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.

Love this face

She’s so sweet, so precious and such a good baby. Plus, she has such an adorable face. I never want to forget her at this age. I wish I could capture every face she makes, every look, every smile, every grin, every throaty laugh or giggle, every precious moment I look down and catch her staring back at me with wonderment or a smile. She adores me and I adore her.


Mother’s Day, It’s Bittersweet

As Sunday approaches, I find myself dealing with some uncomfortable feelings.  It took me a few days to establish exactly what I was feeling.  I’ve been continually surprised at the fall-out from losing the twins.  So many things have affected me in ways that have caught me off guard; or surprised me.  My feelings regarding Mother’s Day are no different.  Last years’ Mother’s Day was rough.  Pretty easy for anyone to understand why.  While A was here and healthy, I was less than 2 months out from having lost and delivered the twins and I wasn’t yet pregnant with Baby C.  I don’t remember it.  I don’t know what we did or if I received a gift of any kind.  I’m sure I spent a good chunk of the day in an alcohol-induced daze.  I do remember spending time with the twins, looking at their pictures and holding their ashes telling them I loved them and missed them.  It was important for me to spend time with ALL my children that day.

As this Mother’s Day get closer I’m surprised to find myself feeling a slight sense of dread.  Feeling that I wish we could simply gloss over the day.  Feeling that I want to wake up and it’s magically Monday morning instead of Sunday.  Feeling that it would just be best if everyone around me simply forgot it was Mother’s Day and we could go through the day like it was a normal Sunday.  I’d even be ok celebrating my own mother but avoiding the fact that I’m a mother.  I feel bad, on one hand, because I never want it to seem like A and Baby C aren’t enough for me, but Mother’s Day is just a vividly staunch reminder that I am a mother to 2 little girls I will never know in this life.  If I can’t celebrate being a mother to ALL my children, I’m not sure I want to celebrate it at all.  I dunno, I still haven’t reconciled my feelings.  I just know I’m not looking forward to Sunday.  Not looking forward to being reminded of what I don’t have and not looking forward to having to force a happy face because my 2 living children are too young to understand why Mommy’s upset.  I feel pulled in 2 different directions on Mother’s Day.  On one hand I want to celebrate being a mom to the 2 happy, healthy children I do have.  On the other hand, I want to weep for the 2 babies I don’t have.  On a day I should be celebrating getting to be a mom (a gift I know many people aren’t so lucky to have), I’m broken-hearted by the sense of loss I still feel.  It’s difficult for those around me, too, I’m sure.  The Hubs tends to follow my lead.  He’d throw me a party if that’s what I wanted.  Instead, I told him I wanted to take pictures with A and Baby C and I wanted to take a nap.  My mother-in-law brought me flowers, which was sweet, but I often feel she and my father-in-law have completely forgotten the twins ever existed.  My mom, on the other hand, will most likely call me with a cautionary tone in her voice to make sure I’m doing ok, but expecting I’m not.  None of it is ok.  It’s not ok that I don’t want to celebrate, or be celebrated.  It’s not ok I’ll spend the day feeling highly emotional and weepy; with the sadness outweighing the joy.  It’s not ok that my in-laws never mention the twins.  And it’s not ok that my mom calls expecting drama.  But it is what it is.  It’s another example of how we’re continually learning to live in a new normal.

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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I got Photoshop Elements for Christmas. Until now, I’ve managed to load it on my computer and that’s it. Yesterday, I finally figured out how to add a watermark to photos (a process so simple it should have taken me 5 minutes to figure out but instead took several hours thanks to the 2 littles). I also found some free actions from MCP Actions and I’m in the process of trying to download them and install them into Photoshop. Trouble is, this takes time. There are instructions to follow and since I have NO CLUE what I’m doing, I kind of need to focus. Wich is impossible since my life is lived in 5-10 minute segments these days. There is a very fine line between caring for and devoting yourself to your children/family and still taking time for yourself. Sigh. Frustrating evening last night and it’s still with me this morning. Having 2 kids is fun, but it’s not for wussies.

I miss blogging.

