Tuesday, June 3, 2014

we can do things

you have a kid and the world literally stops. he is your first and you are thrust into this foreign world of sleep deprivation and poop and leaking boobs and you sink or swim for a few weeks or even months. and somewhere in there, you discover that even though you are no longer "you" but instead a you plus one, somebody has to get some groceries. you plus one plan your trip with a dedication that rivals your professional board exam prep... you have 13 spare onsies and 14 diapers, a pacifier that he has never taken to, 3 burp cloths and an extra mom shirt. the car seat stands ready. he has eaten. he has been thoroughly burped and changed. you are ready.
you drive to the store. park. pray.
you plus one can do this.
you leave him in the carseat because he fell asleep on the way and there is no way you are going to risk waking him. it is the quickest trip ever- no list- no coupons- minimal eye contact with strangers. when he makes a small peep, your heart races, ready for the screams.
somehow, you make it through and walk back to the car. the sky is blue and the birds are singing and you realize that you plus one can leave the house alone. you can sorta do things just like you used to.

then you have baby 2 and you panic at the thought of taking the two of them anywhere. you avoid the grocery store because you plus two is a whole different ballgame. baby 1 is now a toddler and nobody wants to see him in a tantrum. but then out of necessity, you again join society. you toss a spare diaper in your purse, but nothing else because moms of 2 are known to live dangerously. you wear baby girl in a sling and push toddler boy in the cart. you might fend off a few moments of panic, but eventually it is no big thing. life goes on. you plus 2 are rockstars.

then comes baby 3. three kids.
this changes things because you only have 2 hands.

and kid 1 and 2 are bored. already.

you have successfully navigated the store 3 or 4 times alone with the wolf pack in tow. you didn't even take your bag with you because the store is right down the street and if baby 3 poops all over her clothes, you wouldn't want to drag them all into the bathroom anyway. you get adventurous and hit the library. it goes okay- nobody kicks you out so you dream big. maybe you plus 3 can go big places this summer and no one will throw tantrums or run into traffic or rip your top down and demand to be fed.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

mary, mary, quite contrary

once upon a time there was a house.
and the house had no landscaping and the lady of the house just wanted some flowers and trees and privacy.

and the years went by and she planted and planted.
some trees fell down, some gardens were neglected, but by and large the flowers grew. the bushes grew. the plants grew. and the lady was happy and the house smiled.

and one day, the lady decided she wanted some lilies and purchased them end of season in hopes that they would surprise her the following spring when they burst from the earth.
instead, they surprised her husband who forgot they were there and weed whacked them down before they would realize their potential. and then again the following spring and the lady was sad. but they were just a few flowers among a yard full of life and so she looked forward to the third spring.

finally after many days of rain and frost on a fine May day, the lilies peeked from the ground, the tips bright green, the buds healthy and ready to show off the beautiful fruits of 3 years growth. the husband was careful to let them live and the lady was ripe with anticipation of her lily border finally springing forth.

and then while her attention was elsewhere, her 4 year old suddenly pulled them up by the roots to add to her "collection"

and the lady was sad.
maybe next year...

Monday, May 26, 2014

tears will fill a river to ferry my heart

today was the kids' first official day "off" from school. i feel like i should go ahead and jump head first into summer fun, but i am just not there yet. aaron went to a Cardinal game, i was generally crabby, and the kids were a weensy bit challenging.
bedtime whack-a-mole was especially lengthy with one and then the other popping back out...
"love you mom"
"night mom"
"see you in the morning mom"
all set to me gritting my teeth trying not to scream at them to get the hell back to bed.

and then tears. from A this time, not me, though I could've cried too.

i wandered back into her room and she was sobbing.
"what's the matter?"
"i just lo-oo-oo-ve you (hiccup). i don't want you to die"

she was so sad.
in fact, she has been so preoccupied with this lately that it is starting to freak me out a little. Maybe i should get some tests run...

i just held her and told her i am not dying and when eventually (hopefully in the very distant future) i am gone, i will always be in her heart.
she cried and cried (and so did baby S from the other room because it was feeding time) and i just wanted to freeze time. there i sat with her little arms around my neck, her tear-stained face buried in my shoulder, asking "will you always be with me?" and i fast forwarded to a teenage A who wonders "why won't mom leave me alone?"

i can only hope i don't forget what her beautiful face looks like at 4 precious years old with fat tears stuck to her longer than long lashes, her tangled, pink princess night gown, and her down-turned mouth saying how much she loves me.
because even when she is pushing me away and demanding independence she will always be with me.

