Friday, December 26, 2008

Welcome to Our World

So on December 23rd at approximately 11:39 PM, Joanna Hope Jones explosively entered our world! She weighed 6 lbs. 15.8 oz, and was 19.5 inches long (so two ounces more than her brother, but an inch shorter). We got to bring her (and her tired and sore mommy) home from the hospital on Christmas morning! Talk about a Christmas present! :)
The contractions started on Monday the 22nd around 6 PM. They weren't terribly regular, but they were painful, so we fully expected to be making a trip to the hospital sometime that night or early the next day, especially when the contractions kept going through the night (false labor would normally stop with a change in position). I was able to get _some_ sleep, but not a whole lot. I already had an appointment scheduled, so we dropped AJ off with a friend for the day and went to get checked out. I was 3cm dilated, ~70% effaced, and the baby was at about -2 station - so not exactly ready to go, but progress from the week before. They sent us home with the expectation that they'd be seeing us again later that day.
We went over to the local mall for a little walking. After a lap on each level, my contractions were around 4 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute each (we were told to call when they were 5 min apart and 1 min duration for at least an hour). So we went home for a quick nap, expecting to go to the hospital very shortly thereafter.
By the time we got home, the contractions had spaced out to 8-10 minutes, and eventually I was able to sleep for at least 45 minutes! So I took a walk, trying to get them to speed up again. But it was like 20 below and getting dark, so we went to another mall for more walking. Keep in mind that by the time we got to this second mall, I'd been having painful contractions for 24 hours. As I was quickly nearing "the wall," we began attempting to call the midwives to see if what they would recommend. Unfortunately, their phone system hadn't been switched for the night, so I couldn't get the after-hours number. Fortunately, we've got friends who use this same practice. Unfortunately, they were in Buffalo. But thanks to the glory of cell phones, we were eventually able to get in touch with them and get the after-hours number.
VNB dropped me by a door (of the second mall) and went to park while I walked toward the food court. It's one of those "Mills" malls, so it's big, but I was only part of a "neighborhood" away from the food court when VNB dropped me off. Still, by the time I'd reached the food court, I couldn't go any further (mostly my hips just couldn't take any more, but I was also hardly able to stand during the contractions). VNB managed to get a hold of the midwives, and they agreed that I could come into get checked, but couldn't promise that they would keep me, and wouldn't agree to induce me (they were _really_ busy). So we headed out to the hospital.
By the time I got to the car, contractions were fast and furious (~3 min apart). The minute I sat down in the car, the contractions spaced out again. But "the wall" had been reached. I'd been in labor for over 24 hours at that point, and the end seemed no closer than before.
We got to the hospital and they started checking us in around 8. The midwife checked me around 8:30-ish and I was at 4 cm, ~70%, and the baby was at -1 station. That was enough progress that she was willing to keep me, which was a good thing because I think I would have completely lost it emotionally if they'd sent us home. We got settled and the contractions continued and got steadily more painful.
A little before 11, they had to hook me back up to the monitors for a few minutes, so I got back on the bed. The contractions were more manageable when I was on my side, so I spent most of the time that way. While I was hooked up, the midwife checked me again. Since the time between 4 cm and baby had been by far the longest part of labor with AJ, we weren't expecting much. VNB planned on taking a nap if he could unless I was up to 7 or 8 cm.
I was at 7 or 8 cm, much to everyone's surprise. The midwife warned me that those last couple of centimeters usually take a while and are relatively painful, but that I was doing a great job and was handling things just fine. She walked out the door probably around 11. The very next contraction, I felt an overwhelming urge to push.
Knowing that I'd _just_ measured at 7-8, I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I didn't say anything. But I felt it again the next time and even though it seemed crazy, I said the only word I could manage - "push." That got everyone's attention. The labor and delivery nurse took a minute to assess the situation, but quickly realized I meant it and yelled out the door for someone to get the midwife. While we were waiting for the midwife, they told me not to push, but there was very little I could do to stop it.
The midwife came back in and got ready to check me again, but I couldn't get myself from my side to my back so that she could. They kept trying to get me _not_ to push, but I couldn't _not_ push, so she gave up on checking me and switched to "lets have a baby" mode. About that time, my water finally broke. It was a good thing too, because within a push or two after they'd dropped the bed and gotten me to finally roll over, VNB said something I didn't expect to hear for a long while yet - "they've got a full head of hair!" About that same time, the L&D nurse said that I was crowning. I hardly believed them since it had taken 40 of the 45 minutes of pushing with AJ to get him to that point.
Then, a couple of pushes later, little Joanna gave the nurses another surprise by coming out, head, shoulders, and most of the amniotic fluid in one, explosive burst. They were laughing afterward about wishing they'd worn shoe covers.
So with minimal tearing, and a lot of thankfulness that they kept me at the hospital when we came in, Joanna Hope was born at 11:39 PM. Just in time for her mama to get her Christmas wish - not to be in labor on Christmas or Christmas Eve. :)
Big brother AJ met her the next morning and did great with her. In fact, he only cried when VNB took her _away_ from him.
And other than last night's traditional late night Mylecon run, she's been doing great since we came home Christmas morning. Like her brother before her, she's an expert nurser, and her mama is doing surprisingly well. I mean, I still hurt and all, but the healing process has been _much_ faster than with AJ already.
So that's her story! I can't explain how relieved I am to not be pregnant anymore. With AJ, I had severe indigestion which ended the moment he exited my body. This time around it was the nausea that blessedly left the moment Joanna came out. Brushing my teeth doesn't make me gag anymore! Woohoo!
I'll post more pics one of these days. In the meantime, find VNB's facebook account. He's got pics there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two From Galilee

