One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

I came into the bedroom to give Chelsea her bottle of milk. She still wakes up most nights around 1:00 to have a drink. She drank her milk and handed me her bottle, and then crawled into my lap (I had put her on my bed and sat next to her, that’s what she prefers at night).  She put her head on my shoulder, wrapped her arm around me, grabbed my shirt, and went immediately back to sleep. I’m still sitting here, ten minutes later enjoying the weight of her here on my shoulder. Smelling her sweet baby smell. Kissing her sweet little face.

I realized today that she doesn’t want to snuggle unless she’s sleepy anymore. I realized that although she wants constant reassurance that I’m still here, she’s more interested in chasing Briana around these days than cuddling with mama for very long.

She’s growing and changing so quickly. And I thought I was ready this time, that I knew how fast it would go. I was wrong. It goes so much more quickly when you have two to chase after and divide your attention between. And when you’re pregnant as well, everything goes on fast forward.

I realized that in 14 short weeks, she won’t be my youngest anymore. That I will have three babies to look after and love and chase and teach and giggle with and marvel over. That I will no longer have enough hands to keep hold of everyone when I am by myself. That someone will always be left feeling as if they are being cheated of my attention. 

But earlier, Chelsea fell, and I was all the way across the apartment, and she cried out that heartbreaking “I really hurt myself” cry, and before I could get to her, Briana was there. 

“It’s okay Chelsea, I’ve got you. Sissy is here. Did you get an ouchie? Do you need a Bandaid? Let me help you up.”

Chelsea stopped crying and let Bri help her up. Bri kissed her forehead and held her hand and said “Let’s be careful so you don’t fall, okay?” 

And my eyes welled up a little bit as Chelsea giggled and started walking along with Briana, not even looking around to see where I had gone.

And just like that, another stage passes. Just like that, they’re a second, minute, hour older. Every time you blink. Every time you glance away. Every time you sleep, wake up, and start another long and exhausting day.

Just like that they’re one step further away from you, one step closer to independence. They’re learning to lean on each other. They’re forming a friendship, and it’s the kind only siblings can have. It’s amazing and beautiful. 

And it means they need me just a little less. And that’s beautiful, too. And also a little heartbreaking. And a little scary.

Some days the thought of having another baby is completely overwhelming. I feel as if I can barely handle two. My PPD is under much better control now, but there are still days that I feel like I’m drowning. 

But then, on days like today, when Bri steps in and helps her sister, even with something small. When I hear her tell Chelsea not to do something so she won’t get hurt. When she sees me getting frustrated because the kids aren’t cooperating and says “I’m sorry mama. I’m ready to listen.”

On days like today, I know I will figure it out. That David will be there to help me. That David’s parents and my family and our friends will always be willing to reach out and jump in with extra hands when I need them. 

On days like today, I know I will be okay. On days like today, I hold onto the fact that all my babies are still little, and still need me, but that their growing independence will be what helps us transition from a family of four to a family of five. 

One step at a time. For them, and for me. For all of us.

Making the Switch

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. 🙂

I’ve Done All This Before

I’ve Done All This Before

My mother-in-law and I were talking yesterday about how different it is when you have your first baby as compared to your second baby.

Now, obviously, I haven’t actually had a second baby yet. We lost Riley early on in the pregnancy, and while Riley holds the “second baby” spot in my heart, Chelsea will be the second child I actually get to bring home.

But even not having her yet, it just feels different. I’m insanely excited to meet her, to match a face to the little ball of punches and kicks and twists and squirming that I feel on a daily basis. That’s the same. But everything else feels different.

I know what I really need and what I don’t. Diaper Genie? Nice, but not necessary. Wipe warmer? Briana lived without it. Baby powder? Nope, doctor says not to use it. Butt Paste? BUY TEN! So much if the advertising and marketing I see aimed at pregnant women makes me smile, because I remember fretting over what I actually needed and what I didn’t, and ending up registering for EVERYTHING in hopes that someone more experienced in the world of motherhood would figure it out for me.

I know what to expect during labor. I know I will survive labor. I know that I will forget the pain the moment I make eye contact and feel that little baby in my arms. I know that once I meet her, the world will fall away for an hour or more, and I will drink her in and love her and promise her the moon.

I know more than I did when I was pregnant with Briana.

I know that breastfeeding was a struggle the first time, but I also know that I have learned a lot and done a lot of research and created a breastfeeding support network for myself for this next go-round. I know that it’s what I want to do, and I am determined to make it work. I have armed myself with any and all knowledge that I can, and I am prepared in a way that I wasn’t the first time. I’m ready. I’m expecting difficulty but have a plan in place to push through it!

I know how to be a mom.

When I brought Briana home, I had never cared for a newborn, or even for a baby less than about 8 months old. I had held a newborn for maybe twenty minutes at a time, a few times in my life. I hadn’t ever changed a girls diaper. I didn’t know how to calm a fussy baby. But I learned so quickly. It just felt natural. And now, with another on the way, I am not frightened of bringing my baby home. I am confident and capable. I’m feeling very…powerful…in my role as a mother. I feel like being a mother is just what I was always meant to be.

