Saturday, December 7, 2013

Anna — 2 Months

Annushka. 10 weeks. Tummy time.I rarely have a chance to even turn on computer nowadays, so I’ll be super brief.

Anyutka is doing very well. She started smiling and cooing a few weeks ago. She makes that funny sound resembling coughing, which is actually her way to laugh and show that she is happy. I find it oh so cute.

8 weeks.She discovered her hands and loves sucking on them when she happens to find them. She enjoys looking at pictures in books — she often smiles at them, and often her eyes get bigger and rounder if she finds something especially interesting. She also likes to stare at rattle toys and she enjoys her play-mat thingy.

Her sleep patterns have changed.

OK, it took me a while to get back to this post, so now I’m writing about a 10 week old Anechka.

6 weeks.So, her sleep patterns have changed. She sleeps much worse during day time, and worse during the night. In the last few nights she would wake up every two hours and then would not want to go to sleep for a while (up to two hours). She used to wake up twice during the night for feeding and then go back to sleep. It is pretty exhausting, but I know that everything with babies this young is temporary. So it’s a stage. Maybe she is growing fast. Maybe she learned something new. Maybe something physical is bothering her — tummy, teeth… I don’t know. There is no way to tell. I just try to be gentle and patient with her. And honestly, every day I think how lucky we are to have her, to hold her, to watch her grow.

Smile.We go for walks every day — usually we’re out for 2.5-3 hours. If the weather permits and I can feed her outside, we go for longer walks, but it’s already December, so days like that are rare.

Ароша. Мы бандито, знаменито...She’s getting better with her head control. I think she enjoys tummy time — not on the floor, but on my legs or on boppy pillow.

Anechka also enjoys her bath time. We do it daily, just before bed, and she swims in the large bathtub for 15-20 minutes. Aroshka loves bathing with her, but I don’t let him do it every day because it makes things more complicated for me in terms of making sure no-one gets injured or cold.

Happy. 10 weeks.A lot of people tell us that Anechka and Arosha look very similar. But to me they look quite different. Yes, you can tell that they’re siblings, but to my eyes there are a lot of things that are distinct about each one of them. I guess it’ll be easier to see when she gets older.

P.S. Annushka was 24 inches long and weighted 11lb and 8oz on her 2 months check-up visit.
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Arosha and Cones

Arosha and cones. Cheesequake State Park. End of October.About two months ago we were in a park for a walk. Arosha collected a huge bundle of walnuts that have fallen from a tree and when it was time to go home refused to part with them.

At Cheesequake Park.We told him to put his pile down by a tree and some squirrel will find it and will be very very happy that somebody did all the work for it. Making a squirrel happy seemed like a very good proposition, so Arosha agreed to leave his walnuts behind.

Cones. Flushing Meadows Park. Today.Ever since then he is constantly piling up nuts, acorns and cones whenever he finds them in order to help the squirrels. Now we don’t have the heart to break it to him that they don’t really need his help and all his piles of goods are never going to get used.

Flushing Meadows Park.Today he was doing the same during our walk in Flushing Meadows Park. He had a full bucket of cones when he spotted a squirrel. He started running after it and squirrel in turn was running away from him. And he was running and screaming, “Little squirrel, why are you leaving, I got all the cones for you!” Или, “Белочка, ты куда, я тебе шишек принес!”

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Kids at Almost 2 Months

Анюта.We were looking through old post from September 2010 — the same age for Arosha that Anyuta is at right now. In those posts we saw a picture that we took of Arosha in his mini-gym thing. So we decided to take the same one of Anyuta.

Ароша.Arosha did make somewhat an unusual expression on that photos of his and Anyuta refuses to do the same. But they do look quite a bit different from each other. Arosha was exactly 7 weeks on that shot and Anyuta is exactly 8. And in a blink of an eye she’ll be running around.
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fire Island

Fire Island Lighthouse.Last Saturday we had another travel-adventure. We haven’t visited Fire Island since the time when Andrey came to visit us and that was right before Aroshka was born. So I thought that it would be fun for Arosha to see a real big lighthouse which can be climbed.

