My “Weight”

I’ve been a little tense lately.  I haven’t felt much like myself.  I’ve been feeling, heavy, in a way.  Like I’m carrying around a lot of stress, a lot of emotional weight.  At first I figured part of the problem was a lack of sleep and the general frustrations that come with having 2 young children.  I started thinking, “Things will get better when A goes back to school in September.”  But the truth is, I’m dealing with a lot more than having my kid home during the summer.

I feel there is a lot being asked of me right now.  In addition to a pregnancy/new baby…the whole thing was highly charged, emotionally, since it was right on the heels of losing the twins.  I still haven’t had a chance to come down from the emotional high I was on for the duration of my pregnancy.  Less than 2 weeks after C was born, there was a shitstorm with Hubs’ job and so began the process of him quitting and starting his own company.  It wasn’t as simple as turning in a resignation.  There were many things to manage, many things to consider…one of the biggest issues being my medical needs relating to my skin cancer diagnosis.  I find myself stuck at home a lot yet I still feel my house is a disaster.  I can’t seem to get anything cleaned during the day.  I don’t manage to get out of the house much…it’s not easy.  Plus, I’ve cut my spending dramatically in order to preserve our savings as long as possible.  I rarely get “me” time.  The Hubs and I haven’t had a date in I don’t know how long…hell, most nights we don’t even really talk.  Strangely enough, even though he’s not traveling and is working from home, we seem to have much less time together than before.  He works all the time and after the girls are asleep (a whole ‘nother problem) I just want some alone/quiet time to surf the web, catch up on my blogs/message boards and spend some time without someone needing or wanting something from me.  Or touching me.  Bedtime in this house is a disaster.  If A doesn’t nap…she’s a bear.  If she does nap, she won’t go to sleep at night.  C goes down pretty easily, but is awake within 30 minutes needing to be rocked back to sleep.  She’s still up at least twice a night to eat and about 50% of the time, she won’t settle down and go back to sleep.  For example…she was up at 4:45 this morning.  Bedtime just adds to my frustration that has mounded up during the day and by about 8pm, I’m ready to run out of the house screaming.  It’s like the straw that breaks the camels back every.single.day.

But I signed up for all of this and I own it.

Nothing on my list of complaints is surprising to me and I’ve taken it all on voluntarily.  I can’t even fix the sleep issues because I’m too big of a wuss to let C cry and I flat-out don’t have the time or desire to read one of the several sleep books available.  But my list of “issues” isn’t even what really bothers me.  My problem is the guilt I feel for being frustrated about any of it.  The guilt that comes from knowing I should be thankful everyday, for every moment I get with my husband and my kids but finding myself, at the end of each day, wondering if I’m actually looking forward to getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.  I wanted my kids.  I pined for them.  I prayed for them.  And they are both more precious to me than anything else I’ve ever known and I would do just about anything to see them happy.  I’ve known the heartbreak of loss and I know what it’s like to wonder what my life would look like if I hadn’t lost the twins.  I know what it’s like to long for a moment with them, no matter the circumstances, to be able to touch them, to hold them, to tell them I love them…to know them…if only for a moment.  I know what it’s like to beg for a glimpse into what life could have been like if things had gone differently.

I feel awful…so damn guilty for complaining about any part of my current life.  And I feel like a horrible mother and a horrible person for not being able to be joyful in every moment in every day…especially where C is concerned since I was so fearful of her not getting her at all.  I sometimes find myself fearful that something else tragic is going to happen…wondering if I didn’t learn my lesson wholly the first time around.  I desperately need something to lighten my mood…something to relieve some of the tension I constantly feel.  Someone or something to take some of this weight off my shoulders.  I took A and C to the mall yesterday to play on the indoor playground.  On the way out, I passed a double stroller with 2 matching carseats (black and white damask with hot pink trim) each holding a teeny-tiny, sleeping baby girl.  It was as close to tears that I’ve come in quite some time and my heart still hurts thinking about it.  I’ve managed to avoid seeing a brand-new set of twin girls for over a year and my first encounter just came at the wrong time.

Gremlins

I read this quote yesterday, and it makes me smile every time I think about it.  “You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and (she) he will be wonderful again.”– Jill Eikenberg

So true for my life right now, and adding that bit of humor is what keeps me going through the day.  I love my kids, every one of them, completely, but I’m pretty sure they’re out to destroy me.  I’m actually beyond thankful today.  6 weeks ago A found a disposable needle in a field and punctured her finger.  We’ve had 2 rounds of blood tests…one immediately and one at 6 weeks.  We heard from the doctor yesterday her final blood test came back completely normal.  Thank God.  It was, so far, the scariest thing I’ve encountered as a parent.  Having your 3-year-old tested for Hepatitis and HIV is just plain wrong.  But all that aside, I find myself dealing with a 3-year-old that is absolutely convinced the world revolves around her.  I presume most 3-year-olds share her sentiments.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing…tending to C, talking to the Hubs, dishes, laundry, making the bed…she’s not happy if my attention is not on her 100% of the time.  I feel awful because it seems everything else and everyone else, in my life is being neglected.  If I’m making the bed, she wants to be jumping on it.  If I’m doing dishes, she wants me to get out her playdoh, or markers, or stickers, or anything she can come up with to interrupt me doing the dishes.  If I’m folding laundry, she wants to roll around in the piles.  If I’m tending to C, she wants to be in the same room and try as she might, she’s just not capable of being quiet…so putting C down for a nap with A in the same room is basically impossible.  We’re on the final stretch of summer here and it shows.  It’s hot (too hot to be outside for a good chunk of the day), she’s bored, I’m bored and I struggle to get out of the house with both girls in tow.  I’ve just had C for the past 24 hours…A spent the night with her grandparents and while I’ve missed A, it’s been so nice to run a bunch of errands and have some time to sit and breathe.  I wouldn’t give up any of it though.  As crazy and difficult as it is, I love it.  I’m looking forward to August and September too.  A will go back to school in September and I just signed her up for a 1 day per week preschool at our local zoo.  She’s going to have an absolute blast.  She didn’t want to do dance again, so zoo school it is.  We tossed around the idea of her playing soccer, but during the fall the games would interfere with Aggie games, so….yeah….maybe she can play soccer in the Spring.

