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This is Really Happening

Today, I had a midwife appointment. It was my 39 week appointment, even though I am technically not 39 weeks until about an hour from now. Technicalities. Not a big deal. Just being specific, I suppose. Anyway…I’m distracted already and I haven’t even gotten started! Everything went absolutely fine with the appointment. Baby is still head-down, her heartbeat is strong, my blood pressure is perfect, etc., etc.

I had noticed before I parked that there were no parking signs up everywhere around the birth center for a specific date (I want to say it was the 24th and 25th), so I asked about those and found out that there is a “Cruzin’ to Colby” event and they close off parking for the whole street and surrounding streets for it. Oy! How am I supposed to get to you guys if I happen to go into labor in the middle of the event?! So my midwife showed me the back door, the alleyway behind the birth center, and the parking garage that David can park in, all in the unlikely event that I go into labor on one of those two days. And I realized, all of a sudden, that I could go into labor any day now.

I’ve known this for a couple weeks. I mean, obviously! I’ve been counting the weeks and days and hours and minutes until my due date. I have joked about going into labor many times. I’ve felt that impatient feeling every mom gets at this point during her pregnancy, and cried over my clumsy, waddling, out-of-breath, uncomfortable state. I want to meet my baby. Even with all of that, however, it hadn’t really hit me that this baby could be born any day now.

Once it did, I had a mild panic attack. I sat in the drivers seat for a couple minutes before turning on the engine, and I just…panicked. I thought of how impatient I’ve felt with Briana lately, between my lack of energy and her being two and testing the limits. I thought of trying to keep up with the apartment and keeping everything tidy and how impossible that is with a small child running around.

I remembered those first few weeks after we brought Briana home as a newborn, and the crushing, frustrating, painful, horribleness that was my first attempt at breastfeeding. I remembered the postpartum depression, how isolated I felt, how I worried every second about what a horrible mother I was going to be, how I had no idea what I was doing. I remembered how much I cried those first few weeks, how, surrounded by people who loved me and wanted to help, I felt completely and utterly alone. I remember yelling at David for not doing enough, and him yelling back that every time he tried to help me I told him I could do it, and if I wanted help, I had to let him help.

I remember feeling this enormous pressure to be Supermom and do EVERYTHING myself, and when I did let people help, it was because I was literally so tired I couldn’t tell them no.

I remember the crushing guilt the time Briana was screaming for food, just before she turned three weeks old, and I felt like I was such a failure because I mixed her some formula instead of putting her to my breast.

And then, following that memory, was the memory of the look in my sleepy baby’s eyes when she finally felt full. Watching her fall asleep in my arms while I whispered to David that I was going to pump and give her my milk in a bottle from then on. The triumph of still giving her my milk even though putting her to my breast hadn’t worked out for us. Watching David’s face as he marveled in our new baby. Seeing him fall in love with this little pink bundle, and feeling my heart grow and grow and grow to make room for this new kind of love that only a parent can understand.

I remembered the morning newborn cuddles, and the first smiles, and her first belly laugh. I remembered the first time I successfully took her out by myself, and how proud and how absolutely terrified I felt every single time she learned something new. (That hasn’t changed.) I remembered crying and laughing at the same time the first time she rolled over, and bawling my eyes out and hating myself the first time she toppled over, even though she wasn’t hurt.

I sat in my car and played over my daughter’s first two and a half years of life in my mind, and I shook my head and laughed at myself.

I took a deep breath.

I’m going to have a baby any day now.

It’s going to be hard sometimes.

There will be days I will question my own sanity, and days I think I’m a terrible parent.

There will be moments when I don’t know which child needs me more in that moment, and moments when I make the wrong decision.

There will be times when I cry because I feel like there’s not enough of me to go around, and times when I feel guilty because my new baby isn’t getting the kind of one-on-one time that Briana got when she was brand new.

There will be messy rooms and dishes left undone and chicken nuggets for dinner three nights in a row.

But there is one big difference between the Jessica Mom of 2012 and the Jessica Mom of 2015.

Jessica Mom of 2015 knows how to ask for, accept, and be grateful for help.

I know now that I don’t have to be supermom, and accepting help doesn’t make me weak or make people see me as incapable. Accepting help means I will be better-rested, more focused, and less overwhelmed. Accepting help makes me nothing more or less than a human being who can’t do everything alone.

