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Oh my goodness! Aren’t you the best baby in the world, who smiles at and tries to engage with everyone, who laughs her head off at her big sister, who gets shy with and adores her Daddy, and who Mommy can’t stop kissing – literally – I just keep trying to eat you like you’re the most delicious strawberry shortcake.

These pictures were taken on October 8, when we were all dressed ready to go to the pumpkin patch – and then the rain wouldn’t quit and so we’ve put it off until the next weekend. So instead, we stayed inside and I made a pumpkin pie.

You’re holding you’re very first doll, named Louison, the way you like your dolls best. Upside down so you can chew on their legs. I searched and searched and found this doll and though she was perfect for you, because she has wild brown hair and what I have deemed to be violets on her dress. Below are you and Catherine with the first baby dolls I ever bought you. Catherine never cared much for hers, but you like hers and yours now.🙂

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Recently, Grandmama and Grandpa Kopp came to visit you and Catherine. It was a rainy visit, but we found a way to enjoy ourselves nonetheless. When it’s raining, I just tuck you into the baby carrier and take my umbrella and away we go.

Every Wednesday night, Catherine takes ballet. So while she’s in class, you and i hang out and peek through the window in the door watching. One day, if you want to, you’ll take ballet too!

Something new that’s been happening since you turned 5 months – and actually, since you got your vaccinations just over a week ago – is that your sleeping has changed. Before you were a great sleeper, went down easily, and only woke once to nurse then went easily back to sleep. Now, you’ve been very difficult to put down and you wake every hour or two at night. Mommy is so tired, Josephine!🙂 This is you sleeping late after a rough night, then waking up happy you little rascal.

Today, the weather was considerably better – gorgeous in fact. Your sister had the day off school for Columbus Day, so we celebrated it all by spending the morning outside with my friend Anna and her kids (one of whom, Jane, is the same age as you). I really enjoy her company and her kids are pretty awesome too. You and Jane had a brief interaction.🙂 Maybe when you’re a bit older you’ll be running on the playground together! Then we all walked home and I put together Catherine’s play tent and we all three played together inside it. Here’s you looking up at me from the baby carrier during our walk home with your as-always angelic little face.

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And here are some new purple flowers that just came up. The park along the Hudson is a beautiful garden, and they’re always adding new flowers. The most prominent color since April has been purple, and it’s a little bit of why your middle name is Violet. So I rather think of it as your color. But you will decide for yourself what colors you like best.🙂

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Happy 5 months, Josephine Violet! You’re loved, loved, loved.

Josephine,

You’re four months old! You’ve become an easy, laid back, sweetheart of a baby.

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At four months, you took your first trip to Cape Cod. Though the weather was breezy on some of the days, I made sure you were warm and blocked the wind in the pack and play with sheets, and you napped wonderfully in there while Catherine and I dug sand castles and your Daddy got his fill of body surfing.

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It was more difficult that we’d remembered, having you at the beach as a baby. You’re best enjoyed at home.🙂 One of my favorite times of day with you are mornings, when you are still sleeping, and then you wake up in a great mood and ready to snuggle.

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Another thing we love to do together is take a walk outside in the stroller. When I put you in it, you get excited. You prefer I keep the shade down so you can look up at the trees as we walk by the Hudson. Usually you fall asleep. In the picture below, you’re holding your Cape Cod souvenir.🙂 It’s legs are crinkly and it has a little bell inside. You love to chew on its legs!

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We’ve also started taking a little music and dance class with two of your baby friends! I also happen to really like their mamas. It works out.😉 You like the class, but by far your favorite part is lying on the floor and looking up at the rainbow parachute we lift up over all the babies. Here’s you with your adorable buddies Jane and Emma, in a photo Jane’s mom took!

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I couldn’t imagine a sweeter baby than you. Your daddy, Catherine, and I are more delighted with you than we ever could have imagined!

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Josephine,

This is a little letter to you from your mommy. I hope one day you’ll read it and know a little about yourself at 3 months old.

You’re a beautiful baby. Huge blue eyes and incredibly long (for your age) brown hair that I love to run my fingers through and just brush and brush and brush while you breastfeed. You’re a chubby girl too, with gorgeous little rolls that I could just eat! Everyone who sees you thinks you’re the cutest baby ever.