Like most mothers, I’m sure, I find myself constantly striving to be a better mom to A.  The past few weeks have been especially hard.  I told Hubs I thought maybe I should go back to work…that being home with her isn’t the best thing.  I don’t think I actually feel that way, but geez, when nothing you do seems to work in terms of teaching or disciplining, you’re left wondering if you should just wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.  I’ve been so close, too close, to walking out the door at 5 o’clock several nights and not coming home until late, late at night.  Just dropping everything, because I’m frustrated and angry, and leaving.  One of the things my mom taught me is to never leave the house angry.  That lesson has stuck with me for a long, long time.  I did get some time away this week, spent a few hours running errands alone then split a bottle of wine with Aunt D.  It did wonders.  It’s amazing what a few hours away will do for my sanity.  I’m going to start doing it more often.  Even if I don’t plan it for myself, my volunteer obligations are getting ready to kick into high gear and I’ll be forced to spend time away from home, the Hubs and the Littles.  I’ve been struggling lately because it seems my needs, wants and desires come dead-last in this family.  And I guess that’s the plight of a mother, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow sometimes or in my case, most of the time.  I sleep until the girls wake up in the mornings because C is still up several times a night, I don’t nap during the day, and I fall into bed bone-tired at night.  There’s just nothing left for me at the end of the day.  I know it’s all temporary…in the blink of an eye C will be done nursing, she’ll be sleeping through the night, A will be back in school and I’ll start convincing myself it’s time to try for another baby because I’ll start longing for days like the ones I’m currently experiencing.  But isn’t that one of life’s biggest challenges?  To take what you KNOW and take what you FEEL and somehow morph them into one consistent thought and action?  I’m working on it, but I’m just not very good at it.

Checking-in

Just a quick post to say, “Hi!  I’m still here!!!”

***waves frantically***

I’ve had so much on my mind and I think to myself, often, I need to blog about this…

Then someone cries, or whines, or poops…or cries and poops at the same time.   It’s usually the baby, but not always…

Baby C is suffering from the dreaded 4 Month Wakeful Period that I swear didn’t exist.  It doesn’t matter though, because I’ve decided to become a vampire.  That way I never ACTUALLY need to sleep again.  Do I have that right?  Vampires don’t sleep, right?  I never got into the whole Twilight thing so I’m a little rusty on my vampire trivia.  If I’m being serious, I still totally adore Baby C and recognize this, too, is only a phase.  Even if it’s shaving years off my life.

Baby C is 4 months old today and she’s doing fab.  She’s laid back and relatively easy-going.  Little A is doing great also.  She can be such a sweet little girl.  She can also be such a little hellion.  I recently took her to her first movie…Madagascar 3.  I kind of had an out-of-body experience sitting in the theater with her…her with her own popcorn, drink and skittles.  I can’t believe my little A is old enough to go to the movies.  We had a blast.  I really enjoy being out alone with her, she’s totally different when she’s by herself and now that she’s almost 3-and-a-half, I can actually hold a pretty good conversation with her.  She loves her little sister, no doubt, but one-on-one time with mom (or dad) is invaluable.

The whole “Hubs started his own company and doesn’t have an actual job right now” thing is going ok.  Actually, it’s going fine.  My “handling” of the whole thing is only going ok.  At least once per day I have a minor panic attack.  Each time I swear to myself tomorrow will be better.  Each time, I fail.  Bummer.  It still remains to be seen if this whole thing will be a success, but having him home (not traveling for work) has been amazing.  I love not having the stress of him having to fly out every few days.  He’s working pretty much non-stop.  The ideas just keep coming to him and he keeps acting on them.  I can only hope I maintain my end of the bargain and remain supportive and not melt into a big pile of dramatics.  I suppose I also need to get my business up and moving…because I have all this spare time and all.

Here’s Baby C today, at her 4-month photo shoot.
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xoxo,

B

Mr. Golden Sun-1 B-0

I’ve been neglecting this blog.  I just haven’t had much to say and honestly, adjusting to 2 kiddos and a husband that now works from home hasn’t left me with much down time where I can quietly gather my thoughts and write about what’s on my mind.  I so miss writing here though, sharing my thoughts and my photos.  This has been a good outlet for me and I need to carve out some quiet time and space in this busy life so I can write.

I find myself angry these days.  I’m feeling unimportant and purpose-less (is that a word?) and it sucks.  It’s a very trying time in my life.  There’s been a ton of stuff happening and I’m feeling the weight of it just camped out on my shoulders.  I’ll share it all with you, but let’s start with the most current of stressors.

