Saturday, December 7, 2013

2 1/2 (the 1/2 is very important)

Today is Sam's 'half birthday'. As of today he is officially 2 1/2 years old, and as of tomorrow he will be closer to age 3 than age 2. There's a part of me that wants to cry because 3 just seems so old. Then there's a part of me rocking back and forth in a corner praying to just make it to 3 without completely losing my mind. 2 is hard. 2 is really, really hard. 2 is also sweet, and still little enough to snuggle (sometimes), and exciting, and funny. And hard. So hard.

I love my amazing, smart, sweet little boy with all of my heart, but I also stand outside his bedroom every morning and take a HUGE deep breath while praying, "Please let this be a good day. Oh dear God, please let this be a good day.".

On a good day you'll find us happily building towers and cars with his blocks mid-morning. Singing songs, laughing, showing baby Kate different colors... lots and lots of kisses and hugs. Time goes by so quickly and nap time sneaks up on us before we even know what hit us.

On a bad day it's likely that you'll find me locked in the bathroom. One or both (or all 3...) of us will be in tears. I will be doubting my abilities as a mother and counting the slow (oh so very slow) seconds til nap time.

The other day was an epic example of 2. Throw on top of normal '2-ness', molars coming through, just coming home from a visit with both sets of grandparents, hunger, tiredness, and too many days in the house and... well, it was disastrous to say the least. And I am not proud of how I handled it. I yelled. I yelled WAY too much. I yelled for him to stop. I yelled for him to be quiet. I yelled for him to, "Just go and play!", I yelled, "And now you've woken your sister!". There was far.too.much.yelling. My yelling was just making his behavior worse because it was upsetting him, and the worse his behavior got, the more frustrated I got, and the more I yelled. It was a vicious cycle.

So I gave myself a time out. I took a handful of chocolate chips into the bathroom and locked the door. I ate the chocolate, I cried a little, shook a LOT, took several very deep breaths and came out to try again.

So much of mothering a 2 year old is 'trying again'. The lunch he devoured happily yesterday gets a firm, "NO!" today, so we try again. The songs we sang yesterday are no fun today, so we try again. We don't quite make it to the potty in time, so we get new undies and try again. I yell too much, I try again.

After the epic bad day earlier this week, I took a good look at how I've been handling Sam's '2-ness'. I don't think I'm doing a terrible job at all, but I do think I can do better. And then I read a blog post (it will.not.load. on my computer right now so I can't link the actual post, but check out if you get the chance!) titled '10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling At My Kids'. And it struck a cord. Big time.

So I'm going to make a 'no yelling' pact. Right here right now. I will find other ways to teach Sam right from wrong. I will find other outlets for my frustration. I will recognize when I want to yell just because I'm sleepy, or because I'm tired of answering the same questions, or because I'm frustrated that our plans for the day aren't working out the way I wanted them to. I will raise my voice when it's appropriate, "Stop your feet Sam! No street!" or, "Your dump truck is too close to Kate's head!", but I will NOT yell, "Sam! Just go play!". I will not raise my voice to say, "That's ENOUGH!".

I think there's going to be a LOT of mommy time outs. I'm probably going to consume a LOT of chocolate chips (good thing I'm a runner?). But I think, in the end, this is going to help us through the 'terrible' (I feel bad calling them that sometimes....) 2s. I started the 'no yelling' thing yesterday afternoon through today and it's already been so.much.smoother. Sam isn't all of a sudden a perfectly behaved child (that would be weird anyway...), and I still get incredibly frustrated at times, but just in general, our day is smoother.

So here we go! I'm hoping when I post an update on my 'no yelling pact' in a few weeks that it will be a positive one! And to all the other mamas of 2 year olds out there, this is me giving you a big.gigantic ((((((((hug)))))))). If I could give you some chocolate, I would! (Have you noticed a theme here? I do love chocolate...)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Glamorous Motherhood

Want to hear a fun (and slightly embarrassing) fact about me? Before I was married I used to 'pretend' that I was married with children.  I's have imaginary conversations in my  head with imaginary children while I went grocery shopping or cooked myself dinner or did laundry. Yes, I do realize how very crazy this sounds, but honestly, anybody reading this right now who knew me then probably isn't even all that surprised  ;)

In my imaginary life with kids, I was always dressed in cute, stylish outfits. We were always on time, and my pretend children were always clean, smiling, and extremely charming. Everything was peaceful and every mundane chore I did was a fun learning experience for my perfect (made up) kids. Then I had a baby and the shiny, perfect, imaginary picture of motherhood I imagined started to crack. Then he turned into a toddler and the cracks got bigger. THEN I had another baby and the picture shattered completely.

