredible doula like Maranda.

So that's the story and I'm sticking to it!


Elusive Sleep

Between constant pressure on my bladder, the frequent need to reposition myself because of hip pain or leg cramps or general discomfort, being hot, being thirsty, just generally being restless, I am not sleeping well these days, no matter how tired I am. I don't mean to complain. I realize I signed up for this. I am just stating some unpleasant facts, if you'll allow.

Last night was the worst. I was totally engrossed in a book until about midnight, feeling that guilt with every passing minute that, gosh, I should really put this book down and get some sleep already. When I finally did, I was up 30 minutes later headed to the bathroom. From the hallway, I glanced into the kitchen and saw something out of the corner of my eye, a scurrying movement. It moved from one corner of the kitchen and did a full lap in the blink of an eye, before I could really process what I was seeing. I am 90% sure it was a mouse. I thought, EEEEEK!!! But I only said,  "Adam, a mouse, I think I saw a mouse," as I stood totally helpless in the hallway, realizing there was nothing we could do at this point because the mouse was long gone to its super secret hiding place that he probably reached by distorting the diameter of his little body down to the size of my fingertip. Gross!! Then I went and stood in the doorway of our bedroom and watched my husband not even remotely budge from his super peaceful slumber. Jerk!

I crawled back in bed with my unfinished bladder business, a complete and useless wimp. Then I heard big huge thumps and thuds on the porch but didn't think much of it. Dogs being dogs. I fell back asleep. Woke up about an hour later, looked out the window and saw Jesse, by the light of the moon, dragging some monstrous and recently dead possum across the yard. EW!!!!! He got it right up next to our window and then saw me watching. So he dropped the possum and shied away to bed, leaving the carcass right in full view from our bed. Thanks buddy!

It was all downhill from there. Coffee is brewing and plans are made for going to get some mouse traps this morning. Happy Thursday to you!


Tough Week

For those curious about the details surrounding my grandma's passing...

Several weeks ago, she suffered a small stroke, which did not result in any major deficits. But it was pretty clear after this event that she was weakened and perhaps at the start of a decline. At age 87, none of this was too shocking. Last Saturday, she fell and broke her hip. We all knew a surgical repair was incredibly risky with her age and her recent stroke, but there was really no choice but to operate. So she was cleared medically for surgery and went in at 9:00 Sunday morning. She came through the surgery ok but clearing the anesthesia was taking a lot longer than the nurses were expecting. She was eventually transferred from post-op back to her room, where they were keeping a close eye on her vitals. There was lots of family in the room to greet her as she came to her room from post-op. 3 of her children, several grandchildren, and a handful of great grandchildren. Her blood pressure was on the low side of normal, but nothing scary. The family all dispersed after a little while to let grandma rest. My mom went to her apartment to start boxing up some things, as we knew that she would have to go to the nursing home after discharge for several weeks of rehab and therapy. Very shortly after my mom got to her apartment, she received a call from grandma's nurse telling her she needed to come back to the hospital. When she got there, she of course found out that my grandma had just slipped away. All of it was just too much for her body to handle.

For those of you following me on Facebook, you know it was quite a struggle for me to decide whether to travel up for the funeral or stay my pregnant hiney in Mississippi and find another way to say goodbye. After much deliberation, I chose to go. I was guaranteed to have Joey as a travel buddy, to help with Gus and to be with me in case of early labor. At the last minute, Adam wrapped up enough things at work to be able to go as well. So now I had 2 companions, which made me feel even better about going.

We left early early Wednesday morning and flew into Moline, a quick 45 minute drive away from all the funeral activity. We checked into our hotel and greeted all the cousins and aunts and uncles who were already there. I have an amazing extended family, on both my mom and dad's side. It was such a joy to see them all and a comfort to be with people who were grieving with me. Just a few hours later, we were dressed and on our way to the visitation/wake/viewing of the body. This was hard. Period. The only thing that made this better was the back room full of 9 of her great grandchildren, running around and playing without a care in the world.

After this, we all went back to the hotel and ordered pizza and there was swimming. Adam, Gus, and I tucked in early since we had been awake since 4:30 in the morning. I woke up briefly at midnight and sent my dad on a Tums mission, ha!

Thursday morning, Gus was up at 5:15. Ugh! He gets so excited in hotel rooms. I think he knows that is a rare tv-watching opportunity. And that's exactly what we did - turned on some cartoons to buy a few more minutes of sleep.

The funeral was at the same chapel where my parents were married, where my grandparents had their 50th wedding anniversary party, and where my grandpa was buried 14 years ago. Lots of Engel history at that place. Nick officiated the burial service and did such an amazing job. I was so proud of him. Joey sang, and of course did a beautiful job as well. Adam was honored to be a pallbearer. Grandma really loved Adam, and he will always remember her as the first of my family to be completely welcoming, warm, and accepting of him. This was so typical of her. She was just that way.

After the funeral, we were treated to lunch at the Moose Lodge in Ladd, Illinois by the lovely ladies of the Van Orin Gospel Church, where grandma was a faithful member for more years than I've been alive. It was a typical post-funeral feast of macaroni salad, spaghetti, sandwiches, etc. Incredibly heartwarming comfort food.

During this lunch, my grandma's best friend came up to me and asked me if I remembered her driving with my grandma to come get me at Notre Dame for a break one Thanksgiving. Of course I remembered. Betty! Betty is 91 years old and still getting around without missing a beat. She had just been with my grandma the Monday before her death. Several old ladies of the church would get together and make "lap robes" (blankets) for charity once a week. Anyway, Betty brought me out to her car, saying she had something for me. She handed me a plastic grocery bag and inside was a blanket Grandma had just finished for the new baby. What a treasure this blanket will always be! It will probably be a while before I can look at that blanket without a few tears sneaking out.