YOU love to TALK to people. You do not discern. Anyone who will talk to you, you’ll just coo and coo and try to engage them in conversation. I know it’s largely the age, but you just seem to delight in interactions with people, and you try so hard to talk, then get very proud of yourself for the sounds you’re able to make. It’s adorable and hilarious.

You also want to know everything that is going on around you. I try to hide the TV that Catherine is watching from you, but you strain your neck determinedly to see it. In the bathtub, you want to be facing the running water. Today I was trying to look at a magazine while feeding you, and you refused to nurse in favor of reading the magazine with me. You examined every inch of each page I turned, taking in everything.

I love to watch your face as you take in every new thing in the world for the first time. Pushing you in the stroller with the cover down, so the breeze ruffles your hair – your big eyes just look all around at the sky, the people, everything, with wonder. You are clearly enjoying yourself.

At night, you start off in your crib, then halfway through the night wake for a feed and snuggle in to bed with mommy for the night.

You and your sister take turns being my kitchen buddy. Sometimes while you’re napping Catherine sits on the counter and helps me; other times Catherine plays or watches a cartoon while you sit in your little seat on the counter and I talk to you as if I’m part of a kitchen show. It’s really fun to share my love for cooking with you. I let you smell things like limes, parsley, and peaches. I used to do the same for your sister when she was a baby. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to actually taste them.

Currently, it’s been very hot in NY – getting in to the 90s the past couple of weeks. So we’ve had to stay inside more than usual. But today I took a chance and we all went to the playground and you hung out on your favorite perch – my left shoulder, while Catherine ran through the sprinklers.

Josephine, you’ve far, far surpassed my expectations for what this experience with a second baby would be. I never expected to relish being a mother to two children so much, but you have made it so easy and fun. You’re utter perfection. I mean it. It’s so easy to see. We got lucky. Crazy lucky. We love you my little peanut.

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IMG_6471IMG_6442IMG_6486-EditIMG_6416-EditIMG_6361-EditIMG_6337IMG_6323At the moment, this blog has ceased to be so much of a writing outlet as just a way to keep track of Josephine’s babyhood. I have really loved looking back on the details of Catherine as a baby, and I want to make sure I document things for Josephine, too, even though that has proved harder with two. That said, here are some photos from the first few weeks home with our new family member. The ones above were taken by Laurie, and I will treasure them always. The ones below are other random ones I took with my iPhone.

I haven’t found this newborn stage to be nearly as difficult as I remembered Catherine’s being. Josephine is a good sleeper, and usually just wakes either once at night or when I wake her (since during those first weeks, they need to be fed at least every 3, then 4 hours). With Catherine, I couldn’t really relax until she was in bed at night. But this time, I’m a little wiser, and I realized that those first few weeks when they just sleep all day are amazing, and after putting Catherine to bed (sorry Catherine!) Chris and I would watch our grown-up TV and just cuddle with Josephine until we went to bed. At one point, both girls were napping and I was luxuriously cooking dinner, and it was so quiet, Chris and I looked at each other and said, “This is almost too easy.”

Of course, we knew that would pass, when Josephine started being a bit more demanding.🙂

Here are some iPhone pics. I’ve enjoyed every single second of this beautiful little brown-haired baby girl.

I have a to-do list, and it never ends…and these days, I move through it very slowly. That’s my way of saying, I would have liked to write the second part of Josephine’s birth story sooner. But here I am, and here we go!

I mentioned before that I fell madly in love with Josephine the second I saw her. Oh, that is so true. And this time, I had the added benefit of having parented a newborn before – which meant that I was a lot less worried, and everything seemed a lot less difficult. So basically, for the next couple of days in the hospital I just held her and stared at her, in absolute heaven. As the fathers aren’t allowed to spend the night in the hospital rooms in NY, it was just me and Josephine at night and in the morning. So nights were pretty lonely, but mornings – my favorite time of day – were heavenly. Because I’d just talk to her, nurse her, and get to know her in the quiet of our room, which overlooked the East River.

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Anyway…going back a bit.  After Chris and I were shown to our room – which we shared with a women for a few hours, until she checked out and we moved to the window side of the room, and then had it all to ourselves for the rest of our stay – sweet, patient Catherine arrived to meet her baby sister.  Catherine had been waiting in the waiting room since about 4:00am  – because my sister Mary gets excited about things like babies and didn’t want to wait at home – enjoying the snacks and toys Mary, Mom, and I had given her to keep her busy. But she and Mary and my mom were very anxious to see us, since we had the baby at 4:44am but didn’t get shown our room until around 7am I believe. Anyway, boring details to most people reading this but I want to have it all recorded for later.

