My sweet Valentine

February 22, 2016

I write this because reading other’s birth stories has helped give me the courage and knowledge I needed to manage labor. I also want to remember the beauty of our son’s birthday for the rest of my life. Now if only I could somehow journal the scent of the top of his head as it lays on my chest and the sound of his sweet baby breaths. Is there anything better in life?
When I hit 36 weeks, I started having practice contractions and feeling very uncomfortable. I remember telling Erik I didn’t think this baby would stay in until February. I frantically began my nesting projects in hopes that I would finish at least packing my hospital bag before it was time. We told the kids the baby would be here any day and they became extremely excited, adding a special prayer to the bedtime routine for the baby to come out to-DAY! Weeks went by, and then my due date went by. And then nine more days. Finally, it was Valentine’s morning when baby B decided it was time to make his appearance.
As with all of my labors, contractions started at 3 in the morning. The previous deliveries I would awake with excitement, brew some tea and have my last moments of quiet time with me and the baby in the darkness of the house. This time around I knew I needed rest, and part of me was in denial. I stayed in bed but started timing contractions with my app. I noticed that they were irregular. Hoping that I had one more day of pregnancy, I did my best to keep sleeping in between the contractions. They were anywhere from 8 to 25 minutes apart. Around 5:45, my 2 year old was asking for breakfast, so we went downstairs and had cereal. I set up the table for Valentine’s with my cards for the kids and chocolate cupcakes. While I was moving around the contractions picked up the pace and were coming about every 5 minutes. They were also starting to pick up in intensity, but still manageable. I went back to my bed, again hoping that if I rested they might dissipate. What can I say, I love being pregnant, and the thought of delivery is always terrifying! I soon found hopes of delaying delivery was a lost cause, and set out to get in the zone.I sat on my birthing ball, drank some tea, and listened to relaxing music while the kids watched some TV and Erik ran around finishing our last minute prep. The kids were very excited and checked on me periodically. Then I got in the tub, which was really the best part! Contractions were manageable there, but really started picking up in both speed and intensity and were now 3-5 minutes apart. I sent my mom a text that we’d be leaving for the hospital in an hour or so, and I could tell Erik was getting anxious. He even said he was scared. I thought to myself, “why would you tell me that? haven’t we been over this? You’re suppose to be my rock!” But it was ok because I was in a good zone by then and not worried. And I suppose husbands get to have their moments of anxiety too. When my mom got here I got out of the tub, and suddenly the contractions became extremely intense – enough to where I needed to moan, (think yoga chanting) and didn’t want anyone to touch me. I was also getting nauseous. I gave my kids a fast kiss goodbye and headed for the car before the next one hit. I didn’t want to scare them with my moaning! It was a little after 11:00 a.m.
When we backed out of the driveway I had to have Erik stop the car for a minute. Then I geared myself up for the rest of the way, breathing/moaning through each contraction and then watching the clock and focusing on relaxing for the next 3 minutes. When we made it to the interstate I told myself it was easy from here – no more sharp turns or bumps. The ER was extremely busy, but they saw that I was in the midst of very active labor so I was rushed through the crowd. (side-note: I did not enjoy moaning through contractions in front of a crowd of sick people) I had a few more contractions throughout the paperwork (isn’t this why we preregister? Just get me a room people!) and finally we were off to the the LDR. I changed into my gown, moaned through another contraction, and the nurse asked me to lie down so she could check me. I hate laying down during labor, so this was the most excruciating part. She was not gentle with me either. I felt like she was scooping her whole fist around and I even asked her to “please stop!” I mean really, give a good estimate and get out of there, right? Then she wanted to put the fetal monitors on and I needed an IV, which meant I had to be tied to the bed. Not exactly the mobile birth I wanted. The next 3-4 contractions were so intense I couldn’t even moan through them. I begged for the epidural. Erik told me I didn’t need it, and the nurse said the same. This made me so angry! I was in pain and I couldn’t move. I din’t know how on Earth I was going to push a baby out when I was in so much pain. I just wanted a breather. I said some nasty things to them in my head, but Erik assured me later that no foul language actually came out of my mouth. Finally they caved and gave me the paperwork for the epidural. But just as soon as the anesthesiologist came, my water broke. Never mind, baby is a coming! I remember feeling the bag of water bulging during the contractions and then an instant relief when it popped. At that point I couldn’t do anything but push. I mean I couldn’t have stopped pushing if they asked me to. This part wasn’t as painful as the contractions leading up to it, but it was intense. I heard the nurse call my Dr. and tell her they turned the anesthesiologist away and that I was grunting. She came running in and told me to do what my body was doing. I focused on her face, it was the only thing I could see and she was very calm. (She has been my OB for all four of my babies, and has delivered 3 of them.) The baby was out in 3 pushes, at 12:08 p.m. I heard “it’s a boy!” and felt the little wrinkly nugget laid on my chest. We did it! And I’m so glad I didn’t have time for the epidural. I got to experience the whole birth in all it’s natural and painful glory. It’s worth every second and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Immediately after the birth and for the next 45 minutes or so my body began shaking uncontrollably. The nurse gave me a blanket, but I wasn’t cold. I think my body was just in shock. I wanted so bad to have that euphoric moment after birth where all the pain leaves and you fill with love and excitement, but I was still in so much pain. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited, falling in love, and beyond happy, but at the same time I was mad at my body for not turning off the pain switch. This is one benefit of the epidural I suppose. After the shaking left, my recovery was fairly easy.
Bently is absolutely perfect, and he is so loved by his siblings. Gwen wanted a girl, but I know she doesn’t mind a boy to even things out. She’s been a big help for me around the house, and treats B with the gentleness of a loving big sister. Toby is ecstatic he got a brother, and loves holding him. I can’t wait to see these two grow and bond as “bros.” Charlotte is also very kind to B., waking in the night when she notices I’m not in bed and joining me on the rocking chair to snuggle momma and stroke Bently’s head. I couldn’t have asked for a better family. My eyes fill with tears every time I think of how blessed I am.