I’d say “I’ve got this.” But that would be inaccurate. “WE’ve got this.” David and I, and his parents, and my family, and our friends, and whoever else offers to help. Yes, there will be times when it’s all on me. But I’m the mom, and that’s okay. Knowing I have help? Knowing I can call my mother-in-law at 9 AM and say “I know it’s only 9, but dear Lord, I’m going crazy can we come over?” Knowing she’ll say “yes” in a heartbeat. Knowing I have a team of people, a family, right here on this train to Crazy Town with me?

Who needs to panic?

Let’s get this ball rollin’.

I’m going to have another baby.

It could happen any day.

And everything is going to be okay.

~A Very Human Mommy~

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Mommy as a Human

Making the Switch

On Friday the 6th, I had my last appointment with my OB. I went in knowing it would likely be my last appointment, and determined to keep my mouth shut and just get through it so that I could go meet with the midwife the following Wednesday and switch to them as my care providers for the remainder of the pregnancy.

I was nervous, and angry about being nervous, angry that my OB was so incredibly rude about my weight at every appointment that I had to feel NERVOUS before an appointment that should be pretty happy and relaxed. I mean, I’m having a baby, and that’s a happy thing, yes?

I had been so anxious about this appointment that for three or four days before the appointment I was barely eating and only drinking water. I wasn’t starving myself or anything (I do have a baby in there), but I wasn’t really eating enough. I went to bed hungry the three nights before my appointment, because I was so stressed about how much guff he would give me about how much I weighed. I told David “even if the midwife thing doesn’t work out, I have got to get a different OB. I can’t keep doing this before every appointment. It’s not healthy.”

At any rate, I survived the last appointment. My OB cautioned me yet again about my weight gain, while, confusingly, telling me that I was right on track with my weight gain. How can I be gaining too much but be right on track? Does this make any sense to any of you? No? Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one.

On Wednesday the 11th, I met with a midwife at a birth center just a few minutes away from the hospital I gave birth to my daughter in, where I had planned on giving birth this time before I finally decided enough was enough.

We walked in, and the women at the front desk greeted me in a very friendly way. No stuffy doctors office environment here! They waved me through to a waiting area that looked more like a living room in someone’s house (excepting the very high ceilings), and David and I sank onto a couch that was almost sinfully comfortable. (Though, I think I’ll have trouble getting out of it once my due date gets a bit closer!) There were beautiful photographs up on the walls of pregnant women and women holding babies. My OB office has some prints in their office of old-fashioned paintings, but none of them are very beautiful, and none of them catch your eye like these photos do.

We waited for a few minutes, and I found myself leaning comfortably against David with my head on his shoulder, completely relaxed and at ease, something I never feel at any doctors office normally. It was almost like we were sitting in a close friend’s living room instead of sitting in a waiting room. I quietly told David that even though we hadn’t met the midwife yet, I was almost sure this was where we were going to end up. “It’s amazing, what a different atmosphere this place has compared to where we’ve been going.” He nodded in agreement.

A friend of ours, who had actually recommended the birth center, came out of her appointment with her fiance and little tiny newborn, and we got to say hi and chat for a minute before the midwife came and got us for our consultation.

She led us to one of the birthing suites and told us to make ourselves comfortable. We sat on a couch while she pulled up a chair. About two minutes into our consult, I’d made up my mind completely, but I still asked a ton of questions and listened to her talk about how they do things at the birth center. My eyes kept getting drawn to the gigantic tub in the corner and imagining how amazing and helpful that would have been to have during my labor with Briana. (The hospital claims to allow you to labor in the tub, but the “tub” they are referring to is just the smaller-than-normal tub/shower combination in the bathroom in your hospital room. Not comfortable!)

I came with two pages of questions. By the time she had finished her spiel about the center and given out her info, there were only like three or four questions on my list she hadn’t already answered. We ended up chatting a bit about my first labor experience, and I told her what I wasn’t happy about looking back on it, and what I was hoping for this time around. I told her about my breastfeeding concerns, and about what happened with Briana having a tongue tie and undiagnosed lip tie, and how I was really nervous about trying again. When I mentioned my OB’s seeming obsession with belittling me about my weight, she was horrified, especially after I told her where I was at with my weight gain. “You’re perfect! Don’t stress about your weight, you’re completely healthy and on track.”