So Mary and my mom thoughtfully wait outside the door while Catherine marches in with her little backpack to see her sister for the first time. She climbed up on the bed with us and was immediately a wonderful, loving big sister. She snuggled and kissed and loved on and cooed over Josephine. She covered Josephine’s hospital swaddle with her very best pony stickers. I still have that swaddle with the stickers on it tucked in a drawer.🙂  I’ll show it to Josephine some day. The sister bond started the day she was born and I wish them a lifetime of friendship with each other.

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IMG_8953The sisterly snuggling lasted in actuality only a few seconds before Catherine rushed to the door wondering what was taking the others so long – “Come see my baby sis-tah!” she said excitedly.

So everyone got to meet and enjoy Josephine, though if I remember correctly in my sleepy haze, I was a bit hoggish with her and was enjoying holding her so much I didn’t think to ask others if they’d like to hold her as much as I would have. (The following pictures aren’t all taken in the hospital, obviously. Some were taken in our apartment during the first few days home.)

My dad came in to town that night, and they all spent the next day or two while I was in the hospital playing in the city with Catherine, rather than sitting in the hard hospital chairs, which is what I preferred, for their sake and definitely for Catherine’s sake and come to think of it, for mine and Chris’s, since we got some alone time with our new daughter and each other.

Even though it was sad that Chris had to leave at night, it was nice that he stayed very late – until around midnight. And it was during that time that we decided upon her name. Which I think will be a new post.

introducing JosephineOur beautiful Josephine Violet Cobb is here. We’ve spent the past nearly four weeks snuggling her, learning to navigate New York and basically life with two girls, and enjoying visiting family. I’ve been dying to share her birth story, among other things, on this blog though. And now she’s down for a nap, and James, Margaret, Chris, and Catherine are out braving the rain to see the Museum of Natural History, and so I find myself with some time – how much, I never know, could be two minutes or two hours – before Josephine wakes up, in which to write.

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Let me start by sharing her birth. She arrived in nearly the exact same fashion as her big sister! My mom and sister Mary came up two days before her due date. We spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday hanging out and enjoying the waterfront and walking around New York.

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rollingEach night, we watched a little TV or a movie and then went to bed, wondering if that would be the night it happened. Mary took this picture of us on March 7, the evening of my due date.

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When we took this photo, I was actually frustrated because I felt anxious about capturing our family of three before the baby arrived, yet generally hate getting my picture taken. Luckily, Mary has a knack for bringing out the best in people in photos, so I knew she would get some good ones. And I feel like this photo captures how I was feeling the weeks before Josephine’s birth. Which is calm, happy, and very in love with my family.

That night we went to bed. Just like we did when I was pregnant the first time, with Catherine. And that morning, in the wee hours, at 2:00am – just like with Catherine, except that time it happened at 3:00am – I was dreaming that it was time, and that we were rushing around looking for my doctor to deliver the baby, when I felt a little gush and woke up. I knew my water had broken. And because Catherine had come just six or so hours after my water broke, I knew this baby would likely come much sooner! I questioned whether or it was my water or just a little pee🙂 and even laid back down a couple times, just for a second. But deep down I knew it was time and that we needed to GO. So I woke Catherine up and moved her into our big bed just because somehow I felt she was closer to me that way. I told her what was happening, and kissed her and told her how much I loved her and that I’d see her at the hospital soon. She had a bag of goodies and presents for the waiting room, and most importantly, my wonderful mom and sister, so I knew she would be beyond fine!

Then we grabbed our bags and went downstairs to catch our Uber. Chris ordered a nice SUV. Perhaps just in case I delivered there? That was a good thing, because by the time we reached the hospital, my contractions were very painful. They’d picked up in intensity rapidly. I knew our baby would be here very soon! As I was quite vocal about my pain, the poor driver kept assuring me “Don’t worry ma’am, we’re almost there.” Lol.

We arrived, and I made sure to let the nurses know that the baby was coming – sooner than later. I could tell they were skeptical at first but I convinced them pretty quickly and they understood the situation and rushed to get me in the delivery room fast. Meanwhile, they were trying to stick a needle in my arm and a scalpel up “there,” at the same time I was having a very, very painful contraction! But I was extremely impressed with the nurses at my hospital. I couldn’t have been happier with how they handled things. I felt very grateful to them.

