Archive for the ‘Newborn’ Category

Week 39: He’s Out!

Aiden August Johnson, born Sunday, September 28th:

IMG_5514I was so, so happy he came a week early, and with the birth story – it is a short and sweet one:

Saturday the 27th everything was completely normal, no signs of labor.  It was gorgeous, sunny and 80 degrees, I took Jane to the farmers’ market and park in the morning and then in the evening we went to a friend’s Oktoberfest party.  The only abnormal part of the day I guess was that after spending two hours at the party being active and talking I didn’t feel as sore and exhausted as I usually have that time of day for the past month.

We came home, put Jane to bed, watched our show (loving House of Cards!  cracks us up every time Kevin Spacey looks at the camera…) and went to bed just before 11:00.  But I couldn’t get comfortable and felt a little crampy.  Nathan got all excited at the mention of cramps and I was like no no I’m sure it’s nothing.  Then they kept coming and by midnight it was clear something was happening, we put in calls to family to see who’d be able to come over and stay with Jane.  By 1:00 the contractions were definitely getting intense fast and we told Nathan’s mom to come right away.  By 2:00 I was in the hospital getting checked and really surprised to be dilated to 9 cm. already!  As soon as they got me into a room I started pushing and he was born at 3:21 a.m.


So far he’s a very healthy, happy, sweet baby and we’ve had a nice week at home.  I was really sore the first few days, but now 6 days later feel almost normal.  Definitely better than in the last month of being pregnant.


Can’t believe he was in there 6 days ago!

Luckily we have lots of family help and vacation time these first couple weeks, but I’m already a little nervous about how I’ll get out of the house with both kids…  seems like a nightmare at this point!  Time will tell…


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Jane at 10 Weeks

She’ll be 10 weeks old tomorrow and in the past couple weeks especially I’ve completely fallen in love. It seems like we understand each other more now. Yeah there’s still crying at least once a day for reasons I can’t figure out, but the periods of “happy and awake” are longer and longer.

When it comes to sleeping we’ve totally lucked out. She’s sleeping 6 hours straight, usually starting around 11 p.m., which is our normal bedtime. Then wakes up to eat early a.m., but will go right back to sleep for at least a couple more hours. I’m too much of a realist to expect this to last, but sure am enjoying it.

The best part is how interactive she is now. Every day lots of smiling and “talking” – all kinds of “ahhhh oooooo” sounds, and she’ll look at you waiting for a response.

And the expressions! Priceless! These were all taken yesterday.

Hard at work lifting the head:

Grumpy and stretching right after waking up:

Hint of a smile:

And oh we laughed over this one forever – as terrified as she looks, there was no crying involved in this bath, she’d just make this face when the sprayer was on her and freeze:

Happy Monday,


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I know I’m having a really crappy day when it’s gorgeous outside but I wish it wasn’t because then I wouldn’t feel like I should be out there enjoying it.
I’m sick, again.  I was less than a month ago too, for an entire week, and it was miserable.  I usually hardly ever get sick, and if I do it’s only for a couple days.  But I feel like it’s so hard to get better when you never get a good night of sleep.
And how is it possible to get a good night of sleep with a 7 week old?  It’s just wearing me down and seems like there’s no relief in sight.
And my skin is totally broken out.  I’m scared to google “post partum acne”.
And we have a good friend’s fabulous wedding this Saturday.
My sister borrowed me a dress to wear that I love love love.  Except it’s just the tiniest bit too tight.  Like, looks great standing up, but would probably rip the zipper if I sat down.
I don’t want to be the zit faced, sleep deprived, disheveled new mom in a too tight dress at the fabulous wedding.
And Nathan just infomed me we have to pay in $800 for our taxes.  (I take care of all things financial except taxes.  I don’t get them and have never bothered to learn and am annoyed and ashamed of myself because of it.)
I’m aware that my grievances are petty.  And I do feel better when I look at these pictures from last Saturday:

Four generations of eldest daughters.


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Thank you everyone for the advice on calming my screaming little firecracker.  I need to remember two things:  1.  It will get better.  2.  Get that magical sounding Happiest Baby On The Block book!  I’m planning to pick it up from a friend today.

This weekend we had our first night out since Jane was born.  When I heard someone was having an 80’s themed birthday party at a bar with a bluegrass band, I was intent on going, despite having to overcome three obstacles in the past week that easily could’ve derailed my fun:

1.  Learn how to pump with a cheapo manual breast pump. 

2.  Get baby to drink out of bottle.

3.  Make my plugged duct go away so I can party without having to worry about getting mastitis!

All three accomplished, my parents came over to babysit, and we were ready as 80’s rockstars on Saturday night:

Clip on earrings - I managed to wear mine about 2 minutes - those things hurt worse than childbirth!

