Archives for the month of: July, 2012

Aren’t cousins the best?  They’re the perfect playmates, like sisters and brothers but without all the fighting.  When I was little there was nothing more fun to me than spending time playing with my cousins.  I actually cried when it was time to go home!  So it is a blessing that we have so many sweet, precious nieces and nephews (who we love very, very dearly) close in age to Catherine.

Above are my sister’s babies, Abby and Nolan.

Below are Chris’s brothers’ little ones in the front, Olivia, Wyatt, and Bella (plus another baby boy on the way!).

We are really going to enjoy watching them grow up playing together!

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Yesterday started off sooo perfect!  Catherine and I went for our second run, and it was great!  I got in a good hour of running, and stopped midway at my favorite bakery in Atlanta to pick up some cookies and muffins.  It was a totally enjoyable and rejuvenating run and I am so happy to be back at it after my pregnancy. It’s even better than I now get to run with my little buddy Catherine.  And the fact that it is such a process to get to the running part actually makes it a fun challenge and ups the payoff in my opinion.

After our run, we came home and I had just enough time for a shower (forget drying my hair or putting on makeup) before she woke up ready to be fed.  She ate, and then we had a cute playing session.

Then I put her in the moby wrap and while she slept I actually did a little shopping at Target.

We came home with some goodies from Target, I fed her again, and she got a little fussy.  I didn’t care, I was on Mommy Cloud 9 from our awesome morning.  I had nothing but time to spend with my girl.  I rocked her, soothed her, put her down.  She cried and wanted back up.  Again, no problem, I’d rock her all day if that’s what she wanted.  But as the hours went on I started to get a little bothered because I’m very adamant she get all her naps and I worry if she isn’t getting the recommended sleep, food, etc.  At 6pm, she finally went down…and woke back up 15 minutes later.  Now, I began to worry.  Her fussing turned to inconsolable crying.

I have never not been able to console a baby!  Especially my own.  After trying everything and checking for everything that could possibly make a baby cry, I was at a loss.  Hearing her sad cries finally got to me and I was crying with her.  I couldn’t stand the thought of her being in pain or whatever it was for so long and me not being able to fix it!!  I called the doctor, who could barely hear me over her cries.  Because she’s so young, he had me go to the children’s ER.  I sobbed!

But we went, and I felt a little better because at least they’d be able to fix her there, right?  WRONG.  Let me tell you – the ER is no place you want to be with an infant!  After checking her over, asking me what I’d eaten, and finding nothing wrong (duh – I could have done that myself, and already had) they suggested 1)a blood test, 2)a urine sample via catheter, and 3)a spinal tap!!!!  All this to rule out infection.

Oh. My. Gosh.  While I totally am for taking all precautions just in case, this was too much.  I was sobbing in the hospital.  I could not bear hearing my baby crying as if in pain for so long. Then, having to see her in a tiny hospital gown with stupid cords to monitor stuff strapped to her???  And finally, them trying to do all sorts of invasive and in my opinion unnecessary procedures to my tiny, innocent baby??????  My heart was just breaking.  It all felt over-the-top, procedural, and flat out unnecessary.  I called my doctor again, who I adore by the way, and just the tone of his voice in response to my sobbing to him on the phone – not patronizingly soothing or anything, just unfazed by my crying and reassuring like talking to a friend – made me feel better.  He said it would be okay and to be safe rather than sorry and listen to the ER doctor’s recommendation.  We didn’t get to finish our conversation because the ER doctor came in the room. :-/

So, I agreed to a blood test and urine sample but made them hold off on the spinal thing until Chris (who had just landed at the airport back from Chicago) arrived, to stall them and buy me some time.  I’m glad I did.  They did the blood test and urine sample and BOY DID I CRY, way more than sweet Catherine.  Finally, Chris arrived.  What a relief to see him!  By that time, the doctors had spoken with my pediatrician on the phone, and as the other two tests came back totally normal decided the spinal tap was unnecessary.  YA THINK???  Ugh.

Well, Catherine, utterly exhausted not having slept since 2pm, finally passed out at midnight in my arms at the hospital.  We took her home and put her to bed.  I stared at her, overcome with love and worry for her.  I cuddled with Chris on the sofa for about 15 minutes to unwind.  Finally we went to bed.  Catherine slept through the night, with the exception of a 5am feeding.

So…maybe we made a mountain out of a molehill.  I think the reaction of the nurses and doctors and seeing Catherine in that environment just shook me.  And not being able to soothe your baby will rattle any mother’s nerves apparently.  I feel like I need to recover from a small trauma.  I’m NOT kidding.  I hope, hope, hope that today goes better.  She is waking up from her nap right now.

