Category Archives: Julian

A New Computer and a Cake

On March 15 I received an email from Framework telling me that they were preparing my computer batch. I had been waiting a long time for this computer so I was very excited. Though, Julian’s birthday party was scheduled for March 23 and I was worried about having my attention divided if it turned up before the party. I received a shipping notice on March 21 with an estimated arrival of March 25. This seemed like a good time for the laptop to arrive.

Jaeger’s parents were coming to visit us for Julian’s birthday and so we played musical offices. Jaeger’s office is also our guest bedroom so he moved up to my office, because I’m better at blocking out random noises, and I moved to the gateleg table in our living room. Picture of a table with computer equipment. To the left is a mobile monitor which is using three books as a computer stand. In the middle is a laptop, also using three books as a stand, on the right is a closed laptop, and in front is a wireless keyboard and mouse.For a temporary space, it isn’t too bad. I borrow Jaeger’s portable monitor and my Zoom “background” can’t be beat because it shows off our bookshelves and Jaeger’s pygmy date palm. As one of my work colleagues commented, it’s the perfect zoom background1. However, I still miss my two full-size monitors at my regular desk.
A gray sofa with a sofa table behind. In back are two bookcases, filled with books, and a pygmy date palm.

Overall, my current job involves a lot of collaboration and a lot of meetings. I don’t usually have many meetings on Friday but last Friday was an exception. I ended up with five meetings that day. During my first meeting the doorbell rang and Jaeger went to answer it. I figured it was a replacement hammock which I had ordered for Julian. However, Jaeger returned with a suspiciously computer-like box and placed it down next to my desk. It was Bree, my Framework laptop, and it sat there taunting me my entire work day. Fortunately, Friday is one of Jaeger’s nights to cook so once I logged off work I started putting my computer together. Work had been a lot that day and I was still a little flustered so I didn’t get proper unboxing pictures. However, I did get a couple of pictures in the in-between stages. I purchased the DIY Framework option so the computer came without the hard drive, memory, keyboard, touchpad, bezel, and ports installed.
An open laptop showing it's internal components. Framework’s instructions were easy to follow and I put it all together and verified I could bring up the Bios right before Jaeger announced supper was ready.

After supper we played Wingspan together. Julian and Jaeger’s mom were a team and Julian kept trying to give her instructions using pseudocode, which didn’t work particularly well. However, point-wise they still ended up solidly in the middle.

Saturday morning I woke up early and nervous because it was Julian’s birthday party day. I went downstairs to make muffins for breakfast and then discovered I had too little sugar for the cakes I was planning to make while the muffins were baking. It was still very early, and everyone else was still in bed, so I rushed to the store to pickup sugar. I got back and mixed up the muffin batter. I went to put the muffins in the oven and discovered that my oven was broken.

So . . . I have a history with this oven. Back in 2021, a couple of months after we moved in, it was Jaeger’s birthday and I baked a cake for him. That went fine. However, after the cake was finished I went to bake the main entree for the evening and discovered the oven was broken. This wasn’t great but we also had a range oven so it wasn’t terrible to have the wall oven broken. I had a repair person come out and he told me it was likely the control board was broken but the oven was old enough we couldn’t get replacement parts for it anymore. However, he said I could send it into some random place on the internet and they could likely repair the board. I delayed for quite a while but eventually sent them in and discovered to my astonishment that it actually fixed the oven. I had two ovens again! However, this last fall, my range oven died and is still dead. I was thinking about replacing it but for complicated reasons it would be pretty expensive and I decided I could live with only having one oven. After all, most people survive perfectly fine with one oven. All that to say, when my wall oven broke Saturday morning, it was a problem.

I contemplated the situation in a mild panic. Clearly I could go to the store and buy a cake but Julian had already specifically requested a strawberry cake with chocolate frosting. I pulled up Consumer Reports and their top rated toaster oven was a Breville Smart Oven it was expensive for a toaster oven but Consumer Reports rated the baking component as “very good”. Miraculously, the specialty cooking store in Santa Cruz actually had one in stock so Jaeger went to pick it up. While he was gone we continued our various birthday preparations. He got back and I started baking the cake in batches. The toaster oven fit a 9″ round cake pan but it obviously would only fit one at a time. That said, I have now baked three cakes in the toaster oven2 and I can confirm that the baking function is very good. The cakes turned out perfectly. While the cakes were cooling, I started putting together the ingredients for the frosting. Then I realized I was out of powdered sugar. I have never had so much trouble making a cake before. I did a last minute pivot to a whipped chocolate ganache topping and finished it minutes before guests arrived.

The party involved a lot of kids, some adults, and a lot of overall chaos. I think it turned out well, aside from Julian having a breakdown at the end, and we all survived.

Everyone departed around 4:00pm which allowed me to squeeze in a little quality computer time with my new laptop. My next task was to install the OS (Ubuntu 22.04 LTS). That went smoothly and I had a functioning computer before I had to go make supper.

As time permits, I’ve continued tinkering with Bree. Overall, I like it. In my opinion, the big screen makes it worth the extra weight but I could definitely see it being too big and bulky for many people. I briefly tested out Sketchup and, unlike my old laptop, it looks like it shouldn’t have any problems running it. I now have all my essential programs installed but will likely continue customizing it for a while. I have the option of either having a numpad or centering the keyboard without a numpad and I’m still testing things out to see which layout I like best. Likewise, it came with the graphics module installed and I want to try it without to see if I prefer the (slightly) smaller size.

Once finish transferring everything from Myfanwy to Bree, I’m going to repurpose Myfanwy to be Julian’s new computer. Julian inherited a very cheap laptop we had original bought for our au pairs to use as a TV for our streaming services. Once our au pairs left, we gave the computer to Julian but it is a very cheap computer and is painfully slow to use. While Myfanwy is old, she still works significantly better than Julian’s current laptop. I’m also planning to switch him from Windows to Linux which will provide more complications from a parental control perspective but I’m tired of dealing with Windows. I have this Friday off, for Cesar Chavez Day3, so I plan to schedule some dedicated tinkering time.

  1. Normally they see patterned blue curtains. My curly hair makes the virtual zoom backgrounds, or blur backgrounds, look weird.
  2. I made two for Julian’s party and then one for Calvin’s birthday today.
  3. This is a state holiday in California but for some reason the kid’s still have school.


5/30/2023 Update:
Jaeger and Calvin and now both testing positive for COVID. So, we gave isolation a shot but clearly didn’t do it quick enough. I guess that goes under lessons learned.

Of the houses we’ve owned, our current one is one of my favorites (probably a toss-up with our Gunbarrel house). However, there’s one feature that has always baffled us. On the ground floor of our house there is a 4th bedroom with an en suite bathroom1. For some reason, this en suite bathroom has an exterior door that takes you to the side of the house. It’s not near the garage or laundry room and isn’t particularly near to where one would put a hot tub. Till this weekend, we could never figure out what you’d use the door for.

Partital view of the bathroom from the bedroom. There is an exterior glass door in the bothroom with a shade covering the window.

Unfortunately, this weekend Julian and I contracted COVID for the first time since the pandemic started. Jaeger and Calvin were both testing negative so we decided that Julian and I should try to isolate. After some thought, we concluded the ground floor bedroom was our best option. It’s primarily Jaeger’s office but doubles as our exercise and guest bedroom. We have a sleeper sofa and the room is big enough we could bring in Julian’s mattress.

Current bedroom setup. The bed part of the sofa has been setup. To the left, on the floor, is Julian's mattress which he is sitting on with his back to the camera. At the foot of the sofa bed is an office desk with two  monitors.  On the opposite bed from the camera is a white dresser with plants sitting on top.

We moved one of our air purifiers right next to the interior door 2 and are keeping the interior door closed. Julian and I enter and exit the room exclusively via the exterior door. I am still going into the main part of the house, primarily the kitchen, but for limited amounts of time and fully masked. We’re taking all our meals outside. The sky has been pretty gray but surprisingly warm.

