January 31, 2013

My first week solo

You will have to forgive me over the next few weeks if my posts seem scattered or confusing. See this precious girl?

Yeah, her and her brother have made a pact to destroy me. It's amazing how quickly they have bonded and talked about my destruction. But they have. Don't be fooled by their cuteness. It's a trap. Evil from birth, I tell you, evil from birth.


Sooo.. this week I started my journey as a stay at home mom of two. It is not for the weak of heart. I admire all moms of multiple kids. I mean, truly, this is h-a-r-d. I spend most my day trying to stay awake, cleaning, feeding, changing diapers (how is it that they BOTH poop at the same time?!) and ignoring screams.

The screams alone will make you really think you are slowly going insane. And neither kid wants to reason with you or tell you what's wrong or accommodate your need to pee. Nope. They just want to scream.at.the.same.time.

Not only that but you are stuck. Stuck in your home. Oh, you can take and pick up the oldest from school, but no stores or outings with friends. Why? Because you decided to give birth to your child during the worst flu season in history. So unless you want death to enter your home, you should just stay put and talk to the imaginary friends on the tv or internet or wherever they might show up...

There are good moments. The bonding of siblings is fun to watch even if it is over your downfall. The snuggles are always nice. Nap time is a saving grace invented by God himself to let you pee and eat chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

And I know there are many more good moments to come. Madelyn will turn 3 months. I remember the greatness of 3 months. Then, she'll turn 6 months. And, eventually, Bradley will be 3 and Madelyn 1. I think I will like that time a lot.

In the meantime, I will survive. I will cherish the moments I can. Hide in my closet during those rough ones. And pray a lot. Because I have a feeling that if all three of us are to make it to that 3 and 1 mark, we are going to need a lot of grace from God.

Oh, and if you happen to come and see me at my house one of these evenings, don't run. The zombie apocalypse is not upon us. It's just me after yet another long day with two kids two and under. (What were we thinking?!)

January 25, 2013

Newborn Pictures Sneak Peek

Last Friday, the fun Ladies of Two Chics Photography, Jessica and Shauna, came over to our house to take Madelyn's newborn pictures. To say I was excited would be a true understatement. I love these girls' work. They are all about color, funk, and fun times. Plus, to do what they do, they are amazingly patient and gracious.

To see Bradley's newborn pics, which they also did, click HERE.

Madelyn is not one to be messed with and that's all these ladies do! Ha! Needless to say, it was a long morning of a lot of waiting, but it was totally worth it! These pictures are awesome. I just can't wait to see the rest and get them on our walls!

Aren't those two kids just simply gorgeous?? I die! This one will definitely end up on my wall.

Thank you, Jessica and Shauna, for your amazing talent!

January 24, 2013

Madelyn Bree's Birth Story (Part 3)

Disclaimer: This is a birth story. There are details. Read at your own risk. I am also dividing Miss M's birth story into 3 parts (pre-labor, labor, and post-labor) so that the blog doesn't go on for forever. Below is post-labor.

Madelyn was finally in our arms. We had waited what felt like an eternity, went through a really hard pregnancy plus a really rough year, and in a matter of 2 hours it was over.

One of the cool things about having rough pregnancies is that the minute they are over you feel instantly like a new person. I really think this is why I recover so quickly. Nothing is as bad as the pregnancy itself. I can walk without feeling nauseated. I wake up without having to run to the restroom immediately. I can eat. Oh, can I eat!! I think I drank 5 glasses of juice or water each hour after my delivery and ate a meal for three each time food was offered. It was such a great feeling!

Since Madelyn was born at 4:16 a.m.... wait, did I give the stats for her?? You are going to laugh. Here's how the story goes. After the delivery, Madelyn and I do the skin-to-skin thing for a while and I feed her. Then, her and Jeremy are taken away to get all clean, get her shots, and her stats. At that time the nurse came in and started having me sign all the papers that I should have signed before delivery and asked me all the pre-labor questions. It was quite fun. "Do you want drugs?" "Yes... wait... it's too late isn't it??" Ha! I always like talking to the nurses. They are truly great people to do what they do.

When we got done and I was released to go to the recovery wing, the nurse wheeled me over to where Jeremy was watching Madelyn. This is how our convo went:

Me: Hey, how's she doing?