By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was staring at the door willing him to walk in. I did not have to be in pain for as long with Catherine. The second the contractions got unbearable, I got my epidural. But this time it was happening so fast, that I found myself in a strange zone for coping with the pain. I sort of swayed and lifted my feet one at a time slowly without even consciously choosing to do so. I also said the F word a lot. It seemed to help. Then the anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural, and the obstetrician arrived and check me and I was ten centimeters dilated. It was time to push. This was at 4am. Just two hours after my water broke and woke me. We delayed pushing for a while, while the nurse arranged some things and Chris and I took a moment to soak in what was about to happen. I requested a mirror, like with Catherine. I made a little joke about how they must wonder why in the world I’d want TWO pregnant vaginas in the room. No one laughed, but I thought I was pretty funny.🙂  Chris told the doctor that last time he’d held my leg, and he wanted to this time, too. I was really impressed with how he wanted to be involved. It touches my heart to think about it. But I suddenly found myself nervous to push. They told me “you HAVE to push hard” so I let go of my nerves and four pushes later, at 4:44am on May 8 – Mother’s Day – her head of dark hair came out and then her body followed right away.

birthI reached down and grabbed her and looked her all over.  WOW. She was stunning. I was madly, utterly, head over heels in love with this perfect, pretty little peanut. I was floored by how pretty she was! I was so proud of her. I looked over at Chris and he was crying. He asked to cut the cord, and did. Then I decided to give her the chance to nurse. This time, instead of letting the nurses assist as I did with Catherine, I relaxed and put our new baby on my breast. She found my nipple, latched on right away, and didn’t let go for an hour and a half. I just kept saying ecstatically to Chris, “She’s a champ!” and this isn’t something I normally say.🙂 Even when Chris and the nurse took her to the table to weigh her I just stared after her saying “I’m soooo happy.” She weighed 7 pounds and 1 ounce, and was 20 inches long (though later the pediatrician’s nurse would measure her in their office at 19 inches). The nurse looked at her and said, “Wow, she is a little peanut!” And her hair! It is so long and dark and lovely!

photo 1IMG_8930So that’s part one of Josephine’s birth story. Somewhat graphic and quite hastily told, but it’s better I get it down quickly while I can. And I’ll be back for part two, which includes Catherine meeting Josephine, our hospital stay, and the first few days at home.

Figured I should document this since I loved looking back on Catherine’s for reference this go round.

This pregnancy has been similar to the last, and I’d be quite comfortable here in my third trimester except that I cannot stop burping after I eat. After many miserable nights, I finally realized that if I go to bed hungry I get a better night’s sleep. So dinner around 6:30 is the last thing I eat. I then sit on the sofa, uncomfortable, and burp for the next hour or so without stopping until it finally subsides, my tummy starts growling, and I drink glass after glass of ice-cold water – which surprisingly, I so crave that it almost feels as luxurious as enjoying a huge bowl of ice cream – until I go to bed.

Speaking of cravings. I FINALLY have some! And they’re the same as last pregnancy. I just want cold, watery things like watermelon, slushies, water, fruit, and more water. Oh, and peaches. I am also enjoying the taste of food a lot more, finally. For the longest time nothing really appealed to me or tasted good, and I’m not sure why. It’s only been in the past few weeks that I’ve enjoyed food again.

Other symptoms include trouble walking because I get braxton hicks throughout the day and feel like the baby could fall out at any minute, plus I get random sniper-like sciatic pains that shoot down my thighs and stop me cold in my tracks. Heartburn isn’t awful, and Tums take care of it right away.

Otherwise, I’m feeling just fine! I’m enjoying myself and find I feel better and happier this trimester than the two before it.

Yay!

Baby,

Well hello.  I fear I’ve failed you little one, where keeping a written record is concerned. Even though I’d said I’d document everything. But I do want to make sure to have the chance to chime in about things while you’re still safely tucked away where you began. I love having you here, and I have to say, this time, for me, the third trimester is the best trimester. We’re going out on a sweet note. Life is really, really good!

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photo 1photo 2Right now, we’ve just moved into a new apartment and we’re all settled in. We moved for several reasons, but one of the main ones was to have a home that made us really happy and seemed fitting to welcome YOU! We’ve found that! I’ll post pictures of our place soon. It’s sunny, cheerful, pretty, and just right for our family of four people and one dog.

