I do have lots of catching up to do on various fronts, but let me start by getting out the story of the newest one's arrival so we can get that ball rolling.
It is so hard to believe she is already one month old. She was due on the 27th of December, but I was hoping desperately that she would arrive before Christmas, both so we wouldn't have another birthday to contend with on the holiday (it's a hassle) and so that my parents would get their full time with her once they arrived on the 23rd, especially since my dad could only stay for one week. It turned out well, since she came on the 21st.
It was a little bit of a roller coaster. I got an epidural, which sent my blood pressure plummeting, so I got dizzy and cold. They pushed fluids to get it back up. Then they were concerned about the baby's heartbeat being too low and discussed the possibility of a c-section. Then everything was fine and back to just waiting through contractions. Got another dose of epidural (no pumps here, just injections into the epidural line, kind of like an IV - I had to request more each time once it started to wear off), which sent my blood pressure down again. Then they were concerned about the baby's heartbeat being too high and discussed the possibility of a c-section. Then everything was fine again. Then the epidural started to wear off a second time (doc was starting to get a little antsy...she thought it would all go much faster than this, though in all fairness we had only been back at the hospital for a few hours. She suggested to me that we wait for another dose of epidural to see if the contractions made more progress without it ("it makes the uterus lazy" she tells me. Ha!). About 10 minutes later, as I am unable to stay still (read: writhing) as I experience undrugged the strongest of the contractions I will have, she determines it worked and it's time to push. About 3 or 4 pushes later, I'm done. Good thing, too, because I don't like that part. Ouch.
Considering I went in at 8:00 for a regular appointment having had no contractions and had a baby in my arms less than 8 hours later, it was a crazy day. Plus, it's unusual here in Peru to request to have the baby in the room with you. Most moms let the nursery keep the baby and they sleep all night long (the nursery gives formula). Since we prefer to have our babies with us in the room, my doctor lets me go home the next day. She says if we're taking care of her anyway, we might as well do it at home. Fine by me. So we were headed home before lunch the next day. Cap it off with a classic electricity outage on that first day home right at dinnertime, because life in Peru just can't be that smooth or we might get spoiled! : )
As far as the baby is concerned, she is great. She looks most like Shaye did at this age, but she has Cora's nose and hair color that falls between the two. She is more laid back than either of her big sisters was, and as long as she is fed and changed, is pretty much content. She seems to already have a soft spot for Papa and cuddles right in with him. When she won't calm down for me, he inevitably can get her settled. I'm looking forward to when she goes longer stretches at night, but for now she is pretty consistent in waking up hungry every three hours. Which is probably why she has been growing steadily.
Big sisters are just great. They both want to hold her, and watch out for any spitting up, ready with a burp cloth to wipe it up, though Shaye dislikes when it happens ON her and quickly asks me to take Aria so she can go change her clothes. They will both try singing to her if she cries while they have her, but Cora is quicker than Shaye to tell me "all done" and let go. Cora's favorite thing is to give her kisses. "Tiss?" she'll ask with expectation on her face.
It's been pretty easy adjusting to three so far, since Aria is so easy. We have a baby swing in the living room, the bouncy seat in the kitchen, and the pack n play in our room, so there is always somewhere to put her and let her hang out. This has been invaluable for letting me have some quality time with the older girls. Shaye helps me hang and fold laundry. Cora likes pushing a chair up beside the sink to stand with me while I was dishes. Both "help" me cook. Sometimes they bring me books while I'm nursing and we read. Sometimes they just lounge on the couch with a book to look at themselves. I have noticed that they strongly tend to be in the room with me, so even if I am moving from room to room, I probably have one or two extra shadows. It can make me a little crazy, especially when it involves extra conversation, but basically it's sweet. If that is their only reaction to having a new baby in the family, that's not bad!
Coming soon, 2 year old Cora. She's a hoot, let me tell you!