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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 358: A Look Back At All We Did This Year

We leave here on Friday to return home. This week will be busy with me pre-packing for the move and visiting last minute with friends. Matter of fact, tonight I am looking forward to gathering with my three girlfriends and having some drinks out. This will be my first and sadly last time out for drinks for girls' night since I got here (being pregnant played a big factor here)! Luckily there will be one night out at least.

Talking with Ervin the other day, we wondered at the multitude of things we've done here this year (mini-adventures). I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of them (in no particular order).

  • 1. Took ferry to Statue of Liberty
  • 2. Went to Flushing Corona Park (home of the the Unisphere globe, filming of Men In  
        Black, the 1964-65 Worlds Fair, Queens Zoo, US Open, and Citi Field.)
  • 3. Went to Zucotti Park during OWS
  • 4. Visited WTC Memorial
  • 5. Visited Rockefeller Center and Giant Christmas Tree and Ice Rink
  • 6. Visited Times Square
  • 7. Walked the Brooklyn Bridge
  • 8. Went to 86th floor Empire State Building
  • 9. Went to Central Park (about 10 times)
  • 10. Visited every zoo in NYC: Queens, Prospect Park, Bronx and Central Park.
  • 11. Visited New York Aquarium
  • 12. Visited Coney Island and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs
  • 13. Ate at Ben's Best Kosher Deli (featured on Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives)
  • 14. Visited Brooklyn and Queens Botanical Garden
  • 15. Visited Flushing's Chinatown, tried Bubble Tea and soup dumplings for first time
  • 16. Saw Live with Kelly and David Letterman Show
  • 17. Visited FAO Schwartz and played on the giant piano
  • 18. Rode numerous subway lines
  • 19. Rode the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road)
  • 20. Took at trip to Massachusettes to visit old friends
  • 21. Took trip to Philly to see Liberty Bell
  • 22. Took trip to Jersey to Atlantic City
  • 23. Took trip to Mexico for first vacation with Cole
  • 24. Enjoyed NYC Beaches
  • 25. Drank in the East Village at a Hookah Bar
  • 26. Walked the High Line and visited Chelsea Market
  • 27. Saw Clybourne Park on Broadway
  • 28. Went to American Museum of Natural History
  • 29. Went to NY Auto Show
  • 30. Had a baby born here!
These were the major things. I feel so grateful that we could expose Cole to such a variety of activities. He cooperated during most of them (with a few exceptions - melting down on the floor of subway, ferry to statue, etc). I hope Quinn doesn't get the shaft back in Antioch.

I've come to love NY, but I can also instantly turn to hating it in the same day - (mostly due to being stuck in traffic coming home from said adventures and insane drivers). I'll miss the skyline and the bridges, and that majesty of it all as you approach them. I won't miss the expressionless faces that don't smile back at you on the street, although I did find when you talked to these people they were often friendly. They just didn't get out of the city before them became hard to it. I'm glad I am. I still smile at people.

If I were rich and could spend half my year here in a posh pad in Manhattan, I surely would. I'll miss this place and the people I've met here. I'll miss it's convenience, it's forced healthy lifestyle (due to walking everywhere). I won't miss the pollution, the smell of piss and garbage, the pigeon poop,  the dirt that coats my floors when the windows are open. I look forward to watching my sons run around in our large yard back home (as opposed to seeing Cole get excited about the small patch of grass in front of our apartment here). I can't wait to be back in a house, to see my friends and family (introducing Quinn to them) and to drive again without being so scared. And not having to parallel park!!

Here are some pics before I go. Quinn is 6 weeks old.
Me and Ervin




Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 339 - Wrapping up our time here in NYC

Just a mere three weeks from tomorrow, September 21 - yep, you heard me right - we will be flying back home to Antioch, IL. (Wipe tear from eye). At least Cole, Quinn, my mom and I will be. Ervin will be embarking on the 16 hour drive back on the same day after the movers finish at the apartment. My mom is kind enough to fly down for the express purpose to help me with the plane ride back. I had to fly alone with Cole once, that was enough. It will be just shy of 365 days, coming in at 361 days by the time we leave. So close!