In all, I have to say that I love the pediatricians at Piedmont Pediatrics, and I’m NOT AT ALL impressed with the pediatricans and care we received at Egelston Children’s Hospital.  Maybe that’s just because of how scary it was, but that’s how I feel.

I love my sweet baby girl so much.  I almost didn’t write about this because I’d rather forget it, but I did anyway.

And here is our baby this morning, feeling better and saying hello to Daddy.

What a night.  I still don’t know what was wrong. Gas? Reflux? What makes a baby cry inconsolably?

I came across this photo from a few days before she was born. It was me playing around, trying to get Chris to commit to a name. 🙂 I wrote this one morning in bed and let Chris see it. Now, it’s her name!
By the way – Chris is in Chicago for work and won’t be back until tomorrow night. I thought I missed him when he used to travel before. Being alone at night with a newborn is way lonelier! Probably because he is such a huge help and supporter. I miss him!

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Today, Catherine and I shared our very first real run together!!  It was quite a process to make it to the park – we’re still getting the hang of things.  But once we made it, I felt such a big sense of accomplishment.  And that was before we even started running. LOL.

Anyway, we ran for 50 minutes.  I haven’t had such a great workout since first trimester.  It felt marvelous! I thought I’d be in much worse shape after not having run in so long.

Now, people do say not to take babies out running until they’re 3 months old.  That’s because their little bodies are still so fragile and don’t need to be jarred.  But I feel very confident taking her out at one month, because I purposefully scoped out smooth sidewalks in advance.  Where I took here, there are literally no cracks and combine that with us having a BOB running stroller, and her ride is probably smoother than a car ride.

Yay for a successful first run together!  I hope this is the start of a great running partnership. 😉

Our girl turned one month on July 23, 2012.  I’ll spare you the whole “it went by so fast” thing because, of course it did.  It’s getting fun to see her little personality start to come out more and more, although she is still very much in the “eat, sleep, poop, cry” phase.

I tried to do a little quick photo shoot but she wasn’t feeling very cooperative.

It seems she has Chris’s mouth and my eyes, which makes me sooo happy that she has parts of both of us! But I know they do change so it will be fun watching her!

The white blanket she’s sitting on was knitted for her by her Grandma Margaret.  The blue and pink blanket behind her was made for me when I was a newborn by a friend of my Grandmomma Newberry.  The rattle – which Catherine totally loves and can hold and shake – was at my Grandmomma Newberry’s house and used by all the grandchildren, so I guess it was made in the 70s sometime…?  Anyway, my mom gave it to me and I love using it for Catherine.

When I said we loved Catherine instantly, that is definitely true.  But as we get familiar with her little face, we love her more and more every day.  The biggest thing is always feeling like I want to protect her from the world.  I am constantly thinking of how to make her happy and that’s my biggest goal now.

So far she might be living up to her sign, Cancer, in that she’s becoming a tad bit needy.  She does not want Mommy to put her down.  This is different from the first two weeks, when she appeared practically comatose while sleeping.  Taking this few minutes to write for my blog is the first break I’ve had since yesterday. 😉

Time to go!

Just popping in to say, my baby girl is smiling at me!  Three weeks old and she is definitely, without a doubt smiling at her mommy in response to seeing me or hearing me talk to her.

The first time it happened she was in her crib fussing.  I went to her and bent down close to her face to pick her up like I always do.  She saw me and her face lit up with recognition, then she broke into a smile in the middle of her fussing.  I still questioned it because she’s so young and I thought she’d be about 6 weeks before she started smiling for real.

But then, this morning I was in bed with her looking in her eyes talking to her and she smiled.  I told Chris excitedly what happened.  A few minutes later he was holding her and I came over and began talking to her again and he witnessed her break into the biggest, open mouth grin.  Priceless!!!!

Sometimes one of you sleeps while the other one stays awake.

And sometimes the other one sleeps while you stay awake.

Mommy sleeps with the baby too.

Please ignore Mommy’s ginormous bosom.

Really, I should have called this post “Our Stay in the Hospital” and let “Coming Home” be a fourth post.  But I’ll go ahead and try to combine the two.

We had a wonderful stay in the hospital – like everything else about my pregnancy and Catherine’s birth, the memories of that tiny room with its uncomfortable bed (who was sleeping, anyway?), its weird extra space with no use in the corner, and its little basinet that stayed beside my bed and held our baby girl – are dear to us and imprinted in our minds.

