Friday, July 30, 2010

Outta here!

I haven't been away on my own without my kids for almost four years. 

That's changing in t-minus 5 hours and counting.

It's Girls' weekend this weekend! 

A bunch of my birth-y friends, including the midwife and doula who were at Max's birth, plus all the girls I worked with in my former life as a doula are coming.  We're spending the weekend at a cabin in Boulder, UT where we plan to stay up way too late, eat tons of junk food, and do lots and lots of laughing.

And did I mention that I won't have any kids crawling on me, or fighting for attention, or destroying things, or bickering for two whole days?  I may not come back!

It's ok, you can be jealous. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I am 21 weeks pregnant today, and holding my breath.  I started spotting yesterday.  Mild, pink spotting.  Two midwives telling me "It's most likely nothing to worry about" spotting.  But that doesn't stop me from worrying.  Because somehow in the midst of the "Are you kidding me?  Now!!??" reaction to the initial positive pregnancy tests, and the weeks of negativity that gradually led from ambivalence to acceptance to excitement, I've become very attached to this little person growing inside of me.  I can't wait to meet him or her (and find out if it's him or her!) and add their personality and prescence to our home.

I feel the baby move every day, several times a day.  I adore that feeling, and the secret communication between my baby and me always brings a smile to my face.  Ashlynn felt the baby move for the first time tonight, the first of the family to have that physical manifestation of his or her prescense. 

I've never spotted in any of my healthy pregnancies. 

It could be nothing.  It could be something.  There's nothing for me to do now but wait it out, and see what presents itself. 

We have had so many medical dramas, surgeries, trips to doctors offices and emergency rooms in the past two years that psychologically, it's hard for me to fathom that something could go smoothly, normally, or proceed without a hitch. 

I am clinging to my deeply-held belief that birth is normal, that my body isn't broken, that I know how to grow, nourish, and birth a healthy baby. 

I am 21 weeks.  I have 3-4 weeks left until the baby is considered viable, and a good 16 weeks before we're considered full term. 

I'm hanging on for the ride.  Prayerful, emotional.  Hopeful.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Put a plug in it!

Aaah, the binky.

Despite our best efforts, none of my kids have ever wanted anything to do with them. 

And we tried.  Oh, we tried.

Abby, Miss "If you don't hold me a certain way, and sing a certain song, and keep pacing the house until you collapse from exhaustion I'm going to scream bloody murder for the next three hours" wouldn't even entertain the thought of something else besides my breast in her mouth.

Ashlynn did a bit better.  I think she took the binky once or twice, giving us a false sense of hope before she refused it all together at the ripe old age of one week.  She of course chose the first night I was home alone with two babies, when her sister was bleeding all over the kitchen, and she was covered head to toe in poop to decide she wasn't going to take the binky, but that's a different story all together.

Max took one occasionally as an infant, usually when he had gorged himself on breastmilk and was still wanting to suck.  Then, when he was in the hospital for his first surgery, a certain binky became an absolute lifesaver.  Since he was denied nursing and bottles for so long, the binky became his best friend. 

Tom and I started joking about how we would never be able to break him of the binky habit, and we'd have one of those five year olds who take their binky out of their mouths, carry on a conversation with you, then pop it back in.  But as soon as we returned home, he spit it out vehemently every time it was offered.  Bad memories, I guess.

That is, until now. 

Somehow, we have quite a collection of the darn things at my house, despite the fact that no one uses them.  (Check that- I often find Ashlynn with a binky in her mouth, chomping away happily.  Nostalgia?  Regret?  Who knows.)  So the other night, I put Max on the bed and went into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth, dothe whole routine before bedtime.  I came out a few minutes later to find Max, dead asleep on the bed, with a binky in his mouth.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Not just because of the binky, but because he never goes down that easily!

So the next night, I decided to test the theory out.  I gave him a binky, laid down next to him, and five minutes later, he was out.

So yeah.  Now, two weeks later, I have the nearly two year old kid who won't sleep without a binky in his mouth. 

I'm trying to decide how I feel about the whole thing.  But right now, I'm thinking that if it gets us more sleep at night, then who cares?  He won't still be five and still want the binky, right?


Thursday, July 22, 2010


And I've got a bad case of the blahs.

It's been in the high 90s for the past week or so, I'm 20 weeks pregnant, and our house has no air conditioning.  By 2:00 in the afternoon, I feel like a great big puddle of pregnant goo.  All I want to do is lay on the couch with three fans pointed at me and alternate reading a good book with taking naps all afternoon.  Unfortunately, this doesn't play out well when you have three children.

My girls are also full of the blahs.  Their cases present with a pathological desire to watch "Phinneas and Ferb," play Wii all day long, bicker with each other constantly, and argue with everything I say.

Needless to say, we're all getting on each other's nerves.

I wonder if my kids will ever pick up their clothes and wet towels without nagging, begging, threatening or reminding, and I just as often worry that I can't possibly be saving money for their shrink bills fast enough.

This parenting gig is hard work.  Its been especially hard lately as I struggle to be a good mom despite pregnancy exhaustion, juggling three kids, and my own massive faults. 

This past week or two has served as a magnifying glass for me- making my shortcomings as apparent as a zit under flourescent lighting. 

I know I've been here before- there are lows just as there are highs, and I have to ride through the one in order to enjoy the other.   I know that my kids aren't going to die from being yelled at, and I won't die from wet towels left on the floor.

And I also know that if things in our home are going to change, it's up to me to make the changes.

It sucks to be the grown-up sometimes. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This conversation actually happened

My dear sweet husband sat down on the couch tonight to clip his toenails.  I may have found his toenail clippings on the floor once or twice before. (Or maybe it's been more times than I can count.)  So I very nicely said, (in what was probably a slightly disgusted voice)

Me: "Honey, please don't leave your toenail clippings all over the floor!"
Him: (exasperated sigh) "I won't!!"

An hour or so later, I walked past the couch in question, noticing some very prominent clippings. 

Me: "Tom!  You left your toenail clippings on the couch!"
Tom: "Well you told me not to leave them on the floor.  I didn't leave them on the floor, I left them on the couch.  I was just being obedient."

It was my turn for an exasperated sigh.  And for a sudden burst of understanding about why, after eight years, my daughter still won't pick her wet towel up off the floor.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's a...


A healthy one.

And despite all my pleadings on the way to the appointment, (when I thought my husband might actually cave,) and my beggings while I was laying on the table covered in all that lovely, oh-so-warm ultrasound goo, (when I swear he almost changed his mind,) we still don't know if we're having a boy or a girl.

The great news is, though, that everything looks great with the baby, whoever he or she might be. 

According to the ultrasound, the baby weighs about nine ounces, and is measuring small, around the 30th percentile or so.  Not at all concerning considering I've had two six pound babies at term, so this little one is following in big sister and brother's footsteps.

We were able to visualize 3 open skull sutures, and although that really means nothing in terms of the wonderful world of craniosynostosis, I was happy to see a nice little round noggin.

We also found out that I have marginal placenta previa, but as of right now, it's absolutely nothing to worry about.  Even the Doctor who diagnosed it, who knew we are planning a homebirth and actively discouraged it, didn't tell us that it was a reason to worry at all. 

I'm scheduled for a repeat scan at 32 weeks, both to check on the skull sutures and monitor the previa.  I'm more worried that I'll be able to stay strong and not ask about gender than I am about a problem with either one of those. 

As we were leaving, Tom told them to make a note in my chart that I'm not allowed to ask about the gender when I'm there next.  They all got a good laugh while I rolled my eyes.

And I'm really hoping that the surprise at the end is worth it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To find out or be surprised?

Our "big" ultrasound is scheduled for Friday.  Normally, the question on everyone's mind is what kind of baby are you having: pink or blue, brother or sister.

The other three times we've done the big ultrasound, we've gone in wanting and expecting to find out.  Twice, (with Abby and Max,) our intuition proved correct.  When I was pregnant with Ashlynn, neither one of us were certain until we saw the ultrasound.

Now my husband is pretty tolerant with some of my more crunchy habits, especially when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.  He knows how much homebirth means to me, and lets me go along with what I think is best, with few exceptions.  And since he so rarely has a strong opinion, when he does, I know I have to stand up and listen.

Except for the fact that he doesn't want to know if we're having a boy or a girl.

He wants to be surprised!

His theory is that since this is our last, and since we have some of each, there's no reason why we shouldn't wait until the birth to find out. 