Outside patio.  There is a square outdoor dining table with two chairs. Julian is in one with his back to us.  Several feet away is a green card table with another two chairs. Jaeger is sitting at this table with his back to us reading his phone. Julian is eating pizza and on that table is also a mug, a book, and a Kleenex box. Underneath the table is a trashcan. On the green card table is another mug.

One of the things this experience is emphasizing to me is how much we underutilized our outdoor spaces. I like interior design so I’ve thought a lot about how various spaces in the house are used and what we can do to optimize their utility. However, I still haven’t figured out how to encourage use of our outdoor spaces. I think if I came up with a plan I could keep an eye out on Craigslist for good furniture. I just haven’t come up with a plan yet.

Overall, we have a pretty nice setup and Julian is loving getting unlimited screen time. Rio seems to be the most unhappy about the whole situation. We discovered when my parents came over that she doesn’t like strangers at all. She mostly stayed upstairs for the brief time they were here and even when she did venture downstairs, she’d run away the instant she saw either of them. After they left, she had one normal night and then Julian and I moved downstairs. She clearly did not approve and spent a significant amount of the night meowing at our door. While the rest of us eat outside, Rio sits by the sliding glass door and mournfully watches us.

Rio, our black cat, sitting on top of a white bookcase filled with cookbooks and surrounded by plants.

I had a really bad cold about a month ago, probably brought home by Julian, which caused me to miss almost a week of work so I’m tired of being sick. However, so far I’m doing pretty well. I’m on Paxlovid and have the weird metallic taste side effect but none of the others3. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling great but still had enough energy to read a couple of books. Today my physical energy is a bit lower than normal, and I have a fair amount of coughing and runny nose, but I think my brain is back to functioning. At the moment, I think I’ll be working tomorrow.

One of the advantages of remote work is, as long as I’m feeling ok, I can work while sick without infecting anyone else. Today Jaeger and I swapped our office setup, with the exception of the monitors and desks, so we’re ready for tomorrow. I have four meetings tomorrow, which isn’t ideal with a kid in the same room, but I expect Minecraft will keep Julian suitably entertained. I’ll also have a great view.

Small three-tiered water fountain in front of a hedge surronded by outdoor plants including a very young persimmon tree and some California poppies.

A little to my surprise, our precautions appear to have paid off, at least so far4. Neither Jaeger nor Calvin have any COVID symptoms and Jaeger just tested negative again today.

  1. According to the permits, this bed/bath is one year newer than the rest of the house.
  2. We own four Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier purchased back in 2019 for wildfire season and I have never regretted their purchase. Normally, we have them running in auto mode but right now all of them are running at full blast in addition to having windows open during the warmer parts of the day.
  3. It turns out a piece of dark chocolate helps mask it.
  4. As a typical teenager, Calvin mainly lives in his room so probably had the least amount of exposure. However, Jaeger slept right next to me the night before I tested positive.

Interesting Times

When this year started we expected that our major event of the year would be Julian’s birth. That did indeed happen. However, a bit more has also happened.

Towards the end of July Jaeger’s employer announced they were going to layoff about 15% of its workforce. Unfortunately, while they announced they were going to do layoffs, they didn’t actually decide who was going to get laid off until September. Thus, we had several months of uncertainty. I do not do well with uncertainty and dealt with the situation by trying to avoid thinking about it. This mostly worked but did leave a little gear in my head spinning without giving it the ability to do anything useful.

A Google recruited contacted Jaeger on the same day layoffs were announced. We’re not sure if it was coincidence or not (they have been contacting him a couple of times a year for a while now). However, possibly mostly to kill time, Jaeger decided to start the Google interview process. The job he was being recruited for was in San Francisco.

September came and Jaeger was told he was getting laid off. While we always knew it was a possibility it was still a bit of a shock. However, his last day wasn’t going to be till January and the severance package was pretty decent. So while it wasn’t the best news it wasn’t a big problem either.

By October Jaeger had progressed to an on-site interview with Google. He survived the interview only to hear they wanted another follow-up interview but could do this one in Boulder.

In November Google offered Jaeger a job. Of course this was exciting but it also meant this stopped being playing and meant we had to actually seriously think about moving our household. There were a number of drawbacks to the proposal. First, our original plan was to move to Asia at the end of the school year. If Jaeger accepted the Google offer this would put that plan on hold for at least two years. Second, San Francisco is fun but also really, really expensive. The Google salary would be extremely generous for most locations in the country but once you adjust for cost of living and taxes, our family will be earning less in San Francisco than we do in Colorado1. However, I did get permission from my employer to telecommute from California so at least I wouldn’t have to go hunting for another job.

Eventually, Jaeger decided to accept the Google offer. He got his current employer to pull in his last day so he’ll finish working at his current employer in December, take a break, and start work at Google in February. The rest of us will move to San Francisco at the end of the school year. I’ve started mapping out plans in my head for how to handle being the sole parent in Colorado. I’m also looking at our house and making a list of everything that needs to be done before it’s ready to go on the market to be sold.

Well, that’s pretty much all the facts. As to how I feel, the answer is complicated.

I’ve always enjoyed moving. I had a great deal of fun moving to different colleges and kept a fantastic spreadsheet that allowed me to graduate on time even though I changed majors and colleges many times. I’ve now been in Colorado for 13 years and am ready to move on. At this point we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff and it makes moving harder. One of the downsides of San Francisco is we’ll probably be living in a much smaller house. However, I’m hoping to use this opportunity to really reduce the amount of useless stuff we have floating around. My biggest fear centers around never living in a big city before. While I do ok with people, I much prefer being surrounded by trees. Even so, I’m relieved that my brain finally has a problem that has been refined enough I can start working on solutions.

In other news, Julian continues to develop. He can now crawl rapidly, stand, and looks like he might be getting ready to walk any day now. He has taken one or two very shaky steps but still has a way to go before he’s actually walking. Of course, Julian is still only 8 months old so he has a lot of time left before we would expect him to walk. Julian has also recently starting playing with solid food. Given Calvin’s extreme slowness in learning how to eat solid foods, I still had to puree foods when Calvin was 1-year-old, I was also expecting Julian to be slow. However, just this week he has started enjoying soft potato, sweet potato, Cheerios, and Asian pear. He hasn’t got the chewing/swallowing thing down completely but is shoveling food enthusiastically into his month.

Unfortunately, Julian still wakes up during the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night by 3 months but Julian still requires at least one bottle, and sometimes two. However, just within this last week he’s finally started eating better during the day so I’m hoping his nighttime eating might taper off soon.

Calvin excels at being a great big brother and is doing well at school. He finally seems to have gotten over the reading hump problem we were having last year and now reads for fun when we find the right (i.e. interesting) books for him.

Overall, it’s been a very exciting year so far and next year will also be full of new experiences for our family.

  1. At least for the first year. Their bonuses and stock do look generous but our family has always preferred to live on the guaranteed base salary and use bonuses for fun stuff but we’re going to need to adjust that somewhat for Google.

Tantra Park, Boulder, CO

Tantra Park was the first park we visited last Sunday. Based on the map I knew the park was tucked away behind the houses but the park sprawls in an odd shape and I wasn’t sure where the playground structure was located. I looked at the satellite image and misidentified a catch basin as the likely spot.


We parked by the tennis courts on W Moorhead Cir and crossed the street to enter via a path. The path curves behind the subdivision houses and marks the beginning of a dramatic elevation increase. As we walked along the path in search of the playground I saw a sign strongly advising against sledding down the hill because it was steep with no flat area to slow down before you hit hard objects. Of course, now that I’m back with internet, I see that Tantra is a very popular sledding hill in winter. Who knew?1 According to Boulder Families the hill can get quite packed. This site gives you a feel for how it looks in winter. While I can see how some parts of the hill may be too steep I think there are probably other sections that are fine.