We spent our first nights as a family of three there – with well-intending, if slightly annoying, nurses popping in and out at all hours of the day and night…our family visiting and sitting patiently on the little side bench waiting to be offered a chance to hold Catherine…me struggling to learn to breastfeed while waiting for my milk to come in… Scared I’d starve her, I collected drops – literally, drops! – of colostrum from my breasts and painstakingly fed her with my finger like a baby bird at two, then four, then six in the morning.  It sometimes took me an hour to get her to wake up, if I even succeeded.  I literally must have slept a total of 3 hours in three days.  After labor, I was so incredibly exhausted, yet I didn’t sleep, and wouldn’t for days.

One night, a nurse suggested we leave our baby in the nursery for 2 hours until it was time for me to feed again, and then they’d bring her to me.  This suggestion devastated me for some reason.  I burst into tears and sobbed.  Chris suggested we take her up on the offer and I let her take Catherine away, but I was convinced this suggestion was a reflection of my mothering skills.  I was failing; that’s why they took her from me.  It was 11am.  Instead of sleeping, I stared at the clock until 1am, slipped on my shoes, and went out into the halls looking for her.  I found the nurse, asked her to please bring me my baby, and that was the last time Catherine stayed in the nursery away from her parents (except when she saw the pediatrician or something)!

We’d checked into the hospital at 3am Saturday morning.  On Monday afternoon, we stood in our cleaned and packed-up hospital room, filling out her birth certificate before we could check out and go home.  We’d agonized over her name, and now we finally had to settle on one.  Chris had so much anxiety about making the decision.  But we finally did.  Leaving was bittersweet.  We were very ready to take her to our nice, clean, comfortable home.  But the entire experience was so, so special to us that we were reluctant to even say goodbye to that room.  I don’t know if I have or will have any other memory that will stay in my heart like that one.  I can’t even describe it.

BUT…we came home!!  And home was so much better than the hospital!

We got Catherine on a good eating and sleeping routine (well…for the time being).  Breastfeeding got a LOT easier – but still not easy!  I actually got sleep – finally.  For the first two weeks, Catherine was an easy baby – a perfect baby.  She ate, stared at us for a few minutes, then passed out for 2 hours.  Repeat.  She sleeps through the night (most nights) with only one feeding around 3am (last night was an exception ;-/).
How do we feel about her?

When she was born, she instantly became the center of our world.  I can’t speak for Chris but I can tell you what I observe.  He holds her and stares at her with this happy expression on his face and spontaneously says things like “heh heh. I’ve got a mini me” (because she looks just like him) or “God. She is beautiful!”  He sings Radiohead songs to her in bed.  He changes her diaper – her most loathed activity – and mocks her angry protests, causing her to pause and stare at him like “Did you just do that?”

As for me, I’ve never worried about anyone so much.  I’m totally in awe of her, but I have plenty of moments where I feel frustrated and sad because I question my ability to be a great mom.  This happens when she is breastfeeding, and the milk isn’t coming out fast enough for her, and she gets so, so angry!  Her face turns red, she claws my already sensitive breasts with her fingernails, bites down, and jerks her head back!  Then she screams.  This only happens a couple times a day, but it hurts my feelings!  Two minutes later, she is asleep in my arms looking so beautiful, and I forget my hurt feelings and think how exciting it is that I have a daughter.  I tell myself it’s an honor that she feels like she can express her frustrations to me. Heh heh heh.

Something that’s been new for Chris and me during these two weeks of his paternity leave is learning to sit still and relax.  We’re both multitaskers who love to be busy accomplishing things – even if it’s just him designing for fun on his computer while I’m in the kitchen making us dinner.  We do relax and watch television or read, but that’s just right before bedtime.  The thing about newborns is, they’re best appreciated while being still. (btw, this blanket was handmade for me by my grandmother’s good friend when I was a newborn!)

We have to find our zen place.  It’s hard.  I feel pulled to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher and bake cookies.  But when I do, I feel terrible and I long to be back holding her, even when she’s napping, so I don’t miss a minute of her before she grows up and isn’t a newborn anymore!  So I’m always happier in the end when I just sit still and be with her.  That’s my challenge at the beginning of my maternity leave…to learn, as one dear friend put it, that “I have nothing else to do, and no where else to be but here.”

Anyway…that’s our update on baby Catherine.  More to come!

Are you ready for this? Nine long months of agonizing over the possibilities and we have decided on our baby’s name. I hope she loves it.

Catherine Wellons Cobb

It is the name that came to me in a flash, just days after I found out I was pregnant (maybe even that day). I knew it was right for her. The months that followed were just a matter of convincing Chris. We played with so many beautiful names, and really struggled to narrow down our selection together…with me pushing the hardest towards a focal point – I felt so passionate about this decision I just couldn’t settle for anything less than a perfect name she would be proud of throughout her life.

Here’s why we love her name.