I have mixed feelings about returning "home" after making Rego Park, Queens my home for the past year. Reflecting, I find it incredibly hard to believe how fast a year passes. A year ago, we had one child. Now we have two. A year ago, I did not have the three good friends and playmates for Cole that I've met here. We've done more in a year here in sightseeing and trips to the zoo and the beach than ever before. We've eaten different foods, been immersed in countless languages and cultures. It's been real, NYC.

We now have a son with a birth certificate that states "birthplace NYC." We will one day tell him what it was like living here and hopefully he can return when he is older. Our other son Cole, who will be turning three in October, will remember taxis, Manhattan, our evening walks to the park, and hopefully his friends: Shane, Aidan, Lily, and Josephine and of course the door-woman Joy.

As for now, life has been quite an adjustment with the two children. After Erv returned to work after being off to help me for 2 weeks, my Mom flew down for a week. She treated me to my first, and her first Broadway play, the excellent Clybourne Park. She also treated us to see the Empire State Building, which was awesome. Suffice to say, we were there one day before the shooting. Scary coincidence. Now she is gone and I am on my own. Things are manageable, but tiring at times. I would describe my day as a series of fits and starts. Most things get finished by the end of the day but it's like multitasking on crack. Cole, who had been in a very negative stage and prone to frequent acting out before the baby, is in full out terror mode a lot of the time. Jealousy is surely an issue. However, I don't regret waiting so long to have my second child. The time I've spent alone with Cole is invaluable.

Then, of course, there's the baby waking every 2 hours at night like clockwork. On top of that, Cole has a cold, which has now been passed onto Quinn. So, that made last night real fun - with him being up for a three hour stretch in addition to the two hour feedings. It's a tough balance to find time to give to Cole so he doesn't feel neglected.

I am also exclusively pumping breastmilk every 3 hours and just giving formula when I need to. The hours fly by so quickly I cannot believe it. I spend about 2 hours during the day just pumping. Then there's feeding both boys, cleaning, cooking. The TV does not get turned on in this house for my pleasure until the boy's bedtime. Thank goodness Cole still takes a two-hour nap during the day so that I can sneak in an hour either bonding solely with Quinn or napping ourselves.

Starting to get back in shape! Cole loves exercising with Mama
BQ, The Mayor, Quimby - Baby Quinn

My Mom and I before our broadway adventure

Mom holding Quinn for first time

View from Empire State

Me at the top of Empire State Building
But, let me say this - despite all the hard work - I do love having a new baby in the house again. The special smell, the goat sounds he makes, the tiny, warm body to cuddle with. And, hearing Cole say "oh, hi baby Quinn!" warms my heart.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On Day 314: A Babe Is Born

August 5, 2012 - Quinn's Birthday Story

Saturday the 4th we had a busy day, we spent hours getting lost in the vastness of the Long Island IKEA, picking up a few things here and there and pricing out new some furniture for Cole's room back home. Afterwards we continued the day running a few more errands as Erv's paternity leave had begun that weekend. We agreed if we didn't have the baby by Sunday that he would go back to work on Monday and save his time, so I was determined to have this child! I had contractions, about 8 minutes apart almost the whole day. We went to bed later that night after I stated to Ervin that I just couldn't believe with all the contractions I'd been getting for weeks that my water hadn't broken yet.