Wooden trail.I wasn’t sure if everything was open after Sandy last year, but my call confirmed that all was good. Some portions of the wooden path have been destroyed, but you could go around via a paved road for that section and they said that stroller wouldn’t be a problem.

Alena, Anechka, Arosha.The day was nice and warm. The park was filled with visitors. We felt like we were quite far away from home in some National Park. And indeed, Fire Island is a National Seashore and has its own official stamp. It was very pleasant to be taking a walk in such a beautiful place breathing fresh air imbued with salty water smell of a raging open ocean.

Near lighthouse.This time there were 5 of us. My dad decided to join us and managed to squeeze in between the two car seats on the back seat. The drive to Fire Island was very short — took us less than an hour to get there. During our drive and during our walk Anechka slept well as always and Arosha was running back and forth exploring different places and plants.

Fire Island beach.We’ve seen a number of lighthouses in our travels and some with Arosha, but none are as impressive as the one on Fire Island. The second most impressive lighthouse I’ve seen was in Bass Harbor in Maine, but that one’s place in memory should be attributed to its location rather than the lighthouse itself.

Ocean.When we got to the lighthouse itself I was told that in order to climb to the top one had to be above a certain height. Somehow I naturally assumed that Arosha would be fine, but it turned out that he was exactly to the mark. If I remember correctly the mark was at 43 inches. As we found out later — Alena talked to somebody on the trail — not all 5 year olds qualify.

Ocean.I imagine Arosha was one of the very very few 3 year olds who not only attempted by actually got to the top. I was actually surprised with the speed of his ascent via a spiral staircase. Not all adults could be so brisk. In addition to a 3 year old Arosha my soon to be 75 year old dad was right along us. It takes 182 iron steps and two small ladders to get to the top.

View from the top.The view was great. We took a lot of pictures. Arosha was very cautious around the perimeter, although it was all protected by steel net which seemed pretty sturdy. After taking in the view we easily made it down where we were awarded certificates of achievement. I declined mine, but Arosha and my dad decided to keep theirs.

Cake was good!It also turned out that on that very day the lighthouse turned 155 years old and there was a lot of live music and a lot of free cake in celebration. Arosha claims that it was quite delicious. While Arosha was eating cake we took some portraits around the lighthouse.

By lighthouse.After that we walked to the beach. It was really beautiful. The waves were pretty big, but that’s because it’s an open ocean. The was very little wind. One could really spend a good while there just admiring the beauty of nature with all one’s senses — the view, the smell, the sound. Peace and serenity.

Sleeping.To finish our day off we had a nice dinner on the shore — a nostalgic type of place that reminded me of our great time in Maine and more recently Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It was yet another great weekend outing for our brave and not-so-little family.

Captain Bill's. Dinner.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween 2013

Arosha and Rachel.This year was the first year when we took Arosha trick-or-treating.

About a month ago we were talking about different holidays with him, and I mentioned Halloween — a day when children can dress up and go to stores and houses to ask for candies. Arosha got really excited with the idea, and said that he wants a costume too. First he requested a corn costume, but after looking through them on internet and spotting a sweet pea pod costume, he changed his mind and requested that one instead.

In the park after trick-or-treating.As you might know, Arosha’s favorite color is green, so it is not a surprise to me that he got so enchanted with the pea pod. We offered him a lot of other options by the way, but he knew exactly what he wanted.

I was not sure where to go with him, and I did not want him to go alone, so I asked some people on the playground about their plans. Luckily, Anya and her daughter Rachel did not have any plans and wanted to join us. I was told by our neighbor that all the local stores, including Silverstar, Party City, Rite Aid will have candies for kids and that the best time to go is probably around 11-12 oc’lock in the morning, before all the other children will get off school. This sounded like perfect timing, since we go the the playground daily at this time anyhow.