1. It was important that her name sound phonetically pleasing. Not only “first, middle, last” but also “first, last” since that’s what she’d most often go by. So every name we considered sounded poetic enough when said aloud. We like the alliteration in “Catherine Cobb” and “Catherine Wellons.” And I liked that Catherine was a bit more elaborate, Cobb being just one syllable.

2. You wouldn’t build a Tuscan villa in Southern, Spanish moss-drenched Savannah would you? Her first name needed to be in keeping with our ancestry. Cobb being a straightforward, English name, a name like Sophia or Esmerelda wouldn’t fit. Her name needed to be traditional all-American or British. So each name we considered didn’t clash with but rather complemented Cobb.

3. We wanted to honor family. It was difficult to choose, there are so many people we love and wanted to pay tribute to through her name, and so many of their names we love as well! At one point I suggested to Chris we give her four names instead of three! In the end, since she has the Cobb last name, she got Wellons as her middle name. Wellons is a strong name on my side of the family. It’s my sister’s middle name, my niece’s middle name, my grandmother’s middle name, and my great-grandmother’s maiden name. I love how it sounds when you say it out loud. Very soft and pretty. Catherine is my middle name, except it’s spelled Katherine. I personally like the “C” spelling a little better. It is softer and gentler. And I really like the uncluttered consistency of Catherine Cobb versus Katherine Cobb.

4. Her name will never date her. Catherine is one of the oldest names still being used today and is proven to have stood the test of time. The names on our final list were all original names dating back centuries or longer. I didn’t want a recently made-up name, a new spelling, or even a shortened version of a classic. Her name would be the original classic, at least on her birth certificate. If we wanted to shorten it from there, we could. In the case of Catherine, we won’t be shortening it. But her name gives her plenty of flexibility. If we’d named her simply Cate Cobb on her birth certificate, she doesn’t have as much flexibility, for example (even though Cate is a perfectly beautiful name).

5. Her name fits right in with her family. Chris, Helen, and Catherine (and Meeks!). Sounds good to me! As Chris pointed out, her name is almost a combination of ours, with the C beginning and the N ending.

6. Finally, I have to say something about where I got my naming preferences. I got them from my mother. She did such an amazing job of naming her three daughters. She gave us classic, though not necessarily popular at the time (aka, non-trendy), names. Helen Katherine, Mary Ella, and Laurie Wellons. She has impeccable taste in names, and I have always been grateful to have a classic, sort of “literary” name that ignored all trends and whims. I am grateful to her for my name! I really want my daughter to feel the same. So I did the best I could, and I hope we made the right decision.

We love you, baby Catherine.

I was really scared to begin pushing.  Obviously, I’d never done it before, and I wanted to make sure she got out quickly so she didn’t have to be stuck in the birth canal for long, so there was that pressure.  Oh, and the fact that even though the epidural was working for my contractions, I wasn’t sure how it would feel to push, as they say, a watermelon out of well-you-know.

But it was actually amazing.  Chris, the very calming and skilled nurse, and I were alone in the very large and nice delivery room pushing while we waited for my doctor to arrive.  I was able to use a large mirror to watch my progress.  I’ve heard people say they have no interest in using a mirror to see their baby come out.  But oh my goodness, I can’t imagine not having seen it all!! It was truly amazing.

And contrary to what some people say about epidurals, I could feel everything – just without the pain (well, until she crowned anyway).  So I knew when it was time to push; no one had to tell me.  I pushed with all my might.  Eventually, I begin to see the top of her head.  Then I got very excited!  With every push, her head got just a little bit closer.  That was motivation for me to push!  I wanted her out.

The doctor arrived.  With Chris letting me brace one leg against him and looking at me telling me “you’re doing great babe!” – which also broke my concentration and made me laugh a little, but was reassuring at the same time – and the nurse supporting my other leg, and the doctor between doing his thing, we pushed our baby out, head first.  It hurt!  I let them know as she was about to crown, “Hey, this hurts!” and the nurse told me “push against the pain” which somehow made sense and so I did.  As her head was coming out, I saw our doctor snatch a pair of shears and snip me down there, as he would explain later, to avoid tearing in worse places.  Her head came out – unbelievable! She had a head full of light brown hair!  My next thought was “oh crap, I have to push out her shoulders, how is this going to work??”  But I did, and as she came out at 9:55 am after less than one hour of pushing, I couldn’t help but spring up and reach for her saying in amazement “My baby!”

I held her close and Chris and I stared at her in complete awe and amazement.  The doctor was delivering the placenta but I couldn’t care less what was happening around me, I wanted nothing to do with anything but staring at my beautiful, perfect daughter, at her big hands and long, long feet.  At 7 pounds 9 ounces she was much bigger than the doctor had predicted. She was chubby, with chubby cheeks.  We loved her instantly.

Stay tuned for Part III, Coming Home.