And I also know nothing lasts forever, so I’m trying to remember that my new baby is only 6 weeks old and the fact that I can’t nail down tons of time each day to blog is really ok.  But I do miss it.  I miss being able to put my thoughts down, to work out what’s on my mind.  Honestly though, there really hasn’t been any new developments as of late, but I’ve got some great pictures I need to share!

Baby C continues to be a generally happy and easy baby.  I can now see why people think babies are adorable, tiny little packages of squishy fun.  She sleeps pretty well, and has lately been stretching her feedings out to around 4 hour stretches.  When she does eat, it’s usually for about 15-20 minutes.  We’ll have the occasional 45 minute nursing session, but they’re so rare I don’t complain.  She’s SOOOOO different from  A.  I was still a wreck at this point with A and right now I’m sitting in bed on Hubs’ laptop while Baby C kicks around happily talking to herself and me in the pack-n-play next to me.  She makes it seem so easy.  Seriously.

A is taking a very rare after preschool nap right now.  She fell asleep on the way home and I just stuck her in bed; I try not to let her nap this late in the day but she’s staying the night with her grandparents so I don’t have to put her to bed tonight.  Hehe.

My 6 week post-partum check-up is tomorrow which means I’ll (almost) be officially done with this pregnancy.  Aside from an appt. to have my IUD put in and a follow-up from that, I should be in the clear for at least another year.  I’m thrilled.  I’ve had enough of my OB’s office for a while.  Not that I don’t love her and her staff, but between the twins and trying to get C here safely, I’ve spent a crazy amount of time in her office.  It will feel great to be “free” so to speak.  6 weeks post-partum also means I’ll be cleared for exercise, so, I suppose I should come up with something along those lines.  I assume I’ll run.  It’s free, and can fit into my schedule whenever.  We canceled our gym membership long ago since neither of us really used it and now isn’t the time to be taking on additional expenses.  Pregnancy is nice to me…I don’t gain much weight.  Breastfeeding is even nicer to me, as I drop a lot of weight quickly.  In order to keep it off though I either have to give up the booze (NOT HAPPENING) or exercise.  So, exercise it will be.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Probably.  The Hubs is thrilled for my 6 week check-up for, er, other reasons.  Because we have all this spare, alone time these days…

The Hubs celebrated his 31st birthday this weekend.  He wanted to spend the day in College Station as the football team was having their annual, open-to-the-public scrimmage.  I thought it sounded crazy, but agreed and we had a great time.  Both girls were great, A had a wonderful time at the game and running on the field afterwards and C was a super baby.  We also decided, for sure, that Hubs is quitting his job to try his side business on a full-time basis.  Right now, for insurance purposes, we’re planning for him to turn in his resignation on June 1, which also happens to be our 10 year anniversary.  Happy anniversary to us.  This whole decision is a huge step of faith (think the Indiana Jones movie where he steps out over the cliff only to set foot on a bridge that wasn’t visible) but I think think it’s the right one.  Please, oh please, let there be a bridge.  Just having him home, not traveling, will be awesome.  And I’m so proud of him and so glad that we have the opportunity for him to try this.  I’m really hoping we’re headed down the road we’re supposed to be on.  In order to stretch our savings as far as it will go, it will mean a change in life style (not that we currently live a super glamorous life or anything) for a temporary period, which has me a little wigged out, but oh well.  I’m really hoping it proves to be worth the sacrifice.

I promise to try to blog more regularly.  And I promise to be back soon with some new pictures to share!

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:


How fast can we run?

Pursue your passions; chase your dreams.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, or you just found me and have taken some time to read through my past posts, you know that my husband and I have been on quite the journey over the last 12ish months.  I assume we’ve actually been on the journey much longer than that, being prepared for this time, but it feels like we were just brought into the loop, so to speak, only recently.  Baby C will be 1 month old tomorrow.  To say the last 4 weeks have been busy would be an understatement.  Much has happened and we’re getting ready to make some big changes.

