SOS

May day, May day!!

The big kid is sick.

Like, puke-y sick.

Like, I could identify exactly what she had eaten for the past 12 hours.

Then I wanted to be sick.

Parenting is hard, y’all.

I imagine seasoned parents look at newbies and laugh.

Or cry for them because they know the struggle.

Juggling two is a heroic feat.

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There’s hitting.

There’s tantrums.

There’s incessant whining.

There’s endless rocking to sleep.

There’s food that gets prepared, looked at longingly, and then thrown away.

There’s night terrors.

And that’s just the parents.

Sometimes the kids have, say, some challenging behaviors.

During marathon nursing sessions, I read all these inspirational motherly articles and I’m like “I got this shizzle! I’m a freaking behavior therapist. Let me just show you how it’s done.”

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Then the kids simultaneously erupt into a Mount Vesuvius of cries and I crumble like a cookie that I used to actually have time to bake.

And eat.

But darned if they aren’t the cutest little tornado volcanos that you ever did see.

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It is literally what is keeping them alive.

What’s that you say?

You’d like to see a picture?

That would require time and hands with which to take such picture.

Plus, the two year old stole my phone.

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Like, legit stole it and calls all of our relatives.

And some people from college that I met once at a party.

Ah, college parties.

How I miss thee.

It brought back the fondest of memories when the big kid hurled all over the living room floor three times and then asked for a snack.

Perhaps she’s in training?

Perish the thought, Twister Sister.

You are going to trade school.

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Or joining the Peace Corp.

We do believe in choices after all.

Pardon the rambling tangents.

I haven’t slept in 62 days.

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May day! May day!

While the big kid sleeps off her hangover stomach bug, I’ll update you on the baby bug.

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2 months:

AKA: Reeses pieces, Reese Cup

Likes: Staring at the ceiling, listening to bathwater run, walks in the stroller

Dislikes: Sleeping, Staring at the ceiling for too long, walks in the stroller if she’s awake

Milestones: She smiles! Although I’m pretty sure she’s just laughing at me trying to wrangle the big kid. 

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See you soon! 

 

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Happy BIRTH day!

Here’s how I know God exists:

“To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children” Genesis 3:16

He wasn’t joking.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Or at least the last place I left off.

The last month of pregnancy was challenging.

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My legs, ankles, and feet were swollen four times their normal size, my back and hips were in a constant state of pain, I developed a hacking cough, and I couldn’t sleep at all.

I could barely do anything at all because I was just so uncomfortable.

But I was comforted by the fact that it would be over soon.

I didn’t have any intuition about when the big day would be but I just wanted it to be AFTER my Mom got here.

We had arrangements made for Sadie, but I knew I would worry the entire time I was away from her unless she was with my Mom.

And a girl just needs her mom, ya know?

Thankfully she arrived the week before and all we had to do was wait for the big day!

I really slowed down that week.

It felt like all I did was sit (uncomfortably) on the couch or try to float my pain away in the pool (it didn’t work).

As the week progressed, so did my back pain.

Mom, using her spidey-mom senses, said that it was probably back labor and baby would be here soon.

I wasn’t so sure.

I had no other indicators other than extreme lower back pain.

By Wednesday night, the back pain became incredibly painful…..but at intervals.

Were these contractions?

Was this it?

I wasn’t sure but I started timing them anyway.

At one point, they got to 7-10 minutes apart so I decided to call the midwife around 1:00AM.

She told me it was still too early to come in and to take a warm bath and call back when the contractions (are they contractions??) got closer together.

Frustrated, I hung up the phone and crawled around the living room floor every time a contraction hit for the next 6 hours.

And then they stopped.

Like, nothing happened for the entire day on Thursday.

I spent the day in bed exhausted and wondering what labor really feels like, since that didn’t seem to be it.

When would this baby freaking get here?!?!

Like clockwork, the contractions started again the next night.

Knowing they wouldn’t bring me into the hospital until the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and regular, I tried to ride them out at home.

