Thursday, May 31, 2007

In The Merry Merry Month Of May

Ian had the day off today, and we took advantage of it by packing our newly expanded entourage to the park in our new double stroller. Max clearly felt the thrill that all SUV owners must experience -- the thrill of being the largest vehicle on the road. He joyfully said, "vrooom!" the whole way to the park.

Max made good use of his park time to work out some pent-up energy ...

He ran amok on the grassy area ...

He climbed like a rare and hitherto unknown form of tail-less monkey ...

And, of course, he repeatedly used the 'whee', reveling in the fact that he can now go down the slide solo.

Maggie enjoyed the park, too (at least, we think she did), but her activities were much less varied.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Week One

Maggie is one week old today, and we are starting to settle into the rhythm of our new family. I am knocking on wood as I write this (or I am knocking on whatever synthetic wood-like substance this desk is made of), but Maggie has so far proven to be almost freakishly easygoing. She eats well, she sleeps a lot, and she makes funny faces. Her only vice seems to be a deep-rooted preference for going to the bathroom the second her diaper is removed, which has led to a lot of laundry. My reflexes are getting sharper, though -- I can often now remove a diaper and get a fresh one under the baby booty before the first drop of pee hits the changing table.

Max has been transitioning really well, too. He has suggested that I interact less with Maggie on a couple of occasions ("No Mama baby, Mama Max"), but he seems to find her interesting, and will often give her kisses or try to help her nurse. He has also slept in his own bed every night since she came home, which has been wonderful. (Knock on synthetic wood-like desk again.) I took this picture yesterday of the two of them, napping simultaneously, just in case it was a freak occurrence and it never happens again.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Pre-Speck Duet

I took this photo the day before I went into labor with Maggie, and I meant to post it the next day. I turned out to be sort of too busy having a baby, but it is a cute enough photo that I am posting it now, even though it breaks up the narrative a little. Max and his dada have such a special bond!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Aunt Jean!

I know that you were hoping to share your Birthday with Maggie, and I am sorry that we didn't quite make it. Think of it this way, though -- now we get to party twice!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Speck Is Born

Here is the story of Maggie's birth and early hours in the wider world, for those interested parties who have not yet heard it all from my exceedingly excited mother :-)

As I complained extensively about in past posts, I had been getting contractions on and off for quite some time. Over the last week, they began increasing in regularity and in strength, causing us to make a trip to the hospital on Saturday night (the 19th). We got everyone all excited, packed Max off to his grandparents, and were promptly sent home with what was classified as either false labor, or labor in such early stages that it did not yet count as hospital worthy. Consequently, I was inclined to be dismissive of the contractions I continued to feel throughout the rest of the weekend, and I tried to begin the process of resigning myself to Speck never coming out. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when our Monday morning prenatal appointment revealed that a)I had begun dilating and was probably beginning true labor, and b)the stress of carrying Giant Speck had finally driven my blood pressure up to the point where they were going to induce labor whether it was beginning or not. This is the last known photographic evidence of my pregnant self, just after I had begun labor induction, and just before labor got strong enough that I would have bitten the throat out of anyone trying to take my picture.

Because Max was early, and therefore small, my labor and delivery with him was relatively easy. I have been hoping, throughout this pregnancy, that this ease might just be characteristic of a Chelsa in labor, but these hopes were slightly overly optimistic. Labor induction creates contractions that are harder, that start earlier in labor, and that follow a less consistent pattern than natural labor. This is a long and roundabout way of saying that after about five hours of unrelenting contractions that hurt a lot and did not work to get the baby out very quickly, I asked for an epidural. I have always been fearful about the whole needle-in-the-spine thing, and its possible side effects, but the risk of a lifetime of paralysis actually seemed like a really reasonable trade off for pain relief at that point in my labor. The guy who did my epidural did an amazing job. In fact, I experienced such an all-encompassing relief from pain that I very nearly proposed to him, and I probably would have done if I had had enough lower-body sensation to get down on one knee. After the epidural, I was able to relax enough that labor progressed very quickly, and I maintained enough sensation to move around as needed and to push the baby out when the time came.

Maggie was not so easy to share a body with, or to give birth to, maybe, but she is amazing and beautiful, and so wonderfully worth every ache and pain.