I am a bit nervous about how Briana will receive her sibling, but I think that’s a normal worry, and I’m also confident we will handle the transition in whatever way we need to in order to make it work!

Another conversation my mother-in-law and I have had a few times is about the actual labor process. How, the first time you’re so scared, you just agree to what the doctors and nurses tell you to do without much argument, even if you don’t feel 100% confident that is the route you want to go.

I was happy with my hospital birth. I felt like I was well-taken care of. But the more I talked to other women and read birth stories and did research, the more I realized that although I had been happy with my birth experience, it wasn’t the experience I wanted for my second. I needed something different.

I have also become very disenchanted with my current OB. I don’t feel respected by him, I don’t feel listened to, and I feel very much as if I am being treated as a child. So I am switching providers, and also (pending a consultation on the 11th) going to a birth center and giving birth with a midwife instead of at the hospital with an OB.

I am very excited. It just feels right. I feel like I deserve to be listened to and treated with respect by the person I have chosen to provide care for me and my unborn child. I am not a child to be chided and shamed, I am a woman who has done all this before and is just looking to know that I and my baby are healthy.

Anyway… Rant over I suppose. I will keep you all posted about the birth center and midwife.

But in the meantime, just know, I’m feeling ready to bring the newest member of family into the world, ready to bring her home, and ready to expand my heart to make room for her.

My random blog…

My random blog…

My baby girl is learning several new words a day now. It’s so exciting, but also a little bit scary. It’s just one more thing to add to my growing pile of evidence that she is no longer a baby. She’s growing up. Stretching her little toddler world out a little bit more each day.

She’s got the funniest sense of humor. She doesn’t make jokes yet, but she is quite the comedian anyway, doing things just because she knows I think she’s funny. Today, she said “quack” when I asked her what a cow said, then busted up laughing because she knew that was wrong. Then she said “Briana silly, right mommy?”

I love it. I love her. So. Much.

Wow, pregnancy hormones hitting me right this moment! I am now sobbing because I love my kid so much. Woo hoo! At least no one is here to see me blubbering. You guys won’t judge me, right? 😉

I am going to try convincing my husband we need to take Briana to see Santa tomorrow at the mall. I am excited. And this time, I will try to wear something somewhat nice, so that when Briana freaks out and I have to join her in the picture, I won’t feel so frumpy and out of place.

So, apparently, I am having attention span issues today, and this blog is reflecting that. Welcome to the crazy train of Jessica’s thoughts.

Next subject.

We find out the gender of the baby on January 2nd. I am trying to decide if we want to do a gender reveal party or if we will just tell everyone. If it’s another girl, we probably won’t have anyone throwing a baby shower, but I want this baby to not feel left out some day when he/she looks at their baby book, so some sort of celebration or party is a must. Yes? Yes. (I am a second child, lol. Looking at my older brothers baby book made me a little jealous when I was a kid.)

But a gender reveal party may not work, because I have a big mouth. Secrets that belong to me do not stay secret for long! I get so excited. And my dad is coming to the ultrasound, so he will know anyway. Maybe a diaper party, where everyone just brings diapers. Or just a party! A celebration party. Woot! Meh. I’ll figure it out.

My hubby isn’t big on change, so when I told him we needed to rearrange our bedroom to accommodate a crib, he was not thrilled. He likes his desk where it is, thank you very much, and he doesn’t want to move the bed either. But he knows we need to, and I asked him if we could do it sooner rather than later. So we arbitrarily decided we would do it after we found out the gender of the baby. Yay!

I am a weirdo who gets strangely excited about moving furniture. It’s like a bedroom makeover! 🙂 I already know where everything is going, and I’m excited to set up the new baby’s space in our room.

I cannot believe that in four weeks, I will be halfway through this pregnancy. It has simply FLOWN by. Probably because Briana keeps me busy. 🙂

I’m becoming stressed about breastfeeding already. For those of you who weren’t following the blog when it was still MisAdventures of a New Mom, breastfeeding was a struggle with Bri. She had diagnosed tongue tie (which was corrected) and an undiagnosed upper lip tie, which was not corrected, and therefore caused all sorts of problems with her latch, and a lot of pain for me. I ended up expressing my milk and feeding it to her in a bottle for seven and a half months before switching to formula when I went back to work.

I am determined to be more successful at feeding directly from the breast this time, and I’m totally stressing myself out over it. I’ve been pouring over breastfeeding resources and joined a ton of breastfeeding groups on Facebook. I’ve frequented the La Leche League website a ton, and talked to people who successfully breastfed their babies. I’ve got all if this information that I didn’t have before. I feel more prepared, and like I have a good idea of what to expect.

But I’m scared anyway. Even though the intellectual side of me knows that I did my best and provided for Briana in the best way I was capable of at the time, I still feel like such a failure for not sticking it out. I keep doing the “should haves.” I should have done this research last time, I should have asked for more help, I should have insisted on more sessions with the lactation consultant, I should have joined a La Leche group, I should have done this and that and this and that.

I just don’t want to fail this baby like I failed Briana. I want to breastfeed for real.

Anyway…any suggestions for more breastfeeding reading/research/info are greatly appreciated!

Sorry for the random blog. 😛