I took 4,557 warm baths but the pain was becoming unbearable.

It was  still all in my back and felt like someone was smashing the back of my pelvis together with a vice grip.

All I could think of was the women who described labor as being torn in half, and I definitely didn’t have that feeling.

It felt more like someone was trying to crush my bones together for 30-60 seconds every 10 minutes or so for hours. 

When they finally got to 5-7 minutes apart around midnight, I called midwife again and described my pain.

Since I had zero abdominal discomfort, she advised it was still probably early labor and told me to keep taking warm baths and try to get some sleep.

I almost cried.

Instead, I got in the damn bathtub again but the pain was now excruciating.

I got in and out of the tub two more times before I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I had googled every possible labor related question 525 times in the last 24 hours and had an inkling that my water had broken.

(I’ll spare you the details)

This time, it was the wee hours of Friday morning and I woke John up and asked him to call the midwife again. I was in too much pain to even talk.

The midwife told us to come in to the hospital so I could get checked.

After the long car ride and longer walk through the  hospital, we finally made it to the labor and delivery floor.

They told me to have a seat in the waiting area.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

For the love of God, please just get me a bed and a  nice muscle relaxer!!

After an eternity, a nurse came to get me to check the progress.

A quick test revealed my water had in fact broken and I was 4 centimeters dilated.

They were admitting me to the hospital.

I can’t lie.

I felt sort of smug given the fact that the midwife thought I was still in early labor just a couple of hours earlier.

And maybe I was, but now it was really, truly time.

This kid is coming today!

YAY!

They set me up in the delivery room we got down to business hooking up the IV and answering all the standard questions.

I finally got that muscle relaxer and felt a hazy, sleepy feeling wash over me.

After my muscles being in a constant state of tension for months and being in some sort of labor for two days, that muscle relaxer felt like the most delicious thing in the universe.

At that point, I was hoping that would be the only medication I needed for the remainder of the delivery.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I spent the next couple of hours falling in and out of deep, glorious sleep.

When I would wake up, I would wonder how much I had progressed and smile knowing that baby could be here any minute.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

After a few hours, the midwife informed me I was still at 4 centimeters.

She wanted to start Pitocin to get things moving.

Early in the pregnancy I was told Pitocin would not be used since this was a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) and it can increase the chances of a uterine rupture.

Now I was being told that it was perfectly safe at a low dose.

I asked the midwife if I could have more time to move around naturally and hopefully progress on my own and she agreed to give me an hour.

I bounced around on a birth ball and enjoyed a couple of episodes of House Hunters.

So far, this labor thing wasn’t bad at all!

I finally got some good sleep, was hanging out on a bouncy ball, and felt all nice and loosey goosey thanks to the muscle relaxer.

This was great!

Unfortunately, I didn’t dilate any further and they strongly recommended starting the Pitocin.

I reluctantly agreed.

Several hours later, the doctor checked and informed me I was only 2 centimeters dilated.

IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??

And so began the increase in Pitocin until I was at the max dose several hours later.

So much for the minimal medication.

Why don’t you go ahead and top me off with some epidural?

K, thanks.

By now it was early Friday evening, and I was bored and frustrated.

It was hotter than Hades in the room and I had been there all damn day.

After that, all I can remember is watching all the HGTV and being irritated.

Could we move this along already?

Around midnight (nearing 30 hours of labor for those that are counting), the nurse asked me if I was ready to push.

Huh?

We can just start pushing whenever I feel like it?

Hot damn, let’s do this!

She explained how to position myself and how to do the pushing.

Ok, I got this.

This should only take 15-20 minutes, right?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.

Oh, did I forget to mention that cut off the epidural an hour before that?

Apparently it can prolong pushing which they wanted to avoid because of the whole uterine rupture risk and blah blah blah.

So I was feeling all the feelings.

I didn’t care.

I could do this.

Holy crap, this was hard.

I don’t think I can do this.

It felt like I was doing the hardest workout of my life.