After meandering along the path we found the playground structure backing up to the east curve of Tantra Park Circle. However, I’m not sure there is a way from the street to get behind the houses. Possibly the tennis courts are as good a place to park as any.


The playground structures are pretty good for such a hidden park. They have equipment for ages 5-122.


Overlooking the 5-12 play area is another area designed for younger kids that includes a play house and bucket swings.


I decided it was time to see what Julian thinks of swings: he approves.


Calvin was excited that Julian is finally doing something he can relate to and joined us on the swings.


If you look really (really) closely you can see Julian’s two brand-new teeth, discovered the prior day.


Beside the younger kid play area there is a covered structure with a picnic table. The picture shows steps from the 5-12 age play area but there is a path curved around the back that allows access to strollers and other wheeled contraptions.


Calvin played briefly with some kids but didn’t spend a lot of time on the larger structure.


Instead, he wanted to show off for Julian.


The playground equipment was mostly fairly traditional with the exception of . . . something I can’t find the name for. Basically it’s a raised flexible tube, with springs in the middle, that kids can jump on while hanging on to poles. It looks pedestrian when only one kid is on it but if you get multiple kids it can get quite bouncy.


Both Calvin and Julian had lots of fun at this playground and if we’re around for winter we’ll need to come back and see if we can do some safe tobogganing.


Features 5-12 playground equipment, curved slide, bridge, ladder, corkscrew climber, driving wheels panel, spiral slide, money bars, tube bouncer, tire swing, bucket swings, moving maze panel, 2-5 year old play structure (mainly house but also a sand tube oddly positioned no where near sand)
Surface Material Small gravel for the larger play area and poured rubber for the younger area
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Small shelter plus trees to the side of the playground
Picnic area Yes, one in covered shelter.
Parking Street parking – Parking across from the tennis courts on W Moorhead Cir about as good a chance as any.
  • Apparently a fairly popular sledding hill
  • Very long hike if you need a restroom in a hurry. Not for those being potty trained.

View Random Parks and Playgrounds in a larger map

  1. Actually, given my husband grew up here, I expected him to know but possibly it’s too far south for him to think it worth mentioning.
  2. Whenever I say “5-12” you realize I’m just quoting the official ages, right? My son was ready for the 5-12 equipment by 3 at the latest.

Summer Update

I was looking at my recent blog entries and noticed that, other than our feeding drama, I haven’t talked about life with a second child.

I don’t have postpartum depression this time. This makes a huge difference in all aspects of my life and how I relate to my children. I can’t even begin to describe the difference. I spent the first month after Julian was born thinking he was an easy baby. We had feeding issues but I wasn’t as obsessed with feeding Julian The One True Way and so was able to focus on nutrition over dogma. Having lived with Julian for four months I now believe that Julian isn’t what most people would consider an easy baby. However, he’s less intense than Calvin was, and we’re more experienced, so he’s easier for us.

The first couple of months after Julian was born I put myself on a very strict schedule. My order of priority was:

  1. eat
  2. sleep
  3. shower
  4. everything else

Julian would wake up for the day between 7:00-9:00am. I’d feed him when he woke up and then start down my to-do list until Julian was ready to nap. Usually I had time to eat before Julian had his first nap. Sometimes I showered. However, as soon as Julian napped, I religiously rested. I didn’t always sleep but I always laid down1. Then Julian would wake up, I would feed him, and we’d repeat until night time. Initially, it looked like Julian was going to sleep through the night2 quickly. However, Julian learned to wake up every 2-5 hours because the pediatricians told me I had to wake Julian up every 4-5 hours until he regained his birth weight.

I planned on twelve weeks of maternity leave. I was very fortunate to have enough sick/vacation combo that I could cover it all at 100% of my normal pay3. At four weeks postpartum everything seemed incredibly easy and I was getting bored. I took the opportunity to catch up on all my work email and started wondering if I could go back to work early. Then, all of a sudden, Julian started screaming unconsolably most evenings for an hour or so. Other things must have changed also, though I can’t put my finger on anything in particular, and all of a sudden I did not have the time or energy to go back to work early. The screaming tapered down a bit around six weeks but Julian was still on the fussy side.

At Julian’s two-month appointment I learned that he had a milk protein allergy. This meant we got to switch from regular formula to expensive formula. I’m not sure if Julian’s fussiness was related to the milk protein allergy or not. I didn’t see an instant improvement when we switched formulas. However, Julian hated the formula and possibly wasn’t drinking as much as he really needed. At around 3 1/2 months we switched to a different hypoallergenic formula which Julian obviously preferred and his intake doubled overnight.

At the beginning of June Calvin, Julian, and I flew to Washington state to visit my parents. Jaeger and I believe that one reason Calvin is such a good flier is because we started him early. So, of course, it was important to start Julian early also. I create all our packing lists on our personal wiki and so I was able to pull up my packing list from when Calvin was the same age. I was astonished to see that at the same age Calvin had been drinking six ounces of formula while Julian was only drinking two. This wasn’t because I was making more breastmilk this time, Julian was just eating less food.

We left for the airport with plenty of time and breezed through security only to learn that our flight was delayed. One of the flight attendants gave Julian a first flight certificate. The flight went well other than our plane being delayed and Calvin and I having a disagreement over whether our supper had been lunch. Julian slept most of it and I don’t think he cried at all once we were on the plane.

We got to my parents’ house a bit after midnight and I was horrified to discover that the first couple clothing layers in our luggage were soaking wet. This included Julian’s sleep sack. I’ve had planes delayed by weather before and sometimes the outside of the luggage has been damp but never the inside. Fortunately, the baby monitor survived unscathed4. A couple of days after we arrived my parents took us to the beach for several days. Calvin had a lot of fun but I mostly stayed inside the rented house because Julian did not approve of the wind. Still, I find coasts on the northwest very invigorating.

The following Monday I started work. We were going to have an au pair come from China to watch Julian but she wasn’t scheduled to arrived till late July so Jaeger’s mom watched Julian. I was really excited to get back to work but also nervous. I was worried because I had a hard time after Calvin was born being productive at work. I think it was different this time because 1) I was getting more sleep 2) I didn’t have to rush Julian to daycare before I could work and 3) I worked in the morning instead of the afternoon.

At about 3 1/2 months my mom came out to watch Julian. Julian continued to reject the first hypoallergenic formula. In fact, it had gotten worse since I started working because he started getting some breastmilk in a bottle. Easy delivery plus better taste must have made him decide he had no need for the icky formula. I was at my wits end because I wasn’t producing nearly enough to exclusively feed him breastmilk and Julian was getting crankier. I called the doctor’s office and they suggested I try a different hypoallergenic formula. I was dubious because it seemed, on the internet, that everyone preferred his first formula. However, Julian definitely preferred the second formula over the first. In fact, all the adults also agreed the second formula tasted better (yes, I tasted it, I wanted to know what I was giving him). Immediately Julian doubled his formula intake. I hadn’t realized until that point how much his feeding had been stressing me out. I was emotionally so much better than I had been with Calvin that I hadn’t really noticed the stress points that still existed.

Breastfeeding had been getting progressively harder. It had gotten to the point where Julian would only eat well at night when he wasn’t very awake. Since I now felt Julian was getting enough food from formula, I decided it was time to start cutting down on the breastfeeding. I did it very slowly as when I stopped pumping for Calvin I got mastitis. This time I was much more careful. Eventually I was down to only a couple of times a night, mainly as an enhanced pacifier, while we waited for the formula to warm up5.

Also at about 3 1/2 mounths Julian’s sleep deterioted noticably. He was having a very hard time napping during the day and also started waking up every 2-3 hours to feed. I was hoping that getting adequate amounts of food would allow him to start sleeping through the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night, a solid 8+ hours, by 3 months. However, more food didn’t seem to increase Julian’s night-time sleeping. Julian is now back to sleeping every 3-4 hours, which is a great improvement, but not where I’d like him to be yet.

