Friday, September 12, 2014

a week's worth of odds + ends

^ I rarely take the time to make myself a nice breakfast these days but occasionally it happens ^
^ two little beds on either side of this dresser make my heart explode! ^
^ I washed Birdie's old bear suit and swaddles for baby boy ^
^ papa bear fell asleep on the job... ^

I don't sleep anymore and I suppose that's normal. I've been awake since 4:30 this morning and then Birdie was awoken by the torrential rain that began to beat against our windows around 5:30 am. By six we had all given up on trying to sleep so we put on Alice in Wonderland and cuddled up together while the rain came down. 
I'm really trying to cherish and bottle up moments like these. Before falling asleep last night papa bear expressed the same bittersweet feelings I've been having too - the way we both can't wait to meet baby boy but also are already mourning the fact that Birdie will no longer be our whole world. It's all we've known for almost two years and right now it almost seems impossible to make room in our hearts for anyone else. She has filled our life with so much love and joy, I don't see how we could possibly feel more or love more than this little person. I know we will but the feelings are there nonetheless. 
On a lighter note we transitioned Birdie to a toddler bed two weeks ago. We wanted to make sure to do that before baby boy comes so that she doesn't associate any big changes with her little brother's arrival (his presence alone will be enough of an adjustment). I have to say we have both been shocked at how well it went! We fully prepared ourselves for sleepless nights and for a possible "falling" incident but I am happy to report that neither has happened! In fact she seems to sleep better in her new bed! She has slept through the night practically every day for the past two weeks and goes down for naps easily. I think she really loves it actually! She's always been quite independent and I think she really enjoys the freedom she has with this bed. 
I also finally finished the nursery this week. I unpacked all of Birdie's newborn things, we ordered and put a mattress into the crib and hung up the last of the pictures. We're so happy with how it's all come together even if we cannot wrap our minds around seeing two kiddos in that room. And soon too!! Speaking of which we have less than a month left and I am in full nesting mode. I didn't think it would happen a second time around but I have been obsessed with organizing, folding and preparing. Now I just need this baby boy to come join us! Side note: you totally forget just how tiny newborn diapers are!! They look like they are meant for a doll!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

there is no easy way "out"

Gosh you guys I have been sweating over this for weeks now... But there's no getting around it. In exactly a month I will be having a c-section. Is it sad that I can't even say "meeting my son?" Because I feel like if I've learned anything during my pregnancy journey (both first time and this time around) it's that the fact that I'm having a scheduled c-section somehow means that I'm not actually bringing new life into this world. I don't belong in that club anymore. That club is strictly reserved for all the mothers who huff and puff on the delivery table for hours. No, it certainly will not be for me. You see I'll just be relaxing in the OR, perhaps doing some online shopping when someone will come and bring me a baby... That's how it works right?? You can even squeak by if it's an "emergency c-section," but if it's scheduled?? Oh boy you must really be some selfish robot brat.
In reality, I am terrified. More frightened than I ever was before my "completely natural" delivery with Birdie. I figured my body would know what to do and essentially it would go more or less the way my "What To Expect When Expecting" book made it sound like. Including the "not so serious contractions" lasting for about four hours, to actively laboring for about two to four hours, transition for another hour or so, push for twenty minutes to an hour and then ta-da!! Baby is here!! With minimal tearing of course (that is what's common after all, only like some freakish 3% of women end up with more than first degree tears)! I even did the hypnobirthing thing so I was totally "psssh I got this!" wonder woman when it came to laboring. Here's what actually happened:
I had prodromal labor for almost three weeks, actively labored for just under two hours, went through transition in fifteen minutes, pushed for six and then came the ta-da! And my body paid for it dearly. Since Birdie has become obsessed with Peppa Pig I've watched the "Whistling" episode about a million times and there is one line in particular that always sticks with me no matter how many times I've heard it that week: "Oh Daddy, I think I have the wrong sort of mouth." I can't help but think that "Oh Daddy I have the wrong sort of body."
I'm not sure what happened. Actually, nobody is sure what happened; not my midwife, not my physical therapist who I worked with for six months postpartum, not the pelvic surgeon who gave me the most painful injection on planet earth (granted it helped, somewhat) and not the OB I've been seeing with this pregnancy. All anyone knows, myself included, is that I somehow "injured my tailbone" during delivery. This un-diagnosis has of course provided me with little comfort, especially considering the fact that almost two years later sitting for longer than fifteen minutes still causes me pain. Sitting on the floor is right out and benches, wooden chairs and barstools are pretty much my idea of a torture device. Not a day goes by that I don't wince from the pain and am reminded that my body will never be the same.
You would think this would all work to make me feel better about the c-section, perhaps even look forward to it, but it doesn't - not one bit. First of all, I have a needle phobia and the thought of an IV and epidural send me into hour long anxiety spirals every night. Second, I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed that I can't just will my body to do it right this time and bring this boy into the world as naturally as possible. I feel like I'll just be on the sidelines while everyone else does the work of "birthing" him. Sometimes I even allow myself to go as far as to think that perhaps I should just risk it, maybe it won't be so bad this time?? And yet, everyone that has any sense in them (clearly I don't) reminds me that to put such stress on a part of my body that hasn't even healed yet is not only careless but dangerous.
There is one thing that convinces me that I'm doing the right thing and that is the memory of the person I was during my recovery. Just like any first time mum I dreamt of coming home with my firstborn for months. I dreamt of the way I would cradle her and the way I would rock her and cuddle with her. The way I would lovingly breastfeed her in the rocking chair for hours and all the adorable photos I would take of her in all the million of outfits I had been collecting for months. Instead, the day we came home I could barely walk and sitting was out of the question. The pain was monstrous and I was completely unprepared for it. I couldn't even get Birdie out of her co-sleeper  that was attached to our bed so every time I needed to nurse her I had to call for papa bear to come and lay her on my chest. At night I cried myself to sleep and during the day I blankly stared out in front of me feeling empty, scared and frustrated. This was not how it was supposed to be. I barely took any photos. I rarely got out of bed (it was next to impossible some days). I was just surviving. My only goals were to make sure that I attended to all of Birdie's needs, there was nothing outside of that.
I eventually became more mobile and figured out a way that I could sit by putting most of my weight on one of my thighs. I spent the next year trying to fix something that it turned out was unfixable and it of course took up a lot, too much, of my time and focus. Between health insurance and appointments it felt like I had a second part-time job. It was rough and I was miserable but the thing I hate most when I look back on that time is that I feel like I never got the chance to be the mother I dreamed of being to Birdie. And that's something I will never get back.
So whenever I judge myself or think about being judged for this decision I remember that if I put my health at risk for a few hours in an effort to be a "natural mother" I can, or probably will, rob my child of having a "present mother" for potentially years to come. And so really, in the end, I'm not even doing this for me, I am doing this for them. I am doing this because I want to be there fully and completely. I want to rock my little boy and be swallowed up by his newborn goodness. I want to be present and active with my girl and be able to give her the attention, love and time that she deserves as well. And yes, right now, for me, that means that I will birth this boy via c-section. And I think I'm finally making peace with that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

