Tuesday, November 27, 2012

9 things I've learned about motherhood

I don't claim to be an expert, and I know I am still learning, but here are some things I have been pondering about what I've learned in my first two years of being a mother.

1. My bed is no longer mine
I don't like being touched while sleeping.  There were times when I was younger when I had to share a bed with my younger sisters and it drove me crazy when they touched me.  I remember one night when I slept in between my two youngest sisters when I was 20, which would have made them 10 and 12.  I did not sleep well because they kept rolling over onto me.

Being a mother has made me learn to deal with that.  It is amazing how much room a 3 month old takes up on a queen sized bed!  I usually fall asleep nursing him, and he isn't very patient with being moved.  Sometimes I insist on it, but other times he wins the fight and I sleep with him on the bed.  I get cramped because I sleep in weird positions to keep from sleeping on him or having the blankets cover him, but I do sleep.

Fortunately, my two year old prefers his own bed and doesn't come climb into bed with us right now.  I hope he doesn't move into one of those stages until the baby is sleeping through the night in his own bed.

2. Sleep anytime, anywhere
Before I had children I was a fussy sleeper.  I couldn't have light or noise, I always woke up to my roommates alarm (sometimes better than they did), I couldn't sleep in cars, and I needed to be covered up to sleep.

I can't be picky anymore.  The hospital rooms I slept in when I had my babies were never completely dark, and my husband is usually still up when I go to bed now, so there are lights on.  The only time I ever hear my husband's alarm is when I'm already awake.  I have fallen asleep on long car trips, and when I have nursing babies, I don't get covered up very well, because I don't want to risk smothering the baby.

The one exception is noise, or in particular, my children.  The right noise from my baby or toddler has me awake immediately, and sometimes up and running before I realize it.

3. Men don't hear anything!
At least my husband doesn't.  Once he is asleep, he is out like a light and never hears the baby cry, or the toddler come in the room at 5:30 am.  With our first, we used to take turns getting the baby for nursing, but I've given that up, because it takes 5 minutes to wake him up properly, by which point the baby is angry and very awake.  It's easier to just grab him myself.

4. Privacy and personal space no longer exist
My toddler insists on following me into the bathroom, and he loves to climb up on my lap and crowd as close as possible when I am on the computer.  The only reason he isn't on me right now is because he is playing blocks with Daddy.

5. Modesty is a non-issue
At age two, it really doesn't matter what they see.  They won't remember it, and they aren't that far off from nursing anyway.  I walk around in my underwear and change in front of my kids.  As they get older, I'll have to be more careful about those kinds of things I suppose, but one thing I will never be anal about?  Nursing.  As long as I have babies, I will nurse them openly in front of my children.  I want them to understand that nursing is a natural thing and to be comfortable with it.

6. My private time is subject to revocation and without advance notice
I rarely get to spend as much time in the bathtub as I would like because the baby will wake up and need nursing, or the toddler will get sick.  I don't get to read without interruption, and I certainly don't get computer time alone, my toddler loves the computer.  My husband is great about helping me get some private time, but he can't nurse the baby, and if both kids are needing attention, I feel guilty leaving him to deal with them.

7. Laundry is a bottomless pit
I only have two kids and laundry is NEVER done.  I can't imagine what it'll be like when we have the full set.  As soon as the last load gets put away, the next load is ready to wash.  I love having my washer and dryer where it is because it's central and easy to keep up with the clothes.  I'm not really looking forward to having it downstairs in the house we are buying because it will make it more complicated. 

8. Women are stronger than the cliche
Illustration:  Me carrying a purse, the baby in his car seat, three bags of groceries, and a thirty pound toddler all at the same time.  Need I say more?

9. Gross things aren't so gross anymore
Before I had kids, seeing someone else throw up made me want to throw up, as did the idea of having to clean up someone else's vomit.  Now I clean up vomit, snotty noses, and extremely nasty leaky poopy diapers without turning a hair.  But I still let my husband take care of spiders when he is home!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random cuteness

Aiden, the day after the elections, reminding me how wonderful life is.  So adorable!
Mason and Aiden this afternoon during nap time.  Mason loves to have Aiden on his bed for a bit, and Aiden wasn't too tired yet, so was being very cute with him.

He's so fascinated!