Jeremy: She's fine now. She really hates being messed with.

Me: Yup. She was that way in the womb too.

Jeremy: Guess how big she was?

Me: I don't know. 8 lbs?

Jeremy (laughing): No, she was 9 lbs 5.6 oz.

Me: NO! You are lying. She was not that big.

Jeremy (still laughing): Yes, she was. You should see her next to these tiny babies.

Me: There's no way! That's soo embarrassing...

Jeremy: Why is that embarrassing?

Me: Because I birthed a month old baby!!

Jeremy: You should be proud. You even did it naturally!

Me: That's what makes it even more embarrassing. I had no clue. I don't want anyone to know.

Jeremy: You are being silly.

Me: I'm just so embarrassed.

So here's the thing. I don't know how Madelyn came out so big. I barely ate the entire pregnancy!! Plus, I didn't measure big during the weekly measurements. It just doesn't make sense. But she's here. And she looks like she's a month old.

And now that Madelyn's out of my belly homegirl likes to eat! Is this a trait of bigger babies?? I really feel like a drink fountain right now. In fact, at her first doctor visit, 5 days after she was born, she actually had GAINED 6 oz. Our pediatrician, who is truly amazing, even laughed because at the hospital he told me that larger babies tend to lose a lot more weight in that first week. Oh, no. Not my girl. She went from a newborn diaper to a size 1 in the span of an hour AT the hospital.

We are thankful that Madelyn is a great baby. She sleeps well, obviously eats well, and has a pretty good temperament. She definitely has a temper, but it usually means that we aren't moving fast enough for her liking. These babies of mine are very demanding.

The hardest part of post-labor was the week after and all the guilt I felt of not being able to give all my attention to Bradley or do things for him that I normally would. He would want to snuggle while I was feeding or want to play while I was trying to get Miss M settled and with every no tears would just stream down my face. Jeremy took him to school for me that first week and I cried because I couldn't take him myself or pick him up. It was a horrible feeling, but as I talked to more women and realized that they, too, had felt this with their second, it healed me knowing that I was completely normal in my messy hormonal ways.

Plus, Bradley really likes "baby". Whenever she cries, he says, "Baby, okay?" or "Mama. check baby!" He gives her kisses and even played doctor with her yesterday. I, also, had to remind myself that this is all temporary. In about 4 months, Miss M will be on a good schedule and we'll be functioning way better as a family. What's 4 months?? Heck, while I was pregnant, we spent 4 months in my bed watching cartoons! We'll be just fine.

January 21, 2013

Madelyn Bree's Birth Story (Part 2)

Disclaimer: This is a birth story. There are details. Read at your own risk. I am also dividing Miss M's birth story into 3 parts (pre-labor, labor, and post-labor) so that the blog doesn't go on for forever. Below is labor.

There I was certain now that Miss M was positioned wrong and refusing or unable to push her own way out. I had tried the exercises my midwife had given me with no success. So I did what any other human being would do and googled for a solution.

I quickly came across a great website called Spinning Babies. And let me tell you. I wish I would have come across this site way earlier in my pregnancy because I would have taken full advantage of some of the exercises that encourage proper baby positions. There was one exercise that particularly caught my eye because it was designed for those who were late and/or labor was stalling. It's called the Side-lying release.

I immediately asked Jeremy to help me with this exercise and just see if it would help. The minute we got done I felt Madelyn move positions within my belly. It was about 10 p.m. Four hours later I was in labor.

Around 2 a.m., I woke up having to pee. That's when I felt my first contraction. I had been having a lot of false labor so I dismissed it as nothing. A few minutes later, another contraction hits and I feel the need to pee again. This continues until around 2:30 p.m. when I wake up Jeremy and ask him to start timing my contractions. The first two were 5 minutes and 42 seconds apart. Then, they were consistently 1 minute 30 seconds apart. At first, we were sure that it was false. But I kept having to pee. And they were starting to get stronger. Jeremy called our midwife for advice, but her phone went to voicemail. Since she wasn't on call that night, I wasn't worried. At that point I knew, we needed to get to the hospital soon

We left our house at 3:30 a.m.

Now, with Bradley, it took us 20 minutes to get to the hospital. This time around, Jeremy was not playing and we got their in 10. I got to OB Assessment where the nurses were rockstars. They had my chart already out, were reading my birth plan to each other, and were basically letting me call the shots. If I was in the middle of a contraction, they backed off until it was over and then stepped in to do their thing. If I had to go to the bathroom, they were like go ahead. About 15 minutes after arriving, they were rolling me back into a delivery room.

Now, I do have to brag a little here only because I am honestly so proud of myself. With B, I had no clue what to expect. I was in shock because he was a fast labor and delivery. I did a lot of yelling from the first contraction to the last to the pushing to after he was born. It was a yell fest. The nurses had to constantly ask me to quiet down and to just breath through it. All I wanted was to yell.

This time, however, I was a champ. I knew what hell felt like and I knew I was not there yet. And so I did not yell. Instead, I breathed and reminded myself that it was almost over and that, unfortunately, it was going to get worst. I only started to yell in the last 15 minutes when I had arrived at my limit for pain tolerance and needed to let out some tension to get her out. It was huge for me.

I was in the delivery room for about 15 minutes when it was time to push Madelyn out. Within 5 minutes, she was in my arms. And, immediately, I was captivated.

The second time around is so different from the first. The first one everything is a haze. I remember bits and pieces, but no details. With Madelyn, I noticed so much more.

For instance, a resident ended up delivering her because she came so fast and the doctor on call couldn't make it on time. With the female resident, came two male residents who were 'observing'. I am 90% certain that they had never seen a natural childbirth because their facial expressions were hilarious! In between contractions, I would try to catch a glimpse of them for a quick laugh.

With B, all the nurses and doctors were very hands on. With Madelyn, they really did let me run the show. They would back off whenever I had a contraction and step forward only in-between or when I was pushing. If I needed something, they ran to make it happen. It wasn't better or worse... just different.

I can say that the second labor and delivery was so much easier than the first. Jeremy and I were more prepared, calmer, and Miss M wasn't playing around when her time came.

January 18, 2013

Madelyn Bree's Birth Story (Part 1)

Disclaimer: This is a birth story. There are details. Read at your own risk. I am also dividing Miss M's birth story into 3 parts (pre-labor, labor, and post-labor) so that the blog doesn't go on for forever. Below is pre-labor.

Guess what?? I am no longer pregnant!!! You probably heard the shouts of joy and tears pouring early Thursday morning. I swear, I felt like I was part of the never-ending pregnancy.

However, she did come and what an entrance she made!

Her birth story started the week before Miss M made her debut. I went to my doctor's appointment as usual only to discover that for the second week in a row I was still stuck at 4 cm and 70% effaced. For those who don't know what this means, basically everything was locked and loaded but refusing to fire. My midwife decided to go ahead and try to induce me in the doctor's office by stripping my membrane. This procedure had worked with Bradley, who was 9 days late, within 48 hours. I just knew that by the weekend we would have a little girl in our arms.

Well, Madelyn and Bradley had other plans. That weekend Bradley came down with a 103 temperature, complaints of his ear hurting, followed by a day of throwing up. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't want to leave B that sick and I didn't want Madelyn coming home to a brother that sick. I am so thankful for a wonderful pediatrician who got B an antibiotic that really helped. Within 48 hours, B was better and I was more comfortable with the thought of leaving him to birth his sister. My mom also came to help and decided to stay until Madelyn came which had to be any minute, right?? No.

That was one long week. I had cleaned my house about a million times, watched everything possible on netflix, went down a list of things to do to induce labor: eggplant, peanut butter parfait, walking, pineapples, crawling, etc., and finally sat down in a huff bored out of my mind. Madelyn had decided that my uterus was a five star resort and she was vacationing until the last possible minute!

I was shocked that I ended up making it to my NEXT doctor's appointment. I was now 9 days late and worried sick I was going to be induced. You see, I'm really nutty and prefer to do labor and delivery without meds. Inducement for us crazy people is never really ideal since it can possibly slow down labor and/or make laboring worst. I knew ultimately it was in God's hand and I could handle whatever needed to be done, but was really hoping Miss M would just come on out!