I have/had skin cancer.  It sucks.  I had a small, flat spot show up on my face near my hairline when I was pregnant with A.  I assumed it was a hormonal change and figured it would go away.  It didn’t.  I’ve had 2 more pregnancies since then and I had another spot show up while pregnant with C.  This one was closer to my hairline but was a raised bump instead of a flat patch.  It was really quite gross…almost wart-like.  I’d mentioned it to my GP over the years and he was nonchalant about getting them biopsied and inspected.  I wish he’d been a little more insistent.  The only reason I had the biopsies done when I did was because we’d met our deductible for the year and wanted to have everything taken care of while I was only responsible for 10%.  Since Hubs was leaving his current position and would be losing that insurance, I decided to get it taken care of.  Needless to say, both spots came back positive for basal cell carcinoma.  The most common form of skin cancer, slow-growing, rarely spreading, but skin cancer none the less.  To have both spots removed I went to a dermatological surgeon that performed Mohs Surgery leaving me with 2 gaping holes in my head.  Thankfully, he was able to get clear margins on both spots with only one cut (the Mohs surgery is where they do the pathology right there and keep cutting down and around until they remove all the cancer).  I was cauterised, patched up and sent straight to the hospital (my 4th stint in a hospital in 3 years) where the plastic surgeon used a skin graft to close the opening closest to my hairline and stitched up the opening closer to the center of my forehead leaving me with a 4cm incision site.  Lordy.  I’m now about 4 days out from the surgery and I closely resemble a cyborg.  Even though I have no idea what a cyborg is or what one looks like, I’m pretty sure I resemble one.  The last time I left the house was last Thursday morning when I went in for the initial surgery with the Dermatologist.  Did I mention I spent all day Thursday with a horrible migraine?  I was begging for drugs once I made it to the hospital.  I haven’t been able to wash my hair since then and I just took my first shower where I took painstaking measures to scrub the skin I could get wet yet carefully avoiding my bandages and incision sites.  My hair is disgusting.  It’s matted with blood and gunk in 2 different spots that I can do nothing about until the sutures are removed later this week.  I’ll go to scratch an itchy spot on my scalp only to find it caked with dried blood.  My eyes, bridge of my nose and cheek on one side are puffy, and there’s bruising under my eyes.  I can’t wear my glasses thanks to the swollen face and the fact I can see the bridge of my nose and part of my cheek, thanks to the swelling, is driving me batty.  And my mother in-law wants family pictures next week…  The skin graft was taken from behind my ear and there’s bruising down that side of my neck and my ear is swollen and numb.  There’s no bandage where the skin graft was taken and I’m supposed to keep antibiotic ointment on the incision site so I constantly have goo running down my neck and into my hair as my body heat liquifies the ointment. The actual incision site on my forehead looks like I’ve taken a gunshot wound to the head.  There’s a bolster sewn over the skin graft to keep it in place and the incision in the center of my forehead has slightly bled through the tape so it looks like a big, bloody spot about the size of a quarter in the center of my head.  And everything is starting to itch.  My girlfriend says that means it’s all healing…  I was secretly hoping for some nice, clean, white soap-opera type head bandages…no suck luck.  When my doctor suggested getting these spots looked at saying it could be some basal cell carcinoma, he said it was no big deal to get them taken off and that would be the end of it.  Holy hell.  This whole ordeal has been waaaaayyyyy more of an ordeal than I could have ever imagined.  You can only imagine the amount of appointments this has all required…and I requested to have all of it done by the end of June so I’d only be responsible for 10%.  It’s been less than calm around here lately.  And we’re not done.  There are still 2 spots on my head I’m concerned about.  One on my forehead and one in my hairline.  There’s also a spot on my leg I’m watching.  And of course, I’ll now be closely monitored by a dermatologist, for who knows how long, to check for any new moles, spots, growths, etc.  Sigh.  It could be worse I suppose, and there’s always a chance I’ll never have another cancerous spot show up, but for now I’m suffering some major consequences.

So, how did I get so lucky as to have some lovely skin cancer at the tender age of 31?  I’ll tell you.  I have no idea.  We had a pool growing up so my sister and I spent our summers outside…I’m sure that didn’t help.  I also had a convertible when I turned 16 and had the top down all the time, probably another contributing factor.  I layed in tanning beds in high-school, college, and even as recently as when I got pregnant with A.  I canceled my tanning membership when I found out I was pregnant.  I didn’t tan non-stop or year-round, just a few months here and there throughout the year.  The biggest factor though, seems to be genetic.  The dermatologist says fair-skinned, blue-eyed folks are just more prone to skin cancer.  It’s not that I haven’t taken precautions throughout the years, I’ve always been diligent about sunscreen on my face, but like most people, I didn’t really focus on the hairline.  I’ve always worn sunglasses, so my eye area has been protected, but I’m not big on hats.  Also, the hormonal changes from pregnancy does weird, weird things to your body…this was also confirmed by the dermatologist as a contributing factor.

I’m sure my girls will ask to tan when they get into high school.  The answer, is a resounding HEEEEELLLLL NO!  I will, however, agree to let them spray tan.  I know all too well the vanity of a teenage girl and I’d rather appease their vanity with a spray tan than have them go behind my back and lay out in the sun slathered in baby oil because they don’t possess the ability to understand there are consequences to their actions.  I don’t blame my parents though…the warnings about sun damage and skin cancer 15 years ago were not what they are today.  And to be fair, as a child, I never burned…I was super tan all summer just from being outside.  My poor girls though…both have my fair skin and blue eyes and you can bet I will be FANATICAL about sunscreen usage and sun avoidance.  Oh, and I’ll be investing in some fun hats for myself!

So that catches you up for now.  I left out a few things though. The pastor of our church is leaving at the end of July.  It’s a big deal because I would really like some stability, SOMEWHERE, in my life and his leaving came out of nowhere.  We had our first trip to the ER a few weeks ago.  A was staying with my in-laws since I was in DESPERATE need of a break and she spiked a fever and was having trouble breathing.  I was practically out the door before Hubs even got off the phone with his mom.  She ended up in the ER at 11:30 on a Tuesday night diagnosed with a sinus infection and RSV.  We spent the next several days nursing A back to health while keeping her and C separated since C getting RSV just wasn’t an option.  Then a few days later A found and poked herself with an unidentified, used needle near a parking lot.  Seriously…what kind of asshole leaves a used needle (turns out, it was a disposable needle from and epi or insulin pen) near a parking lot?  At this point, once I realized she’d actually punctured her skin, I lost it.  I’d had all I could take.  I was sick to my stomach and I cried.  I cried for A, for all the doctor visits I knew would come, for me, for our family, for the desperation I felt, for the fear I felt, I was just done.  We’re still not finished with that whole ordeal.  Her doctor ordered blood work (um, NOT fun, AT ALL) immediately to check for really scary diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.  At the 6 week mark, when anything she may have contracted would show up, we have to check again.  Hubs has left his job and is now self-employed, full-time and we’re all home. All the time.  It’s an adjustment and comes with a MAJOR learning curve.  And because I seem to be a glutton for punishment, we’re headed out of town next week to spend the 4th of July with my in-laws at their place in Fredericksburg.  It will be fun, but their place is only 600 sq. ft. or so.  It’s close quarters.  Should be, interesting, to say the least.  I’m planning to drink lots of beer and wine.