Typcial schedule at almost five months:

  • 6:00-7:00pm – Julian goes to sleep
  • 9:30-10:30pm – Julian wakes up for first feeding
  • 12:30-3:30pm – Julian wakes up for second feeding (if I’m very unlucky he’ll stay awake an hour or two before sleeping again but this only happens a couple of times a week)
  • 4:30am – Julian wakes up again. I transfer him to the rocking chair and feed him, if needed, then both of us doze for the rest of the night
  • 6:30-7:30am – Julian wakes up (next week, when school starts, I’m going to have to start getting up at 6:30 so Julian will probably also)
  • Upon waking up, feed Julian his first morning bottle
  • Julian usually eats every 3-4 hours during the day and sleeps every 2-3 hours (though anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours, usually on the shorter side).
  • Rinse and repeat

As long as I fall asleep by 9pm every night I usually get enough sleep. Naturally, Julian’s worst night are usually correlated with me cheating and going to bed late.

Our Chinese au pair was suppose to arrive at the end of July but two days before she was suppose to leave China we got a message that she had fainted and was having major surgery at the hospital. She wasn’t going to be able to come on time. Jaeger and I discussed it and decided that a recovery for that major of a situation probably meant that we needed to go ahead and find another au pair immediately. Jaeger’s mother was having surgery on her hand and would be unable to take care of Julian past the original dates we had agreed upon. Some frantic searching passed and we found an au pair that needed to transition from her initial host family due to personality and lifestyle differences (she’s vegan). We looked at her profile and thought she looked like she’d work out. She’s now been with us for about a month and so far it has worked out very well. She’s very good with Julian, which was my number one requirement, and being vegan her diet is also compatible with ours.

Next week Calvin will start 1st grade which will add different complications to our schedule. I think he’s also going to be joining cub scouts because one of his good friends will be in it so that too will be a new experience for us.

Speaking of Calvin . . . Calvin is doing incredibly well with Julian. Sometimes when Julian is screaming, and I’m not immediately available, Calvin will try to put the pacifier in or hand him a toy to play with. I decided not to put Calvin in any summer camp or daycare. I had some idea of making him read to me every day as well as doing a bit of math. That fell through once I went back to work. Calvin has spent most of the summer listening to audiobooks while playing with Legos. Right now he’s listening to The Odyssey6. I’m sure this books is too mature for him. However, I was so tired of loading multiple books every single day. At least The Odyssey is long enough he’s been listening to it for multiple days7. I do try to push him outside at least once a day and he does enjoy playing in the sandbox and watering everything but the plants. Summer hasn’t been a particularly stimulating experience for him. However, I think this may actually be a good thing because he’s looking forward to starting school. This would be a major advantage over last year when he went from a play-based preschool to a more classical oriented and traditionally structured kindergarten.

My biggest aggravation at the moment is my lack of reading time. I’ve listened to a ton of books but have read less than five since Julian was born. I love listening to audiobooks but it’s a different experience than reading them8. I have finished two books in the last week so maybe I’m slowly ramping up again.

All things considered, I don’t find the second infant experience nearly as demoralizing as the first. It helps that I can look at Calvin and know that some day Julian will sleep through the night and I won’t have to choose between reading and sleeping.

  1. Unless I needed to eat and then I stuffed some trail mix in my mouth before lying down.
  2. For the record, I consider this 8 hours. Possibly medically inaccurate but Calvin slept 8+ hours very quickly so I naively assumed Julian would also.
  3. My work also offers short-term disability for maternity leave but I think you only get 2/3 your regular paycheck. Definitely better than nothing but 100% is best :)
  4. For the return trip I zip-locked everything and of course nothing got wet.
  5. The second hypoallergenic formula is edible, which is a big plus. However, it’s also very lumpy when made with room temperature water.
  6. Translated by Robert Fagles and narrated by Sir Ian McKellan.
  7. This is also deepening my suspician that he’ll listen to just about anything.
  8. Though, for the record, I think listening to audiobooks is just as legit as reading the book. It’s just one can multi-task with an audiobook and reading a book requires some time when things are relatively calm

Breastfeeding: The Sequel

***Potential TMI warning***
(Parts of this have already been mentioned in prior posts but this one goes into the nitty gritty a bit more.)

Breastfeeding with Calvin was a debacle. He never learned to suck properly and I pumped so much, sleeping so little, I became suicidal. Even then, I never produced enough milk to fully feed him. I was determined that with Julian I would try to breastfeed but would prioritize my sanity above feeding method.

Like last time I researched breastfeeding but this time I took a different slant in my research. Before I was even pregnant I found a therapist and started meeting with her. I wanted to make sure I had a solid mental/emotional state throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. At Thanksgiving time I met with a lactation consultant to talk about the problems I’d had last time as well as figure out the best way to start this time. The lactation consultant came up with a “plan”. I like plans. Plans make me happy. In addition, I read Breastfeeding Made Simple, which my lactation consultant had recommended, and Guilt-Free Bottle Feeding.

Breastfeeding Made Simple had good information in it. However, I had read so many books last time that I don’t think I learned anything new from it. I was hoping that Guilt-Free Bottle Feeding would offer suggestions on proper bottle-feeding technique. In that regard, it didn’t work. However, I found its attitude toward bottle feeding very helpful and bought it just for emotional support.

Last time, because Calvin couldn’t suck, I spent a lot of time pumping. Looking back at that experience I felt like I traded bonding for pumping time. It’s really hard to sit and cuddle your child when you’re attached to a pump. As a result, I decided this time I would either breastfeed or formula feed. I wouldn’t pump.

Even though I decided not to primarily pump I wanted a pump to help with possible engorgement as well as when I might skip feedings. I looked at the pumps that my healthcare insurance were offering and didn’t feel inspired by any of them1 Eventually, I just bought a Spectra S2 off Amazon. Many reviewers compared it favorably to the Medela Symphony and it was very reasonably priced.

Julian was born via a planned c-section at 40 weeks and 6 days. It was wonderful having a planned c-section vs going into labor and then a c-section. I felt a lot more awake and able to enjoy having a new baby. Julian was fairly large at 10 lbs 6 oz. Unlike Longmont, BCH allowed Julian to start nursing as soon as I was in the recovery room instead of insisting on getting the results of his blood sugar test results first. Not surprisingly, Julian, just like Calvin, really liked nursing.

The first day went pretty well. Julian tried breastfeeding frequently and while it wasn’t comfortable it wasn’t excruciating either. He kept passing his blood sugar tests. On the second day I saw a lactation consultant who looked at Julian’s latch and said it looked fairly good, though she offered some suggestions to make it better. In the middle of his second day we had a complication. Julian didn’t pass his oxygen test. This could mean a number of things, including a heart defect. Julian was transferred to the NICU and two hours of tests followed. He had to stay on his back in the same position the entire time. He spent most of that time sucking on my little finger which kept him a little calmer than he would have otherwise. After all the tests were done he wanted to breastfeed. He seemed pretty traumatized by all the testing so I let him suckle for 3-4 hours without a break. In retrospect, I probably should have asked for a pacifier but I didn’t think of it at the time.

That evening, my left nipple was bloody. I stopped feeding on that side and instead just fed on my right side. Of course, that was putting extra stress on my right nipple and it was starting to look dodgy. I started supplementing to put less stress on my right nipple.

The third day I saw the lactation consultant again and she suggested I start pumping to try to get my milk supply to come in sooner. In addition, she told me to ask my doctor for APN ointment for my nipples. I did pump, though somewhat reluctantly as my nipples were still incredibly sore. In the afternoon they weighed Julian and noted he had lost 7% of his birth weight and they would have suggested I start pumping if I hadn’t already. In any case, I kept breastfeeding him and then would supplement with donor breast milk that the hospital provided.