pregnancy essentials vol. II

Your mind really does have a way of filing away unpleasant memories. In regards to pregnancy I definitely forgot how awful the third trimester really feels. Throw in 90 degree temperatures and you have yourself a recipe for a very cranky lady that waddles around like an aging duck. I think 32 weeks was the last time I remotely felt "ok." Now I'm reduced to a sad sack of complaints groans, crying spells and general unhappiness. I do think that mentally it all makes sense, it's natures way of tricking you into looking forward to delivery because you've officially gotten to the point where you will do anything to "get this baby out of me." To be fair I don't think baby boy is sailing around in paradise either, it feels like the poor guy it running out of room in there. So needless to say I think we're both ready for that due date to be here yesterday.
It's definitely all about comfort at this point and with this being my second pregnancy I've learned some lessons and also picked up some unpleasant side effects I never had with my first (namely heartburn and "that which shall not be named" ladies I think you know what I mean...). The things I'm about to list below are what keep me chugging along daily and provide some relief, comfort or are just plain indulgences which we all need from time to time:

bump nest pregnancy pillow - GET ONE RIGHT THIS MINUTE. It is an absolute mystery to me how I made it through my last pregnancy without one. This behemoth (and it really is a monstrosity and heavy as all get-out) is my best friend - soft as a baby's bum and plush it's THE only reason I get any sort of sleep at this point. Every night when I crawl into bed my body just melts into it. LOVE.

prenatal yoga - between moving and hauling around an almost 30 pound toddler all day my poor back and hips are worn out by the end of each day. Sometimes it gets to the point where I literally cannot get out of a sitting position. That's when I know it's time for some yoga. I don't have the endurance for more than 20 minutes but even that is enough to open up my hips again and relieve some of that pain and pressure. 

baths - I'm on a daily bath schedule at this point and it's one of the things I look forward to the most at the end of the day. If I'm feeling especially fancy I'll throw in a Lush bath bomb and pretend that I'm not pregnant, if even for just half an hour. It is glorious. 

target antacid flavor chews - I've been getting the worst heartburn this time around. Part of it is definitely all the McDonald's runs (lets get real here shall we? I really don't have the energy to cook my toddler three meals a day and then cook three more for myself, it's just not going to happen at this point) but part of it is just what happens, especially during the third trimester. Since I despise chalky tasting things I got these citrus flavored chewables instead. They're still a bit chalky but not nearly as bad as Tums. 