Well, that doctor's visit didn't go all that well. I was to have a non-stress test to make sure M was moving, active, and had a good heartbeat; a ultrasound to ensure I had enough placenta to keep going to the 14 post due date mark which was the last possible moment she could stay inside; and to meet one more time with my midwife. This visit usually takes an hour and a half. I was there for THREE HOURS. The office was super crowded so I immediately added 30 minutes to that time. Then, come to find out they had screwed up scheduling and I had gotten bumped further back. I added another 30 minutes. THEN, the person before me on the non-stress test couldn't get her baby to move. My sweet Madelyn wouldn't stop moving. This added to my frustration. When I finally got on the test, it had been an hour. I was in a room hooked up to the baby monitor machines alone. Madelyn was moving well. Then, an alarm starts to go off. I have no clue what this alarm means, but no one comes running. In fact, the alarm went off for about 10 minutes before I finally got pissed off enough to go (while still attached to the monitors) and yell at a nurse who had obviously forgotten about me. She came in, said the alarm didn't really mean anything, turned it off, and left. I had been in the room plenty long. (This wasn't my first time doing this.) I was getting quite hungry and even more upset. About 10 minutes later, the ultrasound technician came to check on me. She had been equally upset about the mistake made earlier with scheduling and more frustrated that it took so long for me to get on the non-stress test. The minute she walked into the room I burst into tears. She immediately gave me a hug, unhooked all the monitors, and told me I was done. She, then, proceeded to yell at all the nurses and doctors for not taking better care of me and leaving me for so long. She made sure that within 2 minutes I was with my midwife. I praise Jesus for that sweet, sweet woman.

So there I was with my midwife baffled at why Madelyn refused to come. We had done e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and I was still stuck at 4 cm. We had no choice but to schedule an inducement. She decided to schedule the following Tuesday giving M the weekend to make the decision herself. We, then, continued to talk about what could be going on with my body. She told me that it could be that Madelyn wasn't position correctly and so she was refusing to come out. The midwife suggested some exercises to do if Miss M was indeed posterior. We knew her head was down, but because of her movements our theory was she was sideways.

That afternoon, I went home and did the exercises the midwife had suggested, but nothing happened.

However, the more I thought about our conversation the more it made sense. The more it felt like this was exactly why Madelyn wouldn't come. So I decided to do some more research.

January 3, 2013

Hey there 2013!

Baby update: 
Yeah... there isn't any... So let's move on before I burst into tears or start yelling at my unborn child to hurry her butt up. Such a drama queen that one...


 Jeremy and I sat down on New Year's Day and talked about this coming year. We used Simple Mom's Guide for this. (Isn't she great? Love having tools like this!)

As we talked it became clear that in 2013 we want to be intentional. Intentional in our marriage, intentional in our parenting, intentional with our finances, and intentional in our relationships. It is so easy to get caught up in the boring everyday that we forget we are here for a bigger purpose.  With a new baby on the way, we both are entering this year knowing we are also going to be exhausted for most of the year and want to be intentional with those moments where we can see straight. Bradley is at a great age to start really shepherding him toward Christ. And now that Jeremy and I enter our 6th year of marriage with two little kids, we want to really focus on making time for just us and not forgetting each other because of our lack of sleep. We also have some great goals for investing in those around us and using where God has placed us in this stage of life.

All in all I am really excited about this coming year. I'm excited about fresh starts, goals with action steps, and growing together.WooHoo 2013!

If you could have a word for this year, what would it be??

January 1, 2013

Goodbye 2012

Hello 2013!

Quick update on the baby front: 
We are still sans baby. I think my children are terrified to leave my belly when in actuality they really should be terrified to stay. I mean, I seriously just ate 3 pancakes and I wasn't even that hungry... I also may have accidentally eaten half a pizza for lunch. My sweet husband was the one to notice. Yeah, thanks babe for calling out your large 10 month pregnant wife as if I'm not self-conscience already. You rock.

I'm so uncomfortable. I sit and my body immediately starts to slide down into the seat which means I, then, get stuck and have to have someone come and lift me up. I also have some needy boys in my house who insist on being in my lap. This is getting a little ridiculous as my lap is disappearing. And clothes do not fit at 10 months pregnant. It doesn't matter how big or long you make it, it just doesn't work anymore. I've considered wearing a trash bag. I've also considered just giving up and going naked, but that could get a little awkward...

All in all: I just want this baby out, but, honestly, who doesn't at 40 weeks pregnant??