Coat bought in 2002 from a vintage store in Munich.

I was also wearing my maternity leggings pulled all the way up to just under my bra, and the tank I got for $5 ten years ago at Old Navy.  The sequined shrug was another $5 impulse purchase – worth every penny!

The party was awesome. 

In other news, our girl has a nasty case of baby acne:

Brings back painful memories of my late teenage years.

Everything we read says it’s normal and will go away on its own, so the only bother here is our own vanity about our baby’s skin, which I’m trying to suppress, but it’s hard not to feel bad looking at her poor little red face! 


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So, Jane is 3 weeks and 2 days old.  The first couple weeks home from the hospital were survival mode, not knowing what to expect, just being grateful for whatever sleep we got. 

But now I feel like it’s getting to the point where we should at least have sort of a schedule, know a little bit what to expect, or at least that she should not be screaming almost anytime she’s not sleeping or nursing. 

But she is screaming.  Right now, laying on the boppy on my lap.  On and off for hours this morning and this evening with a 2 1/2 hour nap in between.   

She’s not hungry.  She could be tired, but how do you get a screaming baby to sleep?  (I tried to put her down before she was so upset, when I saw the yawning “cue”…about 2 hours ago.)  She’s got a clean diaper, and I’m pretty certain not in pain. 

Everything I try seems to calm her anywhere from momentarily to a few minutes:  Swaddling, shushing, walking, putting her in the Moby wrap, the swing, going into the bathroom with the heat fan.  Sometimes she even falls asleep for a few minutes, only to wake up in the exact same position and start screaming again. 

Bathroom fan causes a few minutes of stunned silence before the tantrum resumes.

A book I was given yesterday – The Baby Whisperer – says to establish a flexible “eat, activity, sleep” routine.  It makes sense when I’m reading it, but seems to leave out key parts like what exactly to do when they’re “overtired” and screaming.  Some books say wear your baby all the time.  Some say let them cry it out.  I’m really sick of books. 

So I’m asking, what did you do?  Or if there are actually helpful books out there, what are they? 


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On Tuesday, February 22nd, at 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I woke up around 5 a.m. with mild cramps. 

I wasn’t excited – I still hadn’t managed to wrap my mind around the fact that I really would have a baby soon.  And I didn’t want to be one of those “oh my gosh I’m in labor!” women and then it turns out to take another week. 

Nathan, however, was very excited when he woke up a couple hours later and insisted on starting to time my cramps.  They weren’t very regular, anywhere from 6-9 minutes apart.  He called into work and we sat reading in the breakfast nook, way earlier than we ever get up together.  Laying down to try and sleep again made the cramps worse. 

Around 10:30 a.m. he decided to go out and buy cigars and I gave him a list of ingredients for this somewhat complicated Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Pie I wanted to make.  I was sure I’d be bored for the next few hours until we went to our regularly scheduled doc. appt. at 3 p.m.  We’d already called our doula and the midwives and they said just keep tracking the cramps (contractions?) and go to your scheduled appointment. 

By the time Nathan got back from shopping, the cramps had gotten more intense.  I wasn’t sitting through them anymore, but standing and bending over onto the counter, or getting on my hands and knees. 

The pain still didn’t seem bad though, and in between I felt fine.  Meanwhile, Nathan started packing up the car, sure we’d be staying the night at the hospital.  I guess somewhere in my mind I accepted that as a possibility because eventually I made sure everything I needed was packed too. 

Trying to have a contraction and pack at the same time.

At 2:00 Nathan said the contractions were 3 1/2 minutes apart and convinced me to leave early for our doc. appt. (Which I should note is in the main hospital where we’d be delivering). 

Being out of the house seemed to make the contractions more painful.  I remember leaning against the wall in the hospital with my eyes closed thinking the elevator was taking foreverrrrrr.  They got me to the exam room immediately after seeing my condition.  The midwife came in to check me and I was at 6 centimeters!  So they wheeled me straight to Labor & Delivery, it was the real deal, and I still couldn’t believe it. 

We got into our room at 3:30 and the next four hours are a fast blur in my memory. 

I spent a lot of time on the floor on my knees, with my head resting on the bed and Nathan pushing on my hips during contractions.  They hurt, and made me whimper and swear a few times, but were not excruciatingly painful. 