Life in the Rhino

February 18, 2014

Why do they call it the Rhino Cruiser? Wouldn’t it be more appropriately named the hippo cruiser? I’m just sayin’. . .

We are 3 months into wearing this brace, and I’m counting the days until it comes off. The doctor sent me home with the advice that the first 3 days (nights) are the worst, to be strong because she won’t remember this, and it will prevent surgery in the future. I had already done what any good mother would do, research the pants off this condition, and most of what I read said the same thing. The first week or so is rough, but after that smooth sailing! I thought positive. It could be worse, much worse. She doesn’t need surgery NOW, so we aren’t dealing with a spica cast. And we don’t even have to wear it 24/7, just nighttime and naps!

The first night was awful. In fact, we didn’t even make it the whole night in the brace. She didn’t cry she screamed, kicked her legs, and arched her back. Constantly. I thought she would tire herself out, but she was persistent. My husband wanted to take it off by 1 a.m., but I held off. Eventually, I did give in because I needed SOME sleep before I tackled the day with my brood of three. It was close to four in the morning. This went on for weeks. I got use to sleeping in the recliner with her because that seemed to be the only position she was comfortable in.

The last week we wore the brace at night I was up with her 3 times an hour before I would go to sleep with her in the chair. With my back throbbing, the circles under my eyes growing, and my patience weakening, I decided enough was enough! We switched her to wearing the brace during the day. Of course, day wear brings it’s own challenges, but she’s adjusted well. I wish I could say this solved the sleeping issue, but so far it hasn’t. Now she is so accustomed to sleeping in my arms, that the crib with all it’s space is scary for her. I’m still up with her 5-6 times a night, but it has only been a week, so I’m hoping it will get better. (At least it’s easier to cuddle without her legs spread eagle, and I’ve even been able to take her in the bed with me — being able to sleep on my back feels ahhhh-mazing.)

Despite my motherly thorough search of the inter-webs, I haven’t found much of anyone in my situation. It seems like the brace was no big deal for most everyone else. If you’ve stumbled across this blog searching for someone who shares your level of about to lose it insanity brought on by this brace, know you’re not alone. It sucks, but we’ll keep at it with our fingers crossed for 41 more days.