It seems so grown up! My boys love each other!
And video:

And one day we were at my mother-in-laws and wanted to put Aiden in the Johnny Jump-up (see following video) and so we put Mason in the pack and play to keep him from bugging Aiden.  To our surprise, he loved it! So cute!
And video:


We went and saw grandma and aunties in Spooktacular this year.  Mason was dressed up as a cat in a costume his great uncle originally wore years ago. Very cute!

He loved his tail, and wasn't too terribly found of the hat.  Kept taking it off, but holding onto his tail.

He was pretty brave through most of the night, wandering off on weird paths and having to be snagged by aunties, some of whom were acting in the skits.

Aiden was a dragon, wearing a costume sent by Auntie Amber, that her daughter wore last year.  Very cute!  The tail was as long as he is tall!

Then we had trunk or treat the Friday before Halloween.

Here we have the princess and the dragon.

And these next pictures don't exactly fit with Halloween, but it was Mason's first attempt at dress-up games.  First he made me put my hoodie on him.  Then, when he got frustrated that the sleeves wouldn't stay up, I got creative with ponytail holders.  Then he brought me his belt.  Finished product?  Reminded me of a sith lord.
Evil Darth Sidious!
Such a cute boy!


Aiden's blessing outfit

Mason was blessed in a cute little outfit made by my Mom.

So we decided to bless Aiden in an outfit my mother-in-law had for him:
This is the same outfit Mike wore when he was blessed 29 years ago.  Probably around the same time too, their birthday's are a week apart.

We didn't get pics of him that day, unfortunately, so I decided to get him in it before he completely outgrows it.  Such a big boy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dreaming of our house

With us working on buying our first house, I've thinking a lot about how great it is going to be, and I've come up with a couple if lists:

Things I will not miss:
Cigarette smoke in the entryway and the smell seeping into our apartment
The neighbors taking all the parking (we'll have a garage!)
Hearing people thumping up and down the stairs on the other side of the wall while I'm trying to sleep
Hearing the upstairs neighbors little girl crying all hours of the night
Having Mike's office taking up half my living room
Plain white walls
The mailman who can't distinguish B from D
The extreme lack of space
Having our "storage" closet practically inaccessible
Having the changing table in the front room
The fridge here- half the shelf space in the doors is unusable since the bars are missing

Things I am looking forward to:
Having cats
Having a fenced backyard for Mason (and eventually Aiden) to play in
Being close (extremely!) to family
Having an office
Having closet space in our bedroom
The linen closet
Not having to use family's homes to store our stuff
Having a trunk- finally cleaning out all the stuff in it
Having a pantry
Having a big basement (ie. room to grow!) 
The permanency! No moving every year or so
Not having to depend on a potentially lazy landlord to handle problems
Being able to make changes in my house
Mike finally hanging all our pictures
The huge bathtub
Having space for people to visit us comfortably
New bookshelves to replace the ones that are being held together by duct tape and faith
Being able to organize better

Things I will miss:
My current ward
Having the washer and dryer in my kitchen- easy laundry!
The dumpster (the place we are moving has a maximum of two large garbage bags per week per household!  and I have two kids in diapers!  I'll have to get good at recycling)
The big playground type toys our  neighbors have out back
The close park
Having someone else responsible for repairs
The creek near our house
My life for the month or so it will take to get the house ready for us to move in
Having Wal-mart practically across the street
The cool little ledge that runs through the entire apartment

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feeding the ducks

We decided to take Mason to the lake to feed the fish, but we forgot how early it gets dark now, so the pier was closed and we couldn't see the fish anyway.  But the ducks were there!  They were probably more fun anyway.

Labor Day weekend

Tutu, Grandpa Eric, and Uncle Todd came to visit for Labor day weekend!  It was their first visit with baby Aiden.
They were so happy to see him! And they had brought a present for Mason, so he wouldn't feel left out.
He didn't let it go all weekend.

We all spent Sunday evening at Great-Grandma Wheeler's with Tom and Gina and the Paulins.  Tutu and Grandpa Eric vied for the baby.

Monday we spent the day at Grandma's house.  They made homemade root beer and got a little carried away with the dry ice.
 It bubbled the root beer all over the floor! Then Aunties, Uncle and Daddy took Mason outside for slip-n-slide time.  Mommy was out of it by then, worn out completely.

He likes being wrapped up in towels.  Labor day was fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making cookies!

Mike decided to make cookies on Sunday: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies!  Yum!  And Mason helped with most of it.  I was in the living room with the baby the whole time.  At one point I heard Mason start to cry, and Mike came running in laughing, looking for the camera.  Apparently, Mason had made a mess with the flour.