For those of you who didn't get to see our musical this past weekend, here're a few highlights of what you missed. It's almost 10 minutes long, so be prepared. You get to see parts of VNB's big number (he's the one in the purple with the sword) about halfway through.

I'm the really fat one.

Can't Sleep

So yet again, I can't get to sleep to save my life. Dunno what the problem is, but I'm sure I'll be sorry for it tomorrow. I even waited to go to bed this time until I was nodding a bit on the couch. But the second I hit those sheets, I'm wide awake.

So you get an update. We finally picked out baby names today, I think. VNB is so sure it's a girl that he left the boy name completely up to me. And since AJ's middle name was determined at the beginning to be his middle name (and his father's and grandfather's), he only picked the first name for a girl and I picked the middle name.

So except for the house that got hit by a "stuff bomb" over the weekend, I think we're pretty much ready to go. The stuff bomb was a direct result of re-arranging our bedroom to make room for the pack 'n' play for the baby to sleep in until we figure out how to make us all fit better. We got most of the major furniture back in Friday night when we re-arranged, but all the random stuff from all over the room is still mostly all over the rest of our house right now. I'll definitely finish getting that cleaned up tomorrow though (well, the stuff I can actually lift) since we're supposed to go see a show with my aunt and will have a babysitter over. It's really only clutter, toys, and a load of dishes at this point, but it seems like so much more since we've got such a small space.

The remaining things on my list of "things to do before the baby gets here" mostly pertain to Christmas presents. And I'm pretty sure that our family would forgive us if we were a little late on the presents this year. Something about providing them with a second grandchild/niece or nephew...that should be enough for one Christmas, imo.

Anyway, the musical went well. VNB did a great job, and I managed to waddle my way through.

But we're definitely in the home stretch with this little one. So very different from those last few weeks with AJ when we were trying to get him to turn over by every means possible. I can see the attraction to planned inductions and cesareans since this waiting is so hard to do. But at the same time, it's far healthier for the baby to come whenever s/he is ready...I just wish I knew whether or not I need to get a "baby's first Christmas" ornament. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Little Helper

So one of the first things I did during this horrific pregnancy was teach AJ to pick things up for me. It took a few months, but I can pretty reliably say "AJ, would you pick that up for Mama, please?" and have him actually do it in a relatively timely fashion. He's also started enjoying putting things in the trash...and only occasionally digs things _out_ of the trash.