Let me use what happened this morning to paint you a little picture.

Both of my kids have been battling stuffy, runny noses for the past few days. Around 4ish am baby Kate woke herself up with her snuffling and sniffling. I set her on the bed in front of me to change her diaper before nursing her. Mid-diaper change, a little bit of baby poop got onto the bed. Eyes only half open, I blotted it away with a wipe and then threw a burp cloth over it. I finished changing her diaper while holding her pacifier in with my leg. She kept spitting it out to cry and I was terrified she was going to wake her older brother up. So after all that, I nursed her and got her back to sleep for another hour and a half. 

Around 7:30ish Kate was awake and fussing. The first thing I noticed was that I must have gotten breast milk on her face at some point in the night and it was now crusted all over her forehead. Cute. The next thing I noticed was that her nose sounded super stuffy again. I tried to nurse her, but she kept pulling off and crying because of how stuffed up she was. So I got out the old booger sucker and went to town. Once I had finished torturing her clearing out her nose, she settled down and was content to sit propped up on her boppy pillow. So I went to get Sam from his room where he was being strangely quiet.

I opened his door with a cheery, "Good morning bubba!" like always, and he just stared at me. That's when I noticed the small pile of vomit on his bed. Lovely. He just kept looking at it, and then back at me. Luckily, it didn't really seem to be on HIM, just on the bed. So we went back to my room.I felt like he had probably gotten sick after gagging on snot since he had been super stuffy. Again, lovely. He wanted to nurse (yes, at 28 months old, he is still nursing at least once a day and we are very happy with this arrangement... different post for a different time) so I settled into bed with him to nurse. He nursed for a while and then just wanted to lay down next to his sister which is NOT like him. Meanwhile, she was making another nice mess in her diaper. Woohoo! So I got that cleaned up and took both kids to their bathroom down the hall. I put Kate in her bouncy seat and filled up the tub for Sam. We usually do baths before bed, but he kinda stank :/  As I was settling her into her seat I heard him start to whimper behind me. Uh oh. Yup. You guessed it. He was throwing up breast milk all over the bathroom.  He just kept backing up trying to get away from it, so he managed to cover quite a lot of space. When he was finished he was acting fine, so I deposited him into the tub, got him clean, and let him play for a little while.

Once Sam was bathed, and Kate had been tortured had her nose suctioned once more we went downstairs. Sam on the couch watching Bob the Builder, Kate down for her first nap of the day in her pack n play. I started to tackle the laundry trail the morning had left. Meanwhile, Sam starts screaming at me, "I WANT MILK AND CHEESE TOAST!" Ummm, no. Sorry. Bad choices kid. I gave him some dry toast which, thankfully, stayed put after he ate it.

The laundry took me several hours. Every time I thought I had gotten it all, I found a stuffed animal or a blanky that had gotten in the path of the storm. In between the mountains of laundry Sam continued to scream for cheese (why Sam, why?!) and I had to clear out Kate's nose again. 

Finally, the laundry was finished and all traces of vomit were gone. I was EXHAUSTED and Sam seemed to be a new man. When I came out of the laundry room for the last time I found him bouncing up and down on a balloon he had found and laughing hysterically. When he saw me he said, "Mama! LUUUUUUUNCH!". I almost said no because I figured it was probably like 9:30 or 10 in the morning. Then I looked at the clock and realized it was after 12. I gave him some crackers and apple slices and BEGGED him (unsuccessfully) to eat slllllowly. I should mention that at this point both my hair and my teeth were un-brushed and the shorts I had pulled on in between cleaning up bodily fluids that morning had several holes in them.