Friday, May 23, 2014

pull the fluffy covers up to your chin

every morning, N growls at me, snarls and yells. pulls the covers over his head and declares his undying hatred for school (the same school he happily skips to once we leave the house). he is a BEAR in the morning. i am too- it is not a pretty confrontation. every morning i struggle at 7 to spring them from sleep and into the day.

hell no.
go. back. to bed.

it was 6 freaking am. i was in and out having woken at 5:15 to nurse S- basically just waiting to shut off my 6:15 alarm. i was getting up to shower and have a few minutes of me time before the daily madness. except they beat me to the alarm! both of them clopping down the stairs at 6 am- awake and chipper.

welcome to summer.

Friday, April 25, 2014

birth story #3 <--- how do i have 3 kids already?!?

For my friends and family who have asked.
It took awhile to get this written...

Weeks of pre-labor... Not long or hard pre-labor,  but still.
Contractions for weeks.
I expected it this time since I had it with Aila, welcomed it actually since my last labor fared so well. But... contractions for weeks will wear you down. Kids will wear you down.
Every night, I'd tuck my cuties into bed Then go sit in mine- heating pad, IPad, Olympics... Check, check and check. Contractions, cramping, exhaustion... Cheeeeeeeck!

I worried that labor would progress a bit too rapidly once it began for real, and while I wasn't that freaked out about accidentally having the baby at home, the logistics of it all had me nervous. I willed myself to keep her "in" until my mom arrived on Saturday, February 15th because I needed to know that my kids were not coming with me to the hospital! I mean it too- I have this gift of deciding it is okay to let my labor kick in. She arrived Saturday evening and Sadie was born Sunday morning (just as Aila had been born 4 years ago).

It was all horribly wonderful again.

Around 11 pm, I was watching the Olympics (it was truly my nighttime ritual) and some light contractions began. They were long and pinchy, but not really painful. It almost felt like persistent  indigestion, and with my heating pad, I fell asleep not expecting much. I woke up to pee around 2 hours later, and told Aaron that I was still having some regular contractions, but went back to bed. He came to bed about 30 minutes later and AS SOON AS he got into bed, I sat upright and said "yep!"
My water had broken.

It was mostly a trickle. I checked for cord prolapse, etc. and there was none, my contractions were still mild and far apart so I told Aaron to try to sleep. He'd need to be rested for constant counter-pressure and massages though I still think he got the "better" end of the stick ;) My adrenaline kicked in so I got up and started running around doing random chores, because I didn't need rest for my marathon, I guess...

About an hour and a half went by. Contractions intensified and moved to 5-6 minutes apart. I drank my raspberry leaf tea, breathed, relaxed. Eventually I decided we'd better go (hospital is an hour away). My children stayed warm in their beds since my mom had arrived!
We left the house around 5:30 am. I was annoyed at the constant trickle of fluid,  but I was feeling relaxed and positive. On the way, we stopped at a gas station and I actually had to use the bathroom... in labor... Thank goodness no other customers were in the store to see my pained expression and amniotic fluid wet pants!It all seemed totally ridiculous.

When we arrived at the hospital, the usual stuff commenced, labor slowed down as I sat hooked to the monitor for awhile and figured out that my doctor would probably not be available because of a personal emergency. Still though, I felt calm and relaxed, if uncomfortable.
After an hour or what felt like 10, I met my new nurse Emily who was a heaven-sent, natural birth-loving doll who I could tell would advocate for me if Dr. McD didn't make it (my ob is also phenomenal, even in absentia). She got me off the monitor so I could move around and Aaron and I settled in.

Over the next hour, I alternated between side-lying and sitting on the toilet. With each contraction, I let myself go limp and breathed low and deep. Aaron was a wonderful- breathing, counter-pressures, water, support. We really knew what to expect this time.

I could feel baby moving down. Contractions continued to increase in length and intensity, which totally sucks, but is welcomed at the same time because, progress... Emily was ready for me to "jump" because of my history of transition directly into crowning and so were we. I could tell I was getting close when I started feeling panicky. When I transition, I just want everyone to get the hell off of me. Emily checked me and I wasn't complete so I got up and walked back into the bathroom. While I was in there, the labor team all showed up to set up. I just wanted to hide out in my safe little space with Aaron because everything was so intense. My legs started shaking so I asked Aaron to pin them down as I sat on the toilet and leaned back to relax. It is so hard to relax when you are shaking uncontrollably. "I just want it to be over" I remember saying through tears, but I also knew we were getting there.

