Rooming in.

Oliver Ellsworth (San Francisco, CA)

Henry Sylvan (Cambridge, MA)

A few days ago I read an article in the Boston Globe about "rooming in" which is the trend to keep your newborn baby in the room with you at all times. This trend to move away from nurseries is in part because of the World Heath Organization's pushing hospitals to become a part of the "Baby-Friendly" initiative. This initiative is driven to help mother's bond with their babies, encourage breastfeeding and help to prevent postpartum depression. The article includes women from both sides of the issue but what it boiled down to it that the option to have your baby in the nursery is being taken away completely. 

I experienced both sides of this argument with the birth of my two sons. 

Oliver was born in San Francisco, CA. He was my first. He was late (10 days). I had to be induced. Went through a grueling labor (36 hours). Ended up with an emergency c-section. Barely got to see my baby after he was born and then was moved up to recovery room where the nurses wheeled in my baby boy (all 9lbs 11oz) and there he stayed. In our room. All day. All night. Now in theory I understand how this is a great time to bond and yes I was thrilled to have him in my arms where I would attempt (and fail miserably) at breastfeeding. But I was also exhausted and in quite a bit of pain and all I really wanted to do was sleep for just a moment, to try to catch my breath over this momentous shift in our lives. But no. There was no nursery at Kaiser Permanente. So there Matt and I struggled to get to know this little being and try to sort through the whole experience all while being poked and prodded by the nursing staff. Our nurses in labor and delivery had been amazing but up in recovery we felt alone and when they did pop in it was mostly without warning and the lights would be turned on, temperatures taken and drugs administered. Of course this is just my experience but frankly we could not wait to leave the hospital and we actually ended up leaving a day early because we just wanted to go home. I felt drained once we got home both emotionally and physically. Now people may argue that that is just parenthood and welcome to the party but I truly felt that had I had a moment to catch my breath the experience could have been more fulfilling. 

Fast forward five years. My labor and delivery experience was vastly different on many levels with Huck. We had a scheduled c-section. I got to hold him and do skin to skin with him while they stitched me back up (amazing). Of course it's me so I had to throw a little drama in with my recovery and I hemorrhaged which was scary but my doctor and nursing staff were amazing. Then is was up to a bright and inviting recovery room where Huck (all 8lbs 7oz) was rolled in by Matthew and we snuggled and got to know each other (still failing at breastfeeding). I was still poked and prodded but with much more gentle hands and I felt supported. And at the end of the day we had a choice. Either Huck could stay in the room with us or we could send him down the hall to the nursery. Huzzah! A choice. And we chose to kiss our sweet mini man and send him down the hall. And then we slept (in between the drugs and the temperature taking) but we slept! And then in the morning Matt went down the hall, retrieved our happy, well tended Huck from the nursery and we continued to get to know one another. It was so restorative and I did not feel like I was abandoning my baby or not bonding with him or anything else. I felt like I slept and like I was moving forward in my recovery and I was ready to have my five year old come hang out. I felt like myself. 

What I found particularly frustrating about the article was the lack of choice. I know plenty of mothers who gave birth to their babies at the same hospital I had Huck and they chose to "room in". And that is what I feel is lacking from the WHO initiative is the power to choose. Having a baby is tough and not having a chance to catch your breath even for a moment made it more challenging not less for me. I think that as an adult and a new parent should be able to ask for help and have a moment to breath and take full advantage of the resources around you. 


From the back. That is my sweet spot. At the base of their necks. It is always warm and smells distinctly of my bugs, my boys. It is my favourite place to kiss and tell them that even when they tower over me, they will both always be my babies. 

Oliver has seemed to really turned a corner with his attitude (thank goodness!). I mean we still have some strife but he is not as much of a ball of rage that he was a few weeks ago. He still is clearly working on expressing himself and being heard but he has not been as sassy which makes our days start and end on a much more happy note. One thing that has really helped is making sure he is looking at us when we are talking to him and when he has something to say to us. Seems basic but when he does not do it he claims he did not hear us or that he just plum forgot. So we are all working on making more eye contact and being clear on our expectations. 

Huck is hopefully rounding the corner with his teething. He has two bottom teeth and one coming in on the top. But his mouth has a whole bunch just lying in wait under the surface. He really struggles some days with his teeth coming in and who can blame him? But it's totally different from Oliver who would calmly go to bed one night and wake up in the morning with four new teeth and would not make a peep over it. It really is interesting to find out how different Huck and Ollie really are. Their personalities. Their emotions. Their gross motor versus fine motor skills. It's intriguing to watch how they each tackle milestones in a different manner. 