Some people claim that bottle fed infants tend to me more obese than breastfed infants because the caregiver unconsciously try to get the child to finish the bottle, even if the child isn’t hungry enough to finish. With Calvin, I was very careful to watch and never force him to eat more than he wanted. However, I discovered with the donor breast milk I was much less likely to want to “waste” the milk. I remembered pumping for Calvin last time and every mL of milk I got was precious. “Wasting” the breast milk was almost like sacrilege. Finally one of Julian’s nurses pointed out to me that the women who donated breast milk had plenty and it was ok to not finish the bottle.

During one of the lactation visits, I don’t remember which, the lactation consultant suggested I try using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to feed Julian. Before having Julian I had decided I wouldn’t try an SNS this time. I tried it with Calvin and it was a disaster. It didn’t do anything except make both of us upset. Because of this, I was prepared to dismiss the suggestion out of hand. Then I realized that Julian’s issues were different than Calvin’s. While Julian’s latch wasn’t prefect, he was sucking. I decided to give it a shot and found, to my surprise, that it worked pretty well.

Julian regained a little weight before checking out of he hospital on the 4th day but wasn’t up to birth weight. Upon discharge the hospital pediatrician told me that I needed to make sure to wake him up at least every four hours at night to feed. This was a little aggravating because he was sleeping so well and it seemed wrong to wake up a sleeping baby. We stopped by the hospital pharmacy to rent a Symphony. While I already had a breast pump at home, I wanted to be able to pump without thinking about it too much (since I used the Symphony for Calvin I could pretty much use it in my sleep). When we got home we started supplementing with formula since the donor milk was no longer “free.”

We had scheduled Julian’s first office visit for two days after discharge because at the time we weren’t sure if he was going to be coming home on oxygen or not. It turns out he didn’t need oxygen. His normal pediatrician wasn’t available so we saw one of the other doctors in the group. She said he was looking good but to continue waking him up every 4-5 hours to eat and schedule a weight check with his normal doctor in a week.

Even though I was determined ahead of time not to worry if I couldn’t breastfeed, I got a little depressed Saturday. This provided enough push for me to overcome my dislike of phones to call the lactation consultant and setup an appointment on Monday.

I noticed the SNS I was using seemed to be getting clogged. The lactation consultant at the hospital had given us an SNS that was meant to be used for longer term but I didn’t like it. On Monday Jaeger and I wandered down to Westminster to a breastfeeding shop that had the SNS that I liked. While there, we learned the one that I liked wasn’t suppose to be used for more than a couple of days but we got another one anyway. After buying the SNS I needed to feed Julian so we drove to a shaded spot in the parking lot and I breastfed Julian in the backseat. Weirdly, the latch that we had been struggling with just seemed to work.

We picked up Calvin from school and then got to the house just a bit after the lactation consultant arrived. She started by weighing Julian. Then she examined his mouth and noted that he had a high palate and a slight upper lip tie but other than that seemed fine. She watched him feed but it was nap time so he wasn’t very enthusiastic. She ended by coming up with a plan to try to boost my milk supply and suggested I ask my OB to check my thyroid and prolactin levels.

It was either Monday evening or Tuesday when I decided to stop using the SNS. It seemed to me that Julian’s latch was worse when we tried to use it and I felt that the more comfortable I was while feeding the more likely I would continue the attempt. I pumped some after each feeding for a bit. However, when Jaeger went back to work I stopped because I did not feel I could give Julian enough attention while I was pumping.

My thyroid and prolactin levels came back and were within the expected range for a breastfeeding woman.

Early the following week we went to Julian’s weight check. The doctor briefly checked him out and said he looked great but also mentioned he should be back to birth weight by that point. So, he also said we had to keep waking Julian up every 5 hours at night.

At this point I was breastfeeding Julian every 2-3 hrs during the day for 15 minutes each side and then, if he wasn’t falling asleep, offering him a bottle which he would often drink anywhere from 1/2 oz to 2 oz.

I went to the BCH breastfeeding club that Friday and weighed Julian and he hadn’t gained any weight since the doctor visit 4 days earlier. Our lactation consultant was concerned and said we should talk to the pediatrician again. We scheduled a weight check for the next week. By that point, he’d gained a couple of ounces so the doctor said to keep doing what I was and to come in the following week for another weight check. About a month after Julian was born he reached his birth weight again. Finally they told me I could stop waking Julian up in the night. Except, at this point he appeared to have gotten use to waking up and tended to wake up every 3-4 hours.

I returned the Symphony and experimented a bit with the Spectra S2 pump. While the actual pump was fine, I preferred how the Medela flanges worked. I used some of the extra parts I had and converted my Spectra to use Medela parts. After using it with the Medela parts, I agreed with the other reviews that it works as well as the Symphony. For a while I was pumping after a couple of feedings during the day and then an extra pumping session right before I went to bed. Based on both weight at the breastfeeding club at BCH and my pumping output I figured out I was producing between 1 1/2 to 2 oz every 3-4 hours. Like last time my right breast got slightly over 1 oz while my left breast got slightly under.

I reviewed what breast pumps my insurance would pay for and decided to order the Spectra 9 Plus Advanced through one of their suppliers. The advantage of this version is it could run on batteries. It also used the same parts as the S2 so the modifications I made to use Medela parts would work with it also. I was impressed when it arrived. It was very portable. I could slip the pump into my robe, put on my pumping bra 2, and do things around the house while Julian slept.

Unfortunately, after about a week of pretty steady pumping my nipples felt overworked. They weren’t getting enough break between feedings and were getting sorer and sorer. Regretfully, I cut out the pumping except when I missed a feeding for some reason.

At two months I was still feeding Julian 10-15 minutes each side and then supplementing with a bottle after most feedings. Breastfeeding was still quite uncomfortable. In addition to being uncomfortable, I was experiencing nausea when my milk first let down. My mother-in-law talked about how when she was feeding Bethany, she would have her arm around Jaeger and read stories to him. I tried that with Calvin but it was incredibly difficult for me. I really, really hate being touched when breastfeeding. I also don’t like being talked to or being expected to talk back. Basically, breastfeeding is like labor for me. I have to sit and concentrate until the experience is over each time.

I was talking to my therapist about how I was feeling guilty for snapping at Calvin when he asked quesitons while I breastfed. She asked me whether I felt better when I breastfed or bottle fed Julian. I told her bottle feeding was usually more relaxing. She then asked me what I hoped to gain from breastfeeding since it didn’t appear to help with my bonding and I couldn’t really answer her. Since I had to supplement, it isn’t any more convenient than straight bottle feeding. In fact, it’s less convenient. It was marginally cheaper since we weren’t exclusively using formula, but not a huge amount. I don’t put much stock in many of the other claimed benefits of breastfeeding. Calvin is remarkably healthy, has never had a single earache, and is quite bright.

Eventually, I decided that my biggest reason to consider breastfeeding was passing on antibodies. Most of the other benefits were negligible once you consider all the benefits Julian is already going to get because of his genetics and socioeconomic environment. I wasn’t sure that antibodies by themselves was a good enough reason to keep breastfeeding. I decided to talk to Julian’s doctor about it at his two-month checkup.

Julian’s two-month checkup was on June 1. About a half hour before Julian’s appointment I took him upstairs to change into a clean diaper before we left. To my surprise, I found blood in his diaper. There wasn’t a great deal, just a few strands intermixed with his poop but it was definitely blood. I confirmed it wasn’t from any sort of diaper rash or other skin cut. I was quite thankful we were already heading for the doctor. I took a picture with my phone and then packaged the diaper to take with us.

When we got to the doctor’s office he got his weight, length, and head circumference taken. Weight was 40th percentile (remember he started at 99th), length was 50%, and head circumference was 90%. Overall the doctor said he looked like he was in excellent health and everything looked fine. Then, we discussed Julian’s diaper. The pediatrician said this was most commonly from a milk protein allergy. He said I should cut all dairy out of my diet and change his formula to a hypoallergenic formula.

The pediatrician gave me a small can of Nutramigen. Since Target is right on the way home, I stopped and got a bigger can so we wouldn’t have to go back to the store as quickly. Not surprisingly the specialized formula is more expensive. It costs about 80% more per ounce than the regular brand name formula.