Getting ready.So I dressed Arosha up, and we met up with Rachel who was dressed up as a Cinderella (she is 7 months older than Arosha), her mom and brother Justin (he is one month older than our Anyutka) at 11:30. We then proceeded to happily yell trick-or-treat in local stores. We visited almost every one on our way, including a diner, two Chinese restaurants (they gave us fortune cookies), Russian groceries, bagel store, two pizzerias, 99 cents shops and even a travel agency. The only place that we visited that did not even want to acknowledge our Pea Pod and Cinderella was Aldi. Seriously. They just pretended they did not see us, so after a few minutes of trying to get their attention, we just left. Figures.

It was really great to have company. Arosha had a blast, and Rachel’s mom and I alternated going to the stores with the children, so we didn’t have to bring strollers in each time.

In the middle of trick-or-treating.It started to drizzle at some point, but luckily it did not last long. The whole thing probably took us 2 hours, and our children were exhausted by the time we reached the playground. We let them eat some candies, and they had a lot of fun doing it and playing with each other.

I asked Arosha later on which store he liked the most, and he said it was a Russian store. Not sure why exactly, but he keeps saying it was the best.

Profit!And in the evening we went trick-or-treating in our building. We joined acquaintances of ours — a nine year old girl named Nicole and her mom. I went with Arosha through half of the building and then I wanted to go feed Anyuta, who stayed with her grandma, but Arosha did not want to leave yet. Luckily we met Danya in the lobby, so they continued without me.

Arosha probably got 5 pounds of candy out of this. He was so tired at the end, that they did not even finish going through the last part of the building. Arosha had fun, but told me that he liked trick-or-treating in the stores more. I agree — it was more exciting.

Second round. Evening in our building with Nicole.And as for the candies, I gave some to Danya’s parents, we left some for ourselves and the rest Danya took to work. There is no way we can eat all these candies by ourselves!

I am very glad that we’ve decided to dress Arosha up for Halloween this year. I think next year I might buy a costume for Anyutka as well.
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Anna — One Month

Анюта. 1 month old.On Sunday our sweet little pea turned one month old. Time sure flies.

Anna is doing great. She is much better at breastfeeding than Arosha was at her age — partially because she did not have a tong tie, partially because my breast is easier to work with after two years of breastfeeding, partially because she did not have jaundice and therefore was stronger in the first few weeks. I was giving her a few ounces of expressed milk in a bottle here and there in the first week, but we stopped using any bottles after that since she can get what she needs herself.

Brother and sister.I have to say that as far as babies go, she is much more easygoing than her brother was at that age. She sleeps better, her stomach does not seem to bother her as much, she also sleeps well in a static stroller (it had to be moving with Arosha), and she sleeps well in the car. We don’t really give her a pacifier, except for special occasions. For example, we went to a playground yesterday, and in 2 hours she woke up hungry. It was too cold outside to breastfeed, so we had to get home first, which is a 20 minutes walk. I gave her a pacifier, and after a bit of a struggle, she sucked on it and fell asleep. I am not a big fan of pacifiers, but in situations like this they are definitely helpful.

Arosha's old gym.I bathe Anyutka almost every day. I don’t need any help doing that too! I remember with Arosha it was a two person business for months. I started washing her in the big tub in the last few days. She seem to prefer cooler water.

She is also doing well in the pooping department. Usually it’s 1-3 times a day, which is perfect. I use size one diapers of two brands — Earth’s Best and Seventh Generation.

Brother entertainment.I am also not following any diet. I remember being afraid to eat a variety of foods with Arosha, including onions, beans, cabbage. How silly. Now I try to avoid citrus fruit, strawberries, honey and nuts per my pediatrician. I eat pretty much everything else.

Anyutka sleeps pretty well at night. She usually goes to bed at around 10, wakes up at 1-2, than again at 4-5, than again at 6-7. Each day is a little different, but I get 5-7 hours of sleep a day on average.