In our hospital room.

I need to insert here than I’m sort of a huge wimp.  I’ve never experienced pain in my life.  I don’t do vigorous exercise – even running one mile seems strenuous.  I’ve never made it past a beginner’s yoga class.  I hate being uncomfortable and think people who wear stilettos are nuts.  So yeah, even though I dislike medications and wanted a natural birth, I was definitely ready to let them drug me if the pain got too bad. 

Around 5:30 the midwife suggested I try to push with the next contraction instead of breathing through it.  I tried, and it lessened the pain, but I had no urge to push and really no idea what I was doing. 

At this point I was on my knees in bed, which was in the a fully upright position and I was leaning over the back of it.  From there, they got me to move onto the toilet and also try a physically challenging (for my weak legs!) squatting position to help move the baby down.  My water broke as I was shuffling back to the bed from the bathroom.   

Leaning over the back of the bed and holding onto a cloth rope.

 I got on my knees in the bed again and continued pushing with the contractions, even though I never felt a strong “urge to push”.  They told me to push like I was pooping, and I finally let go and did exactly that, even though my naked butt was eye level with three people looking right at it.  In this post you can see a little video clip of me telling Nathan to “get a picture of them wiping my butt”.

They told me to grunt very low, so I did, but probably would’ve been silent otherwise.  The midwife had to keep putting her fingers in the spot where I was supposed to focus my pushing.  Just goes to show it’s not all instinct, but I was lucky enough to have an excellent midwife, doula, and nurse to coach me. 

Before I knew it, they said the baby was moving down and they could feel her head inside me, did I want to feel it?  Nooo I didn’t.  I preferred to stay in disbelief that this was really happening and it wasn’t the time for a reality check.

They had me change positions again so I was sitting mostly upright in bed, sort of on my side, with one leg way up pushing against the nurse’s chest. 

My delivery position!

I don’t remember being in pain at this point.  I don’t know if I’d remember much at all if it weren’t for the pictures & Nathan’s recap.  One thing I was terrified of was tearing**, so if anything I was holding back just a little on the pushing.  But just a few more pushes and about 15 minutes later, Jane was born. 

Our new family

I was in shock, slightly hysterical, in total disbelief that I did it and here was our baby!  By all accounts I was acting like I was stoned during most of the labor, but now it was like I’d taken some crazy upper drug.  I shook uncontrollably for hours after her birth, unless she was laying with me.  See this post for a video of us immediately after she was born

The whole experience was not nearly as scary or painful as I’d imagined.  For perspective though, both the midwife and doula said it was one of the easier births they’d seen. 

I know luck played a large part in everything going so well, but all the natural birth research, being in a comfortable environment with people I trusted, and really believing this was something my body was meant to do had to have some small part too. 


**I was surprised to learn I did have a 2nd degree tear, but they numb you for the stitches so I barely noticed.  All that worry for nothin!

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I had just started nursing Jane and was laying in bed channel flipping when the remote suddenly stopped working. 

The channel?  Global Catholic Network.  The program?  A religious children’s show with some seriously freaky puppets:

From the My Little Angels website:  “[Benny is] 18 years old.  I am old enough to drive a car, but I need to practice a lot before I drive.”  His favorite activity is “To pray in the Church”.  (Just me, or does Benny not look too happy?)

I could’ve kicked Janey off the boob and gotten up to turn the tv off, but I stuck it out for 15 minutes.  Even through the sing along.  If that doesn’t say how much I love my baby, I don’t know what does.

In other news, the past few days have sort of sucked. 

Thursday – took her to my La Leche meeting, which ended with me coming home and crying.  It was just a huge stress my first time bringing her out alone.     

Friday – felt rested and super bored but stayed in all night.  Found out later our friends got together at someone’s house but didn’t invite us because they didn’t think we’d want to bring the baby out.

Saturday – had friends over and thought we did a good job of setting a 2 hour afternoon time limit, but people stayed until after 7:00 and I was crabby and exhausted. 

Sunday – woke up with a sore throat.

Monday – sore throat is a full blown cold.  Jane decides to not sleep and mostly scream from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

But, we got some good sleep last night and today has been better, yay. 

Almost finished writing the full birth story too so will post it soon. 


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We don’t have cable, but there is this awesome station that was just added recently to regular TV called “The Cool TV”  (It’s channel 23-2 if you live in the twin cities area). 

They play music videos all day.  Seriously, the guide says “Music Videos” for the whole lineup, with some other things like “Pop Hour” and “80’s at 8:00” thrown in, and very few commercials. 