I walked into this place comfortable, and left completely and totally and utterly relaxed. I trusted and liked this place and these women more after a one hour conversation with them than I had trusted or liked my OB in the entire time I had known him. Making my next appointment with them, I told David it was like this huge ball of stress lifted off of my shoulders.

I’m excited. I’m REALLY excited.

This picture is the birthing suite that I have fallen in love with. The other room is beautiful too, but this room just feels like “home.” And check out that tub!

Anyway, I’m sorry for rambling on so much about it, I’m just…I’m happy. I’m relaxed. I feel like that baby and I are going to be well cared for, and all stress I was feeling about appointments has melted away.

 

I was too chicken to call my OB to “Break Up” with him, so I logged in online and canceled my appointments that way. I received a message asking if I was going elsewhere for my OB care, and I kept it simple and polite. “Yes, I am. Thank you for helping me along to this point, but we’ve found care elsewhere that fits our needs better.” It was better than “Yes and take your scale and shove it…”

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I also went to my first La Leche League meeting with my friend Victoria last night. Victoria is also the person who gave birth at the birth center and recommended I check them out. It was pretty cool! I’m excited about going. I’m definitely going to make it a monthly occurrence, or twice monthly if I can manage to make the new morning meetings they’re starting up next month. I got a lot of good info, and it was nice to just meet some new people, all moms, and just…exist. They’ll be a good support network once the baby is born and I’m trying to get into the swing of breastfeeding.

 

I’m going to try to write another blog tomorrow that will be all about Miss Briana. She’s getting more hilarious and frustrating and amazing as each day passes by. I’ve got some gems I want to share with you all!

 

As always, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to comment or share if you think it’s worth it. 🙂

Briana's Progress, Mommy as a Human

Good Surprises, Baby’s Name, and Briana Updates!

Today, we received our lease renewal offer from our apartment complex. We were expecting a huge jump in rent due to our apartment complex’s website’s stated “market rate,” and many of our neighbors moving and telling us rent was climbing too high to afford living here. I was prepared for the worst, and feeling completely overwhelmed about moving in the middle of a pregnancy and with David being unemployed. I expected at least a one hundred-dollar jump, but was actually expecting more along the lines of two or three hundred dollars.

So imagine my pleasant surprise to discover they had only upped rent by about twenty dollars, plus parking!

I feel so relieved. That is one ginormous load off of my shoulders. We’ve decided to renew our lease and stay here for at least another year. The baby will be in our room for at least a year anyway, and even after she turns one, she can share a room with Briana until we get our feet under us and are ready to move to a different place. Hopefully by then we’ll be able to rent a house, at the very least. I have to repair my credit before we can purchase. Sad day. But anyway.

Knowing that we’re staying here, I can stop feeling so stuck when it comes to figuring out how to prepare for baby! Before I felt like I couldn’t do anything, because what was the point of rearranging and reorganizing if we were going to have to pack everything up and move anyway?

David finding out that we were staying resulted in a very relieved expression and a visible relaxation in his shoulders…followed by him looking a wee bit harried as I started expounding upon all of my plans for organizing the apartment and our porch storage unit, downsizing and getting rid of some shelving that takes up too much space, de-cluttering everything, and rearranging our bedroom. I’d guess his stress comes from him knowing I’ll need a lot of help, and be giving him lists of projects, haha. Poor guy. He’s not a fan of change, even change as small as rearranging furniture.

Another positive today was my new breast pump showing up in the mail. My insurance covered it fully, and the company I ordered it through didn’t even charge shipping and handling! How cool is that? They also sent me six bottles for free, I’m guessing just because I ordered it through them instead of trying to figure out insurance by myself? Whatever the reason, it’s always nice to get free things, especially when it’s something I know we’ll use. I plan on exclusively breastfeeding, but I also want David and Briana to be able to get in on the feeding action, and having the bottles is handy!