If you look close you can see his footprints in the flour.

Mason has become kind of finicky lately, he gets upset when he gets dirty, but only certain kinds of dirty.  He doesn't mind dirt, he likes to throw it on himself, but chunks of things, like mud, spaghetti sauce, that kind of thing?  Freaks him out until you clean him off.  I guess the flour qualified.
  And here is a video of the last part.  I helped put the cookies on the tray.

Jeremy's wedding

Uncle Jeremy got married August 10th.  Two uncles married during the same pregnancy. 

I was still pregnant when they got married, which meant I was able to help out more with the reception than at the last one.  The last one, I was in the throes if morning sickness and Mason was extremely clingy.  This one I helped make up the salads. Mike called me the kitchen queen.
I loved this board, so cute!
Such a cute couple!
Mason wore the same outfit he wore to Uncle Jeffrey's wedding, it still fit him.  I don't have any good pictures, he was a blur in most of them, but I have a couple of cute videos.  He stole the show during the first dance, and then he made me pick him up during the boot scoot boogie.  It's hard enough to do that dance almost 10 months pregnant, without being that pregnant and holding a two year old as well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Next step. . .

Mike and I are looking into possibly buying a house now.  We NEED a bigger place, we are in a tiny (emphasis on tiny) two bedroom basement apartment and we are cramped.  Mike's office is now in the living room, making it much smaller, and with Mason's toys all over the place, things aren't fun.  Our bathroom is so small, I can't imagine how we'll fit a little potty in it when we try to potty train Mason, and his bedroom is basically a large closet.  The only nice thing is the kitchen is pretty large, and the rent is dirt cheap.  Oh, and I LOVE having my washer and dryer so easily accessible, having it downstairs is no fun, especially when I am pregnant.

Anyway, we've been talking about buying a house after Aiden is born for months, and now that he is born, we are looking into it more seriously.  And what appears to be the perfect house has fallen right in our laps.

My in-laws had a neighbor die in April, and his daughter is trying to get the house ready to sell.  It is about 50 years old with newer A/C, furnace, etc, and is in decent shape, but the interior desperately needs some paint and the hardwood floors need refinished.  Because of that, she is willing to sell it pretty cheaply- $35,000.  All the work that we can see that needs done is work that we can do by ourselves or with the help of family and friends.  We just need to get the house inspected to make sure that it is FHA worthy, since we have been pre-approved for a FHA loan.  And figure out how much insurance and utilities will amount too. But unless those cost A LOT more than I think they will, we will be paying less per month than we are now, and will have much more space.  It's three bedrooms, one and a half baths, with an unfinished basement.  Which means plenty of storage space AND room for growth.  And it has a fenced in back yard (oh for a place for Mason to run around!) a one-car garage, and a covered carport with a gate.  We are really excited about the possibilities here, and are hoping it works out.  I want to be in it by the end of the year if possible, although it needs a lot of painting and we would want to do all that first.  But it's possible!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I have been thinking a lot about a reaction I got to my post about having the baby, specifically about a comment I made about feeling like I wasn't up to natural childbirth.  I felt bad about it, I didn't want to make anyone feel like natural childbirth is the "only" way to give birth.  I personally feel it is the best option for me and my children, but everyone needs to make their own decisions.

Looking back, the main reason I was so upset about not being able to handle the pain was because of my previous delivery.  I was in labor with Mason for two days on the pitocin.  Granted, the first day I hardly felt a thing, but the second day, after they turned it back on, the contractions became very intense and I was in a lot of pain for 5 hours or longer.  The only way I kept going was because I was convinced that soon I would be dilated enough (5 centimeters) to get off the pitocin and labor naturally for the rest of my labor.  But when they checked me at the time that they hoped I'd be ready, I wasn't even close.  At that point, I decided to get an epidural for two reasons: 1) I couldn't handle the pain any longer with no apparent end in sight, and 2) my midwife warned me that if I didn't relax, nothing would continue, and I would likely end up getting a caesarean.  So I had good reason to believe that I could handle the pain of labor, especially because everyone tells me that pitocin contractions are worse than natural contractions.

So it is understandable that, after less than 2 hours of labor, when I began thinking I needed drugs, I started to wonder what had changed in the past 2 years to make me unable to handle the pain of such a short period of time.  And I was certain the pain would last several more hours, and that I couldn't  handle it for more than another half an hour or so.

I repeat, I feel that natural labor is the healthiest choice, and hoped I would be able to have a natural delivery, but I don't say everyone has to take that path.  Every woman has to make decisions about what is best for them and their child.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After the birth

 Mike's grandparents had come out for Jeremy's wedding, and we were hoping they'd get to see Aiden before they left, but didn't think it was likely, since their flight left at 1 yesterday.  But as soon as they told me I was dilated to a 9 at 7 am, one of my first thoughts was, "Grandpa and Grandma will get to see him!"  My mother-in-law went to get them as soon as she heard he was born, so they were at the hospital before he was an hour old.
 Then Mason came that afternoon to see his baby brother.  We had planned out to try to help him accept Aiden.  When he came, I made a point of not holding Aiden, and he came and climbed on my bed and cuddled for a moment.  Then we brought Aiden over, and he lay on his lap, supported by me and Mason's big book.

Mason was fascinated by Aiden.  He looked at him like, "Wow, what's that?" and said, "Baby" when we told him this was our baby.  It was like he realized, "oh this is what Mommy has been talking about?"  He kept grabbing my hand to get me to uncover Aiden so he could look at him.  We have a Cabbage Patch doll at home wrapped up in the same kind of blanket the hospital uses, and I think Mason recognized that and wanted to see what was underneath.  But Aiden was asleep the whole time, so he got bored pretty quickly.  We gave him a present "from the baby" of a few matchbox cars, and he spent the rest of the time on my bed playing with the cars.  When Aiden woke up, we tried to get his attention again but by then he was bored with the fuss over the baby, and wanted to play with his cars. 

When it was time to leave, I gave him a goodbye hug, and he grabbed my hand and tried to tow me out the door.  He let his auntie pick him up and carry him out though without too much of a fuss though.  He does love his aunties, and at least he got to see me.  He'll be coming over again tonight for the pizza party the hospital is throwing us.  It's part of the extra package we paid for so that Mike would get meals as well as me.  This hospital doesn't automatically feed the spouse, and they don't have a setup to pay just for meals for him yet, so we get all sorts of little extras when we buy it, like a bathrobe and a candy bag, and a "special" meal.

Aiden's birth story

I have been praying from the beginning of this pregnancy to be blessed with a natural child birth.  I was induced with Mason, and it was not pleasant, I came too close to a caesarean for comfort, and I didn't want a repeat of that experience.  As time has gone on, it's become more urgent for me.  My midwives urged me to be induced at 42 weeks, but I made the decision to wait an extra week for induction, wanting to give him as much time as possible.  My mom had me 3 weeks late, and my sister's second was three weeks late, so there was some precedent for it.  I felt the baby just needed a bit more time.  As the time got closer to the date, our prayers became more urgent and intense.

I was grateful to be able to make it to Jeremy's wedding last Friday, which would have been less than certain if Aiden had been born early in the week, but I was uncertain as to what would happen.  Mike had given me a blessing promising a birth free of complications, and I was doing my best to maintain that faith, but doubts kept creeping in, especially with all the false alarms I kept having, when labor seemed to be starting, and then stopped.

Sunday morning, I woke up around 5 and went to the bathroom, and on the way there, I had quite a bit of fluid drip.  I thought perhaps my water had broken, but apparently not, because there was nothing else the rest of the day.  But I had had trouble falling asleep that night, and wasn't able to get back to sleep that morning.  I was having some contractions, and I ended up throwing up, so I made the decision not to go to church.  Mike went and took Mason with him, but came home early after being lectured by my uncle (leaving Mason at church with Auntie April in charge).  My Aunt Liz came over and gave me a foot massage, then we went to my in-laws for dinner, after loading the car up with our hospital bags and Mason's bag.  I was scheduled to check into the hospital at 5 pm for induction.

Before dinner, my father-in-law gave me another blessing, with the help of Mike, Jeff, and Mike's grandpa, who was visiting for the wedding.  We ate dinner, said goodbye to the family and Mason, and went to the hospital.

When we got here, there was a bit of mix-up, they apparently didn't know we were coming, so we had to wait awhile for them to prepare a room.  I spent a lot of time walking around, because it seemed to be having a good effect on my contractions, but around 8, I had to get in bed and stay there for 2 hours after they inserted the Cervidil, which is supposed to help the cervix get ready for labor.  They were planning on removing the Cervidil at 5:30 am, and then start the pitocin at 6.  The nurse brought me an Ambien to help me sleep, and before we went to bed, Mike prayed that things would start on their own before the pitocin was needed.

I woke up at 4 am, needing to pee, and then I couldn't get back to sleep.  I had some contractions (probably all night long) and felt that labor was starting.  By 5 am, I was sure of it, and when the nurse came in, she confirmed that things were starting.  No pitocin needed!  I was thrilled!  We texted Mike's brother around 5:30 to tell him that if Alexis was going to be there, she needed to come soon.  He decided to drop her off before work, which was a good choice.  She was there around 6.

The nurse checked my dilation, I had dilated to a 3, was still 75% effaced, and the baby's head was moving down.  She monitored me for twenty minutes, then took me off the monitors and brought in a birthing ball.  I asked about the Jacuzzi tub, and she said they preferred I wait until I was dilated to a 4 or 5 to use that, as it might relax me too much.  A bit after 6, I was in so much pain, that I asked the nurse again, and she said it was ok, so long as I didn't spend more than half an hour at a time in the tub.

Of course the tub took awhile to fill up sufficiently, so I wasn't able to get in it until about 6:30.  I remember, I was practically whining to Mike, the pain was so bad.  The tub helped a lot, but it was still extremely intense, and I started wondering if I was cut out for natural childbirth.  I felt that if this was going to be going on for hours, I would have to ask for drugs, which made me feel I had failed.  And that maybe I hadn't prepared properly.  I was feeling very down, and very wussy.  And I was afraid I was setting a bad example for Alexis, I had hoped this would have been a good experience for her.

Around 7, which was the time I would have had to get out for a bit, I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, and couldn't stop the urge to try to have a bowel movement in the tub.  It was the strangest feeling. I knew, intellectually, that the urge to push felt like needing a bowel movement, but I couldn't believe that it was time to push.  I got out, and went to the bathroom.  Every time I got back off the toilet, I would get back on when another contraction started.  Mike reminded me that it sounded like I needed to push, and I told him there was no way.  Finally he insisted on calling the nurse, and when she came in, she shocked me by telling me that I was now dilated to a 9 and yes, it was time to push.  All that was left was a bit of a lip over the baby's head.

I have to tell you, this made me feel a WHOLE lot better.  I had been feeling so wimpy, and the whole time, I was going through transition, and my body was booking through the labor process, so of COURSE it was painful, and of course I started thinking I needed pain meds.  I think most people feel a desire for meds during transition.

She called in a doctor and another nurse and they started getting stuff ready.  Someone said that if I wanted my midwife to be there I'd have to hold on, and I asked where she was.  When I was told she was at least half an hour away, not counting rush hour traffic, I said I wasn't waiting.  I couldn't NOT push when the urge came, and I wasn't waiting for that long.  I stood by the bed, pushing with the urge for several minutes, until my legs started to give out, then was on the bed without the stirrups.  It was interesting, I didn't feel the "ring of fire" with Mason, I didn't feel anything at all when pushing him out because of the epidural.  So I was surprised how quickly I could feel the head moving down, how quickly the "ring of fire" started, although it was obviously much more intense when he crowned.  I was actively pushing for about 17 minutes, and he was born at 7:55 am.  My midwife came in 3 minutes later.  She later said the nurses would be reminded about what to do when a patient is in that much pain.

Thermometers are mean!
He was (relatively) clean, there was a bit of meconium on him, and some blood, but they were able to put him up on me right away.  I held him for at least half an hour before deciding to let them weigh him, then got him back with just a diaper and nursed him for a bit.  He weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 22 inches long.  I had a second degree tear which was stitched up quickly, and that was it. 

Mike having me taunt the IV machine I never had to use
It's funny, Aiden pushed it as close as he could go.  An hour longer and I would have been on the pitocin.  And then, when he decided to some, he came FAST!  I was so grateful that I was able to do this labor on my own, without the pitocin.  I had started to wonder if there wasn't something wrong with me, that I couldn't labor without the help of pitocin.  I thanked my Heavenly Father last night for letting me have this birth work the way I hoped, and even faster than I had hoped.  I had figured it would go faster than the (two days!) labor with Mason, but didn't think it would be THAT fast.

So here are some pics of the cute baby to sum up my adventure.  Sooo worth it!