Julian hated the new formula. Jaeger was able to feed Julian some formula that evening. However, for the next two days he wouldn’t eat any formula. I started to think that maybe Julian didn’t need supplementation. Except he kept getting crankier and crankier even though I reverted to breastfeeding every two hours, the minimum period I could handle. Finally, after about 48 hours of trying, he took the bottle again. He finally ate and was much happier. Julian still doesn’t eat the new formula particularly well but he no longer outright refuses it.

While I had been seriously considering stopping breastfeeding, I’ve temporarily reconsidered, at least for now. While we luckily can afford it, the new formula is much more expensive. Also, while I really appreciate formula exists, food is really important to me. I have a hard time only giving Julian food that I think tastes terrible. While the formula certainly provides the nutrition Julian needs, he obviously enjoys the breast milk more.

I was originally hoping I could breastfeed while working. However, that isn’t going to happen. Both Julian and I have to be completely concentrating on breastfeeding to make it work. Instead, I will pump which I can do while I keep working.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep breastfeeding. However, I think I can make it work, without too many trade-offs, for a little while longer.

  1. Last time I’d never used consumer-grade pumps, only hospital grade pumps so I didn’t have any prior experience to draw on. In addition, my insurance company said they had researched and found no benefit to hospital grade pumps over consumer grade pumps so wouldn’t pay for a rental. I don’t know if I had pushed if they would have backed off this stance or not.
  2. A cheap Walmart nursing bra with holes cut in the middle for the flanges

NICU Drama

My recovery after the c-section continued to go well. By that evening I had stood up for a couple of minutes.

The following morning the pediatrician showed up bright and early at 6:30am to check Julian out. He heard a slight heart murmur but noted this was fairly common with newborns and fixes itself within a day or two. By mid-morning I was walking and able to get my catheter and all remaining tubes and monitors taken off. The nurse had suggested I walk around a little more so around lunch time Jaeger, my mom, Julian, and I all took an excursion to the outside balcony. The weather and view was spectacular.

As part of standard procedure, the hospital wanted to run a battery of tests on Julian to make sure he was doing well. Jaeger and I stayed out on the courtyard and mom took him back to his screenings. When Jaeger and I arrived back at the room we discovered Julian had failed his pulse oximetry screening. This screening is used to catch congenital heart defects.

BCH has a nurse practitioner onsite from Children’s Hospital that rotate in 24 hr shifts1. The on-call pediatrician had our nurse consult with her and they decided to repeat the test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. The nurse practicioner also listened and heard a faint murmor. To do the pulse oximetry screening, they hooked up one probe on Julian’s right hand and one on his left foot. The hospital was looking for both to be about the same level and also for them to be in the mid 90s range. Julian also failed the repeat.

Thinking that possibly he just had a stuffed up nose, they got out an industrial suction device and tried to suction out his nose. It did extract some mucus and they were hopeful that was possibly the culprit. For a bit it looked like he was going to pass the screening but after a while they concluded he was still failing.

This changed everything. All of a sudden we were moved from our standard recovery room to a “special care nursery” suite. The move was surreal. I had researched BCH’s NICU prior to picking the hospital because I half expected to end up there due to preterm labor. BCH’s NICU setup is very nice as each suite contains a private room for the baby and an adjacent room for the parents to stay. The parent’s room has two doors, one to the outside hall and one directly to the private nursery. The nursery also has a door to the hallway.

Mom and Jaeger worked to pack up our stuff from our first room and I went with Julian to the special care nursery where they immediately put an oxygen hood on him and started doing all sorts of tests. Julian was not pleased. The echocardiogram took the longest but he also had an x-ray and many blood-test related pokes. It took about 2 hours for them to do all the testing. During most of it I stayed by his bed, let him suck my little finger, and babbled incoherently to him trying to keep him calm. The surrounding medical staff got to here all sorts of things about our family while I was desperately trying to come up with subjects to talk about.

After all the tests were done I sat in the in-room recliner/rocker and they gave Julian back to me to nurse. This time Julian had 3 ECG probes, a probe to monitor his oxygen, and then oxygen to breath from. At one point they briefly contemplated putting an IV in his umbilical cord but one of the nurses suggested we first try breastfeeding and move to the IV if it looked like he needed additional nutrition. As it was, all the cords were a horrendous tangle to try to keep straight. Not surprising, Julian wasn’t excited by any of this and tried to breastfeed for about 3 hours straight. Unfortunately, his latch wasn’t great and I didn’t shift him from side-to-side as much as I should have due to all the tethers he had attached.

During the afternoon results started trickling in from the various tests. The cardiologists down at Children’s Hospital had reviewed his echocardiogram and pronounced his heart normal. The x-ray showed some fluid in his lungs which hospital staff believed was probably the results of him not getting properly wrung-out during his c-section delivery. Ever since Jaeger has been threatening to invent a wringer for c-section babies.

In any case, the pediatrician wanted him to remain on oxygen until the pulse oximeter consistently showed him in the mid-90s. So, our remaining days at BCH were in the “special care nursery” section of the postpartum wing.

That evening as I was nursing Julian my left nipple started bleeding. The shenanigans in the afternoon had been too much for it. We started supplementing what Julian was getting from me with donor breastmilk from a bottle to give him more milk and give my nipples a bit of a break.

Since Julian was in his own nursery instead of right by our bed it was trickier to get up to feed him. Our first night in the NICU suite Jaeger would hop up and determine why Julian was crying. If it was a feeding issue, he’d come get me and help me out of bed, otherwise he took care of it himself. It was very helpful to be able to lay back and wait to see if I was needed.

Standing for two hours my 2nd-day post c-section turned out to have been a bit much for me. My feet ended up dreadfully swollen. My last c-section I had mainly used ibuprofen but I did end up taking Norco once a night for a couple of days. I was still doing really well recovering but physically it was a bit slower than last time due to the additional strain I had been putting on my body. In spite all all of this, I still felt much more clear-headed and more optimistic than I had the first time.

Other than the initial stress, the NICU experience was really good. While it is appalling to see all the monitors attached to such a little baby, there was also the comfort of knowing that everyone will know as soon as something goes wrong. The nurses were obviously very experienced and were a lot of help.

While at BCH I saw a lactation consultant every day. With Calvin I had tried a supplemental nursing system (SNS) and absolutely hated it. As a result, I was pretty resistant to trying it with Julian. In fact, on my birth preferences document I explicitly stated I did not want to use a SNS. However, on the third day when a nurse suggested I try the SNS I took a moment to reconsider. My feeding experience with Calvin was a disaster in every respect. However, even though something wasn’t quite right with Julian’s feeding, he was sucking correctly. So, I agreed to give it a shot. The nurse called the lactation consultant and we set it up. It turns out the whole thing works much better with a baby that knows how to suck.

My recovery continued to be excellent. My OB said I would likely be discharged on Thursday. We could stay in our hospital room as long as our baby stayed in the NICU. However, the pediatrician said he’d probably discharge Julian the same time I was and just send him home with his own little tank of oxygen.

On our third night Julian screamed in the middle of the night for about 2 hours. It’s unclear exactly why. However, the upside is it appears to have cleared out his lungs. That night the nurse was able to wean him off oxygen. In fact, when I woke up, his oxygen was detached. I thought it was a mistake till I saw there was a note that the NICU nurses were running a test to see how he did without any oxygen. This time he passed.

The pediatrician stopped by and cleared Julian to take home without oxygen!! The whole discharge process took longer than I expected but finally, on April 2, we were able to bring Julian home!

Julian is now nine days old and continues to do really well. Breastfeeding has been a bit challenging but nowhere near the scale that it was for Calvin. Julian has been sleeping exceptionally well and at the moment all members of our family appear to be sane.

Photos related to Julian.