But enough baby. Let's talk 2012.

Yesterday, Jeremy and I sat down and reflected on the past year. Man... was it a rough one. But it was good for us to look back and talk about what was so hard, how we grew, and what we learned. We used Simple Mom's reflection questionnaire as a guide. I picked some questions out that I thought I'd share with you all.

What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Getting pregnant. Jeremy and I had been trying for a little while, had a miscarriage, decided to take a break and regroup after a few months, and then out of the blue I got knocked up. We realize how fortunate we are that it happened so quickly.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Getting pregnant. Ha! Seriously, my pregnancy knocked us both flat on our face. I went from doing all the house stuff to not being able to get out of the bed for about 4 months. Add in a 15 month old. And Jeremy having to take on it all solo... It was so hard. It was the first time in our marriage that we entered survival mode. 

What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Parker's semi-turnaround. In June, Parker was diagnosed with a liver disease that basically gave him 10 months to live. He was losing weight fast, unable to control his bladder, throwing up constantly and it just wasn't looking good. Now, Parker is like a child to me so there were a few weeks there where all I could do was cry. On top of it, Jeremy and I had to make the hard decision to manage him at home the best we could until it came time to put him down. Managing him with the vets' help was just out of the question because of the cost to do so. What a hard decision! I felt guilty for days. Anyways. Parker was bad. The week before Christmas, Jeremy asked me to call around and find out about the cost to put him down. He'd begun to whimper and pace non-stop and we just knew this was the time. So I called and found a place to do it. I, then, begged Jeremy to let us wait until after Christmas. Well, that week Parker began to eat again.. and not just eat a little, but eat a lot. He was eating double the amount he'd eaten in the past 6 months. He was gaining weight, controlling his bladder, not whimpering... It really was our little Christmas miracle. We are still holding our breath slightly and he still needs to gain about 4 more pounds before we feel great, but it was our unexpected joy.

What was an unexpected obstacle?
Ha! What wasn't?? We had a lot come up this past year that we just weren't prepared for. 

Pick three words to describe this past year.
challenging, exhausting, and sad

With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Jeremy and I are so grateful for the friends and family we have. We were shown so much love, received so many prayers, and had people come and help when we were desperate. From my sister who took on Bradley for a good four months while I struggled to stand to Jeremy's mom who came up to do our laundry, clean, and cook to friends who brought meals and sat with me to my dad who'd come and help Jeremy with house projects to my other sister who put together our entire nursery. We are just so blessed that so many of you love on us and care.  Even today, I got a text from a friend who is simply praying Madelyn comes today. What a huge blessing!

What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
My biggest personal change was learning to let things go. I enjoy being organized and in control of my surroundings. I am at peace when things are in place, done, and functioning well. The minute I got pregnant, I had to get over this fast. Laundry did not get done. My house was a disaster and getting worst by the minute. There was one point when Bradley thought dust bunnies were real bugs. And I couldn't physically function to fix anything. I had to learn to be okay with doing little, expecting little, and being okay when all was not perfect. It was such a hard lesson and one that I don't have perfect, but have definitely grown so much. And I really think this lesson was an important and good one for me. 

Jeremy's biggest personal change was learning to manage his time better. He really had to take on the role of two parents for most of this year. He had to remember a lot more (which is super hard for him since he has a horrible memory), do a lot more, and all while working full-time. It was not easy on him at all. Bradley and I are a handful add in Parker and him being exhausted from working... I am so grateful that the Lord knew to put us together. Not many men would endure this year with the love and grace he showed us all. 

What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Watching Bradley grow and mature. There is so much excitement and joy in seeing Bradley learn new skills, communicate better, and become his own person. 

What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Handling Bradley while he grows and matures. We are learning a lot about patience, love, and ourselves. 

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Netflix. We have watched so much Netflix...

What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Jeremy and I worked really hard this year to spend more quality time together as a family. We are both very busy. This usually leads to exhaustion and us choosing laziness over doing things to make memories. So this year, we set out to spend intentional time together as a family. We both feel this is an area we really did well in.

What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
God's provision. He really took care of us this year. It wasn't the best and it wasn't easy, but His presence was near through it all.

And, now, we wait to help a little girl join us. What a great way to start a new year?!