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My daughter’s latest phase is going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. No lies, EVERY FIVE minutes. It’s terribly annoying. We just get settled into a new game of tooth fairy or reading a new book and she says, “pause it mommy, I have to go pee pee.” At first I was very concerned, (bladder infection? UTI? Oh, my gosh, kidney stones???) but thanks to the over the counter azo test strips, I confirmed she has no infection. So I consulted with Dr. Google, and it turns out to be yet another freakishly common toddler habbit I had never heard of. Even if I did, I doubt I would’ve believed that they actually meant the said toddler would want to go potty EVERY 5 minutes. Did I mention it tries my patience? This weekend, we went out for lunch as a family after her gymnastics class. We used the bathroom before we left class, then she said she had to go when we got there, so I took her again. The bathroom was a 3 story elevator ride away. (and by the way, if you’ve never taken a toddler on a trip to a public restroom, it is how you might imagine. . .the germ-o-phobe in my brain is on loudspeaker, and it won’t shut up, “don’t touch, no gross, not that, step away from the bowl, oh. . .ew!”) Anypoop, so we had already been to the bathroom twice in a matter of 20 minutes when she says she has to go again. I was not about to take her, darn it. So I clearly said, “no, we will use the bathroom when we get home!” and of course, my daughter screamed at the unfairness. As we passed by a few onlookers I realized that I must look like the world’s worst mother. I mean, who wouldn’t let their poor toddler use the toilet if she had to go wee-wee? For shame! So these, my friends (all 2 of you) are some things I’d like to explain to my former self:

1. CK Louis says it best here. Don’t judge other parents. 99% of the time, they are probably amazing parents with valid reasons for their seemingly horrible parenting skills. Kids are work. Worthwhile and rewarding, yes, but work!

2. Sending out RSVP’s for wedding invites is not as easy as it seems it should be when it is your own wedding. I know, they couldn’t possibly make it any easier, self addressing the post cards and all, but for some unknown reason the laziness gods make it impossible to put that post card in the mail. Whether it’s the decision of turkey vs. vegetarian or sitter vs. skip, it just doesn’t get done. This is why all weddings should be either byob/meal or strickly private events.

3. Having a cat is not as cool as you once thought. My whole life I despised cats. I was clawed as a toddler and scarred for life, or so I thought. Fast forward 23 years and I meet my first “cool” cat. And for the most part, he is pretty cool. He follows us to the park, and is  chill with all (minus a few one crazy) neighbor-folk. He cuddles like a teddy bear in my arms at night, and comes when I call for him. All signs of a cool cat, right? Here’s the problem: they pee, sometimes outside of the litter box, they scratch your floors, tear your curtains, and make a mess of your couch, they leave fur everywhere, bring in bugs, and leave headless mice for you on the patio. Gross. Cats are not cool, former self, not cool.

4. Stick with photography. I started out as a photojournalism major in college. But, I lived in a small town where I personally knew the photographers of the two local papers. The practical, midwestern, voice in my head told myself that the job prospects would be slim and I should go for a job with a bit more security. So I majored in special education. Now I have pelenty of job security (NO ONE wants to do what I do) but my satisfaction is at an all time low. And I don’t even live in that small town anymore, did I really think I’d stay there forever? It’s not that I hate my job, I can find the positives in what I do, but I’m just not fulfilled. Oh what I’d give to tell my former self, “teaching ain’t as rewarding as everyone makes it out to be, kid. Just keep going, you’re on the right track.” Ideally, someone annonymous would leave us a million dollars on our doorstep so I could stay home with my precious babes, and pick up my photography hobby again. You never know what could happen. . .

I may have to revisit this topic, as I’m sure more will come to me with the passage of time. In a few years I’m sure I’ll be doing weird new things I thought I’d never do that somehow became habits overnight. Life is crazy like that. Speaking of crazy goodness, I’m loving iclw week! Thank you all for stopping by my little piece of the inter-world. I’ve so enjoyed learning everyone’s stories, and reading some wonderful blogs!

* We got married in a Catholic church, which requires a very lengthy compatibility test. We scored 98.5%, the highest our priest had ever seen.

* I don’t do his laundry anymore. After about 2 years of marriage, I went out and bought him his own laundry basket. I think it saved our marriage. I have a strong hate for laundry.