I had been in the bathroom for ten minutes or so, feeling baby get progressively lower, my hips feel wider, my contractions blend together. The house ob, a tiny soft-voiced lady poked her head in and said "do you think maybe we should get you to the bed?" They were really worried about a toilet baby... I looked at Aaron and actually laughed. "Promise I won't drop her in the toilet, okay?" ob lady retreated.

3 more days minutes and I knew we were there. I nodded "okay!" and Aaron helped me back to the bed. She was crowning as I crawled onto the bed.
 Burning! Stretching! Pressure!!!

I was on all fours as Emily and Dr. W, my ob's coverage doc (bless him) BOTH asked me how I wanted to deliver. Part of me tucked this away as something to appreciate later, but at the time I felt like I couldn't move. Baby's head was lodged between my legs and I just didn't see how i was going to get my legs under me to squat like I had planned. I froze, wide-eyed and overwhelmed and yelled "this is fine!" They cranked up the back of the bed so I had something to lean on. I went up to as kneeling position and reached down to feel baby's head- there was so much pressure and I had a really hard time not gasping for breaths.
Aaron was at my right reassuring me and everyone encouraged me to relax and push when I was ready.

Somewhere inside, I  pulled some energy and grunted and pushed and it felt like she shot out. That tremendous force was 'just' her head (her poor face had some bruising later because of her rapid descent). I pushed one more time and the rest of her emerged.
Tears! Relief! I heard her angel cries and leaned forward over the bed sobbing, so overwhelmed and tired. How the world can change with two pushes!!

I turned around and sat on the bed so I could see her for the first time.
My absolutely beautiful and perfect Sadie.
7 lbs, 7 ounces of blessing.
It was 8:48 am.

She snuggled into me for immediate skin-to-skin and latched on. I had forgotten how tiny those little searching mouths are. Eventually the cord was cut, I pushed out the placenta and was cleaned up, but she remained in my arms. No one rushed me and everyone was on a birth high. I had a very small tear but was given the choice to stitch it or leave it. I just waved my hand "it's fine". That was that.

The hospital was renovating the birth suites, so we changed rooms after a couple of hours of rest. I walked, holding Sadie, and as we passed the nursing station, they all smiled and congratulated me and honestly looked a little surprised to see me up. I felt fantastic- energetic and little to no discomfort aside from the raging afterbirth pains (holy $#%*) that come out of nowhere- definitely worse with each subsequent child.

She slept all afternoon and cluster-fed all night, a pattern that would die hard... and we went home the next morning. I never needed a sitz-bath, ice pack or anything stronger than ibuprofen once we left the hospital and I couldn't have asked for a better birth. The other day, Aaron casually mentioned that Sadie was the easiest birth. I giggled as if he could know and said she actually was not. I guess I have  just gotten better at what he calls the zen master skills!

After I delivered Aila, I always said I didn't feel "finished"- that we would probably have another baby. I am not sure, but this might be it for us- we feel complete(er) if that makes sense. Here, 9 weeks out, it feels like she was always here. One day she looks like her big sister and then the next day like her brother, but I already see tiny glimpses of the little girl she will become. She is going to be fantastic :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I bring this post to you from hysteria

Here she is.
My blessing, my smiling angel, my newest sleep-stealing bundle of absolute joy.

I am so tired.
I knew that this would be hard. The whole born-in-the-first-half-of-the-semester thing... And while A. keeps assuring me that she hasn't suffered from my teaching two days a week, I sure as hell have.
I am feeling almost hostile toward moms with maternity leave, so you know, almost every mom I know. I took 3 DAYS off of lecture and then jumped back in. And maybe if it was just that, I'd be sane, but I am also trying to see patients. Seeing patients out of my house requires a clean house. A clean house with a newborn and two older kids and a dog and a half-crazed, sleep deprived and disheveled mom, and a dad who is gone almost every night because we had this baby during baseball season...
She nurses non-stop.
A side note, I guess. It illustrates exactly how much time I have to be a hands-on good mom to the big kids. Or a competent employee. Or a professional doctor. Or cook and do dishes.
I feel like I am drowning.
There are 3 weeks left to the semester- I have the calendar memorized. I could make the commute in my sleep, which is good since I have probably done this involuntarily...
I am forgetting conversations, crying randomly and beating myself up all day long.
And she is so worth it.