Mercifully, at this point BOTH of my (gross) children went to sleep and I was able to catch 20 minutes of sleep myself.

Somehow, in a very strange way, the reality of this morning is SO much better than the shiny pretend life I imagined back then. I'd much rather my crazy haired, grubby faced little boy. Who, from the back seat of the car the other day asked, "Hey! Sarah! You drivin?" and who sometimes blames his gas on his father by saying (loudly), "Excuuuuuuse YOU Daddy!" and then running away. His kisses are much sweeter, and his hugs much fiercer than any perfect haired, perfectly behaved little clone I ever made up back then. That pretend boy was pretty boring, and not nearly as funny ;) I'd much rather a baby girl who might poo all over the place or projectile spit up an entire feeding of milk all over my pajamas at 4 in the morning, but follows it up with a huge gummy smile and a sweet coo. That makes for a much more interesting and full life than the peacefully sleeping baby in designer rompers I pictured in my head all those years ago. 

Motherhood is not pretty. You might go way too many days without washing your hair (guilty). You might be lucky sometimes to just have on clothes that aren't pajamas, forget about a cute, stylish outfit. Your kids aren't always going to behave and you're going to clean up more disgusting messes before 8am than you previously thought possible. But motherhood is a gift. A messy, gross, exhausting gift. And as long as you can remember THAT as you wipe up pee for the 2348758th time that day, you'll be okay. In need of a shower, and possibly a glass of wine, but okay.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby Baker!

This morning, after about 4 hours of (broken) sleep, I woke up to two kids in pee soaked pjs who both started incessantly... NEEDING me immediately. Lucky for me, it was trash day and the big white truck was making its way down our street. Which meant I was able to brush BOTH my hair AND my teeth without simultaneously dragging a toddler out of the utility closet that houses our air conditioner. Said toddler was far too busy peering out the window and periodically yelling, "I see the trash truck!" to terrorize this morning. Score one for mama! My littlest little was also preoccupied this morning, but with the black and white pictures hanging on the wall rather than trucks like her brother. Score TWO for mama!

The fascination with trucks and pictures lasted just long enough for me to get ready for the day and pick up the bedroom a little. Then I realized, "We have nowhere to be this morning!" which, after the crazy week we had been having, was a very welcome realization! My next thought though was, "What the heck are we going to do today?!". I wanted to go to the library, but needed another activity for Sam. Then I thought, "Bake!"

I've let Sam 'help' here and there in the kitchen, but haven't bitten the bullet and let him REALLY help yet. Mainly because I'm a control freak scaredy cat (The mess!) But I rrrrrrreally wanted a yummy baked treat and Sam rrrrrreally needs some 'big boy activities' in his day. So I decided today would be the day!

We made pumpkin oatmeal muffins. They were SUPER yummy and we had LOTS of fun! I wish I had snapped a picture of his face when I pulled a chair over to the counter, told him to stand on it, and handed him a bowl and a wooden spoon. He was so excited! His favorite part seemed to be using my liquid measure cup/tube thingy (I don't know the right name for it, or how to describe it, but it's AWESOME and if you don't have one... figure out what the heck I'm talking about and get one!). I measured out the canned pumpkin into it, gave it to him, and showed him how to push the end to get the pumpkin out. It made him laugh his amazing little laugh and made me want to get another one of those things to use with play dough or something. 

Luckily the muffins didn't take long to mix up because by the time I was scooping them out into the muffin tin, he was more than ready to go back to his trains ;) He did run over to peek at them in the oven though, which was (obviously) adorable.

So not only did Sam get the kind of stimulating 'big boy activity' that makes him feel important and MUCH more inclines to behave the rest of the day, but we got a super tasty treat out of it, AND look how stinkin cute it was! On a day that started with sooooo not enough sleep and 2 sets of pee soaked pajamas, who doesn't need a treat and a little extra cuteness in their life? Right? Right :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Katherine's Birth Story :)

I want to share the birth story for our precious baby Kate :) Her birth was an incredibly amazing, and empowering experience! I shared Sam's birth story on this blog as well, and I love having it documented! Both birth stories were written and saved on my computer within a week or so of their births. I wanted to get them written quickly so I could keep the emotions 'fresh'!