Finding out that we have a place to live for the next year put me in a completely different mindset today. I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. David’s unemployment claim was also processed, so soon we will have a small amount of money coming in from that, which will help with not falling so completely behind while he looks for a new job. We have two really good ones that we are keeping our fingers crossed for, and then two that are kind of “meh” but that he would accept just in the meantime while looking for something better. Keep us in your thoughts!

I realized that I never shared our baby girl’s name with you guys yesterday, because I was so overwhelmed about the apartment thing. We have decided to name her Chelsea Rose. Chelsea is after my very close friend (who is also Briana’s godmother, and will be little Chelsea’s godmother as well), and Rose is after my husband’s grandmother, Rosie. We’re very excited to have another little girl. I’ve gone a bit crazy today since we found out we’re staying here, pulling out boxes of clothes and toys, sorting through everything. I’m glad that we are having another girl, because we can re-use everything. I would have been thrilled to have a boy, too, but it would have meant a lot of extra money to shell out for clothes and car seats and…everything. Hardly anything that we have from Briana is gender neutral. She was very much dressed in pink, girly stuff most of the time, and even her infant car seat has a pink plaid pattern!

I ordered a baby book for Chelsea already, I guess some people call them “memory books” but I think of them as baby books. It’s by the same company that made the one we used for Briana. I LOVE their products. C. R. Gibson has amazing quality stuff. If you’re looking for a good memory/baby book, go Google them! They’re a little more expensive than what you might find at Target or Wal-Mart, but the quality is great. (There’s my product plug, heh heh.)

I am sorry that my blog has been so negative for the past few posts. Life isn’t horrible, it’s just stressful right now. I’m truly trying to stay positive, but sometimes the fear and negativity takes over. And since I’m trying not to stress out the people I love, it has to have an outlet somewhere, and that’s usually my blog, unfortunately. Please try to stick around. I promise I will not be so doom and gloom ALL the time. 😀

Let’s see. A quick update on Miss Bri Bee before I go. Her vocabulary is expanding so rapidly that I literally cannot keep track of all the new words she throws at us in a day. Today alone I think I heard at least five new words and two or three new “phrases” that she has picked up from us. It’s mind-blowing! I love how quickly she learns, she’s like a little sponge.

She’s also definitely testing limits and pushing boundaries lately, figuring out how far she can go before we stop her. We’ve set firm limits and stick to them, and that seems to help. She pushes right up to the edge of the boundary, and sometimes puts a foot over, but when she knows she’s crossed the line, she gets her act together pretty quickly. She has learned how to say “I’m sorry,” and although sometimes she tests my patience and makes me want to scream, when I hear her little voice pipe up and say “I’m sorry, mama,” without prompting or pushing, it makes everything okay again. We’re trying to encourage her to use her words, and she’s trying really hard to do that. Except when she gets really angry or frustrated, and then she does the temper tantrum thing…we’re working on it.

It’s hard to give her the tools I know she needs, when the need for the words and tools doesn’t come up until she’s too upset to listen and absorb. I don’t know that prime teaching time is when she’s kicking her limbs and flailing about on the floor, hitting at anything or anyone that comes close to her. So I stand back and wait until she’s a tiny bit calmer and then kneel down and talk to her. “It’s okay to be angry (or frustrated or sad or whatever), but it’s not okay to hit (or bite or kick or run away or not listen). Okay? Let’s try to use our words next time. Say ‘I’m mad’ (or ‘I’m sad’) instead of .” I hope that’s helping. Sometimes it feels like I’m talking to myself, and I don’t really know if it’s an effective way to teach her, but darnit, I’m trying! I want to be a good mom. I try really hard to do the right thing. I worry that I don’t do the right thing more often than I do, but part of that is just me being hard on myself, I think.

Briana keeps running up to me and saying “Kiss the baby?” And then she likes to pull up my shirt and kiss my expanding baby bump. It’s adorable. I don’t know if she truly understands yet that there is going to be another baby in the house and she is going to be a big sister, but whenever we talk about the baby, she gets really excited. She loves babies, and she asks about her baby cousin (he’s about a year and a half old now) a lot and loves seeing him, but I don’t know how she’ll be when the baby is actually living in the house!

Briana is still obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, and insists on listening to it every time we are in the car, but at home she is more into Daniel Tiger, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and The Lion King right now. Thank goodness. I still love the Frozen movie, but I’m glad for a break from watching it so often.

I’m trying to figure out when we should potty train Briana. I tried on a whim today putting her in some underwear and taking her to the bathroom every half hour or so, but she didn’t pee on the toilet. She peed her underwear and then didn’t tell me about it. She didn’t act bothered at all by the wetness, so I’m guessing that might mean she isn’t quite ready? I’m very intimidated by potty-training. She did use the bathroom later in the evening, but that was after I had put her back in a diaper, and she randomly announced she wanted to use the potty. *sigh* I know we’ll get there eventually, but I was kind of hoping it would happen before Chelsea was born. I guess we still have about 20 weeks to make it happen. 😀

That’s all I can really think of for now, and I guess the blog is getting kind of long today. Hope you’ve enjoyed it more than the last couple though! I’ll be back soon with more updates. 😀

 

 

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Real Life Stuff

We are having another girl! I am very excited, and so is my husband. Psyched in fact. We have already picked out her name, and I am over the moon about Briana having a sister. I always wished for a sister growing up. I loved my two brothers (still do, hehe), but having a sister would have been nice. I’m jealous of the relationships that a lot of people I know have with their sisters. Even when they are fighting like cats and dogs, they love each other and are there no matter what. And there’s just something special about a relationship between sisters. I’m glad that Briana won’t miss out on that.

Having another girl is exciting just in and of itself, too. I get to say “my daughters” now. 🙂 I picked up two small little tiny newborn outfits for our baby girl at Target the other day. She will mostly live in her older sister’s hand-me-downs, at least for the first few years, but I wanted her to have a few new things to call her own. She’ll also be using her sister’s old infant seat (it’s not expired until 2017, I checked), her sisters old crib, Rock n Play Sleeper, bouncy seat, and the list goes on…It’s nice to not have to put out a bunch of money to buy new non-pink items.

Speaking of money…

Hubby still has not found a new job. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but we’ve had a couple of really exciting opportunities crop up…and then let us down. It’s frustrating. With a baby on the way and a probable move needing to happen in February, we are left with my piddly income, not sure when unemployment will come in, not sure what our income will be when he finds another job, worried about maternity leave and where we will be living when the baby comes…

He doesn’t know it, but I broke down in tears tonight. I was searching online for apartments, and I realized that, without another source of income other than mine, we will qualify for practically nothing. Here we are, needing a bigger place, and I’m sitting here going “we won’t even be able to afford a SMALLER place!”

I am trying to have faith that everything will work out for the best. Trying my darndest. But with a two-year old and a baby on the way, it’s really difficult to survive on just hoping.

There are places where rent is based on income, but those places have long waiting lists. I’m calling tomorrow to put my name on ALL of them in the area, but I honestly doubt that, without some kind of miracle, our name will make it to the top of the list inside six months. And we need to move next month. So, you know, you see how this is going?

I am just feeling so completely and totally overwhelmed. I’ve been praying for a solution, hoping, praying, hoping, praying, screaming and yelling and crying and raging and begging…for two years now. I’ve been trying to be faithful that everything will work out. And it’s NOT.

*deep breath*

This is a new year. This is GOING to be our year. It HAS to be. I am tired of trying so hard to make everything work, climbing those stairs day after day, throwing my whole self into keeping our lives in some semblance of order, and having everything crumble under my feet time and time and time again.

I think it’s hitting me so hard this time because I finally allowed myself to hope. I finally told myself “everything really is getting better!” David was working, feeling better, working HARD, and we were finally starting to pay off tiny amounts of debt and get caught up on bills, I was finally starting to feel like we had this in the bag, and then WHAMMO everything crumbled again, and it hit me three times as hard as it would have if I hadn’t let myself BELIEVE everything was getting better.

What’s really hilarious, in a sad kind of way, is that we are currently 100% caught up on bills, excepting our credit cards which are ludicrously behind. So, with David’s final paycheck, which did not have any kind of bonus or vacation time, just his pay for his last two weeks of work, we were there. We got caught up. We still needed to work out the credit cards, but our vital bills, our rent and electricity, our phones and car payment, EVERYTHING is caught up right now. And because David got laid off, we are RIGHT back at square one starting on the first after we pay rent.

I am feeling so defeated.

