October 10, 2014

Sometimes the days just move by too fast .. I love watching your individuality  develop .. You crawl away and explore then scurry back, burying your head in my leg at every foreign (or loud) noise. After a while, you crawl right into my lap to reconnect in a much more permanent way. It means that you're done exploring and you need the permanent comfort of my arms. Sometimes you need more arms than freedom and sometimes it's the opposite. But you always come back. It's strange for me to have an individual at this age .. One that will go off to explore on her own .. But I love watching the world through your eyes .. My arms will always be here. 

August 25, 2014

Some Days

I posted this the other day on Facebook :

"Some days are just days .. some days we struggle to connect .. some days we need a pause ..

Today we tried something new .. we sat in front of each other .. held hands .. took two deep breaths .. told each other we loved the other .. and asked for one thing that would make the day better.

Mine was that she try hard to listen to me .. she only said she wanted (more of) me ..

Taking a moment to refocus .. to center ourselves .. to really HEAR each other got us through our day. It wasn't all pretty and without drama but in the end I knew what she needed and it helped me be a better mama today .. Small victories"

I want to expand upon that .. Some days are every day .. pictures don't do some days justice .. they only show the "Facebook" version of events ..

Some times that version is the only version you want to remember .. but that will quickly make your every day not enough .. 

Some days you put them both in the car and drive for an hour (or two) because they need the sleep and you need the quiet

Some days you wake up and the first words you hear are 'I love you, mama'

Some days you sit in the middle of the kitchen floor to nurse a baby to sleep because you're in the middle of making dinner and teething babies don't wait

Some days you have pillow fights and laugh until you all hiccup (and then you laugh at that)

Some days you spend hours parked in the car playing I Spy and taking turns drawing doodles on your phone because that's what it takes to get quiet time together

Some days are magical

Some days are not

Some days are every day .. all wrapped up into one .. let them both wash over you and know that soon, you will find yourself in another some day .. soon ..

June 13, 2014

Baby E's Birth Story

I started this draft only days after our family had expanded by one .. now, six months later, my version of the story hasn't really changed but it's 'softened'.. the words seem so hard .. so crisp and definite on the page .. my story has a different feeling to it .. not so hard .. and certainly, not as black and white as it seems .. but, all that being said .. here it is .. for what it is .. 


While it's fresh in my mind ..

In the weeks and months waiting for baby E to come (yeah, we're going to start that early) .. I read up on hypnobirthing, reviewed my Bradley classes and read most of Birthing from Within .. I was determined to have a natural labor again but, I truly had no way of knowing what that would be like for me this time around.  I kept asking myself what of my prior story was the pitocin and what was my labor process.  Because I had been induced, I wasn't even sure what my timing would be (not that its any indicator) .. so there was certainly a whole heaping LOT of anxiety.  But anxiety wasn't really the right word .. I was aware and worried .. but this baby was all peace from the get-go .. so, it may have looked different from the outside but it sure felt like I was just rolling with it  .. Now, back to the story at hand .. I had all the bags packed (one labor bag with enough snacks for an army and one after labor bag with clothes, cleanup and baby goodies).  Both bags had been hanging in the car for a while .. along with some extra towels and an emergency home birth kit (see my last birth story) ..

I spent a large portion of the morning (11/30) updating and reloading our iPod with an updated labor mix, a lullaby mix and a welcome baby mix for the Birth Center .. much to the annoyance of the Capt'n .. who, as it turned out, enjoys spending Saturday mornings with me .. who knew?! My mom was here, settled in, the most recent renovation to the house (main level bathroom) was finally complete .. we had even discussed with our 2.5 year old lil T what was going to happen when we left to 'get the baby out of my belly' .. Right down to where to go if we weren't in our room at night .. We were ready .. and waiting. 

But, let's back up a bit (you thought I was going to cut to the chase, didn't you?) I woke up on the Thursday of thanksgiving at 5:30am with nausea and ummm ... a cleansing of the system .. I had a feeling that I had been put on 48 hours notice that this baby was cooked! (No real turkey/Thanksgiving pun intended).  After recovering from the morning, my mother and Munch helped me pull off hosting thanksgiving dinner .. shortly thereafter the Braxton-Hicks kicked in .. As they would for the next few nights .. I was SURE that it was getting close ..

We went from checking off must haves to checking off the 'would be nice's .. Friday night we went out to the movies .. which led to another round if Braxton-Hicks (neither of my babies like movies .. there dad is going to love this). 

My 48 hour window came and went .. Still no baby .. It wasn't a surprise though .. My due date was that Saturday/Sunday depending on which way you'd calculate. It's not like I was weeks over .. but from the beginning of this pregnancy I knew it would be somewhere around the due date if not early. There was just something that I felt ..