Ever since Sam was born, I haven't stopped researching natural birth. For his birth I had no pain medications, but I did end up having several interventions that sort of had a domino effect leading to his eventual vacuum extraction. I wanted to avoid all of that with Kate and do it MY way. I absolutely 100% believed that I could labor without any interventions and let my body birth my sweet girl the way God made it to do. I knew that ANYTHING could happen though, and was planning on keeping an open mind to allow interventions if they were necessary for either my or the baby's health. I was extremely blessed however, and my labor and delivery were able to happen totally naturally.

So, without further ado, here's Miss Katherine's birth story!

I woke up around 6:40ish on the morning of Tuesday the 20th having been up off and on all the night the night before with contractions strong enough to wake me up, but nothing that I was able to time. A contraction would wake me up, I'd think, "Hey! A contraction!", go pee, get back in bed, and fall back to sleep for an hour. I had a checkup scheduled for Tuesday morning and was laying in bed longer than I should have because I didn't want to have to start the process of getting myself and Sam ready to go. Around 7 I knew I needed to get moving so we wouldn't be late and as I rolled over to get out of bed I felt a 'pop' and fluid starting coming rushing out of me. I said, "WHOA!" and quickly went into the bathroom so as not to ruin the bed/carpet. I knew my water had just broken, but I had no clue what to do about it! I was just standing in the bathroom saying (to nobody), "Ummm... uhhhhh..." I managed to text James to tell him to come home and he said he'd be there in 15 minutes or so (yay for living on base now!). I then called my mom who was just about to leave for the train station to catch her train to come down here! She said that she would cancel her ticket and that she and my dad would just start driving as soon as they could. I then called L&D to tell them that my water had broken, but that I wanted a natural delivery and so I wanted to try to labor at home. The nurse I spoke to said that she technically wasn't allowed to tell me I could stay home, but off the record, thought it was a good idea. She said I was of course more than welcome to either keep my scheduled appointment or go to L&D triage to be checked, but to expect to be told I needed to be admitted immediately although I was of course well within my rights to say, "No thanks. I'll be back later." By now James was home and we decided to keep my original appointment, and to see what the midwife said. I was starting to have some strong-ish contractions, but nothing very regular. James went to get Sam and was then going to put together our bags just in case. Sam wanted to nurse so I brought him in bed with me and started to nurse him. That caused several pretty strong contractions and then all of a sudden another huge gush of fluid. I quickly put Sam down and ran into the bathroom. That's when I noticed that the fluid was not clear and that Kate must have had her first bowel movement while in my belly. I figured the hospital would be pretty adamant to keep me and monitor me closely because of that. We rushed to finish getting our things together, stopped to snap 1 more belly pic, and headed off to L&D instead of my appointment.

Once in the hospital, I was hooked up to monitors in triage. I was told I was going to be admitted, and said that was fine. They said I'd need constant monitoring because of the presence of meconium in my fluid, but that they had wireless monitors that would enable me to move around as I wanted. I got EXTREMELY lucky with the OB who was on call that day. She is apparently the only one who tends to AVOID pitocin at all costs. I guess if any other OB had been there that day, they would have immediately wanted to start pitocin when they heard my water had broken and that it wasn't clear, and I would have had to fight my way to the birth experience that I wanted. So I am extremely grateful for the dr who was there that day! They checked me in triage and I was a 'stretchy' 3cm, 75% effaced, and baby was at 0 station engaged in my pelvis. All good signs! I was still contracting on and off, but nothing consistent. I was admitted and in a room sometime between 9 and 10.

Once in the room we found out that the wireless monitors were currently not working, so I would need to be attached to the machine the whole time. Since we had Sam with us though, this was just fine. It would have been difficult to walk the halls with him. I could still move very freely about the room, and was able to just unplug myself  as needed if I needed to use the restroom or go across the room for a moment. They brought me a big exercise ball, some water and juice and told me to get to work! So we set Sam up in a corner with toys, books, and puzzles and eventually he just watched movies. We even brought his potty because we knew he wouldn't use the big one ;) So basically we totally took over the room. I labored for a few hours, breathing through contractions, and the nurse popped in every hour to check my temperature (to make sure there was no infection coming along while my water was broken). Contractions did pick up in strength and were sort of consistent, but it would be something like 'baby contraction-baby contraction- strong contraction- baby contraction'. I was rocking on the ball, pacing, swaying, squatting, doing everything I could to really get things going!

Around 1:45 they brought in a double electric breast pump and hooked me up to that for 15 minutes. That was the key! I several strong contractions while hooked up to that and after I was finished, had another huge gush of fluid. Contractions immediately set up about 3-5 minutes apart and maintained their strength. I was checked again and was about 5cm, but able to be stretched to 6, 80% effaced, and baby was still at 0. I continued to pace, sway, and squat and used deep breathing and visualization to get me through each contraction. I found that doing a very rhythmic neck roll in time with each deep breath really helped a lot! I also kept repeating in my head, "Relax the face and the rest will follow" and concentrated on not showing my discomfort on my face. When I was able to keep my face calm and relaxed, it helped SO much.

Around 4 I texted my friend Kim and asked if she could come to the hospital between 4:30 and 5 to pick up Sam and take him to our house to play until my parents got there around 5:45/6ish. The plan was for my dad to stay at the house with Sam and for my mom to come to the hospital to be in the room with me. Kim came and got Sam around 4:45 and her timing couldn't have been better because at that point my contractions were getting even closer and were very intense. Around 5:30/5:45ish my nurse, the OB, and the head resident OB came in and said that they had seen some 'squeezy' contractions on the monitor that were obviously really squeezing and drawing Kate's head down because her heart rate would drop with each one. Baby girl was doing fabulously though and brought her heart rate up quickly each time. They said they thought I was probably getting close and wanted to check me. I agreed, and right around then I started getting the shakes which told me I was most likely in transition. Almost there!

The resident OB checked me and said I was 8cm, fully effaced, and baby was plus 1. I had an extremely strong contraction while being checked with which I felt TONS of pressure. The drs and nurse left the room. Immediately I broke out in a cold sweat, started shaking uncontrollably, felt nauseous, and slightly 'out of control'. My contractions then started piggy backing on one another. I was still able to breath and visualize through them, but I felt panicky and freaked out a little when James came near me (up until then he would be standing with me during contractions, either applying counter pressure to my hips or swaying with me). I also started feeling 'pushy' and my body started taking over. I called the nurse back immediately. It was around 6 o'clock, just about 10 minutes or so after being checked at 8cm. The OB and resident came back as well and after hearing just 1 or 2 of my contractions in which I involuntarily squatted and started making 'pushy' sounds, they said they wanted to check me again and started having everything brought in to be ready for the big event!

Just as I was getting into the bed to be checked, my mom walked in the room! I was starting to feel a little calmer now, which told me transition was passing and it was go time! I said, "Hi mom. Good timing!" They checked and sure enough I was complete and baby was making her way out. I let my body do it's thing while they set things up and got a squat bar for me. I wasn't consciously pushing, but felt my body doing it and could actually feel Kate moving downward. Amazing feeling! They got the squat bar set up and 2 residents got in front of me to deliver. They looked confused. The attending OB smiled this HUGE grin and first said to me, "I love you for letting me prove all the doctors who would have immediately put you on pit wrong! In your face other doctors!! I'm calling you my breast pump induction from now on!" she then smiled at her residents and said, "Have you ever seen a squat delivery?" they shook their heads, they had never seen a fully natural delivery at all. The OB smiled even more and said, "This is going to be awesome and fast." She was so excited! I loved it!