Long story short, the Hubs’ current employer and he are not seeing eye to eye.  They haven’t been seeing eye to eye for quite some time, but it only recently got to a breaking point.  While not trying to hide or conceal his side business, he didn’t go around his current employer’s work place promoting it…that would have been in clear conflict with his current position.  His manager stumbled upon his site, and it has been an uphill battle ever since.  She’s a control freak and decided what he was doing on the side was an “obvious” conflict of interest and clearly he should have obtained prior approval before delving into such an endeavour.  I could go on and on about the absurdities that have transpired over the last few weeks, the poor handling of the whole thing and the ridiculousness that is his manager, but that isn’t the point of this post.  The truth is, for a few days, where we truly thought the Hubs was going to be fired for violating company policy, we were a little freaked.  I should probably mention this all unfolded on 3/22.  We were supposed to hear back from his manager and a decision from HR on 3/23 (the anniversary of the day we lost the twins).  We didn’t hear anything and got to sit and think about everything and come up with every possible outcome on 3/24 and 3/25 (the anniversary of their births).  This is all smack-dab in the middle of the 2 weeks he was SUPPOSED to be on vacation/paternity leave.  The timing of this whole ordeal is nothing short of poetic.  We received the decision from the ethics department yesterday, which was totally in our favor.  His side company is in no way a conflict of interest.  There was no reason for him to get approval from his manager and they’ve noted it in his permanent file so it will never have to be discussed again.  His website, that he had taken down a few weeks ago until this was resolved, was put back up last night.  As I write, he’s only moments away from a conference call his manager scheduled this morning to discuss the decision from the Ethics department.  No idea what she wants or how this conversation will end.

We’ve had a lot of time to think and to process over the last few weeks.  Emotions have been running high and we’ve talked ad nauseam about all the possibilities that lie ahead.  The timing is too impossible to ignore.  A year ago we lost the twins.  Almost a year ago the idea for his company started forming.  Last summer the idea for his company, and where we wanted to take our lives was solidified when we went on vacation.  It’s all documented here in my blog and we’re both a little ashamed to admit we haven’t really done much to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.  The truth is, there is no way Hubs can start a business part-time in his current role.  He’s given it a good effort, but with his travel schedule, he flat-out doesn’t have the time it would take to get his business up and running on a part-time basis.  His dream has been, since childhood, to own his own business.  We’ve been able to spend the last few weeks considering a life style that didn’t include Hubs being gone 3 weeks out of the month.  A life style that included flexibility and the ability to work from home, or Starbucks, or Barnes and Noble.  A life style that allowed Hubs to be present, to make up for lost time in a way.  At the beginning of this whole ordeal, his boss suggested it was probably good he was already on vacation so he could take some time to think about what he really wanted.  That suggestion probably isn’t going to work out in her favor.  She’s called his integrity and commitment into question multiple times over the last few weeks…and he’s just not the type of guy to put up with that; and he shouldn’t have to.

The truth is, we’re currently in a financial position to allow Hubs to quit his job and take a stab at his company on a full-time basis for several months.  And while we have a substantial savings, the idea of him giving up his salary when I don’t work and we have 2 young kids still doesn’t feel like a good choice.  But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice.  In fact, a lot of times, the right decision is the most difficult road to walk.  The decision to leave his current employer has already been made, it’s just a matter of when.  This whole thing has been handled so poorly, and he’s been treated very poorly by his manager with regard to this situation.  It’s not a job he’s willing to stay at when the demands (travel, hours, etc.) are so high.  We’re trying to tie up a few loose ends before he walks away.  The decision of what to do after that is still up in the air.  The options are endless, really, but all boil down to whether or not he looks for another full-time gig or gives his business a go on a full-time basis and see where we end up in a few months.

We’re viewing this as an opportunity.  We’ve been given the opportunity to look at our options and see that yes, he can walk away from his current job and we’ll be ok for “x” amount of time.  We’ve been given the opportunity to think about what could be.  It’s not some far-off dream at this point, but more of an attainable reality.  So.  Are we willing to take the plunge?  Are we willing to take that step of faith?  How fast can we run to chase our dreams?

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.