I’m sorry for ranting, this is getting repetitive. Next time I blog I promise to try to be more positive and upbeat and talk all about baby stuff and toddler stuff and mom stuff.

But right now, this is real life stuff. And I just need it to get better.

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I know it’s been a while…

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, and there is a reason for that. But first let me just say that on November 5th, my baby girl turned 2. I can’t believe she’s two already! I swear we just brought her home from the hospital yesterday. The kid is growing up too fast for my liking. She can slow down any day now…

We took her to her well-child check-up at the doctor on Friday. She’s now 24lbs 12.8oz (25th percentile) and 34.25 inches tall (71st percentile). Her nurse-practitioner says that she is doing fabulously, hitting all of her milestones and looking great. We have a very healthy toddler on our hands.

Her vocabulary is getting larger every day, and she is definitely using her words to communicate more effectively. I noticed in just the last two or three weeks that she is really working hard to use sentences and communicate her needs and wants. And if we say “What, baby? I don’t understand,” she tries to repeat herself more clearly. It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch a toddler discover language.

I’ve stopped trying to keep track of every new word she learns, but if I had to guess is say she is somewhere between 200 and 300 words now. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

My favorite words in her vocabulary are “wuv you,” “hank you” (for thank you), “pwease,” “hug,” and “kiss.” Also story, book, and read!

Her favorite movies (which I know she shouldn’t have yet) are Frozen (“Elsa”), Happy Feet (“pen-gin”), and Finding Nemo (“fishy”). Her favorite show is Daniel Tiger, which she pronounces correctly. 🙂

She loves calling my dad (Papa) via FaceTime, and always wants to talk to my grandma (GG) too. She loves to read (well, flip through her books anyway) and be read to. She loves stacking blocks into towers (and subsequently knocking them down and yelling “oops!”) and she loves playing with her Little People toys and her baby dolls.

We were working on potty training her but it turned into a big struggle and she was in tears about using the potty, and I just decided it was too early. We will try again in a month or two…or three. When she seems ready to try again.

Our big battle for a week or so was keeping her diaper on her at night and during nap time. She was taking them off and then wetting her bed. I managed to stop that by putting a onesie on over her pajamas (or over her outfit for her naps) so that she couldn’t get to the diaper. This has worked for a couple of weeks…keep your fingers crossed that she doesn’t get more creative!

Anyway, that’s sort of what’s been happening with B!

So, now. Reasons for not blogging.

I’m really, really terrible at keeping secrets. Not when they are someone else’s secrets, but when it’s my own. I get really excited and just blurt it out. So I had to stop blogging until I was ready to share this one, because my fingers kept running away with me and blurting out my secret!

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On September 15, we found out that we are expecting. I am 12 weeks pregnant, and due May 26th, if you base it on my last period. If you base it on the measurements they took during my ultrasound, I am 11 weeks 5 days pregnant, and due on May 28th. Either way, we are so excited to have another baby on the way.

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When I was pregnant with Briana, we told everyone very early on. But since we miscarried Riley, I was scared. I didn’t want to share right away, I wanted to keep it secret and private and sacred. I told a few people, mainly family, a couple friends, but I didn’t want to blast it on social media or my blog until I felt more confident and sure that this time, everything was going to be okay. And I am just starting to reach that point.

I’m almost at the end of my first trimester. I have been feeling miserably nauseous for weeks now, and I’ve actually lost 8 pounds. (My OB isn’t worried. And I’ve stopped losing weight.) We saw the baby moving and gummy-bear like on the ultrasound in my 9th week, and last week I heard the baby’s heartbeat. 140 strong and glorious beats per minute.

My diet is terrible right now, but my OB instructed me to eat whatever I could stomach until I started feeling better. (Thank God for prenatal vitamins and omega 3 supplements!) So right now I’ve been eating a lot of Totinos pizza, tortilla chips with salsa (vitamin c!), baked potatoes, toast, toasted bagels, boiled eggs, and cereal. Sometimes I manage to eat a real meal, like chicken and rice, or breaded chicken and mashed potatoes. And I eat veggies and fruits as often as I can, too.

I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks I start to feel better. I’m getting tired of pizza, which takes some doing!!

Anyway, this blog is getting long. I just wanted to share our good news. I’ll try to be around more often!!