After the lunch, we went over to my Uncle Tim's for a bit to sort through some of her things. And then, the trip home. It was a whirlwind 2 days. It was just beginning to seem real that my Nanny had died in March, and now we have to process this as well. It feels like a lot all of a sudden, to be without a grandmother in this life. Both such special, unique, independent, and strong women. I was so blessed. And I remain blessed with all the family that wouldn't exist without either of those women.

I am so incredibly grateful for all the kind words that have come my way. When people say they are praying for you, it means something, and I could feel it. What a thing - to be cared for and loved and prayed for through a big family loss. Many many thanks!


Yet another reason working weekends is FOR THE BIRDS

Guess who is coming to the Hard Rock in Biloxi Saturday night??

For those of you not in-the-know (which included me, yesterday, before Adam alerted me to their existence), MiniKiss is a Kiss cover band composed of only midgets.

I am having a hard time coming up with a better idea than this. Brilliance.


She WHAT in all her WHATS??

It's a cliche for a reason. Many doctors have really really bad penmanship. I try to read all the recent progress notes regarding my patients, but certain doctors' notes I just skip right over, without the hope of ever interpreting them. If it's an actual order, of course I have no choice but to spend the time to figure out what he or she is telling me to do, usually with the help of other nurses and the secretary.

Recently, I was reading through notes on one of my patients by a doctor who I don't normally have too much trouble figuring out. But one sentence gave me pause. I thought, surely he didn't mean to say this... but what else could this be? This patient was in for stomach complaints. I settled on: "She farts in all her pants." And I lost it completely.

Very unprofessionally, I called my coworkers over to read this jewel of a note as I laughed hysterically and even had to leave the area for a moment to recollect myself. This doc doesn't have a reputation for always using the most technical medical jargon, but this was just absurd.

Oh how I laughed and laughed and was even a little proud of myself for finding such entertainment for all of us at the beginning of our long shift ahead. Of course, when I showed it to people, I read it to them aloud as I pointed to the writing. Once you plant the "she farts in all her pants" seed in someone's head, it's hard for them to see anything else. Later, I asked one of my coworkers, who had missed this scene completely, to read me that note and tell me what she thought it said.

"She hurts in all her parts."

Oh. Yeah. That makes a lot more sense.


Sweet sweet Gus

I went to this great little coffee shop in Long Beach this morning in an old bank and met up with a friend back from my Woodlawn days. We were sitting there chatting and Gus, as usual, was all over the place. This adorable old couple sat down at a table near us. The woman pulled out her library book, and the man set up his Kindle and they were reading happily. They kept looking at Gus and smiling. Of course he was cheesing right back. But then he went right up to the old man and put his head on his leg and gave him the sweetest little love-pat you ever saw.

I love Gus.


Still Here

Hard to think about where to start in updating this blog. I think it needs a fresh look; maybe that will inspire me to pick up my blogging frequency.

Like the rest of the hemisphere, we are tickled to death that spring is here. Gus is obsessed with being outside, so I think I see what our lives are going to look like for the next several months. And I like it!

I'm going to sit down and some point and write about my Nanny passing. Many thanks to all of you for the thoughts and prayers. They were deeply felt and incredibly helpful. It was a great reminder of how loving and thoughtful people are.




Ultrasound results

So we just got back from the doctor's office and it's a..................


(Or a girl)

We don't know. We didn't find out.

Mwah ha ha ha!



A whole month has passed without a blog post? I have been a busy bee!!

The first order of business: Baby L #2. I am 20 weeks along and have an ultrasound scheduled a week from tomorrow. We are actually considering finding out the sex this time, believe it or not!! This inclination is mainly due to a slip of the tongue at the first ultrasound, wherein the tech said something that makes us strongly suspect we are having a boy. Now, we kinda feel like we may as well just confirm what we're 99% sure of anyway.

BUT, wouldn't it be fun to go in, so confident it's a boy, and then out pops a little baby girl!?

I am really on the fence. It was such great fun not knowing with Gus. But we feel like we already know with this one, so why not just take that final step?

I do think it's nice though for babies to be allowed to declare themselves at birth. There are so few mysteries anymore, and keeping this detectable fact about your unborn seems sometimes, to me, like the right thing to do.



Hell's Soundtrack

NEVER in my life have I had less of a desire to purchase something than this mp3 on iTunes:

Ke$ha, feat. 3OH!3 "Blah Blah Blah"

And this is not one of those "Oh I'm getting so old... Kids these days!" kind of repulsions. This is just a downright travesty for all ages, for all times, that this is the top song on iTunes right now, that it could be the top song for anyone or anything.

I need to go lie down.

Just another manic Monday

It's so weird what I go through on Monday mornings. The elation of completing a week's work at the hospital, coupled with extreme exhaustion, then add to that the depressing sight of Adam toting Gus off to daycare, after I haven't spent any quality time with either of them for 3 days. But then, it's nice to have the house to myself for a day, and I refuse to feel guilty for that, even though I know what a luxury it is.

It's pretty cool to be done with work until Friday, when most of the rest of the working world is just getting started on their work week. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something. On the flip side, going to work on Friday night just flat-out SUCKS.

I am especially looking forward to tonight with my boys. It has been a few weeks since Adam and I have really spent any quality time together. Between me working an extra job and Adam working insanely long hours at his job lately, it's just been hard to connect.

Tonight I plan to make my man a quality dinner and cuddle up on the couch and watch episodes of Dexter while we watch Gus toddle around in his ridiculously cute learning-how-to-walk manner. And there just might be a pint of Ben and Jerry's in there somewhere.