Saturday was spent in a bit of an emotional state (8.5 months pregnant and emotional .. ha!) .. everyone was drained, the toddler hadn't napped and because I was updating aforementioned iPod there was a misunderstanding about timing and errands that needed to be done .. leading the whole household vibe to be off .. so I did what any mom would do to bring the family back together .. I suggested we make our own pizzas and have a family movie night. Score! Happiness was restored (by that and a few heartfelt apologies) .. and the toddler went to bed on time and we curled up to enjoy our night. 

TV still on, I curled up to sleep around 10pm, which had become the usual .. but woke up with one sharp contraction around 11. I checked my phone to see what time it was and dozed back off .. dismissing it as another round of Braxton-Hicks. The same thing happened about 10 minutes later. An then, 10 minutes after that .. and that, my friends was the first contraction I timed.

It was about this time that my husband noticed my stirring and half joked, 'are we having a baby tonight?' .. I told him that I didn't know and I kept timing and trying to sleep .. the contractions were strong and I had to focus through most of them but they weren't the out of control contractions I remembered so I wasn't terribly worried which was completely a shock to me as someone whose biggest 'what if' in this whole birth scenario was whether or not I'd MAKE it to Birth Center.  But, I guess that I still wasn't sure they were real .. until the shaking started. I suddenly just began trembling all over .. like teeth-chattering trembles.  I do that sometimes when I'm anxious or overwhelmed .. or just excited about something (in fact, I'm shaking a little while in type this). The Capt'n tried giving me a blanket but I wasn't cold .. just shaking and chattering from head to toe .. that was when I knew this was real .. but I still wasn't worried .. again, not what I expected .. I was the opposite: confident. 

The contractions themselves were sharp feeling and like super severe PMS cramps .. but nothing I hadn't felt before .. just something to breathe through. They hurt while laying down so I tried sitting. That lasted one contraction before I tried laying again and that was met with a harder contraction. That's when the Capt'n suggested moving to the ball and that's where I spent the remainder of the waves I had at home .. 

At one point the Capt'n was smart enough to ask if we should page the midwife (I knew he would be helpful) ..  I hesitated through another contraction and decided to page her. We went through yet another one or two waves while waiting .. the Capt'n busied himself starting to grab the last minute things we needed and get himself ready. When Andrea called back I was on the ball with my head on our bed. She asked basic questions and then asked if I'd had a contraction while on the phone (yes, but a milder one) .. they weren't consistent in intensity .. but nothing about me is consistent .. well, as I would soon find out, almost nothing. 

During the call Andrea asked how far apart my contractions were .. That's when  it all changed .. and this became read.  I took a moment to look back at the timer .. Counting the first two that I did not time they were 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes, seven minutes, seven minutes, five minutes .. And just getting closer together (and yes, i know I've mentioned too many in the body of story but that's what it felt like .. however, those numbers told a different story).  Andrea and I were still debating (I can't believe I actually hesitated) whether not I should make the drive but everyone was already at the Birth Center because they had delivered another baby just moments before (it's actually exactly where she was when I paged her) .. So, we decided to make the drive in .. Good thing too because this is where, though I was still calm, this sped up a bit and the memories are clear but harder to put into words. 

One contractions at the door while putting on my shoes .. one contraction as I climbed into the jeep (I was actually half in and had to wait for it to pass before I closed the door) and we were off .. Leaving a teenager playing Xbox, my mother waiting anxiously, and our daughter still sleeping. It was just about midnight .. December 1.. On our due date. 

The drive was about 15 minutes .. And I had contractions and joked the entire time. At one point I remember telling the Capt'n (as we passed 10th Street .. that part was very vivid) that if we were going to do this again remind me to adopt next time .. it was funny .. what can I say. They were strong, and took my breath away, but I found that it was nothing that I couldn't focus through.

We arrived at the Birth Center and I remember it being foggy and misting. They let us in the back door and I proceeded to have a contraction leaning on the wall about 10 feet into the building. That's when the play-by-play started (what can I say .. I'm a communicator). I announced to them that my water just broke. 

After that contraction, I made it about 20 feet farther to the foot of the bed. That's when I dropped to my knees and told them that I had to push. They started pulling clothes off of me and I quickly stopped them, still not yet .. I knew there was time. Somehow I managed to get up on the bed and collapsed. I was no longer timing them as Andrea had told me as soon as I walked in the door that they will take the timing of the contractions.. so I had no idea how close my contractions were.

At one point, shortly after I flopped on the bed .. someone I believe was Andrea recommended that I find another position because the one I had landed and was, "unconventional" and "interesting". Tell me something about me that I don't know.  Somehow I made it up into what I believe is called the Polar Bear.

I was still announcing every contraction .. annnnnd everything else that was happening .. all while cracking jokes. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty intense. The Capt'n and Andrea took turns offering me water .. they asked questions .. they checked the heart-rate on the Doppler .. and I continued the play-by-play.