Contractions started hitting HARD and it was definitely push time. I was vocalizing through contractions at this point, just sort of a low humming sound. I pushed once or twice on the squatting bar, and was able to reach down and feel her head :) I was half in tears and saying things like, "I want her out NOW ok? Ok?! I just want her out!" and, "No! I don't want to stop because it hurts to stop!" I sat back from the bar between contractions to rest, and then when the next one hit I said to myself, "This is it, I'm not waiting anymore" and went for it. Everybody was CHEERING! I swear it was like we were at a sporting event! "Omg! Sarah! You're amazing! Omg! Look! She's coming out NOW! You're doing it! Wow!!" it was very nice encouragement ;) I felt her crowning and got a burst of energy from who in the hell knows where to get that baby OUT! Her one shoulder did get a bit stuck for a second, and that was actually a very surprising feeling for me. I had just felt her head come out, a split second of relief, and then pain again which took me by surprise because... well her head was already out! I had no clue what I was feeling til I heard, "There's her shoulder!" I heard them say they were looping the cord from where it was wrapped long-ways around her body, and then she was OUT! All told, the pushing phase lasted less than 15 minutes and I pushed about 3 times (in between my deliberate pushes, I was letting my body bear down and do it on it's own)

 They had to take her over to the warmer right away to give her good suction because of the meconium in the fluid, but I got a quick look at her first, and James went over with her. The first thing I said was (through tears), "She's really a girl right?!" because I had had so many boy dreams lol. They assured me that she was. I delivered the placenta then naturally and I had one very very small tear that just required 2 or 3 stitches. Then my nurse helped me strip down up top so I could have skin to skin with my beautiful 8lb 8oz, 21 in little girl. She was born at 6:28pm and by 6:45ish she was latched on ;) I turned to James while we were looking down at her for the first time and said, "I did it exactly how I wanted to." and he said, "Hell yeah you did." It was an awesome moment! Afterwards the head resident OB came up to me to thank me for, "Furthering her education" since she had never had the opportunity to see a delivery like mine before and she was so happy that I had given her the opportunity. I thought that was really cool! I thanked the OB and nurse for being so understanding of my birth plan and for helping me have this awesome experience. They both said that they're the ones who should have been thanking me because they didn't actually have to DO anything at all. Just watch while I did it myself lol.

All in all, it was an amazing day and I feel incredibly blessed!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oh yeah... I have a blog...

Sooooo... over a year later, and here I am again ;) Not going to waste time with excuses, but let's just go ahead and try this again!

In my last post, James had just had a deployment cancelled, Sam was a new walker, I was in the midst of p90x and considering starting to run. James has been home with us this entire year (except for some field ops  of course and a few weeks training out of state).and we realize what an incredible blessing this is for a military family! Sam is over 2 years old now, and I WISH he would just walk ;) He's into trains, trucks, cars, anything with wheels really. He has been potty trained for over 2 months now, and sleeping in a 'big boy bed' for over 3! I completed p90x and did eventually start running! I ran my first 5k in October of last year, and after that I was HOOKED! I went on to run my first half marathon in December of last year. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant with our 2nd baby.

Yes! We are now a family of 4! We welcomed our little girl, Katherine (Kate!) into the world 4 weeks and 6 days ago. I'm planning for her birth story to be my next blog post. It was wonderful and my recovery has been incredibly smooth!

Adjusting to life as a mama of 2 has been just that, an adjustment. Sam is doing much better with being a big brother than we originally anticipated. There have been some rough spots of course, but for the most part he's doing pretty well!

As for me, it's definitely difficult, but I honestly (and forgive me for being incredibly cheesy here for a moment) feel like this is what I was MADE to do. I loved being just Sam's mama, and I do miss all the one-on-one time that we used to be able to have, but having more than 1 little person to care for just feels so... right! I believe that God has a purpose for everybody, and I think my purpose is to be a mother. I never felt it so strongly as I did the first day I was home alone with both kids and was getting them dressed to head out the door. They were both fussing at me, I could feel myself starting to sweat through my shirt, it was only 9am and I already felt completely and utterly exhausted, and yet I couldn't help but think, "THIS. This is what I was made to do!".

It's obviously not all rainbows and butterflies. I lose my patience. I yell at Sam when he probably doesn't deserve it. I cry. I lock myself in the bathroom for a minute or two. I start stuffing my face with chocolate the second I manage to get both of them to sleep at the same time. But in the midst of it all, I feel like I've found my purpose. Found where I fit in this world.

Before I actually started this post, I was enjoying reading all my old posts. Particularly the ones about little baby Sam! Time goes by so quickly, and it's way too easy to forget the little things. So, hopefully I can mark this down as my return to the blogging world. If only so that I have it to look back on years from now.