  1. They have a little room with a bed and TV when they aren’t needed.

Julian’s Birth Story

From Jaeger’s announcement:

Julian Elliot Stone Logan was born at 08:55 MDT this morning. He was 10 pounds, 6 ounces. (That’s 4700 grams, for those interested in metric units.) He’s 21.5 inches long, and his head measured 15 inches. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9. Big brother Calvin is excited, though not quite sure what to make of his infant sibling.

Selected photos are posted here.

Same disclaimer as with Calvin’s Birth: Below is the story of my perception of Julian’s birth. What I remember and what actually happened may not be the same thing. In addition, you may learn more than you ever really wanted to know about me in which case you probably shouldn’’t continue reading :-)

The Pregnancy
My pregnancy with Julian was delightfully uneventful. Off the top of her head, my original OB gave 30% odds that I would have repeat preterm issues1. As my therapist would like me to remember that actually meant there was a 70% chance everything would go normal. I decided the one thing I could do to better my odds was to reduce as much stress in my life as possible. Starting in November I dropped everything that wasn’t strictly work or home related. In addition, I saw a therapist biweekly, and aimed to go to weekly prenatal yoga and prenatal water aerobic classes. While the exercise was no doubt good, I think most of the benefit came from being able to interact with other pregnant woman.

One reason I changed hospitals/OBs for my pregnancy with Julian was because I wanted the option to attempt a VBAC2. My previous c-section went really well but I strongly disliked having to commit to a c-section at the beginning of my pregnancy. Given Calvin’s birth weight, 8 lbs 15 oz, and prior ultra sounds we expected Julian to be large but I didn’t necessarily think that ruled out a VBAC and my OB seemed to think it could be feasible. However, at our 33 week appointment we learned that he was breech. I was not terribly surprised as at my dentist appointment the prior week I felt him “detach” when they leaned me back in the chair3. Thus, unless he swapped places again, I would have a scheduled c-section.

Our next appointment was suppose to be week 36 but Jaeger had to travel for work (during which time I really hoped Julian wouldn’t decide to come early). As a result, my next appointment wasn’t till week 37. At week 37 we learned that he was back in head down position (yay!) and I was dilated 4 cm and 60-70% effaced. My OB seemed dubious when I told her I was walking around at 5cm with Calvin for about a month. However, everything looked good so we decided to go ahead and hire a doula. This was rather late notice but we were very fortunate to be able to find someone quickly.

Week 38 I was at 5 cm and 70% effaced. No baby.

Week 39. Still 5 cm. No baby. I think Jaeger and I were less surprised than the OB. We started talking about what would happen if Julian wouldn’t come on his own. Because of my prior c-section my OB wouldn’t have used pitocin in any case but I didn’t want my water broken either. My instinct said that if he wasn’t coming on his own there was a reason and I felt inducing would likely end up in the same situation as Calvin: a fairly quick labor, a fair amount of pushing, and a c-section in the end. This feeling was so strong that I hadn’t really bothered to run it by my OB and only belatedly realized I probably should. However, while I’m not sure she 100% agree with me she did say it was possible he was having trouble dropping due to head size. In any case, we decided to hope he’d come on his own but schedule a c-section for 40 weeks and 6 days4.

Week 40. Still 5 cm. Still hadn’t dropped. No baby. My OB was on vacation so a partner checked me and seemed surprised to agree I was at 5 cm. I signed the c-section consent form and was dismayed to learn we were the first of the day, at 7:30am and needed to show up by 5:30am. Jaeger and I are not morning people. I was also dismayed to learn that not only was I not to eat for 8 hours ahead of time (I expected that) but neither was I suppose to drink anything, including water.

Sunday, the day before the scheduled c-section, we talked with our doula and discussed how she could help support us during the c-section.

Julian’s Birth Day
Jaeger and I woke up bright and early on March 30, 2015. We groggily showered (I wasn’t sure when I’d get another) and made our way to the hospital. Our doula was already there waiting for us.

I wasn’t sure why we needed to be at the hospital 2 hours early. It turns out that when a c-section is scheduled, they do a much more leisurely prep. We were immediately shown to the PACU. I got into one of the lovely hospital gowns, laid on the bed, and prepared to be prepped. They started out by monitoring Julian to double check he was still moving and his heartbeat was good. The nurse noted it looked like I was having contractions which I tried to explain didn’t actually mean anything in my case. Then she worked on inserting my hep lock (or something similar) and complained I was very dehydrated and apologized profusely that she was having trouble finding a vein. I was not entirely sure what they expected given I was told not to drink water for 6 hours. Various other things were done and paperwork filled out. Jaeger and our doula took pictures throughout.

7:30 arrived and my OB showed up. She had been on vacation the previous week and expressed surprise that I hadn’t gone into labor on my own already. The c-section was suppose to start at 7:30 but the anesthesiologist had been called away by another mother that needed an epidural. A bit after 8:00am the anesthesiologist arrived. I was hustled into the OR. Lots of things were done including giving me my spinal. Unlike last time I didn’t go from pain to non-pain so did not actually giggle my way through the surgery.

I was hoping our doula would be able to come in with us and take pictures but it sounds like the anesthesiologists, as a group, were cracking down on individuals that were allowing more than 1 support person in the room at a time. So, our doula instead stood just outside the door and snapped pictures through the window.

I really wanted to watch the c-section. Our doula had mentioned some hospitals had switched to clear drapes separating the sterile/non-sterile side which sounded great to me. However, the heated air mattress-like device they had on top of me, to keep me warm, would have obstructed my view a fair amount anyway. As it was I could kind of watch parts of it in the lit picture of aspens on the ceiling. Though, the instruments showed up better than anything else which wasn’t the part I was particularly interested in.

As my OB started she asked if I had any guesses how big Julian was going to be. I told her I was confident he was at least 9 lbs and she agreed. Julian was born at 8:55am and weighed 10 lbs and 6oz. The medical staff seemed quite impressed with his size. I think I was less surprised than they were. At least, my ribs had been convinced he was a fair bit larger than Calvin. Julian was taking to the warming table and his basic health was reviewed. His apgar scores were 8 and 9.

It was at this point in the birth that my experience compared with Calvin’s c-section started diverging dramatically. Prior to the c-section they had me put a semi-disposable tube top on. The theory was that if the baby fit he would be nestled between my breasts underneath the tube top. I was extremely skeptical that Julian would fit and hadn’t heard what would happen if he didn’t. After the initial evaluation, which took about 10 minutes, a nurse came over, looked at my tube top and verified that Julian wasn’t going to fit. However, this was apparently easily solved by cutting my tube top off and bringing Julian over and placed on my chest with a blanket on top both of us. I can’t remember exactly how long they left him there but it was a good amount of time.

Once I got stitched up they moved us back to the PACU/post-op room. Julian was large for his gestational age so they wanted to do a blood sugar test. At Longmont they wouldn’t let Calvin eat before his test and I was a bit worried about this. When I asked the Boulder nurse if the same thing would happen this time she looked at me like I was crazy and said they took the test after he first breastfed. Like Calvin, Julian’s latching wasn’t particularly comfortable but unlike Calvin he did seem to suck rather than chew. Julian passed his blood sugar test without any problem.

At around 11:00 am we were moved from post-op to our recovery room. Most of the recovery rooms have queen beds but we had been told that women recovering from a c-section often preferred the single beds (with couch for partner) because they had more positioning options. Jaeger and I had discussed this and agreed that for our case we’d still prefer the queen bed. I was just going to rely on Jaeger helping to position Julian and I as needed.

We spent most of the rest of the day napping and trying to breastfeed. Julian got several more blood sugar tests and kept getting progressively better scores. Medical staff kept popping in and remarking with some astonishment that a woman as short as myself (5′ 3″) had managed to carry a 10 lb baby. Around 5:00pm my mom and Calvin stopped by to admire Julian.

Upon reflection, I’m really glad I ended up with a scheduled c-section. Overall, this has been a much smoother recovery than my first c-section. As far as physical recovery, I’ve had very good experiences with both my c-sections. However, not having gone through labor first for this one, and delivery in the morning, meant I was much more coherent and could really focus on Julian’s first couple of hours of life.

(However, the excitement isn’t over yet. Continue on to hear about our exciting NICU drama.)

  1. These odds were just an educated guess on her part. There really isn’t a good way to predict spontaneous preterm labor ahead of time.
  2. Longmont will not do VBACs
  3. My OB says this is not normal.
  4. This was according to his official due date. According to my dating, he would be 41 weeks and 4 days.

Dear Julian

From: Your Mother
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2015
To: Julian
Subject: Proposed Birthday Dates

Dear Julian,

It’s time for you to decide on your birthday date. According to the doctor I’m 5cm dilated and 70% effaced so she thinks you should come any day now. Of course, I know my children better and, as such, don’t expect you to be born just because the doctor thinks it’s time for you to come. However, I would like to propose some auspicious days for you to consider:

March 14, 2015
March 14 is less than a day away so this might feel rushed to you. However, I’d like to point out that it is Pi Day. Not only is it Pi Day, it’s a special Pi Day. You would get major bonus points if you could manage to be born at 9:26:53. Please note: some people are claiming that both 9:26:53 in the morning or the evening are equally valid but daddy prefers using 24 hr time. On the other hand, he’s already fudging by dropping the first two digits of the year and using the US date notation so maybe you could convince him. I promise if you are born on Pi Day I will learn to make a decent pie crust.

March 20, 2015
If you decide not to be born on Pi Day, I’d really appreciate it if you’d wait till March 20. This is because on March 19 Gail Carriger is going to be at The Tattered Cover and I’d really like to go. March 20 is also the spring equinox which might be fun. Another reason this would be a good day is because Grandma will be arriving the previous day and this would allow her more time to adore you before she goes back home.

March 24, 2015
This is your official due date according to the doctor’s office. Personally, I don’t put much stock in this date but it’s not a bad day.

March 26, 2015
This is your brother’s birthday. Being born on this date might be a tad controversial but it could also be fun.

I encourage you to pick one of the dates above. If none of those dates work, please consider being born no later than March 29. On March 31 you hit the magical 41 weeks according to the doctor’s office. At this point they want you out and they’re not going to allow you to delay any longer. Childhood is annoying enough without it starting out with grownups deciding the day you’re born. However, it is your choice whether you pick your own date prior to week 41 or let the grownups choose for you.



P.S. Thank you for staying inside till you were fully baked. That was very considerate of you.

More Baby

My life now revolves around trying to get ready for baby’s arrival. It’s probably incredibly boring to listen to me talk these days.

As Jaeger mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he and I liked the name Julian. Unfortunately, Calvin hated the name because he had a prior bad association. We tried to sell him on being able to pick the baby’s first middle name but he didn’t want to compromise. We let the name discussion drop for a while in hopes that he would eventually become reconciled to it. In the meantime, I checked out every juvenile book I could find where the protagonist was named Julian in hopes it would shift his associations. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t have a whole-family-approved name for baby by his birth when Calvin suddenly relented. I was surprised but relieved. So, baby’s first name will officially be Julian.

Sunday I woke up convinced Julian was going to come sooner rather than later. This was probably paranoia brought on because Jaeger was going to be in San Diego till Wednesday and I had visions of going into labor and Jaeger trying to get back in time. In any case, I decided not to argue with my paranoia. I went to prenatal yoga and then went on a huge grocery shopping expedition hitting the Indian Bazaar, Vitamin Cottage, and King Soopers. Then, I finished ordering any remaining baby items I felt were essential. Fortunately, baby did not decide to come while Jaeger was away. In addition to shopping, I mostly finished packing the “go bag” this week.

I was suppose to have my 36-week appointment on Wednesday but rescheduled it so Jaeger could come with me. It’s now scheduled for next Tuesday at which point we’ll see if Julian is still breech. I’m getting mixed signals. On one hand, my ribs are very unhappy and I swear the hiccups are coming from the right-side of my ribs. On the other, most of the “movement” I’m feeling is above my belly button which, according to some websites, seems to indicate he might be head down. I guess we’ll see in a couple of days.

At long last, our “nursery” is also mostly organized. For now, it’s living in our bedroom but I’m not sure how long it’ll stay there. Last time our pediatrician told me to move Calvin’s crib out of our room around month 2 (I think??) and I ended up getting less sleep because I was straining to hear him breath through the monitor. So, I’m tentatively in favor of keeping Julian in our bedroom longer. Jaeger is still uncertain how long he wants Julian in our room so we’ll see how it turns out. It probably depends a lot on what Julian ends up like.

Master Bedroom Nursery

The picture contains the following:

DaVinci Emily Mini Crib – This will be our primary crib. I think it’s a much better size than the full-size crib we had for Calvin. However, finding a mattress for it was a bit tricky. I originally ordered the DaVinci Sleepwell Crescent Mini Crib Universal Fit Waterproof 50-Coil Mattress. Sheets were hard to find for it but it was suppose to fit the mini crib really well. I ordered from Target and it was delivered. Then, I discovered that it was way softer than I felt was appropriate for an infant mattress. Jaeger confirmed I wasn’t imagining things so we returned it. My next attempt was the Dream On Me 3″ Extra Firm Portable Crib Mattress which I’m much happier with. It fits snugly inside the crib and is nicely firm. The American Baby Company 100% Cotton Percale Fitted Portable/Mini Crib Sheet fits the mattress well and has the side benefit of somewhat coordinating with the rest of our bedroom.

Co-Sleeper – One of the few things we kept from Calvin’s infanthood was our Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. When Calvin was first born his official crib was at the foot of our bed. However, I, being the paranoid sort of person I am, kept getting up in the middle of the night so I could go make sure he was still breathing. Because of safety issues I was dubious about any type of co-sleeping. However, after looking it over we decided that it would probably be ok until Calvin started moving around more. It was very nice for the period we did use it as a co-sleeper because it allowed me to open one eye and see that Calvin was still both sleeping and breathing. It also worked well as a bassinet. We kept it to either pass on to one of our siblings or use it as a bassinet in case anyone visited with children.

Changing Table – This is a random changing table we got off Craigslist for $100. I was leaning toward either the tiny Ikea changing table or just using a cubicle but Jaeger wanted a real changing table. I do have to admit the dresser aspect is pretty nice. So far, I’ve been able to fit in diaper supplies, blankets, and all the 0-3 month clothing in it. The changing pad is suppose to arrive today. Weirdly, the changing pad cover I got for it almost matches the crib sheets even though it’s a completely different brand. I think at this point, Julian has more color coordination than Calvin ever got.

Diaper Pail – I know some people swear by those fancy diaper pails. I haven’t used one so perhaps they are wonderful but I’m dubious they reduce smell as much as some people claim. Honestly, I think you just get use to the smell. With Calvin, we used some cheap garbage cans which I felt worked fairly well. However, because this changing table is so big, we wouldn’t have space for the three we needed: disposable diaper, cloth diaper, and laundry. Jaeger suggested I look up stackable trash cans and we found these from the Container Store which, so far, look like they’ll work well.

La-Z-Boy Rocker/Recliner – This is another item that comes from the early Calvin Era. I used it a lot when Calvin was young and had trouble sleeping. Then it wandered around our house sometimes in our bedroom, sometimes in the basement, sometimes at Jaeger’s parents apartment as supplemental furniture. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having a harder time sleeping. When I’m lying on my side for an extended period of time, my ribs start hurting. However, I can’t lie on my back at all anymore because my lungs are compressed enough I have trouble breathing. Eventually I decided to try the recliner and so far it’s working pretty good. I lay it out till it’s almost flat. I put my down pillow on the seat and then lie on my side with my lower belly against the pillow. Then both my legs and upper torso/head are slightly elevated. It’s hard to explain but it appears to be working pretty well. It’s also reducing the terrible heart burn I was having.

Things are progressing. Should be interesting to see when Julian decides to show up.