Anyway, a few weeks ago he did something that completely shocked the socks off of me. I was folding laundry and had left a pile of clothes for the baby on the coffee table for sorting into types and sizes. It had been there a couple of days when it got knocked off into the floor sometime that I wasn't in the room. That didn't surprise me at all (well, I was a _little_ surprised that it took a couple of days). What surprised me was that as I was walking into the room, without saying anything about it or even looking upset about it, AJ started picking up the clothes and putting them in a pile on the table. And he kept going until all of the clothes were picked up. No one asked him to, he just did it. I think I nearly cried.

Then just now, I was finishing up the water in a water bottle in order to keep the vultures from backwashing into it (the vultures in this case would be AJ). When I finished, he fussed a tiny bit that he hadn't gotten any, then took the bottle, I assumed to play with it. He then proceeded to the kitchen where I heard a cabinet open and close. A minute later, he was back in the living room with me, but without the bottle. It was then I realized that he'd thrown the bottle away for me. Now, I fully expect to have to fish it out of the trash to put it in the recycling...but such independence! Such understanding of the situation! Such a continuation of the Turner and Jones tradition of just doing what needs to be done without having to be told exactly what to do!

I was (am) so proud of him! As he came back into the room, I asked him if he'd thrown the bottle away and he nodded and smiled. I grabbed him and hugged him and told him what a good boy he is, what a good helper he is!

It's amazing to me to see him grow so much. I remember how little he used to be - the lump of not sleepingness he used to be. He's so creative in his play (anything can become either a phone or a hat, and many things that one would never anticipate can become train tracks). And when he's play talking on the phone, he actually has pretend conversations. When he drops practically anything, but especially one of his trains, he picks it up, looks it in the "face," and asks if it's alright. He even "reads" books to himself sometimes.

I'm just amazed by this little person who gestated inside of me for close to 9 months. It's hard to imagine that lightning could strike twice to give us another one as amazing...but at the same time, it's hard to imagine that this new little one could be anything but amazing him or herself.

But here's hoping that s/he is a better sleeper. :)

Lost and Found

So Tuesday night we had dress rehearsal for our musical. Just in case we had to make a speedy exit from the stage due to the baby, I had everything in my basket that I was going to need to leave quickly - a towel to clean up any mess on-stage, antacids (those are a necessity anywhere I go, hospital or not), snacks, my glasses, my cell phone, and my wallet.

When we were packing up to go home, I was transferring all of my necessities back to my purse so that I could leave the basket at church. That was the last time I remember seeing my wallet.

There wasn't any cash in it, but there were credit cards, my drivers license, insurance cards for me and AJ (which the hospital will want to see), and over $90 in gift cards! It's really hard to buy Christmas presents when you have no credit cards or gift cards. And while I had my insurance ID number, the hospital says that they want a copy of the card. You'd hope they'd be as reasonable as possible with a woman in labor, but you never know.

Since the last time I remembered seeing it was in my basket at church, I was _really_ hoping it was still there. Well, at last night's dress rehearsal, I discovered that it wasn't. Do you know how hard it is to admit to your husband that not only have you lost your entire wallet, but you did it two days ago and didn't say anything until now because you were hoping it wasn't really lost? Amazingly (and thankfully), he didn't freak out too much. I looked some more when we got home last night and had plans to ask AJ this morning since he likes to take things out of my purse (although usually when he takes my wallet, every single thing in it gets spread all over the place, so it's a "little" hard to miss). I asked him if he knew what Mama's wallet was when he woke up and the answer I got was "Tha?" (i.e., Thomas? Meaning that he wanted to watch Thomas.). No help there. So I looked (and prayed) a little more.

A day or two ago, one of our multitude of remotes had managed to fall, not just between the couch and an end table (in a nearly unreachable spot), but actually slid _under_ the end table, so I hoped against hope that maybe my wallet had fallen under there too. I'd checked multiple times under the couch, so I focused my search on the end table, but to get to the end table, I had to move the couch a little (it's very light and I didn't lift it, I just slid it across our Pergo, so don't yell at me). I cleaned out the random detrius that was living under the end table, but no wallet. As I lay there on the floor, disappointed, I turned my head the other way trying not to cry...and there it was. Under the couch I'd checked under multiple times already.