M&M's - I don't think these need any sort of explanation. 

hanky panky thongs - to put it bluntly: nothing. else. fits.

target tanks - I pretty much exclusively wear these with my trusty maternity leggings at this point. I also sleep in them. You really don't need "maternity tanks," these will do just fine and you can usually get them on sale for less than $7. I have like a hundred. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

when life throws crayons at you

I write this because the words "you are not alone" are what helped me fall asleep with a little bit of a glimmer of hope the other night. I write this in hopes that for those of you out there that know you will find some shared comfort.
I feel that all too often we are presented with two very one-sided views of parenting; there is the "it's a total crap shoot all the time" view or the "glory, glory, glory all day long it's nothing but glory." For me, more often than not it's somewhere in the middle. True there are some days that are truly glorious and tantrum free. On the other hand there are also days that I lock myself in the bathroom and day dream of a Thelma & Louise type of escape (sometimes I'll throw in dying my hair blonde and changing my name to something charming like Wendy). Parenting a toddler is rocking my world and throwing me for a total loop. There is no book on earth that could have prepared me for the work involved in molding, directing, fostering, cherishing and protecting a person of such tiny stature but such a vast mind and multi-faceted soul. Navigating this path between allowing her personality to blossom and reigning in the id to some degree is more exhausting than anything I've ever experienced.
In one swoop this barely two foot tall person can strip you of all your dignity, make you feel completely inadequate as a human being and leave you feeling utterly helpless.
This past weekend papa bear and I drove home in silence after having escaped what was to be a lovely family dinner. The meltdown began mere minutes after we had ordered and so I hid in the ladies bathroom (to the sounds of angry cries and a lot of food stomping) while papa bear boxed up all of our food and signed the check. We were officially "those people." And yes, I noticed every glare.
Once we had some time to regain composure we began a conversation we've had way to many times about "well we really do need to start some sort of disciplining plan." Because toddlerhood really sneaks up on you. It's so incredibly difficult to go from dealing with a baby where any time they cry because they need something you must react immediately and give them what they want to dealing with a toddler where you essentially must learn to do the opposite. And I know it's difficult for Birdie too, to grasp why all of a sudden her every whim and desire is not being responded to in the way that she has become accustomed to. It's hard for all of us. And some days (lately it feels like most days) I feel like I fail. I want to be both firm and loving and finding that perfect balance is next to impossible so I either feel like the worst mother ever because I've been a door mat or once again the worst mother ever because I had to be firm and witness tantrum after tantrum in response.
Parenting is frustrating and exhausting and will bring you to your knees. But it is also rewarding in ways that nothing else can even remotely compare to. It's not all picking out cute outfits and cutting sandwiches into animal shapes. It's really hard work that will drain you of all your blood, sweat and tears. Yes, children are glorious. They're imaginations are magical and their smiles and laughter can ward off even the worst of moods but they are also people who will one day grow up to be a grown woman or man and you will bear responsibility for just what kind of woman or man they are. Not total responsibility (the age old "nurture vs. nature" debate can rage on for centuries) but still, I think most of us dream of being able to feel like we "raised them right" at the end of the day. And unfortunately, the "raising" doesn't only happen while having a jolly time reading books and playing peek-a-boo it also happens when you tell them that they can't have any more apple juice and they must finish their dinner or when you try and teach them that tearing into every packaged toy at Target is not appropriate.
Sometimes I wish child rearing was as effortless as it was for the Dowager Countess ("Yes, but it was an hour EVERY DAY!), where I could just waltz into parenting for the lovely instagram worthy moments of joyous play or show up when it's time to run through a field of daisies. Instead I am here 24/7 for the middle of the night wake ups and the meltdowns and the dance parties and the heartwarming moments as well as the horrifying ones. Because children aren't toys, they're people and they have bad days too and yes, they can be downright mean sometimes and you have the honor of getting to witness it all.
My parents tell me this too shall pass and I believe them. There were days when Birdie was a newborn where I was sure I couldn't survive another week and yet the entire newborn phase was over in the blink of an eye. So I know the tantrum phase will pass and she will mature and learn to express herself better. But I also know that with the passing of one phase comes the next and it is often more difficult than the last and so what are we left with? I'm not going to pretend to know. All I can say is what I've been doing, which is - taking it one day at a time and cherishing the good and doing my best to change the bad or just have more patience. And sometimes I just eat a lot of candy and then reward myself with a meal from McDonald's (did you know you can get a free "snack size" McFlurry with any large meal??? AH-MAZING!!!)