Siblings.Also, I wanted to say that my mood is much better overall this time around. I had a bad case of baby blues with Arosha, but now after about a week of evening anxiety attacks I seem to be my usual self. Well, I am a bit more cranky than normally due to lack of sleep, but still.

On the not-so-bright side, my pregnancy related carpal tunnel syndrome is not gone yet. It got a little bit better — I don’t have to use a splint for sleep anymore, but my fingers are still numb on both hands (right hand is worse). I also have a nasty thing which I don’t remember having with Arosha — night sweats. Ugh! I wake up drenched in sweat, but I don’t have much time to change because I have to feed Anyutka, so I just put a bathrobe on in order not to freeze.

Playing.Arosha has been pretty great. He was excited when Anyutka got home from the hospital. He likes touching her head, and he tells us that he loves his little sister and that she is a good and pretty baby. He also helps me to entertain her sometimes by showing her different toys and talking to her. He was telling her about his dream the other day, which I think is very cute.

Arosha also keeps asking why was she born (“А почему у нас Анютка родилась?”) every day. I am not sure I understand what he means by that, but the question definitely does not have any negative connotation. I think he is just very curious about they way things work and interact in this world. I usually tell him that it was time for her to come out from my belly.

Arosha.People keep asking me if he is jealous. So far it does not look like. Of course, we try to pay a lot of attention to him. Every morning Danya’s dad comes for an hour to help with his entertainment while I pack for a walk. Every evening Danya’s mom spends a few hours with him (just as before). We go for walks daily — nothing has changed in this regard. Danya also plays with him when he has time and we go someplace fun every weekend. I don’t know if it will stay this way when she grows older, but I sure hope so.

I don’t have much time for myself, but I am able to do some shopping, to cook a little, to clean and partially do laundry (with Danya’s mom help). I remember being completely dependent on outside help for all of these things when Arosha was born.

Anna. Two and a half weeks.We went to pediatrician on October 30th, and Anyutka is growing well. She measured 22.75 inches, 10 lbs.

My mom has gotten her visa, so she will come visit for a few months, probably starting in mid December. I am looking forward to this!

I also wanted to say that I love our little girl with all my heart already. To be honest, this newborn stage is not my favorite one, and I know that Anyutka be so much more fun even in a few months, but I still enjoy her. Often I think to myself — how did we get so lucky to get these two little souls? And I feel blessed.
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven Lakes

Picnic table.Last week we had another great family outing. We went to Seven Lakes and the funny thing is that after coming back and checking in on our last year trip — we were at Seven Lakes during the same very weekend of the year.

The four of us.This trip was unique in a sense that all 6 of us went — Alena, Anna, Arosha, my dad, my mom and I. We took our car and parents took theirs and just followed us and it worked well. This means that we can take more ambitious trips in this configuration.

Arosha and grandpa.It took us almost 3 hours to get to Seven Lakes because we got stuck in some major traffic in Manhattan. Arosha was starting to get restless, but Anna slept just fine.

The middle generation.She also slept well on her way back. She woke up at one point and started crying when we started crossing George Washington Bridge. By the time we were done she stopped crying and went back to her sleeping. She sleeps really well in the car. Even Arosha took a nap on the way back.

Closed gate at Lake Welch.At Seven Lakes we did the same thing we did last year. We drove up to Lake Welch Park that was closed just like last year. We left our cars near the gate and went inside. The autumn is really getting close to full “bloom” at this time of the year. The forest was beautiful.

Walnuts. "The squirrels will have to swim for these." The only mistake we made was overestimate the warmth of the day. My mom had a bunch of different things that we spread around. I ended up with a poncho made out of our picnic blanket. But since the park had tables we didn’t need it. Arosha picked out a table and we had a nice fresh air lunch.

Alëna.Arosha ran around and played with the leaves, explored all the bushes, threw some walnuts into the lake (for squirrels, naturally) and collected a bunch of acorns. When we got home we discovered a tick on his hair. Luckily it was not attached and was just stuck in his hair. That was a bit scary. Got to be careful with those bushes.