I remember being offered the tub because it was ready and in my birth plan .. There was no way I was making it across the room at that point. Who am I kidding .. I was lucky to have made it to the bed and sure as anything .. I wasn't moving. I had put in my birth plan initially, that I wanted someone to ask if I wanted catch the baby .. hey, I wasn't sure so I tossed it in ..  I remember asking the Capt'n to pass on that "there is no way I want to catch this baby". 

* I remember a handful of times with a Doppler on my belly telling me that the baby was doing great.

* I remember the ring of fire (that was new .. and oh my goodness .. NOT fun) ..

* I remember explaining that the half contractions were all the baby's fault and calling it a "faker" every now and then .. you know, for a laugh ..

* I remember stopping with the head halfway out and having them (again, gently) suggest I try again .. but waiting for contraction ..

* I remember holding the Captn's hands and biting his arm .. I remember that he never let me go once (awww).

* I remember asking them if there was a position that I needed to be in that would be more "conducive" and being told that I was doing just fine where I was.

* I remember being supported verbally by everyone in the room ( I know that sounds so cliche but it was so true)

I pushed for 40 minutes. 

Once the little was born they had me bring the baby up .. I had a bit of a short cord so it couldn't go too far.  Someone in the room suggested I find out if it was a boy or girl. Now, as further explanation, I am blind as a bat without my glasses on and that is the situation I found myself and at that exact moment .. I looked down and seeing the cord (what I thought was something else) I said it's a boy, I think it's a boy. It was only upon further examination, as suggested by the Capt'n before he sent out the announcement, that we discovered in fact we had just had our second little girl. 

The placenta was born very shortly thereafter. The ladies cleaned me up with only a minor tear (nuchal hand looks cute but .. ahhh .. not so much). The Capt'n and I took the next long while taking in our precious little bundle. She was born looking exactly opposite her sister. Still tall, still chubby, but dark eyes, dark hair and olive skin .. our little buddah baby.

E. T. P.  (baby E .. the mouse) was born right on time .. December 1st at 1:20 AM. At 8 lbs. 7 oz., 20 inches and just 2 hours and 20 minutes of labor (and 45 minutes after we arrived at the Birth Center), she matched her sister almost exactly.

Afterward, Andrea and the assistants had nothing but positive things to say. Things like "you should do this for other people" and "you were made to have babies" and comments on how "peaceful" the birth was. While in it, it didn't feel like any of those things were true .. in retrospect I can see how they would think that. I was confident and in control/out of control at the same time. I can sum it up with something that I told the Midwife before I left .. The process doesn't change much (it sort of is what it is) but the experience itself can change .. and that makes all the difference.

April 25, 2014

You are the calm .. You know .. The one in the middle of the storm .. The eye if the hurricane .. 

Peace and love radiate from your peaceful soul, my little one .. 

You raise your voice with needs so you can be heard over the din .. And once addressed you return the efforts a thousand fold with light .. and smiles. 

You know not yet that you can choose to give this light or keep it to yourself .. You just keep giving .. 

And giving ..

And giving. 

Thank you. 

These days ..

These are the days.. My most favorite of days. 

The days you choose to wear jeans .. the days you fight my attempt to put anything in your hair .. the days when we get to the park & you take off your shoes to run around barefoot .. the days you come back to me with scuffed knees and dirt under your fingernails ..

The days that you choose to wander from me, not too far .. the days you come running back periodically and bury yourself in my arms for a long squeezes .. 

These are my most favorite of days.

The sunshine. 
The wind in your hair. 
The freedom. 

You are my wild child .. 
You are my heart .. 
You are my me. 

April 16, 2014

My girl .. My first .. I know there is so much going in inside you right now .. I wish I could help with it. I'm watching you struggle and it's breaking my heart. You're trying so very hard .. But in the end it's me causing you pain. 

We talk about it a lot ..  The fact that I need to give your sister the same start that I gave you .. But it doesn't help that I'm not there. We reached a point in the last week or two .. You don't want me to touch you .. Because my touch won't comfort. You brush me off whenever you get the chance .. And when you do ask to sit on my lap it's so that you can fidget and steal my phone .. I become merely a tool to keep you awake when you get the least bit sleepy .. 

I know .. 

Well, What do I know? .. 

I know that you don't mean the words you say .. Very straightforward "I don't love you mama" .. 

Oh I also know that there has been a sadness and growing in you .. Maybe it's just a seriousness but it feels like a sadness .. It breaks my heart. 

And I, in trying to save myself from the sting of your words and your looks and your sharp hand pushing me away, dive further into caring for your sister. 

And there we go again..

Around in a circle .. 

The carousel of parenting .. And the carousel of loss .. 

I know that this is a phase .. I know that you are tired from dropping your nap 4 months ago and still not sleeping at night .. I know I correct you all day every day because you can't control your overtired limbs or voice .. I also know that I love you .. so very much .. and I can't wait to be back there again with you .. all hugs and laughter .. just like I remember ..