* We have a secret language for when we are out in public. For example, when we want to point out someone’s very obvious boob job, the keyword is bowling. “We haven’t been bowling in years!” . . . Nudge, nudge. . .

* We admittedly watch a lot of TV. It’s kind of our thing. Every night we have a date with each other on the couch and watch our dvr’ed shows after the kids are in bed. And we’re completely at peace with the fact that we’d rather spend time at home with family than anywhere else. 

* My husband loves video games, but he doesn’t realize when I bought him the ps3 for x-mas, it was partially for selfish reasons. I wanted time to write!

* Sweet as he is, my husband is no romantic. I bought my own flowers for our seventh anniversary. :p

* We think so much alike, when I asked him what he would tell people about what our married life is like, he gave me this same list. Ridiculous.

Photo challenge catch up!

September 9, 2012

Disclaimer: most of these pictures will include my kids. I can’t help it, I just love them to the moon and back!!!

Music

Orfila Winery

Golden

Book

Holding her uncle’s book. 🙂

Pure

I love the innocence of a child.

School

White

23 days and now goodbye

July 18, 2012

lines running through Mind’s eye
belly bubbling over In smiles
and now theSe  lines
cyCle  through my mind,
“birth to deAth or death to birth?”

a miRacle of birth is met with
teaRs that drip from cheeks
like beads of mornIng dew
and cries thAt
rinG the sound
of lifE

and death
is met with
tears of mourning
a constant drip that’s never fixed
but echoes on,
death to birth

loved as much
but never met,
my angel number 2.

Some people’s parents!

July 15, 2012

I would like to preface this with the fact that I by no means consider myself to be “the perfect” parent. Far from it. In fact, at least once a day I have what I like to call a WTF moment, where I have absolutely no idea how to react/discipline/comfort my child. I think I spent the first few weeks of my parenting life phoning my mom with, “what do I do now?” Eventually, I came to the realization that sometimes I just have to figure it out on my own. And so, I respect that every parent does things a little differently. Being a parent is hard work, by all means do what you gotta do.

That said, what is the deal with child leashes? I get the desire to be attached to your child in a large group. I mean, it must bring comfort to know that anyone’s plans to snatch up your child will be foiled when they see the furry little lion backpack and follow the lion’s tail straight to your own black belted hand. I get that. I’ve even thought to myself on occasion, when my daughter’s independent spirit refuses to hold hands crossing a crowded street, and I am forced to grab her wrist while she is screaming bloody murder and apologetically smile at every passerby who must surely think I’m abusing her. . .that maybe, just maybe, one of those leashy things would come in handy. And then the thought quickly dissipates as the more normal side of my brain regroups and says, that’s ridiculous.

The thing is, children need to be taught things. You know, like, crossing the street is dangerous, so until you’re big enough, you should hold my hand while doing so. And, strangers can be dangerous, some even might try to take you from mommy and daddy. So when we’re in a crowd it’s really important that you don’t wander off. Because, let’s be honest here, what are you really teaching your child by putting them on a leash? I can’t think of any good life lessons. Unless you’re perversely training them to become a sex slave. Too far? Probably. But I just DON’T see the benefits here.

My sister told me the other day she went for a walk on the trails behind her house and she saw the kid leash being most absurdly used by a mom walking with her 5 year old and her dog. This is ridiculous for a multitude of reasons. First, the walking trail is very sparsely populated at any given time. In all of the times I have pitter pattered my little feet on this path it would be generous to say that I’ve encountered a handful of people. Is this parent so paranoid of a kidnapper she thinks they will jump out of the bushes? And let’s say that did happen, and she was preparing herself for said situation, what about a little old fashioned mace and a cell phone? Furthermore, it’s not like this is a trail in the middle of timbuktu, it is literally weaving through residential backyards, parks, and businesses. It’s hardly a menacing place for children and their parents. Oh, did I mention she had her dog with her? And that it was a big ol’ German Shepard of a dog?? And that HE was NOT on a leash??? So by her logic, for some reason, the dog listened better to her than her own child and she couldn’t trust that her child wouldn’t bite other small children. Makes sense. I digress.

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