Drummer.Overall we had a really nice time. When we got back to our cars instead of just our cars there were total of 12 cars now. We weren’t really sure if it’s OK to leave our cars where we did, but I guess otherwise figured if somebody is doing it it must be OK. Alena feed Anna and we started our drive home.

Acorns.On the way home we decided to stop by Red Bowl for a nice dinner. The owners — David and Vivian were really nice to us and congratulated us with our newest arrival. They also gave us a nice and unexpected gift — for luck they said. Dinner was great. The day as a whole was great. Too bad it’s getting cold out now, so we’ll probably have to stop soon.

Designer winter clothing line.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Apple Orchard

Us at apple orchard.Our previous weekend was great. We had a bit of a tradition going during the past several years to go to an apple orchard at least once during autumn to do some apple picking. This year with an arrival of another little unit we figured we’ll be unable to do so.

Picking apples.But last week I had an urge to actually do just that. And Alena wholeheartedly agreed with the plan. There would be no way that we would even think about attempting something like that when Arosha was 2 weeks old. I found a place located in New Jersey some 50 miles away from us called Eastmont Orchard.

Arosha.And it all went really well. Anechka slept the whole way there and most of the time there in her stroller. Arosha had a blast picking apples and tasting a lot of different kinds. At one point we found a patch of Brussels sprouts and Arosha kept taking a bite from a sport then a bite from an apple and so on. We came back with over 30 pounds of apples.

Анюта.There was also a big field filled with pumpkins. When Anyuta woke up, Alena went back to the car to feed her — it really nice to have a “field kitchen” with you all the time. Meanwhile Arosha and I went back to the pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins. We picked a medium sized one that we might make a Halloween carving out of and Arosha picked out a small one which Alena cooked.

Feeding.Arosha also picked up a bunch of gourds to decorate our apartment with. Which he did. And now he comes over to look at them and comments how well the decoration came out and how beautiful our apartment looks now.

Pumpkins!On the way back we even stopped by a local Friday’s for a nice family lunch. Anna slept through most of it. After lunch, while Arosha and I were finishing our food up Alena went back to our car and fed Anyuta again. All in all she might have cried for 30 seconds after we started our drive home, but as soon as the car started moving she fell asleep again.

Apples and I.We even managed to stop by a cobbler in Brooklyn to pick up some shoes that we left there a week before. When we got home we had time to eat lunch before Anyuta woke up. And all this sleeping during the day didn’t affect her night sleep either. Basically as far as sleeping and traveling goes she is the opposite of what Arosha was when he was her age. And at his 3 years of age Arosha is a lot of fun to do things with. I’m really glad that things are going so well the second time around.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Arthur Von Briesen Park

Big brother.Today we had a full new family excursion. We packed our things, grabbed our kids and drove to Staten Island to a small quite park right across the bridge.

Autumn is here!We are much braver the second time around and it seems to be that Anna is a much calmer child than Arosha was at the same age.

Alёna.The park was great. There was not a soul there when we arrived. The early autumn is here and it is beautiful. Patches of yellow leaves on green grass make a very serene setting.

Daniel.Arosha was happy to push Anna’s around in her stroller, run around the yellow leaves, picking up random sticks and proclaiming them his lightsabers and making up all kinds of games.

Arosha.Anna peacefully slept most of the time. When we were ready to leave she woke up, so Alena feed her for 30 minutes and she was sound asleep again.

Family.We also had our camera with us so we took tons of pictures. I think a lot of them came out well, but I’m going to post just some. A little bit of all of us. Can’t wait for Annushka to grow up just a little bit so we could start doing a lot of family travel!

Alёnushka and Annushka.
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Anna’s First Bath

First bath.Сегодня наша Анюта первый раз в жизни купалась. Пуповинка у неё отвалилась еще в среду, и к сегодняшнему дню (воскресенье) пупок достаточно хорошо зажил.

Купание прошло очень хорошо. Ей понравилось — она спокойно лежала, глазела на нас, шевелила ножками и ручками. Я её придерживала, а Даня с Арошкой мыли. Ароша, кстати, с большим удовольствием нам помогал. Он смотрел мультики, когда мы пошли её купать, но ради такого дела мультики были заброшены.

Всё-таки опыт — великая вещь. Когда мы первый раз купали Арошку, то, во-первых, заморозили ребёнка в зале, а во-вторых, дергались и нервничали по поводу и без. С ним мы измеряли температуру воды термометрами (у нас их было два), с Анютой же температуру воды определяли “на глаз”, а вернее на локоть. Я боялась придерживать Арошкину голову, особенно поначалу (это делала бабуля), с Анютой такого страха не было.

Arosha did most of the washing and did it pretty well at that.Вобщем, искуали мы её легко и без плача. Бабушка тоже присутствовала при первом купании, но в этот раз у неё была более пассивная роль.

Еще хочу сказать, что грудное вскармливание у нас налаживается, тьфу-тьфу-тьфу. Учитывая, что ей и полутора недель еще нет, она очень неплохо научилась сосать. Первые дни в госпитале, да и дома, у неё совсем плохо получалось — она всё время соскакивала с груди, и надо было её бесконечно поправлять.

Последние два дня я даю ей сцеженное молоко (дополнительно к тому, что она сама сьедает из груди) только ночью. Конечно, ест она пока очень долго — по часу, а то и больше, но и спит тоже неплохо, во всяком случае пока. Будем надеяться, что и в будущем со сном проблем не будет.
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Friday, October 4, 2013

Anna’s Birth Story

Seconds after birth.Pretty much everybody I talked to, both men and women, told me that birthing a second child is usually faster and easier overall. I was hoping that they were right, but as with everything — you never know until it actually happens.

So based on my experience with Arosha, I was ready for birthing to start at any moment from around week 39. And it passed. And my due date passed. And then another day, and another, and another…

As I wrote before, I had cramps and back pain starting at 38-39 weeks, but they did not lead to an actual labor for a while. Then on Thursday night at around 8pm I felt what could qualify as a contraction. And then another one in 15 minutes or so. Arosha and Danya’s mom were at home with me, and soon Danya came from work too.

My contractions did not go away. They were 12-20 minutes apart for a few hours, and lasted around 30-45 seconds each, and they were getting stronger. The first thing I did? Started to boil some soup for Arosha — we just finished whatever cooked food we had, and I wanted to have something to last a few lunches for Arosha and Danya while I’ll be in the hospital.

A few hours, dinner, and a split pea soup later we decided to go to sleep. I thought that it makes sense to get as much rest as possible, and that we will probably have to go to the hospital closer to the morning.

All done.When we finally got to bed, it was after midnight, and I realized that there was just no way I could sleep through these contractions. They were 10-12 minutes apart at that point, and lasted 30-60 seconds each. So instead we went and watched an episode of the silly vampire show. By the end of it contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart, and lasted around 45-60 seconds each. They were pretty painful, but nothing a tough Belarusian woman could not handle, he-he. I told Danya to go to sleep, and he said — sure, wake me up when you think is time to go to the hospital. In about a minute or two I’ve changed my mind, because I had a feeling that maybe it’s not such a bad idea to get there right away.

We called Danya’s parents — his dad was staying with Arosha, and mom was coming with us to the hospital. My contractions started to be closer together — anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes apart, so we called the number our doctor told us to call when they are 5 minutes apart. We got transferred to the operator, who said that we just need to go to the hospital, and that the hospital’s stuff will contact the doctor. It was a little bit frustrating that we did not know if our doctor is in the hospital and we could not even let him know that we’re coming. But whatever — I knew that if worse comes to worst, there is always someone out there to assist a delivery.

In around 20 minutes we were in our car, and drove to NY Methodist. It was a relatively short ride — we left at 2:50am and arrived at around 3:15-ish (Danya said that he parked the car right away and stepped out of it at 3:19). While in the car, we kept timing my contractions and they were still 3-4 minutes apart on average.

Grandma with her brand new granddaughter.Danya’s mom and I went to the hospital while Danya was parking. The contractions suddenly started to follow one another very quickly, so I had to lean on Danya’s mom to even make it to the elevator. The L&D department was on the 4th floor. There was one receptionist, and she took her time to even acknowledge we were there. She was typing something in her computer, and I was standing there panting heavily since at that point my contractions were long, strong and on top of each other. I was sweating, in pain, and it was even hard to stand upright.

I think I got her attention when I said that I was about ready to push. She took my insurance card and told us to to to the triage room and change. The pain got even worse at that point and could not finish undressing myself (Danya’s mom helped). None of the medical personnel was there, I yelled something along the lines “Where is the f***ing doctor?” I know, not the smartest thing to say, but seriously — I had a strong urge to push, and there was no-one. Danya’s mom went looking for help.

This all was happening very quickly. Luckily, some doctor came soon, and she checked me, and I was fully dilated. Right about then my water broke. I kept saying that I need to push, so they put me on some kind of table and started running to the delivery room. They kept telling me not to push, since they wanted to get me to the delivery room first, but I think I pushed ones along the way.

So in the delivery room they helped me to roll to the delivery table, and finally let me push. I think I had to do it twice, and our beautiful baby girl was born. It was 3:30am. Luckily, Danya made it in time for the delivery.

Took me another half hour to deliver placenta. I also had a first degree tear (the least worst you can get), so they had to put in two stitches. For some reason I kept shaking, but I was happy that the pain was mainly over and that everything went kind of easy. They gave me a pitocin shot in the thigh to help the uterus contract after the birth (normally they give it through IV).

Oh, by the way. At some point (not sure when), they called my doctor. There were actually two of them, Mark and Andrew, earlier in the hospital that night, and if the operator wold let me speak to them, they would have probably waited (they left half an hour before we came). So the nurse told my doctor:
– You patient is here. She is fully dialated.
– OK, I’ll get there as soon as I can.
– Oops, she just delivered. There are no complications, just a first degree tear.
– Never mind. I’ll come see her in the morning.

And the next morning another brother, Greg, came to see me. “Well, hello, Speedy Gonzales!” were the first words out of his mouth.

That’s pretty much it. Very fast. A bit painful, but again — nothing I could not handle.

Anna Leah got 9/9 as her Apgar score, which is pretty good I think. We stayed in the hospital for the next few days. I shared a room with a Haitian woman named Kathia. She delivered a son through an emergency c-section after she was induced at 37 weeks due to per-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. If I was up and about in about 1-2 hours after birth and did not need any medication, she had much tougher time recovering. Kind of made me appreciate the ease of my birthing experience even more.

I wanted to go home on Saturday, but my blood pressure reading in the morning was a bit high, so they kept us there for an extra day (originally we were supposed to be discharged on Sunday anyhow). The only sad thing was that Arosha could not visit us in the hospital due to his sickness, but we could not risk giving this tiny baby a flu.

So here it is. I think we’re all set in the offspring department, but if I ever decide to birth another baby, I better get to the hospital as soon as my labor starts. Seriously!
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Annushka’s First Five Days

Annushka. 4 days old.Only five days have passed since Anechka’s birth, yet so many things have already happened. First of all we’re doing a lot better than we did with Arosha since we just know everything by now and are not easily scared anymore. She also appears to be a much calmer baby. She eats, she sleeps with really small doses of crying.

Tiny foot.Alena is breast feeding exclusively and is doing it on demand as opposed to our previous time when she had to wake Arosha up every 2 hours to feed him. Anya is doing pretty well with it at this point, although she still has a lot to learn about eating. The reason for not having to do the scheduled feeding is the lack of apparent jaundice. It is still there, but it appears to be much milder than what Arosha had. Also she has no tongue-tie so it’s easier for her to eat.