I was sweating profusely and panting heavily between pushes.

I was nearing exhaustion and we had only just started.

It felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t train for.

We tried a few different labor positions, including one on my side, and I thought I was going to die.

It felt like someone was shoving a rod into my hip and for the first time, I felt like I was going to cry.

(Please proceed reading if you’re ready for some real talk)

Finally, I tried laboring on all fours and it felt like a tremendous relief.

The urge to push was more obvious and I could feel the baby in the birth canal.

The back contractions were still strong but now I was focused.

So focused that I ripped my IV out and didn’t notice the blood bath that was shooting out of my arm.

I had no concept of time.

I had no idea how long I had been pushing.

It felt like seconds and hours all at once.

And then all of a sudden the head was out.

I thought I had more rounds of pushing, but before I knew it, they were handing me a baby.

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I remember feeling this enormous sense of relief.

I had finished the marathon!

I was so, so exhausted.

All I wanted to do was lay there with the baby and rest.

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There was a little lingering pain, but I was mostly just tired and ready to snuggle this 8 pound 8 ounce purple faced nugget.

Things got lively after that though.

Overhead light were quickly flipped on and nurses were in and out tending to baby and me.

Then they called the doctor in.

Apparently I had a third degree tear that needed to be stitched up.

The doctor assured me that it was common and not to worry.

What they don’t tell you is how bad it freaking hurts for WEEKS after you TEAR the most sensitive part of your body.

But, no problem, just need a stitch stitch here and a stitch stitch there.

After having a c-section with Sadie that had me sewed up from the inside out in less time than it took me to eat breakfast, I figured this would be a fast procedure.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

This is the stuff they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you that your legs will be up in stirrups under bright surgical lights with all your lady parts on display for all to see.

And it took for-fricken-ever.

I swear it took longer than an entire c-section.

Doctors and nurses were in and out of my lady bits stitching, sewing, assessing, and reassessing for what felt like hours.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this.

BECAUSE NO ONE TOLD ME.

I was naive, or maybe just hopeful, that the pain ends when labor ends.

There is so much that happens to the body after birth that I’m convinced it could be the next birth control method that should be taught in high school health classes.

Everything was so, so, so swollen (thanks 24+ hours of fluids and birth trauma) that I hardly recognized myself.

It was difficult and incredibly awkward to sit, stand, or walk.

Going from the bed to the bathroom was an exhausting undertaking that required skilled maneuvering.

But it was cool because VBAC recoveries are sooooo much easier than c-sections.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Recovery was so much more painful and took so, so much longer than I expected.

The thing with c-section recovery is that they give you really, really good drugs.

The only thing I got this time was some crappy ibuprofen that kind of,  sort of dulled the pain.

And the pain lasted lasted for weeks.

My naivety had me believing I would be back to normal activities after a few days (like with my c-section) but the reality is that at five weeks postpartum, I am just now starting to feel human again.

The hardest part was feeling like I was too tired and too sore to take good care of my kids.

Sure, I could sit (uncomfortably) on the couch and nurse, but I felt like I had nothing left to give my 2 year old (who turned two four days after her sister was born!)

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THANK GOODNESS for family that swept in to save me.

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They cooked, they cleaned, they played endless games with the two year old, and provided me with the time and rest I really needed to recover.

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Which gave me time to focus on keeping the new bundle alive.

It took a lot of time (literal and written) to get here, but we could finally celebrate this little nugget!

THE STATS: 

NAME: Reese Adeline 

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BORN: 6/17/17 at 1:47AM

WEIGHT: 8 pounds 8 ounces

LENGTH: 20 centimeters

SISTER TO: Sadie Jane 

HAIR: Lots of dark hair

DISPOSITION: Angry at the world for being too cold and too bright.

PARENTS: Feeling blissfully blessed, loved, and complete.

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And since it took me so long to write this, here’s your one month update!

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LIKES: Fuzzy blankets, staring at the fan, snacking all day long, and binge watching tv in the middle of the night.