I’ve never watched it for more than a few minutes at a time, but they play everything from top 40 to classic 80’s videos, live recordings, etc. 

So today I had the pleasure of seeing back to back:  Ke$ha and Justin Beiber. 

First of all, I did not know Ke$ha was white.  I was aware of the spelling of her name, so I guess I imagined the $ bling jewelry that black rappers tend to wear.  But she is not black and didn’t appear to be rapping.  My bad.  I don’t know what the song was but there was a lot of dancing in a club like they were dumb (her lyrics?) and in between dancing they were looking at the dating site Plenty of Fish.  Yeah, why not look at a dating website when there are real people in the club to meet? 

Maybe I just missed the point of the video cause I was nursing Jane at the same time and not giving it my full attention? 

And then…Justin Beiber! 

Hahhaaaa ok I knew what he looked like from magazine covers, but have never seen him on tv or performing. 

HAHHAAAAAA.  The video was “Give me someone to love” with Usher and seriously made me laugh out loud a couple times. 

He looks like a little kid completely out of place in this video, it was almost like an SNL skit.  Complete with the “whoaoa whoaoaaaa” dramatic vocals, hands held up next to his face like he is in angst because he can’t find someone to love and he’s like 12. 

(How old is he really?  I don’t care enough to look it up.) 

Anyway, his hair looks like a helmet and is ridiculous. 

Maybe tomorrow I’ll watch Jerry Springer while I’m nursing!  Or, maybe I’ll wake up early enough for The Young and the Restless!!  (Full disclosure, I used to be absolutely obsessed with this soap opera in my late high school/early college years, but think the quality has gone down since then.)

My first day home alone is going great, here are some more pics of my sweet potato muffin angel face baby:


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So we’ve survived our first four nights at home with the baby.  Of course it’s been tiring, but I honestly don’t feel any worse than the days when I’d stay up too late drinking and have to go to work the next day. 

Overall things are great and I’m sure it’ll only get better.  Nathan has been amazing, my heart goes out to anyone who has to do this without a supportive significant other.  He goes back to work tomorrow, don’t even get me started on the awful “benefits” for new dads in this country.  So that might be rough, but he’ll be off again Wed. so we can take Jane to her first doc appointment. 

Haven’t gotten around to writing down the whole birth experience yet, but here are a couple videos.  We brought our camera and told everyone to feel free to take pics through the whole process, but I never felt like I wanted a video of the birth.  I am SO THANKFUL though that at least a few moments were captured, I was unaware the videos were being taken and never would’ve remembered this stuff. 

#1:  This was taken in the middle of the pushing stage, I’d finally accepted that I really needed to just push like I was taking a crap.  And that’s exactly what I was doing too – I’m on my knees hanging over the back of the upright bed and say “get a picture of her wiping my butt” and then my doula says in the background “get a picture of her smiling”.  Hahaaa.  Don’t worry there’s no graphic stuff or even nudity:

#2: Right after she was born and they’re handing her to me.  Oh I’m so glad our doula took this, I don’t remember it at all.  I’m like, in shock and hyperventilating, I seriously can’t believe I just had a baby.  At the end I say “don’t suffocate!” because she’s face planting her head into my chest:

And here’s another belly pic progression with me 5 days postpartum, looks like I’m about 25 weeks:

It sure feels good to not be pregnant anymore!


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Look Who’s 2 Days Old!

And on Daddy’s lap:

There aren’t any good shots of me with her, but here I am an hour after the birth when I first got out of bed to get cleaned up, modeling my hospital gown with what I thought were hilarious pink ruffles:

I didn’t have any drugs but I sure felt like I did afterwards…

We got home from the hospital this afternoon after a rough night last night.  Being home is nice, but I thought being in the hospital was like a hotel despite all the interruptions.  We even ordered pizza last night from the awesome and very vegan friendly Pizza Luce… 

Anyway, long story short, I woke up at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning with cramps, and had a regularly scheduled doc appt. at 3 p.m.  By the time the appointment came we knew they were regular contractions, but I didn’t think they felt that bad and was sure we’d be sent home. 

But, I was 6 centimeters dilated so by 3:30 we were in our labor & delivery room.  I started pushing around 5:30 and she was born two hours later. 

Ach I had to take a break right here to nurse her, now it’s almost 11 and hopefully time for some sleep.  It doesn’t even seem strange to have her home though, it feels like everything’s how it was supposed to be. 


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