Motherhood Right Now...

A few days ago, I was in one of the many valleys that exist on this journey.  The day-to-day-to-day was getting to me.  I was sleep deprived from my normally-great sleepers having abnormally awful nights.  Things that cause me occasional frustration felt like they never truly change or go away (and they often don't. ha!).  So, yesterday was a Groundhog Day reset button kind of day. 

I canceled school (I can do that because I'mthemom!), kept everyone home, had them do homework worksheets, fold their laundry, and then we were off to pick up GG and go for a pizza picnic at their most favorite park (the "farm" park!).  We had a great time, went and visited my aunt, and capped off the day with cake and ice cream. (Happy birthday to my grandma!)  It was precisely the kind of hump day breather we all needed.

It's sometimes still very surreal that I'm the mother of (and responsible for!) four little children!  My biggest focus right now is trying to stay sane (and trying not to yell all the time), and trying to understand each of these little people for who they are and celebrating each of them in their uniqueness.  I have a lot of work to do.

L was born and M was off and the adjustment was easy.  Turns out the adjustment was just delayed for when he returned to work.  So, I was hit with it when L was 4.5 months old, instead of at birth.  I'm only sort of just now getting used to it.  I knew having R and L would be like having two babies in many ways, but one truth of life is that Knowing and Doing are often completely different beasts.

I often feel like I could be Superwoman and get All The Things done if I didn't have to stop "what I am doing" and change diapers, pump, feed people, put people down for naps, etc.  All my small progress is punctuated on either side by long, stationary periods of such small (but important) mundanities. And the real truth of it is that "what I am doing" is all the small mundanities, not all the other "stuff I need to do". 

It's a blessing to even be in a position to feel that frustration. I remember too well when I worked full time and used to cry because I missed C so badly and wanted to be home with him.  So, I try really hard not to be in too much of a hurry to have all the "free time" to go running or go to yoga or take up painting or read a book or take a daily shower... I see my friends who've come through it a little bit and are gaining some independence back.  I know there's light at the end of this long tunnel. 

But there is also a bittersweetness to the fact that they HAVE to grow up.  Because the thing is, this baby/little kid stage is often so exquisite in its smallness and loveliness: cuddling, kissing and rocking the baby to sleep, or hearing the ever-increasing language of the toddler (and melting every time her sweet voice calls me "mommy"), or talking the preschooler through fears of bad dreams or of the house swallowing him up or flying off into space, or trying to help the first grader express his feelings (and ideas) in ways that are healthy and helpful and remembering that he needs more hugs than anyone.

But, the other side of that coin is that the sheer physicality of this phase is an unsustainable condition.  With the sweet comes the bitter...

But the sweet is pretty awesome.



L @ 2 months

L is now 2 months old! She’s such a calm and easy baby (so far).

Easter baby
trying to sit up
a hug from big sister
pretty baby
lately, she's just Done with laying down!
She survived her second road trip and did really well on the trip, just like she did on the first.

second road trip, first hotel stay
those dimples slay me!
We see this smile a LOT!  Seriously, though - what baby smiles at you as you're sucking boogies out of their nose!?!?
first sink bath!
second hike
At her two-month wellness visit, she was 24 inches long (90th percentile) and 12 lbs. 13 oz. (85th percentile). She spits up quite a bit sometimes, but we don’t think it's much of a problem right now. She’s generally really content, and is growing really well.

As I’ve been suspecting, our pediatrician picked up on some tightness on the left side of her neck, which means she favors looking to the right. It’s a mild case of torticollis that the ped thinks will resolve pretty quickly if we encourage her to look to the left and do some stretching exercises. (In other words, nothing like R’s more severe case!) Still, Miss L might be due for a movement lesson pretty soon!

She’s starting to want to be entertained more often, but mostly likes to “talk” to whomever will listen and smile profusely at whomever passes by. She sleeps pretty well and is just generally a very unassuming, undemanding, happy baby! We love you L!



L's Birth Story

Date of Birth: 2/2/16
Original Due Date: 2/1/16
Weeks Pregnant: 40+1 (adjusted)
Baby's Weight: 8 lbs. 12 oz.
Baby's Length: 21 in.

My pregnancy felt like it was never going to end!  My original due date was 1/27, but was adjusted to 2/1 based on ovulation date and early ultrasound dating.  So, it was technically the longest I had ever been pregnant!

On the first, my adjusted due date, I saw my midwife and she stripped my membranes, saying the last two women she had done it for had gone into labor.  I was 2.5 cm already (first cervical check of my pregnancy!) but my cervix was still posterior, so it was anyone's guess whether it would work.