Accidental smile. 5 days old.Today we had our second doctor visit. At birth she was 7lb 10oz. On Monday doctor visit she was at 6lb 13oz. Today she is at 7lb 6oz which is great. Doctor also said that she is not as yellow, which is also great. We did do the blood test to make sure it’s going down and should get results later today. She regularly has wet diapers and I think the count for today (since midnight) is 7. She seems to prefer to poop once a day, but in large volumes — sorry for so much details.

Curiosity.Today she slept for five hours straight during the night. Arosha still sleeps at grandparents although he comes to visit every day. Alena went for a walk with both of them today. It took her nearly a month to be brave enough with Arosha. Also her umbilical cord fell off today — much quicker than it took with Arosha.

Sleeping.And in the end I want to say that I’m still not settled on what form of the name to use, but I think Alena did. Not all of the forms transliterate well, but here are some: Anyuta — Alena’s favorite, Annushka, Anechka, Anya, Anna — too official. I keep trying all of them, but not sure which one works the best for me. Anya, Anechka, Anyuta.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Anna’s Birth

Baby Anna in her mom's loving arms.Hello, everyone! I just wanted to leave a couple of words before I run off back to the hospital. Today — September 27, 2013 — early morning Alena gave life to our beautiful little daughter Anna. She was born at 3:30am, weights 7lb and 10oz and is 20 inches long. The birth was so quick that they didn’t even have time to connect an IV, not to mention any other drugs. We actually barely made it to the hospital.

Looking at the world.I left Alena and my mom near the entrance to the hospital at 3:10am or 3:15am and went looking for parking, which took about 10 minutes. By the time I got back to Labor and Delivery the doctors were rushing Alena from Triage into the Delivery room on a bed. And right after we arrived Anna was out in 2 pushes!

First seconds of life.But as with Arosha even though everything was so fast it still gave me ample time to become a nervous wreck. Now my dad and I are going to go back to visit them. Sadly Arosha can’t come with us since he came down with a bit of a virus 2 days ago.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

40 Weeks

On the "due date" at exactly 40 weeks.So my due date is somewhere around today. I still think it might be a few days off based on our lack of protection dates.

Our little daughter is pretty content in my uterus, and does not show any signs of trying to get out. Whatever you want, sweet pea! Although your daddy and I are getting a little bit anxious to see you.

We went for another routine visit to my OBGYN this morning. Just as last week, I was about 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced. He checked the fluid, which was good, and the heart rate, which was also good.

Just in case we scheduled an induction on October 2nd. I hope she’ll come out on her own before that.

40 weeks.My fingers still hurt, but last weekend after especially bad night (after 3 hours of pain I was wailing loudly in the living room, and Danya woke up all scared that something bad had happened) we bought a wrist slit, and I sleep much better ever since. I still wake up a lot, and my fingers still hurt 24 hours a day, but they pain is not that bad, and I can fall asleep pretty fast.

I am also gaining pounds. 192 and counting, or around 25 pounds extra so far. I often have back pain and cramping in the evening, and every time I think — the labor is starting. And then after a while it stops. I think if I did not know how labor starts, I would just dismiss all this stuff, but experience makes it harder to ignore.

40 weeks.Danya’s parents gave us another day off today, so I am just doing nothing and enjoying it. We stopped at Trader Joe’s after the OBGYN and got some frozen food and organic meat for when the times will become tougher for me in the kitchen department. I really hope I will find more time to cook this time around. Ha-ha, and the breastfeeding hunger is coming soon (I remember eating at night in the first few months with Arosha).

Anyhow, we’ll see our baby girl soon enough. I have a feeling she might be smaller than Arosha, despite the fact that he was born at 39 weeks gestational age. But we’ll see. Also, I’m not sure who’ll be assisting the delivery — our doctor, Mark, or one of his brothers. They say that whoever is the least busy or on call will go to the hospital. Again, we’ll find out soon enough.
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