12:00 AM on the dot. I awoke to a large gush in bed. I told Erv "grab some towels, my water broke" and I believe his response was "a paper towel?" "NO! Towels, I'm gushing water."
Of course the water had already gone through our poor mattress this time. Time for a new one!  I texted my doula who didn't respond until I called her a half hour later. She said since my contractions hadn't picked up yet to just take it easy and call her when they did. Around 1:30 that happened and it happened fast. They were 5 minutes apart and all the sudden they were 5, then 3, then 5, then 3 etc minutes apart. Ervin was still sleeping through some of this but started to awaken. We needed to get Cole over to our friend Jamie's house but at this point it was getting so intense that I was afraid of being left alone. I called my doula again and asked if I should go to the hospital or if she was gonna get over here and she told me she was heading over and to get in the bathtub to slow things down some. The water helped a lot with the pain but I was finding them increasingly difficult to manage, with a lot of pain initially in the front and a lot in my back too. Running hot water over my back helped. I made a lot of loud moaning sounds after our angel of a friend offered to come and get Cole so Ervin didn't have to leave me. I wonder if anyone else in the neighboring apartments heard me! Some of the sounds were like an animal being wounded. Around 3:30 or 4 my doula Olga arrived and all shame being out the window, she massaged my back while I was in my own birthday suit in the tub. After a mere half hour we decided to go to the hospital.

She had to take her own car so we figured it was best for me to lie in the back of our car with pillows. I tried leaving the house a couple of times but kept getting hit through contractions, which I was terrified to walk or stand through. We made it to the car and after 5 whopping contractions in the car while I screamed in the backseat and gripped the head rest in front of me, we made it there. It was about a 15 minute drive where Erv later told me he drove about 70 mph. Upon admittance to triage they checked me and said I was a 6 and 90% effaced. That was good news. My goal was to go all natural without drugs so that was good progress. However, after being there for another two hours and going through excruciating contractions that seemed to pick up in intensity but slow down - I was only a 7 and 100%. I started having doubts and thinking about the epidural. It didn't work for me  (only on one side, doubling the pain on the other) initially for my first birth for 1 hour or so and had to be redone so I was against it. I thought if I had been an 8 or 9 at that point that I could've powered through. But, it felt like my back was splitting apart. It looked like the movies where people are in labor screaming except I had torn off my gown because it kept falling off anyways. I was there to have this baby, not be in a fashion show.

I asked for the epidural but since I had planned on not having it I only had a hep-lock, not an IV, so I had to wait for the IV to fill me up with 1/2 hours worth of fluid. That was a long wait. When the anesthesiologist came in and wanted to start the epidural I told her it was a good time since I'd JUST had a contraction and then all the sudden I was having another one and another. There seemed to be no break and she told me she didn't know if she could do it with so many. I was clearly in transition at this point. Ervin and Olga, my saviors who had been helping me through these with massage and counter-pressure on my back had to leave the room for this time - and I was terrified of how I was going to hold absolutely still for 10 minutes without them, sitting up and leaning over. Luckily there was a kind nurse there named Rachel that helped me by standing in front of me and helping me breathe through 5 of them. Then, midway through they lost part of the epidural kit and had to make me wait another excruciating five minutes. After it was done I had to lay on my back for 20 minutes, the hardest position to handle, while the medicine did it's job. After that 20 minutes, my contractions started to become much less painful. and my legs got tingly. All the sudden I felt extreme pressure on my tailbone and new it was time to push. Sure enough I was a 10. After 10 or so minutes, or 3 sets of pushes, Quinn was born at 8:37. Luckily I hardly felt anything.  I was shocked to see this little baby weighed a whopping 8.95 lbs and was 21.10 inches long. Cole had been only 7.7 and was born at 40 weeks, 3 days, one day later than Quinn.

My doula Olga

On the phone with my parents telling them about Quinn

Dad and his two sons

Dad napping with Quinn (he has his earplugs in) LOL

I left the hospital after just one night, wanting to be back at home. Being home with a new baby has been an adjustment for our family. Cole is a bit jealous. We are working on it! I am nursing but struggling and just trying to take one day at a time. The baby is the easiest part of it all though. He is such a docile little angel who hardly ever cries and such a doll. In another 6 weeks we have another big change coming at us - moving back home.