Monday, September 26, 2011

Blogging when I should be showering

Busy mom exhaustion has been put aside. In fact, the schedule has worked out pretty well here. 2.0 sleeps pretty much through the night, though that is done with careful planning and some luck. Winston still sleeps his 10 hours. So as much as I'd like to say I'm suffering, I'm not anymore. The first couple of weeks were definitely brutal, but 2.0 has made the transition pretty easy. I pay for this dearly, however. My sweet, sleeping child wakes up to be the meanest baby EVER. If he's not sleeping, he's screaming.

But he's pretty cute when he's sleeping.

His brother has been an angel. I say this now because he's not here. He's off with his Mammam for the morning, and I'm taking a few moments to reflect on just how well behaved Winston has been considering everything. He's genuinely curious about his little brother, but more interested in his brother's toys and toes. I periodically hear giggling and find him poking at the baby's feet.

As for me, other than the gut-wrenching loneliness, I'm fine. In fact, I'm doing really well! Class is back in session, which makes the time pass a little more quickly. I've lost all the baby weight. And yesterday I managed to take both kids out to have their photos taken at one of the local farms. WITHOUT a stroller. I am Supermom.

I so wish I had something poignant or important to say, but I really don't. I have read these amazing blogs people have put up about how much they love their kids and about how blessed they are. I know I'm blessed and I adore my kids, but I barely have enough time to process it. I get these very short, quiet moments where I look at one of them and get to appreciate how much I love them. This is not one of those moments, as 2.0 is insisting that I hold him, so he's strapped into the Moby again. Convenient when I need my hands back, but not when I need to shower and get dressed and maybe sneak down a meal. But he'll fall asleep against my chest and rope me back into the mommy love here shortly. He plays me like a fiddle.

Today's lesson: I think you appreciate the really beautiful moments more when you admit to yourself that not every mommy moment needs to happy and lovely.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not what I wanted, but what I needed...

On Thursday at 3 AM, my little one decided it was time to start making his entrance into this world. I woke up in labor, waited just long enough to make sure I wasn't crazy, and called my people. I went straight to big, long contractions, but they were in a weird pattern, so the nurses had me up and walking the halls and bouncing on the ball. I labored that way for 14 hours total before I made enough progress to get an epidural. 14 hours that I am extremely proud of.

I had the best anesthesiologist give me the world's easiest epidural, and waited. My progress was there, but was still just as slow. Add in my blood pressure tanking, and hours more of no progress, and things started to slide backward. After 22 hours, my very kind OB looked one more time, shook her head, and said, "You don't have to have the c-section, but I really don't think your body is going to let you go any further."

And she was right. She and I had both done everything in our power to get the labor as far as it could go. Turns out she was the perfect person to surrender to. She looked square at me and said, "I understand the anger and the disappointment. I'm an OB and I had c-sections, too. My job is to help women give birth and I couldn't do it the way my body was 'supposed' to. And you have to come to terms with it in your own time." I nodded and signed the forms and tuned out the world while I waited to be taken back.

In fact, I tuned out most of the time I was in surgery as well. My sister-in-law Michele gave me lots of space while it was going on, just close enough to let me know she was there but that she understood what I needed. 2.0 came into the world, we said hello, and he went off to the nursery. And instead of tagging along, Michele stayed with me. She had taken a few pictures and helped me email them to my husband while I was still on the operating table, which was just the distraction I needed at that point.

It went well. In fact, the whole thing went so well that I have had trouble feeling bad about it. The surgery was easy. I got tons of time afterward to pull myself together. The nurses settled me in, Michele went home to sleep, and three hours after his birth, the nurses brought me my son. All 8 pounds, 8 ounces of him.

See, once the doctor got in to take him out, she very bluntly said, "Your body could not have given birth to this baby. He is HUGE!" Apparently I grew a perfectly proportioned giant. Not at all chunky. My husband's family's genetics growing inside my teeny tiny frame.

I wish I could say it's been easy, but it hasn't. I still hurt. I'm still moving at a slow pace. We're still having feeding issues. But I'm ok. I actually got to try this time around, and I couldn't have asked for a better team to have around me. And my brand new son, who is laying here as I type, is the proof that God blessed me with what I needed.