Everything is washed. Your baby clothes – both new and inherited from your big sis, because I wanted to make sure you had plenty of your own new things too, and family and friends have been kind enough to give us lots of beautiful things, too – sheets, crib bedding, blankets, bouncer cushions, boppy covers, and everything else that will touch your brand-new skin.

New furniture is put together, and paintings and photos are hung – thanks to your Daddy, who doesn’t play around when it comes to taking care of things! Oh how I have loved hanging out with him these past few weeks, listening to music, and watching him work while he throws around plenty of choice words when things don’t go just right for a second.🙂

photoOur hospital bags are packed and waiting, since as of Thursday, our doctor says it could be any day now (but I’m really, really hoping you hold out until your Grandmama and Aunt Mary get here [Aunt Laurie will be shortly behind them]).

Your big sister even has a bag packed, with a few special gifts and snacks. I want to make sure that she has some treats to keep her occupied and make her feel special, since you will be getting a lot of the attention that has always been just hers. She is so ready to meet you, and gives you plenty of snuggles and hugs through my belly, and asks me constantly “Can my baby sister feel this? [lighting stroking my belly] How about this? [rubbing harder] Can she hear this? [singing loudly] What about this? [whispering]” and points to different spots on my belly and wants to know whether she’s pointing to your legs, your head, or your bottom. She also likes to talk about the various things you guys will do together (she wants to rock and snuggle you and show you her toys), and things you won’t do because you’re too little (you won’t be eating ice cream with her just yet).

photo-2You’re joining a family that’s full of love and can’t wait to meet and get to know you. We can’t believe how lucky we are!

We will see you soon, my dear.

All my love since the day you were conceived,

Your Mommy

The last time I breastfed Catherine, she was three years and three months old. I was about six to eight weeks pregnant. Morning sickness was setting in, as was breast tenderness. We’d already been “forgetting” to breastfeed more days than not, so it was only a matter of time anyway. We stopped for a few days, and that could have been it, but we had one last time. And it was special.

The reason we had one last time, when I had really intended it to be over, is because we both needed comforting. I’d had some signs of miscarriage, and was scared I was losing the baby. Then, they found a cyst and ordered an MRI, and I was terrified of the possibilities. It was an exhausting and stressful time. I honestly don’t remember what was going on with Catherine that day and that moment, but I just felt we both needed to snuggle up.

If you haven’t breastfed, you might not know that doing it releases calming endorphins instantly. And I can’t speak for Catherine, but I can tell you that there’s something addictive about breastfeeding for little ones, too. To this day, she still loves my boobies. Anyway, we curled up on the bed with the sunlight coming through the sides of the window shades and nursed one last time.

Breastfeeding is not just a gift you give your child. It’s one she gives to you, too.

I’m looking forward to what I hope will be an equally great breastfeeding relationship with our new baby in May.

A blah thing:

My company lost a big account and so announced impending layoffs of pretty much everyone I work with. And yeah, they have no qualms about laying off an eight-months pregnant lady.

I’ve got some angry feelings about that, and some ideas about what to do about it, but what I really ought to do is see it for what it is – nothing personal, just a company looking out for itself and its bottom line, as companies do. And I can do the same. All we did was write spam emails anyway. Frankly, that experience wasn’t worth the money or time away from Catherine. Though, as with all experiences, it did teach me – and Catherine – some things and so was valuable in its own way.

I’m lucky to have Chris who has always been successful at his career, and allows me to spend so much precious time with my babies that, sadly, many women in this country don’t get to enjoy.

And on that note, here are some more good things:

  • We’re moving into our new, sunny, lovely apartment right on the water in a week.
  • Spring is arriving.
  • Shopping for fun new furniture and baby things is in progress.
  • My mom will be coming up soon to hang out and help me do last minute things before the baby arrives.
  • Catherine is about to be a big sister.
  • Chris and I are very close to meeting our precious new baby girl!

One thing I’ve learned from our wedding and this second pregnancy – both of which were SO carefully planned – is that the things you plan the most seem to go the least according to plan! I need to learn to roll with the punches and not ruminate so much. Life is short. I want to focus on the fun things and stop trying to anticipate every possible thing that could go wrong. It won’t change anything.

Well…more later!