Our first night at home was not so very restful -- Max slept beautifully, Ian drowsed off here and there in between helping me with Maggie, but Maggie decided that eating was way higher on her list of preferred activities than sleeping, so neither she nor I got much rest. Even so, it was pretty unbelievable to curl up this morning with my two babies, tired (to the point of hallucinating, actually), but oh, so happy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Introducing ...

Baby Speck! Or, as she will henceforth be known, Maggie Elizabeth. Born 5-22-07 at 12:24 am. Nine pounds, thirteen ounces, 21 1/2 inches long. Punk rocker mohawk, already forming and growing well.

Apparently, she felt that nearly ten pounds of Maggie was not enough, and she has been nursing like a champion since birth, trying hard to reach an even more magnificent fighting weight.

Max is doing wonderfully as a big brother. He has given Maggie a couple of kisses, some interested pokes and prods, and has otherwise pretty much ignored her. I will post a more detailed blog about the whole birth adventure when I am not quite so tired from living that adventure. In the meantime, we are all home, safe and happy, and about to embark on our first night together as a family of four. Wish us luck, and uninterrupted stretches of sleep! :-)


Okay, So the baby is born and everything. We will have a real post this evening with pictures and a real, Chelsa written narrative. Some details for those who can't wait: 9 pounds, 13 ounces, 21 1/2 inches long, lots of dark hair. Chelsa and the fetus formerly known as Speck are fine. No we are not actually naming the baby Speck. More to come, I promise!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Baby Update

Okay, so it looks they are going to induce labor today. Everything seems fine, though, and we should have a nice healthy daughter and mama in the near future. More to come, people.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Unborn Baby Tries To Kill Mother -- Police Baffled As To How To Prosecute

Speck and I have been discovering the joy of the brackston hicks contractions recently. I've been getting them here and there for a couple of months now, but for the last week or so, they have been getting stronger and more regular. Last night and the night before, they were so regular that Ian and I were on the brink of calling the hospital, only to have them dwindle away before we reached the phone. I can just imagine Speck in there, laughing it up about all the hooplah, leaving me an emotional wreck who can't sleep the rest of the night. I have been feeling nervous about the whole labor and delivery thing, especially in light of Speck's large size, but I am now at a point where delivering a giant baby sounds way better than sharing body space with a giant baby, especially one with such a perverse sense of humor. Get out, Speck! Get out and quit messing with me!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Breakfast At The Tillmans' -- Who Wants Some?

Max has recently been experimenting with drinking from regular cups -- the kind without lids. He usually does quite well, and manages to drink with a minimum of spills or chokes. Bearing all of this in mind, and beaten down by his repeated requests last week for "mama cup, bite?" (he doesn't know how to say 'sip' yet), I gave him some fruit smoothie in a cup with no lid. He handled it beautifully for five or six sips. Then, he spilled a little of it onto his tray. Then, he became intrigued by the puddle he had created on the tray, and smeared the smoothie around a bit. This led to inattentiveness to the cup in his hand, which led to a great deal of smoothie being spilled on the belly. This led to Max being uncomfortable with a cold, wet belly, which led to Max repeatedly attempting to dry and clean the shirt by rubbing it with his hands. This led to a not noticeably cleaner shirt, but very noticeably messy hands. For some reason, around this point, Max decided that his hair, his eyebrows, and the wall behind him needed petting. This led to the picture I now offer you. As you can see, Max is deeply satisfied with his morning's work. I, on the other hand, can now offer useful tips to any interested parties about the best and most effective ways to scrub blackberries, bananas, and yogurt off of a white wall.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I would very much like to have given both of you the gift of a new and exciting grandchild for Mother's Day this year, but Speck has evidently decided that she deserves a day all her own, and that that day is still pending. Instead, I am offering the slightly less exciting gift of this blog tribute. Ian, Max, Speck and I would like to thank our mothers (or grandmothers) for their extensive help, love, and support, without which we would be utterly lost. We have learned the art of parenting from you, and we continue to marvel at your mastery of it. We love you!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day Hints

Whenever Speck should choose to be born, she is now officially not a preemie anymore. To celebrate this, and to offer Mother's Day suggestions to my offspring, I have composed the following:

Dear Max and Speck,
I know that you are probably too busy to go shopping for Mother's Day flowers or candy, and we all know that it's the homemade gifts that mean the most, anyway. I understand that you might wish to honor me, your mother, in various extravagant ways, and I understand the temptation, but my desires are really quite simple.
Speck -- I know you have heard me say, many times throughout your fetal existence, that I hoped you would not be premature like your brother, as it was difficult to leave him in the hospital and to find pants that fit his scrawny self at first. I want you to know that I appreciate the fact that you listened, and that you have gone the distance and made it to full term. However, if you would like to help me out a little, and get me a Mother's Day treat I can really use and enjoy, how about coming on out and giving me back uncontested ownership of my internal organs? Seriously, enough is enough. Get Out. If you could throw in as pain-free a labor and delivery as possible, that'd be great, too.
Max -- I know that you are growing several more teeth, and that you are feeling unsettled by all the impending excitement and change around here, and I don't blame you. But if you feel like giving me a Mother's Day treat, sleeping through the night once or twice before the new baby comes would be awesome. Even if you can't make it all the way through the night, keeping the kicking and writhing to a minimum in the big bed would be gift enough.
I hope that the two of you have found this helpful. Of course, even if neither of you ever act on these hints, I will still feel grateful, as always, to be your mama. I love you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Medical Science Finally Confirms ...

... what I have long suspected. Giant Speck is, in fact, gigantic. Or, in the more diplomatic terms of my midwife, she is "measuring larger than average for her gestational age". At our last appointment, the midwife chatted with us about how I was feeling (uncomfortable), how the baby was moving (lots, and with total disregard for my internal organs), and what concerns we had, if any (see above). Then she got out the measuring tape, applied it to my splitting-at-the-seams belly, and said, "Huh." She went out and called in another midwife, for a second opinion. The second midwife measured me, too, contemplated me for a minute, and then said, "No, I agree with your numbers". It was then explained to me that Speck seemed to have accomplished a growth spurt since my last visit, and was currently measuring on the large side, which was a slight red flag given my previous history of diabetes. They did an ultrasound to get a better look, and gave me the rough estimate of somewhere between 6 1/2 and 8 1/2 pounds for Speck's weight -- and mind you, this was over a week ago, with a month left until the due date. I have known all along that Speck was of greater than average size (in both body and spirit), but it is never emotionally comfortable to cause a big flurry among your birthing staff. To be on the cautious side, they signed me up for yet another diabetes test, which came back sort of inconclusive, so I had to go back and do a longer version of it (three hours where you sit in the lab waiting room, drink a really sugary drink on an empty stomach, and then have your blood drawn every hour for three hours to see how you have reacted to the sugary drink, the waiting room, and the constant blood-drawing. It's pretty fun!). I do not, in fact, have diabetes, which is nice, and I have developed what I consider to be a deep and lasting friendship with the blood-drawing guy at the hospital, and everyone can use more friends, so that's good, too.

While I was sitting and doing my tests, Max was being entertained by his Tillman grandparents. Evidently, he went to the park, rode his bike, saw some baby geese (pictured below) and tried to touch them, was given hand-made fruit smoothies and fresh bread, and lived it up in high style. When I asked him later what he had done that morning, he said, "Grandma, whee! Dog, whoof whoof! Grandpa." He had to take a three-hour nap to recover from all the good times.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Gramps!

Thanks for sharing your unique sense of humor and style with all of us, and especially with Max. We love you muchly!

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Bearded Baby

Max has developed a fierce independent streak recently, and wants to do everything for himself. He has been practicing dressing himself (with mixed results), opening all drawers and cupboards for himself (with even more mixed results), and feeding himself with a spoon or a fork. Our walls are splattered with food in the corner where Max's high chair resides, and I have found some interesting things down the pants during diaper changes, but he is actually getting quite good with utensils, and I would estimate that 50-65% of his food is winding up inside the Max now. Ian and I spend a great deal of our time scrubbing the other 40-50% off of the outside of the Max, but it is not the grossest thing I have ever scrubbed off of him. Now that it's getting warmer, I foresee a lot of meals outside on the porch, with the hose standing ready.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Full Frontal Frolicking

It has officially become HOT in the land of Davis once again, and we celebrated the occasion in traditional Tillman fashion -- by nudifying our son and tossing him into the water. Last year, the pool itself was a novelty, as were the pool toys. This year, while the pool, the water, and the floaties were still fun, the nudity was the real attraction. Max ran around the backyard at his Granny and Gramps' house for over an hour on Saturday, relishing the freedom that only a pants-free life can offer. We had to censor some of the pictures, in the interests of keeping our blog's rating PG. Enjoy the naked goodness!