So there it is.  My life lately, in a nutshell.  It’s stressful right now and I’m in need of a break.  I’m in need of some good stuff, some positive stuff to start heading our way.  I feel wound up, stressed to the max all the time.  Hopefully I can find time to get back to regular writing.  It helps me so much to be able to get my thoughts out and it helps to go back and re-read when I feel like I’ve been standing still and no progress has been made.

Over.

So.  School’s over for the year.  So are dance classes.  And here I sit on the eve of summer, and I’m scared.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I’m scared.  I’m scared to spend all day, every day, with both my children.  I haven’t been in this position before so in addition to school being out and dance lessons being over, we’re throwing in a 9 week old that needs to be cared for.  It will be so very easy to spend each day in pajamas watching tv.  But I know I can’t let that happen.  It should be an interesting few weeks as A and I adjust to each other.  We’ll eventually fall into a routine that will include playing outside, crafts, maybe some baking and cooking and endless trips to the museum and zoo.  I’ve also signed her up for swim lessons, church camp (it’s only 4 days, 2 hours each evening), we’ll be taking a trip to see the in-laws over the 4th of July, A will spend a week with my parents in July and I’m still hoping to sneak a family beach trip in there somewhere.  I’m also seriously considering sending her to VBS at the church where she attends preschool.  We’ll see.

It’s a strange feeling to truly be fearful of spending time with your kid.  But I’m all about being honest here, and honestly, it scares me.  I’ve had so many reasons over the past 18 months or so to not be the best mom.  I was pregnant, then I wasn’t, then I was an emotional mess, then I was pregnant again, now I have a new baby.  But it’s time for me to get my proverbial shit together and be the best mom I can be.  I want my kids to remember their childhood fondly and endless episodes of Dora and Team Umizoomi only stick with you for so long and, given her age, I think I stand a good chance at leaving either a positive or negative impression on her childhood memories this summer.  I would also like to get back into the swing of things around the house.  Following my cleaning schedule, cooking dinner regularly (I actually do this one pretty darn well considering), perhaps a jog every now and then and also fitting in “me” time there somewhere.  These are all lofty goals when you factor in the new baby and lack of sleep.  But hey, a girl can dream right?

So here I sit, getting ready to embark on the Summer of 2012.  I know that each day I will wonder how my children will survive the remainder of the day; how I will survive the remainder of the day.  I know that each day I will look forward to bed time.  I know that each day I will catch myself sighing, or looking at my 3-year-old like she’s an alien sent to destroy me.  Some days my 3-year-old WILL be an alien sent to destroy me.  I’ll also, most likely, crack up each day.  And I’ll go to bed each night wondering if I did my best; recounting all the moments I could have done better.  I’ll spend my days trying to keep up with my kids, trying to maintain a house, trying to give my husband what he needs and around 5 each day decide I can’t, and pour myself a glass of wine.  Or grab a beer.  Or both.  I’ll juggle play-doh, markers, crayons, chalk, paint, glitter, stamps, diaper changes, time outside, errands, rocking the baby to sleep, nursing, and a whole host of other things on a daily basis.  I’ll try to keep my cool, remain calm and be consistent in my expectations of my children and how I discipline them.  I don’t want to yell…my mom yelled.  Hopefully I’ll make it to September and be happy with what I see behind me.  Now, I’m headed to bed to try to get some rest.  I want to start this summer off as rested as possible.  Cheers to the Summer of 2012 Y’all!

Growing up Aggie

WM rings 3.20.09 065I just got home from C’s 2 month check-up and left realizing just how much I like our pediatrician.  Not just as a Pedi, but on a personal level.  She happens to be an Aggie, but I liked her before I found out that little gem.  Once I found out though, it was like, well duh, no wonder I like her!  It got me thinking about this Aggie family though…

I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, most Aggies do.  I can clearly remember the person that turned me on to A&M though.  It was my mom’s boss, an attorney who graduated from A&M with a degree in Business Administration and attended Baylor for Law School.  For years I was going to follow in his footsteps, wanting to be an attorney and everything.  While those dreams faded and eventually disappeared, my love for and desire to attend A&M didn’t.  I worked hard, but not hard enough and wasn’t accepted to A&M right out of high school.  I worked my butt off at a community college before finally being accepted and transferring to A&M where I graduated with a BS in Psychology.  It’s always been in my blood, and to this day, I consider my graduation one of my greatest accomplishments.  You see, it’s part of my identity; part of how I define myself.  I don’t view “Aggie” as simply a noun, it’s also a verb.  When I meet a new person, it always comes up.  I’m proud of it, like to tell people, and almost everyone knows someone or has a family member that has also attended.  We have a stigma though, a certain air about us.  If you’ve met one Aggie, you pretty much know what to expect from another.  There’s a saying and it’s true:  From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it.  From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

We love our families, love to have fun, respect our elders, have a strong appreciation for our military personnel, love our country, expect hats to be removed at the dinner table, men to hold the door open, use “sir”, “ma’am”, “please” and “thank you”, and most of us expect our children will follow in our footsteps.  There is no family like the Aggie family and there is no network like our network of Former Students.  To start with, pretty much all graduating Aggies will purchase and proudly wear their Aggie Ring.  The Association of Former Students eats a lot of the cost to ensure most if not all Aggies get their ring.  To us Ags, it’s a symbol no matter where you are in the world.  My husband has traveled the country and has had his ring commented on numerous times.  Most people guess he’s from Texas based on his use of “sir” and “ma’am”, but that’s a different post.  I’ve heard story upon story of Aggies traveling abroad only to be approached by a fellow Aggie that noticed the Aggie Ring.  More than that though, it has always seemed to me that the Aggie family is made up of a certain type of person.  We seem to be stitched together with the same thread; cut from the same cloth.  I’ve yet to meet an Aggie that didn’t share very similar morals, family values, similar political views and a love of beer (joking, kind of).  It really is true that we’re almost cult-like in our traditions.  We take them very seriously and they’ve been sustained for decades.  There seems to be a “mold” for an Aggie, if you will, and not everyone fits in it.

We’ve indoctrinated our girls from the very beginning.  A is particularly enamoured with Kyle Field and the Aggie Band.  She knows who Reville is and has attended a few football games, tailgates, wandered around campus and went to her first Yell Practice last year.  We took Baby C to her first football game (it was a scrimmage) and toured the new MSC just a few weeks ago.  We have 529’s for the girls (well, I’m still working on setting up C’s) and we tell people all the time our money is only good at A&M.  They smile and laugh then turn serious and question us, “Well, what if they want to go somewhere else?  You won’t actually make them go to A&M will you?”  We emphatically reply that if they want their college paid for, they’ll attend A&M.  Most people think we’re being unreasonable.  The truth is, neither Hubs nor I have ever really worried they’ll want to go elsewhere.  Why would they?  Maybe if one of them is really into the Arts in someway, but I doubt that will happen.  A&M is such a big part of our lives.  Our fall is spent focused on Aggie football.  We still have our season tickets and plan to attended as many games as possible.  We have a group of friends that we keep in touch with throughout the year, but really spend time with during football season.  There’s a camaraderie that we feel, especially during football season.  As we’ve all graduated and moved away, we can still come together during football weekends and reminisce.  Our family has grown over the years and so have the families of several of our friends.  We just pack up the kiddos and take them with us, they’re just expected to be there and they fit right in.  Outside of our small group of friends, you’re surround by about 90,000 of your closest friends.  From college freshman to old Ags that have long since retired but love their school just the same.  It’s awesome to stand in the stadium and look around at all these people who are so passionate about the same things.  It’s amazing to see the really old Ags, the ones that most likely fought in wars and lived through a time none of us can ever imagine.  A lot of them still wear their rings, most of them worn down to a smooth gold band after years and years of working hard, usually with their hands in some way.  A&M produces a lot of farmers and ranchers.  The truth is, it’s not REALLY about the football for most of them, but about remembering the good old days and putting yourself in a place where you’re surrounded by “family”.  So yes, our girls will grow up Aggies in every sense of the word.  They will love A&M with the same passion the Hubs and I do.  It will be part of their identity and they will be proud to tell everyone who will listen where they are going to school.  And when they get that acceptance letter, their father and I will be overjoyed.  I will immediately buy an Aggie Mom car decal, t-shirt and coffee mug.  We will move them into a dorm/apartment hours away from home in the sweltering August heat.  We’ll help them choose what decal they’ll put on their car.  We will visit them on weekends, take them out to eat, take them to Target, to the mall and send their dad to fill up their cars with gas.  I will stock their kitchen and fridge with food and drinks.  We’ll encourage them to get involved on campus, and to find a church in College Station.  We will encourage them to LOVE their time in college; to understand that 4-5 years is a long time, yet oh, such a short time.  Tell them to have fun at the concert at Hurricane Harry’s featuring the latest Texas Country music star.  Tell them to have fun at the Tap and tell them to have fun shooting pool at Yesterday’s, but to be careful driving home.  We’ll tell them we hope they have a great time at Northgate.  We’ll tell them to enjoy their wings at Wings ‘N More and their burrito at Freebirds.  If they meet a boy, we’ll want to meet him, to get to know him, and we’ll encourage the relationship so long as it’s a good one; we don’t believe college is too young to meet your spouse.  We’ll go with them to the Dixie Chicken to dunk their rings and we’ll pretend we don’t know what they’re up to on a Friday night in College Station.  We’ll pretend we think they attend all their classes, they never turn the alarm off and go back to sleep skipping class.  And when they graduate, we’ll be there to see them walk across the stage and to help them apply their Association of Former Students decal to their car.  And we’ll do all of this because that’s what Aggie families do.  They live and breathe A&M…it’s a family affair; a lifestyle.  So yes, our kids will go to A&M too.  And anyone who doesn’t believe that isn’t an Aggie because it means they don’t really understand what an Aggie is.  Gig ’em.

Sister Love

I’ve been amazed since day 1 at how much Baby C adores her big sister.  For now, big sister also adores her baby sister; frequently asking to see her, kiss her, hug her and commanding I go check on her baby sister when she hears Baby C fussing.  I love watching them interact and while Baby C likes me and her daddy, she absolutely has a favorite…her big sister.  Here’s proof, a random Wednesday morning before dance class.

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On having 2 kids…

Here’s what I’ve learned, in my first month, of having 2 kids:

  • When mentally preparing for whatever task is at hand (getting ready for church, running an errand, getting A to preschool or dance class, fixing dinner, etc.) it seems downright impossible.  The truth is, on paper, it never works.  But somehow, when the time comes, you just do it and it all works out fine.
  • Accomplishing any task at this stage makes me feel like a superhero.  I took both girls to the zoo yesterday, no the baby didn’t sleep the whole time, and we did just fine.
  • Nursing in public is a must-do.  It really doesn’t bother me as long as I can find a somewhat discreet place to do it.  And if I can’t find a discreet place, well, too bad.  Frankly, I’m not that modest and I’m only willing to do so much.
  • Breastfeeding is so much easier this time around.
  • If I’d had only an ounce of the confidence I do now, as a mother, the first time around with A wouldn’t have been nearly as difficult.
  • Babies cry, in public.  And it’s ok.  Preschoolers cry too, sometimes in public.  And it’s also ok.  I just tend to their needs and move on.  I’m much less concerned about crying in public this time around.  When A was little, I was terrified to leave the house for fear that she’d cry in the car or in public.
  • My needs have taken a serious backseat.  That’s not necessarily a good thing and I need to work on it.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m on the AAP hit list.  I’m breaking all the rules.  C spends a good chunk of the night in my bed.  Surrounded by pillows and covered with my sheets and comforter.  This morning I found her passed out on her belly…gasp!
  • I feel the need to repeat the word confidence.  It’s made such a HUGE difference.  Unfortunately, that confidence only comes with experience.
  • I’m shocked with how much C adores her big sister.  At only a month old she looks for A when she hears her voice and is perfectly content to lay on the floor beside A while she plays.  C talks the most to A.
  • A is just as smitten with C.  For now.  I suspect that will change when C becomes mobile.
  • I can’t imagine doing this with a 2 year old.  A 3 year old is so much more independent and makes it much easier.
  • I’ll choose sleep over a shower almost every time.
  • No 2 babies are alike.
  • I can almost always pinpoint exactly what C needs and calm her down.  The only thing I can’t seem to fix are her gas issues.
  • My house is a disaster.  I’m pretty sure I don’t really care.
  • I miss my husband like crazy.  Both from a relational stand point and also as my partner, an extra set of hands and someone to talk with.
  • I’m amazed by the number of things I can do with one hand.
  • The emotions I feel about the well-being and the life I want these 2 girls to have is almost over-whelming.  Especially since we’re getting ready to take a HUGE step of faith in the work/income department.  It stresses me out a little…I want them to have a great childhood and want to be able to provide a really great life for them.  I know that doesn’t always mean you need lots of money, but it helps.
  • There really is plenty of love to go around.  Lap space, not so much.
  • I can manage on a lot less sleep than I ever dreamed possible.
  • The time goes by too fast.  Baby C is already 5 weeks old and weighs almost 12 pounds.  She wears 3 month clothes and I think we’re going to need size 2 diapers next.
  • I wish someone would have told me to really SEE A before C was born.  A still seemed small.  Her nose was small, her fingernails were small.  Now all those things, and so many other things seem huge because my perspective has changed.  I can’t seem to get back to the place where anything about A seems small and it makes me sad.
  • I’m kind of loving having 2 kids…especially when I walk into the room and see this:

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I got the birth I wanted!

Our 4th daughter was born on her due date, 3/16/2012 at 9:13pm.  Charlotte Claire weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds and is 20 inches long.  She has chubby, chubby cheeks, her sister’s hands and her daddy’s feet.  Lots of hair, but not as much as A had when she was born.  I haven’t had much time to get behind the camera, but I’ll be posting a few pics once I have an opportunity to photograph her.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the last 24 hours.

As you all know, I’d been walking around for quite some time with a more than ready cervix. My regular doc was on vacation this week, so my 40 week appointment was scheduled on Thursday with the midwife, Lori.  I presented at 5 cms dilated, 75-80% effaced with a bulging bag of water.  Baby was still at a -3 station.  My doc was going to require me to be induced on Wednesday, 5 days past my due date but I opted to schedule the induction for Monday morning instead.  I’d done just about everything I could think of to encourage C to come on her own and felt that if she hadn’t made her appearance by Monday, waiting until Wednesday wasn’t going to change anything.  So I went home, feeling defeated, like my uterus was broken in some way.  Even Lori couldn’t believe I still hadn’t gone into labor on my own and could offer no explanation as to why.  I did have her do another membrane sweep as my one final effort to encourage labor on its own.

My mother in law had offered to take A for a few hours after her nap which was awesome.  I’d asked the Hubs to come home after my appointment because I was feeling some pretty intense cramping/contractions after my internal exam and membrane sweep.  I wasn’t sure if anything was happening, but I knew I felt off and would be more comfortable/relaxed having him at home.  We were scheduled to meet his family for dinner around 6pm anyways to celebrate Aunt D’s birthday.  I rested, we went for a walk and since it was so pretty outside, headed to Starbucks for a latte.  My patience had been non-existent for several days and dinner was no different.  I’m so thankful for a husband and family members that love my child and step in to help out.  Dinner seemed to take forever and A was getting antsy, but we made it through.  We got home and put A to bed…me reading several books to her and everything.  I was able to fall asleep but woke up around 1ish on Thursday morning.  I just couldn’t seem to sleep so I headed out to the couch with Erika and we watched bad tv together.  Well, she slept, soundly, and I watched bad tv. I headed back to bed around 4 only to awaken around 4:30 to some pretty intense contractions.  The contractions weren’t new, but they were definitely more intense than anything else I’d felt up to that point and were coming at fairly regular intervals…4-5 minutes lasting about 70-90 seconds.  I woke up Hubs and told him I was going to take a shower.  He jumped out of bed and basically ran to the bathroom.  I was like, “What are you doing?”  He thought I told HIM to take a shower.  I find it humourous he jumps out of bed from a dead sleep and follows my command.  Anyways, I took a shower and he starts packing.  Sigh.  I was convinced this would be another false alarm and he was making me antsy by getting so worked up and excited.  After my shower I told him I really wanted to try to sleep so he let me go back to bed.  The contractions were still coming, and still intense, but they were all over the place.  Sometimes 4 minutes apart, sometimes 10.  Some of them I felt in my back, some I felt just tightness and several felt like a sharp pain right in the middle of my abdomen.  By the time A woke up, and I had something else to focus on, they’d pretty much fizzled out and I.WAS.PISSED.  We went for a walk, I tried resting, I tried squats, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom feeling like I had to poop with nothing happening.  And I peed.  A lot.  Constantly.  Monica called from my doctor’s office confirming my induction date and time on Monday and while I had her on the phone I mentioned the early morning contractions I’d been having.  She basically told me to go in if I wanted, it was unlikely they’d send me home.  We made the decision to go ahead and head in.  I wasn’t about to spend the next 3 days completely wiped out from contractions that weren’t going anywhere.  I was done.  Hubs got A all packed (I have no clue how she may be dressed over the next few days) and my mother in law came over to pick her up.  I tried to tell her good-bye, but she was all too excited to go to grandma’s house.  I fought back tears as I hugged my only little girl good-bye for the last time.  We took our time, got a few last minute things packed, picked up a few things around the house, left the dishes and the laundry for my mom and headed out.  I wanted to get my car washed.  Don’t ask me why (it’s storming now, by the way) but it’s something I wanted done.  Then Hubs wanted lunch which was fine with me but I didn’t feel like eating.  Once in the car, I started to have some more contractions but they didn’t seem very intense.  After lunch we headed back home to pick up copies of my Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physician.  I’ve delivered twice before and I knew we needed these things, but STILL managed to forget them.  We finally arrived at the hospital around 2ish only to find a waiting line in Triage.  W.T.F.  First of all, I’ve never experienced Triage before, second of all, a wait?  Really?  I, of course, don’t look like the other people in triage.  One lady is pathetically hanging off a wheelchair and no, she can’t walk to the exam room when she’s asked.  She also has her 5 other kids with her.  The other lady is clearly dealing with some contractions and the 2 small bags they’re carrying make us look like a freak show.  I, on the other hand, am cracking jokes with my husband and we’re both a little bewildered by this whole Triage thing.  Anyways…get checked in only to have the nurse ask us, I sh*t you not, “What we’re here for?”  Now, let me clear up any confusion.  This is L&D Triage.  In the L&D wing.  Lady, I’m pretty sure we’re here because of the whole we think we’re having a baby thing.  I actually told the second nurse that asked me that I’d broken my toe.  That’s why I was there.  I mean really people.  Really.  So I’m hooked up to monitors and I’m actually showing some pretty nice contractions on my own and baby’s heart rate is really high.  I’m checked, still at a 5 and 80% effaced.  They call the doc on-call and to make a long story short, leave it up to me.  I can go home and wait it out, or head to L&D to have my water broken.  After several weeks of doctor’s visits, I knew I was either going to have my water broken for me or end up on a pitocin drip.

I chose to head to L&D.  I get checked in, IV line placed, blood pressure cuff attached.  Pulse ox monitor attached and monitors on my belly.  Damn it!  Here I am, completely attached to the bed and I haven’t even been induced yet!  I was determined though.  I didn’t want to be difficult, especially since my regular doc was out and the on-call doc certainly could have sent me home, but I really didn’t want this experience.  The on-call doc came in, and she was fantastic, as were my nurses.  Seriously, I keep having the best medical care.  She talked to me about my options, knew I wanted a low-intervention birth and was totally cool with it.  We agreed to break my water and let me labor on my own for a few hours.  If I didn’t make enough progress, we’d start a low dose of Pitocin and go from there.  I said great and out came the crochet hook.  This was around 5:30-5:45pm.  LOTS of fluid came out.  And I immediately felt a sense of pressure release.  They wanted me to stay in bed for about 20-30 minutes to give C time to come down a little.  They didn’t want all her fluid coming out.  After about 20 minutes, I was terribly uncomfortable and I needed to get out of the bed.  I paged my nurse to un-hook everything so I could use the bathroom.  Once I was done in the bathroom I found myself swaying with each contraction.  The idea of getting back into bed was appalling.  My nurse said she was going to check if we could do intermittent monitoring.  Yay!  I didn’t even have to ask for it!  I was free from everything except an IV drip.  And I was contracting.  A lot.  Heavily.  All on my own.  Hubs was watching the contractions on the monitor and I wasn’t getting a break in-between them at all.  It was intense, but I managed.  I had discussed my pain-relief options with my nurse before we broke my water.  I knew I didn’t want narcotics and told her how I wasn’t thrilled with my first delivery because I was so numb and so out of it.  My choice to have this conversation early proved to be a wise move.

My nurse was back at 6:30 to do the monitoring and at that point, I asked for the epidural.  May I just say, Hubs was awesome at talking me through each contraction.  He stroked my back, told me what a rock star I was.  I was able to sway/breath/moan through them but man, it sure did feel like I was being sawed in half.  I also had a towel between my legs and towards the end honestly couldn’t tell if I was peeing on it or if it was fluid leaking out.  Not sure I really cared.  It took a few minutes to get a read on the baby but once she got the information she needed, off the nurse went to find the anesthesiologist.  Not sure how long she was gone, not long, but it kind of felt like forever.  The anesthesiologist already knew my concerns and what I wanted when he walked in the room thanks to my earlier conversation with my nurse and it took him 7 minutes (from the time he walked in the door) to place my epidural.  Took a few minutes to start working but I was finally able to converse a few minutes after it was placed.  It was great, I still felt pressure, could move my legs and toes, but the intense pain wasn’t there.  It was about 7, our new nurse had just shown up (turns out, she was one of the nurses when I delivered A…how cool is that?) and she was getting briefed on our chart.  She checked me…holy crap, I was at 9 cms and 0 station.  People, I went from 5 and -3 to 9 and 0 in under 2 hours.  Without drugs.  No wonder it felt like she was going to cut me in half.  I got in bed and was finally able to relax a bit.  Hubs and I were supposed to get some rest, but we were both so shocked I’d progressed so quickly and that I’d made it that far unmedicated!  I was feeling a lot of pressure/pain in the back of my legs but I was hesitant to get any more meds as I didn’t want to be loopy, so I decided against pressing the little button for more drugs.  Then the shaking started.  It didn’t take long for our nurse to come in stating the monitors we’re showing signs the baby needed to be checked.  Sure enough, I was at 10 and a +1.  Doc was called and I was put into a froggy-type position to help bring C down even further.  Our nurse left to get everything needed for delivery and I asked for a mirror.  I sprung this one on the Hubs.  I wanted to see but didn’t really want to discuss with him how he felt.  I started pushing at 9pm.  Baby C arrived 13 minutes later and I was totally able to feel all the pressure I needed to push with each contraction.  I think I had maybe 6 contractions and she was out?  It was so amazing to watch her come out, to be aware of the feeling of her crowning and exiting my body.  The only people in our room were the doctor and 2 nurses.  It was calm, dim, quiet and absolutely amazing.  I was able to push myself up and watch as the doc suctioned her, clamped her cord and had Hubs cut the cord.  Then she was placed directly on my chest where she proceeded to not make a peep.  She just snuggled.  Kept her eyes closed.  I had a 2nd degree tear and required some stitching, but it was all done while the Hubs and I peered at this amazing new gift on my chest.  The doc seemed to take her time getting the placenta out and took her time on the stitches, which I apppreciate.  If you’re counting, my water was broken about 5:45 and she was born at 9:13.  Yes…it would seem subsequent labors move along much more quickly.  I held onto her for what seemed like forever, and finally relinquished her to the nurse to weigh her and clean her up a bit.  (I had to laugh at my nurse that wanted to clarify that I initially wanted C placed directly on my chest after she was born, goo and all.  Those were the words she used…lol.  But yes, I wanted her, goo and all, right away.)  So after she was weighed and cleaned up a bit, she was brought back to me and I nursed her.  She latched on right away and Hubs snapped a picture of it.  I love that picture, it shows me, looking like I actually have a clue as to what’s going on this time around.  Much different than with A when I look completely bewildered in most of those early photos.  As much complaining as I did about C not coming early, I will take the 40+ weeker any day.  She’s much bigger and stronger which has made nursing her a breeze.  She also just seems happier and more content, probably because she got to cook long enough.  Or maybe because my life is so different now compared to when I was pregnant with A.

My recovery has been amazing.  In a way, I feel that it has taken me slightly longer to heal, probably due to her size, but I’ve been much more comfortable than I was after having A.  I’ve also been a thousand times better emotionally.  So much so that it has me thinking I was probably dealing with some post-partum depression after having A and just didn’t know it.  I’ve only had a few crying episodes and I generally feel like myself.  C’s calm disposition has carried over from the hospital.  She’s a generally happy and calm baby.  She’s a pretty good sleeper too, so long as a good chunk of the night is spent with her in my lap while I sleep in the recliner.  We’ve been thrilled with A’s response to her new sister.  She was smitten in the hospital and seems to be adjusting well.  The biggest issue isn’t so much the baby as it is my time that is now heavily devoted to C.  Things overall are going well though.  I’m sure we’ll hit some speedbumps along the way, but so far so good.

Hubs went back to work on Monday, he’d taken 2 weeks off which was great family time.  He leaves town tomorrow.  I’m sad about it.  We had some stuff happen during the past 2 weeks, that I’ll no doubt write about at some point, and, well, let’s just say that nobody in this family wants him traveling.  I was on my own yesterday, managed to take both girls to the bank and grocery store.  And survived.  Then again this morning I was on my own to get everyone up, ready, dressed and out the door to drop A off at preschool.  Then, it being Tuesday and all, C and I headed to Target.  Since Hubs is headed out of town, my mom is coming to stay with me for a few days.  I’m actually looking forward to it.  Not only will the help be nice, but it will be nice to spend time with my mom that is longer than a few hours one evening after work.  Plus, she’ll most likely handle all the meals, do some laundry and insist I rest when I can.

38 plus 1

Well, I’m officially the most pregnant I’ve ever been.  I delivered A at 38 weeks exactly and today marks 38 weeks and 1 day of this pregnancy.  The past few days I’ve been feeling quite a few contractions and I’ve been fairly nauseated also.  I figured my body was prepping itself for labor and even went as far as telling my Hubs I was calling my symptoms early labor…that could last for a few hours or for many, many days.  My doctor’s appointment yesterday confirmed my thoughts as I’m 2-3 cms dilated, about 70% effaced and Baby C has started to scoot downwards.  Based on my conversation with my doc yesterday, I’m a walking time bomb.  I could truly go into labor at any time.  I have visions of my water breaking in public and I’ve decided to avoid upholstered furniture whenever possible.  However, she did start talking induction next Friday at 39 weeks.  Apparently she’s going to be out of town the week of Spring Break so if I don’t go into labor on my own before then, she’s more than happy to induce me early Friday, break my water around 8am and most likely have a baby before 5pm.  These are her words.  She also said she wouldn’t even consider it an induction at this point and more of an augmentation since I’m already in the early stages of labor.  I really don’t want an induction for purely convenience sake (I don’t have a problem with it at all, I was just hoping for a different experience this time around), but at the same time, I’m not entirely thrilled about not having my doctor there.  I trust her.  If everything goes according to plan, I won’t really need the doctor to do anything but catch the baby on the way out, but what if something happens?  I know she fully trusts her partners, and I’m even able to request another doctor or her midwife (I’ve already decided on the midwife) but I dunno.  We’re taking the weekend to talk and think about it.  I called back after leaving my appointment yesterday and spoke to sweet, calm Monica because I forgot to ask about a membrane sweep while I was there.  She agreed it was worth a shot so I’m scheduled for one on Tuesday morning with the midwife.  This works out well because it’s low intervention; it’s only going to work if my body is ready.  If it’s going to send me into labor, it will most likely happen within 24 hours which allows me to still deliver with my doc.  If it doesn’t, it still gives me time to get on the schedule for an induction on Friday.  Also, if we decided against the induction, I’ve been able to see the midwife again (her name is Lori) so she’ll know I’ve asked for her to deliver Baby C and we can chat a little about my plans.  I figure it’s worth a shot and Monica says Lori is REALLY good at membrane sweeps.  How’s that for something to add to your resume?

It’s supposed to be beautiful here this weekend and we’ll spend the weekend doing yard work and getting some last minute housework done.  I assume the Hubs and I will try to find some time to get jiggy with it too, since my doc swears that’s really the only “at home” remedy to help with labor.  I suppose I should also pack my hospital bag, which I STILL haven’t done.  Hubs DID get the actual bag out for me last night though, so we’re making progress.  Maggie has her annual checkup this morning and I think that’s the last errand on my list of stuff to do before Baby C gets here.  I don’t exactly know where my list is…I actually have several going at once.  She’s been coughing some so I’m slightly on edge about getting bad news, but she was coughing last year too, and it turned out to be allergies.  I’m crossing all my crossables that A is in a better mood today.  She’s been a force to be reckoned with this week and I really hate the thought of having to leave her suddenly for a few days to have a baby while she and I aren’t getting along.  I’m thinking she’ll probably get booted outside with the dogs for the majority of the day so hopefully it will be good for her soul.  And now, I think it’s time for a cup of coffee on the patio.

XOXO,

B