Al hamdoolillah!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dreaming for Two

So I've never been much of a dreamer in the sense that I never used to remember my dreams after I woke up. It was such that prior to just before I got married, I could remember remembering a total of about five dreams in my life, three of which occurred just before I came back from overseas. In fact, when I then started vividly dreaming on a semi-regular basis shortly thereafter, every dream, no matter how innocuous, seemed like a nightmare to me because they were so unusual.

Eventually I got more used to them and they stopped occurring quite so frequently, so they didn't freak me out as much. Anyway, one of the side-effects of pregnancy is vivid dreams. And let me tell you, I've had some wham-dingers recently. Very detailed, always involving real people and elaborate situations.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that some malevolent political force was taking over America and in the process causing all sorts of natural disasters (many having to do with water or flooding - so either Freud is giggling, or I've got "breaking waters" on my brain). In the process of trying to escape from the political situation, I ended up being part of a little band of people (the "freedom fighters" in whatever movie/TV script you want to emulate, but before they had organized and actually fought back). Oddly, I wasn't at all one of their leaders, I just ended up with their group (and I should mention that all of this apparently took place on University of Maryland's campus - at least, that's where my brain said it was, but the scenery didn't really match any of MD's campus - you know how that goes). Anyway, I was just as pregnant as I am now (at least at the very end), but somehow I managed to run and climb to get away from the floods and giant crashing waves. And it ended with me finding VNB (also with the freedom fighters). I didn't even know throughout the dream that I was looking for him, but when I found him, I knew I was safe and everything was going to be just fine.

Sweet, huh? Man of my dreams apparently (not that I wouldn't have said that before now, it's just both figuratively _and_ literally true now).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Making VNB's Day

So VNB and I have a standing "feud" over the color that Christmas tree lights should be. I'm an all white girl, he's a multi-colored guy. For the past few years, as we've been learning each others' Christmas preferences and traditions (like you actually put small gifts _in_ the stockings (for me) and there's a train around the bottom of the tree (for him)), I've always won for the light color, primarily because a) I was the one that put them up (and/or purchased the replacement strands), and b) we had _far_ more white lights than we had colored.

But my white light strands have been dying slowly, but surely. Our plan was to replace each strand with LED strands as they died. That way we wouldn't have to make a huge investment in the expensive lights any one year, but we've eventually only have LED lights. But by the time we got lights on our tree last year, all of the stores were completely out of anything but outdoor LED nets. So, last year we made do with a bunch of half-working strands, then threw out anything that wasn't working completely when we put them away. This year we made it to the store a _little_ sooner (or they just had more this year), but they still didn't have the type of lights I would have preferred (small, white, non-faceted).

But beggars can't be choosers, so I did the best I could - large, faceted, white indoor-outdoor bulbs. I figured I'd put those on the inside of the tree and the little strands on the outside. Plus, with the larger bulbs, we wouldn't need as many lights so I could buy fewer strands. And my plan was working like a charm until I plugged in the first strand of the regular bulbs. That's when I made my discovery - LED "white" is a very different shade of white from that of regular bulb "white." And while shades of multi-colored lights wouldn't matter, shades of only white lights would look HORRIBLE.

So, as VNB will discover when he gets home from our dress rehearsal tonight, this year we have a compromise tree - five strands of large white LED bulbs, and two strands of small colored LED bulbs (that we bought last year for some reason I can't for the life of me remember). We could stand to get a few more of the colored strands to fill it out better, but it'll do for now.

Now I just have to find our garland and see if it works at all with colored lights. Unfortunately, I think it's in the china cabinet which currently has the dining room table pushed up against it (with all the chairs on top) to make room for the tree. The joys of a tiny house. And lack of forethought.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Measuring Small...Again...Some More...