Around here.

I feel as if I am already becoming so nostalgic for Oliver's childhood. And he has so much more of it in from of him. But at times I really just try to sit back and watch. Watch the world tick by through his perspective. Recently, we went out for a walk with Huck in the stroller and Ollie on foot. We were not going far, just to the coffee shop to shake up our day but as we walked home I noticed how confidently Oliver knew his way home. He is seamlessly able to navigate the bike path and sidewalk as it twists and turns back to our blue house. 

I love this.

I love the freedom he has. 

I love the neighborhood we live in and I love that he is growing up a city boy. 

I grew up with a large yard and a driveway to pedal my bike up and back and up and back. But more often than not if I wanted to go to a friends house it required a car ride and a coordinated pick up time. Here in our neighborhood although Oliver cannot walk to a friends house alone (yet) but he is able to stay and play and the let the games morph with their imaginations without having to wrap things up as soon as I walk in the door because we are just walking a few blocks home. He may not have a yard to romp in but he has a park right down the street and he also has friends and friends who are like family all within a 10 block radius. Pretty amazing. 


We have been on break this past week and I took Huck and Ollie on a skiing adventure. Well, Ollie skied and Huck and I did are best at entertaining ourselves for the hours in between. Then we all hunkered down in a hotel room where we experienced a fire alarm (before bed, thank goodness), ate room service for dinner, swam in the freezing cold pool (well, Oliver did) and we all slept pretty darn well. This was my first time taking both of my boys on an overnight to a hotel alone. And I have to say, it went a lot more smoothly than I expected. Oliver was super helpful and understood that Huck would probably wake up at some point in the night but it was not his job to help. It went so well that I am doing it again. Crazy, perhaps? Matt has a massive weekend of conferences and Crash-b's (an indoor rowing event). And he is out of parenting commission sooooo I am taking Huck and Ollie on another excursion. Will lightening strike twice and we will all sleep and have fun? I sure hope so. 

I feel like Huck is in the phase where I put him to bed at night and then I get him up in the morning and he has changed, he has grown. His hair is longer. He is getting more teeth. And his personality is developing more and more each and every day. We are in a pretty sweet spot at them moment. And I am relishing as much of his "babyness" as I can because I feel the change in the air. 


There are certain engraved aspects of a person that never cease, that never waiver and one of those traits in Oliver is how he curls his toes.  He has always sat on his feet. Ever since he was wee and I love that it is something that has developed into a part of what makes Oliver, Oliver. Also what I cannot get enough of my kids necks. They always smell like them and it is always one of my go to places for kisses.

Now let's talk about that Huck hiney. Look at those buns. I mean really?! Huck continues to be busy, busy, busy. Moving all the time. He has also been a little more needy. In that he really wants to be touching me all the time. I spend a lot of time on the floor with the mini man climbing all over me. Also on a personal note, Huck is 9 months old today. The same amount of time on the outside as he spent growing in me. How insane is that? Or is it just me? He has grown so much but iis still my littlest, my baby.


See that big boy up there walking like he owns the street. Yup. That is my five year old not a fifteen year old. But boy, oh boy are we dealing with an emotional roller coaster of a five year old. Friends have informed me that the sassy, emotional mess that has taken over my sweet boy is just a part of the joys of having a five year old. He is flying off the handle and feeling overly emotional over the most irrational things; such as broken toast or feeling frustrated getting stuck on a word in a book. This is new territory for us. Sure Oliver had a few "tantrums" when he was younger but these are like def-con 10 meltdowns with tears, screaming, shaking with anger. So if anyone has any words of wisdom, I'm all ears. 

Then there is the little guy. He has one tooth. And with that one tooth he is eating everything, and I mean everything that we put in front of him. From the standard squeeze packs to the delightful puffs to chicken and bread. He loves it all.  We have joked for years that if we ever had another kiddo that kid would undoubtedly eat circles around our laboriously slow, protein disliking big boy. And low and behold it is turning out to be true. Huck is currently 21 lbs and Oliver weighs about 41lbs. You do the math. 

So I am hoping for calmer waters ahead with Oliver and I hope that Huck continues to eat and grow and kick the cold (and first ear infection) that he has acquired over the past few days. 

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