Today's lesson: God doesn't always give you what you want. Then again, I think I got even better than I asked for: a wonderful family to support me, a truly kind set of doctors and nurses to get me through, and my beautiful little boy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I love being pregnant in Virginia

Here I am. Past my due date with very few signs that I will be giving birth to this baby anytime soon. The possibility of a c-section is looking like more of a promise. One of my doctors and I sat last week and talked about it, as things weren't looking particularly good. I told her some of the things I'd heard from people and read in scathing articles. She looked me in the eye and said, "I've heard it all. And I've heard worse. People are so mean to women when it comes to every aspect of birth and parenting, whether they had an option or not." And it's true. Very few people praise the woman who had a c-section instead of a "natural" birth. I feel like I will never dig my way out of the insults or guilt, even though I'm the idiot for letting it get to me.
But this is Virginia, and I am truly enjoying being pregnant here. No one rubs or pats my belly. Unthinkable! No questions about whether I will have an epidural or if I will breastfeed. I get lots of well-meaning advice, none of it with attitude. The sentiment I hear the most is, "You poor thing! That pregnant in August! And it's so HOT!" And when occasionally asked about being induced, I explain about my past c-section and that I have another one scheduled if the baby doesn't come on his own. The answer is the same every single time: "Bless your heart!" No rude comments about how evil or lazy I am for having a c-section. Because, trust me, I've had random strangers in other places say some really nasty things.

I've written about my "c-section guilt" before here. And I wrote it before someone made the worst comment I've ever heard in reference to my son's birth. "Well, if you had trouble getting pregnant and had to take fertility meds, and then couldn't give birth to your son without surgery, don't you think God might have been trying to tell you that you shouldn't have kids?"

At this point in my second and final pregnancy, I should be looking forward to the prospect of holding my son in my arms. But that comment eats at me still. It's the one thing that sticks in my head the most as I'm pregnant for what will be the last week ever. It shouldn't be that way. I should be happily washing baby clothes and spending the last moments I will have with it being just Winston and I. Instead, I spend a good deal of time sobbing and praying that things will go better.

But being here amongst some of the sweetest people I've ever known takes a little of the hurt away each time I hear them say, "Bless your heart!"

Today's lesson: You never know what unkind words will hurt someone the most. Then again, you never know when a few kind ones will lift someone up and make things a little bit more right.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Mama

37 weeks, and I'm all of a sudden in a panic to get things done. Not to nest, necessarily, seeing as I still look at the laundry and the cleaning and groan. But I am anxious about making sure everything is set to go for Winston while I'm gone. Each time I think I've got it all together, I think of something else. He is packed. He will have food and clothes at his Mammam's house. I wrote out a Winston instruction manual during one period of paranoia. All the necessary phone numbers and addresses if he should get sick.

And then there are the other things, like making sure all the baby's electronics have batteries and that my camera is charged up so I can email pictures to my husband. That everyone necessary has my extra keys so that I don't miss paying any important bills that come in my mailbox and so the cat doesn't starve.

You know, I never nested with Winston. But maybe sheer panic is the only version of it I'm going to get. Shame, because I was really hoping I'd get the desire to clean my windows or organize my closets. At least the nursery is done.

I had the all important ultrasound last week to determine the size of the baby and to see what kind of shape everything is in. I'm now considered "high risk" so I get perks like extra ultrasounds. I tell you, 2.0 is one gorgeous little boy. He even has lots of hair. And the ultrasound held only good news. He is of medium size. He is in the right position for delivery. No cord around his neck like his wiggly brother. He's still a boy. Definitely a boy. No surprises when the day comes.

That's the mystery. When will the day come? With Winston, it never did. When I hit 41 weeks they had to force him out. But this baby is so different. Winston had the cord wrapped around his neck and tethering him in place, so he wasn't going anywhere. This baby is low and has nothing holding him back. I want it to be better this time. I'm terrified I'll go overdue and have to have another c-section. So until I go into labor (or don't), I feel high-strung and on edge. I'm lucky to have a wonderful team of doctors who take my paranoia in stride!

Until then, I'll just sit here and continue to bake.

Today's lesson: Nothing ever goes according to plan. But if you're like me, you'll drive yourself crazy hoping that it does.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The home stretch

Here we are. The ninth month. The last four weeks of what will probably be the last time I will ever be pregnant. Though this pregnancy is one of those that's been so easy, I'd be ok having 5 more, but seeing as I refuse to drive a minivan, I'm going to have to stop now.

I wish I could say interesting things are going on, but I'd be lying. I'm not in school, Winston has been well-behaved, the apartment is completely unpacked. We have a pretty constant stream of doctor's appointments. Life pretty much revolves around food: getting enough calories into both of us. With my diabetes, I watch my carbs. And Winston, well, he won't eat meat. Except for bacon and fish. And I don't mean fish sticks. I mean he likes unbreaded, baked, healthy fish. Though I doubt his tastebuds sometimes, as he seems to crave cat litter as well.

The kid and I have had a lot to be grateful for as of late. He finally got his first word: more. Which brought "mama" right along with it. He appears not to have wanted to speak until he could use the words in the right context. I'm taking bets that the next word will be "no" because he hears it so often now that he's learned to climb the coffee table.

We've gotten a ton of help from family and friends. I'm to the point where I'm easily exhausted. My mom and sister came down to help out for a few days. My mother-in-law recommended her cleaning ladies, who have been a Godsend. She also went shopping for larger clothes for Winston and came back with 6 outfits, lunch for me, and fresh green beans from the market for dinner. My sister-in-law helped get the boy's haircut yesterday, which required Cheerio bribery and a headlock. I've had friends haul rocking chairs and bring my heavy groceries and crumb cake. I'm blessed with a good support network. I really moved to the right place.

Today I am packing my hospital bag and Winston's bag for his stay with his Mammam. I know that doing it early will jinx me, and I will go overdue again. I just know it. But it's one more thing to keep me busy and keep my mind off of how the next 28 days are going to drag.

Today's lesson: I know that when it comes to friends, quality is supposed to trump quantity. But there is something wonderful about having a ton of quality friends surrounding you when you need them!

(Note - Photos used with full permission of Rachel Brenke Photography She's one of my best friends, and she came out to do a mini-session with Sam and I a few weeks ago. I left her website on the photos because, well, I'm always up for plugging a friend's great work. If you live in the Killeen, TX area, I highly recommend her!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I guess I should update

I've been living in a world where I need 36 hours in each day. We've moved, and I'm a Valley girl again. I'm just now starting to get to know my way around town, seeing as it has grown so much in the past couple years that half the roads aren't in my GPS. Despite that and how busy I've been, living here has cut my stress level in half. I love it. I love being able to take Winston for a walk or to the playground. I love going to the store and having nice old men pull out carts for me. I love that my doctor, Winston's doctor, the pharmacy, the hospital, and my mother-in-law are all within 5 minutes of me. Winston loves being here, too, because my lack of stress means his life is more pleasant. He gets 100% of mommy's attention.

2.0 is baking nicely. I'm fighting gestational diabetes again, this time under a stricter doctor, so I really have to keep it under control. At 33 weeks, I feel less like a whale than I did last time. My doctor asked today how I managed to keep my blood pressure so low. "Well, a couple days ago I built a crib. Today I built a bookshelf. And by the end of the weekend I will have built a rocking chair. All while chasing a 16 month old." I know I'm supposed to take it easy, but that's not exactly an option these days. I'm on a deadline!

Soon enough I'll have two boys to care for. The thought kind of terrifies me. And the month after 2.0 is born, I start school again. I thought about waiting, but my favorite professor is teaching a class I really want to take. It's one of my degree electives, so I figure I can grind out 8 weeks worth of work with my prof's help. Just need to keep chipping away at that degree!

Well, it's time to start nudging my night own in the direction of his bed. I remember when I used to be a night I require as much sleep as a newborn, I swear.

Today's lesson: Sometimes being happy doesn't mean a bigger, fancier house. In my case, it means cutting the living space in half so that I can be back in a happy place.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 29

"A picture that always makes you laugh."

This is a picture of my husband when he was a kid.

Why it always makes me laugh pretty much needs no explanation.