Problem is, it's killing me not to know!  And I have absolutely no intuition either way, so I really do think we're going to end up being surprised. 

The girls are dying for a baby sister.  Ashlynn's reasoning is that she doesn't know what it's like to have a baby sister, because she's only ever had a baby brother.  They ask me almost every day when we're going to know if they're having a brother or sister, and then groan when I remind them that we're probably going to have to wait until December to find out. 

When I first found out we were having another baby, I could have sworn up and down that we were having another boy.  After all, in my neighborhood, there are at least ten boys to every girl.  Over the weekend, we went for a cookout with three other families, and there were fifteen kids between us.  Only three are girls, and two of them belong to us.  It's a big joke around our neighborhood that we just don't know how to make girls.

Although the past few weeks, I'm feeling much more girly.

In the beginning, Tom was thinking girl, and now he's convinced we're having another boy. 

I keep telling him that it will just take one little peek and we'll end months of wondering.  He always laughs, and asks why we would want to miss out on five more months of these discussions.

I've been to several births as a doula where the parents didn't know their baby's gender beforehand, and they were always so fun.  Not only were they meeting the baby they'd been growing for nine months, but they also got to find out who that baby was.  And announcing the birth had the extra excitement of "It's a Girl!" or "It's a Boy!" instead of just telling everyone that the baby had been born.

But still.

I'm dying to buy teeny-tiny clothes, and I can't justify it because we have more than enough boy clothes, and I want to buy clothes in colors other than green and yellow!

Maybe not knowing will be great incentive when I'm in that "Why did I ever think a natural birth was a good idea and I just can't do this anymore" stage.   And deciding on both a boy and a girl name has given us and our families plenty of discussion material.

But I still can't help but hope that the technician slips on Friday.

How about you?  Did you know what you were having?  Did you ever want to be surprised?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Essential things every child should know

There are many important things to teach your kids.  You know, things like:

-Their name
-Their address and phone number
-Their parents' names
-How to tie their shoes and brush their teeth
-How to safely and, um, hygenically do their business while in the woods.

You may not think the last item to be so important.  But you're just going to have to trust me on this one.  I've never led you astray before, right?  You can thank me for the very important public service announcement later.

If you neglect this important teaching with your children, you may find yourself, say, at a cookout with friends in the middle of the mountains, having a great time, roasting marshmellows, and then being forced to clean up...

No.  You know what?  It's just too gross.  I'll spare you the gory details.

Let's just say we were sad to be the party poopers. Sometimes you just have crappy nights. (Bad puns very much intended.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The obligatory Fourth of July picture post

I think vacation picture-posts might be the modern day equivalent of the "sit down and watch our two-hour slide show from our camping trip" of years ago.

But secretly, I always liked slide shows.   So here you go, like it or not.

My parents have a second home in Torrey, Utah, just outside of Capitol Reef National Park.  It's an amazing place, with plenty of space for several grown siblings and their families to crash.  The property is also in the middle of some of what I'm convinced is the most beautiful scenery ever created.  Plus, it's only about three hours away, which makes it a perfect destination.  We've been making treks there since the kids were tiny, and I can chronicle their growth by the pictures we take in the same place every year. This year, my sister and her family were able to come, making it extra exciting.

One of the best things about it is the All-American small-town Fourth of July, complete with the parade that turns around and comes back after it's finished.  This year, Abby decided she wanted to bring her violin and play before the parade to help her earn money for her performing trip to Europe next summer.
She made almost $60 in just under an hour of playing.  There might be more busking in her future- she thought it was about the best thing ever.

And once again, Tom found himself with a face full of pie in the pie-eating contest

And just like last year, Max fell asleep from the sheer excitement of it all.

We spent plenty of time at the lake, where we found you can't drag Max out of the water even if his lips are blue and he has goosbumps the size of mountains,

The girls caught fish,

And Tom didn't, but not from lack of trying.

We played in more water,

then found our friends the Aardemas and dragged them and their kids to the lake too.

Yes, we wore our children and ourselves out.  So much so that the baby even fell asleep saying his prayers.

And now, despite the 14 loads of sand-filled laundry that awaits me, I am so glad to be home.  At least for another day or two, when we'll be ready for another vacation.
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