So with AJ, I measured consistently small for the last few months (by "measuring small" I mean that they measure the "fundal height" of my uterus (from my pelvic bone to the top of my uterus) while I'm lying on a table. The measurement is supposed to roughly equal (in cm.) the number of weeks gestation I am). With him, it was only a cm or two, it was consistent, and it was because he was breech. Apparently breech babies take up less space. This time around, when I've measured small (which has happened randomly throughout the pregnancy), I've measured _WAY_ small. They sent me for a sonogram to check on things a couple of months back and Baby was fine, just 35th percentile for weight/size. That's small, but not abnormally so. And I'm all for birthing small babies. I even had an above average amount of amniotic fluid.

Well, I'm just over 38 weeks today and at my appointment, I measured 29 cm.!!!! That definitely concerned the midwife some (although Baby's moving around plenty (still trying to escape through my belly button) and the heartbeat was strong), so she sent me for another sonogram. Baby still measures fine (and is _DEFINITELY_ head down this time!!!! Woohoo!!!!), and my fluid is on the low side of normal, but still well within the normal range.

So apparently this baby is going to be able to fit easily into small spaces. Maybe s/he will be the next Houdini. It's interesting though because my lung capacity doesn't seem affected, my bladder doesn't seem overly affected, and the indigestion has actually gotten better lately. So somehow, this little one has managed to squish my organs less, grow normally, and _still_ seem small from the outside.

Big things come in small packages?

And for those of you who want these types of details, ~1cm, 50%, and -2. If you don't know what those numbers mean, you probably don't _want_ to know.

Our hope for the week is that baby waits until at least Sunday night. It's not _that_ big a deal for me to miss the musical (performances are Saturday and Sunday at 6 - Saturday's a dinner theater though, so dinner starts at 6 and costs $10 - see here for details), but VNB is one of the principal characters and would be very torn/distracted if I were in labor during the show. Even if it were only early labor. And it would be hard for him to be gone from one of the dress rehearsals this it'd really just be best to wait till next week. That's closer to the due date anyway.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Confirmation :(

So I wasn't exactly holding my breath any longer, but I now have "official-ish" confirmation that I didn't make it into the "highly qualified" group of folks applying to be an astronaut this time around. :( One of the people on the astronaut hopefuls Yahoo! group got an email from one of the people in the selection office saying that the "highly qualified" would have their references checked and be sent the medical forms that they needed by the end of November.

So, I was "qualified" (which I knew already), but not "highly qualified" this time around. :( Oh well. The good thing is that life definitely doesn't end for me with not making it this time. VNB and I were discussing a few weeks ago how difficult it would be for both of us if we had to switch roles (me going back to working full-time and him becoming a stay-at-home daddy). As much as I want to be an astronaut (and I really, really do), I just don't like commuting and dressing up for work...and it's not that VNB's not completely capable of doing it (heck, he'd probably do a far better job than I do), but I would have a really hard time letting go of being the primary keeper of the home and kids. And as willing as he is to support me in my lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut and would never do anything to stand in the way of that...he'd have a really hard time not being the primary breadwinner and staying home most of the time. I'm a hermit and an introvert, so that doesn't bother me at all, but while he needs his "alone" time, he also needs more social interaction than I do.

But even more than just the torn feelings we were both having about it right now, I can already say that God has given me more than I could ever ask or imagine. I've already got the icing on my cake. Getting to be an astronaut too would be like extra decorations or sprinkles or something. Maybe fruit in the icing between layers. I dunno...just something extra extra that would fit with that metaphor - but definitely nothing that is necessary for life to be wonderful, because it's already that.

But who knows what'll happen the next time around! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Just Don't Get It

So we've gotten multiple calls over the past year or so for Leia "NotJones(orTurner)" and one just now for VNB "NotJones." It just doesn't make sense to me. I understand that collection agencies are struggling to find people who legitimately owe them money, but it would seem to me that it would be far more efficient to randomly troll phone books by _LAST_ name rather than first name.

Now, perhaps they've already gone through all of the phone numbers associated with the correct first and last name and now they're looking for alternatives, but somehow I doubt it. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they do it on purpose just to annoy me.

But at least this one was nice about it and just asked politely to verify the number he called so that it could be taken off their list. I've had others in the past give me the third degree to make sure I wasn't lying to them about my last name.

I just don't get it.