I came home, stayed active doing stuff around the house, sat on an exercise ball and squatted and bent over a lot, but had nothing other than some random cramping and spotting.  I went to bed with nothing going on and convinced I would still be trying to go into labor all of Tuesday. 

Instead, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with contractions that I had to breathe through.  After several of them, I decided to start timing them.  They were 5-1-1 while I was laying down, but I was still afraid that they would stop once I got up and started moving around.

Around 6:15, I woke Michel up and told him that I was in labor and that I was going to get things ready and see if the contractions continued.  I asked him to call his parents to come and stay with our children, but that it probably wasn't a hurry.  I finished packing my hospital bag (ha!) and kept timing contractions.  The contractions went to 3 minutes apart.  Then 2.5 minutes.  I was telling my husband through the bathroom door that we had to get going SOON!

His parents arrived at 7:15 to stay with our sleeping kids, and my husband had little sense of urgency.  My contractions were about 2 minutes apart and we had a 30 minute drive to the hospital.  I told him we had to GO NOW!  He drove with me facing backward in the passenger seat, gripping the back of the seat and hunching over as much as I could.

We arrived at the hospital and I couldn't walk more than about 100 feet without having to stop and lean over for a contraction.  I found myself scanning for something to lean on.  I felt things change and felt myself go into transition near the cafeteria.

All told, I had about 8 contractions between the parking lot and the elevator.  It took everything I had to change into their gown.  By then, I had a ton of bloody show dripping down my legs, and a ton of pressure on my butt.  They asked me to sit on a bed to be monitored and I asked if I could get in ANY other position.

The nurse dispensed with all other preliminaries and said "let me check you".  I was 8cm.  All my sentences were one-word commands by then.  I remember saying "pressure! pressure! pressure!" and moaning/yelling and gripping my husband's shirt as she was trying to place the IV and as contractions and pressure got worse.  I said "antibiotics!" and she said they'd start a bag of fluids and antibiotics, but said she was going to go get my midwife first.  She then came back and checked me again.  I was complete.

I was also in my body but not completely consciously in the room.  Suddenly, there was no time for fluids or antibiotics or anything else.  I then realized what I already knew: I would NOT be getting an epidural.  There was a rush and nurses and my midwife were suddenly wheeling my bed down the halls. I was aware of voices only, had no idea who was who, and could not open my eyes much for faces.  I do remember they were so chipper!  And I was in so much pain!

They asked me to transition beds, like it was no big deal, and I made it as far as getting on my left side and scooting toward the bed.  Thank god for the male nurse/angel who said "give her a minute!" as I worked through a contraction and tons of pressure and then told me "get on your hands and knees," which is the ONLY way I was getting in that bed!

Once I got in the bed on my hands and knees, the pressure sort of eased and I wanted to stay in that place for a bit, and to just feel a little more relief from the constant pain/pressure I had been feeling.  But the nurses were telling me I needed to push!  One nurse said "she'll have this baby out in two contractions" and I was so hopeful she was right that I started to push.  But, I felt more pressure and the "ring of fire" as baby's head descended. I was so scared and it hurt so badly, and at that moment I had to give myself a mental shove: "you're the ONLY one who can do this! you HAVE TO do this! you HAVE TO push! it's the only way this ends!"

So, I screamed and pushed as hard as I could.  As I did, my water broke and I remember being vaguely grateful it had not broken earlier.  I pushed maybe three times (HARDEST thing I've ever done!) and she was born.  They handed her to me through my legs, and I put her on my own tummy as I flipped onto my back.  I handed a nurse my still-undone gown and she said "ok! we're going naked!" as my midwife helped monitor my contractions and birthing of the placenta.

Once I had the placenta out, I felt even better.  I had a few stitches for tearing, and then got several hours just loving on my baby skin to skin (while they asked all the admit questions we didn't have time for before).  Baby L didn't ever cry.  Her first sound was "Lah!" - like a little song - and she was so quiet and content (until she was hungry.  ha!).

Her labor and birth was crazy, intense and I'm so glad it wasn't any longer than it was.  After a spontaneous, medicated labor, an induced, medicated labor, a section, and now a unmedicated VBAC, I can now say I have birthed in every way I know to be possible!  Each of my children have definitely written their very own birth story, and this is L's.

Sweet baby L is the most easy-going baby!  She's content to sleep, eat, and smile a lot.  She basically only cries or fusses when she's hungry and sometimes when her diapers needs changing.  She's starting to coo and "talk".  And smile a lot.  (Seriously, this baby smiles all the time!)  We love her so very much!

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury