Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Last night was one of the most difficult nights I’ve ever had mentally as a parent.
Yesterday, I skipped the nap I usually take in the morning after we send Sarah to daycare. Norah is a terrible night sleeper, and so far that nap has been the key to my sanity. But I had a lot of work I needed to get up and do and her morning nap is the one reliable time I have to myself. So I got up and had a fantastic day getting work done. My sister came over and watched Norah some and worked on the nursery (which still isn’t finished), then my mom came over and watched her some more.
I felt good. I was tired because of the missed nap, but Norah had slept more like a normal baby the past three nights – going to sleep at 9, waking up twice to feed, then going back to sleep after. I could survive on that kind of sleep.
Bed time hour approached around 7, and Norah started getting fussy. But, hey, we thought, at least she’s doing it early so she’ll be asleep by 9 or 9:30, no problem. We got Sarah ready and in bed a little late, around 8:30, then started prepping for Norah’s bed time routine. She was screaming, but I thought once I bathed and nursed her she’d settle right down and I could climb into bed and in dreamland by 10.
Boy was I wrong. Norah was alternately screaming and staring at me with owl eyes for over EIGHT HOURS straight last night. Guys, this was not good for Mark’s or my mental health. About five separate times we thought we had her asleep, only to lay her down and have her start screaming less than two minutes later.
There’s something that makes it mentally tougher when you’re in your bed with the lights dim, just begging the baby to fall asleep. At 1:00 am, we eventually decided to just move to the living room and turn on the tv to make everything feel a little more normal, a little more sane. When she finally dozed off, we practically ran back to our room and put her in bed… only to have her back up again five minutes later.
I cried then. I cried that she was being cruel. I cried that it was unfair. I cried because I must have the only baby who does not sleep at all at night. After all, having a child that gets up to feed twice in the middle of the night then goes back to sleep sounds like a cake walk compared to what we’ve been experiencing, especially when there is no break, no chance to have one night to catch up on sleep. I was mad. Mark would doze off and start snoring and I got even more mad. I would put her in her bed, still screaming, and punch pillows.
Around 3:00 a.m. we moved to the rocking chair. I put my nose on her forehead and breathed in. I could smell the chrism oil that still stained her forehead from her baptism on Saturday and immediately calmed down. We rocked and rocked and rocked. And finally, around 3:45, she fell asleep. I kept rocking, scared she was going to wake up any moment and we would start all over. But I finally moved her back to her bed and she stayed asleep.
We fell asleep around 4 this morning, so of course Sarah was up shortly before 6. She came running in with nothing but a pull-up on, wanting to change into her Dora nightgown. I ushered her back to bed, where she stayed until 6:45. She then came loudly into our room neighing, declaring that she was a horse. It was so hard not to be grumpy when I was barely functioning on less than two hours of sleep. But she was laughing and smiling and asking for hugs and I remembered I had to be a mother to her, too. Mark and I both got up and got her ready for school. I was storming around the kitchen, snapping at my husband and my daughter while prepping her lunch. Then Sarah walked up to me, put her arms out and said, “I hold you mommy.” I stopped, looked at her, and scooped her up in my arms. She held me and loved me and brought me back to the realization that we have tough nights, terrible nights, but oh the love we get in return.
Norah slept for seven hours straight after that rough go, the longest she’s ever slept. I went back to bed and slept three more hours, waking up once to check on her when I feared she’d been quiet too long.
When she woke up, I nursed her, held her and smelled the holy chrism oil. I watched a video someone had posted on Facebook of a couple who couldn’t have children and ended up adopting twins, which promptly brought me to tears. I looked down at the little baby God has entrusted me to take care of. He knows I can do it, but I often doubt myself. The path to Norah has been a difficult one. I should have known birthing her wouldn’t make it easier. But I am so thankful she’s here. So thankful I get to hold her and nurse her and witness her first smiles. So thankful to have Sarah, my child whose imagination is limitless and knows just how to make me feel better. A little girl who is so perceptive that it startles me. So thankful for a husband who endures me yelling at him to stop snoring at 3am, and stays up with me in solidarity when I need it most.
This parenting thing can be so hard, but I am so thankful.
It’s hard to believe you’ve already been in our lives for a month. I feel like we just took you home from the hospital last week!
Your first month has been interesting. The first two weeks of your life, we called you our angel baby. You slept all day and all night and your dad and I were actually getting some sleep in the process. This may have had a lot to do with the fact that you were sleeping on my chest almost non-stop, but I didn’t care because you were a sweet, snugly little baby. If anything, you helped me sleep better.
Two weeks in though, things changed. You started getting somewhat mobile, and for safety reasons, we needed to move you to your own sleep space. What a disaster that turned out to be. We tried any number of sleep options, from the bouncy chair in the pack and play (which worked a couple of nights), to the bassinet (ha ha), before your dad finally figured out that we had to mimic the sleeping on the chest position. Now you sleep in the pack and play bassinet propped up on your tummy.
Colic kicked in at week three too, and that is still an on and off struggle for us, though it seems to be getting better. You like to stay up and scream all night and sleep all day. We’ve been making a huge effort to switch that, and, for the most part, it’s starting to work (though you do so hate being awake during the day).
You still want to eat every 2-3 hours at night, and when you slept 4.5 hours straight once, I woke up worried.
You are a very relaxed baby for the most part, and your grandparents joke about never seeing your eyes open. Your sister Sarah loves to rub your head and kiss your cheeks (and occasionally knock you over with a knee or elbow). This means you’ve already managed to catch two small colds in your first month of life. (Oh how I would have freaked out over this if you were my first baby!)
One of my favorite things about you is that you smile in your sleep all the time, and even sometimes when you’re awake. You can’t focus on much yet, but you love to look at lights and follow the sound of my voice.
You’ve struggled with a lot of tummy troubles, though gripe water seems to ease some of your pain. You love nothing more than being patted on the back and some loud shushing.
Norah bean, it’s hard to believe we’ve had you in our lives for a month already, but it seems like you’ve always belonged here. I just know that as the months start to slip by (and we all start to sleep better), that we won’t be able to remember life without you, and that’s exactly how it should be.
People keep asking me how I’m doing – how life is going with a two-year-old and a newborn.
For the most part, it’s really great. Sarah has really embraced the role of big sister for the most part, though she still has her moments of jealousy. She’s chilled out with the acting out and has settled back into her mostly normal routine.
Norah, for the most part, is a good baby. She breastfeeds like a champ, takes her sister’s occasional “hugs” with a chilled attitude, snuggles on our chests and chills out in her bouncy chair while I work.
But then when 9:00 p.m. rolls around, something changes. Like Dr. Jekyll emerging from the calm Mr. Hyde, my baby transforms into a screaming, writhing, wide awake bundle of pain – COLIC. I dread that hour. Not only for my own sanity, but because I know that my baby girl is in pain and unhappy. This madness was lasting every single night from 9pm to 3am. That would be SIX HOURS in the middle of the night with a fussy, unhappy, non-sleeping baby. Breastfeeding is met with squirms and screams, laying her down on anything besides our chests produces the same results.
After several days of this, my mind began to become unhinged. Only managing 1 to 3 hours of interrupted sleep a night will do that to you. I try to let Mark sleep as much as possible because his work schedule has been so busy. But usually around 1am, I cave and wake him up. I can’t take it anymore and I’m holding my baby, both of us bawling our eyes out. It’s not pretty. Mark takes her willingly and manages to soothe both of us, despite being awoken by two crying girls. So many nights I’ve sobbed to Mark, telling him that I’m losing my mind. He reassures me that I’m just exhausted – and he’s right. But I’ve come to dread night time. I start feeling sick to my stomach when we approach 9pm.
The toughest part comes when I finally get her to sleep at 3, she wakes up at 5:30 to eat, feeds until 6am and then Sarah is up and ready to go.
Fortunately, I have a few good things on my side:
1. Sarah is in daycare and goes every day. And by the time Mark takes her in the morning, Norah and I are both already snoring. (Except for four days the past two weeks when Sarah had to stay home with fever and then ringworm. That just made the exhaustion that much worse).
2. Mark. I would have lost it a week ago if I didn’t have his steady presence at my side any time of night.
3. My iPhone. Yes, I’m serious. It keeps my brain occupied when I’m still awake in the wee hours. (I’ve recently loaded a new app and am finally catching up on blog posts in the middle of the night though!)
But just so you’re not as scared for my sanity as I am, I can tell you that we’ve made a few major improvements since the longest of those dark and horrid nights.
1. Mark figured out a sleeping position for Norah that she will stay in that is not our arms. It involves the Boppy pillow and her being propped up on her stomach. Don’t worry, I make sure her airway is clear and she is in the pack and play.
2. Mommy’s Bliss gripe water – a Cassie recommendation. It doesn’t solve everything, but it helps.
3. Shushing and patting. That’s the only combination that works to get her back to sleep. Girl has straight up rejected the pacifier, just like her sister before her. And yes, we’ve tried many different brands.
4. The white noise machine by her head.
5. Making her stay awake as much as possible during the day. This seems to be the biggest help. This isn’t always easy though, because I have to work some during the day.
Two nights ago the colic only lasted from 9pm to 12am. When she went to sleep at midnight though, insomnia kicked in and I couldn’t sleep despite being exhausted. It was insane. Fortunately I still have some insomnia medicine from my pregnancy. I took one of those and managed a couple of hours of sleep.
Last night was our first successful night of getting her to go back to sleep all night. Yes, she was still up every two – three hours, but we both got in between sleep and a nap this morning. And today I finally feel like I’m getting a grasp on my sanity again.
It has been a really tough ride at night, and I am so looking forward to this kid sleeping through the night. But, in the mean time, let’s just hope we can manage five hours or so of sleep a night. We need it.
I have never been mistaken for being thin, and most of my life I’ve fought long, hard, guilty battles about my weight and body image – a battle I still continue to face today. The difference is, at one point I finally realized that I am who I am and I have to love the person I am now as much as the person I want to be.
Pregnancy plays into all those insecurities about weight gain. I think almost all pregnant women are insecure about gaining weight, but being overweight to begin with makes it doubly hard. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had visions of my belly transforming into a perfectly round little bump that shouted, “I’m going to have a baby!” Instead, it got kind of big, oblong and never round. It screamed, “I’ve had too many donuts!” It wasn’t until I was about eight months pregnant that I looked pregnant and not just overindulgent.
To that end, when Kelly offered to do maternity photos as a gift to me when I was pregnant with Sarah, I turned her down. I hated how I looked and felt like I wasn’t the beautiful, glowing pregnant woman I had imagined myself to be. My boobs were huge, my belly was huge and misshapen and I just felt like I looked gross.
Plus, when you’re pregnant, people love to comment on your size and touch your stomach. For someone who has always tried to hide both my size and my stomach, I did not take well to those things the first time around.
After I gave birth to Sarah, I immediately tried to start dieting hard core. No one told me that doing this would mean my milk supply would virtually dry up to nothing. A couple of days of decreased milk supply and Google research later, I learned that I had to embrace eating to create plenty of milk and provide for the health of my own baby. And while all I wanted to do was “get the weight off right now” at the time, I continued to eat until I was full and tried to mostly stay away from bad foods (though, oh man, ice cream!)
With time and patience and a year’s worth of breastfeeding, the weight came off on its own accord and I ended up weighing five pounds less than my starting pregnancy weight.
When I found out I was pregnant the second time, I was determined to keep my established exercise routine up and not gain as much weight as I did during my first pregnancy. This hope was quickly dashed when I started having heart skips. That meant any exercising outside of walking was off the table. Still though, I persisted in walking for a while. Then my ligaments and my nerves started causing severe pain and it hurt to be on my feet for more than 5 – 10 minutes. I wasn’t put on bed rest, but there was no more walking around the neighborhood either. At first I let it get me down, but then, just as before, I realized I had to embrace the gain for the health of my baby. I chugged along and didn’t let it bother me (except for that one time at the OB’s office).
In the end, I ended up gaining about three more pounds than I did the first time around. But it’s ok, because I know, just like last time, that I can and will get it off again.
I regretted not having any maternity pictures with Sarah, even with my low self image at the time. So this time, I asked Kelly if she would snap a few of me with Sarah. These were taken SIX DAYS before I gave birth to Norah bean. Yes, I’m huge like the sun, but I love that I have these moments captured with Sarah who loved to kiss sister in my belly. I bravely posed for these photos and wanted to show Sarah that it’s great to be happy no matter your size and shape (especially when there is a little sister as the outcome). And Sarah responded in kind with love and hugs for mommy and Sister. Having photos to remember those moments by are way more important than trying to pretend like I wasn’t nine months pregnant and hiding from the camera.
Here I sit now 12 days post partum. I finally got the courage to step on the scale. (Note to new moms: Do NOT step on the scale the same day you give birth, you will be horrified to see that your body does not immediately drop a ton of weight, or even the full weight of the baby. It’s depressing. Don’t do it. Trust me on this one.)
At any rate, I stepped on the scale. I am officially down 18 pounds. And while that is a huge relief to see, that means the easy part is over. It’s those remaining 20 pounds that love to cling to my hips, my boobs and my belly. But this time, I’m not scared. I’m going to breastfeed, and as soon as I’m released to resume “normal activity” again post c-section, I’m going to put that stroller to the test and work up to getting back on the spin bike at the gym.
To show you how brave I’m feeling right now, here is a photo of me tonight, 12 days post partum. Yes, there is a lot of toning that needs to happen. But most women don’t snap back like rubber bands after having a baby. I’m here to tell you that’s ok. It takes time. And, after all, look at that sweet little baby I have as my reward.
Norah’s birth story actually began almost a week ago. Last Tuesday evening I was feeling bad and achy all over. There was pain and pressure in my lower abdomen, and I wasn’t sure if it was being caused by baby, or by contractions. My memory of contractions, after all, are of ones induced by Pitocin – aka contractions on steroids. These were uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I started texting and then talking on the phone to my friendly baby birthing expert Cassie. Together we decided that yes, these were indeed contractions. I waited and timed them over the course of about three hours before deciding to go to the hospital and get checked out. As these things often go, shortly after I got to the hospital, the contractions slowly tapered out until they came to a grinding halt. My cervix wasn’t progressing and it ended up being a late night for everyone involved with no baby to show for it.
My body stayed pretty calm on Wednesday and most of Thursday. Then Thursday evening things started feeling weird again. My extremely happy mood that had lasted all day and into a cleaning spree that evening, suddenly tanked. It felt like baby had balled herself up into the bottom of my pelvis and was trying to roll herself out. A storm was rolling in that night and the moon was full. Sarah was restless too. Normally a great night sleeper, she came into our room three times that night and, for the first time ever, ended up sleeping in the bed with us cuddled up next to me.
Friday morning, I had my regularly scheduled OB appointment. I went in and told my OB of all that had gone on that week. I told her I was “cramping” a lot. She asked me if I was sure I wasn’t having contractions. I wasn’t. She wanted to get me hooked up to a monitor and see what was going on. Before she did that though, she checked my cervix. Afterwards she looked at me and said, “We are going to have a baby today.” Sure enough, I was dilating and contracting and baby was on her way.
Because I had to have a c-section, I left her office and went straight down to labor and delivery to get prepped while Mark went home and packed a few bags. They started the IV and did all they needed to to prep me for surgery. I waited about another hour, enough time for family to show up, then was wheeled back to the OR.
It’s weird. I had been fretting and nervous about this c-section for 9 months, but when it came time to do it all my nerves and fear were gone. Even moving myself onto the OR table, I was ok. I attribute my unexplained calm to getting my nerves out during my test run on Tuesday night, the anointing I had at church prior to the surgery, the awesome people working at the hospital and a lot of prayer.
To have a c-section you have to have something called a spinal block – they essentially insert a needle into your back and block off all feeling from the boobs on down. Apparently since I’m tall, I had to have a big dose. It is such a strange feeling. First my legs got super warm, then tingly and then they were nothing but dead weight. They lowered me down, raised the sheet, and then I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe and was going to puke. I let the anesthesiologist know, and then I suddenly had oxygen, anti-nausea meds in my IV and a fan on my face. Just like that I was back up and going again.
It was a surreal experience being in the OR awake. All the doctors were talking about music and their kids. Mark walked in all suited up and ready to go and they told him that they had already started – which was news to me! I had no idea! The only thing I could feel at all was the occasional tugging up near my ribs. No pain or pressure at all.
Turns out we were so unprepared to have this baby that both the cameras we brought had dead batteries and both our phones had been left back in the room. Our anesthesiologist, who was amazing, was razzing us about being a computer guy and a photographer and not having a functioning camera for the delivery of our own child. And then she obligingly took some photos for us with her phone.
Norah came roaring into the world at 12:38 p.m., and I do mean roaring. That girl has got a set of pipes on her that had everyone in the room laughing. She was all wrapped up in the umbilical cord – from her neck on down to her waist. She also had a firm grip on the cord and refused to let go, much to the humor of the OB’s working on me. Her screams immediately sent me into a wave of tears and continued unbounded as they brought my girl around the curtain to meet me. She was big and healthy and beautiful.
She weighed in at a robust 7lbs, 13 oz and was 19 inches long – nice and big for a baby born nine days before her due date!
The doctors stitched me up and took me back to the recovery room where they finished cleaning up baby and brought her to me. One of the first things I noticed was how different she seems to look from her sister. They have common features, like their lips, but overall they look so different. The general consensus is that she looks like me, but babies change quickly and often in their first couple of months.
We stayed in the hospital two nights, and it proved to be a much better experience overall than my first stay when I delivered Sarah. The nurses were great, the hospital wasn’t overcrowded and it was a weekend – which meant our family members could come visit without the stress of work. Sarah got sick over the weekend, so she didn’t get to meet Sister up close until we brought her home – but that’s another story for another day. For now I’m enjoying my super laid back baby girl, Baby Norah.
Welcome to the world my girl, we love you.
This is my last week of work before baby arrives. Some people have made it clear that they think I should be at home by now… I guess sitting around and waiting on baby? True, last time the week before baby arrived I was home, but that was only because I landed myself with a terrible upper respiratory infection. This time I’ve opted to keep on going. After all, the only thing I’d be doing at home is sitting around, staring at my feet and making myself even more anxious. Maybe baking. I’ve been doing a lot of that to relieve pre-baby anxiousness. But then I would eat all the baking too.
Plus, I have a mostly desk job and I’d rather be sitting around doing something, keeping my mind off of things and earning a paycheck.
I’ve been surprised by how much pre-baby anxiety I’ve been facing this time. But it’s not about what you would think. I’m not worried at all about having another baby or bringing baby home. I’ve done that before. I have every confidence that I can do that again, and hopefully better this time.
Instead I’ve been waking up at 3 am worrying about the financial implications of having another baby, work while I’m out and how Sarah will do when I bring baby home – and how she’s going to be while we’re at the hospital for that matter. I also worry about the actual process of the c-section and pray that my mind will be in a good place that day.
Yesterday was the hangover from one such night. I got to work tired and anxious and had trouble focusing on everything. The work day slowly clicked into place though, and I went about tying up lose ends and settling into the daily rhythm, focusing on other things.
On my lunch break I went to the police station and collected the police report on my car accident and learned, much to my great relief, that the other driver did have car insurance. I’m not sure what all it will cover health bill wise, but it will definitely cover all the damage to my car. We will wait and see what happens now.
After lunch I learned that our magazine had been recognized in a national newspaper again – this time for a story I wrote on some local kids who went to World Youth Day in Brazil! That gave my spirits a huge lift and the great boost in confidence I needed.
And then, at the end of the day, something really amazing happened. I can’t go into all the details here, but through the kindness of people I work with, one in particular, I learned that I will not have to stress about finances during the course of my maternity leave. This is the biggest blessing I could have ever hoped for. I teared up and felt a huge weight slide off my shoulders. Suddenly, I could breathe again and move forward during the last week of my pregnancy with one of the anxiety balls that’s been sitting in my stomach gone.
Not to be outdone, after work, both of my sisters came by to return my jogging stroller. And while I was fixing dinner, they took it upon themselves to clean up my living room.
It’s days like yesterday that really open my eyes to how really and truly blessed I am by God and the people in my life.
Now, today we try to do something about Sarah’s hair twirling problem that has spiraled out of control.
Six more days.
What a wild ride the past 36 hours have been.
Wednesday evening I was driving home from work. I made a right turn and several cars were stopped up ahead of me on the street, waiting on another car to turn. So, I came to a stop and waited as well. I sat watching the cars in front of me, waiting for them to go so I could move on. Needless to say I wasn’t watching my rear view mirror, so imagine my surprise when I was suddenly catapulted forward after being hit from behind. It was a loud hit and I felt the impact radiate through my lower back and into my very pregnant belly. I pulled over and immediately tried to squash the rising panic that was growing inside of me.
The lady who hit me pulled over as well and immediately started apologizing, then quickly hopped back in her car and sat there. Satisfied that she couldn’t drive off because her car was destroyed, I called the police. The whole time I kept trying to get baby to move. About that time, my coworker, who was driving on the road going the opposite direction of mine, saw me and called out to me. She came over to sit with me until Mark arrived.
The cops showed up in the mean time and were very concerned about my pregnant state as well. The police officer convinced me to let them call EMS and get checked out. The accident happened right near a fire station, so within minutes the sirens of a fire truck and ambulance were blaring up the street. They checked out my blood pressure and pulse immediately and were concerned about my back, hip pain and lack of baby movement.
While all this was going on, Mark showed up with Sarah in tow. Sarah was completely terrified by all the lights and noise and just wanted her mama. After talking to my OB’s office, it was agreed that I needed to be transported to my hospital’s labor and delivery unit. Cue my first ambulance ride.
I refused to be strapped to a board (can you imagine at 9 months pregnant??) But I did get loaded up into a stretcher and hoisted into the ambulance. I was so impressed by the kindness and professionalism of the EMS staff. The guy who sat with me in the back kept me calm. On the ambulance ride I finally felt baby move and he and I both relaxed some.
The ride was a short one, but we had to go up the busiest street of our city during rush hour. That was entertaining. I heard them radio ahead to the ER, and the ER told them to go straight to labor and delivery. Once I got to L&D, Sarah had had enough of all the hooplah and jumped out of daddy’s arms into mine and got to ride on the stretcher with me the rest of the way, clutching to me like a little spider monkey.
They took me straight into a room and hooked me up to a baby heart beat and contraction monitor. Once I heard baby’s heartbeat, I was finally able to let the anxiety go and the emotion of everything came crashing down around me.
Baby was ok. I was ok. It was all going to be ok.
Sarah was fascinated by baby’s heartbeat. She asked me what the noise was. I told her it was Sister’s heartbeat and she gave my belly a big hug. The nurse was so sweet and spoke to Sarah so kindly that Sarah relaxed too.
After talking to the OB on call, they decided to keep me overnight for observation. We got the full workup with an ultrasound and got to see baby super crammed into my body. Her head is so low now that they couldn’t see it all fully, but they registered that the placenta, lungs, heart, kidneys, etc. were all fine.
I spent most of the time in the hospital resting and dealing with the terrible soreness that was all over my lower back and hips. They gave me a muscle relaxer, which helped for about 4 hours and let me have at least a little bit of sleep.
While I was there my OB came and checked me out, followed shortly by Sarah’s pediatrician who happened to see my name on the chart and asked my doctor if I was ok. She came in just to visit and make sure baby and I were both ok. The nurses were amazing too, always checking on me to make sure baby and I were ok. Mark brought them a big box of donuts in thanks. He’s already wooing them for when we go back in 10 days (10 DAYS) to deliver.
I saw my doctor this morning and everything is fine. I think we were both surprised that the whole thing didn’t throw me into labor, but there are still no labor signs. Her husband is a lawyer and made her promise to share some sound legal advice with me on how to handle the insurance companies, etc. I took note and told my husband.
And my car? Well it doesn’t look so bad from afar, but the bumper, back part of the car, hatch door and some of the steel underneath will have to be replaced to the tune of over $5500. It’s driveable at least, which is more than I can say for the other lady’s car.
I am so thankful that Baby and I are both ok, and I am so thankful for the EMS team, the labor and delivery nurses, my doctor, my husband, my mom and my sister (who courageously tackled Sarah’s knotted up hair on picture day while I was in the hospital). I’m so blessed to be surrounded by so many caring people.
The stress of Baby R.’s impending arrival is taking a toll on the whole family.
I’m obviously at the most uncomfortable phase of this pregnancy. I can’t breathe, bend or be on my feet for any length of time. The ligament pain has gotten more frequent and worse, and insomnia has reared its ugly head. During the night I’m wide awake and restless, wanting to get up and run around the block a few times. Last night I wanted nothing more than to get up at 3:30 a.m. and pack our bag for the hospital, but I knew that would wake my husband up. I think the next time I get that compulsion to “get up and do something,” I’m going to finish organizing the nursery. Why not, right?
And then during the day I’m exhausted of course. I’m sure this is all nature’s way of preparing me for baby, but dang it I want a normal sleep schedule!
My stomach is completely squished now too. I feel sort of nauseous all the time now and I’m going back to my first trimester ways of not liking food at all – something that is completely out of touch with my normal way of life.
And to add to all these fun things, I am HOT. I knew being 9 months pregnant during the hottest part of our year was going to be hard, but I didn’t expect to feel like I heater pointed at my entire body 24/7. I would be completely happy to walk around in my underwear all the time, but that might raise some eyebrows at work. This morning I gave up, stripped down to my undies and laid under the fan only to have Sarah come in the room and say, “Mama, where are your jammies?” She was very concerned.
As a consequence of my physical limitations, Mark has been really picking up the slack – cooking, cleaning and taking care of Sarah. My pain was so bad Saturday that I gave up, retreated to the bedroom and just let him handle it. Sarah would come in and check on me every 30 minutes or so and say, “Mama ok? Mama all better?” It broke my heart!
Sarah’s way of dealing with all of this is to twirl her hair into terrible knots all day and night. They are so bad sometimes that we end up pulling a ton of her hair out to get them out. She is now balding on the left side of her head and it looks terrible! The hair that’s left is all broken and short. We’ve tried pulling it up and keeping it away with no luck. She’s even taken to calling herself “knot head.” I’ve researched it and apparently it’s a relatively normal way for toddlers to express anxiety and worry – one of the leading causes of which is a baby coming.
It’s like we’re all sitting around on a time bomb now, just waiting for it to go off. And while we’re all ready to just have the baby already, at the same time I’m nervous about how her arrival is going to catapult us into further chaos. But hey, at least then I’ll be so tired that any desire to run blocks around the neighborhood at 3 a.m. will be long dead.
19 days guys, 19 days.
Well, we’ve made it to the final four weeks of pregnancy. Due to complications during Sarah’s delivery, we will have to have a c-section this go round. And while I was extremely anxious and upset about it when I found out, I have some great friends who had very positive experiences with their c-sections talk to me and tell me how great their experiences with their own were. My doctor, too, answered all my questions and allayed a lot of my fears about the whole thing. I’m just trying not to focus on the fact that I will be awake while they slice into my stomach, because that totally freaks me out.
An unexpected boon to the scheduled c-section is that I have a concrete date in my mind for her arrival. She will be born on her scheduled date of September 23, or before. That’s my light at the end of this hot, huge tunnel. I’m really happy about that date too because that’s the second day of fall and will make her a Libra like her mother. She will come right in between my sister’s birthday and my own birthday.
As we wind down this pregnancy I’ve continued to struggle with bad ligament and nerve pain, both on my left and right sides. When it hits, it’s agony and I have to lay flat and take something until it subsides. This has cut me off from all photography gigs, both freelance and at work. And Sarah has figured out that she can get away from me by dropping to the floor where I can’t bend down and reach her. Little stinker.
Speaking of Sarah, we pulled out her baby Minnie Mouse and she has been calling Minnie her baby and being absolutely adorable with her. She rocks her, sings to her, carries her around, puts her down and covers her up for “night night” time (though we did have to talk about how we don’t throw baby on the floor when we’re tired of her). Sarah has also started clearly labeling things as “Sister’s clothes” or “Sarah’s toys,” making it clear what she’s ok with Sister having and what is irrevocably her own.
I’ve also been so surprised and thankful by several extremely thoughtful gifts from my girlfriends. I didn’t really expect much for baby #2, but it’s like my friends are taking it on as a challenge to find the perfect things.
Kacie sent me a package from Sephora with bath stuff for baby and bath stuff for mama. Susan picked out the perfect prints for baby’s room. Stevi sent me diapers and baby Tylenol (aka mama’s savior).
And Becki? Well Becki drove all the way to Dallas to stand in line at an event she didn’t have tickets for so she could see and record Neil Gaiman (my favorite author), and then get him to sign books dedicated to me and my girls. I still tear up when I think about it. I quizzed her on him, of course, and she said he seemed just as wonderful in person as I think he is.
I have the best friends and the best family. Little Sister has no idea what a great group of people she’s being born into.
Here lately I’ve found myself reminiscing the days of my first pregnancy when I would get home from work and lay on the couch. So tired, I would watch tv while Mark went and picked up Taco Bell or Newks or whatever food I happened to want at the time while I laid there and rested before finally moving myself from the couch to the bed and going to sleep.
Gone are those days my friends. Leaving work now means that on the 10 minute drive home I mentally prepare myself for what is waiting on me at home. I love having a two-year-old and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but there is no more laying on the couch and resting these days.
Even with Mark working overtime to do dishes, help prep dinner and take on many of the physical things that I can no longer do, there is a mischievous little girl who needs tending to. And while we occasionally still pick up dinner, financially and for health reasons it’s best for us to cook at home, and so we usually do.
Yesterday when I got home we all went to the grocery store. We’ve discovered that it’s easiest to divide and conquer at the store and Sarah loves going. After shopping, there’s the 100+ degree heat we had to go through to get out, load up and unload. Then we put all the groceries away. Then it was time to prep dinner and eat, then rotate and fold and put away laundry. By the time I finished that I was beyond exhausted and planted myself on the couch. I happily let Sarah watch a show while she ate a cookie, so content to have her sit at my feet while I lay there for 20 minutes before the bath and bed time ritual began…. Back on my feet to help get her ready and put her down, then finish up a few chores, freelance work, etc.
Then, every night, I find myself staying up WAY too late so I can enjoy some down time to myself either watching TV or reading a book before I go to sleep.
My favorite moments these days are the first moments of the morning when Sarah wakes up. She runs into our room, crawls into bed and turns into a lovey little snuggle bug. Sometimes she brings a book for us to read (or for her to “read” to us), sometimes she brings a stuffed animal and sometimes she grabs my iPad. But mostly she just wants to snuggle, giggle and enjoy 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time with mommy and daddy. And I absolutely love it. Every morning I wish I could play hooky and stay that way with our girl in bed, but I know it would end. It always does when Sarah declares, “EAT!”
I know things will only get more challenging soon, though I do relish getting some of my physical mobility back. And, oh, how I look forward to finally holding Baby R.! In the mean time, I’m trying to cherish these last few weeks of having an only child and a semi-organized way of life. I remember adjusting to the “new normal” when we first brought Sarah home, and we will do it again – all four of us.
p.s. I’m going to live. All the pain I’ve been experiencing is from a very angry, bulging ligament in my right side that should subside after baby is born. In the mean time I’ve just got to deal. I can do it. Right?
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