Dislikes: Being hungry.

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And, finally,  here’s how I know God is good:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world-John 16:21 

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WELCOME HOME REESE ADELINE!

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s the Boss?

Me: Are we there yet?!?!?

Baby: No. Ask me one more time and I will turn this uterus around. 

Me: Can you at least vacate my right rib?

Baby: I don’t do negotiations. 

Me: You’re grounded.

Baby: I’ve effectively grounded you for the last eight months. 

ME: ONE MONTH TO GO……… 

Pain in the……

Pregnancy has literally become a pain in the arse.

With Sadie, I was able to exercise normally and regularly right up until her scheduled c-section.

That included lots of walking, yoga, and even 5 mile hikes on the weekend.

With this nugget, a 20 minute strength workout and a short dog walk has me laid up for days.

My back, legs, and glutes are literally on fire.

I feel like I’ve run 10 miles at the end of each day.

It’s so frustrating!

So here are the things that count as exercise now:

Walking up the stairs.

Walking up the stairs with a 23 pound toddler.

Walking anywhere (slowly)

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Swimming

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Hunting for Easter Eggs

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Having a stomach bug (“burned” a lot of calories that day!)

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Gardening (I hear it’s a great workout!)

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Walking the beach

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Nesting Cleaning the Garage (5 hours of manual labor)

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I can tell that you’re wondering why these photos of me “exercising” don’t actually have me in them.

It’s called a partner workout.

So shut it.

I also wear a weighted vest all day to increase the muscle burn.

Just kidding.

I just carry around a bunch of extra baby weight.

Speaking of baby, she’s apparently all snug in her home.

Heartbeat ticking away normally and kicking Dad when he tries to hug me.

At 36 weeks, we’ll start checking to see if she gets into position or stays stubborn breech like her big sister.

8 months!

Its time to begin

I wonder if I’ll ever feel like I have “enough” time to do all the things I want to do.

Probably not.

Which is where mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the here and now.

Mindfulness is not worrying about the past or stressing about the future.

I have known for a very long time that the research supporting mindfulness was growing, and I’ve even touted it’s praises to clients that would listen, but it was not something I practiced myself.

Until this year.

At school, the guidance counselor and I started a mindfulness based group to help kids with anxiety and self-regulation.

For the first five months or so, I thought it was “great for the kids” but didn’t feel like it was something that would ever help me.

I mean, I STILL couldn’t quiet my mind for five minutes despite months and months of practice.

I just figured it wasn’t my thing.

Until it was.

All of a sudden it seemed like it all started to click.

I was less anxious.

Less reactive.

More thoughtful.

More patient.

And even though I wasn’t great at quieting my mind for five minutes, the mindfulness practice was clearly helping me during the rest of the day.

You know who else is GREAT at teaching you mindfulness?

Kids.

They truly teach you to live in the moment.

To stop what you are doing and enjoy whatever they are enjoying.

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To stop because they need you to pay attention to something at that exact moment.

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It might be to listen to their belly laugh.

To reassure them that you’re still there.

Or so they can show you the shoe that they just found under the kitchen table.

Kids are also really, really good at commanding your attention if you didn’t listen well enough the first time.

A series of progressively louder mom, Mom, MOMS! until you attend to whatever it is they need you to notice.

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Why do kids get it so easily and yet it is so hard for adults?

When did we get so mixed up?

Is it pressure from society to be busy, busy busy?

Is it this idea that slowing down is somehow the same thing as being lazy?

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Is it that we’ve become so self-important and yet so self-sacrificing that we can’t stop to breathe, enjoy the sensation of the warm sun on our skin, or just let our thoughts go for a few minutes each day, every day?

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My favorite parts of the day are when I feel really in tune with the people around me.

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When I stop to help Sadie learn a new task or take interest in the bird she pointed out that is sailing across the sky.

These are the moments that fill my heart and soul.

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I’m not claiming to be the best at it, but I do know it’s something I want to keep doing.

And who knows? Maybe all this mindfulness will mean the new nugget  will be born with a natural ability to stay calm, cool, and collected in a world with a lot of extraneous outside noise.

And maybe she’ll even sleep more peacefully at night.

That’s what I’m REALLY praying for.

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26 weeks!

PS! If you’d like to give this mindfulness thing a whirl, check out the website and APP called Smiling Minds. It can be tailored for young kids, older kids, and even adults! The meditations are short and sweet for those people who feel like there just isn’t enough time to squeeze one.more.thing. into the day.

For Those About to Rock

I can not tell a lie.

The idea of raising a girl terrified me.

The idea of raising two girls is……..hard to even put into words.

I worry.

I worry about what it means for a girl to grow up in a media driven world that wants her to

Idolize Disney Princesses

Wear all the pink

Play with “Brat Dolls”

Think math and science are hard

Get the longest eyelashes! 

Burn that booty back into shape! 

I worry about them having to navigate Facebook, friendships, mean girls, fighting, bullying, cyberbullying, unwanted sexual advances and really scary stuff like sex trafficking.

Do moms of boys worry this much?

It’s not that I would prefer boys or that I would ever change anything.

It’s just that sometimes I feel paralyzed with fear for all the bad things that could happen to a young girl.

And then your wise and worldly gestational 19 week old reminds you that girls rock.

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Literally.

I can’t think of the last time that I felt such pure, free, and unadulterated joy.

That everything was right with the world.

That I should just keep learning, growing, and doing my best to raise little girls that rock the world with their very existence.

I should have realized all of this already with Sadie.

The girl who loves playing with rocks, blocks, fish, bugs, worms, and farm animals.

The girl who refuses to watch tv (despite my best efforts!), who climbs everything with reckless abandon,  who loves getting caught in the rain, looking at the moon, and pointing to all the airplanes in the sky.

Also the girl who plays with baby dolls,  screeches at Mariah Carey decibels, and hugs stuffed bunnies.

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She’s sweet and sassy and everything that a girl can be.

As her interests broaden and grow, I can’t help but daydream about all the magnificent things these girls will do.

I only hope I can show them the world and that they can make their world everything they want it to be.

Rock on, girls.

Rock on.

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19 WEEKS!

 

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Sadie is napping and I, for once, am not spending these quiet moments cleaning or sleeping.

I already feel like I need to apologize to number Two, because number One is keeping me too busy to blog with the same regularity as I did before.

Now I understand why there are so many more pictures of first children!

Now, there are no free hands to snap styled and posed pictures like in the old days.

Welcome to Second Child Syndrome, Thing 2.

The upshot is you will most certainly develop a wildly funny sense of humor in an effort to stand out as the youngest in the family.

I know because that’s my area of expertise.

Here’s the second pregnancy lowdown:

1. The queasiness has set in. Bleh.

2. I wake up feeling hung over every morning. Except I didn’t imbibe yummy libations the night before. Instead, I fell asleep at 7:30 with a cookie and Netflix.

3. All I want to eat is JUNK FOOD. Pizza, burgers, french fries. If it’s greasy and salty, make it a double.

4. I don’t have as much time to Dr. Google every.single.symptom. since Thing 1 is always in the go (See above). I guess this is good?

5. With Sassy Jane, we were able to get weekly ultrasounds practically from conception. It is SO HARD not to have weekly reassurances that everything is progressing normally. We won’t have our first appointment until 8 weeks and I’m not even sure they can check for a heartbeat with the doppler that early.

6. I have no idea what to expect at a traditional first OB appointment since we were with the Rolls Royce of Reproductive Specialists for the first one.

7. I already worry about being able to manage two. I can barely manage the first one 98% of the time!

8. I am LOVING the new degree of independence Thing 1 has developed. Now that she can get herself around and communicate more with us, life feels 200% easier.

9. “Easier” is a misnomer. Nothing is easy.

10.  I ran out of thoughts. Time for a nap.

SIX WEEKS!